Psychiatry Residency Training Four-Year Curriculum on Culture and Diversity for Stony Brook University  

INTRODUCTION: The role of cultural competence in improving care is supported by evidence, and adequate cultural competence training is effective in increasing knowledge among health care providers and satisfaction among service users.  There have been seven systematic reviews of cultural competence or organizational and system changes to improve outcomes for diverse populations. These reviews highlight a number of paths an organization may take to improve its ability to offer equitable care for diverse populations. The course was developed to enhance the Psychiatry resident’s knowledge about the relationship between the sociocultural factors and health beliefs and behaviors. The course is organized to be implemented through all years of training placing on emphasis cultural competence’s role producing change in service delivery and clinical outcomes. The framework is divided into three areas of intervention: attitudes, knowledge, and skills. As this learning is a life-long process, this course will model a commitment to self-awareness and introspection, fundamental to the process of developing healing partnerships with patients and colleagues alike. 

OBJECTIVES: Cultural competence involves attitudes, knowledge and skills that enable a mental health professional to provide competent, equitable, and effective care to meet the diverse needs of all patients. This requires addressing basic cultural issues, including: 

  • The clinician’s own identity and relationship to patients from diverse backgrounds. 
  • Communication skills and familiarity with how to work with interpreters and culture brokers. 
  • Conceptual models of how cultural context and background influence developmental processes, psychopathology, help seeking, coping and adaptation to illness, treatment response, healing, recovery and well-being, as well as moral and ethical issues. 
  • Specific knowledge of the particular populations and communities with which the clinician is working.

COURSE FORMAT: The course meets once a month and will consist of both lectures and discussions. Each session lasts 60 minutes in length which will consist of 30 minutes of topic presentation and lecture and 30 minutes for guided discussion, group exercises, role-play or case study discussions. Principles that will be followed are: respecting confidentiality, being respectful when others are speaking, encouragement to speak from one’s own experience (use “I” statements), taking risks, being open to learning and asking questions.