Isn’t it true that “everyday life” teaches us lessons we didn’t know we needed to learn? Or, that there are events that happen as a part of our daily lives that shine a light on things that need to be seen? I think so. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with a healthy, vibrant, joyful 76-year-old with no major health problems, my mother*, a Black woman who, as a teenager, migrated with her family from the American South to East Palo Alto in the 1960s. Lately, she has been experiencing pain and other symptoms that are far outside her normal daily living experiences. The symptoms were starting to take a toll on her emotionally. She asked me to “sit in” on a virtual Doctor’s appointment with her. When she described the pain and swelling, she is experiencing, the Doctor asked her several follow up questions which Mom answered succinctly without much elaboration. Based on Mom’s answers and her upbeat, cheerful tone, the Doctor suggested compression stockings. That would have been the end of the appointment. Instead, Mom has two upcoming medical procedures that are going to improve her life both physically and psychologically. So, what happened? Why does she have two medical procedures instead of compression stockings? After all, Mom reported her experience. The Doctor who has a good relationship with Mom, listened closely and did an assessment. What had happened was, the Doctor was not aware of Mom’s deft use of African American English and code-switching. Since I had seen the swelling and knew her actual level of discomfort, I asked Mom some additional questions and asked her to share her answers with the Doctor. Once the Doctor heard the additional information, she insisted that Mom come for an in-person visit. The result of the in-person visit revealed two significant problems which would have otherwise been missed.
Consider this. Several years ago, a local Black psychiatrist was called to the emergency room of a Bay Area hospital. The ER staff did not know what to do to support or contain a man absolutely overcome with grief. His grandmother had been shot by a stray bullet, just a few houses down from her own home, and now, she lay dead on a gurney in the ER, despite the efforts of determined physicians. The Grandson was not screaming or shouting epithets or kicking over furniture. He was not violent by any definition. He was doubled over weeping, rocking back and forth, and humming amazing grace. ER staff had alerted security because he would not leave his grandmother’s side. He continued to weep, rock and sing. He was not going to leave her. The psychiatrist went to the emergency room, was briefed by the staff, and left them to be with the young man. He stood and watched from a distance for a few minutes and understood exactly what he was seeing. Grandson was expressing grief in the only language that he knew–the gospel music of his home and community–and rocking his body for comfort. In the aftermath of that trauma, he needed to be exactly where he was, doing exactly what he was doing.
The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) is excited to announce two new job and internship opportunities. ODE advances health equity in behavioral health outcomes of marginalized communities throughout San Mateo County. ODE works to empower communities; influence policy and system changes; develop strategic and meaningful partnerships; and promote workforce development and transformation within BHRS.
1) ODE is seekingCommunity Health Planners.
There are currently two vacancies 1) a permanent Community Health Planner position that will support Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) implementation and technical assistance across BHRS; and 2) a limited-term position, through June 30, 2021, that will support the development and implementation of a comprehensive, outcome-based evaluation, data collection and reporting infrastructure for MHSA funded programs.
2) ODE is seeking Cultural Stipend Internship Program (CSIP) interns.
The 2019-20 Cultural Stipend Internship Program (CSIP) Awardees complete and present their cultural humility related projects to clinic sites, Health Equity Initiatives (HEI), and community groups. CSIP awardees spend the academic year participating in one of nine HEIs and coordinating a year-long project, in addition to their regular duties as clinical interns.
CSIP provides a stipend of $7,000 awarded annually to up to 10 interns. Awardees are selected based on their expressed interest in and commitment to cultural awareness and social justice in both community and clinical settings; personal identification with marginalized communities; and/ or lived experience with behavioral health conditions. Priority is given to bilingual and/ or bi-cultural applicants whose cultural background and experience is similar to underserved communities in San Mateo County. Once selected, awardees are then matched with an HEI and tasked with conducting a project that helps BHRS becomes more culturally sensitive on a systemic level, and more accessible to marginalized communities.
