The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (NYS OASAS) worked with CCSI in revising their 2015 Cultural Competency in Substance Abuse and Prevention training curriculum.  The newly titled curriculum, Cultural Competence: A Journey to Improved Outcomes, contemporizes the content to better reflect the current state of practice in the areas of cultural competence, racism and oppression, and health equity.  The overall goal was to ensure that the cultural competence training that is offered to Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery professionals in the field is of the highest caliber and represents the current trends and meets the diverse needs of the clients they serve. 
 As part of this initiative, OASAS contracted CCSI as an independent contractor to revamp the curriculum; train a cohort of trainers to deliver the curriculum to those delivering services as well as the supervisors and the administrative staff they work for.  CCSI engaged in the following activities to accomplish this work. 
With the changing demographics of New York State and the requirements and mandates of the State to serving its diverse population, and its expected outcomes, CCSI needed to gather information to inform both the process and the curriculum content.  CCSI facilitated regional focus groups with trainers, service providers, and consumers/family to discuss their experiences with the cultural competency from those delivering the training, providing services, and receiving services.  These focus groups provided valuable insight into training gaps and identified further training development needs and priorities.

Existing client data was analyzed to identify disparities by region, racial/ethnic groups, gender, and age, and an in-depth review and analysis of the existing curriculum was done.  This work resulted in the development of new content modules with supporting activities.  In delivering of the “new” curriculum, trainers were trained on being more intentional to anti-oppressive practices and focus on the end user of services and those delivering these services.

A trained workforce, working in a supportive environment is paramount to the elimination of healthcare disparities.  The modules reflect that self-assessment, being aware of ones worldview and mental model, understanding the effects of power and privilege, respectfully engaging with each other and our clients, and employing an ongoing process of improvement using both qualitative and quantitative data will support the delivery of services that are responsive to the cultural needs by utilization of anti-oppressive, culturally  and trauma-informed approaches.  When done with intention and humility, these efforts will engender equitable outcomes for those we serve and work with.

Training attendees found the training valuable, with 100% of training attendees reporting that they “Strongly Agreed” that the training provided them with useful materials that will apply to their work as a trainer, and that attending the training was worth their time.  Attendees also said:

“I think this was one of the best classes I have taken. I learned ideas in a new way. I had time to process the information. Interacting and discussing the ideas with other participants made it easier to understand. Having a culturally diverse group of participants made the class much better for me. I learned as much about myself as I did about other people.”

“This experience has been extremely valuable in that I felt it was one of the few trainings that truly examined the lens by which the training on cultural insensitivity, cultural incompetency sprang from. For example, in my 25 years as a professional, I've never been invited to the table for a focus group before the development of a STATE authorized curriculum. The experience spoke volumes and said to me ‘I Matter’.”

If you are interested in this training and want to learn more, please contact Lenora Reid-Rose, Director, Cultural Competence and Health Equity.