Development of an Equity-Focused Virtual Leadership Program for Behavioral Health Medical Leaders

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Given deep and enduring institutionalized racism within the US health care system (Dickman et al., 2017; Paradies et al., 2015; Shavers & Shavers, 2006), and more specifically within behavioral health care (Alang, 2019; Wade, 1993; Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000), it is important that medical leaders assess their own bias and use their power and privilege to confront and dismantle oppressive policies and practices that persist in health care. This poster details the creation of a multi-session virtual equity-focused leadership program designed for physicians working in public behavioral health in California (e.g., county depts. of behavioral health, CBOs, FQHCs, etc.). The poster highlights the needs assessment that led to this collaborative effort one that matched the expertise, credibility, and resources of an academic-based research institution and a state advocacy and training association (and guided by a committee of physician peers). The poster illustrates how two theoretical models, the social ecological model (Bronfenbrenner, 1977) and the Government Alliance on Race and Equity Theory of Change model (GARE, 2016), helped guide aspects of program development. Findings, insights, and lessons learned are shared.


  • Tommy Royston, PhD Candidate / Graduate Assistant, University of San Diego