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"Learning how to provide culturally sensitive care to a diverse population of patients is a fundamental responsibility for first responders. This engaging case-based interactive program combines relevant information and effective strategies to improve the connections between emergency personnel and patients before, during, and after a disaster. It is an invaluable resource for disaster response clinicians and educators alike as we strive to improve our cultural competency."

Sandy Hunter, Ph.D., NREMT-P
Professor, Paramedic Program, Eastern Kentucky University


Welcome to Culturally Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response at HHS OMH’s Think Cultural Health. Each of the programs featured on Think Cultural Health (TCH) are founded on the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (National CLAS Standards).

In April 2013, the National CLAS Standards were re-released after undergoing a two-year enhancement initiative. This program, along with others featured on TCH, is scheduled to be under annual review for accreditation purposes and will be updated to reflect the National CLAS Standards enhancements.

To assist you during this transition, we recommend that you reference this crosswalk (PDF - 115 KB) and fact sheet (PDF - 59 KB) which will assist in understanding the numbering and organization of the re-released National CLAS Standards.

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Visit the Strategic Healthcare Communications External Web Site Policy Web site to learn more.

Why Use Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Throughout a Disaster?

Image of rescue helicopterHave you experienced a time when you did not know how to best serve a diverse patient population before, after or during a disaster? Did you know that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to suffer worse outcomes than the general population during every phase of a disaster?

This set of courses is designed to integrate knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to cultural competency in order to help lessen racial and ethnic health care disparities brought on by disaster situations. The courses target emergency medical personnel, disaster mental health and social workers, public health service officers, and disaster relief organization employees who have the unique opportunity to help improve access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes to those persons subject to racial and ethnic health disparities in a disaster situation.

Throughout the curriculum, a broad range of skills are introduced, such as: working with an interpreter, locating translated materials, negotiating cultural differences, and implementing the CLAS Standards into organizational policy. These skills are shown in real-life scenarios so that you may be able to adopt them into your own environment.

Why use this Web site?

The four courses are designed to equip disaster and crisis volunteers and personnel with the awareness, knowledge, and skills needed to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to diverse communities during all phases of disaster. The curriculum is grounded in the Office of Minority Health's CLAS Standards, which are grouped into three themes: Culturally Competent Care, Language Access Services, and Organizational Supports.

Ultimately, incorporating cultural competency into your daily activities will allow you to better offer services to the increasingly diverse population of the United States.