Giving Tuesday and SCRT’s One-Year Anniversary!

Today marks the Street Crisis Response Team’s (SCRT) one-year anniversary. SCRT has grown from a single team supporting the Tenderloin neighborhood to six teams providing San Francisco with 24/7 citywide coverage in one year. SCRT responds rapidly to people who are having a crisis on City streets with a behavioral health approach that deescalates situations and addresses a person’s immediate needs for care, treatment, and shelter.

In this time, SCRT has responded to over 5,000 calls and engaged nearly 3,000 individuals in crisis. Each response team is made up of a paramedic, a clinician, and a peer provider. RAMS Division of Peer-Based Services provides the peer component of the project. We are incredibly proud of the great work the teams have done over the past year. To learn more, check out the Press Release from the Office of Mayor London Breed.

As a part of Giving Tuesday, RAMS has also released a short video about the Division of Peer-Based services and the impacts our peer programs have. Check out the video below and please share it with your friends and family! Support from donors like you allows RAMS to continue to provide and expand highly needed services like these. If you believe in our mission, you can support us during this giving season here.

Saying goodbye to Dr. Alla Volovich

It is with heavy hearts that RAMS must say goodbye to Dr. Alla Volovich, who abruptly passed away on July 8, 2021 while vacationing in Mexico. With her generosity, passion, and wit, she leaves behind a legacy of unwavering commitment to teaching and mentoring generations of professionals in the field of psychology. She led tirelessly and humbly by example, inspiring those under her wing to develop the kind of cultural, intellectual, and empathic sophistication and sensitivity that she modeled.  

Dr. Volovich started at RAMS as a staff psychologist in 1994 and, in 2000, became the Director of Training for the RAMS Clinical Training Programs, which includes the National Asian American Psychology Training Center (NAAPTC), a nationally recognized, APA-accredited, and award-winning program. NAAPTC is among very few long-standing APA-accredited Doctoral Training Programs housed in a non-profit, community-based organization serving underserved populations. Over the past two decades under Dr. Volovich’s leadership, the Training Program continuously fostered the well-earned reputation for the profoundly meaningful and, for many, life-changing experience under the consistently attentive guidance of Dr. Volovich. Keenly perceptive, attuned, and thoughtful, she created the conditions necessary for interns and trainees to discover parts of themselves that would help shape their development. Over the years, Dr. Volovich worked tirelessly to work with each trainee and intern as unique individuals. 

In keeping with NAAPTC’s history as the country’s first program to focus on developing expertise in working with Asian and Pacific Islander populations, Dr. Volovich utilized curricula that honed clinical skills with a psychodynamic and culturally competent approach, resulting in graduates of her program being able to serve clients through understanding with each individual’s unique history. Training Program graduates have integrated and carried what they learned from her to their work as clinicians, non-profit leaders, writers, policy makers, professors, leading consultants, and other contributors to the mental health field. Many graduates have also joined the RAMS family as committed clinicians, supervisors, and leaders while others returned as training facilitators. These lasting relationships attest to the welcoming and collaborative environment that Dr. Volovich so adroitly created.

As she was fiercely bright, enthusiastic, creative, and compassionate, Dr. Volovich’s passing is a tremendous loss to RAMS and the hundreds of lives she touched. 

Many have asked how they can support Dr. Volovich’s family. The family has requested that donations be made to the RAMS clinical training program in Dr. Volovich’s name via this link. All donations made through this GoFundMe will be for the RAMS clinical training program.

Asian and Pacific American Mental Health Day 2021

In honor of Asian and Pacific American Mental Health Day, Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS) proudly presented Making Time: Wellness Practices across Asian American & Pacific Islander Communities, a free virtual event open to the public on May 10. From 9:30am – 4:00pm, guests engaged in panel discussions, a Bhangra dance workshop, Chinese integrative medicine, Zen-inspired meditative art, and Samoan dance. 

In light of the pandemic and surge in anti-Asian violence, many in the API community may struggle to find peace and hope in their homes. With Making Time: Wellness Practices across Asian American & Pacific Islander Communities, RAMS shared tips to maintain mental wellness and assure attendees that there should be no shame or stigma around mental health. Although the event showcases wellness practices across different API cultures, all individuals of any background are welcome to attend. 

About Mental Health Conditions 

About Asian and Pacific American Mental Health Day

May is established nationally as both Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness month. In 2010, RAMS spearheaded the effort to establish May 10 as the Asian Pacific American Mental Health Day in the State of California and the City and County of San Francisco. APA Mental Health Day has since been established in other cities like Austin, Texas. At the confluence of both Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness month, APA Mental Health Day recognizes the importance of raising awareness about mental health and promoting mental wellness in the Asian and Pacific Islander community.

