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DHS news release

Sept. 1, 2004

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180; Toni Phipps (503) 947-5438


Web resource for agencies that have non-English speaking clients

Organizations that serve people who have limitations in speaking, reading, writing or understanding English will find a new Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) Web site useful.


"Our focus in creating this site was on health services such as hospitals, clinics, health plans and county health departments," says Toni Phipps, DHS project coordinator. "But this is a virtual library of information that other organizations may find useful in evaluating whether they are truly accessible to all people who may be entering their doors."


The site, found here on the DHS Multicultural Health Web site, provides hands-on tools, all of which can be downloaded for use. Some examples include treatment consent forms in four languages, a self-assessment tool to help determine where improvements can be made and "I Speak" cards that can be used to identify a non-English speaking person’s native language so that appropriate translation services can be obtained.


The site compiles applicable federal laws and policies, including federal Executive Order 13166, which stipulates that people who have limited skill or understanding of the English language should have meaningful access to federally funded programs and activities. It also has a Q&A page and a policies and procedures section.


Phipps says the site was created primarily for DHS and other agencies that receive federal funds, so they could ensure their programs truly provide access to all people they serve, including people with limited English proficiency.


"However, any organization or business that wants to be responsive to non-English speaking populations, whether they receive federal dollars or not, will find this Web site helpful," Phipps said.