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Institutional cultural self-audit and SWOT analysis

By Lorin A. Cartwright, MS, ATC, and Rene Revis Shingles, PhD, ATC

An institutional cultural self-audit and SWOT analysis allow you to clarify what the organization is doing to provide culturally competent care and determine which areas need the most attention. Use the following analysis to help evaluate your organization.



Read each question and the statements that correspond with that question. Determine how each statement applies to your organization by placing a mark in the appropriate box in the right four columns. An area where cultural competence is being demonstrated well should be marked as a strength. An area where cultural competence is demonstrated poorly or not at all should be marked as a weakness. Mark opportunity if your answer to a question shows an interesting trend or eliminates a weakness. Mark threat when obstacles or issues left unattended or unaddressed could have dire consequences for the organization. The material presented below is a synopsis of checklists by Salimbene (2001).


Question Statement Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat
Who are we as an organization? Staff/personnel demographics match patients served.        
  People of color are employed at ALL levels across the organization.        
  People of color are employed in decision-making positions across the organization.        
What is our vision, mission, or philosophy? What are our beliefs, attitudes, and values? Discussions about staff diversity occur or are integrated throughout the organization.        
  Discussions about culturally competent care occur or are integrated throughout the organization.        
  Discussions about beliefs, attitudes, and values regarding the provision of culturally competent care occur or are integrated throughout the organization.        
What are we doing to promote cultural competence through…          
Structure of the organization There is a department or specific person assigned to promote cultural competence or diversity.        
  The diversity officer is empowered to make policy-making or implementing decisions.        
Staff recruitment, retention, promotion There is a plan and strategy to recruit, retain, and promote diverse staff across all employment levels of the organization.        
  There is a plan and strategy to recruit employees who have received cultural competency training or demonstrated cultural competence.        
Staff development Staff development activities include cultural competency and workplace diversity training germane to the job.        
  Cultural competency and workplace diversity training are ongoing.        
  All employee groups are involved in cultural competency and workplace diversity training.        
Delivery of clinical services (Mutha, Allen, & Welch, 2002) Policies and procedures are germane to the diversity of the patient population (e.g., appropriate use of trained medical interpreters, how to work with traditional healers, use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) [Mutha, Allen, & Welch, 2002]).        
Administration responsibility (Mutha, Allen, & Welch, 2002) Strategic plans and marketing plans integrate cultural competency throughout.        
  Physical space is welcoming with signage in languages used by the community (Mutha, Allen, & Welch, 2002).        
Leadership commitment (Mutha, Allen, & Welch, 2002) The leadership supports and participates in cultural competency activities.        
  Culturally Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards are implemented.        
Funding There are permanent line items in the budget for cultural competent services, including staffing, staff development, and clinical services.        

Assessing the SWOT

For all statements where you marked

  • strength (i.e., practices that are good now), maintain the practices.
  • weakness (i.e., practices that are bad now), remedy or change the practices in order to move them to the strength category.
  • opportunity (i.e., practices that are good for the future), prioritize and build upon the practices.
  • threat (i.e., practices that are bad for the future), minimize, manage, or counter the practices.


For more information on developing cultural competence in your organization, read Cultural Competence in Sports Medicine by Lorin A. Cartwright, MS, ATC, and René Revis Shingles, PhD, ATC.

  • Understanding and exploring cultural competency and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practices (chapters 1-3)
  • Race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, and self assessment (chapters 4-5)
  • Native Americans, Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, Blacks, Latinos, White Europeans, and Middle Eastern Americans (chapters 6-11)
  • Conducting a culturally based physical assessment, using interpreters, and working in a culturally competent health care organization (chapters 12-14)

This is an excerpt from Cultural Competence in Sports Medicine.



Mutha, S., Allen, C. & Welch, M. (2002). Toward Culturally Competent Care: A Toolbox for Teaching Communication Strategies. San Francisco, CA: Center for the Health Professions, University of California, San Francisco.

Salimbene, S. (2001). CLAS A-Z: A practical guide for implementing the National Standards for Culturally Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in health care. Inter-Face Intl.

RapidBI. (2010). SWOT Analysis - Matrix, Tools Templates and Worksheets.

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