In a step toward addressing an identified need for Wisconsin’s behavioral health system, the Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded over $1 million to nine organizations for projects designed to improve the cultural competence of service providers.
“We are committed to supporting strategies that will ensure Wisconsin’s behavioral health system is welcoming and responsive to every resident of our state,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “It is essential that we understand the experiences of people across Wisconsin’s many diverse communities and adapt services to meet culturally unique needs. These grants will move us closer to fulfilling our vision of everyone living their best life.”
Improving service provider capacity to work with diverse populations was a key finding of a DHS-commissioned study published last year about gaps in Wisconsin’s behavioral health system. The study and resulting report from the UW Population Health Institute(link is external) was based in part on interviews, surveys, and focus groups with people receiving services for mental health and substance use challenges. A common theme in the responses was a need for providers familiar with the values, traditions, and languages of different cultures.
DHS has awarded grants to the following organizations:
- Burmese Rohingya Community of Wisconsin, Milwaukee ($75,000). This. project will provide education on the needs and effective outreach techniques to Rohingya refugees and first generation Rohingya Americans.
- Centro Hispano, Madison ($46,000). This project will provide an opportunity to complete a training program and earn a certificate focused on the needs of Latinx communities.
- Diverse and Resilient, Milwaukee ($55,802). This project will provide training and advising on how to work with the LGBTQ+ community.
- Hmong American Friendship Association, Milwaukee ($74,888). This project will include a survey of the Hmong community to better understand the barriers the Hmong community faces accessing services, with the survey results informing strategies that can be used to eliminate the barriers.
- Hmong Institute, Madison ($75,000). This project will provide trainings on the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care.
- Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, Milwaukee ($93,455). This project will include a training conference focused on the needs of diverse populations.
- Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Milwaukee ($75,000). This project will include a training conference focused on the needs of the Muslim community.
- St. Charles Youth and Family Services, Milwaukee ($75,010). This project will develop and implement a program of equity ambassadors for youth and young adults.
- Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Associations, Appleton ($433,262). This project will provide education and support to make services more accessible to the Hmong community.
All of the projects must be completed by the end of September.
A request for applications for this funding was issued in March. All organizations that submitted applications received funding.
These grants are funded by Wisconsin’s share of the federal Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.