Cultural and Linguistic Competence • CMHAM - Community Mental Health Association of Michigan
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Cultural and Linguistic Competence

Cultural and Linguistic Competence and Racial Justice:

Work of CMHA and Others

June 2020


Over the past several weeks (years, decades, centuries), the issue of racial justice has been on the minds and woven into the lives of many Americans. Several months ago, prior to the latest set of events, both tragic and heroic, and news stories around racial justice, CMHA had started the development of several initiatives centered around cultural and linguistic competence and racial justice. A summary of those initiatives, of which you will learn more in the coming months, is provided below:


  1. Cultural and Linguistic Competence Learning Community: In partnership with the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence and the MDHHS Developmental Disabilities Council, CMHA is designing an 8-month-long Cultural and Linguistic Competence (CLC) Learning Community. The work of this community will be built around a self-assessment conducted by the participants in the learning community and will be made up of the following components:


  • Kick-off keynote: Vivian Jackson, from the National Center for Cultural Competence, will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon of the second day of the CMHA Fall 2020 Conference. Vivian will kick-off the Learning Community by introducing the National Center’s cultural competence framework.
  • Dialogue groups: CLC teams will be solicited from CMHA members to participate in the Learning Community, and will start their work with Dialogue Groups which will run on the same day as the kick-off keynote, immediately following the keynote.
  • Team-defined stretch projects: The learning community will be structured around “stretch” cultural and linguistic competency projects as identified by each team.
  • 4 to 6 virtual and face-to-face sessions over the 8 months of the Learning Community
  • Workshop presentations at CMHA Spring/Summer 2021 Conference: Wrap-up sharing by CLC teams showcasing their CLC work in workshops at the CMHA Spring/Summer 2021 Conference


  1. Education and training offerings on cultural and linguistic competence provided via CMHA/MHTTC/SAMHSA partnership (in addition to learning community): The Community Mental Health Association of Michigan (CMHA) is the Michigan partner of the SAMHSA-funded Great Lakes Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (Great Lakes MHTTC). Through this partnership, CMHA regularly makes available, to its members and stakeholders, education and training offerings on a range of evidence-based and promising mental health prevention and treatment practices. Over the last several months, this partnership has made available a significant number of resources around cultural and linguistic competence. Some of those offerings are listed below:


  1. National MHTTC websites on Racial Equity and Cultural Diversity: An additional resource, supported through the CMHA/MHTTC/SAMHSA partnership, is a set of national websites providing a wide range of sound cultural and linguistic competence materials. The links to these websites and their descriptions can be found here.
  2. CMHA Weekly Update regularly features cultural and linguistic competence resources: Some of the resources included in the Weekly Update have included:
  • Health Affairs Blog: Inequities Amplified by COVID-19: Opportunities for Medicaid to Address Health Disparities.  The full blog can be found here.
  • The Social Determinants of Death: Excerpts from a recent editorial by Alan Weil, the Editor in Chief of Health Affairs, one of the nation’s pre-eminent publications on health policy, on the impact of racial disparities. The full editorial can be found here.
  • Cultural competence webinar series offered by MHTTC (see above)


  1. Resources from other sources: In addition to the work of CMHA, a number of state and national bodies have developed resources around and venues for the discussion of cultural and linguistic competence and racial justice. Some of those resources include:
  • Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities. Information on this task force can be found at its website that includes call-in information, notes from our various meetings, meeting recordings and other materials.
  • The Michigan Office of Equity and Minority Health, within MDHHS, has a number of sound cultural competence resources on its website.
  • National Association of Social Work-Michigan Chapter’s Racial Justice Resource and Action Kit available here.
  • A series of reports by McKinsey and Company (a nationally recognized research and analysis organization) – all of these titles are links to the reports:
·         Diversity wins: How inclusion matters

·         The color of wealth

·         Four priorities for supporting Black Americans during and after COVID-19

·         COVID-19: Investing in Black lives and livelihoods

·         The economic impact of closing the racial wealth gap

·         The future of work in Black America

·         Automation and the future of the African American workforce

·         Inequality: A persisting challenge and its implications


Dr. Martell Teasley’s presentation on Diversity, Racism, and Inclusion 11.10.20

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