Researchers and program developers in medical education presently face the challenge of implementing and evaluating curricula that teach medical students and house staff how to effectively and respectfully deliver health care to the increasingly diverse populations of the United States. Inherent in this challenge is clearly defining educational and training outcomes consistent with this imperative. The traditional notion of competence in clinical training as a detached mastery of a theoretically finite body of knowledge may not be appropriate for this area of physician education. Cultural humility is proposed as a more suitable goal in multicultural medical education. Cultural humility incorporates a lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique, to redressing the power imbalances in the patient-physician dynamic, and to developing mutually beneficial and nonpaternalistic clinical and advocacy partnerships with communities on behalf of individuals and defined populations.