Abogando por el Bienstar Mental | Advocate for Mental Wellness

For Mental Health Month, we interviewed Zenia Lemos Horning, lead psychologist at Healdsburg Unified School District; and spoke with Juan Torres of Humanidad Therapy and Education about the Bicultural Clinical Training Program. Kim Bender also offers a look back at her tenure as Executive Director.

Daisy Cardenas

Dear Friends,

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of mental health as a part of each person’s overall health and wellbeing. Although the Healthcare Foundation and its community partners have made important progress in addressing the inequities of mental health access in our region, our society continues to grapple with a crisis of mental health, including among youth.

Here in northern Sonoma County, that national trend is affecting our Latine communities in particular, as recent reporting has highlighted. That’s why the Healthcare Foundation remains focused on increasing access to bilingual and bicultural mental health services, through our Mental Health Talent Pipeline scholarship program as well as other grants and initiatives, for our region’s Spanish-speaking and bicultural residents.

In the name of advocating for mental wellness, especially for the historically underserved families of our region, we spoke this month with our wonderful colleague Zenia Lemos Horning. Zenia is lead psychologist and program specialist at Healdsburg Unified, and an educational psychologist in private practice, who also generously shares her time and expertise as a valued member of our Board’s Program & Granting Committee.

Below you’ll also find a conversation with Juan Torres, executive director of Humanidad Therapy & Education Services. Juan reports on the powerful impact of extending Humanidad’s bilingual and bicultural mental health services to Cloverdale, which has been made possible by the Bicultural Clinical Training Program pilot project launched last year in collaboration with the Healthcare Foundation and with generous support from Kaiser Permanente.

Also in this newsletter, our own Kim Bender reflects on her four years as executive director of the Healthcare Foundation as she prepares to step down on June 27. As a Board member, a former Mental Health Talent Pipeline graduate student, a mental health professional, and the program coordinator at community partner SRJC’s HOPE program, I can say that Kim’s leadership in this time has been transformative not just for the Healthcare Foundation but for the community it is ever more closely aligned with, and we are forever grateful to her.

Finally, we offer a short profile of our featured speaker at this year’s Noche de Amor community celebration, the incredibly talented Bernice “bene” Espinoza. If you haven’t got your tickets yet for June 8’s Noche de Amor — A Benefit for Health Justice, there’s still time! Please don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate and learn directly about all we have accomplished together as a community, and all we’re continuing to do to uplift the mental health and wellbeing of everyone in our region. It’s not the same event without you! 


Daisy Cardenas
Board Member

Community Partner Spotlight: A conversation with Zenia Lemos Horning

Zenia Lemos Horning

Zenia Lemos Horning is lead psychologist and program specialist at Healdsburg Unified School District (HUSD) and a practicing bilingual and bicultural educational psychologist. In 2023, she wrote an article in the Healdsburg Tribune for Mental Health Awareness Month on the country’s “epidemic rates of child and adolescent mental health disorders,” and what HUSD was doing to address it. 

The article caught the attention of Healthcare Foundation Board member Kathi Safford, who reached out to see if Zenia might be willing to partner with the Healthcare Foundation as it continues to refine and grow its knowledge and interventions in the area of mental health services, especially with respect to bilingual and bicultural access. 

Since then, Zenia has served on the Healthcare Foundation’s Program Committee, which reviews funding requests and offers recommendations to the Board of Directors on where limited funds might be directed to do the most good. On the occasion of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month, we spoke with Zenia about her work, and specifically the way the school district and nonprofits partner to support the mental health of youth and families in our region.

Full Article (4 min read)

Update on the new Bicultural Clinical Training Program: A conversation with Juan Torres

Stephanie Martinez, Program Manager at the Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund, and Juan Torres, Executive Director of Humanidad Therapy and Education

In 2023, the Healthcare Foundation secured a major grant from Kaiser Permanente to launch a Bicultural Clinical Training Program designed to strengthen the local pipeline of bilingual, bicultural mental health practitioners while increasing direct mental health services in areas of northern Sonoma County where residents have the greatest challenges to accessing such care.

