A mental health conference focusing on the state’s burgeoning East African community will be held on October 1 in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. It will seek to identify opportunities for addressing and overcoming stigma and negative attitudes toward mental health services within the state’s East African communities. Conference organizers plan to come up with recommendations and best practices in mental health service delivery for the community, they said in a statement announcing the conference.
Registration is free.
It will be keynoted by Saida Abdi of Boston Children’s Hospital where she is the Community Relations director of the hospital’s Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center.
The one-day conference is designed for health professionals in fields of mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment as well those in policy making positions.
The conference is organized by the Somali American Parent Association (SAPA) in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health. Conference organizers said in a statement that in addition to those who work directly in the field of mental health, physicians, nurses, social workers, case managers and general community leadership will find the content of the conference useful.
The conference will provide the latest research on adult mental health among the state’s East African communities.
ThaoMee Xiong, the director of the Center for Health Equity at the Minnesota Department of Health will also speak at the conference.
Conference organizers said at the end of the conference “a final report will be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health that identifies areas where further research is needed to form an action plan and implement next steps toward more coordinated health intervention efforts and prevention initiatives for East African communities in Minnesota.”
Registering for the conference is free and can be done at this link.
About Tom Gitaa Gitaa
Born and raised in Kenya's coastal city of Mombasa, Tom is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Mshale which has been reporting on the news and culture of African immigrants in the United States since 1995. He has a BA in Business from Metro State University and a Public Leadership Credential from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He was the original host of Talking Drum, the signature current affairs show on the African Broadcasting Network (ABN-America), which was available nationwide in the United States via the Dish Network satellite service. On the show, he interviewed Nobel laureates such as 2004 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the peace prize and heads of states. Tom has served and chaired various boards including Global Minnesota (formerly Minnesota International Center), the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has previously served as the first Black President of the Board of Directors at Books for Africa. He also serves on the boards of New Vision Foundation and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium. He has previously served two terms on the board of the United Nations Association. An avid runner, he retired from running full marathons after turning 50 and now only focuses on training for half marathons.
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