New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence
Affiliated with the Anxiety Disorders Clinic, the Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence is one of the few research centers in the country focused on cultural competence that is affiliated directly with a mental health authority. It receives state, federal, and local funding to conduct research that improves the quality and cultural competence of mental health services and helps reduce health and health care disparities. We focus on six research initiatives: integration of physical and mental health services, access to language interpreters, culturally competent engagement, suicide prevention, mental health policy and social determinants of mental health, and first-episode psychosis.
Current projects include: (a) developing and testing a brief intervention to enhance patient engagement in mental health services that is based on the Cultural Formulation Interview, a standardized approach for patient cultural evaluation developed for DSM-5 by our center and our international collaborators; (b) testing a peer-led lifestyle change intervention to reduce risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease among culturally diverse individuals with serious mental illness in supportive housing; (c) an efficacy trial of a community-developed suicide prevention program for Latina girls at high risk for suicidal ideation and behavior; (d) developing a peer-facilitated intervention to enhance the financial capability of individuals with psychiatric disabilities, improve employment outcomes, and reduce the risk of rehospitalization, and (e) collaborating with the NYS Office of Mental Health to examine determinants of and disparities in perceived need and use of support services (including employment services) and their outcomes among New Yorkers with serious mental illness and disability served by the public mental health system.