Cultural Awareness & Health Equity

Diversity - equity inclusion & culturally responsive care

What is health equity?

Health equity means the attainment of the highest level of health for all people, where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to attain their optimal health regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, preferred language or other factors that affect access to care and health outcomes

Investing in our own learning to understand and confront bias, understand and explore topics of diversity and learning about creative ways to create inclusive supportive work and caring environments, will help each one of us, individually, contribute to creating a better, inclusive and collaborative workplace. 

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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 organization's policies and processes including conflict management for grievances


CLAS, Cultural Competency and Cultural Humility

Effective Cross-Cultural Communications Skills

Working Effectively With An Interpreter

National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC)

Infusing Cultural and Linguistic Competency into Health Promotion Training

If you have WellFirst Health Plan members who require 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 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 for clarification or repetition to ensure accurate interpretation.

Using phone interpreting equipment

If you have phone interpreting equipment, for in-person calls use one handset to call into 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 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.

UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and Dean Health Plan partnership

 The Wisconsin Center for Public Health (WICPHET) is a consortium of community and academic based partners who convene for the purpose of periodically assessing the professional development needs of those currently serving the public health functions of Wisconsin communities and advancing public health by addressing the professional development needs of the workforce based on the assessment. 

 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 ever-increasing diversity of our communities in Wisconsin and across the nation warrants increased cultural awareness on the part of public health professionals. This series was developed to address this changing landscape by providing a basic foundation into the philosophy, values, and conceptual frameworks of cultural competence and cultural humility. By engaging with diverse individuals and communities through a culturally aware and self-reflective (cultural humility) lens, public health professionals will be better equipped to eliminate the long-standing disparities in the health and mental health status of diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.