Cultural Formulation Interview Project

About the Cultural Formulation Interview Project

The goal of the Cultural Formulation Interview Project is to obtain pilot data on the feasibility, acceptability, and perceived clinical utility of a cultural formulation interview (CFI) that was included in DSM-5.

The CFI was developed under the leadership of the CECC. The CFI is intended to increase the implementability of the DSM-IV Outline for Cultural Formulation.

This project is part of the Diagnosis and Engagement initiative, which seeks to understand how to effectively increase the engagement of racial and ethnic underserved populations into mental health care.

Project details

The study recruited 30 patients to participate in the administration of the CFI as part of an unstructured clinical evaluation of the patient that mimics usual clinical practice. The CECC is also coordinating and conducting the analysis of the entire field trial for the CFI, which includes 13 sites and over 300 patients.


CECC staff

Roberto Lewis-Fernández, Neil Aggarwal

Non-staff collaborators

Laurence Kirmayer, Renato Alarcon, Esperanza Diaz, Joe Westermeyer, Katie Thompson, Kavoos Bassiri, Sergio Aguilar, Hendry Ton, Oahn Meyer, Johann Vega, Venkataramana Bhat, Kwame Mckenzie, Monica Scalco, Filipa Santos, Hans Rohlof, Rob Van Dijk, Simon Groen, David Ndetei, Mitchell Weiss, Vasudeo Paralikar, Sushrut Jadhav, Andel Nicasio, Marit Boiler


Aggarwal, N. K., Nicasio, A. V., DeSilva, R., Boiler, M., & Lewis-Fernández, R. (2013). Barriers to implementing the DSM-5 cultural formulation interview: a qualitative study. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 37 (7): 503-33.

Aggarwal, N. K., Desilva, R., Nicasio, A. V., Boiler, M., & Lewis-Fernández, R. (2013). Does the Cultural Formulation Interview for the fifth revision of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) affect medical communication? A qualitative exploratory study from the New York site. Ethnicity & Health, (ahead-of-print), 1-28.

Lewis-Fernández, R, Aggarwal, NK, Bäärnhielm, B, Rohlof, H, Kirmayer, LJ, Weiss, MG, Jadhav, S, Hinton, L, Alarcón, RD, Bhugra, D, Groen, S, van Dijk, R, Qureshi, A, Collazos, F, Rousseau, C, Caballero, L, Ramos, M, Lu, F. Culture and psychiatric evaluation: Operationalizing cultural formulation for DSM-5.  Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, in press.


Demonstration of Cultural Formulation Interview

Provided by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Roberto Lewis-Fernández on the Cultural Formulation Interview

Provided by McGill Transcultural Psychiatry

Roberto Lewis-Fernández on the DSM-5 in Global Mental Health

Dr. Roberto Lewis Fernandez, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University speaks on “Novel Uses of DSM-5 in Global Mental Health” at the 2nd Annual Global Mental Health Forum in May 2013. Provided by the New York Global Mental Health Program.


We invite you to read our Cultural Competence Matters reports on this topic:

You may see all our periodic Cultural Competence Matters reports here: Cultural Competence Matters.

Training module

The CECC has also partnered with Center for Practice Innovations (CPI) to create an online training program for the CFI that will be available to all providers in the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) system.

To download a copy of the CFI

To download your copy of the DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Interview for free, please click here: CFI from the American Psychiatric Association

To view and download the CFI Informant version, click here: CFI-Informant

To view and download supplementary CFI modules, click here: CFI-Supplemental

[The CFI is] Reprinted with permission from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, (Copyright ©2013). American Psychiatric Association. All Rights Reserved.