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Health Equity Initiatives: Diversity and Equity Council


Diversity and Equity Council

Hosted by The Office of Diversity and Equity

The Diversity and Equity Council (DEC) is a guiding body that works to embrace diversity, eliminate health disparities and advance equity in San Mateo County. We coordinate, inform, support, advocate and consult with Behavioral Health and Recovery Services and its communities.

The Diversity and Equity Council started as the Cultural Competence Committee over ten years ago. The first meeting was held in a tiny room at Hillcrest. Since then, we’ve had the opportunity to discuss cultural competence in our work through networking, training (sponsoring or hosting), facilitation, film viewings and just getting together.

The Diversity and Equity Council is committed to supporting community advocates throughout the County. It provides

  • a space for collaboration and guidance for the Health Equity Initiatives 
  • a forum for cultural competence questions from community-based organizations
  • a hub of information and resources for community members committed to advancing equitable behavioral health care.

The DEC continuously works to support equitable behavioral health services for all community members in San Mateo County.

If you are passionate about diversity, cultural competence and equity issues, contact the Diversity and Equity Council co-chairs, Brenda Nuñez ( and Frances Lobos (

The DEC meets the first Friday of every month from 11:00am to 12:30pm. Meetings currently taking place virtually.

HEI Virtual Meeting Schedule

General information


DEC sets out to develop goals and activities frequently to fit into the framework to:

  • Increase the capacity of mental health and substance abuse services to serve populations in need.

  • Shift the paradigm to incorporate cultural competence and cultural humility at the city, county, and state levels.

Take a look at previous plans including our most recent plan for 2022!

2014 Strategic Plan
2015 Strategic Plan
2016 Strategic Plan

Town Halls

In FY 20-21 the DEC, in collaboration with San Mateo County Public Health, Policy and Planning, StarVista, Bay Area Community Health Advisory Council, the BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity and Health Equity Initiatives, held a total of 4 virtual Town Halls that focused on Community, Race & COVID-19. The events created opportunities for community members and organizations to share collective challenges, growth and experiences from the first year of Covid-19. Approximately 516 participants attended and provided input on supports needed, and identified community, clients, and Community Based Organization priorities in response to the pandemic. As a result of the information and feedback received, vital support and resources were provided for San Mateo County residents. The DEC continues to focus on immediate response to community needs during COVID-19 recovery. Partnerships were strengthened through the town hall collaborations; this has broadened the opportunity for DEC to be involved in larger equity efforts.

Town Hall 1 Slide Deck
Town Hall 2 Slide Deck
Town Hall 3 Slide Deck
Town Hall 4 Slide Deck
Race & COVID-19 Town Hall Summary & Findings