National Center for Cultural Competence
Definition of Terms

acculturation: Cultural modification of an individual,group, or people by adapting to, or borrowing traits from, another culture; a merging of cultures as a result of prolonged contact. It should be noted that individuals from culturally diverse groups may desire varying degrees of acculturation into the dominant culture.

assimilation: Assuming the cultural traditions of a given people or group.

culture: An integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, languages, practices, beliefs, values, customs, courtesies, rituals, manners of interacting, roles, relationships, and expected behaviors of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group; the ability to transmit the above to succeeding generations; is dynamic in nature.

cultural brokering: This term has multiple definitions. Cultural brokering is defined as the act of bridging, linking, or mediating between groups or persons of differing cultural backgrounds for the purpose of reducing conflict or producing change (Jezewski, 1990). A cultural broker acts as a go-between, one who advocates on behalf of another individual or group (Jezewski & Sotnik, 2001). A health care intervention through which the professional increasingly uses cultural and health science knowledge and skills to negotiate with the client and the health care system for an effective, beneficial health care plan (Wenger, 1995).

cultural awareness: Being cognizant, observant, and conscious of similarities and differences among cultural groups.

cultural competence: The NCCC embraces a conceptual framework and definition of cultural competence that requires organizations to:

  • have a defined set of values and principles, and demonstrate behaviors, attitudes, policies, and structures that enable them to work effectively cross-culturally.
  • have the capacity to (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) institutionalization of cultural knowledge, and (5) adapt to diversity and the cultural contexts of the communities they serve.
  • incorporate the requirements above in all aspects of policy development, administration, and practice/service delivery and involve consumers systematically (modified from Cross, Bazron, Dennis, & Isaacs, 1989).

cultural sensitivity: Understanding the needs and emotions of your own culture and the culture of others.

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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?