, Volume 78, Issue 3, pp 183-192

The Role of a Clinical Director in Developing an Innovative Assertive Community Treatment Team Targeting Ethno-racial Minority Patients

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Abstract

Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is a well established, evidence-based approach for delivering psychiatric care to clients with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI). Research shows that special populations such as refugees, recent immigrants, and persons from ethnic minorities with cultural and language barriers are among the hardest to serve and one of the most underserved groups of mental health patients. Focusing on examples of the Clinical Directors’ three main task domains, this paper discusses the unique role of the Clinical Director in developing an ACT team that specifically serves ethno-racial minority patients. A program evaluation process to validate the effectiveness of the team illustrates the administrative role; a strategy to incorporate the culturally sensitive and competent “illness narrative” model in all clinical encounters of the team illustrates the direct service role; and clinical programming and research addressing the unique family psychoeducation and other needs of this special client population illustrates the clinical collaboration role. The role of the Clinical Director on this special ACT team fits well with that of a program level Clinical Director as described in literature. The role demands specialized clinical, administrative, advocacy, and evaluative skills emphasized in programs such as the Columbia University Public Psychiatry Fellowship.