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Cultural Competency Conference Preview

Student Engagement, IDEA, and the Psi Chi Chapter at MSP have developed the First Annual Cultural Competency Conference (CCC), a new conference to help our students and other early career mental health professionals to develop cultural competence in the clinical setting.

As an APA-accredited institution, MSP utilizes the cultural competency framework of the APA’s “Multicultural Guidelines”  developed in August 2017.

Presenters at the CCC will use these guidelines to develop 50 minute presentations on an area of clinical cultural competence that they have gained through personal, clinical, or research experience. Proposals will be accepted until March 15. MSP students, alumni, and community members can now register to attend.

Sierra Gillis (MA) is one of the key student planners and organizers for the CCC. We asked Sierra what inspired her to get involved in the CCC.

The Cultural Competence Conference (CCC) stood out to me because “culture” is a huge buzzword in our country right now. With the power of social media and other media platforms, I believe many people around our country are gaining awareness of various diversities, cultures, and ethnicities. 

Coming from a diverse culture myself, I have always been curious about other people’s way of life and their cultural upbringings.  My mom is Lebanese, and my dad is Spanish, so I have a unique mix of cultures.  Growing up, it was common to have hummus and lentils for lunch and Spanish paella for dinner!  I hold my ethnicities near to my heart, as it has influenced me greatly, especially with my cooking and hospitality. 

As a future psychologist and coming from a public education background, I knew being knowledgeable of cultures was imminent with our helping profession.  

When I graduate, I do not know what type of clients I will have, so it is important for me to be versed in a variety of cultures.  Having no experience in creating or running a conference before, I wanted to challenge myself.  I am so thankful I chose to push myself out of my comfort zone and help run the CCC. 

Through this experience, I have gained a deeper insight on leadership, networking, and what it means to be culturally competent.  I realized I still have a lot to learn about many cultures, but being open-minded and willing to accept a culture that is different than your own, is a huge step in the right direction.  I hope to see everyone who can make it at the Cultural Competence Conference on Friday, May 17th!  As future psychologists, we can always spare time to learn a little bit more about someone else’s culture.

Sierra GillisSierra Gillis is currently a student in the full time MA program at MSP.