Addressing culture, race, & ethnicity in psychiatric practice

Pedro Ruiz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The role of culture, race, and ethnicity has become a major priority and relevance in psychiatric practice. The influx of migrants from all parts of the world toward the United States during the past 4 to 5 decades, coupled with the high population growth on the part of the ethnic minority groups who reside in this country, have converted this into a pluralistic and multiethnic society. It is, therefore, critical to recognize and conceptualize the roles of culture, race, and ethnicity within the context of psychiatric practice. In this regard, it is also relevant to understand the meaning of identity from a clinical point of view. Additionally, the proper identification of the idioms of distress as exemplified by the culture-bound syndromes are significant. Equally important is for clinicians to be aware and well informed about the effects of culture, race, and ethnicity on psychopharmacologic choices and outcome in the treatment of psychiatric disorders and conditions. Finally, it is crucial that clinicians remain cognizant of racial and ethnic disparities in the current healthcare and mental healthcare system in the United States. It is also important to make every effort to resolve these disparities as soon as possible. It is hoped that this article will be of benefit for psychiatric practitioners in their quest to improve their capacity to diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders and conditions, within the context of cultural competence, among the racial and ethnic minority groups who reside in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)526-532
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatric Annals
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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