Workforce Development

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Workforce Diversity and Inclusion

In the Blueprint for the Enhanced CLAS Standards, it is argued that it is essential for organizations to develop focused strategies to recruit, promote, and support a culturally and linguistically diverse governance, leadership, and workforce. Evidence suggests that organizations with a more diverse and better-trained workforce provide higher-quality care and experience greater patient satisfaction scores (The Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workforce, 2004; IOM, 2003). For example, in one study, organizations scoring higher on a scale of workforce diversity and training had better odds of individuals reporting that they received high-quality care (Wynia et al., 2010).

In August of 2011, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13583. This order established a coordinated diversity and inclusion effort in government. This executive order represents a renewed interest in ensuring a diverse workforce is available for public health and human service systems. Diversity must be present in all levels of the organization. Organizations have to understand that that simply hiring and retaining a culturally diverse workforce is not, by itself, sufficient to achieving culturally and linguistically appropriate services, but that all members of the organization must be appropriately trained, prepared and willing to work effectively across language and culture and be evaluated on their performance in this competency (Rose, 2011; Whealin & Ruzek, 2008).

Building a Diverse and Inclusive Workforce Topic Sheets


what is a cultural navQualified cultural navigators are individuals who are trained to provide support, information and guidance to new immigrants. Not only do they have the lived experience of having been immigrants/refugees themselves or having worked very closely with refugees for a long period of time, but they have specific knowledge regarding issues of stress, trauma, the psychological impact of immigration and acculturation, and how to support individuals in crisis.

DBHDS provides a qualification process for Qualified Cultural Navigators as a way to recognize this unique set of skills that are not always reflected in school transcripts or resumes. Under this qualification pathway, participants complete a series of workshops and trainings designed to provide them with competencies needed to be competitive in entry level positions in behavioral healthcare. The required programs are designed to connect them with nationally recognized interventions and best practices, which combined with their bicultural and bilingual skills, provide an excellent candidate pool for a diverse and culturally competent entry-level workforce. 

Cultural Navigators help culturally diverse communities to 
  • Promote access to needed services and knowledge of behavioral health
  • Navigate healthcare systems
  • Increase opportunities for leadership and capacity building
  • Facilitate communication between providers and consumers
  • Seek volunteer and professional opportunities

Cultural Navigators also help service providers to better 

  • Understand the unique needs of the refugee/immigrant communities
  • Provide culturally and linguistically competent and responsive services 
  • Facilitate partnerships for a healthy community 

Other Outcomes

Professional development opportunity for active refugee/immigrant community members and leaders

Potential professional roles include, but are not limited to:CQN  

Community health workers, Qualified/Designated interpreters (at clinics, CSBs, and/or social services), Medical Liaison, Caseworkers at DSS and Resettlement agencies, Cultural Navigator within an organization providing services to immigrants/refugees

To qualify to be considered as Qualified Cultural Navigator in Behavioral Health, please read the application found here in its entirety.  Once you have collected all the necessary material you may apply at


Email all required certificates, qualifications, and other information to Please allow two months for your application to be processed and for you to receive your certificate.

Email any questions to Include your full name, phone number, and email address in your correspondence.