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Tools and Processes for Self-Assessment

Self-Assessment: An Essential Element of Cultural Competence

happy kidsThe National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) embraces a conceptual framework and model of achieving cultural competence adapted from the work of Cross et al., 1989. Cultural competence requires that organizations and their personnel have the capacity to: (1) value diversity, (2) conduct self-assessment, (3) manage the dynamics of difference, (4) acquire and institutionalize cultural knowledge, and (5) adapt to the diversity and cultural contexts if individuals and communities served.

The NCCC supports the concept that cultural and linguistic competence are developmental processes and evolve over extended periods of time. Both organizations and individuals are at various levels of awareness, knowledge and skills along a continuum. There are numerous benefits of self-assessment that positively impact consumers, practitioners, organizations and communities.

Assessing attitudes, practices, structures and policies of programs and their personnel is a necessary, effective and systematic way to plan for and incorporate cultural and linguistic competency within organizations. The NCCC invests a significant proportion of its resources to create tools and processes for self-assessment. Selected highlights follow.

Organizational Self-Assessment

The NCCC continues to pioneer innovative self-assessment for health care, mental health and other human service organizations.

  • The NCCC adapted a version of the Cultural and Linguistic Competence Self-Assessment Questionnaire, author James Mason, Ph.D., for use with Title V CSHCN and MCH programs to conduct organizational self-assessment.
  • The NCCC created focus group protocols for use with consumers and families receiving services from CSHCN systems and Federally qualified community health centers.
  • The NCCC created a tool, Cultural and Linguistic Competence Policy Assessment (CLCPA), for the Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human and Services. The CCPA is intended to support the BPHC, and its funded programs in (1) improving health care access and utilization, (2) enhancing the quality of services within culturally diverse and underserved communities, and (3) promoting cultural competence as an essential approach in the elimination of health disparities.
  • The NCCC's policy brief series contain checklists for organizations that focus on cultural competence, linguistic competence, community engagement, and research.
  • The NCCC developed a guide to inform organizational self-assessment in cultural competence. It offers a rationale for organizational self-assessment, essential elements of the process, benefits, and useful steps in planning & implementation of an organizational self-assessment.


  • The NCCC developed four self-assessment checklists to heighten awareness and sensitivity to the importance of cultural and linguistic competence, that specifically focus on personnel in early childhood, early intervention, primary health care, mental health, children and youth with special health care needs and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SUID)/and Other Infant Death (ID).

Training, Technical Assistance and Consultation

  • The NCCC has conducted over 70 separate technical assistance, consultation and training events on cultural competence self-assessment processes for program grantees of the MCHB and BPHC and other organizations on a contractual basis. Contact NCCC faculty at for additional information.
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