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The STAR Center provides Support, Technical Assistance and Resources to assist consumer-operated and consumer-helper programs in meeting the needs of under-served populations.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General's report, Mental Health: Culture, Race and Ethnicity, 2001 mental health service disparities exist within the Hispanic American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, African American, Native American and Alaskan Native communities.

The STAR Center recognizes that these same disparities, within the communities identified by the report, also exist amongst consumer-operated and consumer-helper programs. The STAR Center works to eliminate these disparities so that the under-served communities receive equal access, support to recovery oriented services and self-help that are culturally competent, thus promoting wellness and inspiring hope.

In pursuit of this mission, we offer leadership training, national teleconferences, listening sessions, forums, scholarships for consumers and consumer-operated organizations as well as online resources.

The STAR Center is funded by a grant from the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Please visit our partner TA Centers:

What is cultural competence?

Many definitions of cultural competence have been put forward, but probably the most widely accepted is the following:

Cultural and linguistic competence is a set of coinciding behaviors, knowledge, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, organization, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations. “Culture” refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include the language, thoughts, actions, customs, beliefs, and institutions of racial, ethnic, social, or religious groups. “Competence” implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual or an organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, practices, and needs presented by patients and their communities.

Stated more simply, cultural competence is the integration and transformation of knowledge about individuals and groups of people into specific standards, policies, practices, and attitudes used in appropriate cultural settings to increase the quality of services; thereby producing better outcomes.

Also, cultural competence can be defined as services that are sensitive and responsive to cultural differences whereby caregivers are aware of the impact of culture and possess the skills to help provide services that respond appropriately to a person's unique cultural differences, including race and ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability.





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