Consumer and Family Fellows
The Consumer and Family Fellowship is a nine-month skill-building and leadership development experience for consumers and family members of consumers with expertise navigating health care and other public systems in Alameda County. The inaugural cohort of fellows was selected in June 2018 and will spend the remainder of the fellowship developing their leadership style, deepening their understanding of the healthcare system, and advising system leadership on projects to improve the consumer experience.
Neomi is a mental health peer specialist who supports individuals with mental health conditions and advocates for the mental health industry to reduce stigma. She has deep expertise with the system of care for individuals experiencing homelessness and severe mental illness. As a Consumer and Family Fellow, Neomi wants to support the development of community mental health interventions and establish an approachable, consumer-friendly resource and support center in Alameda County. Neomi spent time growing up in San Francisco and Los Angeles and now resides in the Bay Area.
Erika is a strong, compassionate mother of four children. Erika has significant experience with the housing, education, medical health, and mental health systems in Alameda County. She has a deep understanding of the effort, persistence, and ingenuity required to access public services, both for herself and on behalf of her family. As a Consumer and Family Fellow, Erika wants to help her community, the people of Oakland, by strengthening efforts that proactively reach out to those in need. Erika is from Oakland, California.
Mario is an In-Home Supportive Services provider and a model for attentive, patient, and trustworthy care. He has developed expertise in Alameda County’s public systems by advocating for social services, mental health support, and housing resources on behalf of the individuals under his care. In his own words, Mario wants to be a Consumer and Family Fellow “because [caretaking] is very rewarding, the ability to help others in need…and there is a lot of need.” Prior to working as a caretaker, Mario owned Country Cheese Co., a deli and cheese shop in San Francisco. He currently resides in San Leandro.
Cynthia is committed to fighting mental health stigma. She has direct service expertise managing chronic health conditions, disability, and substance use/abuse as well as advocating for addiction recovery. In her own words, Cynthia advocates “for everyone seeking to learn how to live life on life’s terms without the use of mind-altering or mood-changing substance that change their reality into non-reality.” As a Consumer and Family Fellow, Cynthia wants to inform providers and system leadership about the challenges of pain management and chronic illness for consumers with substance use disorder as well as give back to her community in the form of increasing support for individuals living with multiple health challenges. Cynthia was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She has lived in Berkeley since 1970.
Autoria “Champ” Johnson
Autoria “Champ” Johnson is “living and learning while driving on faith and leaving doubt in the rear.” Champ is a direct service expert in mental health, supports a loved one with a disability, and has significant experience as a leader in youth advocacy work. As a Consumer and Family Fellow, Champ wants to advocate and be a voice for the voiceless. He is from Oakland, California.
Antione is a passionate, emerging leader who wants to use his experience with Alameda County’s public systems, including the legal and criminal justice system, to “help take care of Oakland”. Antione has a deep understanding of individual power, community identity and commitment to change. Antione wants to be a Consumer and Family Fellow to be a part of something that is bettering his community. He is strong-minded and outspoken, with an eye on the future. Antione from Oakland, California.
Sabrina is a talented, eager, and dynamic advocate for individuals experiencing homelessness in Alameda County. Sabrina is a direct service expert across a wide range of public systems, including housing, medical, carceral, and mental health. Sabrina also has experience as a parent advocating for her son’s needs within these systems. Sabrina’s strong interpersonal and communication skills enable her to work with people across the spectrum, from the client at the lowest point in his life to executive-level staff. Sabrina wants to be a Consumer and Family Fellow because “it’s where I belong.” Sabrina is from Alameda County.
Malcom is a peer support specialist at Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency and an experienced mediator. He is an expert in peer support for the re-entry population; transitional age youth; individuals experiencing homelessness, unemployment, mental illness; and individuals with limited formal education. Malcom is interested in developing an enterprise to support the re-entry population in finding affordable, quality supportive housing. As a Consumer and Family Fellow, Malcom wants to facilitate the art of self-determination among his peers through mentorship and the provision of social services. Malcom is from Oakland, California.
Andre is a barber with direct service expertise in Alameda County’s criminal justice system, re-entry services, healthcare, and substance use management. He is also a father with a strong restorative future orientation. Andre wants to connect other fathers to resources that support their ability to support, mentor, and inspire their children. When asked why he wanted to be a Consumer and Family Fellow, Andre said “I was lost before in the system and I needed a helping hand…people were there for me and I would like it to be the same for everyone.” Andre is from Sacramento, California. He now resides in the East Bay.