Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 473–488 | Cite as

Public-academic linkages for culturally sensitive community mental health

  • Harriet P. Lefley
  • Evalina W. Bestman


This paper traces the sixteen year history of a unique community mental health center which has combined academic and service provider roles in delivery of culturally appropriate care. Initially an arm of a department of psychiatry and derived from an anthropological research project, the center model was based on seven teams serving discrete ethnic communities, with subsequent development of a network of neighborhood-based “mini-clinics” as well as centralized aftercare facilities. The team staff-social scientists, clinicians, and paraprofessionals all of matching ethnicity to the populations served-became a core of “culture brokers” with a service, teaching, and research role at the interface of the university, medical center, and community. Subsequently the university was funded for a cross-cultural training institute for mental health professionals. Center staff extended training in culturally appropriate care to 174 mental health professionals from 97 facilities throughout the nation, as well as other spinoffs improving cultural expertise of staff in public sector agencies. Data on effectiveness of services and training are given and significant findings are discussed. The description includes the impact of historical shifts in funding, the effects of external events on community mental health center structure, and the current state of cross-cultural training and public-academic linkages in this particular program.


Mental Health Professional Community Mental Health Community Mental Health Center Ethnic Community Center Staff 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harriet P. Lefley
    • 1
  • Evalina W. Bestman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry D-29University of Miami School of MedicineMiami
  2. 2.University of Miami School of MedicineMiami

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