Lennox DeBarros of Kings County Hospital Center has completed the 2011 class of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare’s Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program. The program is designed to mentor culturally diverse mid-level managers into executive positions, nurturing leaders who can represent and serve our nation’s diverse communities. The class of 2011 was selected from more than 140 applicants from healthcare organizations across the country. The program is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “We are proud of Mr. DeBarros for joining the effort to nurture diversity in behavioral healthcare leadership. We admire his commitment to bringing mental health and addictions treatment to the most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Carl Clark, National Council board chair and CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver in Denver, CO. Eliminating disparities in health requires leadership, vision, teamwork and an understanding of the issues from like-minded leaders, point out program participants. The need is critical in light of the rapid growth in racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., projected to account for 90 percent of the increase in national population by 2050. “Unfortunately, racial and cultural barriers to advancement continue to be a reality. The National Council wants to achieve more than just an open discussion about the problems, instead we prefer in our small way to help work towards a solution,” said Linda Rosenberg, National Council president and CEO. “We were pleased to have Lennox DeBarros in the class of 2011 and he has tremendous potential to make a difference for underserved minorities in his community” she added. Participants in the Addressing Health Disparities Leadership Program were part of a year-long peer-to- peer learning community that concluded in April of this year. The cohort received group and individual coaching from expert consultants through virtual and in-person learning opportunities. The program is part of larger healthcare integration and workforce development initiatives that the National Council has undertaken to invest in the future of behavioral health professionals and executives. The program includes a rich array of education, mentoring, career guidance, and networking opportunities. Improving quality, achieving equity, and eliminating racial and ethical disparities in health care is critical and this could only be achieved by having the social and cultural understanding of the community we
serve says Mr. DeBarros. A lack of diversity in leadership results in policies that are poorly suited to serve a diverse patient population thus creating the need for minority leaders that will help develop a delivery system that meets the community’s need.