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OFFICE OF THE DIRECTOR

OFFICE OF HEALTH EQUITY

Our Team values the collective voices of our community to develop the policies, practices, and approaches that uplift our communities. We are committed to promoting social and behavioral health equity reform and inclusion; and ensuring high quality, holistic, and client-centered care. We recognize that there is much work to be done and strive to work in respectful partnership and collaboration with our diverse community stakeholders.

Office of Health Equity Dashboard (Data Metrics)    –   

The Office of Health Equity was developed in the Fall of 2020, in response to a critical need for the department to remain forever grounded in the important work and focus of its most important resource: individuals and family that form our shared community.

Our division is comprised of several critical programs and areas across our department. These long-standing programs were combined into a single division, and includes: Ethnic Services; Peer Support Services; and Family Empowerment Services. This office also oversees departmental operations related to Patients’ Rights Advocacy in order to ensure that critical beneficiary needs are represented and are supported through policy, practice, and/or through the care delivery system.

Our Division’s Collective Values

We value collaborative partnerships with peers, families, service providers, agencies and communities, where every door is the right door for welcoming people with complex needs and assisting them along their journey towards wellness, resilience, and recovery.

We value, support, and encourage individuals and their families to exercise their authority to make decisions, choose form a range of available options, and to develop their full capacity to think, speak, and act effectively in their own interest and on behalf of others they represent.

We honor the voices, strengths, leadership, practices, language and life experience of ethnically and culturally diverse individuals and their families across the lifespan. We value operationalizing these experiences in our service settings, collaborative treatment planning, and the strategies we use to engage our communities.

History of Cultural Competency/Ethnic Services Manager:

  • In 1988, a group of people recognized the mental health disparities that were prevalent among specific groups and set out to make a change by leading with a cultural and equity lens. These pioneers, who shoulders todays ESM stand on built trainings and programs with their respective counties to address and respond to cultural issues and inequities. At that time, they did not have a cultural competency plan. And they would became known as the Minority Services Coordinators.
  • In 1989, at the same time the Minority Services Coordinators were drafting the foundations of what would later because components of todays cultural competency plan, another cultural pioneer named Terry Cross began the work of integrating the concept of cultural competency in the mental health field.
  • In the 1990s, the title of the position changed from Minority Services Coordinators to Ethnic Services Managers (ESMs).
  • In 2000, years later, these pioneers would begin the development and provide structure of a Cultural Competency Plan.
  • And in 2010, the Cultural Competency Plan was initiated.
  • In 2015: In order to more accurately reflect the breadth of responsibility, the title of Ethnic Services Manager was retitled as Cultural Competence/Ethnic Services Manager (CC/ESM).
  • 2016: The Ethnic Services Managers update to the cultural competency framework to incorporate changes in approaches to the delivery of culturally-competent services informed by the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (CLAS).

Description of Services: Office of Ethnic Services (OES) advances health equity by creating racially, linguistically, and ethnically equitable access to Alameda County Behavioral Health (ACBH) services.

OES has an ongoing commitment to the practice of cultural humility which embodies self-reflection and self-examination, as well as an understanding of the power dynamics between the provider and consumer, and ACBH and the community.

OES is in charge of the facilitation of:

  • Cultural projects
  • CRC Sub-Committees: Governance, Communications, Compliance
  • Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Trainings
  • Building and maintaining healthy, positive relationships with community partners
  • Collaborating with staff, managers, operational leads, and providers across the mental health and substance use systems of care

Quick links

The Office of Peer Support Services is committed to transforming the behavioral health system by engaging, promoting, supporting and empowering peers receiving services, and peer-run organizations and programs.

The Office of Peer Support Services is working to collaborate with the community to support Alameda County in becoming a leader in certifying Peer Support Specialists; and ensuring that peer support services and trainings are available and accessible to everyone with mental health and co-occurring needs on their wellness and recovery journey.

Peers Organizing Community Change (POCC)

The POCC is a program of the Alameda County Behavioral Health Office of Peer Support Services. The mission of the POCC is to improve the quality of life for Alameda County residents who have mental health or mental health and substance use issues, in whatever settings they find themselves, and to provide the consumer perspective in transforming Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services into a recovery vision that is consumer-driven, culturally responsive, and holistic in its services and supports. The POCC provides an empowered and informed voice: of, by, and for consumers in the behavioral health care system, related systems, and in the community.

https://www.pocc.org/

The Office of Family Empowerment (OFE) was developed to provide technical assistance and family perspectives to Alameda County Behavioral Health, including: County-run and Community Based Organizations and treatment facilities. 

OFE’s vision is: All Family Members in relationship with ACBH, can tap into their inherent worthiness, dignity and humanity because race, affiliation, and diverse life experiences should not determine social, emotional, mental health and legal outcomes.

OFFICE OF FAMILY EMPOWERMENT FAMILY MEMBER DEFINITION

A Family Member is an individual who provides:

  • Emotional
  • Practical
  • Spiritual support

on behalf of a loved one with social/emotional or mental health concerns, including substance use disorder.

Family members may be:

  • Biological parents
  • Adoptive parents
  • Foster parents
  • Siblings
  • Spouses
  • Domestic partners
  • Children of Consumers/Peers/Clients
  • Aunts, Uncles, Cousins
  • Friends

Or anyone else whom the Peer/Consumer/Client/Youth defines as “their family members.”

In collaboration with the ACBH System of Care Directors, OFE’s charge is to build systems of support for family members that values the diverse cultural, ethnic, linguistic and socio-economic communities in Alameda County, including the myriad of changing needs family members may experience across the life-span of their loved-ones, from early childhood through elder adulthood.

