Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

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.

Click here to view and/or print the SDDOH Health Equity Infographic:
Better Health for All in South Dakota

Click here for a list of definitions related to health equity and cultural competency.


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 and 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.

Trainings/Continuing Education

Advancing Cultural Competence in the Public Health & Health Care Workforce
School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York

Self-paced, online webinar series and continuing education on cultural and structural competency

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

Equity and Inclusion – An Introduction
The Cross Cultural Health Care Program

This course is about 2-4 hours in length and includes content and instructions that can be modified according to organizational needs.

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.

NACCHO: Health Equity and Social Justice 101
Increase knowledge and inform the practices of local health departments and their multi-sector partners on health equity and social justice principles, key concepts, and applications.

Rationale and Benefits

Assessing the attitudes, policies, practices, and structures of service organizations is a necessary and effective way to plan for and include cultural competency in an organization. Completing self-assessments offers many benefits to organizations including monitoring how effectively they are addressing the needs and preferences of culturally/linguistically diverse groups, improving family/client utilization of services, and increasing family/client satisfaction with the services they receive.

Test your cultural competency

Additional Resources

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