Online Program

Implementation of CLAS standards to meet the needs of at-risk populations in Massachusetts

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Ranjani Paradise, PhD, Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Jennifer Bennet, BA, The Family Van, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Caterina Hill, MSc, Research Associate in Social Medicine Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Stacey King, MS, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Sue Schlotterbeck, MS, RD, LD, Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center, Worcester,, MA
Elisa Friedman, MS, Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Racial and ethnic minority populations in Massachusetts experience poorer outcomes than white populations for several health conditions, including stroke, cancer, and diabetes. To address this, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) currently funds 20 organizations across the state to work on health disparities reduction in their communities. MDPH emphasizes capacity building and shared learning among grantees and collaborates with the Institute for Community Health, a local research and evaluation organization, to offer technical assistance. Grantees target health disparities at levels ranging from individual interventions to institutional and community-wide changes. A common theme across programs is provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS), using the U.S. Office for Minority Health's CLAS standards as a guiding framework. The CLAS standards outline recommended practices for serving diverse populations and are organized into three themes: Culturally Competent Care, Language Access Services, and Organizational Supports for Cultural Competence. This presentation uses three grantee case studies to illustrate successful implementation of CLAS standards within each of these themes. Case studies include 1) measuring race, ethnicity, and language data at a community health center, 2) using diverse, multilingual community health workers to provide culturally competent care at a mobile health clinic, and 3) implementing a needs assessment for men and fostering community discussions on racism with guidance from a men's health program. Case studies will include evaluation data, best practice recommendations, and lessons learned. Overall, the strategies and recommendations shared by the grantees can help guide others in implementing CLAS standards in varied community settings.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Describe the MDPH health disparities reduction grant program. Describe three case studies illustrating how grantees used CLAS standards to create culturally competent organizations and systems. Discuss how cultural competence and CLAS align with client-centeredness and health equity. Discuss lessons learned from grantees and strategies for implementing CLAS standards in varied community settings.

Keyword(s): Cultural Competency, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I serve as the technical assistance provider to the MDPH health disparities reduction grantees. In this role, I have become very familiar with each program’s experience implementing CLAS standards and have given feedback and guidance on this topic to the grantees. I also have experience with health disparities and race, ethnicity, and language data through my work with the Cambridge Health Alliance.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.