Where We Come From: 31 Days of API Heritage

In celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month in May 2021, RAMS will launch the project: Where We Come From: 31-Days of API Heritage. For every day of May, RAMS will release a 2-minute video with messages of unity and celebration of API culture. 

This year, in light of the surge in anti-Asian racism and violence, we celebrate the cultural contributions of API communities, including the rich tapestry of stories and memories in the Bay Area. Through storytelling from both API and non-API individuals, RAMS will show how beautifully diverse our communities are, and how truly universal our experiences can be.

RAMS is proud to be a part of the greater San Francisco community where so many people have been eager to send messages of unity with the API community. Public officials, community partners, RAMS staff, and many others have volunteered their time and voices in celebration of the many peoples who comprise San Francisco’s API community. Below is a list of just a few of our speakers and storytellers:

  • San Francisco Mayor, London Breed
  • SF District 1 Supervisor, Connie Chan
  • SF District 2 Supervisor, Catherine Stefani
  • SF District 4 Supervisor, Gordon Mar
  • SF District 6 Supervisor, Matt Haney
  • SF District 10 Supervisor, Shamann Walton
  • SF District 11 Supervisor, Ahsha Safaí
  • Chief of Police, William Scott
  • Executive Director of the Japantown Task Force, Steve Nakajo
  • Marin County’s Director of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Jei Africa
  • SF Small Business Commissioner, William Ortiz -Cartagena

Please view the daily videos on the following RAMS social media platforms (below) and share them with your vast networks. Please share these videos and our social media pages as the San Francisco community spreads messages of unity with the API community. 





Condemnation of Anti-Asian Incidents of Hate

RAMS condemns the recent surge in violence against the Asian community, including last night’s shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, which left eight victims dead, six of whom were Asian women. Although details are continuing to emerge in this investigation, the broader context of increased racial violence in the U.S. cannot be ignored. 

Among the many painful and frustrating challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is a sudden increase in acts of hate against Asian Americans and immigrants. According to Stop AAPI Hate, a project of the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council, there have been roughly 2,300 incidents reported across the country since RAMS released its condemnation of anti-Asian racism in April 2020. These past few months have seen yet another surge of physical and verbal assaults against Asian individuals, many of them women and elders. Nearly 300 reports of hate and discrimination have been made in San Francisco alone, including, in one instance, the fatal assault of an 84-year-old man in January of this year.

Combating a crisis, whether a pandemic spread through a virus, or through hate, takes the collective efforts of the community; a divided community cannot truly recover. As an agency staffed by, and serving, members of highly diverse and underrepresented populations, RAMS condemns all acts of racism and violence. None of us at RAMS are strangers to racism, or the resulting trauma in our work and our lives. RAMS is committed to protecting the well-being of our staff and our communities. 

RAMS continues to affirm its commitment to strengthening the SF Bay Area community through cultural understanding and cooperation. We call for the compassionate treatment of all people regardless of sex, age, religion, race, ethnicity, or cultural background.

If you, or someone you know is a victim of racial harassment, you may do the following:

  • Contact local law enforcement and file a report with Stop AAPI Hate, which has received over 3,800 reports since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • You may also report hate crimes by calling the San Francisco District Attorney Hate Crimes Hotline at (415) 551-9595. 
  • Many anti-Asian attacks have been perpetrated against older adults; elder abuse can be reported by calling the DAS Benefits and Resource Hub at (415) 355-6700. 
  • For those seeking counseling within the SF Behavioral Health System of Care, please reach out to RAMS Adult/Older Adult Outpatient Clinic’s Intake line at (415) 668 5955 Ext. 327.
  • For those seeking counseling and are outside the SF Behavioral Health System of Care, please reach out to the RAMS Asian Family Institute Intake line at (415) 668-5998.

To learn more about racism, its effects, and what one can do about it, please refer to the resources below.

Basic Needs for Street Crisis

Launched in November 2020, the Street Crisis Response Team (SCRT) responds to 911 calls regarding people experiencing behavioral health crises today. The SCRT is part of San Francisco’s efforts to develop alternatives to police responses to non-violent calls. Under the Division of Peer-Based Services, RAMS’ Peer Counselors are deployed as a part of a team that includes clinicians and first responders. In addition to local news articles, the team has already drawn some national attention like a segment on NBC news with upcoming interviews with CNN, CBS, and other networks. 

Over the past four months of supporting people during, for some, what may be the worst night of their lives, RAMS’ Peer Counselors have reported that many need a variety of basic needs. Some are found without blankets, shoes, or clothes. Some need sanitation supplies at a time when showers available to the unhoused have become more limited due to COVID. Although it may seem to be a small detail, having an inventory of such items would go a long way in building trust and better supporting the people Peer Counselors are called to help. 

