SMART Initiative
Combating Structural Racism & Advancing DEI Efforts

SSYAF Staff sitting around a table after a meeting

We are proud to partner with Sacramento County’s Behavioral Health Services (BHS) and the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions (CIBHS), as we embark on an imperative initiative—the Self-Assessment for Modification of Anti-Racism Tool (SMART) project. The objective is to facilitate a comprehensive evaluation of our organization’s practices, focusing on behavioral health domains that are impacted by structural racism.







The domains to be evaluated are:

  • Community Engagement/Co-Production
  • Workplace Culture
  • Hiring, Recruitment, Retention, and Promotion
  • Community Advocacy
  • Population Health Outcomes
  • Clinical Care

The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a Racial Equity Improvement Plan, that involves policies, procedures, and projects that drive organizational transformation, foster equity, and combat structural racism. This initiative underscores our commitment to advancing our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts.

Meet our core team of staff who will be serving as our SMART Survey Team.

Executive Sponsor –

  • Laura Heintz, CEO
  • Terrell Thomas, Strategic Initiative Officer

Lead –

  • Erin Reynolds, Associate Director of DEI

Clinical Supervisor/Program Manager –

  • Ontson Placide, Chief Program Officer

 Community Member –

  • Shannon Phillips, MSW Level Intern

Peer Support Specialist/Family Partner –

  • Risha Hinton, Kinship Navigator

Data Analysts –

  • Meranda Orenchuk, QI Clinical Practice Manager II
  • Melissa Vennel, QI Evaluations Manager
  • Gibran Mendez, QI Director (Additional Support)

Direct Service Staff –

  • Tamieka Hilliard, JJIS Skills Trainer

Admin/Support Services –

  • Richelle Whiteford, Administrative Service Director

HR -

  • Laura Contreas, HR Manager

The Project Team will participate in Learning Sessions, Office Hours, and Coaching throughout the project period.  At the end of the project, our team will be eligible to earn a 1% Equity Incentive payment upon completion of the following tasks:

  • Send the Survey Team (Internal Project Team) to each of the virtual Learning Sessions
  • Complete the SMART Assessment
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures for at least 2 domains that provide guidance for organizational decision making, transparency, and accountability to staff, governance boards, clients, family members, and the broader community.

We are excited to embark on this exciting endeavor.  Stay tuned for regular updates on our progress throughout the year!


If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Erin Reynolds, DEI Associate Director at or Terrell Thomas, Strategic Initiative Officer at