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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Self-Study Modules for Effective TB Interviewing

Module 3.†Cultural Competency


After reading through this module, you will be able to

  • Describe the concepts of culture and cultural competency;
  • Identify various factors that contribute to an individualís culture;
  • Understand why cultural competency is essential in TB interviewing;
  • Assess the communication process based on a patientís verbal and nonverbal cues; and
  • Limit the barriers of language, dialect, lifestyle, and belief differences during an interview.


Culture is shaped by experiences and life events that contribute to a personís beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors.† Culture may also affect the ways in which a person communicates, both verbally and nonverbally, and understands information.† Interviewers should be aware of the diversity of all individuals they encounter and how cultural factors may affect the course of the interview.

Cultural competency is the sensitivity to and awareness of the various factors that shape a personís identity. It is an important skill for a TB interviewer and encompasses the ability to work with and care for diverse individuals to meet their cultural needs without compromising their health or that of the public.

The populations affected by TB are very diverse.† TB affects a disproportionate number of nonUS-born individuals, migrants, people who travel extensively to and from TB-endemic countries, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and other distinct groups.† While local TB epidemiology varies greatly from area to area, cultural competency is important in TB interviewing in all geographic locations.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

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CDC/Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
Communications, Education, and Behavioral Studies Branch
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