The Wright Institute Clinical Program Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Introduction

The Wright Institute has had a long history of addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion since its inception. Its mission of "Educating Clinicians to Society" has served as an organizing focus leading to the training and mentorship of many psychologists over its 50-year history. The work to address issues of diversity, equity and inclusion has changed over time, to meet the needs of the students, and ultimately society. Most recently, our students organized to request additional support and called for the allocation of resources and the creation of the current office. In collaboration with a consultant, the board, staff, faculty and students helped to create the current office within the clinical program. In its first year the Office seeks to focus on two goals:

Support the training of a diverse student body to meet the needs of our community

Support a culture of belonging

  • Support ongoing work on recruiting a diverse student body and faculty through partnering with admissions, the Pipeline project and other ongoing efforts
  • Support climate assessment evaluation
  • Work in conjunction with longstanding retention efforts with the Mentoring Office
  • Hosting events to support belonging

Who are we?

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith
(she/her/hers)
DEI Director

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California (San Francisco), San Francisco General Hospital where she specialized in child-parent psychotherapy and working with traumatized populations. Throughout her training, her studies focused on child psychopathology and diversity issues. After her postdoctoral work, Dr. Briscoe-Smith was the program director of a mental health program that serves children as they entered the Alameda County foster care system. She was a professor of child psychology at Palo Alto University for four years, and served as the director of Children’s Hospital Oakland’s Center for the Vulnerable Child for three years. In addition to being an associate professor at the Wright Institute, Dr. Briscoe-Smith serves as a consultant to non-profit organizations seeking to become traumainformed and culturally accountable.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith’s research has focused on trauma/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and how children understand race. She has worked broadly on these topics and has served many families and schools on matters salient to these issues.

Dr. Meiyang Kadaba
(she/her/hers)
Postdoctoral Fellow

Meiyang Liu Kadaba, Psy.D., graduated from the Wright Institute in 2018. She is honored to bring her passion for social justice, student mentorship, and leadership development to her position as a postdoctoral fellow in the Office of DEI. In her work, Meiyang wishes to support the Wright to expand its capacity for anti-oppression work across multiple contexts, whether it is in the therapy room, classroom, or collegial interactions. She is excited to help build the Wright into a thriving community that embraces a diversity of ideas, voices, and ways of being.

Jaelien Pinheiro
(she/her/hers)
Fourth-Year Fellow

Jaeliên is a fourth-year student who is committed to serving marginalized and disenfranchised communities through multiple avenues in her role as an emerging psychologist. As a DEI fellow, she is collaborating with a team of passionate students and community leaders to offer a series of LGBTQIA+ affirmative trainings in the efforts of evolving the academic environment of the Wright Institute. Jaeliên strongly holds the belief that by addressing the impact systems of oppression have on marginalized individuals, we may take steps toward dismantling social and systemic injustices. It is Jaeliên’s hope that by equipping clinicians with the skills and knowledge to enact affirmative care, clinicians may be able to sustain client safety and promote liberation and healing for voices that have been historically silenced and dismissed.

Andre Casas
they/them/theirs
Third-Year Fellow

Andre received their B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Business and Organizational Behavior from UC San Diego. As an undergraduate they conducted research on motivation and learning at the Fantino Operant Conditioning Lab; they were also a counseling intern and tutor for middle and high school students for the Literacy Enrichment and Early Academic Outreach Programs at The Preuss School UCSD. As part of their Psy.D. training at the Wright Institute, they currently work with groups and individuals as a counselor for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Mills College in Oakland; their previous training sites include a school-based program at Contra Costa College and community mental health work with the UCSF Alliance Health Project. Their research interests include: art and expressive therapies, environmental psychology and the influence of our surroundings on health and well-being, and gender studies and gender identity development. In their free time they enjoy making and listening to music, hiking, and riding their bike.

