Health Equity

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The DBHDS Office of Health Equity Advancement (OHEA) leads efforts to provide improved services to diverse and underserved individuals and works toward eliminating the disparities within the state’s mental health, intellectual disability and substance-use disorder system. It aims to provide improved services to all communities in the Commonwealth with a goal of eliminating the disparities in care within the mental health, intellectual disability and substance-use disorder system.

Office of Health Equity Advancement Vision

The DBHDS vision for culturally competent care is:
Care that is given with understanding of and respect for the consumer’s health-related beliefs and cultural values Staff that respect health related beliefs, interpersonal styles, and attitudes and behaviors of the consumers, families, and communities they serve

Administrative, management and clinical operations that include routine assessments and implementation of processes which result in a workforce that is culturally and linguistically competent and a system that provides the highest quality of care to all communities


Read the 2015-2016 Strategic Plan to find out what we are working on. Is there anything you would like to work on with us? Join us! Contact us.

What we do?

OCLC's consultation efforts are targeted at supporting cultural competence at the organization level. Policy and planning is done to develop cultural competence at the system level. Support for the development of individual cultural competence is provided throughout this Website with FAQs, templates, and information on diverse communities.

Why we do it?
Translated Documents*
Organizational Resources*
Virginia Refugee Mental Health ESL Module*
Navigating Virginia's Behavioral Health System*
Want information the the 2015 Media Contest? Click here.
Eligibility Criteria
The nominated health care organization or team must demonstrate a unique and effective method for reducing behavioral health disparities or ways to incorporate culturally and/or linguistically appropriate practices by quantifying the positive impact it has had on the community. Organizations or teams must have operated programs within the behavioral health or developmental human services system.
Who Can Nominate

Anyone from community members who have benefited from a team or organization’s cultural or linguistic innovations to team members or supervisors who feel that there has been a great impact on the community and recognition would be well deserved. Nomination Process Complete the online form at

All nominations must be e-mailed to the OHEA and received by March 1, 2016 to be considered for spring nominations and October 1, 2016 to be considered for fall nominations. Nominations for spring will also be considered for fall. Recipients will be selected and notified 30 days prior to the award date. Services for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafeaned, and DeafBlind How can you access services if you are or a family member is Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, or Late Deafened?

First consult the Regional Programs map and determine the area in which you live. Contact the Regional Provider assigned to your area of the state. If there is no Regional Coordinator for your part of the state, contact the State Coordinator who can assist in setting up services When you arrive at the CSB where you live ask for the Regional Provider or tell the CSB that you want to have an interpreter and ask them to contact the Regional Provider. It is your right to request either direct sign communication from a sign fluent provider or use an interpreter provided by the CSB.

The State Coordinator for Services for Persons Who Are Deaf, Hard of Coordinator Hearing, Late Deafened, or DeafBlind can provide technical assistance and consultation to CSBs, facilities, and community providers by:
Reviewing the availability and utilization of appropriate assistive technology equipment
Providing information about resources and training opportunities
Identifying and publicizing community resources
Providing consultation for assessments, ongoing evaluations, or treatment team meetings
Providing training to increase awareness, skills, and abilities related to working with individuals who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened, or DeafBlind
Providing consultations related to communication access
For more information contact: Kathryn A. Baker, LPC
State Coordinator Services For Persons Who Are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Late Deafened or DeafBlind
85 Sanger’s Lane
Staunton, VA 24401
540.213.7527 VOICE/TTY
540.416.0115 VIDEO
PHONE 540.887.3292 FAX
Like any group, the deaf community is affected by mental illness. Compared with the mainstream population, however, deaf people often face extra challenges when seeking treatment. It is important for providers to understand these challenges and seek consultation for optimal outcomes.
Culture, Language, and Communication
NAD Mental Health Position Paper
NASMHD Trauma in the Deaf Community
Southwest Virginia Regional Deaf Services
Trauma and Individuals who are Deaf
Trauma in the Deaf Population
VDDHH Outreach Presentation - Language Access Training Day

Language Access Training Day - VDDHH Outreach Presentation Part 1 Language Access Training Day - VDDHH Outreach Presentation Part 2 University of Rochester Wellness Center PSA Contact Organizations


In 2008, the Agency Commissioner established the Charter for the Commissioner's Statewide Cultural and Linguistic Competence Advisory Committee (CLCAC).

The purpose of the CLCAC is to advise the Department on culturally and linguistically appropriate policies and practices; support the development of culturally informed programming; and provide recommendations to the Commissioner that enhance services and support the elimination of disparities within the state’s mental health, intellectual disability and substance-use disorder system.

Specifically, the CLCAC assists the Department with strategic planning, policy development, committee activities, and information dissemination as it relates to cultural competence, cultural programming, health equity, language access, and community needs. Additionally, the CLCAC provides legislative and policy recommendations to the Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

View full information

Qualified Bilingual Staff Program* 

QBS are a critical link to providing effective communication and quality care to the limited-English proficient (LEP) communities and individuals we serve.

The QBS Model & Program were designed by Kaiser Permanente National Diversity & Inclusion and adapted by DBHDS to capitalize on an organization’s existing workforce diversity and ensure qualified linguistic services and culturally competent care at every point of contact.

View Training Information

The Refugee Healing Partnership is focused on addressing refugee risk factors and strengthening mental health partnerships in communities where refugees resettle. The partnership designs and disseminates programs and activities that:

Promote positive mental health and cultural adjustment in the refugee community Create linkages between provider communities and the refugee communities

Provide opportunities for trauma-informed education at the community level and culture-informed education at the provider level

Why refugee mental health?

Researchers have shown that the most common mental health diagnoses associated with refugee populations include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and adjustment disorder. The incidence of diagnoses varies within various populations and their experiences.

A range of studies has shown rates of PTSD and major depression in settled refugees to range from 10-40% and 5-15%, respectively. Children and adolescents often have higher levels of these disorders with various investigations revealing rates of PTSD from 50-90% and major depression from 6-40%. Risk factors for the development of mental health problems include the number of traumas, delayed asylum application process, detention, and the loss of culture and support systems. (Refugee Technical Assistance Center: Mental Health; UNHCR, 2014; World Health Organization; Keller, A., and Stewart, A., 2011)