The Delta Center California Learning Lab consists of five local teams, each of which is working to complete a project focused on advancing the integration of primary care and mental health care and/or substance use disorder treatment and recovery services. The projects consist of a partnership between behavioral health (which includes mental health and/or substance use) and primary care providers. Partners work in safety net organizations, including community-based organizations, Federally Qualified Health Centers, county behavioral health departments, and local networks. Teams are geographically spread across California, with representation from the Bay Area, the Central Valley, and Southern California. Below, you can read about each specific team’s project and partnership.
Teams are excited to use the Learning Lab as a place to collaborate, share ideas, and learn best practices from other teams. Each team brings a unique set of experiences to the Learning Lab, with expertise specifically in areas of integrated care, quality measurement, virtual collaboration, human centered design, clinical experience, incorporating lived experience, and advocacy for various communities, including the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities, people with serious mental illness (SMI) and/or substance use disorder, and the chronically homeless population.
Each team has identified areas for growth that they plan to address through their project work and collaboration with other teams. Specifically, teams will work together towards shared policy priorities, diving into areas such as financial sustainability for integrated care, best practices in telehealth, building up their workforce capacity, and integrating the disparate systems of primary care with specialty and mild/moderate mental health care. All teams are working to center racial equity and lived experience in their project work to ultimately reduce disparities in care. They look forward to building relationships and partnerships with other teams across the state, as well as with the State Roundtable.
Team Eagles: Uplift Family Services, School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County, and Pacific Clinics
Uplift Family Services (UFS), School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County (SHC) and Pacific Clinics (PC) are designated as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC). They are working together to increase access and improve the quality of community mental and substance use disorder treatment by integrating services with physical health. The target population is un- and under-represented low-income adults throughout Santa Clara County, whereby most residents are monolingual (65%) Latina/o/x (80%), presumably with mild-moderate mental health needs.
Team Eagles have three primary goals for the Delta Center CA Learning Lab project. First, they hope to impact policy by aligning federal, state, and local policies and regulations to realize a service delivery system that meets the comprehensive needs of a diverse population (including funding, workforce, and service array). Second, they hope to design a just and equitable system that results in: a) timeliness and ease of access; b) a comprehensive array of services; and c) parity in physical and behavioral health outcomes across all demographics. Third, they seek to ensure sustainability for the CCBHC model (including funding payment structure and leveraging technology). Additionally, they will leverage their current Advisory Groups for feedback throughout the process. Their Advisory Groups consist of a CCBHC Advisory Workgroup, a group of young adults addressing substance use treatment, and the Pacific Clinics Consumer Quality Assurance Board.
Team Good-Hearted Knights: Gateways Hospital and Mental Health Center, Los Angeles Christian Health Center
The partnership between Gateways and the Los Angeles Christian Health Center (LACHC) has been in existence for more than a decade, with Gateways providing behavioral health services to individuals with serious mental illness (SMI), and LACHC providing preventative, diagnostic, ongoing and emergency care to the individuals served by Gateways. Their team annually serves an average of 120 adult males with SMI with the following demographics: 100% are severely mentally ill; 100% have experienced chronic homelessness and/or have been incarcerated or housed in Institutions for Mental Disease (IMDs); 100% have experienced poverty; 76% of those providing their race in 2020 identified as BIPOC.
The goal of their Delta Center CA Learning Lab project is to increase access to physical health services for the SMI population. They plan to improve access to and the quality of such health care through the introduction and expansion of activities, including telehealth consultations and treatment, solicitation of consumer feedback, the provision of psychoeducation to LACHC, and the introduction of a computer lab centered on job skills and computer literacy. In order to ensure that they center activities on lived experience and racial equality, they plan to incorporate the following aspects into their activities: encourage client leadership during educational groups, include LACHC in Gateways’ Normandie Village Resident Council activities, and encourage clients to share their stories using video to decrease the stigma surrounding mental health.
Team Hunab Ku Turtle: Integral Community Solutions Institute (ICSI), Fresno Barrios Unidos, Centro La Familia, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Fresno, University of California, San Francisco Fresno, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
The core project team, led by Integral Community Solutions Institute (ICSI), is composed of representatives from five community based organizations: ICSI, Centro La Familia Advocacy Services, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Fresno, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), Fresno Barrios Unidos, and a psychiatry resident from UCSF-Fresno.