Claudia Miranda
(she/her/hers)
Third-Year Fellow

Claudia Miranda is currently in her third year in the clinical psychology doctoral program at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. Claudia is a first-generation Chilean American and is passionate about amplifying the voices of historically silenced communities in both her clinical and professional work. As a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Fellow, Claudia advocates for the needs of underrepresented students and supports the DEI office in their institutional evaluative efforts. She is also a research assistant for The Wright Institute Pipeline to Advanced Degrees program that is run by Wright Institute faculty member, Dr. Anatasia Kim. Claudia is currently receiving her practicum training at Partnerships for Trauma Recovery in Berkeley, CA, where she provides trauma-informed and culturally aware therapy in Spanish to survivors of human rights abuses and volunteers for the Wright Institute Sanctuary Project where she provides psychological evaluations for individuals who are seeking asylum.

Marriam Zarabi
(she/her/hers)
Third-Year Fellow

Marriam is a third-year doctoral candidate at the Wright Institute. Her clinical experience includes working with patients across the lifespan in academic settings and in integrative care. She volunteers with nonprofit organizations aiming to strengthen social connections and promote leadership development for individuals of the Middle Eastern diaspora. Her dissertation research focuses on motivational factors of sociopolitical behavior.

Josh Chow
(he/him/his)
Second-Year Fellow

Joshua Chow is a 2nd year PsyD student at the Wright Institute whose main interest is in collective healing of folks with marginalized identities, especially those from the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color. He is currently undergoing clinical training at the UCSF: Alliance Health Project. Josh was previously pursuing a career in Marine & Coastal Ecology and his favorite invertebrate is the Opalescent nudibranch.

What is the DEI Fellowship Program?

The Wright Institute DEI Fellowship Program aims to serve the school mission of "Educating Clinicians to Society" through student funding, mentorship, and training. The goals of the Program are to:

Support the recruitment of a diverse student body by providing a fellowship to reduce financial barriers to access.

Support retention efforts through provision of close mentoring, development of a supportive cohort, and connection to other Wright resources to DEI Fellows. Students will attend weekly meetings that provide mentorship, training, and supervision, and will be able to attend DEI Office trainings.

Develop a highly-trained cohort of students who will become familiar with theory and research about DEI related issues. Fellows will conduct extensive reviews of literature in addition to searching for media to help support curriculum development. Fellows will also complete DEI projects including reviewing syllabi, enhancing curriculum, and helping to identify resources for other training.

Provide training to students in the provision of institutional evaluation, program evaluation, and psychological research leading to opportunities for dissertation research. Fellows will help to conduct, evaluate, and analyze DEI office surveys and The Wright Institute climate survey, as well as support other institutional evaluative efforts.

Facilitate difficult dialogues and provide support to the Wright Community. Fellows will be responsible for reviewing and reading relevant literature, and be trained with close supervision and mentorship. In addition, fellows will be responsible for engaging with their cohort and other students in the field to facilitate dialogue via participation in classes, discussion circles, and DEI Office events.

Benefits to DEI Fellows include training, supervision, a community of support, financial resources, and the ability to recruit, retain, and train a diverse group of students. Additionally, fellows will become "ambassadors" of the DEI Office to support institutional research and provide faculty assistance to address DEI needs within the curriculum. The first year of the DEI Program will be a pilot program to identify strengths, needs, workload, and qualities needed in order to be successful and refine the selection/recruitment process for the following year.

Financial Support

Fellows will be required to work between 5-8 hours per week for the academic year. The DEI Program provides each of its fellows a maximum of $5,000 in work study funds and $5,000 in scholarship funds; this combined fellowship provides $10,000 in annual financial support.

Applications for Fall 2020 will be open this spring!

What have we been up to?

Orientation: to kick of the year we held two welcome events, one for our Latinx entering students and one for our incoming Black students. These events included alumni, faculty and current students. We will continue to have and expand these events as a means of welcoming all students.

Faculty Survey: We conducted a survey to assess the needs of the faculty and see what types of modalities of support folks wanted. Brief summary here: (this content is coming)

Diversity Rubric Implementation: the Curriculum committee has been evaluating and creating a rubric to help review and identify places to strengthen the addressing of diversity within our syllabi. The committee moved to formally integrating it into our syllabus development system. Our office will provide support to faculty as they make these changes, and we will be pulling together best practices.

