The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program Advisory Committee was created as a standing committee of the CBHL Board of Directors, and serves as an advisory body and accountability partner in the development of the Fellow Program. We are proud to introduce you to members of the Advisory Committee, each of whom are leading with influence and from a position of love and humility to guide this important work.
Jei Africa, PsyD, MSCP
Advisory Committee Chair
Director, Marin County (California) Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
Dr. Africa is an innovative thought-leader and clinician who is passionate about integrating effective culturally responsive practices into the core functioning of County health services. Dr. Africa has over two decades experience in the areas of behavioral health, trauma, health equity, and diversity. He is an activist and an advocate for the physical and emotional well-being of individuals and families, with an emphasis on improving health care equity for historically marginalized communities. He believes that love and justice are essential to transforming people’s lives.
Wilma L. Townsend
Retired Behavioral Health Leader
Ms. Townsend’s professional behavioral health career highlights include federal and state government as well as local community service delivery systems, that developed her ability to recognize community and individual needs. She has extensive experience in policy development, and consultation to states, local government entities, managed care organizations, and consumer and family organizations in the areas of recovery and recovery oriented services, peer operated services, consumer outcomes, consumer involvement, and cultural competence. She specialized in policy development, research, implementing and monitoring of the aforementioned areas. She also conducts trainings to individuals who receive services and to clinicians to continually enhance the quality of services.
David L. Albright, PhD, MSW
Advisory Committee Member
University Distinguished Research Professor, Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair, The University of Alabama
Dr. Albright is a University Distinguished Research Professor and the Hill Crest Foundation Endowed Chair in Mental Health Research at The University of Alabama. He studies the ecologic features of behavioral health, focusing on occurrence, severity of harm and psychosocial impact, and the differential consequences for high-risk, underserved, and vulnerable populations. His research examines both the health status and risk behaviors of individuals with trauma, psychiatric, or substance use history, and barriers and facilitators to their access and utilization of mental health and addiction treatment services. Full Bio
Michael S. Spencer, PhD, MSSW
Presidential Term Professor; Acting Associate Dean of Academic Affairs; and Director, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander & Oceanic Affairs, University of Washington
Mike Spencer (Kānaka Maoli, he/him/his) is the Presidential Term Professor of Social Work, Acting Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Washington School of Social Work, and Director of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Oceania Affairs at the University of Washington Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI). Dr. Spencer’s research examines health and wellness among Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities, and specifically the wellbeing of the diasporic Pasifika population. He also develops interventions with community that promotes health through indigenous practices and values. Dr. Spencer is the co-lead of the Close the Health Gap and Eliminate Racism Grand Challenges for Social Work.
Keris Jän Myrick
Advisory Committee Member
Co-Director of The Mental Health Strategic Impact Initiative (S2i)
Keris Jän Myrick is a Co-Director of S2i, Podcast host of Unapologetically Black Unicorns and serves on the Board of the National Association of Peer Specialists (N.A.P.S.). Ms. Myrick has over 15 years of experience in mental health services innovation, transformation, peer workforce development and authored peer reviewed articles and book chapters. She held executive positions at local, federal, and national levels and was the Board President of NAMI. Ms Myrick’s work and advocacy has focused on lived experience and race equity. Ms. Myrick is a Certified Personal Medicine Coach, has a M.S. in organizational psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology of Alliant University and MBA from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management.
Brian R. Sims, MD
Senior Medical Advisor, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
Dr. Sims is a Psychiatrist, working in the behavioral health field for nearly 4 decades. He has worked with diverse populations, including individuals, groups; Military; School Settings; Corrections; Inpatient and outpatient hospital settings; BIPOC, Tribal Nations and LGBTQ, all promoting trauma informed system transformation, healing and recovery. He is passionate about the delivery of culturally responsive practices to all he encounters, including training, teaching and direct care to individuals and groups both nationally and internationally. His work in health equity and disparities, with emphasis on marginalized communities and communities of color have been his focus of attention for the past 15 years, in his present role of Senior Medical Advisor with NASMHPD. His emphasis centers on Connection, Collaboration with subsequent Empowerment.