Hall, Marla (2012-05). Evaluation of Cultural Competence and Health Disparities Knowledge and Skill Sets of Public Health Department Staff. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • Life expectancy and overall health have improved in recent years for most Americans, thanks in part to an increased focus on preventive medicine and dynamic new advances in medical technology. However, not all Americans are benefiting equally. This suggests a level of urgency for need to assist our public health professionals in obtaining specific skills sets that will assist them in working better with ethnic and racial minority populations. The overall goal of the research was to assess cultural competence knowledge and programmatic skill sets of individuals employed by an urban department of health located in the southwest region of the US. The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) guided the research design to effectively evaluate the correlation between behavior and beliefs, attitudes and intention, of an individual, as well as their level of perceived control. Within the program design, 90 participants were identified using convenience sampling. In order to effectively evaluate these constructs, a quantitative research approach was employed to assess attitudes, beliefs, knowledge and competencies of the subject matter. Participants completed the Cultural Competence Assessment (CCA), which is designed to explore individual knowledge, feelings and actions of respondents when interacting with others in health service environments (Schim, 2009). The instrument is based on the cultural competence model, and measures cultural awareness and sensitivity; cultural competence behaviors and cultural diversity experience on a 49 item scale. It seeks to assess actual behaviors through a self report, rather than self-efficacy of performing behaviors. In addition, information was obtained to assess participant perception of organizational promotion of culturally competent care and; availability of opportunities to participate in professional development training. The analysis suggested healthcare professionals who are more knowledgeable and possess attitudes which reflect increased cultural sensitivity, are more likely to engage in culturally competent behaviors. In addition, positive attitudes and increased knowledge were associated with diversity training participation. Respondents reported high levels of interaction with patients from ethnic and racial minorities. Observing the clinical and non-clinical respondents, approximately 47% and 57% respectively, stated their cultural diversity training was an employer sponsored program.

publication date

  • May 2012