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 http://www.walkeraac.com/.