Region VIII Behavioral Health ADVISORY: Adopting the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)

“Any organization addressing individual or community health, health care, or well-being can benefit from the adoption and implementation of the National CLAS Standard.” - HHS OMH, 2013
The SAMHSA Region VIII Office is committed to enhancing the competence and capacity of the behavioral health workforce to advance outreach, engagement, and quality of care for minority and underserved populations. We recommend incorporating the National CLAS Standards in behavioral health education curriculums and continuing education systems as an important step to ensure that behavioral health practitioners are prepared and competent to meet the needs of all patients, families, and communities across Region VIII (CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, and WY).
National CLAS Standards in Health and Health Care (undefined), developed by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) in collaboration with SAMHSA and other Federal and community partners, provides meaningful and practical guidance to deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate services, with a goal to improve quality of care and advance health equity.

E-Learning Program to Improving Cultural Competency for Healthcare professionals: Improving availability of such services not only improves quality of care but may reduce disparities experienced by minority and underserved populations, who struggle due to language, literacy, or other cultural barriers (Saha, Beach, and Cooper, 2008).

Additional Resources:

  • CLAS Toolkit: Guide for healthcare organizations to implement/evaluate National CLAS Standards.
  • SAMHSA Behavioral Health Equity Resources
  • National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health (NNED) supports information sharing, training, and technical assistance towards the goal of promoting behavioral health equity.
    • NNEDshare: a collaborative, online space for practitioners to share resources & interventions to improve the delivery of behavioral health care with diverse populations.
  • National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) aims to increase the capacity of health and mental health programs to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically responsive service delivery systems.

Charles Smith, PhD ( & Amy Hudson, MA (

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Start Date + Time August 5, 2020
End Date + Time August 5, 2020