Cultural awareness + health equity

Diversity, equity, inclusion, + culturally-responsive care

Health equity means achieving the highest level of health for all people. It ensures everyone has an equal opportunity for optimal health, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, preferred language, or other factors.

We invest in learning to help us understand and confront bias. We work to explore topics of diversity and create inclusive and supportive environments. We believe each of us can contribute to realizing more inclusive and collaborative workplaces.

Health and health care disparities

Differences in health and health care between groups that stem from broader inequities are known as health and health care disparities. These disparities are often viewed through the lens of race and ethnicity, but they occur across a broad range of dimensions.

The National CLAS Standards help advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities by establishing a blueprint for health and health care organizations that includes:

  • A principal standard

  • Governance, leadership, and workforce that promotes CLAS and health equity

  • Communication and language assistance by offering interpretation services and multimedia materials at no cost to those in need

  • Engagement, continuous improvement, and accountability through policies and processes including conflict management for grievances

CLAS, cultural competency, and cultural humility

Effective cross-cultural communication skills

Working effectively with an interpreter 

National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC)

Infusing cultural and linguistic competency into health promotion training

Our partnership with the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health

The Wisconsin Center for Public Health (WICPHET) is a consortium of community and academic based partners who periodically meet. They assess the professional development needs of those currently serving the public health functions of Wisconsin communities. Based on their assessment, they work to address the development needs of this workforce.
WiCPHET - Health Equity Training Series
The following modules introducing health equity are geared for people already working in public health, as well as students seeking a master of public health degree.

WiCPHET - Cultural Awareness Training Series

The diversity of our communities calls for increased cultural awareness on the part of public health professionals. This series provides a basic foundation of the philosophy, values, and conceptional frameworks of cultural competence and humility. Using a culturally-aware and self-reflective lens, public health professionals can help to eliminate health disparities.

If one of our members requires language assistance, you can use our telephone Language Line free of charge. This line is intended for providers who do not have access to interpretation services and need to interact with our members who have limited English language proficiency.

How to access an interpreter:

  • Call the Language Line at 1-844-526-1386.
    • You will be prompted to indicate your language need:
      • Press 1 for Spanish. This will directly connect you to a Spanish-speaking interpreter.
      • Press 6 for all other languages. This will prompt you to indicate which language you need interpretation services. 
      • After confirming your language need, you'll be connected to an interpreter.
  • The interpreter will share their name and ID number at the beginning of the call. They will also ask you for: 
    • Your name and/or the name of the provider performing the service.
    • The clinic or facility name where the service is being provided.
    • The member’s name or their member ID number
  • You'll also brief the interpreter on any special communication instructions or needs.
    • The interpreter will also ask if this is an in-person call (the member is with you) or if a third-party call is needed (to connect you and the interpreter to the member who is at another location). If a third-party call is required, the interpreter will ask for the member’s telephone number and initiate a three-way call.


Working with an interpreter

  • Note the interpreter’s name and ID number provided at the beginning of the call for future reference.
  • Once engaged with the member, speak directly to that individual, not to the interpreter.
  • Pause at the end of a complete thought to allow time for the interpreter to convey the information to the member. To ensure accuracy, your interpreter may ask you to for clarification or repetition. 

Using phone interpreting equipment

If you have phone interpreting equipment for in-person calls, use one handset to call the Language Line. Once connected, give the second handset to the member.

Customer service

If you wish to provide feedback on your Language Line experience, email the Provider Network Services. Along with your feedback, include your name, company/organization name, date/time of your call, interpreter’s name and ID number, and the member’s ID number.