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The Office of Minority Health was mandated by the United States Congress in 1990 to develop the capacity of health care professionals to address the cultural and linguistic barriers to health care delivery and to increase access to health care for limited English-proficient people. Additionally this mandate directed OMH to support research, demonstrations and evaluations to test new and innovative models aimed at increasing knowledge and providing a clearer understanding of health risk factors and successful prevention intervention strategies for minority populations.
The United States Congress, House Committee on Appropriations, 103rd Congress 2d Session, Report 103-553, June 21, 1994, also recognized the need to address language barriers faced by limited English-speaking populations in the health care delivery system. The Committee language encouraged OMH to carry out activities to improve the ability of health care providers to deliver health services in the native languages of limited - English proficient populations, as required by the Disadvantaged Minority Health Improvement Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-527). Concurrently, the Committee encouraged OMH to establish a center to develop and evaluate models, conduct research and provide technical assistance to providers on removing language barriers to health care services.
The Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competence in Health Care was established in FY 1995 to address the health needs of populations who speak limited English, and helps to fulfill the requirements of P.L. 101-527. CLCCHC is a "center without walls," encompassing all existing and new policy, partnership, communications, service demonstrations and evaluation activities related to cultural competency.