The OFE’s goals will be met through voicing family perspectives to ACBH’s Administration regarding policy and programmatic issues, recruitment and retention of family members in workgroups and planning councils, providing technical assistance to new and emerging family groups, working closely with existing family groups, and facilitating linkages throughout the County to extend a network of information, education and support for family members.

OFE provides technical assistance, coaching, Co-Learning projects, Parent Café’s, Family Partner/Advocate training and support, Parent’s Tools to Thrive and other Family Centered Curriculum and activities to develop and increase Family Member Leadership in Alameda County.

Beyond the Behavioral Health Care System, the OFE collaborates with schools, child-welfare, faith-based organizations, primary health care providers, juvenile and criminal justice, and the general public about mental health and/or substance use issues and their impact on individuals, families and communities. 

RESOURCES:

Family Members Needing Individual Assistance Navigating ACBH and Advocating for their loved-ones, may contact the Family Education and Resource Center (FERC) at ferc.org or their warmline at 888-896-3372.  FERC services are Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funded and completely free of charge.

Family Members Needing Assistance Hospitalizing a Loved One in Crisis, click the link for information about AB1421 – Historical Information for 5150, and AB1194 changes to 5150 process.

NAMI East Bay:   namieastbay.org

NAMI Alameda County:  nami-alamedacounty.org

NAMI Tri-Valley:  nami-trivalley.org   

NAMI Alameda County Southnami-alamedacounty.org

NAMI Chinese:  namica.org    

National Council for Aging Care’s Guide on Elder Abuse
Please see this Online Guide for resources and assistance. Feel Free to share with consumers and fellow providers.

Californians with mental illnesses who are receiving treatment in mental health facilities, including those persons subject to involuntary commitment, are guaranteed numerous rights under Welfare and Institutions code (W&I Code), Section 5325, including the right to be free from abuse and neglect, the right to privacy, dignity, and humane care, and the right to basic procedural protections in the commitment process. In Alameda County, ACBH contracts with the Mental Health Association of Alameda County (MHAAC) to support and advocate on the behalf of clients and patients and their treatment.

Patients' Rights Advocates of Alameda County

The Patients' Rights Advocates of Alameda County is a program of the Mental Health Association of Alameda County.  The program employees a team of 8 staff members to perform the duties required of County Patients’ Rights Advocates (aka Title 9 Advocates).  The program responds to questions and complaints from consumers being treated in psychiatric hospitals/facilities and from consumers who are residents of long term facilities or of adult residential facilities, who feel one or more of their rights have been denied.

Anyone with a question or concern about treatment of a client receiving mental health services in Alameda County is welcome to call.

The toll-free telephone # in Alameda County is 1 (800) 734-2504; outside the county, dial 1 (510) 835-2505.

Listed below are the services that the Patients’ Rights Advocates of Alameda County perform for clients. Some of the services provided to consumers also serve to support family members and treatment providers.

  1. Advocates Investigate complaints received of suspected abuse/neglect or violations of patients’ rights.  In cases where complaints are substantiated, the program assists facilities with solutions and ways to prevent future violations.  
  2. Advocates monitor psychiatric facilities for compliance with codes and regulations related to mental health treatment and patients’ rights. The program advises facility administration and treatment professionals in the development of plans and procedures for maintaining compliance with statutes. There is particular focus on statutes governing patients’ rights and regulating due process for clients subject to involuntary detention and treatment within mental health facilities.
  3. Advocates represent clients subject to involuntary detention/treatment in hearings held within facilities. Mental health consumers have the same legal and constitutional rights of all citizens. The hearings are court proceedings meant to ensure that clients’ liberties and due process rights are respected in accordance with basic principles of the constitution.
  4.  Advocates provide representation at Certification Review Hearings, which happen automatically whenever clients are involuntarily detained for treatment for longer than 72 hours (after a 5150 expires).
  5.  Advocates provide representation at Capacity (Riese) Hearings, which are held when a doctor seeks court authority to treat a client with psychotropic medication even if the client objects to the medication. A Capacity Hearing is held when a client, involuntarily hospitalized, does not wish to take psychotropic medication prescribed by the treating and that doctor believes the client’s refusal is the result of a mental illness interfering with the client’s rational thought process to make treatment decisions.

When the Patients’ Rights Advocate represents a client in one of these hearings, that advocate works on behalf of the consumer and presents legal arguments to support the position of their client. Advocates are not members of any treatment team and represent the expressed interest of their clients.

  1. Advocates provide education to consumers, facility staff members, family members and the general public on subjects related to patients' rights, including information on the LPS Act and other laws governing the rights of individuals receiving mental health treatment.
  2. Advocates provide consultation to treatment staff and administrators to help them to answer questions on subjects such as denial of patients’ rights, involuntary detention, mental health hearings, and confidentiality. The advocacy staff can also answer questions from outpatient mental health providers, family advocacy programs, and anyone with concerns about the rights of mental health consumers. Providers are encouraged to consult with Patients’ Rights Advocates in any case where they are unsure whether a treatment decision may result in denying a client’s right and need to ensure they are in compliance with laws governing due process and patients’ rights.      

PHONE

1 (800) 734-2504

WEBSITE

www.MHAAC.org

Click on Patients’ Rights Advocates

Our Leaders & Collaborative Partners

Stephanie Montgomery

Stephanie Montgomery, MSW

Director,
Javarre_Wilson_headshot_thin

Javarré Wilson

Ethnic Services Manager
Rosa Warder, Family Empowerment Management2

Rosa Warder

Family Empowerment Manager
Francesca_Tenenbaum_ACBH

Francesca Tenenbaum

Program Director, Patient’s Rights
Khatera_Tamplen_headshot

Khatera Tamplen

Peer Support Services Manager