COVID-19 brings new health, economic and social crises on a daily basis. These crises especially affect lower-income, ethnic minority communities with job loss, food insecurity, and poorer access to health care. Information overload and cultural and linguistic gaps in information exacerbate anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty. National conversations underscore the growing need for mental health and emotional supports for individuals, families and providers across all populations.
NNED partner organizations across the country have rapidly pulled together—demonstrating collective strength, innovation, and new partnerships—to address the particular needs of their residents. Their efforts to reduce the anxiety and mental health stressors associated with COVID-19 expand the capacities of local healthcare systems to care for diverse populations.
This NNED Virtual Roundtable series will highlight issues associated with COVID-19, including:
- Unique experiences of individuals in underserved communities;
- Strategies for providing culturally and linguistically appropriate health information; and
- Specific actions taken by select NNED communities to deliver high-impact and easy to implement approaches that support behavioral health needs.
Participants were invited to join the first session in this two-part series to learn about actionable and accessible strategies that diverse communities are initiating to move through these difficult times. Save the date for part two on May 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm EDT!
NOTE: Due to the substantial interest in this Virtual Roundtable, the number of attendees able to join live was limited by the platform. A recording will be sent to all who register.
Dr. Camara Jones
2019-2020 Evelyn Green Davis Fellow | Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Camara Jones, MD, MPH, PhD is a family physician and epidemiologist whose work focuses on the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of the nation. Dr. Jones was previously the President of the American Public Health Association; Adjunct Professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University; and Senior Fellow and Adjunct Associate Professor at the Moorehouse School of Medicine. She seeks to broaden the national health debate to include not only universal access to high quality health care, but also attention to the social determinants of health (including poverty) and the social determinants of equity (including racism).
Assistant Director | Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay Mills
Candice LeBlanc is Anishnaabe (Ojibwe) from Bay Mills Indian Community or by its traditional name, Gnoozhekaaning, Place of the Pike, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She currently is the Assistant Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bay Mills, overseeing the operations of three sites within the reservation and local communities. Candice is also the program manager for the Tribal Youth Program, Native Youth Community Project, and Child Nutrition Program. Through her position within the Clubs and the communities, one of Candice’s main goals is to build and maintain collaborative efforts between tribal departments and local schools to bridge the gaps in services provide to youth and their families.
Denise Octavia Smith
Executive Director | National Association of Community Health Workers
Denise Octavia Smith, MBA, CHW, PN is a Community Health Worker and the founding Executive Director of the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW). Mrs. Smith has over 15 years of experience advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in healthcare delivery, prevention programs and partnerships. Prior to this role, Denise served as the Research Associate and Projects Manager for the University of Connecticut Health Disparities Institute (2016-19) designing and managing NIH and foundation community-centered health disparities and health services research. From 2008 to 2013 Denise was the Director of Career and Education Initiatives for the Central Area Health Education Center, Inc. where she trained CHWs and managed community prevention programs and improved access to the health careers pipeline for under-resourced communities. Denise is a Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Leader and Universal Health Care Foundation Leader in Action.
Dr. Griselda Villalobos
Director, Clinical Supervisor | The Cognitive Behavioral Institute of El Paso
Griselda Villalobos, CSW, PhD, LCSW is the Director and Clinical Supervisor at The Cognitive Behavioral Institute of El Paso in El Paso, Texas. She has dedicated her career to the promotion of culturally and linguistically responsive interventions for Hispanics. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of culture and culturally adapted interventions. She is a native El Pasoan and has practiced in the El Paso community as a social worker and clinician for 20 years.
Executive Director | Familias Triunfadoras
Maria Covernali is the founder of Familias Triunfadoras, a nonprofit community organization in San Elizario, Texas. She performs the roles of Executive Director, promotora de salud (community health worker), and certified promotora instructor in the State of Texas. Maria has trained and certified more than 500 promotoras/promotores de salud. Maria has worked to improve the well-being and quality of life for vulnerable populations in the El Paso County for 30 years. She works in the areas of health prevention, housing, infrastructure, education, and support groups.
Executive Director | Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio
Sudarshan Pyakurel is a member of the Bhutanese Community in Columbus, and he is a former refugee from Bhutan. Mr. Pyakurel is the Executive Director of Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio (BCCO), and community leader and advocate for social justice. He is also the founder of the Bhutanese American Students Organization (BASO), a non-profit higher education advocacy organization, founder and Managing Director of Jagaran America, a Nepali Newspaper published through Columbus, OH. He has a Master’s degree in English Literature and BA in Economics from India, BA in Cultural Anthropology from The Ohio State University, and Associate Degree in Philosophy from Cuyahoga Community College. Currently, he is an MSW student at the Ohio State University. Part of his passion is on applied social science. He is also the co-author of several journal articles. He came to the US in 2010, since then he has been actively working in the community for equity, advocacy, and empowerment of refugees and immigrants. Mr. Pyakurel is a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid instructor, a member of the Trauma Responsive Care through CARE Coalition, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) trainee, Member of the Refugee Congress, and Migrant and Refugee Leadership Academy fellow. Named in June 2018 by the Ohio Governor John Kasich to the New American Advisory Committee.
Dr. Tonia Thompson
Superintendent | Binghamton City School District
Tonia Thompson, EdD has been serving the Binghamton City School District in the superintendent role since 2016. She has worked in various administrative roles including Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Accountability. She began her teaching career in the district as a science teacher, later becoming a Teacher of Gifted and Talented. She strongly believes in the foundational power of strong student-educator relationships and is honored to be working with an incredibly talented and dedicated faculty and staff. Dr. Thompson’s time in the district has given her unique and invaluable insight into the needs of Binghamton students, families and the community.
Dr. Rachele Espiritu
Founding Partner | Change Matrix, LLC