Cultural Responsiveness

Why it matters

Identity is Key

Young people often feel overlooked by adults, and when adolescence is combined with the varying, intersecting identities young people hold, youth can face discrimination in their care. Recognizing and honoring the unique identities of young people can make a difference and support adolescents in feeling affirmed and respected in their health care experiences. In addition to practicing cultural humility on an interpersonal level, it is essential for health care professionals to be aware of – and work to change – systemic and institutional biases that get in the way of equitable care for youth.

Racial Justice Resources

Systemic racism and its consequences are a public health crisis. Listed below you’ll find resources that support efforts to address and dismantle these systems. We plan to update this section often. If you or your team has suggestions or additional racial justice resources to share, please reach out to adolescenthealth@umich.edu.

SAHM Anti-Racism Toolkit

The Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine’s (SAHM) Diversity Committee has created this toolkit to provide access to resources to help adolescent health professionals combat racism, promote racial justice, reduce health disparities, and advance health equity for youth.

Diversifying the Workforce through Policy and Practice

This issue brief is part of an ongoing series for the Healthcare Employer Research Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to identify health care employer needs, challenges, and best practices for increasing diversity in the healthcare workforce.

Urban Indian Dictionary

Learn definitions of words related to urban Indian health with this PDF dictionary curated by the Urban Indian Health Institute.

Addressing Implicit Bias to Better Serve Youth

Healthcare Education & Training’s (HCET) presentation on Addressing Implicit Bias to Better Serve Youth.

Tips to Help Teen Patients Deal with Discrimination

Identity development is one of those crucial tasks of positive youth development, and teens belonging to minority communities have an additional task that is quite complex: figuring out what ethnic group they belong to or identify with, and doing this in the context of a family that most likely is at a different point in the process.

Implicit Bias Training Guide

The EveryONE Project from the American Academy of Family Physicians’ (AAFP) Implicit Bias Training Guide promotes awareness of implicit bias among primary care physicians and their practice teams and provides resources for instructing health care professionals on how to reduce its negative effects on patients.

Peanut Butter, Jelly and Racism

This video from the New York Times explores the concept of implicit bias in an easily understandable way

Equity and Liberation Resources

Equity and liberation resources for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and White Allies compiled by Youth Collaboratory.

Spark trainings

AHI offers two Spark trainings on cultural responsiveness. Sparks are designed for providers or staff to deliver in 15-30 minutes at staff meetings or professional development opportunities. These trainings will “spark” discussion and reflection among your multidisciplinary team. All sparks include a PowerPoint presentation, a facilitator outline, and follow-up materials.

Cultural Responsiveness
Cultural Responsiveness

Identify and discuss key concepts about providing culturally responsive health care to young people and reflect on various cultural norms unique to adolescence.

Non-Verbal Communication Bias
Non-Verbal Communication Bias

Explore how nonverbal communication can set the tone for youth/adult interactions, both in messages we convey and in how we interpret messages from youth.

LGBTQ+ Youth-Friendly Services
LGBTQ+ Youth-Friendly Services

 Starter Guides

AHI Starter Guides are mini-toolkits that offer concrete, actionable steps to improve adolescent care. AHI currently offers one starter guide on building LGBTQ+ friendly services. 

Videos & Recordings

Learn about how you can improve health care experiences for adolescents.

Teens from AHI’s Adolescent Champion Teen Advisory Council (TAC TAC) share their priorities for their health care, including confidentiality, respectful treatment, and communication.

Learn from transgender and gender non-conforming youth as they share their health care experiences and ways the system can be improved.

Learn from Dr. Polly Y. Gipson’s keynote on You, Me and Transgenerational Trauma: Moving from Trauma-Awareness to Trauma-Informed Care from AHI’s 2020 Connection Session, Practicing Adolescent-Centered Trauma-Informed Care in a Clinical Setting.

Engage in a facilitated dialogue around root causes of racial oppression, intersectionality, and power imbalance in the United States with this recording from AHI’s 2021 Connection Session, Racial Equity in Adolescent Health Care: Developing an Anti-Racist Practice.

Explore the importance of understanding and naming the impact that structural racism has on adolescent health outcomes with this recording from AHI’s 2021 Connection Session, Racial Equity in Adolescent Health Care: Developing an Anti-Racist Practice.

Learn about the health impacts of racial inequities in adolescent health care for youth with intersecting marginalized identities with this youth panel recording from AHI’s 2021 Connection Session, Racial Equity in Adolescent Health Care: Developing an Anti-Racist Practice.

Analyze how medical and healthcare spaces often perpetuate racism by gatekeeping and exclusion, punitive approaches, and the active criminalization of marginalized populations with this recording from AHI’s 2021 Connection Session, Racial Equity in Adolescent Health Care: Developing an Anti-Racist Practice.

We Can Help!

Is your practice interested in learning more about cultural responsiveness? We help health centers across the country become more adolescent-centered.