Exploring Cross Cultural Communication

Part of the Communicate to Make a Difference Series



Program Goals

“Exploring Cross-Cultural Communication” is a web-based course that invites learners to spend time thinking about and developing their own responses to a variety of ideas and situations about culture, communication and public health. Learners will explore the meaning of culture, methods of communication, and strategies for communicating more effectively by taking part in “virtual” group conferences, reading and responding to simulated e-mails, and utilizing resource documents.

The course is divided into three modules, designed to be completed in the order they are presented.

1. Culture

This module presents some basic but important concepts of culture through a virtual group seminar. In the first seminar, culture is defined and the reasons why people create cultural stereotypes is examined. A set of simulated e-mails introduces the learner to a situation that requires the application of both cultural sensitivity and sound communication techniques.

2. Communication

The second module defines health communication, describes the process of human communication and offers a number of good communication strategies.

3. Cross-Cultural Communication

By working through the final module, learners compile a list of effective cross-cultural communication strategies which help in resolving the communication situation presented in the first module.

Building on the format of the “Orientation to Public Health” course, “Communicate to Make a Difference” allows learners to interact with the course in meaningful ways. By providing thoughtful responses to questions posed in the course seminars, learners can explore their own cultural beliefs and biases.

Target Audience

Public health professionals including nurses, physicians, health educators.


After completing the course, the learner will be able to:

  • Give examples of discriminating and non-discriminating practices in providing public health services.
  • Recognize effective methods/strategies/techniques for unbiased communication.
  • Explain how effective cross-cultural communication influences public health service and program acceptance.
  • Identify specific factors that influence an individual’s or group's acceptance of public health information and services.
  • Describe job-specific benefits of effective cross-cultural communication.
  • Define culture.
  • Explain the importance of a diverse public health workforce.
  • Develop increased awareness of diversity.
  • Understand how and why stereotypes/generalizations are created.
  • Identify the cultural groups served by the unit/organization the participant represents.


Originally launched September 2004.

Estimated Time to Complete

It is estimated that the course takes two-and-a-half hours to complete.

Technical Requirements

The course is built to XHTML 1.1 specifications. A modern web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox is required to view the pages.

The planners and course authors have no financial arrangements or affiliations with any commercial entities whose products, research or services may be discussed in this activity. No commercial support has been accepted for this activity.

What are the ten strategies?

Employed by or in New York State?

If you are employed by NYS or a local health department in NYS, we recommend that you enroll for this course through the NYS Department of Health Learning Management System (DOH LMS).