Literature Review of the National CLAS Standards: Policy and Practical Implications in Reducing Health Disparities

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2017 Aug;4(4):632-647. doi: 10.1007/s40615-016-0267-3. Epub 2016 Jul 21.


The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care are a practical tool for health and health care organizations to improve their provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS). Published by the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National CLAS Standards provide health and health care organizations with a set of action steps for better meeting the needs of individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Few studies have examined the concept of CLAS or the National CLAS Standards, and they have rarely been extensively studied or reviewed. The authors conducted three literature searches between February 2014 and May 2015, examining the organizational challenges, applicability, and policy implications related to the National CLAS Standards or CLAS, and selected 55 articles for inclusion in the review. The literature highlights a number of challenges in implementing the National CLAS Standards and/or providing CLAS, including issues related to the communication within health care organizations and the inconsistency of accountability measures. This literature review contributes to the growing knowledge base of the National CLAS Standards and CLAS in health and health care.

Keywords: Cultural competence; Health disparities; Health policy; Minority health.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cultural Competency
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Health Policy*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Minority Health
  • United States