Cultural Resources for Health Professionals

JABSOM Cultural Competency Resource Guide

This guide features the 8th edition (2020), and provides a compilation of cultural initiatives within the John A. Burns School of Medicine.  It is compiled and updated annually by Maria B.J. Chun, PhD, and other faculty, staff, and students.

The 9th edition (2023) is linked below, and is complementary to previous work with a focus on faculty development intiatives. 



This guide was developed in collaboration with Dr. Maria Chun, JABSOM Faculty. If any future changes are planned, please contact Dr. Chun at 808-586-2925 or email

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Native Hawaiian MD graduates join with department faculty, medical school and UH leadership and loved ones in a Kiheī Ceremony at JABSOM in 2012.

Native Hawaiian MD graduates joined with department faculty, medical school, and UH leadership and loved ones in a Kiheī Ceremony at JABSOM in 2012.

Cultural competency efforts are an integral part of the curriculum in undergraduate and graduate medical education. 

Cultural and linguistic competence is a set of congruent behaviors, knowledge, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, organization, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. "Culture" refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, actions, customs, beliefs, and institutions of racial, ethnic, social, or religious groups. "Competence" implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual or an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, practices, and needs presented by patients and their communities (Cross et. al). (1) Another more ideal term to describe the role culture may play in healthcare delivery is “Cultural Humility.” Cultural humility not only promotes the idea of lifelong learning, but also a flexibility to change with the accumulation of one’s social awareness. (2)

JABSOM, as part of the fabric of Hawai`i, is a diverse learning community committed to excellence and leadership in:

  • Educating current and future healthcare professionals and leaders.
  • Delivering high-quality healthcare
  • Conducting research and translating discoveries into practice
  • Establishing community partnerships and fostering multidisciplinary collaboration
  • Pursuing alliances unique to Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region
  • Acting with forethought regarding right relationships, respect, and ethical action. Pono.

(1) Cross T L, Bazron B J, Dennis K W, et al. Towards a culturally competent system of care, Volume 1: A Monograph on effective services for minority children who are severely emotionally disturbed. Washington, DC: National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health, Georgetown University Child Development Center; 1989.

(2) 2 Tervalon, Melanie and Jann Murray-García. "Cultural Humility Versus Cultural Competence: A Critical Distinction in Defining Physician Training Outcomes in Multicultural Education." Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, vol. 9 no. 2, 1998, p. 117-125. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/hpu.2010.0233.

General Resources

Cultural Sensitivity/Competency Resources

Multilingual Health Materials

The following resources provide health information on a variety of health topics in many languages.

Books with Cultural Health Info in the Library

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