This report reviews the evidence base for the impact of cultural and linguistic competence in health and mental health care on health outcomes and well-being and the costs and benefits to the system. The authors conducted a structured search of Medline from January 1995 to March 2006 to identify primary research articles on health outcomes and well-being. An exploratory search of multiple databases was performed to identify evidence related to the business case. The review of the health outcomes literature indicated that the field is in the early stages of development, with the preponderance of literature defining the concepts and identifying research questions. Some promising studies support the efficacy of cultural and linguistic competence affecting health and mental health outcomes. Evidence of decreased systems costs is not currently present in the literature. The authors identify key gaps in the current literature and specific methodological and funding limitations to be addressed.
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