Think Cultural Health News

Advancing Health Equity at Every Point of Contact

November 2012

To access TCH/CLCCHC benefits, click here.



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

The Think Cultural Health/CLCCHC team is working diligently to support two overall HHS initiatives – Oral Health and Promotores de Salud – that help promote health equity.

In 2010, HHS launched an Oral Health Initiative to promote and enhance the oral health of the public. As part of this initiative, Think Cultural Health has been developing an e-learning program on the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services in oral health. We are in the field testing stage of this initiative with plans to launch the curriculum in the spring of 2013.

In 2011, HHS announced the launch of its Promotores de Salud Initiative The CLCCHC team is developing an e-learning initiative targeting specific skill sets that will help Promotores address food insecurity in Latino communities.

There are many other initiatives underway, and we are looking forward to sharing all of them with you. Please stay tuned. Thank you again for joining the CLCCHC, and be sure to share these resources with your friends and colleagues.


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

Speaking About Quality and Patient Safety

Language plays a significant role throughout a patient’s health care experience. Successful communication helps improve quality of services and ensure patient safety. This is especially true for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP), who account for over 25 million people in the United States, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Here, we’ve highlighted a couple resources that could help you and your organization better communicate with linguistically diverse populations.

The HHS Health Resources and Services Administration offers a video that discusses the role of effective communication in advancing health equity. The video provides a valuable overview of communication policies and practices that contribute to the provision of better services to diverse communities.

A hospital guide developed for the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality addresses safety concerns for individuals with limited English proficiency. The goal of the guide, entitled Improving Patient Safety Systems for Patients With Limited English Proficiency: A Guide for Hospitals, is to help hospital leaders understand how to address the issue of patient safety for individuals with LEP.

The guide makes the following recommendations to improve patient safety for patients with LEP:

  1. Foster a supportive culture for safety of diverse patient populations
  2. Adapt current systems to better identify medical errors among patients with LEP
  3. Improve reporting of medical errors for LEP patients
  4. Routinely monitor patient safety for LEP patients
  5. Address root causes to prevent medical errors among LEP patients

Coming Soon: The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care!

The enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National CLAS Standards) will be published soon! Accompanying the Standards is The Blueprint, an implementation guide for advancing and sustaining culturally and linguistically appropriate services within health and health care organizations. The Blueprint dedicates one chapter to each of the 15 Standards. These chapters review each Standard’s purpose, components, and strategies for implementation.

Think Cultural Health will offer the National CLAS Standards and The Blueprint both in a PDF format and a web format. Using the e-version of The Blueprint, you’ll be able to move easily between the Standards, their chapters, and the glossary. In addition, each chapter lists additional resources that provide more information on that Standard, and these resources will be available at Think Cultural Health’s CLAS Clearinghouse. The CLAS Clearinghouse is a compilation of online resources and publications related to health equity and culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

We are looking forward to launching the National CLAS Standards and The Blueprint on Think Cultural Health very soon! As members of "Join the CLCCHC", you will be among the first to know when they are published!

Cultural Competency Education for Students

Over the summer, the Association of American Medical Colleges and Association of Schools of Public Health released a report entitled Cultural Competence Education for Students in Medicine and Public Health: Report of an Expert Panel that recommends cultural competencies for both medical and public health students. The competencies aim to equip students to practice successfully and to help promote appropriate health care and services for diverse populations.

The report, based on a Joint Expert Panel on Cultural Competence Education held in May 2009, highlights the interdependence of the two disciplines and identifies cultural competence as a critical factor in both. The competencies fall under four domains: teams and teamwork; values/ethics for interprofessional practice; roles/responsibilities; and interprofessional communication. This is a valuable resource for health professionals seeking to provide integrated, high-quality services to diverse communities.

What Are We Up To?

We invite you to stop by and see us at the following events:

  • Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations Conference; March 11-14, 2013; Oakland, California
  • American Dental Education Association Annual Session; March 16-18, 2013; Seattle, Washington

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.