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Community development and Engagement section

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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Office of Health Equity (OHE), Community Development and Engagement Section’s (CDES) mission is to strengthen the CDPH’s focus and ability to advise and assist other state departments in their mission to increase access to, and the quality of, culturally and linguistically competent mental health care and services.


To create a public mental health system for a diverse California that advances an authentic commitment to community engagement, cultural knowledge, accessibility, quality, resilience, and wellness.

Core Principles

  • Diversity and culture is a strength
  • Honor beliefs, traditional healing, values, religions, and spirituality of evolving cultures
  • Cultural competence and health equity is supported at all levels of the Department – director, executive staff, and line staff and across all centers, offices, and programs
  • Ensure culturally and linguistically appropriate policy, strategies, and services
  • Change the way services are provided to benefit the needs of all people
  • Invest in the transformation of the public mental health system from the medical model to a culturally-competent, recovery-oriented model
  • Focus on strengths, resiliency, recovery, and permanency
  • Community-Defined Evidence – Community-Based Solutions
  • Address stigma, discrimination, and institutional/structural racism
  • Keep an open mind
  • Encourage courageous conversations
  • Actively engage multicultural community participation in all elements of mental health policy development and service delivery 
  • Commitment to knowledge/awareness of cultural groups (how they differ from dominant, from one another, other groups)
  • Safe environment for open/honest discussions
  • Recognize the impacts of privilege, class, gender, race, sexual orientation, homelessness, immigration/refugee status, socio-economic status, poverty, disabilities, age, and all other defining characteristics
  • Build capacity (resources, research, workforce, infrastructure) 
  • Fairness and equity in resources for all populations 
  • Consistency in data collection that supports actual measurement of disparities/inequalities and progress made to address them
  • Values are multilayered – top/bottom/sideways/diagonal/circular
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