Cultural Competence, Inclusion, and Vulnerable Populations for Health Care Professionals: Instructor-Led Course

Course Author: Sue Wintz, M.Div. BCC

All health care professionals encounter diversity when caring for patients and their families. This course is designed for providers from all disciplines. This seven-week instructor-led course, Cultural Competence, Inclusion, and Vulnerable Populations for Health Care Professionals, will address cultural competence, including self-awareness and effective ways to assess, document, and provide interventions so that persons' beliefs, values, and practices are integrated into their plan of care. It also discusses the needs of vulnerable patient populations including persons who are non-resident aliens, LGBTQ, homeless, incarcerated, low health literate, and mentally challenged.

Instructor-led courses are based on a collaborative model of learning, which is a community where “all learn and all teach”. Students’ work will include discussion with colleagues about the course content, engaging others in their responses to the learning activities and additional topics to enhance the learning goals of the module.


Learning Objectives

By the end of this course the learner will be able to:

  • Define cultural competency and cultural humility in health care.
  • Engage in self-awareness of and the ability to articulate one’s own cultural values, beliefs, assumptions, and biases and is able to set those aside in order to assess for, document, and provide interventions to patients and families.
  • Gain basic knowledge of different religious traditions and common beliefs and practices.
  • Gain basic knowledge of different cultural groups and common beliefs and practices.
  • Identify methods to obtain and employ knowledge on unfamiliar cultures, religious/spiritual beliefs, or existential norms.
  • Define inclusion in health care.
  • Understand ways to assess, document, and include in a care plan appropriate spiritual/religious interventions for cross-cultural situations, including them in documentation.
  • Describe the importance of identifying the unique spiritual/cultural/religious beliefs within vulnerable patient populations (including non-resident aliens, LGBTQ, homeless, incarcerated, low health literacy/illiterate, mentally-challenged severely disabled).


Course Outline

  1. Cultural Competence in Health Care
  2. Cultural Humility
  3. Religious and Cultural Traditions: Common Beliefs and Practices: Methods to Obtain Knowledge
  4. Inclusion in Health Care and Vulnerable Populations
  5. Cultural and Inclusion Issues in Practice
  6. Summary
  7. References


Number of Continuing Education Hours: 56

Credit towards Board Certification Requirements: 1


Aligns with the following Quality Indicators in What is Quality Spiritual Care in Health Care and How Do You Measure It? (HCCN. 2016):

  • Structural Indicator 1.C. Information is provided about the availability of spiritual care services.
  • Structural Indicator 1.B. Dedicated sacred space is available for meditation, reflection and ritual.
  • Process Indicator 2.B. All clients are offered the opportunity to have a discussion of religious/spiritual concerns.
  • Process Indicator 2.C. An assessment of religious, spiritual, and existential concerns using a structured instrument is developed and documented, and the information obtained from the assessment is integrated into the overall care plan.
  • Process Indicator 2.E. Families are offered the opportunity to discuss spiritual issues during goals of care conferences.
  • Process Indicator 2.G. End of life and Bereavement Care is provided as appropriate to the population served.