Cultural Competence and the African American Community: A Meta-Analysis of the Implementation of Cultural Competency Training Programs in the United States

In the United States today many mental health practitioners recognize the cultural disparities among their clientele. They have acknowledged the need for cultural competency training in order to obtain the skills needed to provide more proficient mental health services to the minority clients for whom they do have the opportunity to provide services. In response to this need, a number of state and federal initiatives have been created in order to address these disparities and conduct research that will allow members of this profession to gain insight into the unmet needs of minorities, in particular African Americans. Despite the need for mental health services among the African American populations in our country, a large number of mental health clinics, practices and academic institutions have done little to implement programs designed to help increase the cultural competence of mental health practitioners. The purpose of this meta-analysis is to examine the available research which addresses the reasons behind the low numbers of African Americans’ utilization of mental health services, the disparities among mental health care being received by African Americans, a review of successful cultural competency programs, and of the current trend of cultural competency training program implementation in the United States.

Nina D. Mattson
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