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Office of Diversity & Equity (ODE)

General information

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)

Latest News and Highlights

Storytelling Program


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 
General information

Our Programs/ Classes
Free Classes and Programs

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

Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid
Be Sensitive, Be Brave
Parent Project®
Health Ambassador Programs
Storytelling Program
Health Equity Initiatives
Suicide Prevention

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

For more info, email us at 

General information

Workforce Development

The BHRS Workforce, Education, & Training  (WET) program provides education, training, and workforce development to San Mateo County behavioral health staff, client/ consumers, and family members.  WET aims to achieve a diverse, culturally responsive, and clinically effective workforce to provide the best possible care for our community. Visit the WET webpage to learn more. 

2021 April Workforce Wellness Month Training Videos 

Ongoing Cultural Humility Trainings

Throughout the year the BHRS 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 email

 To learn more about BHRS trainings contact the BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity at

General information

Get Involved

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

Interested in being a volunteer for our many community events we host within San Mateo County throughout the year? Please fill out this form! Events we may need volunteers for include San Mateo County Pride, Sana Sana, Mental Health Month, etc.

We offer letters/ certificates of volunteer work upon request.

General information


2024 Diversity Equity Inclusion & Belonging Calendar
SMC BHRS ODE Cultural Competency Plan

Each year the State of California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) requires county mental health departments to develop a Cultural Competence Plan (CCP) as per the DHCS Cultural Competence Plan Requirements (CCPR) intended to move toward the reduction of mental health service disparities and works toward the development of the most culturally and linguistically competent programs and services to meet the needs of California’s diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural communities in the mental health system of care. At San Mateo County (SMC) BHRS we have tied this requirement to the paths we take to support our workforce, our CBO’s and those we serve.

For fiscal year 20-21, our SMC CCP and updates submission (includes FY 20-21 Plan: 3-year review & redlined Updates for FY 20-21) reflects how BHRS continues to deepen its efforts to develop a culturally responsive and inclusive system in support of the behavioral health and recovery needs of San Mateo County’s increasingly diverse population, while also supporting our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to first express our deep gratitude to our entire workforce and stakeholders, without whom none of these advancements would be possible, for your honesty and input on how we can improve these efforts in the future. Our goal is for this document to inform and guide our work, for cultural competence and the principles of cultural humility to remain at the forefront of BHRS. We have seen over the past two years how anything is possible when we come together. This document exemplifies those efforts. Again, Thank You for the work, passion, thoughtfulness, and time that so many of you have dedicated to creating meaningful change!

SMC BHRS Cultural Competence Plan 2021-2022: full document / annual summary

SMC BHRS Cultural Competence Plan 2022-2023: Annual Summary

Community Resources

Participant Demographic Surveys

For Virtual Events

  • Demographic Survey Guide (PDFWord)
  • Presentation Slide (Sample) (PPT)
  • Summary Report (Sample) (PDF)

For In-Person Events


April 2020: 2020 San Mateo County Community Stigma Baseline Survey

June 2017: 2017 Chinese Community Outreach Worker Progress Report

June 2017: Health Equity Initiatives - A Ten-Year Review

July 2015: Community Education (Measure A Funded) Programs Report

January 2016 – July 2016: 2016 Chinese Community Outreach Worker Progress Report

June 2014 – April 2015: 2015 Chinese Community Outreach Worker Progress Report

April 2014: ODE Report - Eliminating Disparities, Inequities, and Stigma in Behavioral Health


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

Meet Our Staff

Maria Lorente- Foresti

She/ Her/ Hers
Office of Diversity and Equity Director

Andrew Tardiff

Workforce, Education and Training (WET) Director

Andrew is the Workforce, Education and Training (WET) director for San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. The BHRS WET Team strives to deliver educational training opportunities for our workforce, including contract providers and community members, in order to promote a responsive, anticipatory, trauma-informed system of care focused on recovery, resilience, and wellness.

Andrew has been with San Mateo County since 2013 and has worked as a provider in both the correctional health and community mental health sectors. He has assisted in overseeing doctoral-level practicum training programs and worked with clients to provide both individual and group therapy where he employed a variety of empirically validated approaches to better assist those we serve. Andrew is passionate about supporting our workforce and clients while holding the equity and trauma-informed practices at our core.

Camille Hicale

She/ Her/ Hers
Office Specialist

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. 

Chandrika Zager

Management Analyst, MHSA

Chandrika is a Management Analyst supporting various MHSA projects.  She started her career as a school-based mental health clinician in 2004 and has since worked in school districts and counties planning and overseeing behavioral health programs, with a focus on prevention.  Prior to joining the ODE team, Chandrika worked for Marin County BHRS as the MHSA Prevention and Early Intervention Coordinator. 

