July 19, 2024

Health Literacy, Language Access and Cultural Competency

ACU is committed to ensuring that safety net providers have access to current, appropriate knowledge, innovations and strategies; and possess the skills and competencies to provide quality care and patient safety in the most cost-efficient manner. ACU furthermore supports the concepts of patient-centeredness and patient activation in its efforts to provide information, resources, and tools to providers who diligently work to provide health care homes to the increasing number of medically underserved and the most disadvantaged while respecting a patient’s dignity and cultural beliefs. As a result of this commitment, all of its programs, initiatives and activities are examined taking into consider the implications of three cross-cutting issues – health literacy, language access and cultural competency.

This commitment compliments the recent UN declaration which included language on health literacy which states “We stress that health literacy is an important factor in ensuring significant health outcomes and in this regard call for the development of appropriate action plans to promote health literacy.”

ACU Health Literacy Training Program

ACU has developed a training program designed to teach health clinic staff how to incorporate best practices in health literacy, language access and cultural competency in caring for the underserved. The program was pilot tested at Loudoun County Community Health Center, a federally qualified health care center in Leesburg, Va., serving those with limited or no insurance. If you are interested in scheduling a training, please email acu@clinicians.org.


ACU Prerecorded Webinar

Health Literacy: Implications for the Dental Setting, Lois Wessel, RN, CFNP, ACU Associate Director for Programs, Nicole Holland, DDS, ACU Board Member. Presented April 5, 2013 in partnership with the National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA).

ACU Research Initiatives

Health Literacy Practices in Primary Care Settings: Examples From the Field, Barrett, SE, Puryear JS, Westpheling K., The Commonwealth Fund, January 2008 (full text).

Language Access Understanding the Barriers and Challenges in Primary Care Settings. Perspectives from the Field, Barrett, SE, Dyer, C, Westpheling, K., June 2008 (PDF).

ACU Columns

Health Literacy: Improving Quality of Care in Primary Care Settings*
Sharon E. Barrett, MS, Doctoral Candidate, MSUPHP, Jennifer Sheen Puryear, MPH

ACU Tool Cards

ACU has developed a clinical tool card on Cross-Cultural Health Care that serves as a concise pocket-size reference card for busy practitioners.

*Reprinted with permission from Meharry Medical College, the copyright holder for the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.