Find a Mentor

Our intention is to create mentor/mentee cohorts that will increase the number of Black, Indigenous and People of Color who identify as suicidologists, transform our understanding suicide in BIPOC communities, and expand the reach and impact of BIPOC work in suicidology. 

About the Program

The American Association of Suicidology believes in financially supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) experts to mentor the next generation of BIPOC suicidologists. BIPOC experts experience an undue burden on their time and income due to historic underinvestment in BIPOC communities, the racial wage gap, and expectations that BIPOC experts will donate their time and expertise. And yet, BIPOC experts regularly give time and resources to be content and process mentors. To address this, the American Association of Suicidology is starting the BIPOC Mentor Fellowship Program to compensate BIPOC experts.  

AAS acknowledges that experts exist in all aspects of suicidology. Unlike most mentor programs, which are specifically designed to fund senior researchers to mentor junior researchers, the BIPOC Mentor Fellowship Program will provide funding for experts in any domain of suicidology, including clinical, crisis, attempt survivor/lived experience, loss, prevention/public health, impacted family and friends, and research. 

Five mentees will be paired with one of five mentors for a year-long fellowship. Mentees will receive mentoring, complimentary conference travel and registration to AAS22 in Chicago, and a 3-year Associate membership to AAS. Applications are due Friday April 5, 2021 at 5:00pm PST. Applicants will be notified the following week if they are selected. The 2021 – 2022 cohort will be announced on April 22 at the AAS21 conference.

Mentors

Donna Holland Barnes, PhD, PCC
A certified Master Trainer for suicide prevention and intervention, Dr. Barnes trains faculty, staff and students as well as the community on how to recognize the signs of someone who is in a suicidal crisis. She is also the co-founder of the National Organization for People of Color against Suicide (NOPCAS) after losing her son to suicide while he was in college. Dr. Barnes teaches suicide risk management for the College of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry at Howard University and has published peered reviewed articles and chapters as well as conducting presentations on the topic across the country. She is the author of the Truth About Suicide published by DWJ books in New York as part of the “truth about series…” for middle school and high school students.  She has developed a campus-wide prevention program at Howard University; and through NOPCAS conducted support groups for friends and family members of suicide loss survivors. 

Barnes has been featured on several radio shows and media outlets including NPR, CNN, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post.  She currently serves on the CDC’s Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

She is also founder and CEO of DHB Wellness & Associates, LLC where she conducts life coaching, grief recovery, and suicide prevention training on suicide risk management.   


Sadé Heart of the Hawk Ali
Sadé Heart of the Hawk Ali is the retired Deputy Commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services.  She is now the Tribal Lead and a Senior Project Associate with the Zero Suicide Institute. She served on the SAMHSA/CSAT National Advisory Council for over 4 years.  Ms. Ali holds faculty positions at Brown University, Temple University’s College of Health Professions and Drexel University’s School of Public Health. She has traveled the US, Canada, and Australia providing training on Two Spirit history and culture, intergenerational, historical and modern-day trauma and healing in Indigenous communities, and culturally appropriate recovery management and resilience-promoting service delivery in behavioral health.  

She has published her thesis, other scholarly articles, and a textbook on culturally appropriate recovery/resilience services, the ending of health disparities through enhanced access to care, and the impact of intergenerational and historical trauma on the Indigenous peoples of North America. She is one of the co-authors of the Philadelphia Behavioral Health Transformation Practice Guidelines for Recovery and Resilience Oriented Treatment, a framework for the fields of mental health and substance use treatment services that is used worldwide.  Several years ago, she published Social Healing Words-Using Language to Promote Recovery and Resilience for Individuals, Families and Communities.  Most recently, she published Best and Promising Practices for the Implementation of Zero Suicide in Indian Country, a toolkit that indigenizes the Zero Suicide framework and for which she won the 2020 Innovations in Public Health Award from the National Indian Health Board.  

Ms. Ali is a multiple suicide attempt survivor.  She has been in recovery and the field of behavioral health services for 51 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Counseling Psychology, a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology and is ABD in Clinical Psychology.  She is Mi’kmaq First Nation from the Sturgeon Clan and the Founding Elder and Medicine Keeper of the Eastern States Two Spirit Alliance.  Ms. Ali is a lifetime member of SAIGE (Society of American Indian Government Employees) for which she serves on the Board of Directors.

Some of my skill sets/passions that would make a good match with and for a mentee:
System Transformation
Two Spirit People (Youth especially) and Suicide Prevention
Traditional Healing & Healers in Suicide Prevention
Working in a culturally relevant manner in Indian Country
Healing from intergenerational, historical and modern-day trauma for Indigenous people


Sean Joe, PhD
Sean Joe is a nationally recognized authority on suicidal behavior among Black Americans, and is expanding the evidence base for effective practice with Black boys and young men. His research focuses on Black adolescents’ mental health service use patterns, the role of religion in Black suicidal behavior, salivary biomarkers for suicidal behavior, and development of father-focused, family-based interventions to prevent urban African American adolescent males from engaging in multiple forms of self-destructive behaviors.

Working within the Center for Social Development, Joe has launched the Race and Opportunity Lab, which examines race, opportunity, and social mobility in the St. Louis region, working to reduce inequality in adolescents transition into adulthood. The lab leading community science project is HomeGrown STL, which is a multi-systemic placed-based capacity building intervention to enhance upward mobility opportunities and health of Black males ages 12-29 years in the St. Louis region. Joe’s epistemological work focuses on the concept of race in medical and social sciences.

He serves on the Steering Committee of the national Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the National Advisory Council of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Forward Promise initiative.

In recognition of the impact of his work, Joe was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, the Society for Social Work and Research, and the New York Academy of Medicine.


Marlon Rollins, PhD
Dr. Marlon Rollins is a licensed therapist and holds a PhD in Educational Psychology from Ball State University. He has over 15 experience in behavioral health. He has worked extensively in for-profit and non-profit sectors. He has been both a CEO and COO in some of the largest psychiatric and addiction hospitals in California. He has been a member National Association of Crisis Organization Directors (NASCOD) as well as a member of the Steering Committee for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Dr. Rollins has been instrumental in developing suicide protocols and procedures in EMR platforms such as EPIC and AURA as well as providing trainings. He aided in the implementation Garrett Lee-Smith Grant with the Zero Suicide Institute in a large integrated healthcare system. He has published articles on topics related to suicide prevention and BLM. Dr. Rollins is also an ordained minister and a suicide loss survivor. 


Eduardo Vega
Eduardo Vega is an internationally recognized thought leader in recovery-oriented programs and policy, consumer/patient rights, stigma reduction, and suicide prevention, whose work continues to drive the forefront of change for public health and mental health worldwide. He is founder and CEO of Humannovations, a consulting and training firm providing innovative solutions for mental health and suicide prevention internationally, fueled by social justice and the “lived experience” of people who have been there. Clients of Humannovations include the World Health Organization, Asana, the White House Office of Science & Technology, the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Movember Foundation, Suicide Prevention Australia, the International Bipolar Foundation, the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Facebook and more.

A former Fulbright Specialist and California State Commissioner for Mental Health Services, Vega has led and served on multiple health policy bodies and as an invited expert to the Office of the White House of President Obama. He has presented and consulted on technical issues in behavioral health with stakeholder and consumer groups, private industry and government in the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Fiji and Latin America. He serves on the the Steering Committee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the US National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

For his transformative leadership Vega has been recognized by the United States Senate and the United States Surgeon General, the State of California, the nation of Fij. He holds an M.A. in Psychology from New School for Social Research.