If you’re interested in donating items to support SCRT clients, please visit our Amazon Charity List here or click the link below. All items in the list have been specifically requested by our Peer team in response to the needs they have witnessed in the field. Not only does your support give our team items that are needed most, it also encourages them that members in the community support this kind of service. We are, as always, grateful for your support. 

Historical Opportunities to Serve the Unhoused

For all its damage, COVID-19 presented a unique opportunity to support one of San Francisco’s most vulnerable populations. Although it’s nearly impossible to make an accurate census, it’s estimated that there are roughly 7,000 – 8,000 unhoused individuals living in the city. For a multitude of reasons, it is uniquely difficult to ensure unhoused people have consistent access to medical, mental health, and social services. However, last year, with shelter-in-place orders in place and hotels standing mostly vacant, San Francisco was able to establish Shelter-In-Place (SIP) hotels to house 2,500+ of the most vulnerable of the unhoused, an already highly vulnerable population. Specifically, the hotels housed those who were 65 or older or had a preexisting condition. 

For the first time, a large percentage of the unhoused were concentrated in locations where they can reliably receive support. Like Disaster Service Workers from the RAMS CAAP Counseling Program, the Division of Peer-Based Services was also asked to deploy peer counselors to SIP hotels to provide behavioral health services. Starting in May 2020 with four Peer Counselors, nine peers are currently deployed and have served 200+ unduplicated individuals with 75+ people in person and 150+ people over the phone. Peer Counselors have both behavioral health training and lived experience with mental health and/or substance use issues they can draw upon in order to work effectively with clients. 

The nature of their support is broad ranging. Some need to be connected to Medi-Cal. Some need a cell phone. Some need help getting to medical appointments. Some need services in Spanish, Cantonese, or Japanese. Some just want someone to check in every couple weeks. Some want someone to talk to a couple times a week. Our peer team, in partnership with the RAMS Adult Outpatient Clinic and other Behavioral Health Services providers, have been able to fulfill these needs and serve as an integral support for people during a time that is, to varying degrees, lonely and isolating for us all. One team member stated that these services eliminate “the usual barriers and challenges around connecting with people, and we’re able to offer coordinated care and follow-up. We’re seeing a lot of folks flourish now that they have a connection with behavioral health services and peer support.” 

Here at RAMS, we’re incredibly proud of the commitment and flexibility of our peer team as they rose to the occasion to serve a highly vulnerable population. And we’re not the only ones. Last December, the Mental Health Services Act (responsible for many innovative mental health programs), acknowledged the team’s hard work by awarding them the Team of the Year award. 

RAMS Welcomes JayVon Muhammad, CPM, LM as its new President & CEO

San Francisco native and internationally-recognized healthcare visionary joins leading community mental health organization with long history of culturally- and linguistically-competent care. Wednesday, February 24, 2021 (San Francisco) – Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc. (RAMS) is pleased to announce the appointment of JayVon Muhammad, CPM, LM, as its new President and Chief Executive Officer. A San Francisco native, Ms. Muhammad is an inspiring, equity-centered professional with more than 20 years of healthcare and community leadership experience in the Bay Area and Louisiana. She begins her new role on March 8.

“The Board of Directors is absolutely thrilled to welcome JayVon as our new President and CEO,” said Board Chair Cynthia Huie. “Her expertise in designing and overseeing equity-based clinical programs in underrepresented communities, as well as her passion and energy for innovation and partnership, will help RAMS build upon our record of accomplishment as we continue to address the compounding COVID-19 and mental health crises in San Francisco.”

RAMS currently serves 18,000 individuals annually across the Bay Area at more than 130 service sites in over 30 languages. A dedicated and committed professional and peer staff of 360 who embody RAMS’ values of respect, humility, cultural responsiveness, innovation, and excellence as they strive to make mental wellness an integral part of every person’s daily healthcare practices. RAMS’ services include outpatient behavioral health, clinical training, school-based wellness programs, workforce development, vocational training and peer-based support. Most recently, RAMS joined San Francisco’s Street Crisis Response Team – a collaboration with four other partners and funded by the San Francisco Department of Public Health – to reroute non-violent, behavioral health-related 911 calls as part of the City’s new Mental Health SF program.

Ms. Muhammad comes to RAMS after most recently serving as Chief Executive Officer of SWLA Center for Health Services in Lake Charles, Louisiana. There she led the organizational vision and strategy, directed clinical programs and managed the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) scope for a five-site Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that was recently recognized for its focus on equity. SWLA is a $17 million, 220-employee health center that serves over 25,000 patients annually across 200 square miles of Louisiana.

During her tenure at SWLA, Lake Charles experienced two, devastating back-to-back hurricanes, including Hurricane Delta just six weeks after Hurricane Laura. These climate disasters compounded the suffering in a community where 1 in 5 residents was infected with COVID-19 last summer. In spite of the destruction of more than 30,000 square feet of its own clinics, Ms. Muhammad led SWLA to establish one of the region’s largest hurricane relief efforts, while continuing to respond to the global pandemic. In October 2020, Ms. Muhammad was one of five global health leaders to receive the Bob and Leila Macauley Humanitarian Spirit Award from Americares. 

