Dr. Natasha Molony presents at Center for Healthy Schools and Communities Annual Conference


On January 30, 2014 Dr. Natasha Molony, staff psychologist in the School Based Program, presented at the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency’s Center for Healthy Schools and Communities Annual Conference titled Deepening Collaboration and Impact on Mental Health Consultation in Schools: Building School Wide Capacity to Support Students’ Social-Emotional Wellbeing to discuss the successful implementation of the Mental Health Consultation Training Institute (MHCTI) in the Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD). The presentation aimed at deepening the understanding of how mental health consultation in schools fit into system of behavioral health supports in schools and districts  and the impact of mental health consultation in support of students, teachers, and families by exploring the innovative efforts of Pleasanton Unified School District. The Mental Health Consultation Training Institute is a two year project funded through Pleasanton Unified School district with funds they received by Alameda County’s Health Care Services Agency with Measure A funding. Dr. Molony presented along with the Senior Director of Student Services for Pleasanton Unified School District and Dr. Lisa Warhuus, Associate Director for School Based Behavioral Health. The goal of the presentation was to assist participants of the conference in understanding what Mental Health Consultation is and what the essential variables necessary to fully and successfully implement the model in a school district.  Dr Lisa Warhuus presented an overview of the county’s perspective on Mental Health Consultation, while the Senior Director of Student Services discussed their response to the opportunity provided by Health Care Services Agency. Dr. Molony provided specific examples of the work and the importance of buy-in and ongoing support from the district leadership to support the goal of the work.  The conference included over 300 participants who participated in several workshops over the course of two days.

Dr. Molony has been with The Hume Center since 2009. She started as a Pre-Doctoral Intern in the Behavioral Consultation Services Department and the Alameda County Outpatient Fremont Clinic CalWORKs program. She continued her Post-Doctoral Fellowship in CalWORKs as a clinician and Lead Trainee for the Training Department. She became involved in the Prevention and Early Intervention Department in 2010 when the President of The Hume Center, Dr. Joty Sikand along with Dr. Lourdes Valdez, School Based Program Manger had worked with the Senior Director of Student Services for PUSD to develop a forum for training counselors in how to utilize consultation with teachers and parents whereby the Senior Director wanted to engage in more proactive versus reactive responses to student population needs. Dr. Molony participated as a program evaluator of the first cohort of the Mental Health Leadership Training Institute which was facilitated by Dr. Joty Sikand and later became known as the Mental Health Consultation Training Institute.  After the first year, Health Care Services Agency was very impressed with our collaboration with the Senior Director of Pupil Services in making a systems intervention through capacity building of current school staff and the results of this pilot project that they decided to expand and fund this project across the county's USDs.  The Hume Center was awarded two out of the five district regions chosen to pilot the Mental Health Consultation Training after a competitive bidding process. The two regions that received funding for the project included Tri Valley, which was to expand the work that had been started and for the Tri Cities in order to establish the work in that region. Dr. Molony began facilitating groups in Pleasanton USD and Newark USD. Dr. Molony began working with PUSD in 2011 with the original cohort from year one and expanded to two cohorts made up of counselors from the school district by 2012. In 2013, a third cohort was developed which included clinicians for the Tri Valley SELPA Clinical Services. In 2013, Dr. Molony developed a cohort in Newark Unified School District, who have recognized the value of Mental Health Consultation and have expressed a desire to continue with the forums despite the project ending in 2014.  The four cohorts of mental health professionals and staff engaged in the practice of Mental Health Consultation as practiced by The Hume Center. Dr. Molony is also the Program Director (aka Training Director) for The Hume Center’s Internship and Training Program.


By: Lourdes Valdez, PsyD
Department Director, School Based Services
February, 2014


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