Think Cultural Health News

Advancing Health Equity at Every Point of Contact

May 2012

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CLCCHC Corner

Greetings from the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competence in Health Care (CLCCHC) at the HHS Office of Minority Health!

Each April, the United States observes National Minority Health Month. This is a time to bring national awareness to the health and health care disparities impacting our diverse communities.

The theme of this year's National Minority Health Month was Health Equity Can't Wait. Act Now in Your CommUNITY. It began with a town hall meeting with all of the HHS Offices of Minority Health coming together to talk about the work that they are doing and will be doing. This year's National Minority Health Month also commemorated the one year anniversaries of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and the National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity.

With April behind us, we must continue to act because health equity can't wait. We hope that you will join us in committing every day to the goal of advancing health equity at every point of contact.

Sincerely,

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

The CLAS Clearinghouse at Think Cultural Health

Think Cultural Health features the CLAS Clearinghouse, a database of journal and government publications, news articles, and other online resources related to health equity and cultural and linguistic competency. The CLAS Clearinghouse currently has over 100 resources and is searchable by key words that are organized by type of resource, audience, topic, and CLAS Concept.

The CLAS Clearinghouse can be a valuable part of building your and your organization's cultural and linguistic competency. In addition, when the enhanced National CLAS Standards are published in the spring, all of the resources listed within the Standards' accompanying implementation guidance document will be available in the CLAS Clearinghouse.

Do you have a resource for the CLAS Clearinghouse? Use our "Submit a Resource" feature to share items of interest with the CLAS Community! The Think Cultural Health team is always looking for new resources to add, and you and your colleagues can help us make the CLAS Clearinghouse a one-stop shop for the latest research, initiatives, and more.

Visit the CLAS Clearinghouse and consider using the "Submit a Resource" feature at Think Cultural Health!

Advancing Health Equity: Case Studies from Around the Country

Leaders from the American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, American College of Healthcare Executives, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems have created a call to action to eliminate health care disparities, launching Equity of Care, a Web site to help health care systems and providers improve quality of care.

Equity of Care identifies three core areas through which health care systems and providers may help eliminate health care disparities:

  • Collection of race, ethnicity, and language preference data
  • Cultural competency training for clinicians and staff
  • Diversity in governance and management

A recent report from Equity of Care, "Eliminating Health Care Disparities: Implementing the National Call to Action Using Lessons Learned," is a valuable resource for health care organizations seeking to advance health equity. The report documents nine organizations' efforts to address these three core areas to help eliminate health care disparities, documenting the actions undertaken by the organization and their results. By highlighting some best practices and lessons learned in addressing these three core areas, these case studies will help other health care organizations implement strategies to improve quality of care to diverse communities.

Cultural Competency Addresses Disparities in the Classroom

Education is widely acknowledged as a fundamental social determinant of health and as such has a great impact on an individual's ability to achieve good health. Disparities in health may in part start as disparities in education. In March, the U.S. Department of Education released a report outlining many of the disparities that face school-aged children.

  • African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. Black students make up 18% of the students in the sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled
  • Only 29% of high-minority high schools offered Calculus, compared to 55% of schools with the lowest black and Hispanic enrollment.

Just as in health care, schools are turning to cultural competency education as a key strategy to help eliminate these disparities. The Hartford Connecticut school district will begin implementing cultural competency training for all new hires next year and ultimately all educators will complete such training. This move is in part at the behest of parents in the district; as the superintendent noted: "Our parents have been asking for this."

The National Education Association also considers cultural competency training to be a high priority, having released a diversity toolkit that outlines cultural competency concepts and strategies for educators.

What Are We Up To?

We will soon be unveiling the enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care with a press conference! We will let you know the details as they are finalized. In addition, we invite you to stop by and see us at the following events:

Have an event you’d like to share with the TCH team and other members of the CLCCHC? Submit the event to our Community Calendar.