Culturally Competent Care

CHA at a Glance

Delivering Expert Care to Everyone in Need

  • Serving 150,000 patients from across the Boston region
  • Employing more than 40 bilingual primary care providers
  • Nationally recognized Medical Interpreter and Translation Programs, available in over 150 languages, and serving patients in more than 250,000 annual encounters
  • Delivering health care at the grassroots level in partnership with dozens of local non-profit organizations

Responding to Health Disparities

  • An active employee-led Diversity Council, dedicated to implementing solutions to address health disparities
  • Multidisciplinary Zero Disparities Committee focused on improving the collection and use of demographic data
  • Vibrant Community Health Advisory Council (CHAC) that works with community partners to help us understand and respond to community health needs
  • Internationally-recognized Health Equity Research Lab

Multilingual Services

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

Over half of our patients speak a language other than English at home. 42% of primary care patients at Cambridge Health Alliance have limited English proficiency and require the services of a professional medical interpreter. Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services regularly provides interpreter services in more than sixty languages to all CHA sites. Interpreter services also handle requests for the deaf or hard of hearing, including American Sign Language and CDI services. To help bridge linguistic and cultural gaps, Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services provides the following:

  • 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

Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services currently oversees Information Desk operations at our Cambridge and Somerville campuses. A multilingual team of information aides greet and assist 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.

Zero Disparities Committee

The Zero Disparities Committee is a multidisciplinary working group comprised of members from the CHA Departments of Community Health Improvement, Multicultural Affairs and Patient Services, and Quality Management departments. The Committee’s mission is to reduce disparities in service utilization and health outcomes among the populations served by the Cambridge Health Alliance.

Communities We Serve

(Data source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2010-2014 5-year estimates Provided by Ranjani Paradise, Institute for Community Health (