Increasing culturally focused therapy accessibility in New York

Committed to increasing accessibility of equitable mental health services, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of New York recently collaborated with the Healing Hub and Say Yes Buffalo to launch the Clinicians of Color program. The Healing Hub is an organization committed to addressing social drivers of health within local, underserved communities. The organization provides resources for clinicians interested in culturally focused therapy and sponsors food and clothing drives for community members as well.1 Say Yes Buffalo is a collection of organizations that work together to provide support to Buffalo Public School District students.2 The program’s primary goal is to increase access to mental health clinicians of color.

With regards to culturally competent care, researchers found that therapeutic relationships make the least impact when sessions do not take into account the implications of cultural diversity.3 Studies further show that the more specific a cultural focus in therapy, the more effective therapy is with regard to psychosis as well as mood and behavioral disorders.4 The Clinicians of Color program aims to provide Buffalo residents with effective behavioral health services from clinicians specifically trained in culturally competent therapy.

Clinicians of Color

Supported by a $100,000 investment from UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of New York, the program will provide clinicians with culturally focused counseling training, financial support for credentialing, support with licensing exams and clinical supervision needs as well as marketing recommendations. Training courses will include:

  • Trauma-informed care for racialized trauma
  • Indigenous psychotherapy
  • Loving communication: authentic family engagement
  • Actualizing potential: spirituality in counseling
  • Black family resilience
  • Re-conceptualized DSM diagnosis
  • Strengths-focused interventions
  • Depression and grief
  • Cultural competence with diverse communities

The first cohort of 15 clinicians began the program January 1, 2024. They attend regular mentoring sessions and will be providing five hours per month of free counseling services to Buffalo residents over the course of two years. These services will take the form of group and individual sessions. Upon completion of the program, clinicians will provide quarterly reports for the next two years to capture the impact of culturally focused mental health services on the Buffalo community.

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to supporting the specific health needs of individuals across the U.S. Learn more about UnitedHealthcare’s ongoing and upcoming culturally competent care initiatives.

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