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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Cultural and Linguistic Competency

National CLAS Standards

Doctor examines female patientThe HHS Office of Minority Health (OMH) developed the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care, also known as the National CLAS Standards, to advance health equity, improve quality of services, and help eliminate disparities.

The National CLAS Standards are a comprehensive set of 15 action steps that provide a blueprint for individuals and health and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services, or CLAS. CLAS are services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices, and needs of diverse patients. The Standards, including a Principal Standard and standards organized under three themes, were first published in 2000 and enhanced in 2013. To learn more about the enhanced National CLAS Standards, visit this webpage.

This Behavioral Health Implementation Guide underscores the ways in which the National CLAS Standards can improve access to behavioral health care, promote quality behavioral health programs and practices, and ultimately reduce persistent disparities in mental health and substance use treatment for underserved minority communities.

Think Cultural Health

Think Cultural Health is an OMH initiative that provides health and health care professionals with information, continuing education opportunities, and resources to learn about and implement CLAS and the National CLAS Standards. Explore other Think Cultural Health resources related to the National CLAS Standards.

E-Learning Programs

Through the Think Cultural Health website, OMH offers free, accredited online educational programs tailored for a variety of health care professionals, including physicians; nurses; oral health, maternal health, and behavioral health providers; disaster and emergency management personnel; and community health workers/promotores(as) de salud. Each e-learning program is designed to build knowledge, skills, and awareness of cultural and linguistic competency and CLAS as a way to improve quality of care.

Maternal Health Care Providers E-Learning Program

OMH launched a new, free and accredited e-learning program: Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Maternal Health Care. The program, available via OMH’s Think Cultural Health website, is designed to develop maternal health care providers' knowledge and skills related to culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS).

OMH encourages all physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, certified nurse midwives, and certified midwives to take this program and earn up to two continuing education credits at no cost.

The e-learning program aims to help eliminate disparities facing communities of color, today. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die in pregnancy or childbirth, regardless of income or education level. More women of color than white women report feeling mistreated, ignored, or dismissed by their prenatal providers.

Behavioral Health E-Learning Program

OMH launched a free and accredited e-learning program: Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals. The program, available via OMH’s Think Cultural Health website, is designed to develop behavioral health providers' knowledge and skills related to culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS).

In November 2018, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released the public use files and restricted data files for the 2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey Supplement on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services for Office-based Physicians (National CLAS Physician Survey). The National CLAS Physician Survey is the first nationally representative survey designed to describe cultural and linguistic competency and the provision of the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National CLAS Standards) among office-based physicians in the United States. Visit the CDC’s site for more information.

Last Modified: 5/4/2022 3:51:00 PM