Structure of the Heartland Regional Health Equity Council

The Heartland Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC) aims to end health disparities in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. The Heartland RHEC maintains a diverse membership representing several sectors such as state government, higher education, health care delivery, private foundations, and non-profit organizations. The diversity on the Heartland RHEC ensures adequate input from diverse sectors in the council’s efforts to understand and address health disparities in the region. The council has 31 voting members and 11 ad hoc members.


The council’s activities are coordinated by two Co-Chairs, and directed by 4 Committees, each led by two chair persons: Data Development, Health Equity, Membership Development and Partnership Development.

Ongoing Activities and Accomplishments: 
  • The major focus for 2017-2019 will be the development of the RHEC’s Health Equity Toolkit, and administrating the health equity survey, which will be used to help shape the Heartland toolkit. 
  • The RHEC identified milestones for the development and release of additional documents that will become part of the toolkit. 
  • The RHEC will continue building onto the environmental scan with the release of additional subject area topics as addendum. An addendum: "Heart Disease Disparities Report" was release in April 2016. 
  • A major accomplishment was the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Wichita State University to provide public health interns to assist the RHEC in its work, and an MOU with the Midwestern Public Health Training Center (Iowa) with a focus on diabetes and other chronic diseases (pending signature)
Materials, media releases and/or social media accounts: 
Heartland RHEC Repository of CLAS Standards Training Materials
  • Selected Cultural Competency and CLAS Definitions
  • A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care; Published by HRSA. With continued concerns about disparities in health care, and the need for health care systems to accommodate increasingly diverse patient populations, cultural and linguistic competency has become more and more a matter of national concern. To equip health care professionals with the knowledge, skills, and awareness that will enable them to better respond to the needs of the increasingly diverse U.S. population, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (HHS OMH) commissioned "A Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care." This self-directed e-learning program is accredited for physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. 
  • Enhanced CLAS Standards with Dr. Gracia from the Office of Minority Health (OMH). This is a clear and succinct webinar which explains in about 20 minutes what CLAS is about. The next half hour is spent explaining why CLAS is important for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. 
  • Best Practices in Serving LGBTQ Individuals and Families by Community Alliance & OnTrack Consulting. Community Alliance has developed a series of videos to help train health care professionals, educators and the public on the National CLAS Standards. The focus of this training is the LBGTQ community. 
  • Beyond the Right Thing to Do: The Legal Case for CLAS Implementation by the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions. This webinar covers Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Basics-How the Law Applies to You, Cultural Competency, CLAS and Federal Law, Liability, Current state of Civil Rights Enforcement and Litigation. 
  • Community Alliance for CLAS Series; Published by Tamu Nolflo. What is CLAS? A webinar which includes background about CLAS, what it is and what are the intentions of CLAS. 
  • Culturally Responsible Healthcare and CLAS Standards by Jeffrey Ring, PhD, Principal, Health Management Associates. This webinar offers a lengthy introduction at the beginning, which explains the why behind CLAS. Discussion includes going over the CLAS standards and then an interactive exercise at the end of the webinar. This pieces offers various scenarios and the individual applies the CLAS standard in the situation. This webinar illustrates how to apply CLAS in a medical/clinical environment. 
  • Making CLAS Happen by the Refugee Health Technical Assistances Center, Refugee and immigrant Health Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. This training will introduce clinical providers, health care administrators and social service providers to the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards, issued in 2001 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health. A specific focus will be on defining racially-based oppression and its impact within a clinical setting. It will also emphasize the importance of implementing CLAS standards from a service, legal and financial perspective. Faculty will present case studies outlining best-practices in applying the CLAS standards. Case studies will highlight Community Partnerships, Health Literacy and Client-Centered Care. 
  • Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient-and-Family-Centered Care; Published by The Joint Commission. This training website provides a road map of the CLAS standards that can be downloaded for use. It will help to train health professionals on the National CLAS Standards. 
  • Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient-and-Family-Centered Care (LGBT community); published by the Joint Commission. This website will help to train professionals around effective communication the LGBT community using the National CLAS Standards. 
  • AIDS Education and Training Center CLAS Curriculum; Published by National Multicultural Center, Howard University School of Medicine. This online quiz will help to train health care professionals on the National CLAS Standards. The focus of this training is HIV/AIDS. 
  • CLAS; Published by Jon Merril. This animated video on the National CLAS Standards can be presented to anyone who would like to understand National CLAS standards basics, including how they can be used. 
  • A Class About C.L.A.S; Published by the Utah Department of Public Health. These videos on the current National CLAS Standards, is for health professionals and organizations looking to understand the basic so of CLAS standards and how they are used. This site includes other CLAS resources and a toolkit. 
  • CLAS Standards – Four Training Modules on TRAIN; Published by Bruce L. Adelson. This online and downloadable training will provide an overview of the federal requirements of the Affordable Care Act and the legal bases for the National CLAS Standards. It will help train anyone interested in the legal matters surrounding these policies. 
  • Think Cultural Health CLAS Webinars; Selected Topics in CLAS Catalog of webinars include fundamentals, action, tribal, sexual orientation, community and systems level, religion and spirituality, health and healthcare and more. 
  • Cultural Competency Resource Guide; Published by the Southeastern Health Equity Council. This resource guide targets NPA stakeholders and RHEC members, and includes articles and websites as well as points of contact that can provide more information on cultural competency. 
  • Educational Videos; What is cultural competence; Published by ONTRACK. These videos will help to train health care professionals, educators, and the public on the National CLAS Standards. The focus of this training is cultural competency. 
  • Introduction to the National CLAS Standards; Published by Virginia Health Department. This website provides an introduction which will help to train health professionals on the National CLAS Standards. 
  • Leveraging CLAS Webinar; Published by the Heartland Regional Health Equity Council. This webinar recording is designed to help navigators, certified application counselors, and others effectively work with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. 
  • Manual for Non-English Written Materials and Translations; Published by the Arizona Department of Health. This manual is intended to serve as guidance and a resource for health and healthcare organizations and other service providers in Arizona involved in developing and translating non-English materials. 
  • National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care; Published by the Federal Register. The Federal Register provides a brief background summary of the development process and public comment period of the National CLAS Standards before they were made available to the public.