Organizations that have a desire to develop cultural effectiveness should emphasize leadership at all levels of the institution. Boards of Directors and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) can lead the way by including cultural effectiveness as an organizational priority. This can be done through strategic planning efforts and changes to policies and procedures. Executive leadership are key in promoting changes within the system that will embed cultural effectiveness as an organizational value. Leadership at other levels of the organization is also important so that positive messages are reinforced. For example, Human resource (HR) personnel play an important role in recruitment and retention. Management information system (MIS/IT) staff facilitate the collection of REaL (race, ethnicity, and language) data. Clinical and front desk staff use cross-cultural communication skills to engage with patients and enhance patient care. Without strong and consistent organizational leadership, cultural effectiveness will not be integrated into the organizational culture on a permanent basis.

Distinguishing Technical from Adaptive Challenges. Heifetz, R.A. & Linsky, M. (2002) Leadership on the Line, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA.

Bettancourt, J.R., Green, A.R., Carillo, J.E., & Ananeh-Firempong, O. (2003). Defining Cultural Competence: A Practical Framework for Addressing Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Health and Health Care. Public Health Reports. 118(4). 293-302


Leaders throughout the organization can act as change agents, moving the organization to become more culturally effective. What can leaders do?

Policies and Procedures

Written policies and procedures provide documentation of an organizations commitment to equity. What policies promote equity?

Data Collection and Analysis

Data provides the foundation for decision-making and evaluation. How can data help in strategic planning?

Community Engagement

Building relationships with the community contributes to connectedness and sharing feedback. How can you create an environment to share knowledge?

Language and Communication Access

Communication is key to quality patient care. What are strategies to enhance cross cultural communication?

Staff Cultural Competence

Staff interact with patients to promote good health outcomes. How can you promote the cultural competency of your workforce?

Workforce Diversity and Inclusion

Organizations want to attract a highly skilled workforce from diverse backgrounds. What are strategies that promote workforce diversity?

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