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Guidelines for Culturally Competent Organizations
Second Edition — May 2004
Minnesota Department of Human Services
The Minnesota Department of Human Services wishes to acknowledge the contributions of:
Gary Cox with Dr. Glenace Edwall, Debra Davis-Moody, Patricia Ray, and Mark Toogood
This information is available in other forms to people with disabilities by contacting us at 651-282-5329 (voice), or through the Minnesota Relay Service at 800-627-3529 (TDD), 711or 877-627-3848 (speech-to-speech relay service).
Executive Summary: Policy and Overview
The Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) encourages health and human services providers and organizations to demonstrate their ability to serve diverse populations before they serve individuals from diverse cultures. When an organization lacks knowledge and skills in a client’s culture, it refers the client to someone who has the expertise. The organization and its personnel are always accountable for culturally appropriate services.
An organization cannot be clinically or programmatically competent unless it is culturally competent. Health and human services organizations can enhance their cultural competence with:
Why cultural competence?
Culture influences one’s behavior and family practices. Culture influences an individual’s health and mental health beliefs, practices, behaviors, and even the outcomes of interventions. Health behavior depends on how one understands the cause of illness. In mental health and medicine, research indicates that culturally-appropriate service improves diagnostic accuracy, increases adherence to recommended treatment, and reduces inappropriate emergency room and psychiatric hospital use. Cultural competence is a requisite of doing business with diverse clients. Organizations enhance their cultural competence because:
Who should implement these guidelines?
County social services organizations and their vendors; managed care organizations and their providers; and community-based mental health and human services providers will benefit from implementing these Guidelines. Health care providers may be more familiar with the national CLAS standards for cultural competence. The CLAS standards are consistent with the Guidelines but the Guidelines go further to support direct case work by agency staff. The Guidelines are not a mandate but are designed as an educational tool that answers the question: How do we become more culturally competent?
Incremental approach and coalition building
Striving toward cultural competence is a developmental process, a goal toward which professionals and organizations can strive. These Guidelines envision an incremental approach toward cultural competence, based on a sustained, achievable actions with realistic time lines. Organizations can implement these guidelines according to a plan they develop for themselves.
What is cultural competence?
Cultural competence or culturally competent is the ability and the will to respond to the unique needs of an individual client that arise from the client’s culture and the ability to use the person’s culture as a resource or tool to assist with the intervention and help meet the person’s needs.
Table of Contents
Action and Planning Guide
1. Cultural Competence Planning.
2. Community Partnership and Governance.
3. Human Resource Development.
4. Prevention, Public Education, and Client Outreach.
5. Eligibility, Intake, and Client Education.
6. Conflict Resolution.
7. Quality Management.
8. Data and Management Information Systems (MIS).
9. Service Array or Benefit Design.
10. Access and Service Authorization.
11. Client Needs Determination.
12. Service Planning.
13. Service Coordination/Case Management.
15. Practice Standards for Health and Mental Health.
16. Child Welfare and Social Work Practice.
17. Language Assistance.
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