County of Santa Cruz

2022 Employee Recognition Awards Winners

Health Services

Older Adult Services Team

Adam Echols and Susan Fisher

During the summer months of 2022, the Older Adult Service (OAS) Team found themselves extremely shorthanded with only one coordinator, Adam, and the occupational therapist, Susan, to cover over 90 vulnerable senior clients struggling with severe mental illness and complex medical issues.

This OAS Team of two, known for their innovation, impeccable organization, resilience, and personalized dedication to client care, used quick action and creative methods to restructure caseloads, add extra shifts, and innovate approaches to their work.

Adam and Susan developed and used a new “tier system” to identify elderly clients in most need of in‐person assistance and crisis support while also identifying which clients were more capable of becoming integrated with community partners, family, friends, faith‐based services, and community senior programs available outside the county purview. Adam and Susan took a wide lens view of the situation and were able to skillfully and creatively deliver care and service that is second to none.

Behavioral Health Cultural Humility Committee

Left to right: Christina Borbely, Joanna Moody, and myself Kristin Olafson Not Pictured: Claudette DeGodoy, Lisa Gutierrez-Wang

Left to right: Christina Borbely, Joanna Moody, Kristin Olafson
Not pictured: Claudette DeGodoy, Lisa Gutierrez-Wang

In early 2017 Behavioral Health Supervisor Joanna Moody identified a missing and yet essential piece to Children’s Behavioral Health’s efforts to become a trauma‐informed organization with a clear focus on cultural humility.

Joanna proposed and was approved to start a Cultural Humility Committee (CHC), which was framed as a committee “that would recognize that cultural oppression is a significant form of trauma that interacts in complex ways with other trauma experiences and affects individuals, institutions, and society and seeks to increase this understanding with staff”. The CHC has created resources to spread understanding of a range of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion which is helping to incrementally advance our workforce’s development, resulting in better client care.

The CHC’s efforts are helping to solve the challenge of how to engage and educate a large, very busy workforce about racism, diversity, and equity, and forge a more respectful and compassionate workforce serving some of our must vulnerable community members.

Santa Cruz County 2022-23 Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Update