National Center for Cultural Competence

Who can fulfill the role of cultural brokers in health care settings?

Almost anyone can fulfill the role of a cultural broker. Most cultural brokers assume multiple roles within health care and other settings and their respective communities. Although cultural brokers serve the same function, they come with different expectations and have divergent experiences, yet aim to create a cultural connection.

Cultural brokers may be any of the following:

  • outreach and lay health worker
  • peer mentor
  • community member (family member, patient)
  • administrative leader
  • nurse, physician, physical therapist,
    or health care provider
  • social worker
  • interpreter
  • program manager
  • health educator
  • board member
  • program support personnel

Cultural brokers may work in these settings:

  • community health centers
  • community-based organizations
  • government offices
  • churches, mosque, kivas, plazas, temples, and other places of worship
  • schools
  • universities
  • hospitals
  • faith-based organizations
  • migrant communities

Whatever their position, cultural brokers aim to build an awareness and understanding of the cultural factors of the diverse communities they serve and of the ways in which such factors influence communities. Cultural brokers may not necessarily be members of a particular cultural group or community. However, they must have a history and experience with cultural groups for which they serve as broker including:

  • the trust and respect of the community;
  • knowledge of values, beliefs, and health practices of cultural groups; an understanding of traditional and indigenous wellness and healing networks
  • within diverse communities; and
  • experience navigating health care delivery and supportive systems within communities.
 

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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Cultural Competence Accessibility Copyright Georgetown University e-mail: cultural@georgetown.edu What is the role of cultural brokers in health care delivery?