Meet Dr. Jei Africa, 2003 CSPP Graduate
Dr. Jei Africa is a graduate of both the Clinical PsyD program and the Clinical Psychopharmacology Postdoctoral MS Program at CSPP. She is one of the few Tagalog-speaking clinical psychologists in the San Francisco Bay Area who is also certified as a domestic violence and addiction counselor. Jei also works as a consultant, educator and facilitator on integrating diversity and multicultural issues in clinical and organizational practice.
Presently, she is Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity at the San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS), where she has been a leader and advocate in promoting social justice and health equity. She helped create the Office of Diversity and Equity, establishing an infrastructure to strategically address diversity issues and help communicate BHRS’ commitment to promoting healthy communities. Through her guidance and leadership, numerous initiatives have developed to promote address different culturally-focused disparities: Latino Collaborative, Filipino Mental Health Initiative, African American Community Initiative, Chinese Initiative, Pacific Islander Initiative, Native American Initiative, and the PRIDE Initiative focused on LGBTQ issues.
Jei has also led efforts to design services and curricula to address linguistic barriers for individuals and families who are limited English proficient (LEP), and she is currently leading county-wide efforts to integrate cultural competence and cultural humility practices and services to every department in San Mateo County.
Prior to her current role, she worked with Asian American Recovery Services (AARS) and Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA) to strengthen their commitment to cultural competence through strategic planning, training and dialogues where diversity is highlighted at the core of services. At CORA, she helped design a case management program, highlighting the significance of providing culturally and linguistically responsive services to victims and survivors of domestic violence.
As Past President of both the San Mateo County Commission on the Status of Women in San Mateo County and ALLICE (Alliance for Community Empowerment), she was a model and advocate for professional responsiveness to the needs of different communities in San Mateo, extending beyond racial and ethnic identities.
Born and raised in the Quezon City, Philippines, Jei came to the US to pursue her doctoral degree and learn how to help people who are touched by mental health issues.
While she was a graduate student at CSPP, Jei often challenged the traditional interventions
when working with people. She raised issues of social justice and health equity in
her classes as a way to link larger community issues to routine clinical work.
Dr. Jei, as she is known in the community, has received numerous awards for her work. In 2012, she was honored as one of four LGBT Local Heroes by KQED and Union Bank in a special ceremony and event at the Castro Theater. In 2009, she received the Statewide Cultural Competence Mental Health Summit Professional Award and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the US, in the Thoughts and Innovation Category. She has also received many awards for her volunteer and community work, including citations from Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo, Congressman George Miller and Former Senator Leland Yee.
To encourage CSPP student research in Filipino American Studies, in 2012 Jei created the Jei Africa Dissertation Award for Filipino American Studies. Through her generosity, students receive financial support for dissertations in this area, ultimately advancing the research in the field.
Of her experience, Jei has said, "CSPP provided me with wonderful opportunities to grow both professionally and personally. It was not just an academic institution for me, but it was also my second home. There were many brilliant teachers and mentors that challenged and inspired me to do my best. And there were others, like staff and other students, that supported me along the way, especially when things were difficult. To bring the value of social justice and equity in psychology was very important to me. CSPP not only harnessed my clinical skills but also supported my strong sense of advocacy for others. I feel I am a better psychologist because of my CSPP experience"
For more information about Dr. Jei Africa, please visit her website.
She is also part of our strong CSPP alumni network (1500 and growing) on LinkedIn.