Diversity initiatives in academic psychiatry: Applying cultural competence

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23 Scopus citations


Objective: This article describes the process of change in an academic department of psychiatry that has led to the development of a diversity initiative in teaching, research, recruitment, and services. Methods: The authors performed a literature review of diversity initiatives using PubMed. The authors then wrote a case study of the development of a diversity initiative at UC Davis. Results: Some articles on diversity initiatives were found, but none that detailed the administrative process, funding, or sustainability of such initiatives. In 1999, the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences recognized the importance of issues of diversity and established the Diversity Advisory Committee, a group of department faculty and residents that explores and addresses the diversity needs of the department. In our observations, there are at least three requirements for a successful diversity initiative: a diverse patient population, a "critical mass" of interested faculty, and support of the administration. With these three factors in place, the Diversity Advisory Committee produced four Continuing Medical Education symposia focused on diversity topics, developed a 4-year cultural psychiatry curriculum and a 4-year religion and spirituality curriculum within the residency, and supported nine residents who received awards from the APA's Minority Fellowships in 8 years. Future plans include department-wide and medical school faculty-wide diversity training, educational research, and a postgraduate fellowship in cultural psychiatry. Conclusion: This article shows that a diversity initiative can be undertaken with interested minority and nonminority faculty, ad ministrative support, and a diverse patient population. The authors hope this article will provide assistance to other academic departments in developing diversity initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-290
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Education


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