In the early 1970s, the Center for Minority Health and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) became concerned about the lack of mental health professionals who could provide culturally competent care to an increasing ethnic minority and culturally diverse population, with ever-expanding needs for mental health research and services.
While it was believed that ethnic minority mental health researchers and providers could best address many of the problems faced by these various populations, only a small number of such professionals were in place.
In 1973, the Center invited the American Sociological Association (ASA) to submit a grant proposal to support doctoral-level training and ethnic and racial minority sociologists. In 1974, NIMH awarded the ASA a small training grant for the purpose of supporting doctoral education for ethnic minorty researchers and clinicians.
Shortly thereafter, invitations to submit training proposals were extended to the other core mental health professions: the American Nurses Association (ANA), the American Psychiatric Association (ApA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Each organization responded with enthusiasm, and thus began the most consistent, focused, and effective national program to train ethnic minority providers and researchers in substance abuse and mental health disorders, prevention, and treatment.