In partnership with the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), the Center for Care Innovations (CCI) is launching Advancing Behavioral Health Equity in Primary Care — a new learning collaborative to help California community health centers expand and improve behavioral health outcomes with a specific focus on advancing health equity and aligning behavioral health and social needs resources. The learning collaborative will use an evidence-based integration model (the Stepped Model), emphasize patient-centered access (virtual and in-person care), and test new approaches for reducing health inequities.

By the end of the program, participants will be able to:

  • Identify, manage, and treat mental health conditions and substance use disorders.
  • Identify and address patients’ unmet social needs (e.g., food insecurity) through consistent screening, tracking, and robust referral processes.
  • Stratify their data to identify and understand where inequities are greatest.
  • Take effective action to reduce barriers to care — specifically, racism, discrimination, stigma, and trauma — by actively embracing health equity practices.
  • Sustain and spread their successes.

What We’ll Provide

Community health centers accepted into the program will receive grants of between $75,000 and $125,000 based on the number of sites enrolled, community health center size, and number of priority populations identified. Grant dollars can be used to offset staff time, travel costs, and other program-associated costs.

CCI will provide comprehensive technical assistance, including:

  • A baseline and endline capability assessment tool to help participants set improvement goals and monitor their progress over time.
  • Virtual and in-person learning sessions, including a mix of expert- and peer-led sharing sessions on topics participants identify as challenges.
  • Monthly coaching sessions from professionals with expertise in quality improvement, behavioral health integration, health equity, and/or social needs.
  • In-person site visits to exemplar organizations in California and across the country. (Site visits will be conducted virtually if there are COVID-19-related travel restrictions or concerns.)
  • An online learning community with peer- and expert-generated tools and resources.
  • Support in defining metrics to measure and evaluate participant progress and collecting and using data for improvement.

Program Timeline

The learning collaborative will run for 20 months, from September 20, 2021 to May 31, 2023.

Key Dates

Informational Webinar: Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (PT)
Application Deadline: Tuesday, August 17, 2021, at 5 PM (PT)
Cohort Announced: Monday, September 20, 2021
Program Start: Monday, September 27, 2021 
Baseline Capability Assessment: Completed with team and reviewed with coach by October 15, 2021
Virtual Program Kickoff Meeting: Wednesday, November 3, 2021


Eligible organizations include California-based:

  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and FQHC Look-Alikes.
  • Community clinics, rural health clinics, and free clinics.
  • Ambulatory care clinics owned and operated by county health systems or public hospitals.
  • Indian Health Services clinics.

Participants will be selected with the goal of achieving diversity in terms of geographic location, community health center size, and patient mix (specifically, Black, Latinx, Asian American / Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, American Indian and Alaskan Native, LGBTQ, those who are seriously and persistently mentally ill, and adolescents and transition-age youth).

Learn More

Watch the Informational Webinar to hear a detailed description of the program and listen to questions and answers. The slides from the webinar can be found here and a detailed FAQ document can be found here.

For any other questions, please contact: Juliane Tomlin, Director, [email protected].

Download RFA as PDF