14th Robert Lee Sutherland Seminar Wrap-up
Seminar Sparked Rich Dialogue on the Intersection of Cultural Competence and Evidence-Based Practices
March 1, 2007
On November 30 to December 1, 2006, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health hosted the Fourteenth Robert Lee Sutherland Seminar, "Transforming Mental Health Services in Texas: Building Bridges Between Cultural Competence and Evidence-Based Practice." This biennium's seminar was held in Houston.
Approximately 200 clinicians, researchers, policymakers, consumers, and family members from around the state attended the Robert Lee Sutherland Seminar, which focused on cultural adaptations of evidence-based mental health treatments.
The Hogg Foundation sponsored the seminar to share a wealth of information and diverse perspectives on cultural adaptations and to promote dialogue and progress on this vital issue.
More information about the seminar, including the conference agenda, is available on the Foundation's website at: www.hogg.utexas.edu. Video clips, speakers' PowerPoint presentations, and related articles will be posted on the website.
Cultural Adaptation: A Timely Focus
Nationwide, policymakers and payers are encouraging, sometimes even requiring, mental health providers to use evidence-based practices (EBPs) in their work with clients. EBPs, like cognitive-behavioral therapy, are mental health treatments that have been shown to work across multiple research trials.
The rationale is that treatments that are successful in carefully designed research studies are more likely to help clients in the "real world" than untested approaches that providers may use. EBPs are equated with quality mental health care. While no one would argue against the need for quality mental health services, the push for EBPs as the solution is controversial. A critical issue is the cultural relevance of these treatments.
The majority of participants in EBP research are white and middle class. Although people of color are rarely well represented in these studies, the assumption is that a treatment that works well for a white, middle class population will work well for everyone.
Unfortunately, this assumption runs counter to decades of research demonstrating that there are important ethnic and racial differences in how people think about mental illness, seek help, and participate in treatment.
There is good reason to believe that one size may not fit all. Now a "majority-minority" state, Texas must find ways to provide quality mental health services to people of all cultures. Some research studies have shown that EBPs can work for people of color.
Particularly compelling is the emerging research demonstrating that EBPs are successful with people of color when their delivery is modified to address clients' cultural differences. Culturally adapting EBPs is the cutting edge of quality mental health care. Visit the Foundation's website to learn more about its Cultural Adaptation Initiative.
History of the Robert Lee Sutherland Seminars
Biennially, since 1978, the Foundation has convened the Robert Lee Sutherland Seminars to encourage people to work cooperatively to address timely issues for the improvement of mental health and the quality of life in Texas.
The Seminars are a living tribute to the first director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, Dr. Robert Lee Sutherland, who led the Foundation for 30 years (1940-1970).
During his tenure, Dr. Sutherland brought together people and ideas in the pursuit of innovation and cooperation for mental health initiatives in Texas.
Through these seminars, the Foundation brings together participants with state and national experts to discuss critical issues in mental health. In 2004, the Seminar focused on the reduction of seclusion and restraint in "Safe and Appropriate Behavioral Interventions: Changing the Culture of Care."
More information about previous Robert Lee Sutherland Seminars is available on the Hogg Foundation's website.