With the passage of Assembly Bill 1195, physicians licensed in California must incorporate cultural competency and linguistics into their continuing medical education program of study. The bill, which went into effect on July 1, 2006, was designed to encourage physicians and CME providers to meet the cultural and linguistic concerns of a diverse patient population through appropriate professional development.

AB 1195 differs from both the pain and geriatric legislation by not requiring the completion of a set number of credits in a given time period. There are three principle ways that a CME provider may satisfy the requirement to offer educational activities under the new law. A provider may address both the cultural competency and the linguistic aspects or just one of them. Following are the key ways a CME program can include relevant content consistent with AB 1195:

1. To address cultural competency, defined as a set of integrated attitudes, knowledge, and skills that enables health care professionals to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities, a CME provider may offer specifically designed and focused activities. At a minimum such activities would include these four elements:

  • Applying linguistic skills to communicate effectively with the target population
  • Utilizing cultural information to establish therapeutic relationships
  • Eliciting and incorporating pertinent cultural data in diagnosis and treatment
  • Understanding and applying cultural and ethnic data to the process of clinical care

2. To address linguistic competency, defined as the ability of a physician or surgeon to provide patients who do not speak English or who have limited ability to speak English, direct communication in the patient's primary language, a CME provider may incorporate translation/interpretation resources and/or strategies into materials for a CME activity.


3. A CME provider may incorporate a review and explanation of relevant federal and state laws and regulations regarding linguistic access. Click here to view that document.

Click here for a list of cultural and linguistic competency resources.