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Announcing Next Steps

Innovations Round 2 – ACBHCS Advances efforts to Improve Health Outcomes for the African American Community

ACBHCS is proud to announce the launching of “Improving Outcomes for the African American Community through Innovative Community Based Learning”.

For the second round of INN funding, BHCS formulated learning questions based on recommendations from the BHCS African American Utilization Report. INN Two grant projects addressed these learning questions and implemented projects to improve the quality of care to African American clients and consumers and produce more positive client/consumer outcomes.

In this next phase non profit organizations and other system partners based in Alameda County will have an opportunity to receive training and learn more about what is needed to better address the behavioral health needs of Alameda County’s African American Community. We invite you to review the 12 INN Round Two projects that are participating in this phase of our continued learning.

Please consider the needs of your agency and what you may need to better serve this community. Complete the online application and organizational assessment tool below if you want to partner with us in this important quality improvement effort. You will be asked to participate in a strength based evaluation process and Technical Assistance will be provided to your agency. Please contact ta@acinnovations.org if you have specific or clarifying questions. ta@acinnovations.org

downloadClick here to apply for training for your organization.

Note: Applications are to be submitted on-line via the link above. To download an application worksheet for use in preparing for the online form, please click here.


Learning Question One: “What are the cultural and spiritual nuances, beliefs, practices and norms specific to the African American community that should be incorporated into the planning, delivery, and outcomes of mental health and co-occurring conditions services for this community?”

Project Name Co-Occurring Healing
Grantee St. Mary’s Center
Contact Carol Johnson – cjohnson@stmaryscenter.org
Project Description Developing a curriculum based on the principles of "Relationship > Re-Connecting > Renewal" that can identify and incorporate significant cultural characteristics into the behavioral health care services provided to African American seniors. View project brochure.

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Project Name His Health: Gender Responsive and Culturally Appropriate Counseling with African American Urban Male Youth
Grantee Alameda County Public Health Department, Office of Urban Male Health
Contact Michael Shaw – Michael.shaw@acgov.org
Project Description "Empathize, Engage and Empower" is a training manual which builds cultural competence for mental health service providers, clinical supervisors, managers and administrators to better serve African American middle school males inside and outside of the academic setting. This capacity building tool, delivered as a one year learning community, offers practices, procedures, and policies to create more equitable and effective mental health services which are not only therapeutic but also gender responsive, culturally affirming and grounded in youth development. View project brochure.

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Project Name The Sakhu Project: Incorporating the Illumination of Culturally Congruent Well-being and Wholeness
Grantee Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family Life & Culture, Inc.
Contact : Dr. Lawford Goddard – drlawford.goddard@iasbflc.org
Project Description Grounded in Black Psychology, African-Centered thought, and cultural and spiritual features, nuances, beliefs, practices and norms specific to the African American community, this project is designed to (1) serve as a tool to improve the "culturally grounded services" of existing non-African American community service providers and (2) increase availability and greater involvement of "culturally congruent services" with African American service providers. View project brochure.

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Project Name Understanding the Impact of Trauma on the Wellbeing of Young African American Children and their Families
Grantee Children Hospital Oakland – Early Intervention Services
Contact Allison Briscoe Smith – abriscoesmith@mail.cho.org
Project Description Develops a primary care and mental health provider training curriculum to create a greater understanding of the impact of trauma on the well being of young African American children (age 0-5) and their families, so that they will be able to provide more culturally responsive treatment, ensure mental health diagnoses are more accurate and unbiased, and strengthen the cultural relevancy of services. View project brochure.

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Project Name Healthy Teens
Grantee Fremont Unified School District
Contact Rickey Jones – rickeyjones@fremont.k12.ca.us
Project Description Developing culturally responsive practices to address the mental health needs of African-American TAY in Fremont Unified School District by creating the "Healthy Teens" curriculum, which targets and addresses adolescent health and well-being and changes the way mental health services are provided to African American youth. View project brochure.

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Learning Question Two: “How can the mission, services and purpose of BHCS be enhanced through partnerships with African American faith-based and spiritual communities as cultural institutions and natural places for BHCS clients/consumers and families to receive supports in their community?”

“What are effective ways for the African American faith-based and spiritual communities to welcome and integrate mental health clients/ consumers into their community and to support social inclusion, decrease stigma and discrimination and provide a safe place for people to receive services and support, outside of the behavioral health care system?”

Project Name African American Faith Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign
Grantee Healthy Communities, Inc.
Contact Pastor Raymond Lankford – raymond.lankford@healthycommunities.us
Project Description The project worked to identify and dispel the stigma around mental illness among African Americans, and whether the faith community is doing enough to provide a safe haven for people with mental illness. We provided pre and post surveys about people's feelings towards mental health in general and towards people living with mental health issues to 10 churches. Also, provided usher-greeter training, focus groups for individuals re-entering the community from incarceration, and individual interviews to mental health consumers. The project created a mental health guide to assist churches with starting a Mental Health Ministry and created a mental health resource website. View project brochure.

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Project Name Girls Far Above Rubies
Grantee EC Reems Community Services
Contact Maria Reems – reems4@aol.com
Project Description Provides an intervention strategy that identifies African American mothers who display signs of mental illness and their daughters, ages 8-18. GFAR evaluates their attachment to one another; the impact mental illness has on that relationship and the avenues of intervention to reduce risk factors such as suicide, teen pregnancy, low self esteem, juvenile delinquency, sexual abuse, exploitations, substance abuse and poor school performance. In addition, faith-based organizations in Oakland are collaborating to develop partnerships and supports for the target population. View project brochure.

