Learning from those we serve: Piloting a culture competence intervention co-developed by university faculty and persons in recovery

Miriam E Delphin-Rittmon, Elizabeth H Flanagan, Chyrell D Bellamy, Annette Diaz, Kevin Johnson, Victoria Molta, Bridgett Williamson, Maria-Cristina Cruza-Guet, Jose Ortiz
Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal 2016, 39 (1): 14-9

OBJECTIVE: This article describes the development and piloting of a bilevel intervention codeveloped by persons in recovery from mental illness and addiction and university faculty with expertise in cultural competence to improve the cultural competence of a community mental health center in the northeastern United States.

METHOD: Two faculty and 5 persons in recovery met for 6 months to develop the bilevel training intervention. They discussed experiences of culturally responsive care and developed experiential activities and case examples for the 2-day training. Forty-five community mental health service providers attended the 2-day training. Trainees' self-reported awareness, knowledge, and skills in cultural competence were measured pre and post training and analyzed with repeated measure t tests. Next, faculty and persons in recovery provided follow-up training and helped to establish an infrastructure supported to support the agency cultural competence plan. One hundred twenty-five providers completed the Organizational Multicultural Competence Survey and between-subjects t tests measured increases in organizational cultural competence.

RESULTS: Significant increases were found in providers' multicultural knowledge, awareness, and skills. Qualitative responses demonstrated the contribution of the experiences of persons in recovery to the training. Ratings of the organizational-level cultural competence intervention showed significant improvements in the agency's cultural competence policies (e.g., implementation of strategies to hire and retain a diverse workforce).

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: These data suggest that bilevel interventions codeveloped by persons in recovery and researchers may be effective in increasing provider and organizational-level cultural competence. Future research should evaluate the effect of these interventions on consumers and health outcomes.

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