In recent years, California has emerged as a frontier in advocating for health equity, especially in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment services tailored for its BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and LGBTQ+ communities. The state has manifested its commitment through a variety of initiatives aiming to bridge the existing health disparities. This article highlights the key efforts and projects underway to foster inclusivity, improve access to necessary care, and instigate policy shifts alongside community engagement, ensuring a more equitable health landscape.
These endeavors underscore a concerted push towards a more inclusive and accessible SUD treatment paradigm, one that resonates with the unique needs and experiences of the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ populations in California. Through a closer examination of these initiatives, this article sheds light on the progressive trajectory California is embarking on to ensure health equity in SUD treatment services.
Resource links are included for each intiative and project included in the lists below. Companies not associated with government agencies or funding are listed as a Private Company or Private Grantmaker.
Initiatives and Efforts
Behavioral Health Equity Collaborative
The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network has launched the Behavioral Health Equity Collaborative (BHEC), which is a significant initiative that brings together state and local organizations representing diverse groups of underserved individuals, including BIPOC, immigrant, refugee, youth, and LGBTQ+ communities. The collaborative aims to advocate for increased investments in quality mental health services, addressing challenges like insurance coverage gaps, workforce diversity shortages, and affordability issues. The collaborative is supported by a grant from the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) and engages in policy advocacy, mental health systems change, policy research and development, and capacity building of community organizations serving BIPOC and LGBTQ+ populations. California Pan-Ethnic Healthcare Network
Inclusive Therapists Directory (Private Company)
California has an Inclusive Therapists Directory which aims to provide culturally responsive mental health therapy for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals. This directory facilitates the connection of individuals with mental health providers who are committed to inclusivity and understanding the unique experiences and challenges faced by these communities. Inclusive Therapists Directory
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Resources
CDPH provides resources and programs addressing health concerns of the LGBTQ+ community. These resources encompass a range of health topics including HIV/AIDS, gender-affirming services, mental health, reproductive health, and more, which are aimed at empowering the LGBTQ+ individuals to prioritize their health and access necessary screenings and treatments. CDPH LGBTQ Resource Page
QTBIPOC Community (Private Company)
The QTBIPOC community encompasses Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. When discussing this community, we must acknowledge intersectionality. Defined as a person’s overlap of social identities, intersectionality is a combination of gender identity, sexuality, class, race, and mobility. The QTBIPOC community stands at the intersection of race, gender identity and sexuality. Because of this, their experiences and their treatment needs are unique. Access to culturally competent mental health and addiction care is vital for members of this community. QTBIPOC Community
Grants and Projects
Health Equity in Access to Behavioral Health Recovery Services (HEAR US) Phase 1 and 2
The HEAR US funding opportunity will support Californian nonprofit organizations in expanding access to and utilization of behavioral health recovery services through a health equity approach that seeks to remove barriers to care for communities of color, Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and others who have faced discrimination and unequal access to behavioral health care systems. Over an 18-month period, awardees will help implement the Roadmap to Improve Access and Equity for Communities in Recovery, which was created in the first phase of the HEAR US project. This roadmap is grounded in the following guiding principles for providing behavioral health recovery services, which include ensuring:
1. Culturally responsive services and systems
2. Low-barrier access to services
3. Integrated peer support across the recovery continuum
4. Harm reduction approaches to drug use and recovery
5. Addressing the needs of the whole person
2023 Grants Challenge by Friendly Hand Foundation (Private Grantmaker)
The Friendly Hand Foundation has proposed a project under the 2023 Grants Challenge for equitable addiction treatment specifically aimed at BIPOC/LGBTQ+ women. They aim to create a transitional sober living facility tailored to the unique needs of these communities. Their program includes culturally-responsive training and a phased treatment approach. The project endeavors to decrease substance misuse rates, improve treatment outcomes, and eliminate health disparities related to SUD among the target population. LA2050
Governor Newsom’s Grant for SUD Treatment Facilities
The Orange County Health Care Agency has been allocated funding to expand adolescent residential treatment facilities for youth suffering from SUD. Although not exclusively for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals, this funding is part of a larger initiative to increase access to SUD treatment services across the board, which can potentially benefit these communities as well.
Horizons Foundation Grantmaking Program (Local Grantmakers for SF Bay Area)
Horizons Foundation offers a grantmaking program called Community Issues, which provides support to small and mid-sized LGBTQ nonprofit organizations and programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. This program could potentially include SUD treatment services catering to the LGBTQ+ community’s unique needs. Horizon Foundation
California Grants Portal
The California Grants Portal lists current grant opportunities provided by California state agencies. While the portal itself doesn’t specify projects focused on SUD treatment for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ individuals, it’s a resource where such grants and projects might be listed, and interested organizations or individuals could explore for funding opportunities related to health equity in SUD treatment services. California Grants Portal