Director of the Social Work Department , Colorado Mental Health Institute.
I have a Bachelors and Masters degree in Social Work (MSW). I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
I donate monthly to ActBlue, I have donated several times recently to the Biden/Harris campaign. I donate monthly to PushBlack and Colorado WINS/COPE. I have been a moderator for question and answer sessions of political candidates that wanted to be endorsed by Colorado WINS. I have also attended the legislative BBQ at the Colorado State Fair as a WINS representative.
I am a member of the NAACP, Colorado WINS, National Association of Social Workers, and Association of Black Social Workers. I am also a member of the Daughters of Promise a group of women who sing at different fundraisers and vigils for different causes, i.e., immigration, voting suppression and other current events/issues.
As the director of Social Work department my mission is many-fold. I am in the position to advocate for better working conditions and salaries for my staff, advocate for the patients to ensure their rights are not being violated and advocate for the patients’ social supports such that they are treated with dignity and respect when they call to see how their loved one is doing in our custody. I have been a member of Colorado WINS, where I took these issues and came up with a strategy to get a salary increase for Social Workers in the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). I worked on this for 8 years without tiring, even though I would not get an increase myself. Because of my advocacy large salary increases came to all the Social Workers in the CDHS in July 2018! These were not regular raises but compression pay that raised the Social Workers pay to be competitive with the Department of Corrections and the private sector. I was on the Executive Steering Committee for the collaboration between employees at CMHIP and Executive management at CDHS for 4 years. Being elected to this committee by the employees at CMHIP gave me the opportunity and put me in a position to speak to executive staff at CDHS regarding the need for compression pay for the Social Workers.
I would love to serve on the commission because I am passionate about equality, equity and justice. I am the kind of person that considers all sides and fairness is one of my core values. I have been able to use my skills at CMHIP with positive results for 10 years now; being on a committee where my work will have a positive effect on all Coloradoans and the citizens of the USA would be a dream come true!
This is exactly what the profession of Social Work does. Social Workers looks to right injustices, advocate for victims, community advocates for change. I have wanted to be a Social Worker since I was 5 years old, it's in my blood. As I stated in my statement above fairness is one of my core values. Though I am not applying for a Social Work position I believe my experience as a Social Worker makes me an excellent candidate for the commission.
One of my responsibilities as the director of the Social Work department is to ensure that every patient has a Social Worker per Centers for Medicaid/Medicare regulations. At one point the department was down 50% (14 staff) and I had to figure out how we were going to cover 494 patients with half of a department. I was able to implement a plan with the buy in of the Social Workers until we were able to hire more staff. The main reason for the loss of Social Workers was salary. Most of these Social Workers left CMHIP to work for the Veterans Administration because they offered a better salary and working conditions. The conclusion I came to was if we increased salaries to a competitive wage, we would have fewer resignations. Fewer resignations would be cost effective for the company because we would not be constantly spending money to train new staff. Being a member of the Executive Steering Committee representing CMHIP, I had to present issues in a way that the Executives at CDHS would be open to hearing the issues and the solutions provided. Being elected to this committee by the employees at CMHIP gave me the opportunity and put me in a position to speak to executive staff on a regular basis regarding the need for compression pay for the Social Workers. This was one of the last items CDHS supported in the legislature before their 2nd term was completed. Recruitment and retention have increased since compression pay was implemented with only 2 resignations in the last 2.5 years.