Culturally Competent Care

Multilingual Services

Cambridge Health Alliance serves one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse patient populations in the United States.

Over half our patients speak a language other than English at home. Around 42% of our primary care patients have limited English proficiency and need a professional medical interpreter.

To support them, CHA has built a robust Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services team. We regularly provide interpreter services in more than 60 languages to all CHA sites. This includes requests for the deaf or hard of hearing, including American Sign Language and CDI services.

How We Do It

  • Professional medical interpreters via face-to-face, telephonic and video conference
  • Professional written translation services for forms, signage, and patient materials
  • Cultural and linguistic education for clinical and non-clinical staff
  • Language proficiency testing for bilingual providers

In addition, Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services manages the Information Desk at our Cambridge and Somerville campuses. A multilingual team greets and assists patients and visitors to navigate each campus, enhancing the experience of care. Language access is available at each Information Desk and site maps are provided in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Haitian Creole.

Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Diverse Populations

Our Behavioral Health teams provide evaluation, counseling, and therapy and have targeted programs that meet the unique mental health needs of specific ethnic populations. Expert staff provide culturally competent care to hundreds of people with concerns ranging from mild anxiety and depression to learning disabilities, relationship problems, addictions, and chronic or acute mental illness. Learn more:

Patients' Bill of Rights

Federal and state law provide for specific patient rights.

At Cambridge Health Alliance, we recognize our responsibility to respect these rights as well as to inform you of them. The following summarizes both federal law and the Massachusetts Patients' Bill of Rights.