Healthy Minds' community initiatives coordinator selected for Young Innovators in Behavioral Health Award

October 19, 2023

Audra Brulc, community initiatives coordinator at Healthy Minds Policy Initiative, is among 30 professionals selected for the inaugural Young Innovators in Behavioral Health Awards program.  

The recognition honors recipients’ contributions and impact in the behavioral health field and highlights the role young people play in mental health advancements and access for future generations.  

“I’m honored to receive this award and to share this recognition with so many talented young people working in behavioral health,” said Audra. “There’s still a lot to be done to make sure there is equitable access to care both in Oklahoma and nationally, but I’m optimistic that Healthy Minds’ work is part of the solution.”

Awardees were chosen across several industries, including academia, research, community-based organizations, medicine, entrepreneurship, technology, activism, and media.  

"Young people from all backgrounds are making major contributions to address the mental health crisis in America today. The Young Innovators in Behavioral Health Awards program will shine a light on emerging innovators so they can occupy an even more central role in defining solutions to the problems facing people with mental illness," said Solome Tibebu, founder and CEO of Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech. "We look forward to bringing attention to their ideas and providing them with resources, guidance and support they need to introduce and market their solutions to the industry."

At Healthy Minds, Audra manages and contributes to some of the organization’s most ambitious and impactful behavioral health change projects in Tulsa. She is a key part of Healthy Minds’ efforts to address a crisis of methamphetamine-related overdose deaths, including reconvening the city’s Methamphetamine Treatment Continuum Steering Committee, which brings together leaders in public safety, education, and substance use treatment sectors.  

Audra’s leadership is also a driving force behind strengthening mental health supports for students at Tulsa Public Schools – which is critical, as most students who receive mental health care do so in schools.

In part through Healthy Minds’ collaboration with Tulsa Public Schools, the district recently received a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Project AWARE grant, which will allow the district to increase its capacity to deliver mental health services to students. Tulsa Public Schools will receive roughly $9 million over five years through the grant program.  

Separately, the City of Tulsa will receive nearly $4 million over four years through a SAMHSA System of Care grant. Audra was part of the Healthy Minds team providing technical assistance and convening stakeholders to apply for both grants.

Additionally, Audra supports and facilitates the Tulsa First Responders Advisory Committee, a working group focused on aligning and strengthening the city’s response to mental health crises.

“Audra is deeply devoted to improving access to mental health and substance use services in her community, and we’re delighted to see her work in Tulsa recognized on a national stage,” said Jessica Hawkins, Healthy Minds’ director of community and systems initiatives.

Audra was a 2021-22 Healthy Minds fellow, where her work focused on multi-tiered systems of support. This best-practice framework for schools ensures students have access to the right levels of mental health care depending on their needs. She joined Healthy Minds full time in 2022.  

Previously, Audra worked as a grant writer and consultant for clients across a variety of sectors. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in international studies from the University of Oklahoma.    

Audra will be presented with the award in November at the 2023 Behavioral Health Tech Conference in Phoenix. The conference partnered with Hopelab and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to create the awards program.

See the full list of awardees here.