Equitas Foundation announced today that Vincent Atchity has been named as the non-profit’s new Executive Director. In this role, Vincent will lead the strategic direction for the organization by catalyzing relationships, facilitating collaboration of community leaders, and serving as an advocate for individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system. Vincent will assist Equitas to achieve its vision of helping communities institute diversion practices in the justice system to better support these individuals by connecting them with treatment and resources.
Vincent is an accomplished national leader in community health management with a proven talent for leading successful start-up initiatives. In his most recent position as COO of the North Colorado Health Alliance, he was responsible for establishing and managing a network of 70 cross-sector organizations and ensuring their collaborative efforts toward sustainable community health were impactful. Vincent’s career experience also includes several positions in higher education, including serving as Assistant Dean at Fordham University and at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health. Vincent earned his Ph.D. and M.A. degrees at the University of Southern California, and an undergraduate degree from Georgetown University.
I am thrilled to be joining the Equitas Foundation. In the two short years the organization has been in operation, it has already laid a solid foundation through researching and elevating best practices, connecting with community advocates, and providing support for implementing community mapping exercises. I look forward to helping the organization thrive and grow in the coming years.
Equitas’ largest undertaking in 2015 has been facilitating the Diversion Power program by initiating the Early Diversion “Train the Trainers” State Initiative via a partnership with the Colorado State Office of Behavioral Health and working directly with communities on “Sequential Intercept Model Mapping” to conduct an asset and gap analysis to identify where persons with mental illness, brain challenges, and/or substance use disorders are falling through the cracks of the criminal justice process. From there, the communities are able to identify opportunities for reform based on evidence-based best practices.
The Equitas Foundation launched Diversion Power out of the recognition that Colorado rural communities face particular challenges in access to treatment, including vast geographic and transportation challenges, a lack of resources, and being underserved by community mental and behavioral health centers, hospitals, and the state-wide crisis stabilization system. The Equitas Foundation is committed to partnering with communities to promote diversion out of the criminal justice system and increasing access to treatment.
Equitas was founded in 2013 by the David & Laura Merage Foundation. Equitas promotes collaboration, innovation, and systems change to benefit people with mental disorders and brain challenges in the criminal justice system. Through the exploration and dissemination of best practices, Equitas ensures that law enforcement and the justice system are fully informed, empowered, and engaged to address the needs of people with mental disorders and hidden brain challenges.