Sixth National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations:

A-4 Organizational journeys to CLAS, Part I: Readiness to engage

Despite mounting evidence that links linguistic and cultural barriers in health care to health disparities, most health care systems have a long way to go before truly providing culturally and linguistically competent care. Yet there are remarkable health care delivery systems have taken transformative steps to ensure culturally responsive, linguistically accessible health care.  It is important to learn from these front-runners to better understand what it takes to engage hospitals in system-change efforts to promote cultural and linguistic effectiveness.
In this session, participants will gain a deeper and broader understanding of the facilitators of successful implementation of language services improvements in hospitals, including strategies for engaging and spreading improvements. Presenters will share critical tools to both assess an organization’s current effectiveness in providing culturally and linguistically competent care, and to evaluate organizational readiness to engage in significant improvements.


Panelists will explore other issues such as the impact of external and internal facilitators to systems change, and improved data collection strategies. They will also discuss issues of leadership engagement and involving staff, patients, and the community in the journey to CLAS implementation. Panelists will then share their unique perspectives on making the case for pursuing CLAS standards in different health care settings.

The panel will feature the following CLAS experts:

Juliet Yonek, MPH, of the Health Research and Educational Trust, will discuss the work her organization conducted in collaboration with Boston University’s Health Policy Institute and Northwestern University to identify strategies that engage hospitals in promoting systems-level change. She will also talk about the impact of the work of California public hospitals to improve language access and share a new tool to assess readiness to engage (RTE) in improving language services.

Bruce Occena, MPH, MBA of Health Access will share highlights of an in-depth study of one California public hospital’s successful endeavor to transform and expand its language access services.  He will discuss the important decisions related to improving language services, potential challenges to implementing change, as well as facilitators to successful implementation and internal spread.

Paul Doyle, Principal of Paul T. Doyle and Associates LLC will share his work with Sutter Health hospitals and medical foundations– work that was primarily conducted in California. His efforts marked a critical step in Sutter’s push to build a more culturally competent work and care environment by assessing strengths, opportunities for growth, and systemic gaps.  Using the (HRSA) Lewin Group Domains, Mr. Doyle and Sutter Health addressed the following questions: 1) Where is the organization currently? 2) Where does the organization want to go? and 3) How will the organization get there?

Barbara Bogomolov, RN, BSN, MS of the Center for Diversity and Cultural Competence, Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis, MO highlights the journey of her hospital to implementation of the CLAS standards.  From leadership engagement, to setting measurable expectations for managers as part of performance reviews, to training staff on replicable actions at the bedside, this hospital has made significant progress on all aspects of cultural competence.

Monday, September 22, 2008: 10:45 AM - 12:15 PM
6th Floor - St. Croix I (Minneapolis Marriott City Center)
Working to improve language services in California public hospitals: An assessment of organizational readiness to engage
Juliet Yonek, MPH, Health Research and Educational Trust (affiliate of the Amercian Hospital Association)
Moving the Mission : From Strategy to Action
Barbara Bogomolov, RN, BSN, MS(r), Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center