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CLAS Standards

 CLAS Standards

Whereas cultural, ethnic and race diversities has shown beneficial effects to the various organization by addition of diverse talents and skills, these diversifications still confer considerable difficulties ineffective communication. Ethnic and cultural attributes such as language barriers, different beliefs, and attitudes have resulted in poor interpersonal relationships and thus deters efficiency at workplaces. The National Standards for culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS STANDARDS) is a national institution that is focused on improving the quality of health care as well as advancing equitable health care services by creating a framework that enables the various organization to integrate the diverse communities that are present in America (Barksdale et al., 2016). This paper seeks to analyze how these diversities affect health provision.

Medical interpretation can either utilize a language access system or a medical interpreter. Both achieve the goal of interpretation. However, medical interpreters are more effective because they can relate to the situations better than the system. The language access system is more cost-effective and better reliable since they are built within, whereas interpreters need to be called anytime they are required times in which they may be unavailable. The language access system is more efficient and can perform a wider range of activities at the same time, while interpreters can only perform one task at a time.

The best practice in medical language interpretation is when a professional interpreter is involved. The interpreter should be good in both languages and sensitive to the situation. The interpreter must be in concert with the caregiver on the medical information to be given to the patient. The caregiver in this regard should meet the interpreter before the patients (Steinberg et al., 2016). The interpreter should maintain simplicity in language and speak to the patient directly.

Language barriers have continued to provide considerable difficulties in medical communication. Two scenarios of such difficulties have been described below, depicting an English-speaking provider and non-English-speaking patients.

Scenario 1: A Mexican teenager presented to an emergency after an attempted abortion department and reported his presenting complaint as severe stomach pain and feeling “intoxicado”. The attending physicians have no way of assessing further due to language barriers. They suspect food intoxication and start on medication. The patient bleeds and passes out. Ethical issues to be considered are health, safety, and legal issues. The patient attempted an abortion which was illegal in that state and therefore should be prosecuted. The doctor’s obligations are to prevent loss of lives; the doctor, however, hesitated to provide care to the patients and nearly cost them their lives (Nápoles et al., 2015). The code of ethics relatable to this scenario are human rights and civil liberties as well as the promotion of health and safety of individuals.

Scenario 2: An Asian American woman walks into an out-patient pharmacy clinic to collect anti-asthma medication without a prescription for her nine-year-old son, who just collapsed at the hospital’s parking lot. The pharmacist refuses, this causes delay, and the boy dies. The ethical issues presented in this case were the promotion of health and safety of patients as well as maintaining professionalism. (van Rosse et al., 2016). The life of the patient was in line, and the pharmacist needed to mitigate that loss by providing the required medication. However, prescription drugs are not to be issued without a written prescription.  The code of ethics implicates those that prescribe professionalism and trust as well as maintains health and safety by mitigating and preventing loss of lives.

The US utilizes the western scientific paradigm of medicine approach to medicine while most Asian countries use the Eastern approach. The two models differ in the way they are hypothesized. The western approaches are dependent on scientific pieces of evidence, while the eastern approaches believe in just more than science and incorporate aspects of traditions, cultures, and beliefs in their approach to health.

The western approach tends to separate the health from the disease, whereas the Eastern approach equates to good health balanced states and disease as imbalanced states. The development of western medicine is by hypothetical deduction, while the eastern approach utilizes the inductive methods in the development of their medicines. The western medicine approach encourages change in the environment when it becomes harsh, whereas eastern medicine encourages adaptability to the environment as it changes (Zhang et al., 2019). However, both approaches perceive disease as abnormally and clearly defines its impact on well-being.

The language barrier is an attribute of ethnic and cultural diversification that has had great impacts on interindividual communications and relationships in many work areas. The national CLAS STANDARDS attempts to harmonize these differences by prescribing standards that are aimed at integrating these cultures into various organizations. Language barriers have brought considerable difficulties to the health care sector. Ineffective communication that results from variation in ethnic backgrounds can have detrimental effects on the health of the patients.


Barksdale, C., Rodick, W., Hopson, R., Kenyon, J., Green, K., & Jacobs, C. (2016). Literature Review of the National CLAS Standards: Policy and Practical Implications in Reducing Health Disparities. Journal Of Racial And Ethnic Health Disparities, 4(4), 632-647.

Nápoles, A., Santoyo-Olsson, J., Karliner, L., Gregorich, S., & Pérez-Stable, E. (2015). Inaccurate Language Interpretation and Its Clinical Significance in the Medical Encounters of Spanish-speaking Latinos. Medical Care, 53(11), 940-947.

Steinberg, E., Valenzuela-Araujo, D., Zickafoose, J., Kieffer, E., & DeCamp, L. (2016). The “Battle” of Managing Language Barriers in Health Care. Clinical Pediatrics, 55(14), 1318-1327.

Van Rosse, F., de Bruijne, M., Suurmond, J., Essink-Bot, M., & Wagner, C. (2016). Language barriers and patient safety risks in-hospital care. Mixed methods study. International Journal Of Nursing Studies, 54, 45-53.

Zhang, M., Moalin, M., Vervoort, L., Li, Z., Wu, W., & Haenen, G. (2019). Connecting Western and Eastern Medicine from an Energy Perspective. International Journal Of Molecular Sciences, 20(6), 1512.


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CLAS Standards

Case Assignment
For this assignment, watch the video from the link below:

  • U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d). Using language access services. Accessed from:

In a 2- to 3-page paper:

CLAS Standards

CLAS Standards

  1. Compare and contrast the range of medical language interpretation and describe what is considered “best practice.”
  2. Consider and describe at least two scenarios in which patients are non-English speaking and qualified language interpretation is not provided. What are the key ethical principles to be considered? What are the implications for the patient in each scenario?
    • How would the scenario relate to the code of ethics in public health?
  3. Compare and contrast the model of medical practice between the U.S. (Western scientific paradigm of medicine) and another country with a different culture.
    • Which healthcare model is better and why?

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