ICSI works with underserved and bilingual communities, including populations exposed to poverty, homelessness, drug abuse/addiction, victims of crimes and intimate partner violence, and trauma in Fresno County. Centro La Familia works with unserved/undocumented families in both urban and rural communities in Fresno County, as they have done for the past 45 years. They will consult on how to integrate behavioral health into primary care for mental health wellness. Fresno Barrios Unidos will facilitate the integration of behavioral/physical health services through their relationship with Clinica Sierra Vista. NAMI Fresno will be a partner and strong advocate for integrated medicine, championing the rights of those with mental illness. KIND will collaborate with the team to help integrate physical and behavioral health. The UCSF Psychiatry resident will help develop the strategic plan.
The Delta Center CA Learning Lab project goals and core activities revolve around improving the capacity of each organization to focus on collective work to serve the needs of the community. The leaders from each organization are people with vast experience in civil rights, particularly leadership in the Chicano educational rights and the farmworkers rights movements of the 1960s, and it is their values and lived experiences that continue to guide their project work and will impact the Delta Center California activities. Their leaders value struggle and survival, challenges, resilience for those in need, and their lived experiences will guide them to advance social and racial justice in the medical and mental health arenas.
Team Peacock: Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, Marin Community Clinic, Marin Mental Health Consumer
The Marin County partnership consists of representatives from Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, Marin Community Clinic, and a Marin County mental health care consumer. Marin County BHRS provides behavioral health services to child and adult clients who are Medi-Cal eligible and reside in the County of Marin, which has a population of over 250,000 people. The team has experience identifying and implementing sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) best practices in county behavioral health systems of care, and their partners at the Marin Community Clinic are committed to ensuring Trans-affirming healthcare services. The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network supports organizations providing health and human services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) Californians and advocates for policies that support the health and wellness of LGBTQ+ Californians. They are in their fourth year of the #Out4MentalHealth project, which advocates for LGBTQ+ mental health equity at the state and local level. SOGI data collection best practices have been identified as an area of need in multiple California health systems. Their team also includes a person who has received services through Marin County BHRS, who can help identify how proposed practices will impact client experience and engagement.
The team’s primary goal is to develop SOGI data collection best practices for county behavioral health departments in order to improve specialty mental health care access and the care experience of LGBTQ+ adults. Through the Delta Center CA Learning Lab, the Core Team hopes to convene a work group to develop the process for how to determine what kind of SOGI measures should be collected based on the use, program, and system, identify a SOGI data collection best practice for county behavioral health, implement the new SOGI data collection best practice in Marin County BHRS, assess and evaluate how well the implementation worked, and examine ways in which it can be implemented in other counties. The team has consistently heard from QTBIPOC (Queer and Trans BIPOC) community members that they feel as though they must bifurcate their identities in order to access care that affirms at least one part of who they are. Because of this, they will specifically be centering the experiences of QTBIPOC during this project. The team is excited to advocate for comprehensive consistent SOGI data collection across primary care, mental health, and substance use health systems in California.
Team Sunset: Community Health Center Network, Axis Community Health, LifeLong Medical Care
The partnership between Axis Community Health, LifeLong Medical Care (LMC) and Community Health Center Network (CHCN) includes behavioral health leadership, providers, and program management Staff. CHCN is a non-profit partnership of 8 Federally Qualified Health Centers in the East Bay, including Axis and LifeLong. Each of CHCN’s member health centers, which serve 270,000 patients annually, have integrated behavioral health (IBH) programs within the primary care setting, providing mental health and substance use disorder services to patients across the continuum of mild, moderate, and serious behavioral health conditions.
The goals for the Delta Center CA Learning Lab project are to assess and achieve an understanding of racial, ethnic and/or language disparities in behavioral health screening, referral and engagement at Axis and LifeLong. Within Axis and LifeLong’s IBH structure, there are numerous touchpoints in a patient’s care trajectory including screening, referral, warm-handoff, intake evaluation, connection to services and treatment. Their goal is to identify disparities at each of these points and to understand, from interviewing patients, why these disparities exist and how they can improve access and create more effective behavioral health services across race, ethnicity, and language. They will be expanding on their newly built behavioral health registry and dashboard, shared across CHCN clinics, to enable ongoing inclusion of race, ethnicity, and language in their data visualization and analysis.