“I am excited to join the RAMS family and further the organization’s focus on health equity,” said Ms. Muhammad. “I have long admired RAMS’ leadership in providing linguistically- and culturally-competent care for low-income San Franciscans. Together we will work to remove the stigma associated with mental health services in communities of color by bringing innovation to our behavioral health programming and supporting important initiatives like the street crisis teams.” 

Prior to SWLA, Ms. Muhammad led Marin City Health and Wellness Center, another FQHC focused on African American health equity. There, Ms. Muhammad grew the organization’s budget to $8.4 million and developed a number of innovative programs, including Marin County’s first alternative, state-licensed and nationally accredited birth center; a maternal health program for underserved women in one of the poorest communities in the county; a Medication-Assisted Treatment Program for opioid/alcohol addiction; and an alternative high school focused on African American culture, leadership and role models. 

“The Department of Public Health welcomes JayVon back to San Francisco and looks forward to continuing our partnership with RAMS under her leadership. JayVon’s depth and breadth of experience and commitment to health equity will ensure quality healthcare is provided to all in the City,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health for the City and County of San Francisco, who worked closely with Ms. Muhammad during her tenure at Marin City Health and Wellness Center.

Ms. Muhammad’s leadership and program design expertise are grounded in her clinical background as a midwife and her highly developed awareness and analysis around racial equity, cultural competence and diversity. As RAMS’ new President and CEO, Ms. Muhammad will work with the Board of Directors, staff and community-based partners to design and implement the organization’s vision and mission, including developing innovative programming and diversifying RAMS revenue model.

“After a long 2020 with unprecedented multiple pandemics, we welcome our new President & CEO JayVon Muhammad to RAMS. I look forward to working with Ms. Muhammad as she leads RAMS into its next chapter,” said Christina Shea, Deputy Chief and Director of Clinical Programs who served as Co-Lead with Director of Operations Angela Tang during the search process. 

San Francisco communities are evolving. As a reflection of RAMS’ expertise in providing care to Asian & Pacific Islander American and Russian-speaking populations and the power of cross-cultural service models, Ms. Muhammad is RAMS’ first African American woman to serve as President and CEO. Her appointment comes at a time when Black and Asian community leaders are coming together to condemn violence against Asian Americans in the Bay Area in recent months. RAMS also released a statement of solidarity following the deaths of unarmed Black men and women at the hands of police last spring.

“RAMS has long expanded the reach of its services beyond the API American focus to include immigrant, disenfranchised and diverse under-represented communities. JayVon Muhammad is imminently qualified to continue this commitment. She is a conscientious bridge-builder,” said Malia Cohen, Member of the California State Board of Equalization and former President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who has known and worked with Ms. Muhammad for 16 years.

RAMS partnered with Walker and Associates Consulting, a woman of color owned consulting firm, to ensure a values-aligned approach throughout the search. The Walker and Associates team will also guide RAMS in a comprehensive strategic planning process that will include opportunities for partner and community engagement. For more information, please visit

Regarding the Capitol Riot

As it has always been, the New Year is a time for reflecting back and looking forward. 2020 was an extraordinarily difficult year for our country, our clients, and ourselves. Between the pandemic, recession, divisive rhetoric, police brutality, and racial protests, all of which highlight systemic inequities, watching the news for the past year in the isolation of our homes has drummed a steady beat of new and old trauma for us all. To respond to these inequities, RAMS has initiated an array of activities and programs like the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force led by Dennielle Kronenberg (Program Director of the RAMS Wellness Centers Program) and the Street Crisis Outreach, a partnership between RAMS Peer Division and SFDPH to reroute mental health-related 911 calls.  

As we entered 2021, we looked forward to new leadership, new social policies, and new vaccines that presented better prospects for the year ahead. So, undoubtedly, it has been deeply disappointing to witness the armed insurgency in the Capitol Building less than a week into 2021.

Without reservation, RAMS denounces the egregious violence perpetrated in DC and all language intended to incite it. Comparisons between how the day unfolded between this incident and BLM protests last summer also highlight how this, too, is a racial justice issue. Those of us deeply affected by systemic inequities highlighted in 2020 have witnessed the storming of the Capitol with renewed pain. 

As we observe the upcoming holiday on January 18 celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., many of us will be reflecting on the current and ongoing challenges that we still face, and the work that must still be done.  RAMS is thankful for its staff and all of the hard and compassionate work they do for our communities. The empathy with which our teams serve clients and support each other strengthens us all. This gives ample reason for hope for 2021.