Become a Cultural Humility trainer with creators of the multicultural-affirming tool, Melanie Tervalon, MD, MPH and Jann Murray- Garcia, MD, MPH. As a trainer, you will be able to teach Cultural Humility trainings to other organizations in order to further educate the importance of critical self- reflection and life-long learning; changing power dynamics for client focused care; advocating for and maintaining institutional consistency; and community- based care and advocacy.
Please note: You may only apply if you have already taken Melanie Tervalon’s Cultural Humility training as a participant.
Deadline to apply is January 31st. Application can be found here.
This past Friday, the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) capped off a two-day orientation for 38 new BHRS interns and trainees with a fun and interactive Amazing Dialogue event and contest in which the interns/trainees get to learn all about ODE and the Health Equity Initiatives (HEI) as they visit table displays and have “amazing dialogues” with staff and representatives. The interns/trainees also get to vote for their favorite HEI table display (the Pacific Islander Initiative took the win this year!) and they take a short pop quiz for 1st runner up, runner up and grand prize.
“I really liked all the presenters. The passion that they have for the work they do is inspirational.”
“I enjoyed all of the training given by the clinicians, it gave me perspective and insight about my role as an intern. I also enjoyed the lived experience panel as well as the WRAP facilitators and the interactive activities.”
Sounds like the trainees/interns are off to a strong start this year!
The BHRS Intern & Trainee Program provides training opportunities to psychology interns, masters-level trainees, alcohol and drug certificate program students, and psychiatric residents each year. The program includes:
A two-day informative and fun orientation, which includes learning from staff across BHRS, receiving clinical training in trauma-informed care and self-care, hearing from the Lived Experience Academy about how to be a thoughtful and effective clinician, and the Amazing Dialogue event.
Placements at various BHRS sites, including the Youth Services Center, BHRS clinics, Service Connect, Serramonte Therapeutic Day School, Pre to 3, School-Based Mental Health, Canyon Oaks, Pathways programs and others.
Bi-monthly psychiatric grand rounds and regular in-service trainings.
Cultural Stipends for interns/trainees who provide services to underserved populations and participate in a HEI project/program.
The 2015-16 Cultural Stipend Internship Program (CSIP) Awardees have completed and presented their cultural humility related projects to clinic sites, Health Equity Initiatives (HEI), and community groups. 15 awardees spent the past academic year participating in one of nine HEIs, and coordinating a year-long project, in addition to their regular duties as clinical interns.
CSIP provides a stipend of $5,000 awarded annually to up to 20 interns. Awardees are selected based on their expressed interest in and commitment to cultural awareness and social justice in both community and clinical settings; personal identification with marginalized communities; and/or lived experience with behavioral health conditions. Priority is given to bilingual and/or bi-cultural applicants whose cultural background and experience is similar to underserved communities in San Mateo County. Once selected, awardees are then matched with an HEI and tasked with conducting a project that helps BHRS become more culturally sensitive on a systemic level, and more accessible to marginalized communities.
This year’s projects consisted of 2 Clinical Trainings, 4 Community Events, 4 Research Projects, 2 Communication Campaigns, and 1 Research Paper. All projects are posted on the CSIP webpage. They are posted with the intention of being utilized, duplicated and institutionalized by BHRS staff and partner agencies. Please feel free to share the ways in which you are using them. If you have any questions, contact Kim Westrick (email@example.com).
CSIP is truly a collaborative effort between interns, supervisors, Health Equity Initiative co-chairs and members, the Office of Diversity and BHRS staff. Thank you to all of those who continue to dedicate their time and energy to making these projects a success and providing the intern’s an invaluable experiences and opportunity to make a difference.
CSIP applications for 2016-2017 are currently being reviewed by the committee and awardees will be announced in August, 2016.
In collaboration with South San Francisco High School Counselor, Ms. Jeanne George, twenty-two (22) current and future peer leaders are now trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid. The Peer Leader Program is a year-long class, where students are hand selected to work as tutors by providing academic support and serve as mentors and role models to other students at the high school.