Charo Martinez Resendiz

Ella/ She/ Her
Peer Support Worker | 650-542-1447

Doris Estremera

She/ Her/ Hers
Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Manager

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 San Mateo County Health 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.  

Frances Lobos

She/ Her/ Ella 
Community Health Planner

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. 

Irene Pham

She/ Her/ Hers
Community Program Specialist I | (650) 573-2637

With a strong belief in the importance of community and celebration of diverse cultures, Irene is grateful to be a team member of the Office of Diversity and Equity. She will be supporting different areas of ODE including the WET team, MHSA planning and various HEI activities. Irene has received her Master in Public Health from the University of Southern California and maintains her certification as a health education specialist (CHES). She values integrative and individualized care, prevention, and cultural humility especially as we continuously learn and grow from the communities we serve. 

Kai Thornton

Program Coordinator II

Kai is one of the program coordinators of ODE. They work to directly review and update the Multi-Cultural Development Plan as well as supporting the sub-committees with resources and education regarding equitable practices. Kai comes to the county with over 6 years of direct case management, BHRS documentation training, and trauma informed care experience in the San Mateo County. A southern California transplant; They have a love for cats and horror movies and received their psychology degree at Cal State East Bay in Hayward.

Kristie Lui

She/ Her/ 她
Community Program Specialist I

Kristie received her B.S. in Public Health at Cal State East Bay. Starting off as an intern for BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity’s Parent Project Program, she now heads communications for the team, manages the communication campaign for Mental Health Month and Suicide Prevention Month, and co-chairs for Mental Health Month. Kristie is also trained as a Cultural Humility facilitator for BHRS and supports the Behavioral Health Commission. Kristie values community, radical empathy, and authenticity and hopes to bring these values into her work. In her free time, Kristie hangs out with her dog, Morty, and dances with her dance team.  

Maria Martinez

Health Education Associate | 650-372-6157 

Maria is committed to advancing health equity by supporting community empowerment programs, such as the Parent Project and the Health Ambassador Program.  She is passionate about partnering with our community members in their journey to enhance their mental well-being, overall health, and quality of life.  Maria’s guiding principles include her beliefs in prevention, holistic care, and the connection of mind, body, and soul. 

Nicoletta (Nica) Kelleher

She/ Her/ Hers
Program Coordinator II

Nica’s main responsibility is to coordinate the Parent Project, a program targeted help teach parents and/or caregivers ways to strengthen and improve relationships with their children through a series of parenting skills and practices. Nica also supports other community programs, such as the Health Ambassador and Storytelling/Photovoice Programs. In an effort to pursue her passion for equity in mental health that considers marginalized groups, she received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Ethnic Studies at the University of Oregon.

Sofia Recalde

Management Analyst

Stacy Williams

She/ Her/ Hers
Workforce, Education and Training (WET) Internship Coordinator | 650-400-3750

Stacy is the Internship Coordinator who oversees the BHRS Internships within the Workforce, Education, and Training Team of the Office of Diversity and Equity. She provides internship and interagency supports, program oversight and development as well as diversity, equity, and inclusionary implementations. She has many years of experience in federal to county governmental systems. She spent 20 years in the North Bay where she created the Disaster Recovery Crisis Counseling Model, California H.O.P.E, while serving as a Team Lead & Crisis Counselor for the California wildfires. She moved to Oregon where she created Coos County’s System of Care for at-risk youth and families, served homeless systems in Washington County and the Police Equity Advisory Committee in Portland, OR before coming back to the Bay Area.

Sylvia Tang

She/ Her/ 她
Community Health Planner
Stigma Discrimination Reduction
Suicide Prevention
Evaluation Support | 650-578-7165

Committed to advancing health equity, Sylvia focuses on building coalitions that cultivate self love, community empowerment and social justice. Her main areas of work are stigma discrimination reduction (of mental health and substance use issues), suicide prevention and evaluation support. She co-chairs the Suicide Prevention Committee and Mental Health Awareness Month Planning Committee. She is also a member of the Chinese Health Initiative. She has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Public Health from UC Berkeley and Master in Public Policy (MPP) from Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Her passions also include singing, making photo books and being civically engaged.

Tia Bell

She/ Her
Health Equity Initiative Program Coordinator | 650-216-877

Tia (she/her) is trained as a psychologist and spent the last 14 years providing culturally congruent and trauma-informed clinical care to marginalized folx in community-based organizations. In her quest for providing wellness from a culturally sound, affirming, and inclusive lens, Tia is earnestly passionate about developing relationships and motivated to make lasting community connections grounded in safety and trust. In her free time, she enjoys painting by numbers, playing with her plants, and spending time with her husband and her dog, Domino.

The Health Equity Initiatives work collaboratively to bring together mental health professionals, residents, clinicians, organizations, community members, and stakeholders to provide outreach, programs, and advocacy for community-driven solutions that are rooted in cultural humility practices.