CCDI Toolkit

In 2013 and 2014, CAN convened a Cultural Competency, Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) Work Group to determine ways to align principles, practices and policies related to CCDI principles. CAN developed this on‐line toolkit through that process with the significant support from UT’s Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. The Work Group helped coordinate a Cultural Proficiency and Language Access Forum in September 2014. A subcommittee of the work group developed a curriculum for training the executive leaders of CAN’s partners in 2015 (as detailed in the “training” tab of this toolkit). Another subcommittee developed a language access survey to assess language access needs for service providers that ultimately led to establishment of a Language Access Work Group and Toolkit in 2016 & 2017. Click here to access language access info.

Cultural Competence is important because it is a significant part of eliminating barriers to accessing services. Cultural competence as a framework creates systems, agencies and groups of professionals who are receptive to the diverse needs of their clients. Agencies that offer non-judgmental services and are responsive to the beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of their clients can bring about positive relationships with their clients and the community.1,7

What do we mean by the terms Cultural Competence, Diversity & Inclusion?

Cultural Competence is a set of corresponding behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enable them to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. Cultural competence is significant part of eliminating barriers to accessing services.1,2 Additionally, cultural competence is a combination of cultural knowledge, cultural awareness, and cultural sensitivity. A culturally competent organization has the capacity to bring into its system many different behaviors, attitudes, and policies and work effectively in cross-cultural settings to produce better outcomes.3

Diversity recognizes that each person is unique and recognizes our individual differences in perspectives, identity, and points of view among individuals in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. Diversity includes important and interrelated dimensions of human identity such as race, ethnicity, color, gender, socio-economic status, nationality, citizenship, education, geographic origin, religion, sexual orientation, ability, age, political beliefs, and or other ideologies.4

Inclusion, sometimes also referred to as social inclusion, means that all people should feel valued, have their differences respected, and have their basic needs met. This is so that each person can live a life where they are treated with dignity and respect, where they have the opportunity to participate fully, and where they have a voice so that they can influence decisions that affect them.5,6


  1. Cross, T., Bazron, B.J., Dennis, K.W., & Isaacs, M.R. (1989). Towards a culturally competent system of care: A monograph on effective services for minority children who are severely emotionally disturbed. Retrieved from:
  2. United States Department of Human Services National Institutes of Health. (2013, May 14). Cultural competency – Clear communication: An NIH health literacy initiative. Retrieved from:
  3. University of Kansas Work Group for Community Health and Development. (2013). Cultural competence in a multicultural world. The Community Tool Box. (Chapter 27). Retrieved from:
  4. United States Department of the Interior Office of Civil Rights (n.d.). What is diversity? Retrieved from:
  5. Thompson, K.S., & Rowe, M. (2010). Social inclusion. Psychiatric Services. 61(8). Retrieved from:
  6. Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Social Inclusion Unit. (2009). The Australian public service social inclusion policy design and delivery toolkit. Retrieved from:
  7. United States Department of Human Services Office of Minority Health. (2013). What is cultural competency? Retrieved from: