Cultural Responsiveness

Why it matters

Identity is Key

Young people are often treated as “less than” by adults, and when we combine adolescence with other identities that experience discrimination, the intersections can make a huge difference in how we respect adolescents. In addition to understanding cultural humility on an interpersonal level, it’s also 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

In the wake of the pandemic and protests against racial injustices, the Adolescent Health Initiative (AHI) acknowledges that systemic racism and its consequences are a public health crisis. We want to support our adolescent health community by sharing resources to support efforts to address and dismantle these systems. We plan to update this section often. If you or your team has suggestions or additional resources to share, please reach out to adolescenthealth@umich.edu.

SAHM Anti-Racism Toolkit

SAHM’s 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.

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 AAFP’s Implicit Bias Training Guide promotes awareness of implicit bias among primary care physicians and their practice teams, and provide 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

Spark Trainings

AHI offers two Spark trainings on cultural humility. 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. 


Hear directly from teens about how you can improve their health care experience.

Hear directly from teens on their priorities for their health care.

Listen to transgender and gender non-conforming youth share their health care experiences and ways the system can be improved.

We Can Help!

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