BACKGROUND: Tools that measure knowledge, attitudes, and skills reflecting cultural competence of health professionals have not been comprehensively identified, described, or critiqued. SUMMARY: We systematically reviewed English-language articles published from 1980 through June 2003 that evaluated the effectiveness of cultural competence curricula targeted at health professionals by using at least one self-administered tool. We abstracted information about targeted providers, evaluation methods, curricular content, and the psychometric properties of each tool. We included 45 articles in our review. A total of 45 unique instruments (32 learner self-assessments, 13 written exams) were used in the 45 articles. One third (15/45) of the tools had demonstrated either validity or reliability, and only 13% (6/45) had demonstrated both reliability and validity. CONCLUSIONS: Most studies of cultural competence training used self-administered tools that have not been validated. The results of cultural competence training could be interpreted more accurately if validated tools were used.
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