Concentration on Culture and Diversity
The Yale Department of Psychiatry has a longstanding commitment to incorporating an understanding of culture and diversity in clinical and community practice, research, and teaching. In the 1980s, it was among the first Departments at Yale to include a required seminar on human diversity in one of the doctoral internship placements sites, and, shortly thereafter began incorporating teaching about diversity in the core internship seminar for all doctoral fellows.
The Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Community Psychology emphasizes core competencies on diversity, disparities, and culture. This is accomplished by providing opportunities to fellows that raise awareness and increase their knowledge about issues surrounding diversity in clinical and community settings and to enhance cultural competence in clinical practice and research. The examination of diversity encompasses but is not limited to gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, social class, religion and spirituality, physical and mental ability, age, sexual orientation, national origin, immigration status, and linguistic ability. Fellows learn more about themselves and to continue to explore how the intersection of their identities influence and interact with their work as a psychologist.
The Concentration on Culture and Diversity ensures that there is a wide range of learning opportunities for fellows to strengthen their abilities in these areas. The elements of the Concentration are described below.
Core Seminar & Placement Based Seminars
In the internship core seminar, diversity and culture are explicitly addressed in a series of sessions. These provide a common foundation of knowledge for all fellows. These sessions cover topics of critical importance to working in behavioral health settings, and vary across years to reflect changing trends in the field and changing circumstances in the world in which we live. Recent sessions include: understanding diversity within the Greater New Haven community; culture and diversity fundamentals for professionals; incorporating a focus on culture and diversity early in the client engagement process; integrating cultural values into treatment; adapting evidence-based practices based on culture; skin tone bias; and gender-sensitive clinical treatment. Each of these sessions also provides ample opportunity for personal reflection and discussion. Additional sessions throughout the curriculum focus on diversity, disparities, culture, and cultural competence. Examples of clinical work with culturally specific populations are provided throughout the seminar sessions.
The learning process continues in placement-based seminars in which the focus is on the diverse populations served within the placement, as well as adaptations of treatment approaches for those populations.
Annual Diversity Grand Rounds Lecture
Each year, the internship program invites a psychologist who is recognized nationally for expertise on culture and diversity to present during the Department of Psychiatry’s weekly Grand Rounds. After this large group presentation, which is open to all faculty, staff, and trainees in the Department, the invited speaker meets over lunch with the psychology fellows to continue the discussion in a more intimate and smaller group format. Psychology fellows have the opportunity to share with the invited expert and fellow trainees their own experiences, ideas, and questions on professional and personal issues surrounding culture and diversity.
Supervised Clinical & Consultative Experience
Much of what fellows learn during internship occurs through intensive clinical and consultative activities with individuals and communities that are highly diverse. The Greater New Haven Area is quite varied with respect to race, culture, and the many other dimensions on which people differ. This variability is reflected in the individual caseloads and the community consultations of fellows during the internship year. These professional activities are supervised by faculty members who are knowledgeable about the impact of culture and diversity on individual and group development; mental illnesses and addictions; treatment; and recovery. Included in this is a focus on social justice, the impact of oppression and multiple oppressions and the importance of attending to structural inequities and health disparities. Many of the internship program’s faculty members have expertise in adapting treatments to meet the needs of diverse populations.
Developing Meaningful Connections at Yale
Most fellows who have matched to Yale’s internship program are new to Yale and to the Greater New Haven Area. Developing a meaningful connection with one or more of the many diverse communities at Yale and the surrounding area can promote the health, well-being, and sense of inclusion experienced by psychology fellows. The Concentration promotes linkages to these communities, some of which are described below.
The Ethnic Diversity Task Force (EDTF) of the Connecticut Psychological Association (CPA) was established in 2001, and is a group of ethnically diverse professionals and students who promote greater mental health access and advocate for culturally competent psychological services in communities of color. EDTF offers opportunities for support and linkages to psychologists of color and other professionals, mentoring and networking, and scholarships to the annual CPA meeting. Visit the EDTF web page for more information on the EDTF goals and initiatives and how to join.
View the Full Competency Set
Access the Internship Handbook page where you can download the full set of internship competencies, including the behavioral descriptors for the competencies on culture & diversity. Click on the "Core Competencies" download in the "Program Model" section.