Creating healthier communities involves many things, including cultural competence and an understanding of the needs and differences of all represented cultures. Living in the U.S. affords us the opportunity to live, work, and play with people of many different cultures from around the world, though this means that what may work for some may not work, or be appropriate for, others. Even the best and most well-intentioned plans may fall short if they are not culturally appropriate or understood.
To assist communities and help advance health equity, The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National CLAS Standards) were developed as a blueprint for individuals and organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Developed in 2000, these standards were revised in 2010 to expand the scope and ensure clarity so that these standards can continue to act as the cornerstone for advancing health equity and culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
Understanding the National CLAS Standards both on the national and state level is made easier by Think Cultural Health, an initiative of the Office of Minority Health Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competence in Health Care, that operates with the mission to “Advance Health Equity at Every Point of Contact.” The initiative’s website is home to many great resources, including two newly released items, highlighted below:
National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care: Compendium of State-Sponsored National CLAS Standards Implementation Activities
This Compendium includes information from 32 states and describes more than 170 activities. The activities fall into three major categories:
- Policies, Planning and Collaboration
- Training and Technical Assistance
Also available is the new Tracking CLAS Tool, which is an interactive map that allows users to track state efforts to promote and / or implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services. The map allows users to learn about legislative activity and enacted legislation related to cultural competency training as well state-sponsored National CLAS Standards implementation activities.
Photos courtesy of Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Pixabay