Business Finance – Management Assignment

Chapter 5: US Educational System and the Intersection of Cultural Competency and Health Literacy



After reading this chapter you should be able to

•   Explain the connection between lack of quality education and health literacy.

•   Discuss the significance of health professionals’ understanding of the impact the educational system has on health literacy and how cultural competency is impacted as a result.

•   List three interventions that have been put in place to improve the educational system in the United States.

•   Define health literacy and describe its relationship to cultural and linguistic competency.

Issues with K-12 public education

· socioeconomic status

· poor outcomes in comparison with other nations

· racial achievement disparities

· the most important factor as it relates to health, low literacy levels.


(See e-book for full description)

· Teach for America

· No Child Left Behind

· Race to the Top


· What does education and initiatives purporting to improve them have to do with cultural competency and the health professions?

Better educated people have lower morbidity rates from the most common acute and chronic diseases, independent of basic demographic and labor market factors. Life expectancy is increasing for everyone in the United States, yet differences in life expectancy have grown over time between those with and without a college education.

Cutler and Muney (2007, p. 1)

· family background impacts level of schooling and health

· Culture is deeply intertwined with family background in that it affects family relationships, beliefs, practices, communication, and attitude.

· Health professionals must be aware of both cultural differences and health literacy issues and develop skills to communicate based on these issues.

· This will improve patient trust, ensure respect, and improve health outcomes.


· Understanding health literacy and cultural and linguistic competency and how they intersect is critical

· Literacy and the digital divide must be considered when disseminating information to patients.

Health professionals have a responsibility to become culturally competent:

· to understand how health literacy and linguistic competency impacts health

· to develop creative and innovative approaches to provide patients/customers with health information.