HCBS Training

Problem Solving Related to Cultural Responsiveness

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When asked about cultural diversity, some teams will mention that the organization has an annual training addressing cultural diversity. However, one training session a year will not change how people respond to cultural differences. When organizations actively work on ways to implement culturally responsive practices, people become more aware of underrepresented groups within HCBS. Activities throughout the year are scheduled so that people will continue learning how important it is to:

  • Learn about each other and the different cultures within HCBS,
  • Practic empathy and increase self-awareness, and
  • Understand how cultural bias can impact decisions.

A county team in Minnesota discussed how to increase person-centered practices and cultural responsiveness during meetings. In these county team meetings, each member was asked to share positive examples of person-centered language, respect for others, and appreciation of culture. The team worked to increase awareness and celebrate when positive examples occurred during meetings. The table below shows what it means to use. person-centered language, show respect, and appreciate culture.  The team set aside time to talke about and give people positive feedback when when these actions were observed. 

Additional action steps the county team took included:

  • Guided discussions in meetings about how historically underrepresented groups or cultures do not always have a voice in the same ways as routinely more well-represented groups or cultures
  • An assessmen of the different cultures represented within the organization
  • Designing a public service announcement and other strategies in order to reach out to the community. Visit Implementation Story #5 to see posters that were created.


Before Meetings

At the Beginning of a Meeting

While Sharing Person's Information

Supporting Other Team Members

Use Person-centered (PC) Language

Use PC Language in Documents (Emails, Handouts)

Provide Reminders Before Meeting (Be Sensitive to Acronyms Too)

Be Receptive and Aware of Language Used

Celebrate Use of PC Language as Team

Show Your Respect for People

Use Active Listening During Conversation

Attend Meetings on Time

Cell Phones to Vibrate

Share Only Information Needed

Provide Feedback to Others

Listen to Others and Ask if Feedback is Invited

Demonstrate Appreciation of Culture

Review Plans and Discuss Role and Identity & Culture

Review Possible Cultural Bias and Assumptions

Share Thoughts on the Role of Culture in Person's Life

Discuss How Culture Can be Incorporated Into Plan

  • Acknowledge the history of inequality
  • Become more aware of cultural diversity within your organization, community, and region
  • Make important decisions with people from underrepresented groups
  • Work with people to create a vision for an inclusive community
  • Encourage action planning to find meaningful solutions that directly address racial equity
  • Outcome statements are used to create a vision for a fair and inclusive HCBS climate
  • Cultural differences are assessed and celebrated with messages that welcome individual differences
  • Teams use data to understand patterns that show racial equity issues and why they exist
  • Policies, procedures, and systems are assessed and changed
  • Training and awareness activities are embedded throughout the year into meetings, events, and activities

The Module 8 Resource page includes examples of short activities that can help groups work on cultural responsiveness over time. Implementation Story #5 provides more details about how this county is working on cultural responsiveness.

HCBS Planning Tool Question 38: What problem-solving strategies can your organization use to address cultural responsiveness?