Friday, June 1, 2012

Participating in the International Study of DSM Cultural Formulation Interview

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the handbook written by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), and used by health care professionals as an authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders, is now in the process of finalizing its 5th addition. RAMS, Inc. is proud to serve as the San Francisco site for the DSM-5 Cultural Formulation Field Trial, studying the newly proposed Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI). This key addition to the Manual has been created to help clinicians more effectively assess cultural aspects of psychiatric diagnosis. In collaboration with UC Davis, RAMS is one of about a dozen sites in this international DSM-5 Cultural Formulation field trial study being led by the Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence at the New York State Psychiatric Institute with support from the American Psychiatric Association.

In the CFI, culture refers to the values, orientations, assumptions, and perspectives that may be influenced by an individual's membership in a social group or by aspects of an individual's background, such as ethnicity, class, race, language, and religion. The Cultural Formulation Interview focuses on assessing these cultural aspects of the patient's presentation and treatment expectations in order to make clinical care more culturally appropriate. Thus, unlike the standard patient history assessment, whose agenda of topics and direction is usually set by the clinician, the CFI attempts to address problems from the patient's standpoint. RAMS is excited to have been the site utilizing the Chinese language translated version of the CFI in order to better assess its content, clarity, and effectiveness within a particular ethnic and linguistic group.

From the Press Release from American Psychiatric Association: “As with every stage in this thorough development process, DSM-5 is benefiting from a depth of research, expertise and diverse opinion that will ultimately strengthen the final document," noted David J. Kupfer, M.D., chair of the DSM-5 Task Force. Feedback about the proposed changes, diagnostic criteria, and updates can be submitted through, which will be available until the comment period ends June 15. After that, the site will remain viewable but will be closed to comments as the Work Groups and Task Force complete revisions and submit criteria for evaluation by the Scientific Review Committee and the Clinical and Public Health Committee. The Task Force will then make final recommendations to the APA Board of Trustees. The final version of DSM-5 is expected to go before the Board of Trustees in December 2012. A more detailed update on the development and list of changes made to draft proposals since July 2011 can be found on

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