- To learn more about the experiences of and recommendations for developing equity-grounded leaders and prioritizing health equity stemming from Region 3 behavioral health leaders, see the report, Equity as a Foundation for Leadership: Experiences and Recommendations for Behavioral Health Leaders.
- Presentation Slides
Leaders must embody equity as an operating principle – as a mindset – to transform behavioral health systems.
Late in 2021, Health and Human Services (HHS) Region 3 leaders were asked to share their experiences and perspectives on equity as a foundation of leadership. In a diverse region with nearly 31,000,000 people, clear racial disparities exist on key indicators of health equity. The consequences of these disparities are far-reaching and not only affect the health and well-being of individuals receiving care, but also of the behavioral health workforce.
On March 1, 2022, the Central East Addiction Technology Transfer Center (CE-ATTC), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and operated by The Danya Institute, released a report describing and defining Equity Grounded Leadership for use by behavioral health leaders in Region 3 states. This report, developed by The College for Behavioral Health Leadership (CBHL) in partnership with Just Health Collective, LLC and Prevention Institute, builds on the Danya Institute’s ongoing efforts to improve diversity, increase cultural competency, and address population-specific needs of people receiving and delivering behavioral health services in Region 3. While developed based on the experiences of Region 3 leaders, the recommendations are applicable to leaders across the country.
This webinar offers an overview of the report development and outcomes, key takeaways for organizations and communities, and a description of and discussion about the importance of equity-grounded leadership. We will also seek your feedback on what is needed next to support equity-grounded leadership in Region 3.
Oscar Morgan, Project Director, Central East Addiction Technology Transfer Center
Oscar Morgan is the interim director of the Danya Institute where he is responsible for the management, growth, and development of the Institute and has primary responsibilities for supervision of the Institute’s personnel. He is also the Project Director of the Central East MHTTC where is responsible for the programmatic and administrative coordination of all training and technical assistance (T/TA).
His background includes serving as the Mental Health Commissioner for the State of Maryland, where he expanded the workforce from a static capacity of 200 providers to more than 3,000, and established a self-governed, peer support organization throughout the state. He brings more than 35 years of experience in the mental health and substance use service fields, with expertise in providing evidence-based and culturally and linguistically competent services, trauma-informed programs, mental health and substance use organizational systems, and program integration.
He was an author of The National Action Plan on Behavioral Health Workforce commissioned by SAMHSA and has written articles on health equity and provided T/TA on emerging policies and trends affecting the care and treatment of individuals with mental illness for providers and stakeholders in the 50 states and territories.
He holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Masters of Health Service Administration from George Washington University. Mr. Morgan also has a Certificate of Public Health Leadership from the University of California, Berkeley.
Dr. Jei Africa, Director, Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
Dr. Jei Africa, PsyD, MSCP, CATC-V, Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) at the County of Marin, 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 2 decades experience in the areas of behavioral health, trauma, health equity and diversity. He maintains also consulting and private psychotherapy practice in the Bay Area.
For over a decade, Dr. Africa served as the Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity with the San Mateo County Health System where he led agency-wide efforts addressing health equity that received State recognition. He spearheaded the development of the first-ever multi-disciplinary behavioral health LGBTQ+ community center, led the health system’s change efforts to enable the collection of SOGI data for all patients, and was instrumental in the opening of a transgender health clinic. Prior positions include: Clinical Director at Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse and Manager of Youth Treatment Services at Asian American Recovery Services.
In addition to his professional work, Dr. Africa was appointed to serve as a founding member of the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission (2014-2017), and currently volunteers with Alliance for Community Empowerment (ALLICE), an all-Filipino organization offering free education on healthy relationships (2007-present). He currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and at the Mabuhay Health Clinic, a free student-run clinic affiliated with the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). He was a member of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities Regional Health Equity Council (RHEC) IX, previously served as a Senior Research faculty member at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University and a fellow with the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) Leadership Institute.
Jei Africa holds a Post-doctoral M.S. degree in Clinical Psychopharmacology, a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, and an M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University/California School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Africa received an undergraduate degree from the University of the Philippines in Behavioral Science.
Kathy Poston, Chief Engagement Officer, Just Health Collective
With a career spanning more than 25 years in healthcare, Ms. Poston has extensive management consulting experience leading engagements and managing client relationships.
Ms. Poston partners with executive and senior leaders to advance their health equity and belonging initiatives by providing management consulting and delivery services as well as concentrating on sales and business development.
In addition to a more recent focus on health equity and belonging, Ms. Poston has deep financial and operational experience with matrixed healthcare systems, specifically focused on physician enterprises. Areas of expertise include large scale physician enterprise assessments, management and operational redesigns, patient access and clinical workflow improvements and physician compensation plan redesigns.
Ms. Poston serves as a thought leader around women’s leadership inclusion and advancement issues. She also serves as an ally in the advancement of people of color, having served as a member of several business resource communities in support of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Prior to joining Just Health Collective, Ms. Poston was a Managing Consulting at Berkeley Research Group and previously held roles at Optum Advisory Services, a UnitedHealth Group company, legacy Advisory Board Company. Ms. Poston’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Ruben Cantu, Associate Program Director, Prevention Institute
Ruben Cantu is an Associate Program Director on Prevention Institute’s Safety and Wellbeing Team. He has more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in public health and mental health and wellbeing through an equity and racial justice lens. At PI, he leads initiatives to address and prevent community trauma through application of PI’s Adverse Community Experiences and Resilience framework. He also works on strategies to improve mental health and wellbeing through a focus on community conditions. This recently included managing the Making Connections for Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Men and Boys initiative, a national community of practice comprising 13 sites across the U.S. implementing upstream, community prevention strategies to build resilience among men and boys of color and military service members, veterans, and their families. He is the primary author of California’s strategic plan for reducing mental health disparities and serves on several state advisory committees.