Performance Improvement 2003. Office of Minority Health


Consumers’ Experiences with Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Study Design Report

The availability of culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) was widely regarded as essential to the delivery of efficient, quality health care in the United States. The Office of Minority Health (OMH) had addressed CLAS through numerous efforts, including this current study. OMH contracted with  Health Systems Research Associates to assess the feasibility of conducting a study of consumers’ experiences with CLAS. The feasibility assessment and consultation process included these main parts: (1)  developing a consultant work plan, (2) conducting a literature review/scan and key informant interviews within and outside the Federal government, (3) designing three study options for OMH consideration, with recommendation for one option, and (4) developing a detailed study design for that option. The report recommended the following study option (out of a set of three): Market Area Case Studies--Multiple Languages, Providers. This option addressed consumers’ experiences by conducting a set of 4-6 case studies of consumers and other stakeholders in diverse markets. This option, according to the report, provided the OMH with considerable flexibility with regard to study design, policy focus, and budget, and allows participation by the OMH in the study process. In addition, this option provided the potential for a modest exploratory study to provide a foundation for further research, based on review and analysis of related research and studies, key informant interviews, and case study observations and findings.

FEDERAL CONTACT: Valerie Welsh, 301-443-9923 PIC ID: 7710

PERFORMER: Health Systems Research Associates, Chevy Chase, MD


National Youth Sports Program Evaluation Project

The National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), initiated in 1968 as an outreach program of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, was designed to enhance the quality of life for youth from low-income families by providing academic and athletic activities through a five-week summer camp. Key NYSP objectives include the utilization of sports and educational activities for the purpose of exposing youth to educational opportunities, physical fitness, life skills, citizenship, interactive athletic skills, and health issues. The purpose of this funded project with the Inter-University Program for Latino Studies was to develop tools and resources that could be used by NYSP managers and staff to assess the program’s potential effects on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of youth participating in the summer program. Primary activities that were conducted included: a qualitative review of program activities via site visits at selected NYSP locations; development and pilot-testing of pre- and post-survey instruments designed to assess NYSP participants’ level of exposure to risk behaviors, their knowledge and beliefs about health and risk factors, and short-term impacts of the health-related curriculum and activities on participant knowledge; and revisions to the instruments based on pilot results and feedback on program performance. A comprehensive Health Resource Guide was compiled listing health education materials covering a wide range of health topics. The tools and resource guide can be used at NYSP sites to conduct self-assessments to determine whether program objectives are being met and to improve the program’s structure and content as indicated.

FEDERAL CONTACT: Joyce Heinonen, 301-594-0769 PIC ID: 7709

PERFORMER: The Inter-University Program for Latino Research, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN


Patients Who Don’t Speak English: Improving Language Minorities’ Health Care with Professional Interpreters

This was a study of the effects of professional interpreter services on health visit levels and patterns of a sample of limited English proficient (LEP) patients. LEP patients are those who speak a primary language other than English and who cannot speak English at all or speak English so poorly that they cannot communicate in English without assistance. Language services, including the use of professional interpreters, were seen as a facilitator variable in conventional health care models because they help patients with limited English to communicate with health care providers, and therefore access medical care. It was expected that language services were necessary to significantly reduce language barriers to health care. Findings provide support for the hypothesized role of interpreter services. LEP patients increased their health visits after the implementation of interpreter services. The increased utilization was larger for groups that can be considered to be most vulnerable to language barriers in accessing health care, including the elderly, the poor, and patients who had below average health visits prior to the implementation of interpreter services. Given the scarcity of systematic research on the effects of interpreter services on LEP patients’ health care, this study’s findings represented new and welcome evidence. This study has shown that organizations involved in health care, such as those providing health insurance, medical services, and language services, can play critical roles in gathering the kind of information that may be productively analyzed in further research.

FEDERAL CONTACT: Guadalupe Pacheco, 301-443-5084 PIC ID: 7858

PERFORMER: Department of Sociology, Portland State University, Portland, OR

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