Think Cultural Health News

Advancing Health Equity at Every Point of Contact

Feb 2011

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Happy New Year! “Join the CLCCHC” and TCH News turn one year old this month! Many thanks to you and 5,000 of your colleagues who joined our community of health professionals dedicated to advancing equity at every point of contact. Stay tuned for several new features we have planned for the CLCCHC in the next year! 2011 will be a very exciting year for Think Cultural Health. We are hard at work on a new website, an e-learning program for oral health professionals and the CLAS Standards Enhancement Initiative.


Guadalupe Pacheco, MSW
Senior Health Advisor to the Director
Office of Minority Health
Office of the Assistant Secretary
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Oral Health E-Learning Program

The Think Cultural Health team’s development of an e-learning program in cultural and linguistic competency for oral health professionals is underway! A solid foundation for the creation of this program was laid at a three-day meeting in December with subject matter experts from around the country.

More than a dozen national leaders in the oral health field met in Washington, D.C. to discuss racial and ethnic oral health disparities nationwide and the role that a cultural and linguistic competency e-learning program could play in promoting oral health equity. This meeting of expert advisors created a framework of suggested content, tools and technologies that will become the platform for the cultural competency e-learning program. This program will be grounded in the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health Care.

This initiative is a part of the larger U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Oral Health Initiative “Oral Health is Integral to Overall Health.” It reflects the commitment shared by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh to utilize a systems-approach to develop and support programs that emphasize oral health promotion and disease prevention, increased access to care, and enhancement of the oral health workforce in order to help eliminate oral health disparities.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act

The Office of Minority Health at the Department of Health and Human Services is committed to providing the widest possible access to web pages for individuals with disabilities. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended in 1998 to require all Federal agencies to ensure electronic and information technologies are accessible to those with disabilities. The implementation of Section 508 is a critical step to guarantee that users with disabilities are able to access the same information as a user without disabilities. Think Cultural Health strives to promote cultural and linguistic competency and eliminate health disparities while devoting itself to maintaining and complying with the policies of the Rehabilitation Act. Being 508 compliant allows our resources to be accessible to all populations, an important aspect of our efforts to be culturally competent. To learn more about Section 508, please visit

CLAS Standards Enhancement Initiative

The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health Care (known as the CLAS Standards) turn ten this year. In the decade following the release of the CLAS Standards, the field of cultural and linguistic competency has seen tremendous growth. HHS OMH has recently begun to revisit the CLAS Standards in order to expand their scope and improve their clarity to ensure universal understanding and implementation.

During the last few months of 2010, nearly 500 health professionals around the country provided their ideas and insight about the CLAS Standards through our public comment opportunities online and in regional meetings. At the beginning of 2011, we held a three-day meeting of the National Project Advisory Committee that brought great expertise and enthusiasm to the Initiative. We are keeping this momentum going and will be releasing an enhanced set of CLAS Standards later this year.

What Are We Up To?

  • March 17-20: National Hispanic Medical Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • April 13-16: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine in Baltimore, MD

The fifteenth annual National Hispanic Medical Association conference is March 17-20, 2011 in Washington DC. Hispanic physicians, residents, medical students, nurses, dentists, policymakers, and healthcare industry representatives will discuss “Health Care Reform Implementation for Hispanic Communities". Join us as we present on TCH’s A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care! For more information, visit

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and the Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators will meet together on April 13-16, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland, for an Annual Meeting focused on Meeting Future Health Care Needs: The Role of Interprofessional Education. Stop by and see us for a presentation on TCH’s A Physician’s Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care! For more information, visit

Is there a conference or professional event you think the Think Cultural Health Team should attend and propose a presentation? Let us know at