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NAMI 2009 National Convention: "Creating a Healthy Future For Us All"

Preliminary Schedule of Events

Wednesday, July 8

8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Voting for the NAMI Board of Directors

(Voting is by credentialed affiliate representatives only.)

8:30 am – 2:30 pm Exhibit Hall and NAMILand Open
8:30 am – 5:00 pm Convention Registration Open
8:30am – 9:30am

Research Plenary


Dialectical behavior therapy is a treatment approach that has revolutionized treatment for chronically suicidal individuals and people with borderline personality disorder.  It is an integration of two traditions – the behavior and cognitive-behavioral therapy tradition and the mindfulness tradition that comes out of various spiritual practices, including Zen Buddhism and contemplative Christian practices.  NAMI is proud to have the founder of dialectical behavior therapy here to explain it to us.

Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, University of Washington, and director, Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics, Seattle, WA

9:45am – 10:45am

Health and Wellness Plenary

Metabolic syndrome – a set of risk factors that includes obesity, hypertension, and unhealthy lipid levels – can lead to heart disease and/or diabetes.  Research has shown that some psychiatric illnesses tend to predispose patients to metabolic syndrome, and it is considered a major risk factor in depression and other mental illnesses.  Some psychiatric medications can also heighten susceptibility to metabolic syndrome.  This presentation will present the latest scientific research into the relationship between metabolic syndrome and psychiatric illness, its impact on the lives and lifespan of people with mental illness, and what we can do to prevent it.

John W. Newcomer, M.D., medical director, Center for Clinical Studies, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Mental Illness - like no other illness - is greatly dependent on the cultural competency of all who work with the consumer and the family; from the initial assessment, to treatment, to support and recovery.  It is a vital component of health and wellness. 

Sergio Aguilar Gaxiola, M.D., Professor of Internal Medicine, Director Center for Reducing Health Disparities, UC Davis School of Medicine, Sacramento, CA

11:00am – 12:30pm

Symposia (Group 1 – Six Concurrent Sessions)

Promoting Employment and Financial Stability During Tough Economic Times
The nation’s recent economic challenges have been devastating for individuals with mental illness who are living in poverty.  Helping people reach their employment goals is critical for both their financial stability and their self-esteem.  National experts will translate employment research into practical ways that we can increase employment for people living with mental illness.  A lively discussion will highlight successful programs from around the country.  Treatment works.  Recovery is a reality.  People with mental illness don't have to live in poverty!

Angela Kimball, director, State Policy, NAMI National, Portland, OR

Martin Gerry, executive managing director, Institute on Economic Empowerment, NISH, Vienna, VA

Robert Drake, M.D., professor of psychiatry,New Hampshire-Darmuth Psychiatric Research Center, Hanover, NH 

Suzanne Clifford, member, NAMI National Board of Directors, Indianapolis, IN

The Lionel Aldridge Award will be presented during this session.

Arts & Recovery
This year the always popular art symposium will showcase three talented individuals who use the arts to educate others about mental health issues as well as for their own personal recovery.  Among the three presenters are two accomplished musicians and a published writer. Part presentation, part performance, you will find this seminar enjoyable and enlightening whether you are a family member, consumer or provider.  Time will be allotted for your participation: questions and answers and for sharing your own talents.

Elizabeth Schaefer, Ph.D, author, NAMI Santa Clara County, Hayward, CA

Landon Scranton, singer/songwriter, NAMI Kern County Riverside, CA

Nancy Thomas, M.Ed, executive director, Alameda County Network of Mental Health Clients, Oakland, CA

Moderator:  Gayle Bluebird, R.N., coordinator, Altered States of the Arts, Alachua County, Florida NAMI, Gainesville, FL     

Housing First!
Over the past decade, permanent  supportive housing has emerged as an evidence-based effective practice central to achieving recovery and independence for non-elderly adults living with mental illness.  One of the most successful strategies at the local level that has helped promote expansion of permanent  supportive housing is “housing first” – placing consumers in integrated housing and building individualized services around the tenant to help them keep their housing over the long-term.  This symposium will outline the elements inherent in  supportive housing and replicating successful housing first strategies that can be replicated in your  community.

Carol Wilkins, Director of Intergovernmental Policy, Corporation for Supportive Housing,Oakland, CA

  Andrew Sperling , director of federal legislative affairs, NAMI National, Arlington, VA

The Phillip and Sarah Francoeur will be presented during this session.

New Insights About the Brain
Dr. Jill Taylor, author and the Singing Scientist, will discuss her story of recovery from a brain trauma. Studies about the brain's right & left hemispheres will be reviewed.  Attendees will learn strategies for getting our brains to do what we want them to do.  A discussion will follow on the role of healthcare professionals and loved ones in the recovery process.

Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D., author and the Singing Scientist, Bloomington, IN

Changing the World: 
Developing Welcoming Integrated Systems of Care for Individuals and Families with Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Disorders
Individuals with co-occurring disorders are associated with poor outcomes and high costs throughout the service system – yet they have been traditionally regarded as misfits rather than priorities within all systems of care.  This presentation reviews examples of difficulties faced by individuals with co-occurring psychiatric and substance disorders in public and private settings, and identifies research-based principles of successful treatment interventions – interventions that have proved successful in a variety of settings.  We will also offer strategies for the resolution of these difficulties within the system of care through the development of a comprehensive, continuous, integrated system of care for psychiatric and substance disorders that maximizes the use of all existing resources to initiate integrated treatment.

Kenneth Minkoff, M.D., clinical assistant professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA

Stirring the Mix of Recovery and Reform: Where Are Department of
Veterans Affairs Mental Health Programs in Mid-2009? 
Since 2005, the VA has publicly embraced new principles established by the 2003 New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.   The Commission's hallmark was to advance "recovery" as a bedrock foundation to reform care of people with heretofore-described "chronic" mental illnesses.  Given the growing realization that mental health (including PTSD, depression, family dissolution and suicidal ideation) may be the true legacy residual of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the VA has scaled up recruitment and employment of mental health professionals.  Since 2006 VA has hired over 4,000 new mental health practitioners to deal with growing demands, and more new hires are planned.  In late 2008, VA issued a directive to all VA health care facilities to order a significant reconstruction of VA mental health programs, establishing scores of new approaches (including an unprecedented suicide prevention initiative) to help veterans transition, reintegrate and recover.  Given that Congress has finally enacted the Wellstone mental health parity law to increase private insurance coverage for mental health care, VA faces its own challenge to cement a version of mental health "parity" within VA's programs, while concentrating to embed recovery as a guidepost for reform.          

This symposium will explore these issues of importance to veterans, update the status of VA's efforts toward both reform and recovery, and discuss remaining challenges.

Ira Katz, M.D., director, Office of VA Mental Health, Washington, D.C.

Antonette Zeiss, Ph.D., deputy director, Office of VA Mental Health, Washington, D.C.

Paula Schnurr, Ph.D., deputy director, VA National Center on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Hanover, NH

Joy Ilem. assistant national legislative director, Disabled American Veterans, Washington, D.C. 

12:30pm - 2:00pm Lunch Break (On Your Own)
1:00pm - 2:00pm Poster Session
1:00pm - 2:00pm

Open Dialogue:  Review and Discussion of the Proceedings of NAMI’s American Indian and Alaska Native Listening Session

Moderator: Marin Swesey

2:15pm - 3:45pm

Symposia (Group 2 – Five Concurrent Sessions)

Below the Neck:  Wellness Strategies for Cardiac Prevention
NAMI members often face increased medical risks. Sometimes we are so focused on treatment for our mental health issues that we forget our heads are attached to our bodies. We need to consider what goes on below the neck and make good physical health a priority in our lives.  This symposium will bring together consumers and researchers who are working to find ways to solve this problem.  Nutrition, smoking cessation, exercise, and medical self advocacy will be reviewed.

The Outstanding Psychologist Award will be presented during this session.

Steve Miller, member, NAMI National Consumer Council, Council Bluffs, IA

Reason Reyes, technical assistance manager, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, San Francisco , CA

Beth Lillard, project director, Adult Tobacco Cessation Services, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center, San Francisco, CA

Marilyn Ricci, registered dietician, NAMI Connecticut, Collinsville, CT

Breaking the Cycle of Criminalization:  The Growing Role of Specialty Courts
In 2009, people with serious mental illnesses continue to be disproportionately represented in our nation’s jails and prisons.  There is growing recognition that this trend is costly, inhumane, and contrary to the public interest.   “Specialty Courts,” such as mental health courts and drug courts, and those who staff them (judges, public defenders, case managers, and others) have assumed leadership roles in efforts to break the cycle of unnecessary incarceration of people with serious mental illnesses and co-occurring  disorders and to provide linkages to treatment and supports essential to recovery.  This symposium will feature two individuals who have been at the forefront of these efforts, a prominent judge who has used his position to promote local, state, and national systems reforms and a visionary public defender who has leveraged her role with San Francisco’s Behavioral Health Court to facilitate employment and other vital services for individuals with mental illnesses who are referred to the court. 

Judge Stephen Manley, Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County, San Jose, CA

Jennifer Johnson, Esq., attorney, San Francisco Office of the Public Defender, San Francisco, CA

The Sam Cochran Criminal Justice Award will be presented during this symposium.

Systems Reform ~ Expanding Home and Community-Based Services for Children and Adolescents Living with Mental Illness
In too many communities around the country, children and adolescents with mental illnesses are being served in restrictive settings rather than their homes and communities.  Why?  Often because there is a lack of effective home and community-based services, despite the fact that research shows better outcomes are often achieved with these interventions.  In several states and communities around the country, advocacy has led to the availability of a broader array of services for children and adolescents, with a focus on early identification and intervention.  This session will explore strategies for systems reform to help bring a broader array of effective mental health services and supports to communities for children and their families.

