Exploring Cross-Cultural Communication

“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.

*This course was launched in September 2004. It was reviewed in August, 2015 to assess its relevance to the current public health workforce and evaluate its continued listing on the Region 2 PHTC website. The review process was based on a subset of recognized standards. In order to keep the course up-to-date, the reviewer additionally identified further resources to help learners achieve the objectives of the course.

Click on the appropriate button to begin.

I do not work for a State or Local Health Department in NYS.


I do work for a State or a Local Health Department in NYS.

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

Suggested Resources for Further Learning:

  • Community Tool Box, Cultural Competence and Community Building, Chapter 27 “Cultural Competence in a Multicultural World”, Section 2 Building Relationships with People from Different Cultures here
  • CDC Tools for Cross-Cultural Communication and Language Access Can Help Organizations Address Health Literacy and Improve Communication Effectiveness here
  • US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, Think Cultural Health here