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Lowering Barriers: Race, Income & Mental Health

If you joined us live or watch the archived stream for Well Beings Tour: Lowering Barriers: Race, Income & Mental Health, please help us improve the development of future content and events by taking this brief survey.

Power shapes our wellbeing. Race and income can have a much greater impact on our health than medicine or doctors. For young people, that means the systems and environments that surround them affect how they will view and access mental health support systems. With inequitable and discriminatory structures in place, finding ways to destigmatize mental health and create pathways for access can be difficult to navigate. Join PBS SoCal and KCET as we explore how we can lower these barriers on an individual, community and structural level. 

Dr. Thomas Insel, M.D. | Full Interview

A conversation between PBS Student Reporting Lab reporter Julia Escobar of Venice High School and California Mental Health Czar Thomas Insel M.D. for the PBS So-Cal KCET Well Beings Tour event.

About the Hosts

Cara Santa Maria, Host, SoCal Update  

Cara Santa Maria is a Los Angeles Area Emmy® and Knight Foundation Award-winning journalist, science communicator, television personality, author, and podcaster. She is the current host of PBS SoCal and KCET’s SoCal Update and former reporter/producer of KCET’s investigative news series SoCal Connected. She is the creator and host of the weekly podcast, Talk Nerdy, and co-host of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. Additional correspondent/co-starring credits include National Geographic’s Brain Games and Explorer, Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World, Al Jazeera America’s TechKnow, and Fusion’s Real Future, among many others. She holds a B.S. in Psychology, M.S. in Neurobiology, M.A. in Clinical Psychology and is currently working toward a Ph.D.

Andre Tinoco, Student Journalist

Andre Tinoco is a current community college journalism student and is the Broadcast Editor for his school’s student-run digital news show, SACATTACK TV. Andre plans to transfer to a four-year university to obtain his BA in broadcast journalism and believes education is the passport to a better future ahead.

About the Panelists

Roshawn Davis, Intermediate Typist Clerk/Student

Hi, my name is Roshawn Davis. I recently entered the tricenarian decade of life. I don’t have many accomplishments that I can brag about yet; however, I am a college student currently working towards my B.S in Psychology. A long-term educational goal of mine is to obtain my Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology.  I currently work for the county of Los Angeles as an Intermediate Typist Clerk – A long term career goal I’m striving to achieve to become an entrepreneur and consultant. In addition to my daily hustle of making something out of myself, I am a student of life. I have a wide array of life experiences. I like to talk about difficult topics that most people find hard to discuss, such as mental health issues, socioeconomic barriers, and overall well-being. 

Janae Oliver, Founder, MindfulBeautyCollaborative

Janae Oliver is a native of Los Angeles with a passion for community engagement and an innate understanding of the intersection of race, culture, and health intervention. She is the founder of Mindful Beauty, a public health intervention to address the signs and symptoms of depression in Black women. Recently, she launched blaccinated, a t-shirt brand and health education campaign to encourage more African Americans to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Janae started her career as an Americorps VISTA volunteer, worked at the federal and local levels of government and is also currently a manager in the community health department of Kaiser Permanente and an adjunct professor of public health at CDU. She holds a B.A. in political science, Master’s in Public Health, and a Master’s in Public Administration. 

Dr. Jorge Partida, PsyD, Chief of Psychology, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

Dr. Partida is a clinical and research psychologist, specializing in addiction and trauma. He is an author, consultant and national speaker integrating Native Ancestral Teachings with traditional Western psychotherapy. Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Dr. Partida immigrated to Chicago at nine and there, obtained his Bachelors Degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University and his PsyD from The Illinois School of Professional Psychology (ISPP). Dr. Partida has been a consultant on many national and international projects designing and implementing clinical programs to address addiction, education, health, community building, diversity and spirituality. He has also worked with local and national governments to coordinate services for those most impacted by poverty, war and displacement.

Dr. Manuel Pastor, Distinguished Professor, Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at USC; Director, USC Equity Research Institute

Dr. Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He currently directs the Equity Research Institute at USC. Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. Previously, he served as Director at Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

Katherine Yeom, Executive Director, Korean American Family Services

Katherine Yeom has been with Korean American Family Services (KFAM) since 2009 and is currently the Executive Director. She is an active advocate for the needs of Korean and API communities. She currently serves on the board for Korean American United Foundation (KAUF).  Prior joining KFAM, Katherine was a middle school and high school teacher in the Los Angeles school district and internationally at Gyeonggi International School in Paju, South Korea. She received her BA in History and BS in Biological Sciences from UMBC and her MA in teaching from USC.

About Featured Interviews

Thomas Insel, M.D., Mental Health Czar of California; Co-Founder; Humanest Care 

Dr. Insel, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist, has been a national leader in mental health research, policy, and technology. From 2002-2015, Dr. Insel served as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). More recently, he led the Mental Health Team at Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences). In 2017 he co-founded Mindstrong Health, a Silicon Valley start-up building tools for people with serious mental illness. In 2020, he co-founded Humanest Care, a therapeutic online community for recovery. Since May 2019, he has been a special advisor to the Governor of California Governor and Chair of the Board of the Steinberg Institute. Dr. Insel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received numerous national and international awards including honorary degrees in the U.S. and Europe.

Sasha Kumar, Junior, Glendora High School 

Sasha is a senior at Glendora High School in Glendora, California. Sasha’s interests include political science and history with a goal to become a lawmaker/policy maker. She is passionate about eradicating disparities in underserved communities and is committed to helping disenfranchised people access live-saving services such as mental and behavioral health. Sasha is inspired to be an advocate and leader in these efforts as she actively services in clubs on her high school campus which include The Democrats, NAMI, and Youth and Government, where her team successfully led the passing of 3 bills to the youth governor. In her community, she volunteers with her local Planned Parenthood and with her Sikh Temple preparing and delivering meals to healthcare workers and first responders. 

Sid Kumar, M.D., Regional Chief of Psychiatry, Southern California, Kaiser Permanente

Originally, from northern India, after medical school there, I moved to Australia and New Zealand, where I obtained the Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry. Our family then moved to Chicago, where I did my fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Northwestern University. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, I worked at a large psychiatric hospital for many years. I worked with people with eating disorders, teenagers with self-injury behaviors, and kids with anxiety and social issues. I was also the medical director of an autism program. I see both adults and children in my practice, but I enjoy working with teenagers the most. I feel that as a physician, I have the opportunity to help them make the right choices in life and be there for them as their mentor if needed. 

Well Beings Partners and Sponsors Promo

Support for the Well Beings Youth Mental Health Project provided by Otsuka, Kaiser Permanente, Bank of America, Liberty Mutual Insurance, American Psychiatric Association Foundation, One Mind, Movember, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dana Foundation, Dauten Family Foundation, The Hersh Foundation, Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, John & Frances Von Schlegell, Sutter Health, Robina Riccitiello, and Jackson Family Enterprises.

Partners include CALL TO MIND at American Public Media, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, WE Organization, Forbes, PEOPLE, Mental Health America, National Council for Mental Wellbeing, The Steve Fund, and The Jed Foundation.

Related Resources

About The Tour

The Well Beings Tour is making its way to cities across the country, hosted in partnership with local public media stations to present impactful experiences that connect audiences with mental health resources in the local community, strengthen community connections, and destigmatize mental health challenges. The Tour features moderated public discussions that share information and volunteer opportunities from local community and national organizations. The Tour is fostering new conversations about mental health through these local events — live or virtual, based on local public health conditions.

All Events

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