Through our programs and partnerships, we generate new knowledge and collaborations for community-based behavioral health.
Co-Designing New 2023 Courses
The Academy is currently engaging staff, supervisors, and senior team members in community-based organizations and City agencies to co-design new 2023 courses on:
- Foundational skills for effective helping relationships
- Trauma informed leadership and supervision
- Using art and creative expression to engage and support children and adolescents impacted by domestic violence
Through in-depth focus groups and surveys, the Academy is co-creating courses that respond to specific situations, strengths, and needs that NYC social service providers raise.
Join our mailing list to learn about upcoming co-design opportunities.
Youth Mental Health Advocates
Part of the Working the Gap Initiative
The Academy is piloting a Youth Mental Health Advocate program that will equip young people to provide culturally responsive mental health support to other youth. This program is part of Working the Gap, a collaboration with the CUNY SPS Youth Studies Program that offers applied skills training, college level courses, and paid work experience to young people ages 17-24 who have completed high school or a GED and are not currently enrolled in college.
With funding and support from the Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity) and HRA Work Progress Program (WPP), this program will fund 25 youth advocates to work part-time in NYC community-based organizations (CBOs) between September 2023-June 2024.
Youth mental health advocates and their host organizations will receive training, coaching, and support from the Academy. We will co-develop a model that centers youth-led responses to rising rates of distress, helps youth advocates advance their education and careers, and can be implemented more widely.
NYC Land-Based Healing Project
Funded by a CUNY Interdisciplinary Research Grant, this community-based research project engages 5 community gardens or farms across NYC, 10 Black youth and youth of color working the gardens or farms, and 5 elders to better understand how urban farms and gardens can support wellbeing in the context of historical trauma and structural racism.
Neighborhood-level racism manifests structurally in ways that can include lack of affordable healthy food, toxic dumping, divestment, segregation, limited access to public spaces, hyper-surveillance, and displacement, among others. In NYC, land work (such as farming and gardening) has evolved as a community practice to address the impacts of structural racism and historical trauma. This study explores urban gardens and farms as sites of intergenerational healing and wellbeing.
The project team includes Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Anna Ortega-Williams (Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College), co-PI Dr. Regina Bernard-Carreño (CUNY SPS Sociology), research consultants Dr. Nkemka Anyiwo (Columbia School of Social Work), Vanessa Nisperos (the Academy) and Elise Tosatti (the Academy), and research coordinator Kia-Noelle Brown (the Academy).
The Harlem Strong Initiative is a community-academic partnership between the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, Harlem Health Initiative, Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement, and CUNY Center for Innovation in Mental Health. Harlem Strong's mission is to address the syndemic risks of mental health, social risks, institutional racism, and COVID-19 through a neighborhood based multisectoral coalition of community, faith-based, mental health, social service, health, and city organizations focused on mental health integration and coordination of care across the Harlem community.
The Academy participates as a member of the Harlem Strong Community Stakeholder Planning Council (CSPC) and the Community Advisory Board (CAB).