You are visiting us from Virginia. You are located in HHS Region 3. Your Center is Central East ATTC.

Equity as a Foundation for Leadership: Experiences and Recommendations for Behavioral Health Leaders

The Central East Addiction Technology Transfer Center (CE-ATTC), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and operated by The Danya Institute, contracted with The College for Behavioral Health Leadership (CBHL) to develop a report describing and defining EquityGrounded Leadership for use by behavioral health leaders in Health and Human Services Region 3 states. This report builds on the Institute’s ongoing efforts to improve diversity, increase cultural competency, and address population-specific needs of people receiving and delivering behavioral health services in Region 3.

CBHL partnered with Just Health Collective and the Prevention Institute to develop this report. The purpose is to define and describe equity-grounded leadership, incorporating the experiences and perspectives of Region 3 behavioral health leaders via a survey, key informant interviews, and focus groups; make the case for the importance of focusing on equity as an foundational element of leadership; and offer recommendations for local, state, and national leaders and policy makers.

Region 3 is a diverse region including Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. With a population of nearly 31,000,000 people, the region consists of a mix of dense, urban metropolitan areas and rural communities. Two-thirds of the population overall is White, and one-third are residents of color, but significant diversity is seen by state and community. Clear racial disparities exist in three indicators of health equity—poverty, education, and home ownership—across the region. Data on regional diversity of the behavioral health workforce and leadership are unavailable, but anecdotally are widely believed to comprise White females.


Thursday, March 24, 1:00 PM, will provide an overview of the report development and outcomes, key takeaways for organizations and communities, and a description of and discussion about the importance of equity-grounded leadership. We will also seek your feedback on what is needed next to support equity-grounded leadership in Region 3.


  • Oscar Morgan, Interim Executive Director, The Danya Institute, Project Director, Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
  • Dr. Jei Africa, Director, Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services
  • Kathy Poston, Chief Engagement Officer, Just Health Collective, LLC
  • Ruben Cantu, Associate Program Director, Prevention Institute

This publication was prepared for the Central East Addiction Technology Transfer Center (CE-ATTC) under a cooperative agreement from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). All material appearing in this publication, except that taken directly from copyrighted sources, is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission from SAMHSA or the authors. Citation of the source is appreciated. Do not reproduce or distribute this publication for a fee without specific, written authorization from the CE-ATTC. At the time of this publication, Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, served as Assistant Secretary of Mental Health Services and Substance Use and the Administrator of SAMHSA. The opinions expressed herein are the view of CE-ATTC and the authors and do not reflect the official position of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), SAMHSA. No official support or endorsement of HHS, SAMHSA for the opinions described in this document is intended or should be inferred.

March 1, 2022
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