Chi Bornfree, Inc. promotes family-centeredness as a concept that provides the most equitable and democratic solutions that help families actualize their self-determined vision for their children with disabilities and special healthcare needs, including mental health.
In addition to offering individual family services through the CHI handbook and the parent coaching model. Chi Bornfree provides consulting services to organizations, higher education institutions, and government agencies. These services help them become more disability competent, emotionally intelligent and aware of the tools at their disposal through policies, evidence-based practices and emotionally-intelligent professional development trainings.
Chioma Oruh, Ph.D., is the founder, principal consultant and parent coach of Chi Bornfree. I have a passion for family-centered practices, primarily because of my own lived experiences as an black African immigrant mother raising two young sons with autism. In my own journey to access services for my family, including my aging parents and brother with a severe mental health condition, I have faced a lot of challenges navigating the systems of care. It is my experience that the system’s dysfunctions are rooted in many institutional intelligences that rely on archaic ideas about man’s relationship with nature. Unfortunately, these ideas have historically also been used to promote racism, sexism, classism, ableism and xenophobia.
Founding Chi Bornfree provides me with the opportunity to give back some of the survival skills, strategies and institutional knowledge picked up during my own lived experiences. With a focus on early childhood education, and improving the behavioral health system in particular, from early childhood through the educational lifespan of children and youth. The pillar of my institutional knowledge is rooted in the transformative journey to helping system actors become more family-centered in policies and practices. And this has driven me to seek avenues to be of the highest service to my city, Washington, DC, to support both the public and private sectors to help dismantle old ideas informing public policy and the daily practices of front line staff, essential workers and direct service outlets, especially education, healthcare, social services and the intersection amongst all three.
Workshop and Training Facilitation
- “Bridging the Gap between Science and Passion” – The Foundation Center, Washington, DC
- “The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Trauma-Informed Care” – Special Needs Subcommittee, DC Office of the Health Care Ombudsman and Bill of Rights
Curriculum Design for Public Education Programs
- “Parent Ambassador Training – Early Childhood Intervention Café” – Advocates for Justice and Education
- “She the People Politics Camp” – Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation, National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Capital Area
- Shea Yeleen, Inc. – research for the CEO’s participation in President Obama’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa
- Participant Action Research – SPACES in Action
- “Young Athletes Program” – Special Olympics DC)
- “Stakeholder Learning Community” – George Washington University Milken School for Public Health, Center for Health and Health Care in Schools
- Cohort Member, 2GETHER INTERNATIONAL (Disability Entrepreneur Start Up Incubator)
- Maternal and Child Health LEND Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison – Waisman University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
- Parent Support Specialist, Advocates for Justice and Education
- Diversity Scholar Fellow, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
- Community Organizing Training Program (COTP) Fellow, Innovate Public Schools
- 2019 DC Advocacy Partners Trainee, Institute for Educational Leadership
- Early Childhood Liaison Consultant, Special Olympics District of Columbia
- Seasonal Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, M-NCPPC (Capitol Area)
- Parent Member, School Based Mental Health Coordinating Council, DC Department of Behavioral Health (DBH)
- Parent Cabinet Member for Chancellor Wilson SY2017-18, District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS)
- Ward 4 Representative on the Parent Advisory Committee, My School DC, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)
- National Advisory Council Member, The Georgetown University National Center of Cultural Competency
- Consumer Advisory Committee Member, Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities
- “Dr. Oruh is incredibly passionate and brings that enthusiasm to her work and her professional relationships. She has shared insights and suggestions that have improved our processes and products, enabling us to better serve and support the residents of DC. Dr. Oruh has significant relevant experience in community engagement, program development, and advocacy. We are lucky to be able to benefit from our collaboration with her.” -Olga Acosta Price, Center for Health and Health Care in Schools
- “Chioma has been essential in helping us both develop strategic plans to incorporate families in our work on school behavioral health and undertaking the practical application of these plans.” – Linda Sheriff, Center for Health and Health Care in Schools