New Bilingual Materials Aim to Boost Cultural Competence


doctor latina latino cultural comptence with phone looking at bilingual materials
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Cultural competence is the ability to understand, appreciate, and interact with people from cultures or belief systems different from one’s own.

This is often lacking in health care.

Latinos, for example, experience discrimination and implicit bias in the doctor’s office, and face a systemic lack access of social support.

That’s why we are excited to share new bilingual materials from various agencies the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) aiming to improve cultural competence and equitable access to care.

“Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) in health and healthcare is one way to improve the quality of services provided to all individuals, which will ultimately help reduce health disparities and achieve health equity,” according to the HHS CLAS website. “CLAS is about respect and responsiveness: respect the whole individual and respond to the individual’s health needs and preferences.”

Bilingual Materials on Cultural Competence and Medicare Provision

The HHS’ Office of Minority Health (OMH) has partnered with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and others to identify and compile multilingual resources and materials for Medicare providers.

HHS OMH cultural competence bilingual materialsThe goal is to support provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Translated resources include:

  • specific diseases and conditions
  • health insurance
  • women’s health topics
  • substance use
  • emergency preparedness and response

Download OMH Bilingual Resources

Bilingual Materials on Cultural Competence and COVID-19

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities research teams have developed tip sheets in English and Spanish.

CEAL NIH spanish covid cultural competence bilingual materialsThese materials help address misinformation, highlight community benefits of COVID-19 research, outline the importance of community health workers, and advise on building community trust in COVID-19 resources.

  • Community Benefits of COVID-19 Research: An Overview for Community Members | English | Spanish
  • Community Health Workers and Other Lay Communicators: An Overview for Researchers | English | Spanish
  • Addressing COVID-19 Misinformation: A Tip Sheet for Health Professionals Working with Community Members | English | Spanish
  • Building and Maintaining Community Trust in COVID-19 Resources | English | Spanish

These materials are especially important amid ongoing misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccine among Latinos.

Download NIH/ceal bilingual Resources

Bilingual Materials on Cultural Competence and Various Health Issues

The CDC also has a suite of resources translated into Spanish.

Topics include:

  • emergency preparedness and response
  • diseases and conditions
  • data and statistics
  • environmental health
  • healthy living
  • injury
  • violence and safety
  • life stages
  • travelers’ health
  • workplace safety and health

CDC Spanish Material

The CDC also created a communication toolkit to help public health professionals, health departments, community organizations, and healthcare systems and providers reach populations who may need COVID-19 prevention messaging in their native languages.

This toolkit provides:

  • Translated materials to help communities disseminate messages to a wider audience.
  • Current messaging from a trusted source.
  • Information in plain language available for downloading and sharing.

CDC Toolkit

Bilingual Materials on Cultural Competence on Food Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website has information on food safety, fraudulent products, coronavirus testing and treatments and other educational resources in a variety of languages.

On April 2, 2021 the FDA posted translations of the consumer update and the translations are as faithful as possible to the English version, recognizing that the translated versions may not be as precise, clear, or complete as the English version.

FDA Spanish Material

Bilingual Materials from Salud America! on COVID-19, Vaccines

At Salud America!, we created a landing page for COVID-19 and Latino health equity. This includes posts on COVID-19 rates, vaccines, and misinformation.

Juntos We can stop covid-19 -overview 3 - spanYou can also share our Salud America! “Juntos, We Can Stop COVID-19” digital communication campaign in English or Spanish to help Latino families and workers take action to slow the spread of coronavirus and getting the vaccine when available.

The #JuntosStopCovid campaign features culturally relevant fact sheets, infographics, and video role model stories to encourage Latinos to practice safe public health behaviors.


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