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Office of Diversity & Equity

General information

Welcome
The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)

Latest News and Highlights

Upcoming Events and Trainings

New Community Resources

New from Storytelling Program

Get Involved!

ODE’s initiatives allow for anyone who is passionate about behavioral health and health equity to get involved to help family, friends, the community, and themselves. 

BHRS Blog

ODE is dedicated to creatively bringing discussions of inequities, disparities, and injustice front and center in our work. We invite you to visit our page on the BHRS Blog: 

 

For more info, email us at ODE@smcgov.org. 
General information

Community Empowerment
Free Classes and Programs

View individual links to learn how to participate in each program:

Mental Health First Aid
Youth Mental Health First Aid
Parent Project®
Health Ambassador Programs
Lived Experience Academy
Be the One Campaign
Suicide Prevention Committee
Digital Storytelling Series

FREE community education course for the public are made possible by the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63)

For more info, email us at ODE@smcgov.org. 

General information

Workforce Development

Ongoing Cultural Humility Trainings

Throughout the year the Office of Diversity and Equity offers a variety of free trainings to providers, clients, consumers, and community members. They exist to ensure that behavioral health systems prioritize cultural humility, inclusion, and quality care for all. 

Title Description
Becoming Visible- Using Cultural Humility in Asking Sexual Orientation Gender Identity (SOGI) Questions

One of San Mateo County BHRS’ strategic initiatives is to reduce healthcare disparities in the LGBTQ+ populations. In order to achieve this goal, we will start collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity of all our patients/clients. This will require extensive staff training in LGBTQ+ health and psychosocial issues faced by the LGBTQ+ populations.

Prevention and Management of Assaultive Behavior In Outpatient Settings This course will help participants identify words used to initiate the cycle of provocation/ antagonization as well as primary interventions that must reliably stimulate rational-thought in another. Participants will also recognize communicational missteps and default words to re-establish balance in a professional relationship. 
Working Effectively with Interpreters in a Behavioral Health Setting Learn how you and an interpreter can bridge the gap between a client’s diverse language and culture. You play a key role in helping people from all background improve their health and well-being. Interpreters can improve your communication with clients and help you better understand and meet their individual needs.
Working Effectively with Interpreters: Refresher Course Using the principles that were learned in the in-person training, this course is a convenient online refresher course that is aimed at refreshing staff and county contractors with knowledge and skills to develop competency in working with interpreters.
Building Bridges to Diversity and Inclusion: Cultural Humility for Clinical and Non-Clinical Staff

Cultural humility offers one approach to engage with the ever-changing dynamics of cultural and difference, power and privilege, as we go through our day-to-day work.  This collaborative and interactive training will provide attendees with an opportunity to engage and explore these concepts as we all continue to work towards fostering inclusion in the workplace. 

Office of Diversity and Equity 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. Interns are paid with a stipend funded by MHSA. For more information, please contact Briana Evans at bcevans@smcgov.org or 650-372-6138.

 To learn more about trainings contact Erica Britton by emailing her at ebritton@smcgov.org.

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About Us

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The Office of Diversity and Equity (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 the County’s behavioral health service system. 

ODE Brochure 

ODE Theory of Change

BHRS Three Year Cultural Competence Plan

Meet Our Staff

Jei Africa

He/ Him/ His
Director
(650) 573-2714 | jafrica@smcgov.org

Dr. Jei Africa is the director and creator of the Office of Diversity and Equity where he has been a leader and advocate in promoting social justice and health equity. As director, he developed the Health Equity Initiatives and led efforts to design services and curricula to address linguistic barriers for individuals and families who are limited English proficient. He also leads county wide efforts to integrate cultural competence and humility practices and services to every department in San Mateo County. Dr. Jei Africa is one of the few Tagalog-speaking clinical psychologists in the San Francisco Bay Area who is also certified as a domestic violence and addiction counselor. Outside of work, Dr. Jei Africa enjoys traveling and being with nature.

Doris Estremera

She/ Her/ Hers
Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Manager
(650) 573-2889 | destremera@smcgov.org

Doris is the Mental Health Service Act (MHSA) Manager for San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services providing oversight to the MHSA planning, stakeholder engagement, reporting and evaluation activities. Doris began working for the San Mateo County Health System in 2003 as an Outreach Worker and has since led strategic planning projects in language access, cultural competence, youth development, public information and risk communication, social marketing, community engagement and partnerships in health policy work.  

