Communities of color and historically marginalized communities face disproportionate challenges around access to and quality of mental health and substance use care resulting in significantly poorer outcomes. Empowering health care leaders to better understand health disparities, systemic racism, and the social determinants is critical to facilitating change. Only then can leaders effectively address and strengthen their clinical and organizational practices to support the advancement of health equity within a broader context of community diversity, inclusion and social justice.

This session will provide an overview of the health disparities that exist within the mental health and substance use systems, along with an introduction to the myriad steps that health care leaders and organizations can take to effect change at multiple levels to eliminate health disparities and advance social justice and health equity among individuals with or at risk of mental health and substance use challenges.

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