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Cultural & Linguistic Competency and Implicit Bias

Updated CALIFORNIA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (CMA) Standards for Cultural and Linguistic Competency and Implicit Bias

In August, 2021, the CMA issued updated cultural and linguistic competency (CLC) standards and created standards for implicit bias (IB) that reduce health disparities, as well as comply with state law. Continuing medical education (CME) providers are required by state Assembly Bills 1195 and 241, and the standards created by the CMA, to include components that address cultural and linguistic competency and implicit bias in CME activities. CMA Standards


What is Cultural and Linguistic Competency (CLC)?

Cultural competency means a set of integrated attitudes, knowledge, and skills that enables a health care professional or organization to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities. At a minimum, cultural competency is recommended to include the following:

  • Applying linguistic skills to communicate effectively with the target population.
  • Utilizing cultural information to establish therapeutic relationships.
  • Eliciting and incorporating pertinent cultural data in diagnosis and treatment.
  • Understanding and applying cultural and ethnic data to the process of clinical care.

Linguistic competency means the ability of a physician and surgeon to provide patients who do not speak English or who have limited ability to speak English, direct communication in the patient’s primary language. Assembly Bill 1195

What is Implicit Bias (IB)?

Implicit bias, meaning the attitudes or internalized stereotypes that affect our perceptions, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner, exists, and often contributes to unequal treatment of people based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, and other characteristics.

Implicit bias contributes to health disparities by affecting the behavior of physicians and surgeons, nurses, physician assistants, and other healing arts licensees. Assembly Bill 241

California Medical Association Resources (click on "additional resources")