Greetings from the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competence in Health Care (CLCCHC) at the HHS Office of Minority Health!
It’s been four months since we released the enhanced
National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services,
and we’ve heard from many of you that the Standards are an important tool in your efforts to promote health equity at every point
of contact. Thank you for your dedication to integrating culturally and linguistically appropriate services in your health
organizations! We’d also like to invite you to use the National CLAS Standards’ The Blueprint
(A Blueprint for Advancing and Sustaining CLAS Policy and Practice), which provides definitions, implementation strategies,
and additional resources for each of the 15 Standards.
In this edition of Think Cultural Health News, we will highlight new resources in the field that pertain to the three National CLAS Standards’ themes: Governance, Leadership, and Workforce; Communication and Language Assistance; and Engagement, Continuous
Improvement, and Accountability. For more up-to-date resources, please visit the
CLAS Clearinghouse at Think Cultural Health.
Theme 1: Governance, Leadership, and Workforce
The National CLAS Standards identify a diverse governance, leadership, and workforce as a key element in the provision of
culturally and linguistically appropriate services. The Association of American Medical Colleges, the University of Massachusetts
Medical School, and DataStar collaborated to develop the
Diversity Engagement Survey
, which allows health organizations to assess their progress toward creating an inclusive work environment. The survey questionnaire
contains 22 items and can be administered to students, faculty, and staff.
In addition, Equity of Care
offers a list of resources pertaining to diversity in governance and leadership.
Click here to access this webpage.
Theme 2: Communication and Language Assistance
A recent article from The Colorado Trust,
Health Equity and Language Access: How Language Access Issues Affect Patients, Policymakers, and Health Care Providers,
explores the importance of language access in health care and provides strategies for improving language access. The article
also offers several excellent case study examples of health care organizations’ efforts to provide language access services.
Another example of language assistance comes from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,
which recently found that the average discharge time for Spanish-speaking patients was 41 minutes longer than for English-speaking
patients. The hospital began stationing Spanish interpreters on each floor during peak discharge hours, instead of having
interpreters wait in a central office; this practice reduced the difference in wait time between Spanish-speaking and English-speaking
patients to 23 minutes.
"Saving 20 minutes each for 700 discharges a month can make a real difference over time," says Dr. Balkian, chief medical
director of inpatient operations. "Improving the timeliness of discharges can help make beds available more quickly and lead to
fewer cancelled surgeries."
Theme 3: Engagement, Continuous Improvement, and Accountability
The National CLAS Standards emphasize partnership with the community as an important step in providing responsive and
appropriate services and empowering community members to become active participants in the health and health care process. The
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has released a primer/brief, entitled Improving Health Care Quality and Equity: Considerations for
Building Partnerships Between Provider Practices and Community Organizations, which explores how partnerships between
provider practices and local organizations can help the former understand local resources and socio-cultural preferences. The
primer also details ways in which providers can gain patients’ and families’ trust, and serve as a referral service for
The National CLAS Standards also highlight the importance of collecting and maintaining demographic data. This help
organizations identify population groups within a service area and monitor individual needs, access, utilization, quality of care,
and outcome patterns. A project called
Cincinnati Expecting Success
aims to help hospitals throughout Greater Cincinnati better serve all patients, regardless of race, ethnicity, or language
preference. Nineteen hospitals reviewed, revised, and aligned their information technology systems with a standardized process
to collect race, ethnicity, and language data.
The white paper available on the website
summarizes the process, lessons learned, and other insights.
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.