Multiple sessions at this year’s institute examine how provisions of the Affordable Care Act may bring significant improvements to the mental health care of minorities.
For this year’s Institute on Psychiatric Services (IPS), APA’s Office of Minority and National Affairs (OMNA) has developed a track that takes cues from the 2013 IPS theme, “Transforming Psychiatric Practice, Reforming Health Care Delivery.” The kickoff workshop, “Understanding the Impact of Health Care Reform on the Mental Health of Diverse and Underserved Populations,” will feature national experts in the delivery and study of culturally competent mental health services in context of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This session will deal with aspects of care specifically relevant to diverse and underserved populations from the system, provider, and recipient points of view.
Back by popular demand is Howard Stevenson, Ph.D., who at the 2012 IPS led participants in a dynamic step-by-step approach to providing therapy to an African-American family that was confronting challenging behavioral issues in their teenage daughter. Building upon the success of his 2012 session, Dr. Stevenson will lead the session “Trustin’ Wise Ole’ Owls: Racial Stress, Coping, and Socialization in Black Families.” This session will recreate a “learning community” in which attendees at all levels of practice can participate in discussions about approaches to achieving optimal clinical outcomes for culturally diverse recipients of mental health services. This session will help actualize a major goal of the ACA, namely promotion of high-quality, culturally appropriate care delivered by an informed workforce of mental health professionals.
A focus on prevention is another feature of the ACA. The session “Suicide Screening and Response in General Hospitals: Addressing the TJC Patient Safety Goal” will discuss the many hurdles in implementing a suicide-prevention program, including the need for training in suicide-risk screening and the burden of using screening tools for this purpose, including time pressures involved in screening.
Health care reform emphasizes improvements in quality of care. A critical aspect of quality psychiatric care is accurate diagnosis that takes into account cultural background and environmental context. In the session “Culturally Appropriate Assessment Revealed: DSM-IV-TR Outline for Cultural Formulation and Cultural Formulation Interview Demonstrated With Videotaped Case Vignettes,” presenters will discuss the DSM-IV-TR Outline for Cultural Formulation as an excellent tool for evaluating culturally diverse individuals. Attendees will be encouraged to learn how to assess their own and their patients’ cultural identities and how the ethnicity and culture of the clinician and patient affect transference and countertransference.
The aforementioned sessions will illustrate a variety of dimensions of mental health care that are fostered by the ACA, including not only increased access to care, but access to quality, culturally competent care and prevention. Our hope is that this year’s OMNA on Tour track offerings will contribute to the development of a well-trained and enlightened workforce prepared to deliver culturally appropriate care to an increasingly diverse U.S. population. ■
Annelle Primm, M.D., is director of APA’s Office of Minority and National Affairs. Alison Bondurant is the associate director.
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