Development of an Interdisciplinary Support Program for Early Career Women of Color in School-Based Mental Health Fields

Janise Parker, Natoya Haskins, Nancy Chae, Kierra Fulmore, Angelina N. Nortey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to understand how 14 early career Women of Color (WOC) in school-based mental health fields (SBMH) experienced a structured, affinity-group program during the pilot phase of implementation. The researchers employed a case study design, wherein the team collected survey data after each module and conducted focus group interviews upon the completion of the program to examine the participants’ perceptions of the program. Quantitative survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics; and qualitative data emerging from the focus groups and open-ended survey questions were analyzed using a structured coding process. Core themes revealed the women credited the program for fostering an internal sense of empowerment by helping them approach their career with purpose as well as navigate and resist workplace discrimination. They also valued the objective to connect with WOC for uplift and support. Still, they desired to see the program improve by supporting other WOC and incorporating more hands-on learning activities. Overall, this study suggests that structured, affinity-group programs guided by integrative frameworks can foster professional growth and wellness among WOC in SBMH fields. Impact Statement Through an integrative theoretical framework of Intersectionality Theory, Womanism, and Healing-Centered Methodologies, this study highlights the critical need to attend to the experiences of early career Women of Color (WOC) practitioners in school-based mental health fields. Moreover, this case study shows that intentional, culture-centered affinity groups that acknowledge early career WOC practitioners’ struggles and celebrates their distinguished way of being may cultivate healing and liberation from systems of oppression during a vulnerable stage in one’s professional career.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSchool Psychology Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Amanda L. Sullivan
  • Diversity
  • job satisfaction
  • program evaluation
  • retention
  • social justice


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