Office of Minority and Multicultural Health

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Cultural Competency


New Jersey is a very racially and ethnically diverse state. We are one of the top 3 most diverse states in the US with respect to racial/ethnic and foreign born populations. In 2011, racial/ethnic minorities made up over one-third (44 percent) of the total estimated population of New Jersey. Fifty nine percent of the population is White (non-Hispanic), 15 percent is Black, 9 percent is Asian, 18 percent is of Hispanic origin, 21 percent foreign born, 29 percent speak a language other than English at home, and 10 percent live below the poverty level.
This rich diversity presents a challenge to health professionals. Diverse populations bring different attitudes, expectations, beliefs and communication styles to each health encounter.  Health professionals must be sensitive to these complex issues if they are to be successful.
Culturally competent health workers not only respect cultural differences, they incorporate them into the entire patient care or program planning process. In the health care setting, this can require organizational change as well as more skilled one-on-one patient interactions. 

The public health community is also working to better understand the social and cultural gap between practitioners and the communities they seek to serve, and to find effective ways to bridge that gap.

The result in both cases can be better patient care, more effective public health interventions and, ultimately, better health in our communities.



Below are links to cultural competency and language resources on the web:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Health Resources and Services Administration:

Intercultural Cancer Council
Cultural Competence in Cancer Care: A Health Care Professional’s Passport

Management Sciences for Health. The Provider's Guide to Quality and Culture

National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University

New Jersey's First Statewide Health Literacy Summit

Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Language Assistance to Persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

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