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NAMI is excited to announce that Monica Villalta, MPH has accepted the newly created position of Director of Inclusion and Diversity Officer. In this role, Villalta will provide strategic leadership for NAMI’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work. This new focus and investment reflect NAMI’s commitment to align our organizational values and advance the implementation of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.To NAMI, diversity and inclusion are core components of our aspirational values and key accelerators in expanding the reach of our work and NAMI programs.
NAMI seeks to implement an intentional, systematic and sustained approach to create a culture and mindset of inclusion which will support diversity, enable equity and strengthen our alliance through increased cultural competence and growth. Villalta was selected to lead our strategic approach to DEI and ensure best practices to advance our mission and foster a welcoming environment for all. In her role, she will gather information, conduct an initial assessment and then partner with staff, members, volunteers and leaders to help NAMI implement best practices and execute our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.
Villalta has a background in public health and comes to us with experience leading diversity, inclusion and cultural competency initiatives in organizations devoted to educational research, health care and volunteer services. Villalta brings over 25 years of experience as a cultural competence expert as well as a diversity and inclusion leader with multiple roles in both the public and private sector where she has managed health care programs, monitored policy and exercised leadership roles developing and deploying programs and change initiatives.
In her prior position at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Villalta established the new role leading diversity, inclusion and cultural competence efforts and developed organization-wide strategic approaches that adhered to recognized best practices and benchmarks. Monica has a Master of Public Health from UC Berkeley, a Business Degree from the University of Maryland and leadership certificates from Harvard University and the Center for Creative Leadership. She is an Annie E Casey Foundation and National Hispana Leadership Institute Fellow.
Given NAMI’s efforts over the last 40 years fighting and advocating for vulnerable individuals, families and communities marginalized by a fragmented and broken mental health system, Villalta is filling a much needed role that will advance NAMI’s mission. Her efforts to create inclusive systems, tools and practices that demonstrate how the Alliance can effectively embrace diverse backgrounds, cultures and perspectives will not only help NAMI deliver on our mission of building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness but also expand our reach to get people help when and where they need it – in their community.
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