Research byte: Resources to support culturally appropriate health care

By Liz Weinfurter

Photo of two people holding hands to depict caregiving.Culture plays an important role in how individuals wish to experience healthcare — and culturally appropriate care makes a difference.

A recent article published in the Mpls.St.Paul Magazine highlights University of Minnesota led research at the Roots Community Birth Center in North Minneapolis that found culturally appropriate health care improves birth outcomes and reduces health disparities.

What you need to know

A person’s culture is multifaceted, and culturally appropriate care requires a holistic approach. Some important factors include religious fasting holidays, cultural views of mental illness, and family structures. Taken together, knowledge of these factors can support respectful conversations between providers and patients and enhance the health care experience.

Getting started

Good news! While the practice of culturally appropriate care can be complex — especially when supporting a diverse patient population — our University Libraries offer resources to help providers build and enhance their cultural care skills.

  • EthnoMed: Find information about cultural beliefs, medical issues, and related topics pertinent to the health care of immigrants to the United States. You can access relevant information through the Cultural Profiles, Clinical Topic, or the multilingual Patient Education categories.
  • Culture Clues: Access succinct tip sheets for clinicians about communicating with different cultures or patient groups. Sheets are written by culture and provide information on cultural norms around touch, decision-making processes, end-of-life rituals, and more.
  • Additional Reading: Explore cultural care topics in more detail — check out the many books we hold about culturally appropriate health care.  

And of course you can ask your librarian if you have any additional questions, or need to locate information for a particular culture.


About the Author

Liz Weinfurter

Liz Weinfurter, M.L.I.S., is an Associate Librarian and liaison to the School of Nursing and the Center for Spirituality and Healing.  

Weinfurter’s expertise spans literature searching, evidence-based practice, information competencies and systematic reviews. She is an advocate for informed care and has published with her School of Nursing colleagues on topics related to health literacy, prenatal care, public health nursing, and big data science in nursing.   

She welcomes you to contact her at eweinfur@umn.edu.

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