Alice Bussiere, staff attorney, Youth Law Center, San Francisco

Respondent:  Sue Abderholden, executive director, NAMI Minnesota

Evidence-based Practices: Balancing Fidelity and Adaptation Needs in Multicultural Mental Health
One of the challenges we face in providing quality treatment and programs is how to effectively balance program fidelity and adaptation. Fidelity is essential to guarantee our program is effective and we may fear that changes to the program may affect its effectiveness.  At the same time, we must recognize that one size does not fit all and that there may be some instances where adaptation is needed to have a better impact. This symposium will explore fidelity and adaptation issues in multicultural mental health and highlight successful cultural adaptations to existing evidence based practices.

Rachel Guerrero, L.C.S.W., chief, Office of Multicultural Services, California State Department of Mental Health, Sacramento, CA

Rick Ybarra, M.A., program officer, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, Austin, TX

The Multicultural Outreach will be presented during this session

NAMI Connection: Realizing the Vision of Nationwide Consumer Support
The NAMI Connection Recovery Support Program is in its third and final rollout year.  Many state organizations are now launching and conducting the program on their own, and have identified effective methods and best practices which have spelled continuing program success.  This symposium will highlight what a number of states and affiliates are doing to solidify and expand this initiative. Participants will learn about these best practices, catch up on program updates, and hear personal accounts of program progress from Connection volunteers including facilitators, trainers and state and local leadership.  These presentations will illuminate a large and growing body of knowledge about how this program is affecting individual lives and the ways it is best serving local communities.

Best Practices in the Treatment of Schizophrenia
The program will focus on assuring that best practices are available for persons with serious mental illnesses. These include what advocates can do by working with mental health providers, foundations, businesses and government. Currently recognized best practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy, family psycho-education, and various innovative approaches to making improvements for people with mental illness in the criminal justice system will be addressed. New therapeutic targets in mental illness, such as cognition, negative symptoms, and promising pharmacological and psychosocial approaches will be highlighted. Also, the importance of consumer and family involvement and keeping the focus on recovery as we maximize application of best practices will be stressed. Finally there will be an overview of the BeST Center, a recently established initiative which has the mission of making identified best practices available to people with mental illness and their families.

Stephen Marder, M.D., professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Mark Munetz, M.D., professor of psychiatry, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown, OH

Suzanne Clifford, member, NAMI  National Board of Directors, Indianapolis, IN

Moderator:  Fred Frese, Ph.D., member, NAMI National Board of Directors, Hudson, OH


2:30pm - 5:30pm

Salud mental y disparidades de tratamiento en la comunidad latina 
(This session will be presented in Spanish.)

Este taller esta diseñado para brindar información sobre la importancia del liderazgo hispano en la lucha por mejorar el acceso y la calidad de los servicios de salud mental para la comunidad latina. Se ofrecerá información sobre los estudios científicos más recientes y las herramientas de abogacía que se pueden utilizar para mejorar estos servicios. Además, se ofrecerá un ejemplo de abogacía e información sobre la ley 63 de California

Sergio Aguilar, Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D., professor of internal medicine and cirector, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis

HenryAcosta, M.A., M.S.W., L.S.W., executive director, National Resource Center for Hispanic Mental Health, Mercerville, NJ

Juan Pérez, vice presidente, NAMI en Español Santa Clara County, NAMI Santa Clara County, Campbell, CA

Moderador: Ana Ferrara, coordinadora, De Familia a Familia, NAMI Nacional, Arlington, VA   

4:00pm – 5:15pm

Workshops Group One


Cognitive Therapy for Schizophrenia, Psychosis, and Family Involvement




The Role of Certified Peer Specialists in Pennsylvania’s State Hospital System




The Recovery Learning Community:  A Win-Win Partnership with Consumers, Family Members, and Providers 




Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Mental Health:  Sexual and Gender Minority Issues




Criminal Justice Advocacy: Tools to Build Partnerships and Change Systems  




When Depression Hits Home:  Coping with Depression as a Couple




Hard Questions on Faith and Mental Illness:  A Multi-faith Panel Responds




Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid




Results Worth Striving For




The National Campaign to Promote Social Inclusion of Young Adults with Mental Illness




Social Security Ticket to Work




Stakeholder Perspectives on Tasers and Less Lethal Weapons




Becoming Tobacco-free for Recovery:  Consumer & Provider Perspectives on Smoking Cessation




From the Brain to the Brush Stroke:  Harnessing the Power of the Arts in Treating Mental Illness




Making Informed Decisions:  Tools for Shared Decision-making in Mental Health




Quality of Life in Older Adults with Schizophrenia:  A How-to for Conducting Collaborative Research with a University


Helping Your Doctor to Listen:  A User’s Guide to Getting What You Need




Family-to-Family Master Class

4:00pm – 7:00pm

Exhibit Hall and NAMILand Open

6:30pm – 8:00pm Borderline Personality Disorder Support Group
7:00pm – 8:30pm NAMI Connection Support Group
8:00pm – 9:30pm

IOOV (In Our Own Voice) Demonstration

8:00pm – 9:30pm

Screening:  The Soloist  

The Rona and Ken Purdy Award will be presented during this session.


contact Connie Schantz or (703) 524-7600

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