2022 Grants Challenge

The Psychology Equity Pathways (PEP) Initiative

The Psychology Equity Pathways (PEP) Initiative will expand and magnify the impact of Psychologists of Color, Inc.’s current work to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of the psychologist workforce within the United States. A meaningful increase in individuals of color working in the psychology field will fundamentally reduce stigma and barriers to accessible and effective mental health treatment for members of BIPOC communities.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

BIPOC- and Women-Owned Businesses

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

The field of psychology has always been significantly lacking in racial and ethnic diversity. While our BIPOC population continues to grow steadily, only minimal increases have occurred in the percentage of BIPOC psychologists. In the last two decades, the percentage of Black Americans increased from 12% to 12.4% while the percentage of Black psychologists increased from a measly 2% to 3%. During this same time, the percentage of Hispanic psychologists increased 2% (from 5% to 7%), while the Hispanic American population increased from 12.5% to 18.7%. There are critical social implications from this lack of racial and cultural diversity within the field of psychology. Language and cultural barriers between client & therapist discourage BIPOC individuals from seeking help. BIPOC individuals with mental health disorders are three times less likely than white Americans to seek mental health treatment. This has detrimental effects on individuals, their families, and their communities.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The Psychology Equity Pathways (PEP) initiative will reduce barriers to mental health treatment for BIPOC communities by helping to solve the shortage of psychologists of color. The Psychologists of Color, Inc. P.E.P. Initiative consists of four pathways: (1) provide support services (including support groups, 1:1 mentorship, and test preparation for the psychologist licensing exam) to psychologists in the early stages of their psychology training and careers. (2) provide micro-grants to up-and-coming psychologists of color through a dedicated grant pool; (3) enhance and expand our POC Job Board to connect exponentially more psychologists of color with psychology training and employment opportunities; and (4) increase awareness of opportunities for people of color in the psychology field through webinars, podcasts, social media, and our YouTube channel. The initiative will also enable us to build connections and relationships with academic institutions and professional organizations that will allow us to identify, locate, and reach up-and-coming psychologists of color who could benefit from these four pathways.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The PEP Initiative has the power to be transformative. By increasing the number of BIPOC psychologists throughout LA County, we can reduce stigma and increase access to mental health services for historically marginalized communities. Directly, the initiative will serve up-and-coming psychologists of color throughout the Los Angeles area. We will provide support services, resources, connections, and inspiration to increase the number of BIPOC psychologists. These individuals will advance in their careers and improve their incomes. These new BIPOC psychologists will help reduce the stigma against and increase accessibility of mental health services within their communities. These new psychologists will provide mental health services and help individuals, families, and their communities to thrive. Increased access and utilization of mental health services -- including prevention & early intervention -- leads to both a happier, healthier LA County and also a safer LA County.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The Psychologists of Color, Inc. team continually tracks data points, including the number of BIPOC psychologists participating in each of our programs. Additional funding towards the Psychology Equity Pathways (PEP) Initiative will allow us to reach significantly more psychologists of color. We will also utilize the results of the upcoming psychologist censuses conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) to track demographic changes within the psychologist workforce and, therefore, better understand the impact we are making within the field. We will also collect online reviews, survey responses, and testimonials from our service recipients to further demonstrate our areas of success and opportunities for improvement and growth.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 1,200

Indirect Impact: 3,600