CLAS Standards as a Catalyst for Prevention: A Learning Collaborative


The Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards as a Catalyst for Prevention: A Learning Collaborative (CLAS Learning Collaborative) gave participants the skills to improve service delivery and integrate culturally responsive strategies into their organizational structures. The CLAS Learning Collaborative presented cultural competence not as a distinct knowledge base, but as a framework to incorporate CLAS Standards, leadership development, and process improvement into the inner workings of an organization.


A request for applications was announced, and participation was open to OhioMHAS-certified prevention agencies. Eleven unique prevention agencies serving urban, rural, and suburban communities in NE, NW, Central, and SW Ohio, as well as Appalachia Ohio, were selected to participate in the learning collaborative.

Twenty-nine participants representing the 11 agencies attended a two-day summit to initiate prevention and agency-specific CLAS Standards change projects. All agencies were given the opportunity to assess their agency’s understanding and utilization of the National CLAS Standards using a customized NIATx Foundation CLAS Assessment (NFCA™) tool provided by Prevention Action Alliance in collaboration with NIATx. This assessment was used as the baseline measurement to track progress and outcomes for the project.

A combination of collaborative and individual organization coaching sessions were provided during the three months after the summit. All teams participated in these learning collaborative webinars during the implementation phase of the collaborative to share ideas, successes, and challenges with others in the collaborative. Throughout the process, the learning collaborative coaches provided technical assistance through Zoom meetings, phone, and email feedback on plans and implementation. This included a review of each organization’s strategic plan prior to implementation.

At the conclusion of the CLAS Learning Collaborative, all the participating organizations came together to celebrate and present their respective change project in a “5×5” PowerPoint presentation (i.e., five slides in five minutes).

Next Steps

The trainers will be meeting with each agency again to review their NIATx Foundation CLAS Assessment (NFCA™) and progress made over the course of the project. A more formal report will be created and published. The collaborative team will continue to meet and consider ways to support this group of CLAS Standards Collaborative alumni, as well as ways that we can expand upon this work.