Evidence-Based Practice in Mental Health Care to Ethnic Minority Communities

Has Its Practice Fallen Short of Its Evidence?

  • Eugene Aisenberg University of Washington
Keywords: cultural competence, evidence-based practice, mental health disorders, Mental health policy, racial and ethnic minority groups


Evidence-based practice (EBP) has contributed substantially to the advancement of knowledge in the treatment and prevention of adult mental health disorders. A fundamental assumption, based on documented evidence of effectiveness with certain populations, is that EBP is equally effective and applicable to all populations. However, small sample sizes of ethnic minority populations in randomized clinical trials prevent strong and clear conclusions about the effectiveness and generalizability of EBP with regard to people of color. In addition, the appropriateness of EBPs to ethnic minority communities has rarely been investigated. This article critically examines the applicability and dissemination of adult mental health EBP to diverse ethnic minority populations. It highlights limitations of EBP rooted in its epistemological narrowness, exclusion of communities of color, and lack of cultural competence and examines whether the practice of EBP has overstepped its evidence. This article presents a framework characterized by pathways of epistemological partnership and substantive inclusion of racial and ethnic minority groups to facilitate the promotion of culturally responsive EBPs and to inform mental health practice and policy implementation.

How to Cite
Aisenberg, E. (2020). Evidence-Based Practice in Mental Health Care to Ethnic Minority Communities: Has Its Practice Fallen Short of Its Evidence?. Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, 24, 90-106. https://doi.org/10.5195/jcycw.2012.50
Research and Practice Articles