the best possible care to the community

Culturally and Linguistically Competent Care

Culturally and Linguistically Competent Care is all about providing the best possible care to all members of the community. Cultural Competence is a set of values and principles which are reflected within the behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures of agencies, family/youth organizations, providers and community stakeholders to result in appropriate and effective services for all.

Linguistic Competence is the capacity of personnel to communicate effectively and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences. Linguistic Competence involves the development of interagency and internal capacity to respond effectively to the mental health literacy and communication needs of the populations served, and to possess the policy, structures, practices, procedures and dedicated resources to support this capacity.

Source: Adapted from Cross T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989)

Four Components of Cultural Competence05-12-16_CLC-graph

  1. Awareness: Having the capacity for cultural self-assessment
  2. Sensitivity: Becoming conscious of the microdynamics inherent in cultural interactions
  3. Knowledge: Developing knowledge about other cultures
  4. Skills: Reflecting acknowledgement in Relationship
Source:, accessed Oct. 8, 2015

Six Domains of Cultural and Linguistic Competence

  1. Governance and organizational infrastructure
  2. Services and supports
  3. Planning and continuous quality improvements
  4. Collaboration
  5. Communication
  6. Workforce development
Source:, accessed Oct. 8, 2015

Nationwide trends show a dramatic shift in population including future projections: By 2045 the nation will become majority minority (all people except those that are non-Hispanic, single-race white). Understanding diverse cultures – their values, traditions, history and institutions – is not simply political correctness. It is integral to eliminating health care disparities and providing high-quality customer service and care.

Cultural Competence and CLAS Standards

The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National 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 standards have been adopted by the Office of Health and Human Services – Office of Minority Health. Additional information and resources on Cultural Competence can be found on the following websites:

Why is Culturally and Linguistically Competent Care important for Stark County?

Culturally and Linguistically Competent Care in Stark County will (1) aim to eliminate or reduce cultural, racial, ethnic or geographical disparities as well as (2) eliminate barriers to services and increase access, quality and outcomes for underserved populations. Efficient and relevant services for all of Stark County generates better outcomes and avoids inappropriately and/or inadequately serving Stark County’s underserved populations.

Culturally and linguistically appropriate services are respectful of and responsive to individual cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy levels and communication needs and employed by all members of an organization at every point of contact.

In 2000, almost 15% (more than 1.3 million) of the people in the State of Ohio were ethnically diverse. The United States Census Bureau estimated that by the year 2015, Ohio’s minority population would grow to more than 2.1 millionpeople, nearly 20% of the state’s population. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, approximately 36.3% of the United States’ population currently belongs to a racial or ethnic minority group: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian American, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander. Today Stark County’s minority population is estimated to be 12.5%.  

Did you know?
  • Racial/ethnic disparities in health care have remained constant or have increased.
  • Racial/ethnic minorities continue to be less likely to receive mental health care when needed.
  • Racial/ethnic minorities use deeper-end facilities (hospitals, inpatient care) rather than community-based outpatient mental health services.
  • Ineffectively addressing mental health care of minorities contributes to disparities re: access, availability and utilization.
  • Perceived (and actual) lack of consideration of and respect for clients’ cultural beliefs about mental health care can be related to unconscious or conscious bias and discriminatory policies.
Source: “Improving Quality and Access to Integrated Care for Racially Diverse and Limited English Proficiency Communities,” SAMHSA – HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions
Source:, accessed Oct. 8, 2015