Growing the Mental Health Workforce: Building Capacity Through Innovation

 Anne Bakar, Telecare's President and CEO, presenting at the California Future Health Workforce Commission.  Photo by the Steinberg Institute .

Anne Bakar, Telecare's President and CEO, presenting at the California Future Health Workforce Commission. Photo by the Steinberg Institute.

Telecare CEO Anne Bakar, speaking as a commissioner and advocate for mental health policy, recently presented some the efforts of the California Future Health Workforce Commission at a special forum hosted by the Steinberg Institute and Kaiser Permanente. The forum explored the challenges facing California’s mental health workforce and innovative strategies for rethinking and adapting traditional models of care. In attendance were representatives for leading policymakers, health organizations, hospital systems, research institutes, government agencies, mental health providers, and advocacy groups.

In addition to Anne, the forum featured presentations from Darrel Steinberg, Steinberg Institute founder and Mayor of Sacramento; Dr. Patrick Courneya, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Kaiser Permanente; Dr. Don Mordecai, National Leader for Mental and Behavioral Health at Kaiser Permanente; Joe Parks, M.D., Medical Director, National Council for Behavioral Health; Karen Larsen, LMFT, Director, Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency; Beth Phoenix, RN, PhD, FAAN, Vice-Chair, Dept. of Community Health Systems, UCSF School of Nursing; Susan Chapman, RN, PhD, FAAN, Professor, UCSF School of Nursing; David Liu,  Faculty Physician, Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis School of Medicine; Scott Zeller, M.D., Vice President, Acute Psychiatric Medicine, Vituity; & Seth Thomas, M.D., Director of Quality and Performance, Vituity; and Glen Moriarty, CEO and Founder, 7 Cups.

As a commissioner, Anne communicated the key Workforce Commission strategies that are being recommended for behavioral health:

  • Enhance behavioral health professions education
  • Support educational/career pipeline for unlicensed staff
  • Remove workforce licensing and technology barriers
  • Advance models of integrated care

Anne advocated specifically for legislation regarding:

  • Peer certification
  • Continuing MHSA Workforce Education and Training (WET) funding
  • Full scope of practice for nurse practitioners (NPs)

You can view the entire presentation by clicking here or scrolling through the slideshow to the above right. You can download the forum’s resources and agenda by clicking here.