The Georgia State University Counseling & Testing Center's Cultural Competency Conference was created with the primary goal of providing mental health professionals with an opportunity to further develop their knowledge, skills and awareness as it relates to cultural issues and working with diverse populations. This is achieved through various activities in which conferees have a chance to interact with one another and engage in relevant discussions about ongoing cultural dynamics in the context of their professional work and in society at large. Since its inception in 2004, the conference has expanded from a 1-day conference annually to a 2-day conference that is now held biennially. The target audience of the conference has also expanded to not only include mental health professionals, but to include medical professionals as well as educators.
In addition to daytime workshops and a poster session, each conference features an evening keynote speaker. This provides an arena for students, faculty, staff, and conferees to come together and expand the cultural discussions from the clinical/theoretical realm to the practical, everyday arena. In 2010 another element was added to the conference, whereby GSU students were given an opportunity to display original artwork created based on the conference theme. This artwork was displayed in the GSU art gallery and featured during the week of the conference.
Given the fact that we have such a diverse student population at GSU and that we live in a diverse world, we feel that it is important for us to continually work toward developing our cultural competence not only for our personal growth, but more importantly so that we can provide culturally appropriate services to the populations we serve.