Health inequities result in disparities that directly affect the quality of life for all individuals. Health disparities adversely affect neighborhoods, communities, and the broader society; making the issue not only an individual concern but also a public health concern.

CLAS Standards are intended to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services. CLAS is an acronym for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).

The National CLAS Standards, which are targeted toward health and health care organizations, account for increasing diversity in the U.S. population, the growth in cultural and linguistic competency fields and the changing landscape with respect to new national policies and legislation.

CLAS offers Guidance in the Following Areas:

Governance, Leadership, and Workforce Communication and Language Assistance Engagement, Continuous Improvement and Accountability

Train staff in CLAS

Recruit a workforce representative of community served the service area

Create and support a designated CLAS position

Comprehensive language assistance services

Require interpreters’ skills to be certified or assessed

Use advanced technology for interpretation services

Improve collection of race, ethnicity, and language data

Conduct organizational assessments

Incorporate CLAS into mission, vision, and strategic plans

CLAS are services that are respectful of and responsive to each person’s culture and communication needs. CLAS helps you take into account of cultural health beliefs. preferred languages, health literacy levels, and communication needs.

Great Plains will be sharing more information on the CLAS Standards as we learn more. We will look to organizations who are successfully implementing the CLAS Standards to share. We believe adoption of these standards will help advance better health and health care in the Dakotas, which will increase patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, engagement and the overall care experience. We look forward to learning, supporting and assisting organizations as we work to make care better and more equitable.


Think Cultural Health – US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • The Blueprint – an implementation guide for the Standards
  • E-learning Programs – accredited for various health professionals
  • Resource Library – searchable clearinghouse of publications and tools

Office of Minority Health – US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

  • Knowledge Center – depository of health disparities information
  • Events Calendar – trainings, conferences, and other events in health
  • Blog – health equity and CLAS topics