Key Aspects in Cultural Competency

Epidemiology of Population Health

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of diseases and health-related states in human populations. The Principles of Epidemiology and Public Health Practice is a free, downloadable PDF-course developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This course covers basic epidemiology principles, concepts, and procedures useful in the surveillance and investigation of health-related states or events. It is designed for federal, state, and local government health professionals and private sector health professionals who are responsible for disease surveillance or investigation.

National, state, and county-level data can be found on the Data and Statistics page on this website.

Patient's Healing Traditions and Systems

Health professionals need to be aware of different cultural and ethnic healing traditions. These systems are often familiar and comforting to the patient, and it is important for the healthcare practitioner to respect these cultural beliefs. These systems derive not only from social, but from religious constructs as well. A culturally competent healthcare provider will not only respect these healing systems, but will be able to integrate them with treatment. The Vaden Health Center of Stanford University is a site devoted to traditional healing. The site provides a number of resources including African, Native American, South American, Asian, and Indian healing systems. They have a number of links to sites that deal with Christian, Jewish, and Voodoo healing traditions.

Institutional Cultural Issues