Skip Navigation

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

Office of Minority Health (OMH) Logo

Cultural and Linguistic Competency

CLAS Image

CLAS Guide, Report, and Toolkit from OMH

The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (The National CLAS Standards) aim to improve health care quality and advance health equity by establishing a framework for organizations to serve the nation's increasingly diverse communities.

Over the past several years, behavioral health providers and education systems are recognizing the value of the National CLAS Standards in advancing behavioral health equity. To advance this effort, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collaborated with OMH to develop the Behavioral Health Implementation Guide for the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (Behavioral Health Implementation Guide).

This Behavioral Health Implementation Guide underscores the ways in which the National CLAS Standards can improve access to behavioral health care, promote quality behavioral health programs and practice, and ultimately reduce persistent disparities in mental health and substance use treatment for underserved minority communities.

In addition, OMH developed a framework and toolkit to guide health care organizations’ efforts in evaluating their implementation of the National CLAS Standards. The full report can be accessed below along with the toolkit which distills the elements of the framework and can help guide evaluations across four settings (ambulatory care, behavioral health, hospitals and public health).



OMH Think Cultural Health E-Learning Programs

Maternal Health Care Providers E-Learning Program

OMH launched a new, free and accredited e-learning program: Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Maternal Health Care. The program, available via OMH’s Think Cultural Health website, is designed to develop maternal health care providers' knowledge and skills related to culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS).

OMH encourages all physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, certified nurse midwives, and certified midwives to take this program and earn up to two continuing education credits at no cost.

The e-learning program aims to help eliminate disparities facing communities of color today. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die in pregnancy or childbirth, regardless of income or education level. More women of color than white women report feeling mistreated, ignored, or dismissed by their prenatal providers.

Behavioral Health E-Learning Program

OMH launched a free and accredited e-learning program: Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals. The program, available via OMH’s Think Cultural Health website, is designed to develop behavioral health providers' knowledge and skills related to culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS).

In November 2018, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), one of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released the public use files and restricted data files for the 2016 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey Supplement on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services for Office-based Physicians (National CLAS Physician Survey). The National CLAS Physician Survey is the first nationally representative survey designed to describe cultural and linguistic competency and the provision of the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National CLAS Standards) among office-based physicians in the United States. Visit the CDC’s site for more information.



About Think Cultural Health

Think Cultural Health is a program of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health that provides health and health care professionals with information, continuing education opportunities, resources, and more to learn about culturally and linguistically appropriate services, or CLAS. Are you looking for other free e-learning programs on cultural competency? Check out the suite of Think Cultural Health e-learning programs.

What is Cultural and Linguistic Competency?

Culturally and linguistically appropriate services are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and needs of diverse patients. The percentage of people living in the U.S. who are racial and ethnic minorities and who speak a primary language other than English continues to grow rapidly. Organizations are looking to meet the challenges of serving diverse communities and provide high quality services and care.

By tailoring services to an individual's culture and language preference, health professionals can help bring about positive health outcomes for diverse populations.

Last Modified: 6/30/2021 2:50:00 PM