Jan Desper Peters

Jan Desper Peters is the Executive Director of the Black Mental Health Alliance for Education & Consultation, Inc. (BMHA), in this role, she is leading the charge of educating and empowering the African American community about cultural and racial influences on behavioral health.

Since re-taking the reins of BMHA in April 2013, Jan has placed a priority on ensuring the organization stays true to its over three decades old mission of providing training, education and consultation on cultural competency, as well as building upon the original mission of providing programs and resource referral targeting some of the communities’ most pressing needs.

Since the April 2015 Baltimore uprising, Peters and her team have launched several successful initiatives to address the city’s most desperate needs. #BlackMindsMatter is an awareness campaign on the importance of addressing mental health and mental illness and incorporating the same in the healing model for our community. In addition, BMHA launched a 12-point plan including a year-long series that convened forums hosting national and local thought leaders on 10 of the most pressing issues in the Baltimore community. Creating a bridge between national and local thought leaders with community input moves BMHA to its goal of creating a model infused with mental health solutions and strategies to bring healing, wholeness and opportunity to our communities.

Prior to BMHA, Jan served as Executive Director of the Baltimore Educational Scholarship Trust. There she assisted African American families with navigating the admissions process as well as identify options to meet the financial need to attend independent schools. She also has served as Assistant Executive Director of the University of Maryland College Park campus’ over 200,000-member Alumni Association and as a highly sought-after capacity building training consultant with NMAC. Her work through NMAC has afforded the opportunity to travel the nation providing training and technical assistance to build capacity in HIV and AIDS service community-based organizations, health departments and local planning groups. Peters also is a Maryland Nonprofits Certified Standards for Excellence Trainer. Her career has allowed her to gain extensive experience in business development, board development, strategic planning, fundraising, and fiscal management for nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Jan is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and the George Washington University. She is a proud Life Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Jan and her husband, Randy, live in Bowie, Maryland and are the proud parents of three sons and four daughters and have two grandchildren.

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