Community participation in local health has assumed a central role in the reforms of public healthcare, being increasingly associated with the issue of decentralization of the health system. The aim of this paper is to raise questions regarding the structural approaches to multicultural social policy in Chile and to analyze the results of its implementation. The article analyzes the case study of Makewe Hospital, one of the pioneering experiences of intercultural health initiative in Chile. The Makewe Hospital, which involves the indigenous community of the Mapuche, provides interesting insights to understand the dynamics of multicultural social policy and presents an example of a successful initiative that has succeeded in involving local communities in multicultural health policy. This case study discusses the effectiveness of grassroots participation in multicultural healthcare provision and presents the main strengths and challenges for the replicability of this experience in other settings. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.