Mental Health Strike at Kaiser Oakland - 01/01/2024 at 7pm - Learn More >>

Stephanie “PJ” Philpott-Jones

Stephanie “PJ” Philpott-Jones is a psychologist at Kaiser Permanente in South San Francisco.

What inspired you to pursue a career in behavioral health?

Two formative experiences prompted my interest in serving others through caring for their mental health. The first, I come from a multi-racial and multi-ethnic family. We immigrated from Finland a couple of generations ago — the generation before me welcomed 13 of my family members from all over the world. Most Finns have blonde hair and blue eyes. Once we learn to speak English without an accent, assimilate as it were, we pass pretty well. I became aware at an early age that my cousins and I were treated very differently by those with power. The second influence, Columbine. My school was a few miles from Columbine, the chaos and fear of that day is something I’ll never forget. Of course the day itself was traumatic, however, the lasting impact was equally significant. My high school had the highest suicide rate in the nation for several years, and help was not forthcoming. We didn’t have any mental health support, no counselors, no groups, no one checking in with us other than our equally traumatized teachers. In short, learning about the consequences of trauma at an early age set the path to where I am now, working in addiction medicine supporting people impacted by trauma and systemic discrimination.

How has being in NUHW helped you in your profession?

In so many ways. I had a difficult situation arise less than a year after I was hired at KP post licensure. After struggling for some time, I decided to ask the amazing staff and stewards at NUHW for help. Within literal minutes of relaying the situation, I had feasible solutions offered to me. As a result of the help I received, I am now in an environment where my values around ethics, restorative justice, equity, cultural competency, and diversity are supported and encouraged. I have also been afforded incredible opportunities to work on a senate bill that advances legislation around the use of psychedelics for treatment, teaching about important topics, and developing effective ways to combat systemic discrimination and dismantle late stage capitalism. The people that I interact with at NUHW give me hope that working together we really can create a future in which access to effective and appropriate health care is a given, and not a luxury that few are afforded.

More from NUHW


Change-makers wanted!
Join our team