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Project Name Mental Health Friendly Congregations
Grantee Tri Cities Community Development Center
Contact Pastor Horatio Jones – tricitiescdc@att.net
Project Description MHFC is a comprehensive, systematic, field-tested program design that includes a set of specific strategies for the development of an effective partnership between the African American faith-based and spiritual communities and Behavioral Health Care Services (BHCS), capitalizing on the role of these communities as cultural institutions and a natural support for BHCS clients/consumers and their families. MHFC includes a step-by-step process for engaging African American Faith Communities as a partner in reducing disparities and improving outcomes for the BHCS African American clients/consumers. View project brochure.

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Learning Question Three: “How might the practice-based evidence, evidence based practices and community-defined strategies of trauma-informed care for African American BHCS clients/consumers and families address the African American community’s historical trauma and trauma related to social issues, like stigma, discrimination, violence and poverty?”

Project Name Community Healing Circle: For African-American Men and Adolescents on Probation”
Grantee Bay Area Black United Fund
Contact Duane Poe – dpoe@babuf.org
Project Description The purpose of the "Healing Circle" training is to introduce young African American men on probation to cognitive (behavioral therapy) and experiential ("quiet sitting" or meditation) learning and practices that strengthen one's commitment to self by fostering growth in self-awareness, and a way of healing oneself of past trauma. View project brochure.

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Project Name Conscious Voices
Grantee Conscious Voice
Contact Cheryl Cranshaw – cherylaw2000@yahoo.com
Project Description Conscious Voices developed a comprehensive provider's curriculum that offers multiple strategies for addressing poverty, violence, stigma, discrimination, trauma and historical trauma. These strategies are intended to reduce health disparities, improve outcomes and strengthen the African American community. Conscious Voices curriculum fills the gaps in the typical provider's education and offers suggestions for system wide change. View project brochure.

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Project Name Developing Trauma Informed Practices for Young People Caught in the Crossfire
Grantee Youth Alive!
Contact Anne Marks – amarks@youthalive.org
Project Description The project developed a culturally-informed provider training curriculum on Trauma Informed Care for BHCS direct service providers of transitional aged African American youth, or people who are in frequent contact with transitional aged African American youth/consumers. This work originated through Youth ALIVE!'s work with violently injured youth, understanding how those youth are treated when accessing services, and ways those interactions can be improved. View project brochure.

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Project Name Healing Trauma through Support and Care: Trauma Awareness Group (TAG)
Grantee East Bay Agency for Children
Contact Claudia Vierra Allen – claudia@ebac.org
Project Description An age-based provider training curriculum developed to deliver a school-based culturally relevant, innovative, complex trauma treatment group for African American youth and to increase the schools' administration, staff and teachers' capacity to understand the impact of trauma. View project brochure.

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Project Name Healing Trauma and Overcoming Stress: Creating Health and Well-Being Through the Use of Cultural Genograms, Storytelling, and Mindful Based Practices
Grantee CMJ Associates, an Innovation project partner of the Center for Family Counseling
Contact (CMJ) James Mensing – cjmassociates.2011@gmail.com or (CFC) Paula Barber – barberpaula@sbcglobal.net
Project Description Designed in collaboration with the African American community, this project used workshops to have participants construct family/cultural genograms, share often untold stories of trauma and resilience, organize fragmented family narratives, and develop effective stress reduction strategies. View project brochure.

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Learning Question Four: “What are effective strategies and supports for medically underserved African American adult males with serious mental illness, including those with co-occurring conditions, which will improve their engagement in behavioral health and primary care services?”

Project Name Safe Transitions
Grantee Centerforce
Contact Larry D. Hill – 510-834-3457
Project Description Used model of transitional case management to support African American men releasing from prison and returning to Alameda County, adapting culturally responsive protocols and tools for recruitment, identification, and engagement. The project synthesized learning into a set of recommended Strategies & Supports for Behavioral Health Care Services (BHCS). View project brochure.

View Provider Strategies & Supports
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Target PopulationThe African American Utilization Report
and Target Population

Alameda County has historically served African Americans for behavioral health issues at a disproportionately higher rate than other members of our community, yet the outcomes are inconsistent. In late 2009, BHCS leadership commissioned a study to address and explore the myriad issues affecting behavioral health care services in Alameda County within the African American community. The process was led by a local facilitation team, working with the BHCS Ethnic Services Manager/Cultural Competency Coordinator and a 29-member committee. Input was solicited from a full spectrum of community stakeholders and subject matter experts regarding ways to resolve these disparities and deliver more effective, culturally appropriate care.

In reviewing the report, several areas of focus emerged – workforce development, clinical trainings and practices, outcome measures - that could be implemented through existing BHCS programs such as workforce development, training and quality improvement. For the Innovation Grants, Round Two, BHCS leadership identified as priorities those recommendations that would have the greatest impact on our system and spanned all four systems of care. We created the learning questions to address four critical needs:

  • Developing culturally responsive practices;
  • Strengthening our partnership with the faith-based community;
  • Supporting trauma informed care that recognizes the trauma related to social issues within the African American community and
  • Engaging African American males in their health care.

Click here to download the African American Utilization Study Report (BHCS, 2010)

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last updated 10/26/16
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Funding Status

Round Four
Innovation Grant RFP:

Available: RFP #2
INN4b - Workforce Development, Education and Training (WET) High School & Undergraduate Pathways
(DUE May 25 , 2017, 2pm)
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Coming Soon: RFP #1
Mental Health and Technology

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