Advancing Health Equality Through the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards

Rita A, Webb, ACSW, DCSW

Diversity & Equity, Health

Practice Perspectives


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (HHS, OMH) recently released the new and improved National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS Standards). The 2013 CLAS Standards are an all-inclusive appraisal of the 2000 CLAS Standards, include a comprehensive review by federal and nonfederal expert partners, and provide a framework to advance health equity. The standards reflect the 13-year evolution in cultural and linguistic competency, the demographic shift of the U.S. population, and address race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and language factors in support of effective health care (HHS, OMH, 2013b). These standards are intended to provide guidance for health care providers and organizations in building their capacity to enhance health quality and eliminate health care disparities. The standards include important changes that support a culturally respectful and linguistically competent manner of response to consumers of the health and health care system.

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