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CLAS in Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

OCLC equityThe DBHDS Office of Cultural & Linguistic Competence (OCLC) leads efforts to provide improved services to diverse and underserved individuals and works toward eliminating the disparities within the state’s mental health, intellectual disability and substance-use disorder system. 

NEW TO CULTURAL COMPETENCE? Start out by reading key definitions ________________________________________________________________



What's on the OCLC webpage? - There are a number of resources located on these pages. 

Most of the sources are listed directly on the left hand tabs.  Topical, programmatic, and training information is listed by focus area. You can find quick links listed below.


Join the OCLC Google Group - Do you want to keep up with the latest research, articles, events, and information related to cultural competence, language access, and health equity in the state and the nation?

We have other Learning Communities too! 

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what is clc

The definition offered by Cross, in 1989 has provided a lasting foundation for the field and is viewed as universally applicable across multiple systems.

“Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enable that system, agency or those professions to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.
The word culture is used because it implies the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group. The word competence is used because it implies having the capacity to function effectively. 

What makes ling comp

The National Center for Cultural Competence developed a definition that provides a foundation for determining linguistic competence in health care, mental health and other human service delivery systems. It reminds providers that linguistic competence encompasses a broad spectrum of services and individuals: 

The capacity of an organization and its personnel to communicate effectively, and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences including persons of limited English proficiency, those who have low literacy skills or are not literate, individuals with disabilities, and those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Linguistic competency requires organizational and provider capacity to respond effectively to the health and mental health literacy needs of populations served. The organization must have policy, structures, practices, procedures, and dedicated resources to support this capacity.

Goode & Jones (modified 2009). National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development

The CLAS Courier is designed to provide quick and practical information about best practices in culturally competent care and language services.  Every month, we highlight articles of interest, unique programs, and champions in our system.  We hope you find the information easy to apply in your own areas of practice.

WINTER 2016 CLAS Courier

SPRING 2016 CLAS Courier