In June 2023, Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) and the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) hosted three virtual community forums to share about this exciting project: Advancing Cultural and Linguistic Competence, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: OPWDD-Georgetown University NCCC Partnership for Systems Change.
The forums focused on project activities that will be conducted for the New York State developmental disability service provider network. Each forum provided a project overview, described planned activities, and responded to questions from participants. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and PowerPoint slides from these forums are below. Click on each question to view the answer.
FAQs are also available from the virtual community forums focused on project activities that will be conducted for persons with lived experience of developmental disabilities, their family members, and advocacy organizations.
NCCC Response: The aim of this component is to assist the New York State’s network of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) service providers to embed policies and practices of cultural and linguistic competence, diversity, equity, and inclusion within their respective organizations. Embedding such practices increases the capacity to serve all persons with IDD and their families ⎯ across race, ethnicity, culture, language, and other identity groups. The project is designed to engage specific communities in systems change. It is anticipated that through these carefully designed activities, the NCCC will form a virtual “community partnership” with the network of IDD providers of supports and services throughout New York State. This virtual “community partnership” is centered on a shared goal to increase the capacity for cultural and linguistic competence, diversity, equity, and inclusion. The NCCC will:
NCCC Response: The CLCADO is a resource that has been used widely to support organizations to plan for and incorporate culturally and linguistically competent values, policies, structures, and practices in all aspects of their work. Let’s start with a response to the second question first. No, to engage in an organizational assessment of cultural and linguistic competence is completely voluntary.
Now, let’s move on to your first question and describe how the NCCC will go about partnering with the network of IDD service providers in offering assessment in New York State. Engaging in the process of self-assessment is an intervention in and of itself. The CLCADO is designed in a manner that is suggestive of what organizations need to do to increase their capacity for cultural and linguistic competence. The CLCADO covers four primary domains: Our World View, Who We Are, What We Do, and How We Work. One of the purposes of the CLCADO is to advance cultural and linguistic competence as an essential approach to address racial and ethnic disparities and promote equity for persons who experience IDD and their families. The NCCC asserts that cultural competence and linguistic competence are evidence-based policies and practices that support equity and inclusion. However, cultural competence and linguistic competence alone are not the solution to the inequities in IDD state systems. The CLCADO will be updated and tailored to New York State. The NCCC will convene groups of IDD service providers, persons with lived experience of IDD, and families to review the CLCADO and recommend items to keep, delete, and add. This is an example of the “community partnership” approach the NCCC is using to conduct the overall systems change project in the state. The NCCC will provide consultation and technical assistance to support the provider network in this process.
NCCC Response: The NCCC will conduct evaluations for activities that it conducts across all components of the project. This will include all training, professional development, consultation, technical assistance, community listening sessions and forums, and other activities. Written summary reports for each activity will be provided to OPWDD. Systems change efforts to embed cultural and linguistic competence, diversity, equity, and inclusion are long-term efforts. The project is funded for three years. The NCCC’s evaluation activities will focus on the extent to which those who received assistance from this project benefitted and were able to make changes ⎯ both large and small ⎯ at the organizational and individual levels. At the organizational level, this will include but are not limited to changes in values, policies, procedures, and practices ⎯ way of providing supports and services in partnership with persons who experience IDD and their families across diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and other identity groups in New York State. At the individual level, this involves valuing diversity, and acquiring cultural knowledge and skills in order to work effectively with persons who experience IDD, families, staff, and volunteers across all cultural and linguistic groups.
NCCC Response: The OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change Project is about systems change. All constituency groups across all systems must be involved. The NCCC’s job is to help build the infrastructure ⎯the foundation for cultural and linguistic competence ⎯ that supports not only existing grassroots efforts but also the overall system. That means the work to advance cultural and linguistic competence is not a one-way street – it is indeed two-way traffic at a minimum. Since almost all activities will be virtual, the project will depend on the “grassroots” organizations, programs, and informal groups to get the word out and to advocate for and participate in change. The NCCC asserts that cultural and linguistic competence is a developmental process, and as such, there is always "space to grow." Please join us.
NCCC Response: Yes. The NCCC includes not only stigma in the design of this project’s many activities, but it will also address the impact of racism, ableism, marginalization, stereotyping, discrimination, little capacity to address persons and families who speak languages other than English, how persons who experience IDD are minoritized, and how equity is understood and practiced within service providing organizations and across the system. All of these and even more impact service utilization. Naming and confronting these systemic issues are the first steps toward systems change.
NCCC Response: The NCCC will provide consultation and technical assistance to support the New York State’s IDD network of providers. Take a look at the resources available on the NCCC’s website. Additional resources will be created as the project goes forward. This will include a password-protected website where webinars, video narratives, a descriptive list of resources that have been reviewed by members of the NCCC project team, and more ⎯ all focused on cultural and linguistic competence, diversity, equity, and inclusion as applicable in the IDD space.
