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National Council picks 2011 "leaders" to address health disparities

March 16, 2011
by News release
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Washington, D.C. — The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council) has announced selections for the inaugural 2011 class of its Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program. The program is designed to mentor culturally diverse mid-level managers into executive positions, nurturing leaders who can represent and serve our nation’s diverse communities.

The class of 2011 was selected from over 130 applicants from healthcare organizations across the country. The program is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

“Creating diversity among the leaders of behavioral health organizations is a long overdue initiative and I’m proud of the National Council for stepping up to the plate. The board will support the program participants in every way possible,” said Bill Kyles, National Council board chair and CEO of the Comprehensive Mental Health Center in Independence, Mo.

Eliminating disparities in health requires leadership, vision, teamwork and an understanding of the issues from like-minded leaders, points out program participant Iliana Gilman, Director of Communications at the Austin Travis County Integral Care. The need is critical in the light of the rapid growth in racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., projected to account for 90 percent of the increase in national population by 2050.

“Unfortunately, racial and cultural barriers to advancement continue to be a reality. And the National Council isn’t interested in just discussing the problems, instead we prefer in our small way to help solve the problem,” said Linda Rosenberg, National Council president and CEO. “The quality of applications we received was outstanding and it was challenging to choose just 20,” she added.

Participant Sandra Wilborn, Program Director at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare in Portland, OR said “As a proud ‘first in my family’ high school and college graduate and daughter of Mexican American parents, I look forward to the opportunity to meet others committed to advancement. I’ll use my experience in this unique leadership program to further Cascadia’s efforts to serve cultural minorities, drive cultural competency initiatives, and lead a focus on developing a workforce that reflects our diverse community.”

Participants in the Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program will be part of a year-long peer to peer learning community and receive group and individual coaching from expert consultants. The program includes a rich array of education, mentoring, career guidance, and networking opportunities.

Managers selected to participate in the National Council’s 2011 Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program are:


  • Jacki Andrews, Mental Health Coordinator, RKM Primary Care Providers for A Healthy Feliciana, Clinton, La.

  • Diane Benavides-Wille, Program Director, LifeWorks NW, Portland, Ore.

  • Shawn Bryson, Manager of Coordinating Services, Genesee County Community Mental Health, Flint, Mich.

  • Kendra Daniels, Team Leader II, Truman Medical Center Behavioral Health, Kansas City, Mo.

  • Lennox DeBarros, Associate Director, East New York Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

  • Blossom Fonoimoana, Clinical Director, Bobby Benson Center, Kahuku, Hawaii

  • Iliana Gilman, Director of Communications, Austin Travis County Integral Care, Austin, Tex.

  • Sarita Kohli, Director of Mental Health Programs, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, San Jose, Calif.

  • Kimberly Meals, Director of Quality, Education, & Marketing Services, Community Support Services, Inc., Akron, Ohio

  • Andel Nicasio, Program Manager, Community Project Associate, New York State Psychiatric Institute - Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence

  • Holly Randall, Associate Director, Behavioral Health Care Services, Lynn, Mass.

  • Katrina Robinson-Wheeler, Behavioral Health Team Leader, Sutton Place Behavioral Health, Yulee, Fla.

  • Joseph Sanchez, Peer Recovery Coach Coordinator, Communities for Recovery, Austin, Tex.

  • Maria Santillan, Program Director, Chester Counseling Center, Phoenixville, Pa.

  • Yetty Shobo, Program Development Specialist West Virginia Prevention Resource Center, South Charleston, W.Va.

  • Tramaine Stevenson, Special Assistant to Deputy Director, Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Mental Retardation Services, Philadelphia,
    Pa.

  • Qiana Thomason, Director of Clinical Operations, Swope Health Services Behavioral Health, Kansas City, Mo.

  • Russ Urrutia, Program Manager/Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Mental Health Center of Denver, Denver, Colo.

  • LaQuisha White, Director of Admissions and Complimentary Clinical Services, Skyland Trail, Atlanta, Ga.

  • Sandra Wilborn, Program Director, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, Portland, Ore.

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