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Cara Broich,  Chair, Medica Health Equity Workgroup

The Terms Matter... Do you know what they mean? Health Equity Part 2

This is the second of a two-part article about the related terms. More health equity articles will be posted in the coming months. In case you missed the first article, click here to learn more about the first three health equity terms we introduced.

We hear the terms related to health equity often, but do you understand their meaning?

Test your knowledge with this quick quiz:

  1. To support an individual's health and life goals by eliciting their values and preferences and then using them to guide all aspects of their healthcare is to practice _____.
  2. To respect the whole individual and respond to the individual's health needs and preferences is to practice _____.
  1. Person-centered care
  2. Culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS)

Answers below.

Now, let's explore the terms in more detail.

Person-Centered Care

A person-centered approach to care places a person at the center of the service and treats them as a person first. The focus is on the person a person's abilities and strengths and not their condition or disability. Support focuses on achieving the person's goals aspirations and are uniquely tailored to their unique circumstances. Here are some principles of Person-Centered Care:

  • Treating people with dignity, compassion, and respect.
  • Providing coordinated care, support, and treatment.
  • Offering personalized care, support, and treatment.

Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services

Culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) are a way to improve the quality of services provided to all individuals, which will ultimately help reduce health disparities and achieve health equity. Culturally and linguistically appropriate services are about respect and responsiveness:

  • Respect the whole individual
  • Respond to the individual's health needs and preferences.

Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services are one strategy to eliminating health inequities. By tailoring services to an individual's culture and language preferences, health professionals can help bring about positive health outcomes for diverse populations.

Medica's Commitment

An example of support for culturally and linguistically appropriate services, is the Medica Foundation grant to the Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers to coordinate the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate education materials for use across the state to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Medica, enhancing health equity is so important, it's part of the Medica Foundation's mission to improve the health of those in need by investing in community-led initiatives that advance health equity. Since 2003, the Foundation has granted nearly $32 million to help break down barriers to care, and to ensure that our work supports the vision of healthy communities free of inequities, where health resources, care, and treatment are accessible and available to all.

Meanwhile, our new Health Equity Committee has representation from across the company. The principles and commitments, which guide our health equity work, align with four focus areas, which include Leadership and Decision Making, Data Practices, Policies and Procedures, and Access and Outcomes.

Quiz Answers:

1. A
2. B