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Tia Burroughs Clayton, MSS
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Alyson Ferguson, MPH
Chief Operating Officer

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Vivian Figueredo, MPA
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

Derrick M. Gordon, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Georgia Kioukis, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Samantha Matlin, PhD
Senior Learning & Community Impact Consultant

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Joe Pyle, MA

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Nadia Ward, MEd, PhD
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Bridget Talone, MFA
Grants Manager for Learning and Community Impact

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Hitomi Yoshida, MSEd
Graduate Fellow

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Ashley Feuer-Edwards, MPA
Learning and Community Impact Consultant

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Coalition of Oromo Community and Mental Health Problems

Oromo Community Organization of Pennsylvania

Coalition of Oromo Community and Mental Health Problems Logo

Program Website
Winner Status:
Program Type:
Target Population:
Individuals who are Immigrants

Nature of the Problem

Mental health and Oromo Coalition: During a fiscal year 2018, we organized two groups of participants to understand how Oromo immigrants perceive Mental health, addiction, and behavioral science and disabilities. During each discussion, all participants expressed their observation, beliefs and understandings on each matters. Amazingly, most of the participants had low lever understanding and considered mental health as a curse for super natural God so that praying to God was the only response when family wants to render any help for the mentally disabled child or any family member. Mental health is our biggest fear as Oromo community leaders. Majority of Oromo immigrants in PA have low level education and are non-English speaking. when they flew their home land , they had higher expectation for life. Once they arrived United State, however, things reversed and create depression which lead in to e unnecessary emergency visit, which we believe is the huge cost to the city of Philadelphia. In addition, different barriers make their lives harder and harder everyday as they do not get psychological, moral, and economic supports. These all contributes to metal health issues and costs so many lives in our community.

Program Description

To help these families to navigate any resources and give them directions where to go when they seek help, we will recruit five individuals to coordinate with City of Philadelphia Department of behavioral science and intellectual disability services. In the next years, we plan to increase mental health first aid voluntaries and hire at least one licensed staff for our community. we believe as information is a key to create awareness in our society which in turn can be achieved by designing reproducible programs like training the trainers and integrating them in the community. Creating Family Awareness and breaking cultural barriers in our innovative program.


Our coalition will conduct regular need assessments, invite youths, family and children with appropriate age groups in community forum and public meeting which will help community involvement to secure an opportunity after getting feedbacks. Coalition of Oromo Community for Children, family and youth will increase the number of beneficiary and meet the following objectives -Increase the number of youth who participate on after school program to 50 youths -Increase family awareness level on how to deal on matters arise among their children to 70 households -Increase the dissemination of more information and services to additional youth, family and children -Add more staffs and trainers on mental health, addiction, and behavioral science intellectual disability services. this could be achieving by training more members, youths and hiring external professionals


Our coalition helps youth and children to develop their interpersonal and communication skills through art and expression. This year we recruited 22 youth and engaged them to participate in leadership programs like problem solving, public speaking, organizing events and assisting non English speaking families as translators. Next year, we want to double the number and increase the participating. This program has helped Oromo families mainly Oromo women by breaking the cultural gap between family and children.


Two years in row, our organization secured small scale grants from Hospital of University of Penn. The grants were used effectively to create health care awareness to our members and we provided detail education on the importance of preventative medicine helps to stay healthy. using similar strategy, we will use a focus group and try to reach out the broader community . our commitment to mental health issue is very critical and made us to search different avenues of solutions.


Based on our expectation we want to serve more families in the next fiscal years. From our past performances, about 42% of the youth, children and families were benefited from our coalition efforts. More than anything else, we have created a road map to success in navigating resources for several underserved populations. I. increase number of youth participants ii. increase the services date, length, time, months, days, and etc. iii. increase professional staffs so that members benefit from it iv. install moral obligation of children and family to tackle drugs, alcohols and substance abuse. v. empower family by providing necessary information and guide them to appropriate resources.