The time for change is long overdue. Let’s do this together.
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program shifts the focus of cross-sector behavioral health leaders to intersectionality, equity, and anti-racism for behavioral health systems transformation. The program will:
- Cultivate a deep understanding of how inequity is perpetuated by and in the behavioral health system.
- Support all leaders to step into their own voice, courage, and power.
- Empower new leaders to thrive as change agents to unravel systemic racism and inequity.
- Prepare all leaders to take measurable action to create equitable systems.
The Program Details
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program is currently in development. The development period includes testing content and approach to a pilot cohort, launching Spring 2022, for real-time feedback and refinement. The Program will be co-created with cross-sector leaders, grounded in lived experience, and actionable.
- Focuses on the individual as a leader. Participants will learn to lead visibly as their authentic self. Personal goals will be identified and progress measured.
- Prioritizes the power of relationships. The cohort will develop a shared vision. Curriculum will be delivered in a circular (person-centered) versus hierarchical approach to emphasize competencies aligned with the vision. Relationships will be cultivated with other leaders and with community, and will continue beyond the Program.
- Spurs collective action. Participants will take action through experiential learning. They will develop transformative solutions resulting in collective change for their organization, community, or region.
- Content and approach is adaptable based on individual and cohort experiences, goals, and needs. Program requirements are directly aligned with work that already is or needs to occur, thus supportive of existing (or necessary) efforts.
Participants will learn and apply skills in a collaborative environment through:
- Competencies: Participants will gain knowledge and experience in equity-grounded leadership competencies. This will include in-person or virtual sessions and self-paced learning tied to individual goals through multiple modalities.
- Coaching: Participants will receive peer and individualized leadership support through coaches and advisors. Coaches will be matched based on shared interest, experiences, or skill sets. Coaching sessions will be tailored to participant goals.
- Collaboration: Participants will learn by doing through customized, meaningful collaborative projects, identified based on participants’ work in their communities. Projects will be supported by faculty advisors and will continue beyond the Fellow Program.
The First Cohort
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program cohort participants are beginning this journey with the courageous inquiry of personal and professional biases, impacting how they view themself and others. They will explore how to collectively influence others to create communities rooted in resilience and healing. We are grateful for this inaugural cohort, who will collaboratively help to shape and refine the fellow program to ensure leaders are empowered to mobilize themselves and others to create positive change.
The Project Team
CBHL is proud to introduce the Project Team, who model equity-grounded leadership and bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the development of the Fellow Program. Their approach is person-centered, recovery-oriented, trauma-informed, and acknowledges that individual leaders have different experiences, abilities, and needs.
Crystal L. Brandow, PhD
Dr. Brandow has been working in the behavioral health field for over a decade, including in well-being and wellness; trauma, healing, and resilience; identity, culture, and bias; and social justice. She has served in several positions elevating equity in the behavioral health space. Her interests include broader, interdisciplinary topics related to public health communication, population health, and health disparities. Dr. Brandow centers her work around Wellness First, and aims to bring an authentic, impactful, innovative voice to behavioral health.
Curriculum and Facilitation
Ms. Chambers has over 18 years of experience working with issues of social justice, equity, education, mental health and diversity. She is a speaker, educator, and workshop leader who has worked extensively throughout the United States and has served nationally and locally as an advocate and activist for access to care and the elimination of the stigma of mental illness for underserved and unserved communities. Her passion is community engagement and empowerment, equity, and working with leaders to achieve this mission.
The Evaluation Team
The Equity-Grounded Leadership (EGL) Evaluation Team, through TriWest Group, LLC, have expertise and years of experience operationalizing equity through systems assessments, program improvement, and outcomes and process evaluation. They will support program development and the EGL fellows on the quest to take measurable action to create equitable systems.
The Funding Partners
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program Funding Partners recognize that the current systems are unjust. They have committed resources to develop a program that will empower leaders to mobilize themselves and others to create positive change. We are grateful for their support of this critical initiative!
The Supporting Partners
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program Supporting Partners understand the importance of collective influence to create communities rooted in resilience. They have committed time, expertise, leadership and/or pilot cohort participation to ensure all voices are included. We are grateful for their support!
The Advisory Committee
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.
