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Providing Quality Health and Health Care with CLAS

The UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities “Providing Quality Health and Health Care with CLAS” curriculum is an innovative program designed to help leaders in the health care industry develop comprehensive strategies to meet accreditation requirements and improve their quality of culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Created in collaboration with the State of California Office of Multicultural Health and the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, this curriculum is an effective method for quality improvement using innovative teaching modalities. In addition, the curriculum addresses regulatory requirements at the national and local levels.

Utilizing a unique combination of cultural competence and diversity principles, learning pedagogy, and system change theory, the curriculum was piloted in health departments, a state department, and several academic health system departments. At the end of the training, participants developed and implemented quality improvement plans leading to system change in their organization.

Efforts to address health disparities frequently focus at the provider-patient level, relying on training and education to promote culturally competent care. While these efforts may enhance the patient experience and possibly impact quality, they do not speak to larger, system issues that continue to result in, or even contribute to health care disparities. The “Providing Quality Health and Health Care with CLAS” curriculum was designed to address these issues at a systems level through the implementation of CLAS-based quality improvement projects.

Utilizing evidence based learning theory and facilitation technique, the Curriculum for Developing Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services engages leaders to capitalize on their operational expertise and domain of influence to systematically embed the new enhanced CLAS Standards within the health system. Through didactics, large and small group discussion, self and organizational assessments, the participants gain a deeper understanding of health and health care disparities and the role they and their health system can play in reducing or eliminating those disparities. The discussion and exercises also serve to align participants with the CLAS standards and the importance to providing quality care and services to patients/clients and the communities they serve.

This program addresses key challenges to system-level CLAS implementation by engaging health system leaders in the Curriculum. These participants can make key decisions and allocate resources necessary for success. Additionally, the frequently encountered “silo-effect” existent in many large health systems can be overcome through expanded knowledge of participant roles, the emergence of shared goals and, importantly, the synergy of interrelated projects.