Learn how DEIB and mental health are integrated, and the importance of culturally responsive care.
Last year, as we reckoned with both the changes of the present and the impact of the past, two topics took center stage in the workplace: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and Mental Health. For those aiming to improve employee experience and wellness, this was a welcome spotlight on two critical, yet different, areas. But, pioneers at the intersection of DEIB and Mental Health have long known that there isn’t one without the other. Lyra Health’s Cierra Gillison and Danielle Cottonham are two experts who have a personal and professional appreciation for philosophy. Having a shared passion for building healthier, more diverse, and more informed workforces, their advocacy has led to institutional changes and transformative conversations at Lyra to build stronger workforces internally and for our employer partners.
In this conversation, Cierra and Danielle illuminate
Clinical Manager of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging
Dr. Cottonham is a licensed psychologist in California and serves as the Clinical Manager for Lyra Health’s DEIB initiatives. In this role, she manages quality and education for culturally responsive care in clinical practice and focuses on growing and maintaining the diversity of the provider network. Dr. Cottonham received her doctorate from the University of Southern Mississippi and completed her internship at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System in New Orleans, Louisiana. She then received postdoctoral training at the San Francisco VA Health Care System specializing in PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorders with an emphasis on teaching and supervision, and moral injury among combat veterans. Her clinical and research expertise include: PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorders, race-based traumatic stress and the impact of racial discrimination on mental health in the Black community, and culturally informed evidence-based practice.
Dr. Cottonham’s work is rooted in her experience as a Black woman who was born and raised in southern Louisiana. She has a passion for destigmatizing mental health in minority communities and providing safe spaces that promote connection, authenticity, and healing.
Cierra Gillison (preferred pronoun: she/they) serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at Lyra Health. Prior to joining Lyra, she served as an Assistant Director for Student Life at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. She joined Stanford University in 2017 as a Program Associate, where she led the Education and Equity team and supported Faculty in Residence in Residential Education. Cierra is a trained Student Affairs professional and specializes in using design-thinking for building creative learning experiences. Cierra is also a small business owner of Believe in the Journey, LLC, which centers on international education as an exceptional opportunity to engage, learn, and grow across differences.
Cierra is a graduate of The Ohio State University (B.A., Psychology), Michigan State University (M.A., Student Affairs Administration), & the 2016 NCAA Leadership Institute. She enjoys facilitating design-thinking workshops with Stanford's d.School, taking improv classes, and loves exploring new cities' coffee & teas. She is most encouraged by her experience in leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work across a breadth of institutions & functional areas. She looks forward to bridging her talents and experiences from Student Affairs to continue advocating for marginalized communities.