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SAPA and Minnesota Health Department to hold conference on the mental health of East Africans

Saida Abdi, Director of Community Relations at Boston Children’s Hospital Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center will keynote the Somali American Parent Association Mental Health Conference in the Twin Cities on October 1, 2015. Photo: Courtesy of Boston Children’s Hospital

ThaoMee Xiong, Director of the Center for Health Equity at the Minnesota Department of Health Center will speak at the Somali American Parent Association Mental Health Conference in the Twin Cities on October 1, 2015. Photo: Courtesy of Minnesota Housing Partnership

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.”

Registration

Registering for the conference is free and can be done at this link. [1]

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About Tom Gitaa [2]

Tom is the President and Publisher of Mshale and chair of the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC). As Mshale founder, he did a lot of the reporting during the humble beginnings of the newspaper. While he still does the occasional reporting, he now concentrates on the publishing side of the news operation.Tom was also 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 DishNetwork 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 such as the president of  The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh at State House, Banjul. Tom has previously served in the board of directors of Global Minnesota, the sixth largest World Affairs Council in the United States. He has also previously served as President of the Board of Directors of Books for Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa and. He sits on the board of the United Nations Association.