1 in 5 youth will experience a mental health challenge in their lifetime. Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is an 8-hour public education training program designed for any adult or student peer working with or assisting young people, ages 12-24. In 2013, San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), partnered with the County Office of Education to begin offering this training to all schools throughout the county. Classroom teachers, school site administrators, school office personnel, coaches, bus drivers, afterschool providers, parents, teacher’s aides, school health aides, yard duty staff, crossing guards, peers and other school personnel are strongly encouraged to become Youth Mental Health First Aiders.
In March and April 2016, the San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services’ Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) was proud to introduce our eight newest Health Ambassadors to the Mental Health & Substance Abuse Recovery Commission. These individuals were awarded a BHRS Health Ambassador Certificate and were given a few moments to reflect on their experience participating in the Health Ambassador Program (HAP) and their hopes as a Health Ambassador.
[Our Health Ambassadors recognized in March from L to R: Darryl Stubblefield, Dr. Maria Lorente-Foresti – HAP Coordinator, Nora Perez, and Maria Anguiano. Bold names are our newest HAP recipients.]
[Health Ambassadors recognized in April 2016 from L to R: Marlenne Fajardo, Alejandra Cudos, Yrene Orue, Maggie Furey – Parent Project Coordinator, Maria Cuellar, and Sandy Bay.Bold names are our newest HAP recipients.]
We would like to congratulate these dedicated individuals and recognize them for their commitment and work to broaden our services and assist in addressing health disparities in our San Mateo County communities. We recognize their passion to help others and their pledge to continue learning. We acknowledge their continued work, as a BHRS Health Ambassador, to decrease stigma, assist individuals and families who are in need, to be a liaison with our communities & to teach others the tools to wellness.
To become a BHRS Health Ambassador, individuals must complete the ODE Parent Project® and 4 additional ODE community education courses. More information can be found at www.smchealth.org/bhrs/communityed.
The Health Ambassador Program is supported by SMC BHRS, ODE & is funded by the voter approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63).
This BHRS training update provides information on upcoming BHRS trainings, updates on the rescheduling of WRAP and ASIST, DSM 5 training follow-up, reminder to pre-register for all BHRS trainings, reminder to complete spirituality survey, and information about outside trainings.
UPCOMING BHRS TRAININGS
2-23-16: SMMC Grand Rounds–Bridging Spirituality Within Clinical Practice Panel Discussion. This training is sponsored by the BHRS Spirituality Initiative (12:15pm-1:30pm in Room 100, 225 37th Avenue, San Mateo)
2-25-16: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia Training (registration is full)
2-25-16 and 2-26-16:ASAM training (application period has ended)
The San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) is happy to share that we have three Mental Health Interns for this fiscal year.
Our interns have passion, personal experience and work experience in advancing equity, wellness and recovery for culturally diverse and underserved communities. Our interns and their respective work areas include:
Angelica Delgado – Workforce Education & Training | Suicide Prevention Martha Gonzalez – Mental Health First Aid | Digital Storytelling Mayra Gonzalez – Parent Project | Health Ambassador Program
(L-R: Martha Gonzalez, Mayra Gonzales and Angelica Delgado)
About the Internship Program
The ODE Internship Program is designed to provide work opportunities and practical learning experience for undergraduate college and graduate students in order to enhance their academic preparation and expose them to public service at the county level. This program is offered every fiscal year from September to June. Interns work 16-20 hours per week and are paid with a stipend funded by the Mental Health Services Act.
About the Office of Diversity and Equity
The Office of Diversity and Equity is dedicated to addressing health disparities, health inequities and stigma in the areas of mental health and substance use, and supporting wellness and recovery among underserved, unserved, and inappropriately served communities in San Mateo County. ODE works to achieve these goals by promoting cultural competence and cultural humility, which are rooted in principles of social justice. To learn more about ODE’s work, visit http://www.smchealth.org/bhrs/ode