National Center for Cultural Competence
Overview and Purpose of the Guide

Through a Cooperative Agreement, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), funded the National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) to conduct an exciting new effort, the Cultural Broker Project. The goal of this collaborative project was to encourage the use of cultural brokering as a key approach to increasing access to, and
enhancing the delivery of, culturally competent care. Cultural brokering can be defined in many ways. Cultural brokering has been defined as “…bridging,
linking or mediating between groups or persons of different cultural backgrounds to effect change” (Jezewski, 1990). The NHSC is embracing and promoting this concept as a viable and much-needed approach in the effective delivery of health care to culturally diverse populations, particularly those who are underserved and vulnerable.

The goal of the Cultural Broker Project is in keeping with the NCCC’s overall mission to “increase the capacity of health care and mental health programs to design, implement and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems.” Cultural and linguistic competence have emerged as fundamental approaches to the goal of eliminating racial and ethnic
disparities in health. A major principle of cultural competence involves working in conjunction with natural, informal supports and helping networks within diverse communities (Cross et al., 1989). The concept of cultural brokering exemplifies this principle and can bridge the gap between health care providers and the communities they serve. One aspect of the project is to develop a guide to implement cultural broker programs in health care settings, particularly those that employ or serve as placement sites for NHSC scholars and clinicians in service.

This guide is designed to assist health care organizations in planning, implementing, and sustaining cultural broker programs in ways including the following:

  • Introduce the legitimacy of cultural brokering in health care delivery to
    underserved populations.
  • Promote cultural brokering as an essential approach to increase access to care
    and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.
  • Define the values, characteristics, areas of awareness, knowledge, and skills required of a cultural broker.
  • Provide guidance on establishing and sustaining a cultural broker program
    for health care settings that is tailored to the needs and preferences of the
    communities served.

This guide can serve as a resource to organizations and agencies that are interested in partnering with health care organizations to enhance the health and well-being of communities.

Contact Information: Phone (202) 687-5503 or (800) 788-2066; TTY: (202) 687-8899; 3300 Whitehaven Street, NW, Suite 3000 Washington, DC 20007-2401
Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Cultural Competence Accessibility Copyright Georgetown University e-mail: What is the role of cultural brokers in health care delivery?