Glossary of Terms

ACCULTURATION: The psychological, behavioral and attitudinal changes that occur when individuals and groups from different cultures come into continuous contact with each other (Cabassa, 2003).

COMMUNITY-BASED PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH (CBPR): A collaborative action approach that equally involves stakeholders, such as community members, organizational representatives, and institutionally affiliated scientists, in all stages of the research enterprise. Israel and colleagues (2005) identified nine guiding principles of CBPR: “(1) CBPR acknowledges community as a unit of identity; (2) CBPR builds on strengths and resources within the community; (3) CBPR facilitates a collaborative, equitable partnership in all phases of research, involving an empowering  and power-sharing process that attends to social inequalities; (4) CBPR fosters co-learning and capacity building among all partners; (5) CBPR integrates and achieves a balance between knowledge generation and intervention for the mutual benefit of all partners; (6) CBPR focuses on the local relevance of public health problems and on ecological perspective that attend to the multiple determinants of health; (7) CBPR involves systems development using a cyclical and iterative process; (8) CBPR disseminates results to all partners and involves them in the wider dissemination of results; and (9) CBPR involves a long-term process and commitment to sustainability (p. 7-9).”

CULTURAL COMPETENCE: A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations.  In healthcare, cultural competence is defined as a tenet of professional competence or an integrated aspect of overall competence. As part of culturally competent care, a care provider would consider culture-specific elements of a patient’s lifestyle such as emotional expression, familial living arrangements, or recreational activities.  Considering these elements facilitates accurate diagnosis and treatment planning that reaches across cultural boundaries and is acceptable to patients and their families (Cross et al., 1998).

CULTURAL BROKERING: The act of bridging, linking or mediating between groups or persons of differing cultural backgrounds for the purpose of reducing conflicts, producing change or advocating on behalf of a cultural group (Jezewski, 1990).  Cultural brokering can also be conducted by a medical professional who draws upon cultural and health science knowledge and skills to negotiate with the patient and health system toward an effective outcome (Jezewski, 2001).

EVIDENCE BASED PRACTICE: A model of practice that  promotes more effective interventions by encouraging the conscientious, judicious, and explicit use of best available scientific evidence in professional decision making” at all system levels (Howard et al., 2003).  Conscientious includes both consistently applying evidence, and continuing to learn as new evidence as it becomes available.  Judicious includes balancing client characteristics, preferences, and life circumstances against relevant research/practice guidelines and clinical judgment.

HEALTH CARE DISPARITIES: Racial or ethnic differences in the quality of healthcare not due to access-related factors or clinical needs, preferences, and appropriateness of interventions (Institute of Medicine, 2003).

HEALTH DISPARITIES: Differences that occur by gender, race or ethnicity, education or income, disability, geographic location, or sexual orientation.  Compelling evidence indicates that race and ethnicity correlate with persistent and increasing health disparities among the U. S. population (Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, 2009).

RECOVERY: The process of gaining control over one’s life in the context of the personal, social and economic losses that may result from the experience of psychiatric disability.  It is a continuous, non-linear, highly individualized process based on hope and it leads to healing and growth (New York State Office of Mental Health, 2008).

SERIOUS EMOTIONAL DISTURBANCES:  Diagnosable disorders in children and adolescents that severely disrupt their daily functioning in the home, school, or community.  Serious emotional disturbances affect one in 10 young people. These disorders include depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, anxiety disorders, conduct disorder and eating disorders. They are children from birth up to age 18 and who currently have, or at any time during the last year, had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within DSM-IV (SAMHSA, 2009).

SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS: Adults with serious mental illness SMI are persons: (1) age 18 and over and (2) who currently have, or at any time during the past year had, a diagnosable mental behavioral or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within DSM-IV or their ICD-9-CM equivalent (and subsequent revisions) with the exception of DSM-IV “V” codes, substance use disorders, and developmental disorders, which are excluded, unless they co-occur with another diagnosable mental illness.  (3) That has resulted in functional impairment, which significantly interferes with or limits one or more major life activities (SAMHSA, 2009).


Cabassa, L. J. (2003). Measuring Acculturation: Where we are and where we need to go. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 25(2), 127-146.

Cross et al. (1998). Towards a culturally competent system of care: a monograph on effective services for minority children who are severely emotionally disturbed, Washington DC: CASSP Technical Assistance Center, Georgetown University Child Development Center.

Howard, M. O., McMillen, C. J., & Pollio, D. E. (2003). Teaching evidence-based practice: Toward a new paradigm for social work education. Research on Social Work Practice, 13(2),  234-259.

Institute of Medicine. (2003).Unequal treatment: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare. Washington, D. C.: The National Academies Press.

Israel, B. A., Eng, E., Schulz, A. J., & Parker, E. A. (Eds.). (2005)Methods in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Jewsewski, M. A. & Sotnik P. (2001), Cultural brokering: providing culturally competent rehabilitation services to born persons. Buffalo, New York.

Jewsewski, M. A. (1990). Cultural brokering in migrant farm worker health care. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 12(4), 497-513.

New York State Office of Mental Health (2007) 2006-2010 Five-Year Comprehensive Plan for Mental Health Services, 2007 Update and Interim Report.

Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. Retrieved on 03/16/09 Abuse and Mental Health Services

Administration (2009).  National Mental Health Information Center, Mental Health Dictionary, Retrieved on 03/10/09, from