Think Cultural Health News

Advancing Health Equity at Every Point of Contact

June 2016

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In April, we hosted a webinar that presented the Fundamentals of the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care. The webinar discussed the Standards' role as a blueprint for individuals and health and health care organizations to best serve our nation's increasingly diverse communities by providing services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate. If you missed the webinar, a recording is available online.

The next webinar, titled The National CLAS Standards in Action, is taking place June 30th. The webinar will highlight ways in which different organizations, including an integrated health care system, an academic medical center, and a public health department, are implementing the National CLAS Standards. Presenters will share their successes, best practices and strategies, as well as challenges, for meeting the needs of the individuals and communities they serve, regardless of cultural background or communication needs.

Webinar: The National CLAS Standards in Action
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 3:00 pm EDT
Register here: External Web Site Policy

In April, we commemorated National Minority Health Month and we also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Office of Minority Health (OMH) through a series of activities utilizing the theme, Accelerating Health Equity for the Nation. As part of those activities, Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), posted a video blog External Web Site Policy to discuss the the important work that has been carried out by OMH in the past three decades to improve health equity.

OMH also hosted an HHS Health Equity Forum where Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, spoke about the ongoing work of the department to continue to work towards achieving health equity. You can watch Part 1 of the forum video here External Web Site Policy During the second part of the Health Equity Forum, a panel discussion took place that featured the following speakers: Broderick Johnson, JD, Assistant to the President, Cabinet Secretary, and Chair, My Brother's Keeper Task Force; Secretary John B. King, Jr., MA, JD, EdD, of the U.S. Department of Education; Karol V. Mason, JD, Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice; and Dr. Gracia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The panel spoke about their cross-agency collaboration to achieve equity in all policies by focusing on the My Brother's Keeper initiative as an example of their work. You may watch Part 2 of the Federal panel discussion here External Web Site Policy.

Tracking CLAS Activities around the Country

We're pleased to announce a new feature that tracks CLAS-related efforts in each state! This is the first compendium of state-based activities to implement the National CLAS Standards. The Compendium of State-Sponsored National CLAS Standards Implementation Activities and a new Tracking CLAS tool are now available on the Think Cultural Health website. We hope you will find this feature useful to find out more about what your state and others are doing to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to their populations.

New Reports Examine Cultural Competency Interventions and Disparities Data

Improving Cultural Competence to Reduce Health Disparities, published by the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and prepared by the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center, reviews existing interventions for improving culturally appropriate healthcare for people with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations; and racial and ethnic minorities. The report included interventions that focused on the following: system, clinic, provider, and individual-level interventions, with over 37,000 citations reviewed and 56 unique studies identified.

The HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality also recently released the 2015 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report and 5th Anniversary Update on the National Quality Strategy. This annual report from AHRQ describes the nation's progress in improving healthcare access, quality, and disparities. The 2015 report is the first to include an update on the HHS National Quality Strategy, established by the Affordable Care Act to guide efforts to identify and prioritize quality improvement efforts, share lessons learned, and measure success around the country.

The 2015 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report's findings show gains in enrollment in qualified health plans through the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace as well as expanded access to Medicaid in more than half of the states. For example:

  • The rate of uninsured Americans under age 65 decreased from 18 percent to 10 percent. For 18 to 29-year-olds, the uninsured rate fell by more than half, from 31 percent to 15 percent.
  • Hispanics showed the biggest gains in having a regular place to go for medical care, climbing from 77 percent in 2010 to 83 percent in the first half of 2015.
  • Among poor people ages 18-64, the uninsured rate fell from 44 percent to 25 percent.

Last month, the HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Health, United States, 2015. This yearly report presents an overview of national trends in health statistics, including a Chartbook that assesses the nation's health. The 2015 report includes a Special Feature on racial and ethnic health disparities.

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