Since 1973, La Clínica’s commitment to ensuring the future of community health has meant training and recruiting future generations of culturally and linguistically competent behavioral health professionals. Our behavioral health services include prevention, integrated early intervention at our medical sites as part of primary care, and specialty mental health treatment for people with more severe conditions.
The worsening shortage of behavioral health professionals will continue to acutely affect underrepresented and low-income communities. Therefore, our workforce development efforts and partnerships have been expanded in recent years.
One of those partnerships is between Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and one of La Clínica’s two specialty mental health clinics, Casa del Sol. This program trains psychiatry residents who are passionate about community mental health, equity, and social justice. Residents gain critical skills through a range of didactic sessions, comprehensive training, and supervision provided by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners. Through this work in a community clinic environment, residents strengthen their capabilities to address the current and future needs of low income communities. La Clínica is proud to partner with Stanford to tackle the state’s workforce shortage and to help balance the unequal distribution of mental health professionals. These strategies are a vital component of addressing California’s workforce shortage and La Clínica continues to be at the forefront of these efforts.
When I was in college, I volunteered at a foster home where the children had been removed by Child Protective Services.
That experience changed my life and career trajectory. I had learned a little bit of Spanish in high school and wanted to learn more medical terminology in Spanish to help provide care to this patient population. In my fourth year at Stanford, I learned that working at La Clínica was an option for my elective clinic. It was an opportunity to practice medicine in a meaningful community setting I could not pass up. Working in a collaborative, interdisciplinary model that facilitates comprehensive care — something I haven’t had much exposure to beyond here at La Clínica — has been extremely rewarding. I hope to continue working in community settings and to use what I have learned here to improve patient care in the public health system.
— Grace Lee, MD, Stanford Psychiatry program resident 2019