Mental Health Briefing - Day 2

11/19/2020 12:30 PM - 02:00 PM PT


  • Free


As COVID-19 continues to ravage communities and state economy plummets, California policymakers have started discussions on how to best reform the state’s mental health system. COVID-19 has exacerbated longstanding racial and ethnic disparities in mental health care. Drastic cuts to mental health funding are underway due to a COVID-19 induced recession, and we can expect it to worsen in coming years. Each successive crisis has a cumulative detrimental impact on the mental health of communities of color. Mental health reform is necessary and more urgent than ever.

However, it is imperative we understand how intergenerational patterns of systemic racism and implicit bias has actively driven the persistence of mental health disparities and dwindling of resources in communities of color. Racial equity must be central to conversations about mental health reforms.

At this virtual event, attendees will develop a foundational understanding of how racism performs within the context of mental health, mechanisms associated with identifying mental health disparities, and factors impacting the looming mental health budget crisis. Attendees will also learn about existing and future strategies aimed at promoting racial equity in mental health and programs that should be broad to a statewide scale.

Join us for a virtual two-day webinar to discuss the most critical behavioral health policy issues we are facing. We will have speakers from foundations, associations, policymakers, and community-based organizations.

Topics will include the:

  • latest data on racial, ethnic disparities in our health care delivery system, including county behavioral health and Medi-Cal managed care
  • the future of funding for behavioral health services in California
  • evidence-based and culturally and linguistically appropriate strategies to address behavioral health disparities communities of color face
  • county sponsored initiatives to expand services for the most vulnerable residents (including undocumented immigrants)
  • county sponsored initiatives to provide mentorship, technical assistance, and resources to community-based organizations interested in becoming county behavioral health contractors

We will send out the virtual event link prior to the meeting. 


Special Requests

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events. To request an accommodation (translation/interpretation, large print materials, etc.) please let us know during registration or contact Aviva Prager at or (510) 832-1160 ext. 308.

Please note: After November 16th, we will do our best to accomodate any special requests. Thank you!


Chet P. Hewitt, President and CEO
Sierra Health Foundation

Chet P. Hewitt is President and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and its nonprofit intermediary partner, The Center at Sierra Health Foundation. Over the past decade, Chet has led a bold collective impact strategy focused on promoting health and social justice in underserved communities. Recognized for his strategic thinking and willingness to take thoughtful risk, Chet has received national attention for making the Foundation’s and The Center’s partnerships with local communities and public and private funders the centerpiece of both organizations’ strategy for change.


Sandra R. Hernández, MD, President & Chief Executive Officer
California Health Care Foundation

Sandra R. Hernández, MD, is president and CEO of the California Health Care Foundation. Prior to joining CHCF, Dr. Hernández was CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, which she led for 16 years. She previously served as director of public health for the City and County of San Francisco. She also cochaired San Francisco’s Universal Healthcare Council, which designed Healthy San Francisco. It was the first time a local government in the US attempted to provide health care for all of its constituents. Dr. Hernández is a graduate of Yale University, the Tufts School of Medicine, and the certificate program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Kiran Savage-Sangwan, Executive Director
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Kiran Savage-Sangwan is executive director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), a statewide, multicultural health policy organization. At CPEHN, Kiran previously served as health integration policy director and deputy director. She was the chief architect of many recent CPEHN bills in Sacramento, including the groundbreaking measure requiring hospitals to have a discharge plan in place before releasing poor and homeless people. The bill became law in 2018. Kiran also worked as director of legislation and advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness California and as an organizer focused on immigrant rights for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.


Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno)
Assemblymember, District 31

Dr. Joaquin Arambula was first elected in 2016 to represent the 31st Assembly District in the Central Valley. He is the first Latino physician elected to the California State Assembly. He proudly represents a district that includes 41 percent of the city of Fresno as well as all the rural cities and communities in Fresno County. Dr. Arambula’s experiences as an emergency room doctor in Selma in Fresno County forged his determination to improve health care for all people, especially the most vulnerable. He saw the emotional and financial hardships of people struggling with illnesses that could have been prevented with access to quality health care.


Lupe Solorio, Vice President of Capacity Development and Sustainability 
Community Partners

Lupe Solorio serves as the Vice President of Capacity Development and Sustainability for Community Partners, where she has provided management and fiscal expertise for the last 19 years. She has extensive knowledge in nonprofit management, organizational development and fiscal sponsorship. In her role, Lupe oversees the implementation of Community Partners’ fiscal sponsorship and intermediary programs. Under her leadership, her team provides project leaders with individualized technical assistance and facilitates internal and external trainings in program planning, board development, proposal writing, evaluation and sustainability.


Mihae Jung, Community Advocacy Director
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

Mihae Jung received her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Washington, Seattle, and her B.A. in Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to joining CPEHN, she was an LA County Health Fellow for the Women’s Policy Institute in 2016, and the Prevention Education Manager at the Koreatown Youth Community Center (KYCC). At KYCC, she chaired regional coalitions to promote equity and health in land-use development, gaining extensive experience in coalition building, city/county-wide policy advocacy, and community engagement. Mihae brings to CPEHN her unique background as an organizer and an educator, having worked for nearly 10 years with immigrant communities and communities of color. She is currently an Adjunct Faculty at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).


Joel Baum, Senior Director of Professional Development 
Gender Spectrum

Joel Baum, MS, Senior Director of Professional Development and Family Services, is responsible for all programmatic aspects at Gender Spectrum. He facilitates trainings, conducts workshops, develops curriculum, consults with parents/ professionals, and provides resources in service of a more compassionate understanding of gender. He is a founding member and Director of Education and Advocacy with the Child and Adolescent Gender Center at UCSF. Working throughout the United States and beyond, he is frequently called upon to help institutions think more expansively about the gender diversity of all children and teens, and ways to create more inclusive conditions accordingly.


Ruben Garcia, Clubhouse Program Manager
Fresno American Indian Health Project

Ruben Garcia is a member of the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians. He spent the first half of his life living on the Manchester-Point Arena Rancheria, and for the other half has resided in Fresno California. Ruben started in prevention-early intervention work as a Community Health Worker, working to reduce disparities and the stigma to accessing mental health services. Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) has been instrumental in his growth in mental health work and has been planning and facilitating GONA for the past eight years. Ruben has been working locally with the urban inter-tribal community for the past eight years in Fresno in different capacities and currently as the Youth Services Program Manager at the Fresno American Indian Health Project.


Lauren Gustus, West Coast Regional Editor
Editor of The Sacramento Bee and McClatchy’s regional editor for the West

Lauren Gustus is Editor of the Sacramento Bee and West Region Editor for McClatchy, where she serves 10 news organizations in Idaho, Washington and California. She has launched initiatives for community outreach and partnerships to support journalistic efforts, and led investigative reporting efforts. The Bee recently took first place in investigative reporting for its yearlong series, “OverCorrection: Crisis in California Jails,” in partnership with ProPublica.