Theory of Cultural Humility

Contributor: Cynthia Foronda
February 11, 2021

Author: Cynthia Foronda, PhD, RN, CNE, CHSE, ANEF, FAAN

First published – 2020

Used by permission
Major Concepts
  • Diversity
  • Context
  • Power Imbalance
  • Cultural Humility
  • Lifelong Learning

Grand theory


This theory intends to advance mutual understanding and improve human interactions in the midst of conflict to foster appreciation of diversity and application of cultural humility. In a worldview of diversity, the contexts of historical precedent, political climate, personal beliefs, physical environment, and situation influence perspectives. With differing perspectives and the emergence of a cultural conflict, several decisions and actions arise. One decision and action is to apply cultural humility. Cultural humility involves being flexible and valuing humankind.  The result of enacting cultural humility is positive outcomes including the process of lifelong learning. Other decisions and actions may include cultural ambivalence or cultural destruction which in turn lead to negative outcomes.  The theory of cultural humility is designed to guide individuals or communities to thrive in a diverse, complex world with diverse perspectives, experiences, values and lifeways. 

Primary Source(s)

Foronda, C.L. (2021). Debriefing for cultural humility. Nurse Educator, 46(5), TBD.Published online. doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000957

Foronda, C. (2020). A theory of cultural humility.  Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 31(1), 7-12.

Foronda, C.L., Porter, A., Phitwong, A. (2020 E-Pub ahead of Print). Psychometric testing of an instrument to measure cultural humility. Journal of Transcultural Nursing.

Foronda, C.,Baptiste, D., Ousman, K., & Reinholdt, M. (2016).  Cultural humility: A concept analysis. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 27(3), 210-217. doi: 10.1177/1043659615592677

Cynthia Foronda (1976 – )

Cynthia Foronda is an Associate Professor of Clinical at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies. Dr. Foronda is a pediatric nurse who specializes in simulation, technology, cultural diversity and vulnerable populations. An expert in evaluating educational interventions, she is focused on fostering breakthroughs in education through the use of technology and diverse teaching methods. Her work in simulation has resulted in several international awards. She is a former Macy Scholar and a Past President of the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning.