Interview with Dr. Tamu Nolfo, Alliance for CLAS–FREE Services!

Explanation of Benefits: FREE Services for Organizations to Ensure Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services

An interview with Tamu Nolfo from ONTRACK Program Resources

What is CLAS? Community Alliance for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS). CLAS offers a completely free service funded by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs to help organizations improve outcomes around cultural competency with the end goal of reducing disparities.

Why CLAS? Organizations are encouraged to take advantage of this service because not only is it imperative that organizations offer culturally and linguistically appropriate services for clients and students, but with health care reform and other changes promoting integration, organizations are expected to be aligned with the 14 federal CLAS standards. Additionally, funders are putting cultural and linguistic requirements into contract language; organizations need to be aligned with the CLAS standards in order to meet these contract obligations and to open up opportunities to partner with primary care providers and “move into the future” of funding.

How can CLAS help my organization? CLAS services include several elements. Some organizations are recognizing there may be changes in demographics of the populations they’re serving: an organization may have started out serving one demographic, primarily straight African-American individuals for example, and are now serving more Hmong, Russian, or LGBT individuals of all backgrounds. The consultants at CLAS have expertise in specific areas and can assist organizations in figuring out what cultural and linguistic training is appropriate for current services provided. CLAS consultants look at organizations’ workforce and ask if they have the right people providing services, the right training, and even the right volunteer linkages to provide the most appropriate services. CLAS services can help with data collection. CLAS can help your organization look at the demographics of the community it is serving and see if you are in fact serving who you should be serving. If, for example, your organization has a goal to help young women who are pregnant not get pregnant again within 5 years, CLAS can help find out if there are disparities in services among ethnic groups. CLAS can also help organizations with client satisfaction surveys, finding out if clients are equally happy or if there are differences in client satisfaction based on culture or language.

How does my organization go about getting CLAS services? CLAS’s services are FREE! Interested organizations fill out a very short application online and will be contacted by CLAS for a detailed assessment. After a coaching call, CLAS will create a tailored technical assistance plan of action with your organization. Your organization will be matched with a consultant who will go to you for on-site training and consultation (all paid for!). Each site is eligible for free, tailored services (this means that if your organization is working with three schools, each school is eligible). CLAS offers certification for services, which can be helpful for funding purposes. CLAS services are available on a first come, first serve basis.

For further information, check out the CLAS website: or contact Tamu Nolfo at (ONTRACK Program Resources is the organization that manages the contract)

Not sure what cultural competency means? Want to learn more? Watch Dr. Tamu Nolfo explain in this great video! What is cultural competency?

Check out the benefits of CLAS here: CLAS Flyer 2012

2 thoughts on “Interview with Dr. Tamu Nolfo, Alliance for CLAS–FREE Services!

  1. You are so welcome! I really appreciate that you’re letting your network know about our project; I want as many providers and schools as possible to take advantage of it.

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