Prevention Activity 2A: CLAS Standards

The RCORP-Implementation initiative includes a grant requirement to address part of Core Prevention Activity #2:

Provide and assess the impact of culturally and linguistically appropriate education to improve family members’, caregivers’, and the public’s understanding of evidence-based treatments and prevention strategies for SUD/OUD

Utilizing a micro community of practice (workgroup), a subset of members from the master consortium worked to consider how CLAS related to prevention, treatment, and recovery for opioid use disorder in rural and Appalachian communities in Ohio.


Who: Each local consortium determined the size and mix of representatives to participate in the CLAS workgroup micro learning community. Each consortium also utilized a locally driven community-based process to independently review the standards, including assessing current practices and prioritizing action plans to address CLAS. The flexibility to self-select participants resulted in a wide variety of people who engaged the process, including consortia members, direct service providers, and key stakeholders who influence OUD service delivery.

What: The workgroup met bi-weekly from March 2020 to June 2020 to identify opportunities for shared work and collaboration. Workgroup members discussed their processes, priorities for implementation, and initial changes they were making in their practices. They are in the process of developing a CLAS action plan and once finalized they will be available on their individual pages. In May 2020, the COP-RCORP Master Consortium adopted a position statement on culturally and linguistically appropriate services for all RCORP-related core activities. Each of the local consortia plans to incorporate the guiding principles into their community-based work.


How: The accordion table below presents the key steps in the process undertaken by the workgroup members. These steps include reviewing the standards, deciding how to prioritize them locally, creating an action plan for addressing CLAS, and creating the mater-level guidance statement for COP-RCORP. The last tab includes key resources for understanding CLAS.

The CLAS standards are intended to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities by establishing a blueprint for health and health care organizations to provide effective, equitable, understandable, and respectful quality care and services that are responsive to diverse cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy, and other communication needs. (principal standard of CLAS

The National CLAS website details more information on the principal and 14 other Standards related to: Governance, Leadership and Workforce, Communication and Language Assistance, Engagement, Continuous Improvement, and Accountability.

Presentation on CLAS Standards Workgroup

In July 2020, the CLAS Workgroup members made a presentation to the HRSA Government Project Officer and JBS International regarding the CLAS workgroup and results of the process. This video showcases the four communities and their experiences.

Video Link Here

Initial Resources

Everyone may have different experience levels and familiarity with the CLAS standards. The following CLAS standards resources are a good way to introduce the concepts.

1. 2-page Written Overview: a handy reference of the 15 standards, organized by thematic areas.
2. Basic Fundamentals Overview Video (44 minutes long): The first 25 minutes provide an overview and fundamentals of the CLAS standards. The remaining 20 minutes cover resources that might be helpful for future reference. 3. More In-depth Videos: If you are already familiar with the standards and want to review something more in-depth, here is a link to profession-specific e-learning programs. Please note you will need to create a free account to watch these and many are a series of videos. COP-RCORP has created the following questions to guide discussion as members reviewed these resources:
What is something you learned? What is a question you have? How could the consortium expand its resources about CLAS standards? What other resources do you know about that could be helpful?

Getting Started

Assess Implementation The slide deck below is meant to guide conversation about the standards. After a chance to share ideas and thoughts as well as solution-find regarding group questions, each local consortium and the master consortium can independently assess implementation status for the activities related to CLAS standards using the checklist below. Based on the checklist from Think Cultural Health, COP-RCORP has developed a fillable checklist with guiding questions to help facilitate moving forward in addressing these standards (included in the checklist document). SLIDES CHECKLIST


On our Second meeting, we completed a group SWOT together to help leadership glean insights about the group’s overall S-W-O-T and move toward the master consortium deliverable (vision/mission statement, guidance doc). Communities then completed a community-level SWOT (looking across all standards from their completed checklist). After the SWOT is completed, communities answered reflection questions. The purpose of the reflection questions is to begin the prioritization process (what 2-3 standards the community will choose to focus on for action planning). SLIDES SWOT worksheet

Action Planning

COP-RCORP has created an Action Planning Template to assist in moving from the early stages of planning into taking action to meet CLAS standards. This template includes steps to:

  • Reflect on weaknesses and threats from the SWOT
  • Identify the first steps needed to act
  • Create a timeline for implementing
  • List the resources needed to accomplish the tasks
  • Bring the partners needed to the table
  • Plan for ensuring accountability

After completing the template, COP-RCORP members met with a workgroup peer from another consortium to discuss their draft Local Action Plans and provide feedback/suggestions. Then, local consortia finalized their Local Action Plan independently.

To address changes related to COVID-19, we developed this form for communities to document how activities shifted during the pandemic.

Creating a Shared Vision

Ohio Defines Cultural Competence A continuous learning process that builds knowledge, awareness, skills and capacity to identify, understand and respect the unique beliefs, values, customs, languages, abilities and traditions of all Ohioans in order to develop policies to promote effective programs and services (Multiethnic Advocates for Cultural Competence, 2006) OhioMHAS Disparities and Cultural Competency Committee Purpose: To provide expert, data-driven guidance and advocacy to identify best practices, data measures, research and cross-system collaborations to reduce health disparities and promote health equity within Ohio’s behavioral health system. Vision: Transform Ohio’s evolving behavioral health continuum to be free of cultural and linguistic disparities. OhioMHAS DACC Leadership Disparities and Cultural Competence Manager Health Equity & Cultural Competency Policy/Program Health Equity & Cultural Competence Administrator

Using these supports, the COP-RCORP CLAS standards workgroup developed the following guidance for the Master Consortium and Local Consortia regarding how this initiative will address CLAS standards

The COP-RCORP Master Consortium recognizes the importance of utilizing the CLAS Standards when implementing all RCORP OUD/SUD activities and strategic plans in five rural communities in Ohio. We strive to engage in a continuous, data-driven, and collaborative process to address health disparities and promote respectful, responsive, and accessible services. By strengthening our knowledge, skills, and awareness of culturally and linguistically appropriate services, we demonstrate our commitment to enhance health equity across the evolving continuum of care.

Sustainability and Accountability

After completing action plans, the CLAS workgroup decided to meet quarterly to share progress and updates on their goals. Recognizing that addressing CLAS is not a one-time activity, the group has plans to decide on sustainable processes for the future of each local consortia.