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In the United States, women of reproductive age form a rainbow of racial and ethnic groups, hail from different socioeconomic classes, live in cities and on farms, and were born in any of nearly 200 countries. These women visit reproductive health providers every day. For health care professionals trained in Western medicine and reared in a Western culture, it may seem an impossible task to understand the wide array of diversity in patient populations. However, achieving cultural competence is vitally necessary to ensure the highest quality of care for every woman seeking reproductive health care.

Cultural competency refers to one's ability to understand and appreciate cultural differences and similarities within, among, and between different groups. By increasing their level of cultural awareness, abortion providers and clinic staff can tailor their service delivery to ensure that it is more appropriate, relevant, and effective. It is imperative that clinicians and staff have an understanding of the impact of language and culture on health care delivery in order to efficiently organize services that meet the needs of both the institution and a diverse patient population.

Building Competency

Building a truly culturally and linguistically competent clinic requires an investment of time and resources, but most importantly, it requires careful reflection about how your clinic is structured and how your staff delivers services. More

Talking about Cultures

Cultural and language factors affect how health care services are delivered and received. It is important that providers understand and respond with sensitivity to the needs and preferences of diverse patients. What impact does culture and related factors have on the relationship between a patient and her provider? More


Find cultural and linguistic competency resources online, self-assessment tools, articles and publications. More

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