Improving Knowledge of National CLAS Standards

In 2013, the Connecticut Multicultural State Partnership, a non-profit health advocacy group, received a federal grant to specifically address racial and ethnic health disparities by increasing the adoption and implementation of the The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care. The multifaceted approach includes: baseline surveys, onsite workshops, web-based courses and electronic resources. The first phase of the work is progressing and involves: (1) the design and distribution of two baseline surveys to identify existing organizations that have adopted CLAS Standards and how/whether health professions students are being introduced to CLAS standards and (2) statewide trainings to healthcare organizations, health professions students and patients with limited English proficiency. Workshops include speakers, special topic breakout groups and opportunities for discussion and interaction around the rationale underlying CLAS standards in health care. Each workshop is tailored to the audience and areas in which they serve (e.g. health disparities related to the populations in the geographical area). Preliminary results with 110 participants to date demonstrate significant increase in (1) awareness of health disparities, (2) knowledge of CLAS standards and (3) ability to identify resources to advocate for the utilization of CLAS standards. In particular, health professions students and patients have expressed their lack of CLAS Standards knowledge prior to the workshops and commitment to sharing the information with others. Ultimately the goal is to improve individual organizations understanding of and increase their adoption and application of the CLAS standards, as well as arm patients with information regarding their rights to quality, culturally and linguistically appropriate health care.