Erica Britton

She/ Her/ Hers
Workforce Education Training (WET) Coordinator
(650) 372-6153 | ebritton@smcgov.org

Nancy Chen

She/ Her/ Hers
Mental Health Program Specialist
Community Education Programs
(650) 573-5092 | nchen@smcgov.org

Nancy oversees the following community education programs: Parent Project®, Mental Health First Aid, and the Health Ambassador Program.  Nancy has 12 plus years of experience working with youth and families from marginalized communities in Alameda and San Mateo County.  She has provided mental health therapy in community-based settings and has witnessed firsthand the important role education plays in intervention, prevention, and wellness.

Briana Evans

She/ Her/ Hers
Senior Community Health Planner
Community Outreach and Engagement
(650) 372-6138 | bcevans@smcgov.org

Sylvia Tang

She/ Her/ Hers
Community Health Planner
Stigma Discrimination Reduction
Suicide Prevention
Evaluation Support
(650) 578-7165 | stang@smcgov.org

Sylvia is committed to empowering local communities to shape public health policies that affect them. Her main areas of work are stigma discrimination reduction, suicide prevention and evaluation support. She co-chairs the Suicide Prevention Committee and Chinese Health Initiative. She has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Public Health at UC Berkeley and Master in Public Policy (MPP) at Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her other passions include spending time with family, organizing/decorating spaces, and making gifts.

Colin Hart

He/ Him/ His
Community Health Planner
Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS)
Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Support
(650) 573-5062

Frances Lobos

She/ Her/ Hers
Program Coordinator
Parent Project®
(650) 372-3272 | flobos@smcgov.org

Frances coordinates the Parent Project, a program that helps families build stronger relationships. She is also a Co-Chair of the Latino Collaborative, which is dedicated to reducing social and health disparities in the Latino community. She is passionate about preventive programs and expanding access to health care for vulnerable communities.

Natalie Andrade

She/ Her/ Hers
Program Coordinator
Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid
(650) 372-8548 | nandrade@smcgov.org

Natalie coordinates the Mental Health First Aid program to ensure all San Mateo County residents and workers have the skills to recognize warning signs of mental health challenges and provide support and reassurance to those in crisis. Natalie received a B.S. in Health Education from San Francisco State University.

Siavash Zohoori

He/ Him/ His
Community Program Specialist
Digital Storytelling, Photovoice
(650) 372-3214 | szohoori@smcgov.org

Siavash runs ODE’s Storytelling program, which is a space of people to share their stories to make a meaningful impact on themselves and others. He received his B.A. at UC Santa Barbara, where he studied Sociology, Economics, and Applied Psychology. There, he began sharing his story and realizing the profound impact it had on himself and his peers, and is grateful to continue helping others share their stories in San Mateo County.

Hillary Chu

She/ Her/ Hers
Community Health Planner
650-372-6157 | hcchu@smcgov.org

Hillary is briefly supporting ODE in work related to the Mental Health Services Act. She is a graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Kristie Lui

She/ Her/ Hers
Community Program Specialist I
650- 573- 5037 | kflui@smcgov.org

Kristie oversees ODE Communications to bring discussions of inequities, disparities and injustice in ODE’s work. She also supports the production of a variety of ODE resources with the intention of building inclusion and cultural humility practices in the San Mateo County. Kristie received her B.S in Community Health Science from California State University, East Bay.

Annette J Pakhchian

She/Her/ Hers, They/ Them/ Theirs
Community Program Specialist II 
LGBTQ+ Outreach Worker
650- 372- 6156 | apakhchian@smcgov.org

Annette serves as the LGBTQ+ Community Outreach Worker for San Mateo County, promoting equitable access and culturally appropriate services across the health system for LGBTQ+ community members. With 10 years of experience in LGBTQ+ community organizing across California, Annette aims to collaborate with the San Mateo County Pride Center, Pride Initiative, LGBTQ Commission and community partners to foster the continual growth of San Mateo County’s LGBTQ+ community. Annette received her Masters in Social Work from San Francisco State University, focusing on reducing health disparities experienced by LGBTQ+ older adults.

Daniel Naha-Veevalu

He/ Him/ His
Community Program Specialist II
PI Outreach Worker
650-372-6139 | dnaha-veevalu@smcgov.org

DannyBoy serves as the Community Outreach Worker intentionally focused on the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) community to provide culturally relevant behavioral health outreach and engagement services for NHPI’s living in San Mateo County. He also serves as the co-chair for the Pacific Islander Initiative. DannyBoy has 8 years of experience serving the NHPI community in Southern California as a community organizer and program coordinator and is happy to return home to San Mateo County to serve his people.

Camille Hicale

She/ Her/ Hers
Office Specialist
650-372-6137 | chicale@smcgov.org

Camille provides administrative and office support for ODE.  She brings 10 years of experience as a former San Francisco Unified School District educator.  Born and raised in San Mateo, Camille is grateful to be part of a team whose work empowers the diverse communities throughout the County. 

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