The Southern Center For Communication, Health & Poverty
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Key to a functional approach to workforce development is the recognition that public health professionals are becoming increasingly diverse along dimensions of ethnicity and nationality, enter the field from a variety of backgrounds and are employed in very divergent settings and organizations. They may also address very different kinds of diseases and health risks. Yet the services that health care professionals render—what they do—exhibit considerable consistency. With this in mind, the training activities produced by this Core will seek to demonstrate the generalizability of key communication and cultural adaptation skills to a wide variety of public health settings and tasks.

A working definition and guiding framework of public health is provided by the “Ten Essential Public Health Services” developed in 1994 by the Core Public Health Functions Steering Committee comprised of representatives from US Public Health Service agencies and other major public health organizations. This prevailing workforce development model interfaces with seven cross-cutting or “core competencies for public health practice” that represent a set of skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for the broad practice of public health. This Core speaks directly to two of these cross-cutting competencies: communication and cultural competence.

Communication Skills- Specific Competencies

  1. Communicates effectively both in writing and orally, or in other ways
  2. Solicits input from individuals and organizations
  3. Advocates for public health programs and resources
  4. Leads and participates in groups to address specific issues
  5. Uses the media, advanced technologies, and community networks to communicate information
  6. Effectively presents accurate demographic, statistical, programmatic, and scientific information for professional and lay audiences


  • Listens to others in an unbiased manner, respects points of view of others, and promotes the expression of diverse opinions and perspectives

Cultural Competency- Specific Competencies

  • Utilizes appropriate methods for interacting sensitively, effectively, and professionally with persons from diverse cultural, socioeconomic, educational, racial, ethnic and professional backgrounds, and persons of all ages and lifestyle preferences
  • Identifies the role of cultural, social, and behavioral factors in determining the delivery of public health services
  • Develops and adapts approaches to problems that take into account cultural differences


  • Understands the dynamic forces contributing to cultural diversity
  • Understands the importance of a diverse public health workforce