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Tuesday, June 29, 2021
1:30 pm ET - 10:30 pm ET

[SAMHSA-Sponsored Webinar] Increasing Cultural Competency in Mental Health Care Settings

Increasing Cultural Competency in Mental Health Care Settings

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

1:30 PM ET / 10:30 AM PT

A SAMHSA-sponsored webinar presented on behalf of Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness will take place Tuesday, June 29, 2021 at 1:30pm Eastern Time called Increasing Cultural Competency in Mental Health Care Settings

There are many barriers to care that prevents or limits an individual from receiving help. One of these barriers is a lack of cultural competency in the mental health care space. Racial/ethnic minority individuals often receive lower quality healthcare services, such as fewer diagnostic procedures and negative verbal and nonverbal communication styles from providers. People with other marginalized identities, like LGBTQ+ individuals, are more likely to experience mental health concerns than cisgender, heterosexual people but may receive ineffective care due to a provider’s reluctance to address gender and sexuality. In this webinar, we will focus on how to increase cultural competency on an individual and systemic level.

Meet the Presenters

Karen Francis is the director, Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and a principal researcher at AIR. In the capacity of director, Dr. Francis leads AIR’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, providing organizational guidance and management for activities focused on implementation of AIR’s diversity and inclusion strategic plan. She leads efforts for D&I communications, internal and external engagement, and the integration of D&I and culturally competent standards, principles, and practices throughout AIR’s organizational infrastructure and operations intended to support overall organizational focus, growth, and outcomes. Dr. Francis is also chair of AIR’s Diversity and Inclusion Council and leads AIR‘s Cultural and Linguistic Competence Workgroup. 

Dr. Francis is a medical sociologist by training and has grounded her work in the principles of cultural competence and a commitment to address disparities across social, health, juvenile justice and educational service systems. She has more than 30 years of experience managing, planning, and delivering training and technical assistance (TTA) at national, state, and local levels that have also been accompanied by countless presentations to national, state, and local leaders; policymakers; and practitioners. Her expertise spans a variety of issues, including juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, children’s behavioral health, gender responsive programming, rural behavioral health, youth violence prevention, safe and supportive learning environments, health disparities, cultural and linguistic competence, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Francis served as the AIR Task Lead for the Rural Behavioral Health Initiative in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this capacity, she led efforts in providing content area expertise for the development of resources, virtual learning and delivery of technical assistance and for children, youth, and families in rural communities. Through a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Francis has worked with multiple local health departments nationally, to address youth violence prevention and provides TTA for the development of strategic plans and implementation of evidenced based programs. Through initiatives funded by SAMHSA, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Dr. Francis has worked to address the many needs of youth in communities with some of the worst poverty and highest rates of violence anywhere that place these young people at risk for system involvement. She has worked with multiple school districts for the U.S. Department of Education to disaggregate data about students who have been involved in the school to prison pipeline, illustrating bias by race, gender, and disabilities and has developed several tools and resources to guide jurisdictions as they attempt to address these issues.

Dr. Francis has led several national juvenile justice and delinquency prevention training and technical assistance centers prior to her tenure at AIR. At AIR, she has led efforts focused on addressing the needs of girls at risk or involved in the juvenile justice systems. Additionally, she has held senior roles on other national training and technical assistance centers at AIR. For over a decade she led strategies on cultural competence, youth and family engagement under the Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health, SAMHSA, intended to shape policy, program, and service delivery. For eight years, Dr. Francis served as an on-site cultural and linguistic competence consultant to the Child Adolescent and Family Branch, SAMHSA, and provided technical assistance to system of care communities. In this capacity, she coordinated the development and dissemination of information, best practices, assessment tools, and other resources to ensure implementation of effective strategies to reduce racial/ethnic disparities. She has authored and co-authored publications focused on issues such as effective culturally competent practices across child and social service systems, addressing disparities in social services systems, family and domestic violence, and leveraging community assets to build safe and supportive environments for children, youth, and families

Ellen Kahn is the Senior Director of Programs and Partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign overseeing a portfolio of programs and projects aimed at improving the lives of LGBTQ youth and families, including Welcoming Schools, All Children-All Families, Project THRIVE, Parents for Transgender Equality, HIV and Health Equity, and the HBCU Program. In her 14+ years at HRC, Ellen has shaped innovative system-change work in child welfare, education, and healthcare.  She is nationally recognized as an expert on LGBTQ family life, LGBTQ youth, and frequently writes and speaks on these topics for a wide variety of audiences.  

A self-described trans-affirming, progressive lesbian feminist social worker, and mother of two wonderful daughters, Ellen has dedicated her career to improving the lives of LGBTQ people--from working on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS in the early days of the epidemic, to facilitating dozens of “Maybe Baby” groups for prospective LGBTQ parents.  Before joining HRC, Ellen spent 12 years at Whitman-Walker Health (formerly Whitman-Walker Clinic), leading the Lesbian Services Program for eight of those years; in that role Ellen led the expansion of programs to meet the needs of the growing community of LGBTQ people prospective parents, and those already navigating life with children.

When she isn’t working to change the world, Ellen enjoys a drama-free domestic life with her lovely spouse, one daughter at home, and one at college.  In her free time Ellen enjoys spinning, swimming, Netflix, and with some reluctance, scrolling Facebook to stay informed and entertained. 

Instructions for joining:

When in the seminar room, the Adobe Connect Log-in screen appears, select "Enter as a Guest," enter the name and state of the participant in the "Name" field (Ex. Jane Doe-AK) and click on "Enter Room."  For attendees, this is a “listen only” webinar.  Should they need to dial in, the instructions are on the note pad in the seminar room.  

If you dial in, please ensure that your computer speakers are turned off so that there is no audio feedback.

Note: If you are only able to join the audio portion, then you will not be able to see the webinar presentation.  

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Please contact Kelle Masten with questions at

**We do not offer CEU credits however letters of attendance are offered upon request.  

***Closed-captioning is available for this webinar.