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MIND | Institute Background

The 2017 Advancing Equity: Refugee and Ethnic Mental Health» report identified behavioral health as an unmet need in refugee and ethnic populations situated in San Diego County. One of the recommendations of the report is community-driven training to equip stakeholders, gatekeepers / cultural brokers, and individuals having refugee-lived experiences with resources to address behavioral health disparities in hard-to-reach and underserved communities. NSDI ( Nile Sisters Development Initiative ) developed a curriculum-based training to meet this need and named it MIND | Institute.


A culturally sensitive behavioral-health navigator program, MIND | Institute is a community-based practice offering participants a comprehensive curriculum conducted in small-group lectures and discussions led by seasoned subject-matter experts in cultural proficiency, behavioral health, law enforcement, public health, and other areas of interest to refugee and ethnic populations. The Institute strengthens the participants’ social perceptiveness and communication skills, as well as supplies knowledge needed by active behavioral-health navigators in refugee and ethnic communities.

At the end of the series, participants will

  • Gain awareness of behavioral health disparities in refugee and ethnic populations
  • Benefit from increased social perceptiveness of all aspects of refugee and ethnic communities
  • Enjoy access to other culturally and linguistically proficient behavioral-health navigators to improve behavioral outcomes
  • Become aware of in-demand behavioral-health and other healthcare occupations

The program facilitates participant mastery of competency curriculum through instruction, interactive and hands-on learning activities, and group discussion. At the end of the curriculum, the Institute expects trainees to complete 103 volunteer hours as confident behavioral-health navigators for refugee and ethnic communities.

Program Services Offered

  • Practice-based training on refugee and ethnic behavioral health
  • Access to online training webinars and other resources
  • Case management support
  • Collaborative presentations by subject-matter experts

Frequently Asked Questions

Q What does the Institute require of participants?
Prospective MIND | Institute participants must be dedicated to the allotted class schedule, devoted to making a positive behavioral-health impact in the refugee and ethnic communities, and desirous of advancing their skillsets and knowledge in their respective professions.

Q When do classes meet?
MIND | Institute classes meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00pm-7:00pm for four consecutive weeks.

Q What if a participant cannot attend a scheduled class?
MIND | Institute webinars and online materials will be available to participants who cannot attend every class. The Institute may require participants unable to be present for all eight sessions to submit additional work to ensure knowledge and comprehension of the curriculum material.

Q What is the average class size?
MIND | Institute typically enrolls between five and eight participants per cohort.

Q Does the training offer certification?
MIND | Institiute calls participants who complete the course behavioral health navigators ( BHN ), but certification is not part of the training program. Completion of the training gives a BHN a plethora of knowledge and experience to make a difference in the behavioral health of refugee and ethnic communities. This knowledge base is a great platform from which to seek certification in other behavioral-health programs. Certification information will be available during the course duration.

Q Are classes open to the public?
MIND | Institute encourages public attendance, even if not enrolled, with 24 hours’ notice. Admission without advance notice is subject to the speaker’s discretion. 

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