Cultural humility: essential foundation for clinical researchers

Appl Nurs Res. 2013 Nov;26(4):251-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2013.06.008. Epub 2013 Aug 12.


Cultural humility is a process of self-reflection and discovery in order to build honest and trustworthy relationships. It offers promise for researchers to understand and eliminate health disparities, a continual and disturbing problem necessitating attention and action on many levels. This paper presents a discussion of the process of cultural humility and its important role in research to better understand the perspectives and context of the researcher and the research participant. We discern cultural humility from similar concepts, specifically cultural competence and reflexivity. We will also explore ways to cultivate cultural humility in the context of human subjects research. Mindfulness is one approach that can be helpful in enhancing awareness of self and others in this process. With a foundation in cultural humility, nurse researchers and other investigators can implement meaningful and ethical projects to better address health disparities.

Keywords: Culture; Nursing; Research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Humans
  • Research Personnel / psychology*
  • Social Justice
  • Stereotyping