CORE Mental Health Launching New Initiative to Promote Racial Equity in Mental Health

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The following announcement was provided by CORE:

Formerly CHNA17, one of many community health networks serving Massachusetts with general community-based services, the organization has renamed itself CORE (Coalition for Racial Equity and Mental Health) to make clear its current focus – the urgent issue of racial equity in community mental health supports.

On April 28, CORE is holding a Launch Party to share with the public its programming that re-imagines mental health supports in communities of color in Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Watertown, Waltham, and Belmont.  The gathering will be from 2-4:30 PM at the Arlington Community Center, 27 Maple Street in Arlington. There will be food, music, and connection with our community mental health supporters, our Fellows, and our Steering Committee, who are all working to advance racial equity in mental health. Pietra Check, Interim Planning Director, said “This event is an opportunity for both long-time supporters and new friends to get to know and support our mission and exciting work, while connecting with others interested in racial equity and mental health.” 

Anyone interested in attending can register for the event at   

CORE Mental Health is a nonprofit coalition that works to advance racial equity in mental health at the institutional and individual levels through innovative community collaborations.

According to CORE Steering Committee Chair Betty Burkes, “We have a medical system that was created for white individuals, and has historically caused harm to Black patients. Most Black residents will never see a therapist, let alone a Black therapist. Only 4% of psychologists and 2% of psychiatrists are reported to be Black. Within this system of few Black mental health providers and an inaccessible, hostile medical system, Black individuals will continue to lean on trusted folks in their communities. CORE’s flagship programs respond to this need.”

At the individual level, the Fellowship program supports Black graduate students in mental health degree programs financially and with networking. The Community Mental Health Supporters program creates a community of practice among Black hair stylists, barbers, and pastors to better equip them to support community members who come to them with substance abuse and mental health issues. At the institutional level, CORE offers several different trainings to help organizations on their journeys towards racial equity. Learn more about CORE at

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