September 30, 2015

San Diego, CA—Alliance Healthcare Foundation (AHF), a nonprofit organization which works to advance health and wellness for the poor and underserved in the San Diego and Imperial Counties, recently announced a collaboration between Mental Health Systems (MHS) and Mountain Health & Community Services (MHCS) as the recipient of its $1 million Innovation Initiative (I2).


“AHF developed the Innovation Initiative (I2) in 2010 to advance its mission to improve the health and wellness of the 750,000+ people estimated to live in poverty in San Diego and Imperial Counties by supporting transformational thinking, people and organizations,” said AHF Board Chair Elizabeth Dreicer. “Through I2, AHF seeks to alter the status quo by funding innovation designed to enhance the lives of those people most in need in the community.”

With the Innovation Initiative, MHS and MHCS will integrate primary care into behavioral healthcare to serve the seriously mentally ill. Most current models put behavioral health into primary care, a design which so far has proven to be less than effective in serving this target population. Untreated physical health problems in the seriously mentally ill result in more costly emergency care and a shorter life expectancy.

Through their collaboration, called North Inland Family Medicine, MHS and MHCS aim to reverse this trend.  

“The seriously mentally ill present a different type of a challenge to primary healthcare providers because of paranoia, anxiety and disorganized  thinking, which in turn impacts their ability to communicate and comply with treatment plans,” said AHF Executive Director Nancy Sasaki. “Thus, this population oftentimes does not get the treatment it needs.”

Kim Bond, President and CEO of MHS, says North Inland Family Medicine will effectively target this underserved population in a way no current provider can.

“We are excited about this opportunity to partner with Mountain Health & Community Services,” Bond said. “This innovative integrated model will allow us to meet the complex needs of those we serve.”

Formed in 1978, MHS improves the lives of individuals, families and communities battling substance abuse and behavioral health challenges. By providing innovative, cost-effective rehabilitation and mental health services, MHS  is able to assist the underserved.

“Alliance Healthcare Foundation was thrilled with the proposals received for this year’s Innovation Initiative,” AHF Executive Director Nancy Sasaki said during the announcement. “Choosing one awardee was difficult this year. However, this collaboration proved to be the most compelling because it tackles improving access to healthcare by extending life expectancy and reducing costs substantially. We’re proud to support these organizations as they strive to bring innovation to their work.”

Like MHS, this year’s collaborative organization, MHCS, offers a variety of services to the greater San Diego region. Since 1977, this organization has provided primary care, behavioral development assessments, asthma and allergy care, immunizations, nutrition counseling, senior health care, and more.

“This funding will allow us to provide critical medical services to a population who historically have not had access to care,” said Judi Shaplin, President and CEO of MHCS.

North Inland Family Medicine is expected to be unveiled March 1, 2016.

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About Alliance Healthcare Foundation

Alliance Healthcare Foundation is a San Diego-based nonprofit which works with nonprofit, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties. AHF works to serve the most vulnerable – the poor, working poor, children and homeless by providing grants, advocacy and education to support its region.

To learn more about AHF and available grants visit


About Mental Health Systems

Mental Health Systems (MHS) is a non-profit agency founded in 1978 to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities facing substance abuse and behavioral health challenges. They provide mental health and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services in an innovative and cost-effective manner.

To learn more about Mental Health Systems, visit:


About Mountain Health & Community Services

Mountain Health & Community Services (MHCS) aims to improve and maintain the health and well-being of the whole person by providing access to high quality healthcare and community services. To learn more about their mission and services, visit:

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