Closing the gap between physical and mental health: Discovery's VP on behavioral health's future

Shalaura Soliai, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Irvine, Calif.-based Discovery Behavioral Health, joined Becker's to discuss projects she is excited about, her top mental healthcare priorities and more. 

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity. If you would like to contribute to our next question, please email

Question: What are your top priorities today?

Shalaura Soliai: My top priorities at Discovery Behavioral Health are diversity, health equity, and cultural awareness, ensuring an environment of inclusivity for both our employees and patients.  

Q: What projects or initiatives are you most excited by?

SS: The initiative I’m most excited about is Discovery Behavioral Health’s interactive digital platform, which helps our patients stay connected to a live support team for one-year post-discharge when relapse rates are high as patients transition from the structure of a treatment environment to the unpredictability of daily life. The platform provides additional resources, tracks outcomes and alerts therapists in real time to their patients who are struggling. Our ultimate goal is to prevent relapses before they occur.

Q: How do you see behavioral health evolving in the next two to three years?

SS: The pandemic has brought to light the crucial need for behavioral health care like never before, highlighting the existing health disparities and social determinants of health. However, there is a silver lining: recognizing this need has led to increased acceptance and reduced stigma surrounding access to behavioral health care, especially in minority communities. The younger generations have fostered intergenerational awareness and acceptance, and I envision this progress continuing toward more equitable and inclusive care in the next two to three years. Through a trauma-informed approach buttressed by cultural awareness, patients from all dimensions of diversity will have pathways to greater healing. I anticipate the line between behavioral and physical health becoming increasingly blurred, with both being seen as equally necessary to improve the overall quality of life. The divide between these two aspects of health will continue to close, treating them as one to ensure that the reduction of stigma and improvement of health outcomes are achieved.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars

Top 40 articles from the past 6 months