Cultural Competency and Health Literacy

Cultural competency and health literacy initiatives promote health equity and reduce health disparities by increasing access to health care services and improving the quality of care provided. A comprehensive cultural competency and health literacy strategy must include interventions tailored to the unique needs of our region.  The AHI Performing Provider System (PPS) Cultural Competency and Health Literacy Strategy outlines a plan for increasing cultural competence and health literacy at all levels throughout our nine county service area.

Health Literacy

Health literacy refers to a person’s ability to understand and process information necessary to make important health care decisions.

It is equally as important for health care organizations to be health literate. A health literate organization provides safe, person-centered, equitable care and services. Health care organizations are working to find better ways to support their patients in understanding and navigating an increasingly complex health care delivery system.

Cultural Competency

The enhanced 2013 National CLAS (Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services) Standards for Health and Health Care refer to culture as the integrated pattern of thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions associated, wholly or partially, with racial, ethnic, or linguistic groups, as well as with religious, spiritual, biological, geographical or sociological characteristics.

Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enable that system, agency or those professions to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

When health care organizations prioritize providing culturally competent care, they are demonstrating their commitment to treat the individuals they serve with respect, empathy, and dignity, regardless of cultural differences.


Cultural Competence and Health Literacy Resources