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program Workgroup was created to support the Project Team by providing subject matter expertise and guidance in the development of specific components of the Fellow Program. Workgroup members bring diverse backgrounds, experiences, and expertise; and have graciously offered their time to help develop transformative leadership solutions to dismantle the status quo.
The Project Advisors
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program Project Advisors will support subgroups of Fellows by advising on various elements of their experiential learning projects. Advisors bring diverse backgrounds, professional experiences, and systems level expertise; and have graciously offered time to support fellows in the development and implementation of projects designed to advance equity and anti-racism in their organizations, communities, or regions.
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program coaches support Fellows by providing one-on-one coaching tailored to individual leadership goals. We are proud to introduce you to this year’s coaches, who will help guide Fellows on their journey to courageous inquiry of personal and professional biases that impact how one views themself and others.
Interested in getting involved as a funder, advisory committee member, workgroup member, project advisor, or coach? Contact Holly Salazar, CBHL CEO to schedule a conversation.
What is equity-grounded leadership?
Equity-grounded leadership stems from the understanding that the current systems are unjust. It empowers leaders to mobilize themselves and others to create positive change. Equity-grounded leadership begins with courageous inquiry of personal and professional biases that impact how one views themself and others, and how to collectively influence others to create communities that are rooted in resilience and promote healing.
Equity-grounded leadership recognizes the danger caused by unchecked power and hierarchies in all forms and works to mitigate them. It demands transformative solutions away from the status quo. Equity-grounded leadership is anti-racist, person-centered, recovery-oriented, trauma-informed, and acknowledges that individuals have different experiences, abilities, needs, and strengths. It allows leaders to account for those and develop strategies for decision making to include all voices. It is different from leading from a place of equality, which is about sameness and assumes that all individuals will benefit from being provided the exact same support.
Equity-grounded leadership ensures all leaders are equipped to lead with influence and from a position of love and humility.
Characteristics of Equity-Grounded Leaders
Leaders who operationalize equity:
- Support grassroots leadership and emerging, community-based groups
- Invest in community and culturally rooted practices
- Share decision making power across sectors and with communities
- Change community factors to change health outcomes
- Take a collaborative approach to training, technical assistance, and resource allocation
- Attach funding to equity guidelines
- Examine practices and policies for implicit bias (racial, gender, socioeconomic, and others)
- Create action plans focused on equity and anti-racism
- Advance a broad regional health equity platform through all programs and policies
- Integrate and lead across silos
- Work further upstream to impact the most people
- Conduct ongoing outcomes and process evaluation
- Develop emerging leaders through mentorship and sponsorship
Specific skills and attributes of an equity-grounded leader include:
- Learning from both quantitative and qualitative data—continually educating oneself
- Seeking strengths and approaching work with cultural humility
- Mindfulness about who is at the table—and who is not
- Being aware of how personal experiences and lineage impacts views and biases
- Sharing leadership and work alongside community members
- Understanding and acknowledging the impact of community trauma
- Being introspective and willing to change
- Asking tough questions; calling out biases, racism and discrimination; and challenging the status quo
- Navigating conflict with humility
- Leading with love for the mission, the people they serve, the community, and their team
Positive Impacts of Equity-Grounded Leadership
Equity-grounded leadership has positive impacts across organizations working within the broader behavioral health system, for individuals served, and for communities both served by and participating in the system. Leaders who serve from a foundation of equity can positively impact:
- Improving employee engagement and a sense of belonging
- Increasing respect and understanding between employees and individuals served
- Allowing for decisions grounded in fairness and equity
- Improving key performance indicators (e.g., financial, engagement, quality)
- Establishing greater confidence and trust in the behavioral health system
- Creating more culturally responsive care models
- Improving health outcomes through shared decision making about care plans
- Addressing issues of concern based on lived experience
- Increasing community participation and engagement
- Establishing trust and creating opportunities for shared problem solving
- Creating pathways for economic, social, environmental, and political justice
- Reducing health disparities and improving outcomes
Share your Experience and Perspective
Interested in Sharing Your Experience and Perspective? The Fellow Program is developed based on the lived experience of leaders. We would love to hear from you! Contact Holly Salazar, CBHL CEO, for more information on how to contribute.