2014-2015 Cultural Stipend Internship Program Off to a Great Start

The BHRS Cultural Stipend Internship Program (CSIP) awarded $5000 stipends to 18 exceptional BHRS trainees for the 2014-2015 training year. Our diverse group of interns were selected based on their experience within the area of cultural diversity and their commitment to improve BHRS’s capacity to serve marginalized communities; such as communities of color, LGBTQQI2S (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning Intersex Two Spirit) communities, people with disabilities, and those with lived experience as a client/consumer or family member of behavioral health services. The goal of the stipend program is to support interns in their efforts to enhance BHRS’s services for clients who come from the aforementioned communities. These communities are of particular importance as they have disproportionately high rates of mental health issues and alcohol and other drug use in addition to related issues such as incarceration, homelessness, medical issues and historical trauma. Stipend awardees use their identification with, and knowledge of these communities to design individual year-long cultural competency projects to help obtain our mutual goal of increasing health equity within BHRS services.

Awardees final projects range from:

  • Strengthening language access
  • Surveying providers about incorporating spirituality into clinical work
  • Conducting focus groups to uncover barriers that are impeding service attainment for the African American community
  • Facilitating a 10-session support group oriented towards Latina youth in the juvenile justice system
  • Conducting a 3-session Chinese language mental health series for parents of Chinese youth at Mills High School
  • Facilitating Photovoice, a photography-based empowerment workshop, for young Arab women

In addition, trainees participate in 2 capacity-building trainings on Cultural Humility and Working Well with Interpreters, attend monthly meetings as an active member of one of the nine Health Equity Initiatives, and deliver an oral presentation at the end of their internship, summarizing their final project. Interns devote an average 8 hours per month to their CSIP activities with the support of Office of Diversity and Equity and their clinical supervisors.

CSIP Applications are available in the spring. For more information, contact Kim Westrick at c_kwestrick@smcgov.org or 650-573-2565.