In July, the Healthcare Foundation announced grants from Kaiser Permanente and Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund to support the launch in August of a Bicultural Clinical Training Program.
A collaboration with Humanidad Therapy & Education Services and On the Margins, the Program includes two novel components. The first builds on the Mental Health Talent Pipeline with two paid traineeships in Cloverdale through Humanidad, featuring professional supervision in Spanish — a powerful asset in ensuring best quality outcomes for trainees and clients alike.
The second component is Nepantlah, a culturally responsive online curriculum developed by On the Margins, which is open to trainees as well as already licensed therapists serving bicultural and/or Spanish-speaking clients throughout Sonoma County, around the state, and beyond.
The Program grew out of conversations between the Healthcare Foundation and community partners, including grantees On the Margins and Humanidad, and Cloverdale-based Clinical Psychologist Dr. Maria Alvarez, which recognized the importance (and rarity) of clinical supervision in Spanish for bilingual trainees and associates. Conversations also surfaced the need for a professional network for therapists serving a bilingual and bicultural clientele. Nepantlah provides networking opportunities and training resources to students and clinicians, as well as continuing education credits for licensed professionals.
In its two components, the Program strengthens access to quality mental health services for local residents, and professional development for Pipeline students and a broader online network of professionals serving bicultural, Spanish-speaking clients throughout and beyond northern Sonoma County.
“The Program strengthens access to quality mental health services for local residents, and professional development for Pipeline students and a broader online network of professionals serving bicultural, Spanish-speaking clients.”
Dr. Daniela Domínguez, CEO of On the Margins, explained the need for the Program in a recent conversation with the Healthcare Foundation.
“There are amazing, culturally responsive English-speaking supervisors who do a fantastic job,” she noted. “At the same time, if trainees are receiving clinical supervision in English and working with clients in Spanish, there are some things that just don’t translate. Moreover, there is an advantage to being in a network where other practitioners have similar lived experiences and who can say, ‘This is what I’m seeing in my practice.’ Students will know, by the time they see their first client, that this resource exists. If they have a question related to a clinical case, there will be several psychologists, doulas, American Family Therapists, and professional clinical counselors that they can consult with, and who will understand the stories they’re bringing into the consultation room.”
Mental Health Talent Pipeline student Stephanie Malagon is one of the first trainees to benefit from the initiative. A Cloverdale native who began at Humanidad in August, Stephanie doesn’t remember seeing mental health services while growing up. It wasn’t until she went away to college, where she studied psychology, that the subject of mental health was broached.
“In general, we had little access to mental health resources, especially the Latino community,” she says. “Having Spanish-speaking therapists wasn’t really an option for us. Luckily, things are evolving. Organizations like La Familia Sana and Humanidad are reaching out to Cloverdale and other smaller communities to provide those resources that we definitely need.”