A collaboration with Humanidad Therapy & Education Services and On the Margins, the Bicultural Clinical Training Program, which launched in August 2023, includes two novel components. The first, which the grant covers for two years, allows Humanidad to bring its services to Cloverdale residents through two paid traineeships per year. Additionally, these traineeships feature professional supervision by a bilingual, bicultural Clinical Supervisor—a rare opportunity designed to deepen the culturally responsive nature of the education and practice of the bilingual graduate student trainees.

The second component of the Program (additionally supported by a grant from the Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund) is a culturally responsive online curriculum called Nepantlah. Developed by On the Margins, this bilingual workshop series is designed for mental health practitioners, including trainees like those in the Humanidad component described above, serving bicultural and/or Spanish-speaking clients in northern Sonoma County, or even around the state and country. (Note: The outcomes of this one-year pilot program will be covered in a later article.)

As Humanidad nears the halfway point in its two-year effort in Cloverdale, we spoke with its executive director, Juan Torres, about the impact of the initiative and its importance as a model for the equitable delivery of mental health services in our region.

Full Article (5 min read)

Kim Bender Reflects on Four Years at the Healthcare Foundation

Kim Bender

Being the executive director of the Healthcare Foundation has been a dream job: it has encouraged the best in me, calling upon all of my life experience — as a film producer and professional problem-solver, development director and fundraiser, mother and community builder, citizen and neighbor. As I prepare to step down from this role, it feels like I’m graduating again, this time with a degree in Health Equity and Community Leadership. 

I started at the Healthcare Foundation in March of 2020, a quiet, momentous time as the world shut down. Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that all the changes we have gone through together during my tenure at the Healthcare Foundation have taken place in only four years. I’m sure you’ll agree, those years have held more than their usual share of history and challenge. What has united them, for me, and for all of us at the Healthcare Foundation, are the themes of partnership and social justice—themes that I take with me and that remain at the heart of the Healthcare Foundation’s mission: to connect people and resources to promote wellness in underserved communities. The initiatives, programs, and accomplishments of the Healthcare Foundation in its partnerships across our region are many over the last four years, indeed too many to recount here. We’ve tried to cover them all in detail in our newsletter and on our website

Among the achievements of the last four years that I would like to mention here is the expanding network of friends and allies we have grown in Sonoma County, committed individuals, organizations, and businesses who all want to work together toward a better, more equitable future. This cooperation has been remarkable. While lockdown made developing new relationships with donors and other community members uniquely challenging, people were generous and forgiving, and embraced relationships that could, for too long, only exist on Zoom.

Full Article (1 min read)

Noche de Amor Spotlight: Featured Speaker Bernice “bere” Espinoza

Bernice Espinoza

We are extremely happy to announce that on June 8, the Healthcare Foundation’s annual Noche de Amor community celebration will include an address by Bernice “bere” Espinoza. 

A poet, activist, advocate, first-generation American and college attendee, and a Xicanx/Latinx Civil Rights lawyer, everything bere does stems from a lifelong dedication to social justice, particularly with respect to immigration, racial justice and criminal justice reform.

Having graduated from UC Berkeley with honors in 2003, bere went on to earn her law degree in 2006 from UC Berkeley’s School of Law. She worked in public defense for 14 years, specializing since 2012 in the intersection between criminal law and immigration (Crim Imm) and starting the Crim Imm programs in both Riverside and Sonoma County. She currently works as an immigration removal defense attorney with Sonoma Immigrant Services.

Full Article (1 min read)

Sponsorships Available Here

Purchase Tickets Here

Check out our Noche de Amor 2023 photo gallery here!

This year’s NOCHE DE AMOR: A Benefit for Health Justice is shaping up to be a very special evening and we hope you will join us. The festive event brings together our supporters, grantees, and other stakeholders in a celebration of our diverse and vibrant community. Join us for fabulous food, wine and cocktails/mocktails, and music by The Curtis Family Cnotes and Mónica María.

We kindly ask you to join us as by purchasing a ticket or becoming a sponsor. Sponsorships begin at $1,000, with attractive benefits including sponsor reel recognition. PLUS, all sponsorship commitments made by tomorrow, May 22nd, will be listed in our printed event program.

Related News + Stories