Health Center News

HHS Wants Health Care Providers to “Think Cultural Health”

Think Cultural Health VideoRecently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care. Created by HHS’ Office of Minority Health, the standards are an update to ones released in 2000 and were developed to advance health care equity by offering health care organizations a “blueprint” for serving diverse communities.

According to HHS, the updates “include the expertise of federal and non-federal partners nationwide, to ensure an even stronger platform for health equity,” and “are grounded in a broad definition of culture – one in which health is recognized as being influenced by factors ranging from race and ethnicity to language, spirituality, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and geography.”

This is part of a broader effort to reduce health disparities, which has been estimated to cost the nation $1 trillion due to premature deaths and health inequalities. The HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities aims to build on efforts which started in 2010.  It was a long process that ultimately produced a comprehensive series of guidelines that encourage the adoption of culturally and linguistically appropriate health services to improve and inform health care delivery.

For more information on CLAS visit the CLAS website.