ABOUT Jan Desper Peters, M.P.A
As the Executive Director of the Black Mental Health Alliance for Education & Consultation, Inc. (BMHA), Jan Desper Peters is leading the charge of educating and empowering the African American community about the importance of mental health awareness. Since taking the reins of BMHA in April 2013, Peters has placed a priority on ensuring the organization stays true to its 33-year old mission of providing advocacy, training, education and consultation on cultural competency, as well as building upon the original mission of providing a trusted forum to lead and promote a holistic, culturally relevant approach to the development and maintenance of whole health, mental health programs and services for African Americans and vulnerable communities. BMHA actively engages healthcare professional members through an expansive database of culturally competent and patient centered licensed mental health clinicians.
More recently, BMHA established the virtual Behavioral Health Community Resource Connections center (BCRC) to engage leading healthcare information technology industry experts to integrate mental health care with evidenced based chronic care management tools. This unique patient-centered approach to increase access to mental health services and to de-fragment care coordination through on demand e-visits and patient centered bio-social-psycho assessments to assess and address social determinates of health.
Since the April 2015 Baltimore Uprising, Peters and her team have launched several successful initiatives to address the city’s most desperate needs. #BlackMindsMatter is an awareness campaign on the importance of addressing mental health and mental illness and incorporating the same in the healing model for our community. In addition, BMHA launched a 12-point plan including a year-long series that partners national and local thought leaders on 12 of the most pressing issues in the Baltimore community. Creating a bridge between national and local thought leaders with community input moves BMHA to its goal of creating a model infused with mental health solutions and strategies to bring healing, wholeness and opportunity to our communities.
Prior to BMHA, Peters served as Executive Director of the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust where she assisted African American families navigate the admissions process as well as identify options to meet the financial need to attend independent schools. She also traveled the nation providing training and technical assistance to build capacity in HIV and AIDS service community based organizations, health departments and local planning groups. Her career has allowed her to gain extensive experience in fundraising and fiscal management for non-profit and for-profit organizations.
Peters is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and the George Washington University. She and her husband live in Bowie, Maryland and are the proud parents of three sons and four daughters and have two grandchildren.