The mission of Massachusetts General Hospital is “to improve the health and well-being of the diverse communities we serve.” Critical to achieving this mission is providing culturally sensitive care to our patients. We strive to follow the CLAS standards, particularly Standard 1:

Standard 1. Health care organizations should ensure that patients/consumers receive from all staff members effective, understandable, and respectful care that is provided in a manner compatible with their cultural health beliefs and practices and preferred language.

This standard constitutes the fundamental requirement on which all activities specified in the other CLAS standards are based. Its intent is to ensure that all patients/consumers receiving health care services experience culturally and linguistically competent encounters with an organization’s staff...

Respectful care includes taking into consideration the values, preferences, and expressed needs of the patient/consumer. Understandable care involves communicating in the preferred language of patients/consumers and ensuring that they understand all clinical and administrative information...

From: National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, March 2001

The first step in providing culturally sensitive care to our limited English proficient (LEP) and Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) patients, is to call an interpreter. Contact us for information or to schedule an appointment.

Mass General Medical Interpreter Services provides in-service training to any and all hospital staff who desire it. For an in-service on the provision of interpreters services and how to partner with a medical interpreter to deliver safe, high quality and culturally competent care, contact the Clinical Director of Interpreter Services, Chris Kirwan


Point to Talk booklets are available online for the following languages:

Communication Tool Binder

Inpatient nurse stations have a Communication Tool binder with copies of each language booklet.

Written Translations

Having patients’ handouts translated and available in the most frequently used languages can help with patient care. If you have patient material to translate, contact the Translation Specialist at:

HealthStream Training Module

The Disparities Solutions Center, in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions (MGH IHP) and with support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, developed an interprofessional curriculum to educate those in the health professions to:

  • Understand the evidence of disparities and high rate of medical errors, particularly for patients with limited English proficiency
  • Work effectively with interpreters and other care team members to ensure safe, high quality care for patients with limited English proficiency
  • Explore how systems of care can be improved to ensure quality and safety for patients with limited English proficiency in a team environment

This curriculum was pilot tested with an interprofessional group of faculty and students from Harvard Medical School and the MGH IHP School of Nursing and is now available for educators in the health professions who are interested in incorporating training on providing safe, effective care for patients with limited English proficiency in an interprofessional environment. The e-learning modules were also piloted with clinical staff at Mass General and adopted as part of the Massachusetts General Physician Organization’s annual training requirements in 2015 and is now available on Healthstream under the title: MGH PCS Providing Safe and Effective Care for Patients with Limited English Proficiency LEP.