In the Center Class Course Description:

This course focuses on experiences, knowledge, theories, and writing of Clinicians of Color. To address the problem of an explicit and implicit focus on whiteness, white therapists, and people of color as the "other" in our training, this space is being cultivated to focus on Clinicians of Color serving People of Color. A combination of in-class reading, discussion, and case consultation will be the methods of learning.
In the Center that focuses on putting Clinicians of Color and Clients of Color at the center of our studies and clinical consultation!!! It is being offered for the first time EVER during this Winter Trimester! We hope it will become an ongoing class, and that it will even eventually become an elective course if people are finding the space useful.

If you've ever had the following experiences, this class is likely for YOU!:

  • "I don't know how to handle the microaggressions / blatant racist remarks that my client/supervisor are directing at me?"
  • "I wish I didn't have to pay $20 a week to attend this Clinicians of Color Group in order to consult about my unique experiences as a person of color when I already been paid tuition... "
  • "I wish we had time to talk about interethnic racism and intersections of identity during our MCA course!"

We acknowledge the complexity that is involved with marginalized racial identity (how we are read by others, how we understand ourselves, intersectionality...) and welcome these voices in this space.

Dr. Meiyang Kadaba Josh Chow have been developing the course since last Spring Trimester in a response to many needs that clinicians of color have expressed. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion office will also be involved (including Dr. Briscoe-Smith) in its development, facilitation & supervision. We hope to collaboratively touch on issues surrounding marginalized ethnic identity, including topics such as interethnic racism, intersecting identities, advocacy, and whatever else you all want to talk about related to your racialized identity. A large function of the group will also be as clinical support for issues that Clinicians of Color may face (sitting in a circle and talking about issues you may run into with supervisors, clients, etc. in relation to ethnic minority identity). It will be three units of independent study (not an elective course). It will be rigorous yet relaxed and very collaborative. The course will be co-created as a group!

On Being program: The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Wright would like to invite you to participate in our series On Being. This series is inspired by the On Being Project and is an opportunity for us to examine our lived intersectionality through the lens of faith. On the last Wednesday of each month Starting January 29th we will invite clinicians to join us for dinner to discuss three central questions:

  • what was your spiritual life growing up?
  • what is the role of your faith in your clinical practice
  • what is like to work clinically with those who are of your same faith, those who differ?

Following these questions we will engage in dialogue, clinical consultation and share resources, scripture and other texts. Also, did we mention that we will eat?

This opportunity will be available to the broader Wright community and - in addition to those participating in "In the Center" course. ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND Please look out for the invites and be sure to rsvp!

Diversifying Statistics: the fellows are diving into their first syllabi and course support role with the statistics team of teachers. We are working on upcoming syllabi to review, helping to facilitate a stats panel on diversity and identifying resources to support integrating issues of diversity into our stats curriculum. Deep appreciation for the stats professors who have so willingly taken this on!

Staff Appreciation and Welcome event: the office hosted a luncheon to show our community's appreciation for the tireless work and service of our administrative staff. We also welcomed new staff as they onboarded. We will be having more events to support, acknowledge and listen to the voices of our staff

Faculty Recruitment: our students have asked for increasing the diversity of our faculty especially in regards to Latinx representation and the ability to train our community on serving our Latinx community. The office has been deeply involved in this process with extensive recruitment and outreach efforts and with Dr. Briscoe-Smith serving as the chair of the search committee. Please be on the look out for job talks, our community's opportunity to see and voice support for a candidate!

Strategic planning: both directors of DEI are engaged in the strategic planning for the school. Dr. Briscoe-Smith facilitated the kick off, opening events where we all had a chance to articulate our vision for the school. We will be integrating the feedback and a focus on DEI throughout the strategic planning process. Want to get involved drop us a note!

Consultation: the office has begun to provide consultation to administration, staff and faculty on DEI issues. We collaborate with our accessibility office, admissions, mentoring office, field placement and with the counseling program.

Student Recruitment: have you checked out the amazing Pipeline projects run by Dr. Kim?

Conferences: Our fellows have been attending, learning and sharing their expertise at conferences.

What's coming up?

Calendar:

On Being- the last Wednesday of Every Month

April 17th: Working with Queer People of Color by Dr. Aja Hill