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Behavioral Health Cultural Responsiveness Framework and Training Grants

In July 2019, the Minnesota Department of Human Services selected five vendors to implement a framework to begin addressing the large number of disparities and inequities within our health care systems in innovative ways.

By June 30, 2020, this initiative will:
  1. Engage and gather feedback from diverse communities and behavioral health providers about how to address health disparities;
  2. Provide 3-5 learning opportunities to build MN behavioral health provider cultural capacities and cultural responsiveness; and
  3. Develop recommendations for future community engagement, policy/governance and training to further advance health equity in Minnesota’s behavioral health community.


Behavioral Health Cultural Responsiveness Framework and Training Grantees are:

  • Abdi Ali
  • Asian Media Access
  • Turning Point
  • Youth Leadership Solutions
  • Social Motion

These grantees are partnering with state-wide community organizations and behavioral health providers to develop a culturally responsive framework for behavioral health services and to reduce disparities and inequities experienced by priority populations in Minnesota’s mental health and treatment settings.

Request for proposals process

The overall goal of the request for proposals (RFP) was two-fold;

  • Allow for new practices per priority population needs and
  • Utilize existing data collected from providers across the Community Supports Administration (culturally specific services, Disability Services, USS Staff, Community engagement DHS staff) to develop baselines training and technical assistance in cultural responsiveness and to make recommendations for continuing to address the disparities among the priority populations.

Innovation began in the RFP process:

  • The RFP required applicants to represent a priority population.
  • The RFP required that if training and/or technical assistance is needed, the trainer or technical assistance provider must be representative of the population(s) currently being served.
  • The applicants must have cultural responsiveness as a part of their agency mission and/or vision.

This RFP did not require evidence based practices (as not all EBPs are culturally responsive) but instead required that grantees share effective cultural strategies and successes.

Grantees would offer expertise specific to a priority population, as defined in the DHS equity strategy policy. This policy defines the following as priority populations;

  • Communities of color
  • American Indians/indigenous communities
  • Veterans
  • People with disabilities

Work thus far and by June 30, 2020

The five grantees meet twice monthly and;

  • Reviewed the existing data collected from priority populations and summarize
  • Developed additional tools to assess priority population not within the existing data and why they are not within it
  • Assess with additional tools developed by the grantees based on expertise within the priority populations and knowledge of needs of these populations. Grantees are planning to complete a survey online with DHS BH providers
  • Collect information from the priority populations they represent and complete culturally appropriate practices and procedures in their implementation of one to one interviews and/or focus groups
  • Summarize the needs within existing data and data gathered under this one year project
  • Connect with other DHS related services and similar work
  • Utilize existing groups/grantees/providers to complete focus groups and or one-on-one interviews
  • Compile findings and use the findings to frame a training in January 2020 and two additional training for the behavior health care workforce and in order to reduce the overall needs of providers with relation to cultural responsiveness
  • Develop and maintain public website for work
  • Share other State department resources and collaborate with partners to improve the rates of disparities and inequities.

The grantees will make recommendations in a white paper sharing;

  • The current state of cultural responsiveness in Minnesota behavioral health services
  • How this framework and grant is different form the usual
  • A framework recommended to sustain the work and to apply to priority populations not represented by this set of grantees
  • Recommendations for Uniform Service Standards and cultural responsiveness
  • The evaluative findings of training completed under the grant
  • Recommendations to implement per the project expertise and findings and a five year plan to roll it out. The five year plan may include implementation efforts such as; providing an ongoing forum for behavioral health providers to connect, ask questions of the state and build and share resources, etc.


Agendas and minutes

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