The Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI): A Collaborative Storytelling Approach to Clinical Care


The South Southwest MHTTC presents: The Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI). CFI provides the opportunity of a clinical storytelling process between the client and the provider where cultural humility centers the understanding of mental health. Join us on this four session webinar series, where we will bring the creators and developers of this Evidence Based Practice together to discuss and share insights, resources and recommendations on how to use the principles of the CFI while working with adults, children, adolescents and families. The first two sessions are framed on a general overview of the CFI, while the second two sessions will focus on a more clinical application for different populations.


Session Details and Key Dates 

Session 1: The Value of Person-Centered Cultural Assessment in Clinical Practice 

Thursday, April 7th from 10am-11:30am CST 
Dr. Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, MD & Dr. Neil Krishan Aggarwal, MD, MBA, MA
Harvard University / New York State Psychiatric Institute

This presentation will describe the role  of  culture in  the experience of and presentation of mental  health  problems  by  individuals  seeking  care  and  in  assessments  and  treatments  offered  by providers.  The  value  of  a  person-centered  cultural  assessment  will  be  presented,  focusing  on  cultural concepts of distress, social determinants of mental health, and treatment planning and engagement. The Cultural   Formulation   Interview   will   be   introduced,   a   standardized   method   for   person-centered assessment that appeared in DSM-5. 


Session 2: The Core Cultural Formulation Interview: Development, Research, and Implementation 

Thursday, April 14th from 10am-11:30am CST 
Dr. Neil Krishan Aggarwal, MD, MBA, MA & Dr. Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, MD
New York State Psychiatric Institute / Harvard University

This presentation describes the process that the DSM-5 Cross-Cultural Issues Subgroup followed to develop the core Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI). It summarizes research evidence since the publication of the DSM-5 in 2013. It also offers recommendations for clinicians to implement the CFI with adults in their practice settings.


Session 3: Using the Cultural Formulation Interview with Children and Adolescents 

Wednesday, April 20th from 10am-11:30am CST 
Dr. Martin LaRoche, PhD
Harvard University. Boston Children's Hospital at Martha Eliot.

In this talk, clinical suggestion to use the CFI to assess and engage in a culturally competent manner with children and adolescents will be presented. 


Session 4: Working with Families with the Cultural Formulation Interview

Friday, April 29th from 10am-11:30am CST 
Dr. Cécile Rousseau, MD.
Professor of Social and Cultural Psychiatry. McGill University. Canada.

This session will describe the usefulness of the CFI with families, integrate this approach in assessments of families and reflect on the complexity of cultural formulation with families.



Dr. Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, MD  | Sessions 1 & 2

Dr. Lewis-Fernández is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, Director of the New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence and the Hispanic Treatment Program, and Co-Director of the Anxiety Disorder Clinic, at NYS Psychiatric Institute. His research develops culturally valid interventions and instruments to enhance patient engagement, reduce misdiagnosis, and help overcome disparities in the care of underserved cultural groups.  He led the development of the DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Interview, a standardized cultural assessment protocol. He has been PI or co-Investigator of 25 National Institutes of Health-funded studies and other research, and published over 225 articles, chapters, and books. He is President of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry, vice-president of the American Psychopathological Association, chair of the DSM Review Committee for Internalizing Disorders and the DSM-5-TR Culture-Related Issues Review Committee, and co-chair of the ICD-11 Working Group on Culture-Related Issues.



Dr. Neil Aggarwal, MD, MBA, MA  | Sessions 1 & 2


Dr. Aggarwal is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University and a Research Psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He conducts research at the intersection of cultural psychiatry and psychiatric anthropology. His work has been funded by the American Psychiatric Association, National Institute of Health, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.






 Dr. Martin J. La Roche, PhD | Session 3


Dr. La Roche has been Director of Mental Health Training at the Boston Children’s Hospital at Martha Eliot, which is the oldest standing community health center in the countryfor the last 26 years. He is an Associate Professor in Psychology at the Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital  and  specializes  in  the development  of  culturally  competent  psychotherapeutic  and assessment  strategies.  Dr.  La  Roche  has  over  100  peer  reviewed  publications/presentations  on cultural  competent  treatments  with  ethnic  minorities  and  has  been  Principal  or  Co-Principal Investigator on many research projects. Dr. La Roche is also the author of two books “Cultural Psychotherapy:   Theory,   Methods,  and  Practice”  and  “Towards  a  Global  and  Cultural Psychotherapy: Theoretical Foundations and Clinical Implications.” In  addition,  he  has  received many research/academic awards such as the Harvard Bridge Award, The Milton Award and was Selected Outstanding  Committee  Chairperson  of  the  Year  by  the  Massachusetts  Psychological Association.



 Dr. Cécile Rousseau, MD   | Session 4


Dr. Rousseau is professor of the Division of Social and Cultural Psychiatry at McGill University. She received her training in medicine and psychiatry at the University of Sherbrooke, Université de Montreal and McGill. She has worked extensively with immigrant and refugee communities, developing specific school-based interventions and leading policy-oriented research. Presently her research focuses on intervention and prevention programs to address violent radicalization. During the COVID-19 pandemic she led a wide community intervention program and conducted a number of research projects on the mental health consequences of this context on Canadian communities.

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