Health Equity & Cultural Competency

Download the Better Health for All Infographic

Achieving health equity in all communities has been identified as a guiding principle for the Department of Health’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. This webpage was developed to provide a central location for health equity and cultural competency information and resources for department employees and partners.

Build Organizational Capacity

Organizations can engage in practices that influence their impact on health equity. Practices such as staff training, resource distribution, and staffing decisions impact public health.

Community Engagement

Involve community members in health initiatives to foster relationships, improve assessment efforts, build capacity to positively affect the community, and enhance sustainability.

Establish & Foster Partnerships

Engage a diverse sector of partners to collectively achieve equitable outcomes by leveraging diverse skills and expertise.

Understand Health Equity

Understand inequities that exist to establish baselines, monitor trends over time, inform partners where to focus resources, and ensure strategies address the needs of populations experiencing health inequities.

Health Equity-Focused Evidence-Based Strategies

Ensure strategies have a deliberate focus on health equity and include supportive activities to address barriers or unintended outcomes underserved populations may face.


Focus on health equity in evaluation efforts and use culturally appropriate tools and methodologies. Health equity-oriented evaluation can reveal trends in health inequities.

Think Cultural Health

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Note: You must log in or register to take this continuing education course
Continuing education for health care administrators and providers; disaster and emergency personnel; nurses and social workers; oral health professionals; and physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants

Moving to Institutional Equity: A Tool to Address Racial Equity for Public Health Practitioners

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) Health Equity Council
This health equity toolkit has been created by the Institutional Equity Committee, a subgroup of the NACDD Health Equity Council, to help identify biased practices and policies. It is being piloted in 9 states.

Roots of Health Inequity

The Roots of Health Inequity is an online learning collaborative. The site offers a starting place for those who want to address systemic differences in health and wellness that are actionable, unfair, and unjust. As a participant in the learning collaborative, you will have a chance to explore concepts and strategies by working through five critical questions.

Achieving Health Equity

 This course presents education on how to identify and eliminate health disparities in your organization. It will help your organization prioritize the elimination of disparities as a cross-cutting initiative to improve the quality of care for the individuals and families in your community.

Poverty Simulation: SPENT Training Challenge

SPENT helps people understand the challenges and trade-offs faced by individuals with low socio-economic status.

Rationale and Benefits

Organizations and individuals are at various levels of awareness, knowledge, and skill acquisition along the cultural competency continuum. Completing self-assessments offers many benefits, including monitoring how effectively you are addressing the needs and preferences of culturally/linguistically diverse groups, improving family/client utilization of services, and individual strengths and areas for growth. Self-assessments are a tool, not a test, and should be used to help you consider your own skills, knowledge, and awareness in your interactions with others.

Test your cultural competency

Additional Resources

South Dakota Resources:

The SHA and SHIP serve as a strategic planning guide for the SD DOH and the many other statewide partners and stakeholders who share in the vision of Every South Dakotan Healthy and Strong. They represent the Department of Health’s commitment to addressing immediate health challenges while laying a strong foundation for long-term health equity and resilience.

Learn more about the SHIP and SHA