Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

North Bay Regional Center (NBRC) staff, vendors, Board of Directors, and the community have been working diligently to understand and reduce service disparities that effect the day to day lives of our consumers and their families, with a goal of evolving into a more culturally competent local service system that effectively promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We believe it is critical to our success as an agency to learn from each other and grow together.

Key members of NBRC’s leadership have been involved in a Cultural and Linguistic Competence (CLC) Capacity Building Initiative centered on CLC as an Approach to Reducing Disparities in the Developmental Disability System with the State Council of Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) and under the guidance and mentorship of Tawara Goode and Vivian Jackson from Georgetown University’s National Center for Cultural Competency (NCCC) since October 2019. This initiative defines “competence” in the sense that we’re always learning, evolving, and applying respectful cross-cultural skills, neither assuming expertise on another culture or language, nor implying that we’ll ever be fully “competent”. There was an initial 2-day professional forum with many members of NBRC leadership, community partners, and vendors for an introduction to CLC at the organizational level and to impart shared language for these conversations. Since then, a core leadership workgroup has continued to meet monthly for facilitated Technical Assistance from the project team. Members of leadership, staff, and community partners from the have also been invited for a 5 session Leadership Development Series from October 2020- February 2021 as a component of the Capacity Building Initiative.

One idea that grew out of this workgroup was the creation of a Board of Directors CLC Committee that will specialize in upholding cultural and linguistic competence at the policy making level with an emphasis on understanding service disparities and inequities. Board members, staff, clients and the community are welcome to attend these meetings.

Our NBRC Disparity Committee comprised of staff and leadership has also been undergoing transformation as we discuss strategic planning and our vision for what the committee can and should be. We analyze the feedback from community meetings, discuss action steps toward closing cultural and linguistic gaps in services, and identify potential Disparity and Equity grant projects. We meet monthly and staff are welcome to join at any time.

There are also two active Department of Developmental Services (DDS) grant projects: Bilingual Resource Coordinator Project and the Bilingual Respite Services Project that were created in direct response to staff and community feedback around the need for extra support for monolingual and bilingual Spanish speaking families who receive little to no paid services through NBRC. Our data shows that NBRC spends over double as much on services for families who speak English and are White, than families who speak Spanish and are Hispanic/Latinx, so we are seeking a better understanding of why this happens and to address any cultural and linguistic barriers to services and supports that may exist.

We are currently working with Ana Lugo and her team at Equity First Consulting to facilitate conversations with all NBRC staff, leadership, and the Board of Directors around Diversity, Equity and Belonging.

If you’re interested in hearing more about any of these initiatives, please contact NBRC’s Diversity & Equity Specialist, Lindsay Franco at LindsayF@nbrc.net.