| Overview and Purpose
of the Guide
Through a Cooperative Agreement, the National Health Service Corps (NHSC),
Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), funded the National Center for Cultural
Competence (NCCC) to conduct an exciting new effort, the
Cultural Broker Project.
The goal of this collaborative project was to encourage the use of cultural
brokering as a key approach to increasing access to, and
enhancing the delivery of, culturally competent care. Cultural brokering can
defined in many ways. Cultural brokering has been defined as “…bridging,
linking or mediating between groups or persons of different cultural backgrounds
to effect change” (Jezewski, 1990). The NHSC is embracing and
promoting this concept as a viable and much-needed approach in the effective
delivery of health care to culturally diverse populations, particularly those
who are underserved and vulnerable.
The goal of the Cultural Broker Project is in keeping with the NCCC’s
overall mission to “increase the capacity of health care and mental health
programs to design, implement and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent
delivery systems.” Cultural and linguistic competence have
emerged as fundamental approaches to the goal of eliminating racial and ethnic
disparities in health. A major principle of cultural competence involves working
in conjunction with natural, informal supports and helping networks within
communities (Cross et al., 1989). The concept of cultural brokering
this principle and can bridge the gap between health care providers
communities they serve. One aspect of the project is to develop a guide
to implement cultural broker programs in health care settings, particularly
that employ or serve as placement sites for NHSC scholars and clinicians
This guide is designed to assist health care organizations in planning,
implementing, and sustaining cultural broker programs in ways including the
- Introduce the legitimacy of cultural brokering in health care delivery
- Promote cultural brokering as an essential approach to increase access to care
and eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.
- Define the values, characteristics, areas of awareness, knowledge, and skills
required of a cultural broker.
- Provide guidance on establishing and sustaining a cultural broker program
for health care settings that is tailored to the needs and preferences of the
This guide can serve as a resource to organizations and agencies that are interested
in partnering with health care organizations to enhance the health
well-being of communities.