Cultural competence: legislation and online resources

This was sent around the other day by Laurence Kirmayer on the Transcultural Psychiatry list-serv: a recent AP story recounts the efforts of several US states (namely, New Mexico, New Jersey and California) to mandate cultural competence training for clinicians.

I haven’t followed this closely, but there is an enormous amount of material available online for those interesting in issues of cultural competence, although much of it is dispersed and varies depending on the institutional and national/regional context. A few places to start include the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University, an on-line information clearinghouse called Diversity Rx, and a site put together by the US Dept of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, and Culture Counts, a resource developed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

McGill’s Transcultural Psychiatry Division has developed the Cultural Consultation Service, its own model for addressing these issues. Hopefully we’ll be posting more about this program in the near future, but in the meantime a 2003 journal article on the CCS is available for free download here.

Finally, another useful starting point is a 2006 PLoS Medicine essay by Arthur Kleinman and Peter Benson on cultural competence and its links to contributions anthropology and ethnography.