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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Cultural Competency in Nursing Homes

About Cultural Competency

collage of faces

The Training Program to Enhance Cultural Competency in Nursing Homes is a four module program. It focuses on three patient populations: African Americans, Latinos, and Caucasians, with an emphasis on the latter on persons of Jewish ancestry, who represent a large segment of the Caucasian population in New York City.

In a nursing home a patient is called a resident. The caregiver is generally called the certified nursing assistant or nursing aide.

The aim of this program is to conduct cultural competency training for nursing home staff, and to foster a better understanding of the cultural and historical differences of the three groups. In nursing homes, race, ethnicity, culture and language interface with each other. The various differences in backgrounds, country of origin, beliefs, and communication styles can create misunderstandings between staff and residents or their families. It's the premise of this program that training of staff helps increase understanding of differences that will lead to higher quality care for residents.


  • Carl Cohen, MD
  • Ummulkhair Muhammed, MA, MS

Program Organization

  • Horizon Care Center, Barry Dukes, Administrator
  • Carl Cohen, MD, Director
  • Georges Casimir, MD, Co-Director
  • Ronald Brenner, MD, Co-Director
  • Ummulkhair Muhammed, Project Administrator Officer

A special thanks to the following persons for their contribution to this project:

  • Dr. Andreas Adams
  • Margaret Briggs
  • Beverly Collier
  • Tony McClaren
  • Joan McGowan
  • Dr. Sharon McKenzie- Reece
  • Anne McNeill
  • Michelle Melendez
  • Professor Victoria Parker
  • Glenda Perriera
  • Barbara Singh
  • Lorna Walcott- Brown


Administrators, staff, residents and families at: Rutland Nursing Home, Townhouse Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, Horizon Care Center, CABS, Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation (CNR), Resort Nursing Home,, Grace Plaza Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Caton Park Nursing Home, Saints Joachim & Anne Nursing & Rehab Center, Rockville Nursing and Rehab Center, and Hempstead Nursing Home.

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Training Manual (PDF)