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Improving Treatment Quality through Cultural Competence, Conference Series, Year 5

Presented on: Thursday. December 02, 2010. Click on the session title to download a copy of the presentation.

Keynote Address:

Cultural and Linguistic Competence: Essential to Mental Health and Addictions Treatment


Lorna Hines-Cunningham, LCSW, ACSW


Office of Multicultural Services

Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services

State of New Jersey Department of Human Services

Elizabeth A. Conte, LPC, LCADC

Workforce Development and Training Coordinator

Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services

State of New Jersey Department of Human Services

Both cultural and linguistic competence have been identified as key elements in the provision of treatment and services within mental health and addictions. In New Jersey, both divisions have been newly aligned and in the course of this presentation, the philosophical, organizational, programmatic, policy and workforce development aspects of cultural and linguistic competence will be discussed. Participants will be provided the opportunity to understand how this concepts are implemented in the divisions. Ample time will be provided for open dialogue and discussion.

Individual Sessions:

Documenting Our Presence: Asian Immigrants and Mental Illness

Aruna Rao, MA

Associate Director


Asian Americans are a minority population who face tremendous barriers to accessing mental health services, due to stigma, lack of information and resources. This is a rapidly growing population in New Jersey and social workers need to learn about this population and their mental health.

Engaging Minority Families in Mental Health Treatment and Recovery

Ingrid Diaz MA, MSW, LCSW

Training and Consultation Specialist

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – University Behavioral Healthcare

A workshop addressing the importance and impact culture, ethnicity and race have on mental health treatment and recovery. Specifically, Asians, African Americans and Latinos will be described, along with the cultural components that may serve as impediments to treatment. Also the benefits and barriers around collaborating with families and possible intervention techniques will be discussed.

Mental Health Challenges Facing African American Youth in Urban Communities

Laverne S. Williams, CSW

Director of the PEWS Programs

Mental Health Association in New Jersey

This workshop explores strategies to overcome barriers and behavior change for African American Youth living in low income urban Communities.

Coming Out: Understanding the Multi-layer Complexities of Identity, Ethnicity, Religion, Economics and Orientation

Jhon Velasco, MA

Associate Director, Equity and Diversity Director, Center for Non Violence and Peace Initiatives

Montclair State University

This workshop will explore the multi-layered complexities as it relates to identity. The effects of the intersection of multiple identities of orientation, culture and ethnicity/race will be explored especially as they relate to violence/homophobia, mental health and the development of the self.

Improving Mental Health Service Delivery to Hispanics

Executive Director, National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health, and Deputy Director, New Jersey Mental Health, Institute, Inc.

This presentation will focus on activities by the New Jersey Mental Health Institute Inc. Changing Minds, Advancing Mental Health for Hispanics program, which includes a comprehensive literature review and analysis on Hispanic mental health issues and other research activities, family education and support, and nationwide training and technical assistance to mental health agency administrators and direct service providers on how to best attract, retain, and serve Hispanics in mental health programs. This session will also focus on the Institute’s Model Mental Health Program for Hispanics report, which includes recommended steps to increase access to and quality of mental health services for Hispanics.

Working with Arab/Muslim Americans; Cultural Competency in Mental Health Services


Raja Salloum, MSW, LSW

Arab American Mental Health Clinician

Mental Health Association of Passaic County

Presenter will give a brief overview on demographics, address misconceptions of Arabs and Muslims with a focus on being an Arab living in the United States. Participants will enhance their knowledge on best clinical practice in mental health services working with Arab/Muslim Americans.


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