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Diversity and Inclusion at Washington County Mental Health- All Are Welcome

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee at WCMHS was established around May 2014.  As with all committees at WCMHS, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee strives to have representation on the committee from across the agency. Early trainings were focused on LGBTQ 101 and safe space trainings as a result of access to grant funded trainings through the Vermont Pride Center, Burlington, VT. These trainings were well received across the agency and well attended.diversity logo

The committee recognized from the beginning the need to address Diversity and Inclusion within our organization as we begin to have a more diverse workforce and a more diverse population of people we serve. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s mission is “to intentionally nurture and sustain an environment in which all individuals are treated with fairness, dignity and respect". Additionally, the committee “values equal access to opportunities and resources and strives to support our staff to fully contribute to their own, our client’s, organization’s, and communities’ success".

With our stated mission and vision in mind, the committee worked to create training that would promote cultural awareness across the agency with a focus on implicit bias and the power of privilege and how these impact our relationships and the work we perform for the community. The training is not intended to be a “one and done” presentation, but to begin the conversation around issues of diversity in our organization. The committee wants to encourage and support our staff in having open, honest, respectful conversations around these sometimes very difficult and uncomfortable topics.

The work of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee is ongoing. Some of the initiatives we are currently working on are as follows:

The issues of cultural diversity are complex and can be emotionally charged. The Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Committee wants to foster an environment that is welcoming and supportive to all people who are a part of our organization to include our workforce, the people we serve, our community partners, etc. To that end, we have an open invitation for people to join the committee or to drop into a monthly meeting to see what we are all about. We meet the second Tuesday of each month from 1:30 – 3:00, locations may vary. We are also open to recommendations if there is a topic people feel needs to be considered or addressed. Primary contacts for the committee are Lynn Jones and Roberta Garland, however, staff can feel free to talk to any member of the committee.

Committee Members:

Roberta Garland, Access Clinician                                             

Lynn Jones, Human Resources                                                  

Susan Loynd, HR Director/Admin. Operations Chief               

Cara Cascadden, ChOICE Coordinator                    

Jeremy Chouinard, CDS Case Manager 

Zarin Bandelier, Chrysalis House Coordinator

Johnna Parkhurst, Accounting Supervisor

Martha Gold, ChOICE Clinician/Case Manager



Submitted March 2018

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