Health Equity Initiatives

In 2007, the Mental Health Services Act provided funding to continue and support staff efforts to address racial, ethnic, and cultural disparities within Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. These Initiatives were created to focus on health disparities in access and quality of care for underserved, unserved and inappropriately served cultural and ethnic communities and identify the workforce development needs of staff of these communities.

Each Initiative plans and implements activities in collaboration with other county staff, community partners, consumers/clients/family members and community stakeholders.  Activities include educational resources (translated in different languages); facilitated training on culturally-responsive practices, workshops and support groups; and community outreach.

All who are passionate about embracing diversity and advancing equity are welcome to participate. Learn more...

African American Community Initiative
Chinese Health Initiative
Filipino Mental Health Initiative
Latino Collaborative
Native American Initiative
Pacific Islander Initiative
PRIDE Initiative
Spirituality Initiative

Diversity and Equity Council and Health Equity Initiatives Meeting Schedule

Past Interns:

Hiba AbuDamous (2014)
Hiba is a graduate student at the California State University, East Bay. As an intern, Hiba supported the Suicide Prevention Committee in developing its first Suicide Prevention Report. Hiba also helped organize BHRS' first educational training on Arab and Arab American communities. She co-authored an article in BHRS' Wellness Matters newsletter titled, "BHRS Hosts its First Arab Community Training."

Marisol Solis (2014) 
Marisol graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Biology (emphasis in physiology) and a minor both in Chemistry and Health Education. During her internship, Marisol was also volunteering for the Emotion Health and Psychophysiology Lab at UCSF and was Chapter President of Global Brigades at SFSU. As an intern, Marisol was involved in multiple projects for the Lived Experience Education Workgroup, the Lived Experience Academy, Stigma Free San Mateo County, and Mental Health Awareness Month. Among those projects was helping create and translate a new curriculum for the Lived Experience Advocacy Training. Marisol also wrote an article for BHRS' Wellness Matters newsletter titled, "Students Learn About Mental Health and Stigma Through Photovoice." 

Catrina Gotuaco (2013)
Catrina graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Education and Human Development. Prior to her internship, Catrina served as a Research Assistant at the Asian American Center for Disparities Research and studied ethnic minority mental health. During her internship, Catrina assisted with projects for Stigma Free San Mateo County and the PRIDE Initiative. She was also certified to facilitate Youth Mental Health First Aid.

Sheri Broussard (2013)
Sheri Broussard graduated from California State University East Bay completing her Master’s in Social Work. During her internship, Sheri worked with The Parent Project®, The African American Community Initiative, Stigma Free San Mateo and Central Adult Clinic. Her primary roles were to help ODE reduce mental health stigma and disparities through research, community forums and education. She also created videos for the PRIDE and Chinese Health Initiatives to address culturally specific problems surrounding mental health stigma.

Katherine (Kathy) is a student at UC Berkeley majoring in American Studies, with a minor in Education.  During her internship, Kathy was trained to facilitate community discussions on the Stigma DVD film.  She also compiled and analyzed data from the Anti-Stigma Initiative and Photovoice Project.
Cassandra (Cassie) graduated from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, with a degree in Psychology.  Prior to her internship, Cassie served as a Public Policy Intern with the Mental Health Association of San Francisco.  As an intern, Cassie was certified as an instructor in Mental Health First Aid.  She also supported Mental Health First Aid courses and coordinated the teaching and evaluation of the class in the County.
Lily Ng (2011)
Lily graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles. As an intern, Lily supported a variety of programs and projects, including the Mental Health First Aid, Spirituality Initiative and Continuing Medical Education application. 
Omar Aljundi (2011)
Omar graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Health Education.  Prior to his time at San Francisco State, Omar served in the U.S. Navy as a Surgical Technician for five years.  During his time as an intern, Omar supported the Photovoice Project and helped coordinate a Photovoice exhibit at Sequoia High School in partnership with the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center.
Mitchell Xiong (2011)
Mitchell graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in Health Education.  As an intern, Mitchell supported a number of the Health Equity Initiatives, and developed and presented a Brown Bag Lecture on Hmong Culture and Health.
Leasina Tangitau (2010)
Tori Nelson (2010)
Tori graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. As an intern, she continued development on the Office of Diversity and Equity website. Tori also worked closely with the Health Equity Initiatives, and researched cultural competence outcomes and measures.
Rosette K. Diaz (2009)
Rosette graduated from UC Berkeley. While an intern, she was involved with the PRIDE Initiative and played an active role in planning and organizing the November 2009 Cultural Competence Mental Health Summit XVI. Rosette was also an intern with Health Policy and Planning.
Mariam Kandil (2008)
Mariam graduated from MIT with a degree in Cognitive Sciences and is currently attending Santa Clara University as a graduate student in Counseling Psychology. While an intern, she helped to co-facilitate a family focus group with the Office of Consumer and Family Affairs, and helped develop the Cultural Competency Self-Assessment Checklist.