Sixth National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations: Peer-to-Peer Practice Advancement Sessions NW Resource Center on CLAS and Health Disparities, The Cross Cultural Health Care Program

C-6 Reaching thousands: Using the internet to improve outreach, collaboration, and information dissemination

NW Resource Center on CLAS and Health Disparities, The Cross Cultural Health Care Program
Tuesday, September 23, 2008: 2:00 PM-4:00 PM, Minn Marriott, 8th Floor - Wayzata/Gray's Bay
The Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP) is expanding its special library into a new entity known as the Resource Center on CLAS and Health Disparities in order to increase access to and dissemination of information and resources related to health disparities, CLAS, and language access issues. We believe that increased access and dissemination of this information will not only assist community, health, and social service organizations to reduce health disparities but also will contribute to new innovations to improve services according to the Federal CLAS Standards.  The Cross Cultural Health Care Program’s Resource Center has existed for much of CCHCP’s 16-year history as a special library serving the information needs of health and social service professionals on topics related to the intersection of culture and health.  Library services and accomplishments include reference services to users from health, social service, and other fields; the Cross Cultural Health Resources newsletter; bibliographic instruction to agency and training groups; and contracts with numerous organizations that have resulted in valuable materials such as NHELP’s Language Services Resource Guide (2006).  In recent years, the rise of digital resources and online access has redefined how researchers, students, and community members look for and use information resources. These changes in service modes and delivery models have presented challenges to many special libraries, and the Resource Center has not been exempt from these hurdles. The current expansion of the Resource Center addresses these challenges and provides new models for service that will correspond with the organizational, informational, and technological needs of our partners and patrons. Supported by grant funding from the Office of Minority Health, Region X, planning for the expansion of the Resource Center occurred in two separate phases.  The first phase involved conceptual development of the Resource Center and its service parameters, and the second phase took the Resource Center to an operational basis.  A third OMH Region X grant will help develop an outreach program for health professionals working with underserved populations. 

Resource Center initiatives are organized along three channels: online information services; research; and outreach.  Through the first channel, online information services, we provide a variety of informational resources that address the following topics: medical interpretation; language access; CLAS; health disparities; cultural competence; and refugee and minority health.  A searchable catalog contains not only CCHCP’s special collection of important books, monographs, and audio-visual materials but also “grey literature” available on the free internet.  The term grey literature refers to the materials created by government agencies, professional organizations, research entities, public institutions, and other groups interested in disseminating information to a wide audience.  (For example, the Joint Commission’s report Hospitals, Language, and Culture: A Snapshot of the Nation.)  Produced outside of the realm of commercial academic publishing, these important resources are not necessarily indexed in biomedical and social science databases.  However, they are arguably critical elements in the literature and our focus is on increasing access to these materials.  The librarians of the Resource Center have also developed a series of Resource Guides on topics such as Medical Interpretation and Cultural Competence.  Designed as pathfinders, these Resource Guides help students, researchers, and health professionals become familiar with the key concepts, organizations, and literature surrounding these topics.  The second channel of the Resource Center provides fee for service offerings such as bibliographic research, literature reviews, and assessments.  Staffed by professional librarians with in-depth research experience, the Resource Center produces research and analysis for a variety of governmental and organizational bodies.  Some examples of recent projects include: an annotated bibliography for a quality improvement organization on the topic of diabetes and self-care initiatives in African American communities in the Pacific NW; a research report on the current state of Patient Navigator programs, prepared for the Washington State Health and Recovery Services Administration.  The third channel, outreach, encompasses various initiatives to raise awareness of the Resource Center and also to learn as much as possible about the needs and challenges of our partners and patrons.  Participation in community-based organizations and forums provides important opportunities for learning and dialogue.  Professional organization and conference participation, as well as presentations to regional health and social service organizations, helps expand awareness of the Resource Center.  Technological options, such as email newsletters, streaming web-based media, and blogs, provide potentially low-cost methods to reach out to constituents in all corners of the digital world.

Lessons learned in vital areas include the following:

  • Surveying constituents and partners to better understand their information needs and to inform development of services.  A web-based survey that sampled health and social service professionals interested in CLAS and language access issues revealed a pronounced need for information on initiatives, programs, and other resources.  Bibliographic research services and program assessments were rated “extremely helpful” to organizations.  Information barriers were explored in the survey, and qualitative comments analyzed to reveal trends and gaps in service.
  • Developing strong partnerships with both community-based and professional organizations.  Serving in workgroups with community-based organizations helps expand awareness of the Resource Center and its capabilities.  It also creates a loop, whereby the community concerns are brought back into CCHCP and thereby inform initiatives and planning.  Working with professional coalitions offers opportunities for collaboration and funding, and further widens the loop of communication.
  • Utilizing creative staffing solutions to help address needs of projects and initiatives and to keep expenses low.  Developing relationships with graduate schools and community groups provides a source for highly motivated and creative individuals to fill short-term staffing needs.  Project planning that takes into account the limited parameters of an internship or a fieldwork helps to ensure measurable and effective outcomes.
  • Exploring multiple technology offerings, and correspondingly, understanding the technology needs of our audiences.  Through use of free tools such as Google Analytics, we can assess who is using our online resources, and also learn whether certain technology offerings would be appropriate (for example, web casting). 
  • Diversity RX Binder Poster.pdf (156.5 kB)
  • Presentation Information:

    Program: Peer-to-Peer Practice Advancement Sessions
    Primary Category: Organizational Cultural Competence
    Subtopics: Developing CLAS resources, Partnerships with community organizations

    Region Addressed by Presentation: US - Northwest
    Organization: Non-Profit Organization/Association
    Keywords: Information Services, Building Partnerships, Academic Collaboration, Resource Management, Digital Information Systems


    Anne G. Turner, MLIS , Northwest Resource Center on CLAS and Health Disparities, The Cross Cultural Health Care Program, Seattle, WA
      The Cross Cultural Health Care Program
      Northwest Resource Center on CLAS and Health Disparities
      4700 42nd Ave SW
      Suite 580
      Seattle WA, USA 98116

      Phone: 206 860 0329
      Fax: 206 860 0334
      Email Address:

      Biographical Sketch:
      Anne Turner is the Cross Cultural Health Care Program's research librarian and Resource Center director. In leading the development of the Resource Center on CLAS and Health Disparities, she is developing information service offerings to meet the needs of our widespread base of users, with a focus on utilizing technological options to help broaden services. She has contributed to research projects exploring patient navigation in medically-underserved communities and has developed research guides that index online resources in CLAS and health disparity topics. Prior to joining CCHCP, Anne worked as reference librarian within public libraries, and provided bibliographic research services to health care professionals and consultants. She has worked with medical library professionals and has participated in information behavior research projects at the University of Washington. She received her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington's Information School. Anne's professional background also includes work in IT and web development.