CALIFORNIA BLACK WOMEN’S HEALTH PROJECT is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization solely dedicated to improving the health of California’s 1.2 million Black women and girls through advocacy, education, policy, and outreach via a Sister Circle model of engagement.
Our Approach to Programming
The programming legacy of the organization is centered on a nationally recognized “Sister-Circle” model which complements the strategic focus on policy, advocacy, outreach, and education. Collaboration is a required programming tenet. Programs and services are grounded in the lived experiences of Black women and shaped in response to the social and systems determinants of health that negatively impact those lived experiences. Our existing Black Women’s Health Initiative addresses issues and practices related to reproductive justice, domestic/family violence prevention, maternal/infant health, aging, mental health, and health equity. The foundation of our work is informed by statewide community assessments, focus groups, town hall meetings, policy summits, and strategic partnerships across an array of health-related entities and agencies. We engage in active “vertical” and “horizontal” advocacy (which are traditional policy advocacy and community engagement, respectively) in order to bring issues of health professions diversity and health disparities to policymakers and opinion leaders as well as community stakeholders. We take a ‘health-in all’ approach to all aspects of our work from internal/external operations to program services, to community care, to advocacy and policy advocacy.
Advocate Training Program (SMM) is a California statewide intervention designed to prevent and reduce mental illness severity in Black women. Sisters Mentally Mobilized incorporates the foundational advocacy and empowerment principles of our signature Advocate Training Program (ATP) while also building the ongoing capacity of Black women to address mental health conditions and barriers in their lives and communities. An additional component of Sisters Mentally Mobilized is the formation of mental-health focused “Sister Circles” that mobilize following the formal 10-session training to employ culturally responsive community defined interventions that address mental health issues in the following areas: 1) identification of risk factors and symptoms, 2) stigma awareness and reduction, 3) prevention of early-onset and deterioration, and 4) increased awareness, solicitation, and access to care. This comprehensive and combined approach is a culturally responsive, community defined prevention and early intervention (PEI) strategy to mitigate multiple risk factors and limitations in interventions that contribute to and exacerbate mental health disparities in Black women, their families and communities. Sisters Mentally Mobilized – Advocate Training Program includes training modules focused on suicide prevention and perinatal mental health, including perinatal mood disorders, postpartum depression/anxiety, and respite care for Black birthing people and families.
California Black Women’s Health Project staff, consultants, facilitators and program volunteers are predominantly Black women who are highly trained and experienced to provide culturally and linguistically competent advocacy training and other health and health prevention and early intervention programs for Black women and girls. Our skills include strategic program operations, leadership, management, and planning in urban community settings. Collectively, our core team brings more than 100 years of combined corporate, non-profit, and volunteer program development and management experience in supporting transformative intervention and leadership development in under-resourced, urban communities. The team is fully committed to a “health in all” approach to improving the overall lives of Black women and girls’ mental health and wellness in urban California communities.
CABWHP’s CEO, Sonya Young Aadam Sonya Young Aadam, a University of Pennsylvania–Wharton School of Business graduate, endeavors to develop and support transformative interventions in under-resourced, urban communities. Ms. Aadam brings more than 20 years of comprehensive experience in strategic planning, financial analysis, and management with corporations like Barclays Bank, The Walt Disney Company and Viacom/MTV Networks to her most important work in the past 6 years — supporting transformative intervention in underserved, urban communities – particularly in urban California communities like South Los Angeles where she was born and raised.
Evaluator, Carlene A. Davis, is a collective impact leader and strategist for positive social change. For over twenty-five years, she has provided leadership across a range of service arenas, including: aging and gerontology; health care; mental health; domestic violence; homeless services; early care and education; K-12 education; and higher education. Through expertise honed in the public, non-profit, and volunteer management sectors, Ms. Davis provides consultation in project management; program design and evaluation; training and curriculum development; strategic planning and facilitation; and community and stakeholder engagement.
Natalie Champion serves as Project Manager for the California Black Women’s Health Project, where she provides community outreach and forges partnerships with community-based organizations to empower and promote the health and wellness of Black women and girls. Ms. Champion’s knowledge of the issues impacting Black women, coupled with her professional experience in the private, non-profit and public sectors, allows her to provide comprehensive insight to effectively broker solutions that have a widespread impact. Ms. Champion’s past and present career aspirations focus on public policy development, issue advocacy, communication and the implementation of strategies to achieve large-scale systems change.
We are a 25+ year old cornerstone organization in California and well-respected across the state, especially in urban public health and health advocacy communities. Our leadership legacy is a testament to skilled and passionate strength and commitment to excellence in service to Black women and girl’s health and wellness.
Specific skills and experience in culturally and linguistic program management includes:
- first-hand knowledge of health and other issues impacting urban communities and the lives of Black women and girls; health education and prevention; expertise in policy development, strategic planning, media advocacy and training/group facilitation with Sister Circles;
- licensed Clinical Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapists and social workers with 20+ years of individual professional experience as therapists, educator, trainers and activist working to empower Black individuals and communities;
- individual and group therapy, consultation on curriculum and program development, clinical supervision, oppression/diversity training, culturally informed course instruction, facilitation, curriculum development, mentoring and counseling;
- development of culturally competent mental health curricula, facilitation and partnerships; skilled writers, research, and presentations.
Our CDEP, Sisters Mentally Mobilized, recently added two new training modules focused on suicide prevention and perinatal mental health, including perinatal mood disorders, postpartum depression/anxiety, and respite care for Black birthing people and families. Additionally, the Sisters Mentally Mobilized Sister Circles have attracted funding to support regional mobilization efforts by our cohorts in all 4 regions where we have completed our trainings – Sacramento, Alameda, and Los Angeles Counties and the Inland Empire. We are anticipating the engagement of our Sister Circles in local mental health intervention efforts for Black women and families in these regions.