Cross Cultural Competency Program (UC Davis Health)

The Cross Cultural Competency Program works to expand the understanding of diversity and its impact on the success of UC Davis Health.


  • To understand the broad range of groups and classification that compromise patient and staff diversity.
  • To examine the functional; difference and organizational benefits from implementing EEO/AA and diversity programs.
  • To analyze situations and solutions to: cross-cultural interactions within the multicultural health-care environment.


  • Increase patient and customer satisfaction.
  • Increase efficiencies and productivity.
  • Reduce labor relations, risk management issues.
  • Comply with emerging trends in hospital accreditation requirements.

UC Davis Health Individual Definition

  • The ability of a health-care organization and its staff to understand and respond effectively to the cultural and linguistic needs brought by patients to the health-care encounter.
  • Individual Definition: The ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

The population of the United States is growing and becoming an increasingly culturally diverse nation. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts by the middle of the 21st century, the average U.S. resident will be able to trace their ancestry to Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands or the Hispanic or Arab countries.

Our culturally diverse communities will provide an equally diverse workforce. Employers, being sensitive to the physical and cultural needs of their employees, will be looking for a health-care organization that can cost effectively address all the needs of its workforce.

Currently at least 14 states, including California, have Medicaid and Medicare contracts with cultural competency requirements. In 1998, 29 of 45 (64%) of the state managed care service agreements included cultural competency requirements. The federal government is a major purchaser of health-care services for Medicare/Medicaid and is requiring their contractors to be culturally diverse and deliver culturally competent service and care.

The federal government also has initiatives that either implicitly expect or explicitly state requirements for cultural competency:

  • The Consumer Bill of Rights
  • The Medicare + Choice Regulations
  • The HCFA QISMC Guidelines/Standards
  • The HHS Office of Civil Rights Guidance on Limited English Proficiency
  • The "Proposed" Medicaid Regulations

The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), as the premier national accrediting body for hospitals was part of the committee that developed the national Cultural and Linguistic Appropriate Services standards, otherwise known as CLAS. This working relationship with the government will likely lead to additional cultural competency mandates to be integrated within the JCAHO standards that will ultimately impact all health-care organizations.