Integrating literacy, culture, and language to improve health care quality for diverse populations

Am J Health Behav. Sep-Oct 2007;31 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S122-33. doi: 10.5555/ajhb.2007.31.supp.S122.


Objective: To understand the interrelationship of literacy, culture, and language and the importance of addressing their intersection.

Methods: Health literacy, cultural competence, and linguistic competence strategies to quality improvement were analyzed.

Results: Strategies to improve health literacy for low-literate individuals are distinct from strategies for culturally diverse and individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). The lack of integration results in health care that is unresponsive to some vulnerable groups' needs. A vision for integrated care is presented.

Conclusion: Clinicians, the health care team, and health care organizations have important roles to play in addressing challenges related to literacy, culture, and language.

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Culture*
  • Educational Status*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Quality of Health Care*