Monitoring culturally sensitive health services to reduce health disparities

The Challenge 

Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services (CLAS) improves the quality of health care and reduces health disparities. Federal guidelines for using CLAS, called the National CLAS Standards, are not implemented uniformly across the U.S. The Office of Minority Health (OMH) asked Westat to find out what steps states and U.S. territories have taken to implement the standards and reduce health disparities.


Our Solutions 

  • We conducted a review of minority health entities’ websites across 32 states and U.S. territories to create the first compendium of state-based activities to implement the National CLAS Standards.
  • We are surveying directors of local Offices of Minority Health about the activities being implemented to address health disparities.
  • We are also developing a National Disparities Report profile for each state and U.S. Territory based on the results of the telephone survey, interviews with local experts, and other data. The report will help OMH better understand current activities and identify effective ways to support states and U.S. territories to reduce health disparities.
  • State-specific information about CLAS implementation, along with the full compendium, can be found on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Think Cultural Health website on the interactive map and state profile sections.

The Results 

  • OMH will use our work to establish health equity benchmarks to track the progress of efforts to implement National CLAS Standards and reduce health disparities.
  • The benchmarks will enable HHS and OMH to report on our progress to achieve a nation free of disparities in health and health care.

Our Client 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)