Columbia University Medical Center
NYP Psychiatry Among the Top Ranked in the Nation
U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals
Ranked #1 in Research Funding
National Institutes of Health
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell

Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence


Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, MD, Director

In November 2007, the New York State Legislature allocated funding for two centers of excellence for cultural competence: one at the Nathan Kline Institute in Orangeburg, New York, and the other at the NYSPI. The NYSPI Center is dedicated to the study and development of culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for people throughout the state with serious mental illness. With the technical assistance and financial support of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), the Center combines intervention, services, and community-based participatory research to improve service availability, accessibility, and quality of care across the state.

During the Center’s first year, its major research included a community-based assessment of the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate physical health services to racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse people with serious mental illness in northern Manhattan. Now it is developing a:

  • Learning Collaborative with our community partners in northern Manhattan to create sustainable solutions to improve the integration of health and mental services in underserved communities;
  • web-based clearinghouse of reliable and valid measures of cultural competence, systematic literature reviews, and secondary data analyses of national and New York City data examining the intersection of race/ethnicity, serious mental illness, and health outcomes;
  • a study of an interpreter service model that will use teleconferencing technology to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate services to patients receiving mental health care;
  • and an evaluation of a culturally and linguistically tailored depression literacy tool for Hispanics with low literacy.

In addition, the Center has broadened its focus to address the cultural and linguistic needs of children and families receiving mental health services in New York State.


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