Resources for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)

(Toolkit Coming Soon!)

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Background on This Project and NCAPIP's Work on CLAS

Integrating the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) into Quality Improvement and Practice Transformation 

This project was completed by the National Council of Asian Pacific Islander Physicians (NCAPIP) and PSA, a strategic communications and event planning organization, through a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH). The goal of the project 
was to increase awareness and implementation of the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care.

A twenty-member Technical Advisory Group, including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and health care interpreters from diverse racial and ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, geographic, and practice setting backgrounds, and with nationally-recognized expertise in quality improvement, practice transformation, and culturally and linguistically appropriate services,   provided technical advice and guidance for the project.

The National CLAS Standards were enhanced by OMH in 2013, creating a cross-cutting principal standard and organizing the remaining standards into three themes of 1) governance, leadership, and workforce; 2) communication and language assistance; and 3) engagement, continuous improvement, and accountability. The wording of the Standards was generalized to include all types of health care and health organizations. The definition of “culture” was broadened to explicitly include individuals with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, religious and spiritual characteristics, and other culturally-identified groups.

The NCAPIP project team and Technical Advisory Group reviewed environmental scans about the implementation of the CLAS Standards that had been published since 2013. These environmental scans revealed a continued lack of awareness about, and limited implementation of, the CLAS Standards, described the organizational and financial barriers to implementation, and pointed to the use of incentives as a more effective strategy to increase awareness and implementation of the CLAS Standards.

The NCAPIP project team and Technical Advisory Group identified the integration of CLAS Standards as part of quality improvement and practice transformation standards and activities as an approach to i ncrease awareness and incentivize implementation. The NCAPIP project team and Technical Advisory Group developed a   logic model and strategies for implementing the CLAS Standards through quality improvement and practice transformation.

Finally, the NCAPIP project team and Technical Advisory group developed a  toolkit to implement some of the recommended strategies by providing tools to assist solo and small group physician practices, and other health care providers, to implement the CLAS Standards through quality improvement and practice transformation activities. The toolkit is designed primarily for primary care providers and can be useful to all providers. The toolkit is being reviewed by OMH and will be made available when it has cleared that review (expected in early 2018).




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The National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Standards (CLAS) were created and are housed within the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health.

Principal Standard
  • Provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs.

To view the CLAS Standards in their entirety, please visit:
https://www.thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/clas/standards or click on the picture on the left.