Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Health Services Research and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Cultural competence in mental health care: a review of model evaluations

Kamaldeep Bhui1*, Nasir Warfa1, Patricia Edonya1, Kwame McKenzie2 and Dinesh Bhugra3

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Psychiatry, Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, Old Anatomy Building, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK

2 Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free & University College School of Medicine, University of London, UK

3 Department of Cultural Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, University of London, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Health Services Research 2007, 7:15  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-7-15

Published: 31 January 2007



Cultural competency is now a core requirement for mental health professionals working with culturally diverse patient groups. Cultural competency training may improve the quality of mental health care for ethnic groups.


A systematic review that included evaluated models of professional education or service delivery.


Of 109 potential papers, only 9 included an evaluation of the model to improve the cultural competency practice and service delivery. All 9 studies were located in North America. Cultural competency included modification of clinical practice and organizational performance. Few studies published their teaching and learning methods. Only three studies used quantitative outcomes. One of these showed a change in attitudes and skills of staff following training. The cultural consultation model showed evidence of significant satisfaction by clinicians using the service. No studies investigated service user experiences and outcomes.


There is limited evidence on the effectiveness of cultural competency training and service delivery. Further work is required to evaluate improvement in service users' experiences and outcomes.