Santa Rosa Community Health's Andrea Naranjo wins 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards

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Andrea Naranjo, Ph.D.

Mental health manager

Santa Rosa Community Health

751 Lombardi Court, Suite B, Santa Rosa 95407


Find out more about the other 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards winners.

Andrea Naranjo of Santa Rosa Community Health has helped in reuniting Latino youth with their parents.

Professional background: Clinical psychologist

Education: Bachelor of Science in psychology from University of California Davis; Master of Science in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University; Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University

Staff: The mental health team at the Lombardi campus currently consists of nine members

Tell us your story and that of your organization: Santa Rosa Community Health is a comprehensive primary care clinic that serves a diverse community through culturally competent healthcare.

SRCH provides medical, dental, and behavioral health services. The organization believes that healthcare is a human right and welcomes all people regardless of ability to pay. I work at one of the eight SRCH campuses, the Lombardi campus which serves a large percentage of Latinx Sonoma residents many of which are monolingual Spanish-speakers.

My professional mission is in addressing and raising awareness about mental health related issues in the greater Latino community both within our local community and the greater area of California.

During graduate school, my dissertation focused on assessing the understanding of Latinos’ knowledge of mental health. I learned that there was great need to continue to educate and break through stigma in our communities.

Research shows that for many, the first place to seek mental health treatment is through their primary care providers.

Working at SRCH places me in the location where many first seek help. Since being at SRCH, I have striven to increase the visibility, access, understanding, and importance of mental and behavioral healthcare. I have co-authored and presented research studies that focused on adapting mental health treatments specifically for Spanish-speaking communities and culturally adapting evidence-based treatments.

I have collaborated in a large project helping Latino youth that were reuniting with their parents after years of separation. I have also participated in media presentations to present mental health topics to the public.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Over the past year I have co-developed and co-led a program at the SRCH Lombardi clinic in which patients with mental health challenges or chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic pain, and obesity, can have a combined visit with their medical and mental health clinicians to collaborate and develop shared treatment plans.

This has further advanced our ability to provide our patients whole-person care. This also allows the patient to have more treatment options, more frequent visits, and a multidisciplinary approach to their care.

The ability to increase the number of visits that a mental health provider can see in one day increases both access for patients and profitability for the agency. I plan to continue to support the expansion of mental health integration within Sonoma County and the state of California by training more primary care and mental health clinicians in adopting the skills to work seamlessly together.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

I am most proud of the amazing support and enthusiasm garnered between our mental/ behavioral health team and medical staff including providers, medical assistants, nurses, and medical receptionists. Collaborating together makes the often challenging work we do rewarding and meaningful.

What is your biggest challenge today?

Andrea Naranjo, Ph.D.

Mental health manager

Santa Rosa Community Health

751 Lombardi Court, Suite B, Santa Rosa 95407


Find out more about the other 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards winners.

A great challenge that often arises working in community healthcare is not having adequate resources in the community to help support our patients. While we may be able to support someone to access food, if they do not have a kitchen or home where to cook it, the problem of adequate nutrition remains, which then worsens illness and deteriorates overall health.

What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?

It has been very inspiring to see how active the North Bay Latino business community is at making impact, leadership, and innovation. Seeing the impact that the Latino community has in giving back to its community inspires and motivates others to do similarly.

Words that best describe you: Reliable. Family-oriented. Driven.

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

While it has been most rewarding for me to work collaboratively with other disciplines it can also come with some challenges. I have found that it can be difficult to create change prior to developing relationships and buy-in from other stakeholders. While this may sound obvious, when having expertise in a very specific area it becomes easy to forget that when working with other disciplines that do not share the same foundational understanding of a particular topic, you first need to establish the groundwork. I have made an effort to keep in mind the perspective of the other person that I am communicating with, so that I can present the facts and information that are most pertinent from their stance.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

I think scarcity of mental health providers will continue to grow. I hope that in the next five years insurance billing restrictions for same day mental health and medical visits will disappear.

I think that the complex and inefficient specialty mental health system will begin to see the need for shift. Due to these changes, I think integrated behavioral health services will become more commonplace and patients will expect to see and expect mental health providers as a central part of their primary healthcare team.

Who was your most important mentor?

An important professional mentor of mine was my residency training director and supervisor, Jonathan Muther, Ph.D. He introduced me to the world of integrated behavioral healthcare. I did not know that there was a special area of study within the field of psychology that specialized in the interests that I already possessed.

He is someone who has been very positive, encouraging, and believed in me when I would doubt myself. Early on in his mentorship of me, he told me that he was training me to develop and lead programs that would change the way that others think of mental health. His belief in me and words of encouragement are some that I still draw from today.

Tell us about your community involvement: I help support people seeking legal status in California by providing forensic immigration psychological evaluations. Since 2013, I have provided or participated in over 30 professional presentations as a guest expert on television, newspaper print, and radio shows in English and Spanish on topics covering: Latino Family Separation and Reunification, Latino Mental Health Literacy, Healthy Bodies and Healthy Minds, Health Psychology, Managing Conflict Between Family Members, Mental Health Stigma, and managing a complex Mental Health System.

After the 2017 Sonoma fires, I presented on disaster and crisis mental health tips. I have also recently had the privileged to co-lead a support group for Latina transgender women.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

I would encourage a young person today to find purpose and meaning in what they are doing. For some, it may take some time and effort to discover what they value but it is worth the self-reflection. Finding purpose in our work gives us drive and motivation. It is what pushes us to do things outside of our comfort zone and spurs us to do our best work.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Vince Figueroa, CPA has been a role model since moving to Sonoma County. He is a leader in the community and someone who is always striving to support fellow Latino business leaders and giving back to the local community.

He has introduced me to some of the needs of the local community and has been an example of the great impact one person can have on the community when we all work together.

Current reading: “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care” by T.R. Reid

Most want to meet: I’d like to meet my great-grandparents. I think about the sacrifices and challenges that my grandparents and parents have made for me. My family has an annual family reunion where we have up to four generations of family members present. I hear about the great role models that their parents and grandparents were.

Stress relievers: When I am not at work I live in my long soft fluffy is very comfortable and relaxing. I also enjoy spending time with my family that gathers together often.

Favorite hobbies: I enjoy cooking and having a chance to be creative with new dishes. My husband and I also enjoy going on weekend road trips. We especially like to go back to our old college towns and reminisce over our adventures there.

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