Moving from Good to Great through
Advocacy • Cultural Competence • Outreach
St. Louis, MO March 28-30, 2008
For the first conference of its kind, leaders of multicultural efforts from NAMI state organizations and affiliates around the country gathered in late March for a weekend leadership development conference in
The conference began Friday evening with presenters Majose Carrasco, M.P.A.; Clarence Jordan, M.B.A., M.S.; and Altha Stewart, M.D. The session provided an overview of the skills and expertise represented at the conference as well as an update on NAMI National’s major initiatives. Special guest Dr. Altha Stewart offered a dynamic and motivating synopsis of pressing issues in multicultural mental health and set the tone for an enthusiastic weekend.
Angela Kimball, NAMI National's director of state policy, started the day with an overview of how to become a successful advocate. Within this session was plenty of time for conference attendees to dialogue and practice new skills.
Cultural competence—the ability to adapt programs and services to meet the cultural context of different communities—is instrumental in helping NAMI become a diverse organization. This session focused on developing organizational readiness and provided concrete suggestions for NAMI state organizations and local affiliates to follow.
Successfully reaching out to and engaging diverse communities requires a carefully considered plan of action and implementation. This session provided strategies for outreach planning and implementation. Clarence Jordan, M.B.A., M.S., member of the NAMI National Board of Directors, and Martha Silva, director of NAMI New Jersey En Español, provided conference attendees with empowering and informative models of their past and current outreach efforts with NAMI Tennessee and NAMI New Jersey.
Seasoned advocate Ellen Awai of NAMI Hawaii shared her experience as a community advocate and provided helpful recommendations for NAMI consumers and families. Majose Carrasco, M.P.A., shared information focusing on the importance of coalition building in grassroots advocacy efforts.
The "M" Word: Reclaiming the Power of Marketing through Marketing Made Easy
In this interactive workshop, Keris Myrick, M.B.A., Ph.D., provided participants with social marketing tools to help NAMI state organizations and local affiliates promote their values, mission, and multicultural outreach efforts.
Many NAMI state organizations and local affiliates have embarked on multicultural outreach efforts and have expertise to share from the lessons learned in this experience. This session showcased work done at the state and affiliate levels. Maxine Cunningham presented the efforts of NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore as an example of integrating outreach efforts within all planning and activities. Ron Morton, M.A., of NAMI Knoxville, shared invaluable knowledge and personal experience from being part of and working within Native American communities. He also shared examples from his work with NAMI Tennessee to reach out to this population.
Cultural competence efforts require leadership support and buy-in. This session focused on key elements of organizational readiness, provided by Fred Sandoval, M.P.A., president of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association. He highlighted important steps for building support and NAMI San Diego’s efforts to become a culturally competent organization.
In the final session of the conference, NAMI Regional Leadership Consultant Valerie Hunter, M.A., M.F.T., O.R.T., provided a colorful, interactive, and productive session in which participants worked together and, utilizing information gained throughout the weekend, created meaningful action plans to take home to their NAMI state organization or local affiliate.
Throughout the conference, participants expressed a desire to provide feedback to NAMI National. After Valerie Hunter’s two-hour action planning session, the group engaged in an impromptu, one-hour session facilitated by Clarence Jordan, member of the NAMI National Board of Directors, and Fred Sandoval, past First Vice President, where they provided input and feedback for NAMI National. This feedback will be made available soon. Check back here for updates or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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