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  1. Midence, Liz MSc
  2. Mola, Ana MA, RN, ANP-BC
  3. Terzic, Carmen M. MD, PhD
  4. Thomas, Randal J. MD, MS
  5. Grace, Sherry L. PhD


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally. Despite a greater burden of disease, ethnocultural minorities in both the United States and Canada are significantly less likely to access cardiac rehabilitation (CR). Without equitable access to CR, these patients may be more likely to experience recurrent cardiac events and unnecessarily premature death. In this article, the current state of ethnocultural diversity in CR patients and unique barriers that ethnocultural minority patients face are reviewed. Strategies for CR program delivery and diversity of CR program staff are considered. Guidance on ethnocultural considerations in American and Canadian associations of CR is also reviewed. Lower rates of access to CR are seen among ethnocultural minorities in both American and Canadian CR programs. Only 2 studies evaluating ethnoculturally tailored CR could be identified in the literature. American CR staff are predominantly white (~96%), whereas ethnocultural data are not collected from Canadian CR professionals. American guidelines emphasize the importance of ethnocultural competency. Meanwhile, Canadian guidelines underscore the low use of CR services among ethnocultural minorities, and support ethnoculturally informed CR delivery. The American and Canadian populations are rapidly diversifying, yet the CR workforce is not, and ethnocultural minorities continue to be underrepresented in our programs. Although recent CR guidelines have made some preliminary recommendations to overcome these discrepancies, more focused efforts are needed. Thirteen points of action are proposed for the CR community with the goal of promoting the development and delivery of more ethnoculturally sensitive CR services.