3 Minute Interview: Peter Manoleas

The clinician, educator, consultant and administrator focuses on mental health and substance abuse issues. In June, Manoleas was honored with a $25,000 Champions of Health Professions Diversity Award from the California Wellness Foundation for his work to create a more diverse health workforce in California.

Why did you start working in mental health and substance abuse?

I studied medicine in college, but didn’t end up going to medical school. After I graduated, I worked at a psychiatric hospital in Michigan. I eventually became very interested in mental health and decided to dedicate myself to that area. There’s kind of a stigma that goes along with going to a therapist or psychiatrist. I wanted to help change that perception.

Why have you worked so hard to make sure that everyone has access to mental health services?

There is more community activism in physical health than mental health. Both are important, so everyone should be able to have access to both. We’re hoping that health care will improve soon so that more people will be able to take advantage of those services.

Out of all the work and time you have put in to improving mental health services, what are you the most proud of?

My work with La Clinica de La Raza over the last 25 years has been an honor, priviledge and great learning experience. It’s a community clinic that has grown so much over the years. I’ve stayed involved with them for so long because of their commitment to the people in the community.

Behind the scenes at the Goldman Prize

Executive director talks about mission of awards, which are announced May 25

California’s Crisis of Faith

There’s a bigger problem lurking behind our big problems