NCCC Response: The OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change Project will take a layered approach. All project activities will address what the NCCC calls “the multiple dimensions of culture.” This means defining culture, looking at how culture presents within a person, groups of people, populations, programs, organizations, and systems. It will examine how culture and disability interface. Disability always occurs within cultural contexts that include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, language, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, LGBTQI+ identities, age, faith beliefs, immigration status, and other identity factors. The first step is understanding these multiple dimensions of culture from the most important source ⎯ from people with IDD and their families. Other steps will include how your organization includes the multiple dimensions of culture in its values, mission, policies, practices, staffing, professional development, and in-service training. The NCCC project team looks forward to exploring these concepts with you through the many project activities it will conduct over the course of the project.
NCCC Response: The NCCC will convene activities by region and collaborate with various partners and cultural brokers within communities to support promotion and participation. Based on the review of regions in the state, the population by race, ethnicity, and languages spoken is quite diverse. Almost all of the activities that the NCCC will conduct are virtual. Accordingly, the NCCC will do its best to ensure that every activity is responsive to New York’s diverse populations including persons who may require accommodations (interpretation and translation in a language other than English as required by New York State Language Access law, ASL, 508 compliance for web-based platforms and technologies, plain language, and other accommodations by individual request).
OPWDD Response: Attending the Virtual Community Forum is not a billable service.
OPWDD Response: The OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change Project will include care coordinators, small nonprofit providers, persons who use sign language, and many other minoritized communities. The NCCC will be using best practices for cultural and linguistic competence to design listening sessions and forums, conduct outreach in the top 12 languages spoken in New York State, and engage with community partners.
OPWDD Response: Yes, Care Coordination Organizations (CCOs) and care coordinators will be included. CCOs will be invited to provider forums to begin digging deeper into diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence definitions and plans. We will be sharing project resources with CCOs as well. OPWDD will be conducting outreach to CCOs to share resources and opportunities for engagement with the project for the next few years.
OPWDD Response: The OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change Project is not focusing on one service delivery model like self-direction. OPWDD has another project that is funded through enhanced FMAP that will be looking at how the current self-direction model compares to models used by other states. More information on that project can be found here.
OPWDD Response: Detailed Medicaid utilization data is on the OPWDD website in the Data Book for Strategic Planning on the OPWDD By the Numbers Data Page.
Data represent Medicaid utilization trends and breakdowns by service category and region, as well as statewide. Medicaid Data Book for Strategic Planning is updated annually. OPWDD has also launched a new interactive dashboard, Regional Data Story for Strategic Planning.
OPWDD Response: To access services and supports, the first step is to contact your Regional Front Door Office. You can also sign up for a scheduled Front Door Information Session. This year, OPWDD will be releasing short, easy to understand modules on the Front Door process. These modules will be available for viewing 24/7 and will include closed captioning in English, Simplified Spanish, and Chinese, plus voiceovers in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. The modules are being developed in partnership with two community-based organizations, Chinese-American Planning Council and Sinergia.
More information about how to access OPWDD services may also be found on the Front Door page of OPWDD’s Website Front Door | Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (ny.gov). The information on this page and all pages on the OPWDD website may be translated into the top 13 languages using the “Translate” feature found on the top left of the webpage:
OPWDD Response: OPWDD provides free telephonic interpretation services to providers. Instructions on how to use this service can be found in the Telephonic Interpretation Through OPWDD section on this page: https://opwdd.ny.gov/providers/language-access-information-providers
OPWDD also translates vital documents that belong to OPWDD into the top 12 languages spoken in New York State. Vital OPWDD documents include:
OPWDD Response: OPWDD’s 2023-2027 Strategic Plan (also called the 5.07 Plan) includes specifics about policy and planning efforts toward these goals: 1) Strengthen or workforce, technology, and collaboration, 2) Transform our system through innovation and change, and 3) Enhance our person-centered supports and services. More information is available on the OPWDD Strategic Planning webpage.
OPWDD Response: The OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change Project is a three-year partnership. We are in Year 1 of the project. Specific approaches and activities that OPWDD will be taking in partnership with the NCCC are outlined on the OPWDD website.
OPWDD leadership has received professional development on cultural competence, linguistic competence, and other DEI-related terms (e.g., intersectionality, disability justice). This foundation is important for any organization to have to advance policies and practices for cultural competence, linguistic competence, diversity, equity, and inclusion. OPWDD has also begun action planning for cultural and linguistic competence.
NCCC Response: The NCCC is excited to answer this question. Thank you for posing it and welcome your involvement and your colleagues as well. The project is all about systems change to advance cultural and linguistic competence, diversity, equity, and inclusion within the IDD system of New York State. It will take the personal investment, energy, and commitment to begin and maintain the process of change ⎯ while the project is being implemented ⎯ but importantly when it ends from every professional and constituent. As the array of training and technical assistance activities created for the IDD service provider network comes online, participate, share information, and complete evaluations so that the project staff can assess if your interests and needs are being met.
Get involved, stay involved! To get updates on future activities: