Mental health care in NYS and elsewhere in the US and abroad is characterized by persisting disparities/inequities in the availability and quality of mental health care. The reasons for these disparities/ inequities are complex and occur at multiple levels, including at the level of societal structure, healthcare system, mental health program, clinician, and care recipient. This presentation will briefly consider some of the reasons for this complexity and spend most of the time discussing promising strategies for eliminating mental healthcare disparities/inequities.
Identify three key contributors to the elevated risk of mental health disparities facing underserved US ethnoracial groups, focusing on the US Latinx community.
Describe a person-centered approach to assessing the impact of these key contributors on mental health disparities.
Discuss five strategies to enhance access to and delivery of mental health services focused on disparity reduction.
Dr. Roberto Lewis-Fernández is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the New York State (NYS) Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence and the Hispanic Treatment Program, and Co-Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic, at NYS Psychiatric Institute. He is also Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University.
Dr. Lewis-Fernández’s research focuses on developing clinical interventions and novel service-delivery approaches to help overcome disparities in the care of underserved cultural groups. His work centers on improving treatment engagement and retention in mental health and physical health care by persons with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and other serious mental illnesses. He also studies the way culture affects individuals’ experience of mental disorder and their help-seeking expectations, including how to explore this cultural variation during the psychiatric evaluation. He led the development of the DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Interview, a standardized method for cultural assessment for use in mental health practice, and the Principal Investigator of its international field trial, conducted in Canada, India, Kenya, the Netherlands, Peru, and the United States. Dr. Lewis-Fernández’s research has been funded by US federal and state agencies as well as private foundations. He has published over 170 articles, editorials, commentaries, reports, books, and book chapters on the topic of cultural mental health.
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