In honor of Black History Month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is hosting a virtual roundtable featuring speakers with lived experience, community leaders, and practitioners to discuss behavioral health challenges in Black communities. Through personal stories and innovative programs, speakers will highlight the often untapped cultural resources that lessen the burden of disease and promote resiliency. This roundtable will showcase unity among community in celebration of culture and history.
The event was also shared on Facebook Live at fb.com/nned.net and closed captioning was available through Zoom.
Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon
Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon is currently Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She previously served as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and served in this role for six years. Prior positions held at DMHAS include Deputy Commissioner, Senior Policy Advisor and Director of the department’s Office of Multicultural Healthcare Equity. In her role as Commissioner, Dr. Delphin-Rittmon was committed to promoting recovery oriented, integrated, and culturally responsive services and systems that foster dignity, respect, and meaningful community inclusion.
Dr. Larke N. Huang
Director, Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
Larke Nahme Huang, Ph.D., is a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use and Director of the Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE). She is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked at the interface of policy, research and practice in behavioral health for nearly 35 years. As the Director of OBHE, Dr. Huang provides leadership to advance equity and eliminate disparities in behavioral health for underserved, minoritized communities and to ensure an equity agenda in SAMHSA programs and policies. She implements innovative efforts to advance health equity based on metrics of access, quality and outcomes of care for underserved, diverse populations, elevating a focus on strengthening community-level efforts and the consideration of social determinants of health.
Public Health Analyst, Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
Lisa Parker, MHS, CPHE, is a member of SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity. She is a public health analyst with a focus on harm reduction, substance use, recovery, and community engagement. Parker received her master’s in human services, with a concentration in human development. She is a Certified Public Health Educator, Certified Mental Health Coach and Advocate, and Certified Anger Management Specialist. She is also a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Certified Behavioral Health Intervention Master trainer.
Shaniya N. Harris
Shaniya N. Harris is a worship leader at New Mt. Sinai Worship Center, a photographer, and a baker. She is the oldest sister of 3 in her multi-talented family of singing and musical performers. Shaniya has been a featured soloist performing around the State of Maryland. She was a featured member of “The Singing Sensations“ choir where she performed at various community events with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In August of 2018, Shaniya’s life changed when she was diagnosed with a rare illness called “chiari malformation“ which required emergency brain surgery. It limited her abilities and required her to relearn many normal activities, however, since her diagnosis and recovery Shaniya has taken every opportunity to honor God with her gifts/talents and hopes to travel the world, singing and pointing others to Christ with her testimony.
Brandon J. Johnson
Public Health Advisor, Suicide Prevention Branch
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration
Brandon J. Johnson, M.H.S., MCHES is a tireless advocate for positive mental health and suicide prevention services for youth and adults across the country and within the local community of Baltimore, MD. He is a subject matter expert in suicide prevention, with a particular focus on suicide prevention planning and suicide prevention strategies for Black youth. Currently, he serves as a Public Health Advisor at the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the Suicide Prevention Branch at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role, Brandon serves as a Government Project Officer (GPO) for various suicide prevention grant programs that target youth, adults, and health care systems.
Rev. Dr. Que English
Director, Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
U.S. Department and Health and Human Services
Rev. Dr. Que English serves as the Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department and Health and Human Services (HHS) and works closely with the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The HHS Center’s core focus areas include addressing COVID-19, maternal health, mental health in youth, suicide prevention, and substance use disorder inclusive of overdose prevention. Working with the Operating Divisions housed within HHS like the CDC and offices like the Administration for Children and Families, Rev. Dr. English and the Center seek to address the priorities identified by the Biden-Harris Administration. She is also the Founder and past President of Not On My Watch, an organization formed to combat human trafficking and domestic violence through education, training and community and policy advocacy.
Founder, Choose Healthy Life
Debra Fraser-Howze is the Founder of Choose Healthy Life, a non-profit organization focused on establishing a sustainable, scalable and transferable approach to address public health disparities through the Black Church. Ms. Fraser-Howze founded Choose Healthy Life in October 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic after seeing the disproportionate death and inequitable health impact it was having on the Black community. She saw an opportunity to bring faith and medicine together by establishing a trusted health workforce within the Black church to connect hard-to-reach and underserved communities on the ground to much needed health services. Recognized for more than three decades of global leadership to communities of color regarding teenage pregnancy, social welfare, and HIV and AIDS, Ms. Fraser-Howze advised two U.S. Presidents while serving on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS from 1995-2001.
Dr. Ee’a Jones
Licensed Professional Counselor, Peaceful Living Counseling and Consulting Services
Dr. Ee’a Jones has worked in the mental health field for over 30 years with children, adolescents, adults, and families. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Texas and Georgia; she is also a LPC Supervisor in Texas. She has a BS in Psychology, a MA in Counseling, and a PhD in Organizational Psychology. She works as a Performance Improvement Specialist and is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Dr. Jones also has a private practice, Peaceful Living Counseling and Consulting Services, in Sugar Land, TX. She is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, and serves in the Gamma Phi Sigma Alumnae Chapter in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Maria A. Lumpkin
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives & Chief Transformation Office
Dr. Maria A. Lumpkin is a higher education strategist, diversity educator, and disparity disruptor. As an innovative higher education executive, transformative leader, and passionate educator, she currently serves as the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives & Chief Transformation Office at Stillman College; and as a professor in the Higher Education Leadership program at Clark Atlanta University. Dr. Lumpkin served as the youngest and first female alumna to serve as interim president of Saint Augustine’s University (SAU). In addition to the many leadership roles that she has held, she serves her community as an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Magnolia (GA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and a triple graduate of national leadership programs including Leadership Macon (GA) in 2004, Leadership Georgia in 2006, and Leadership Women Americain 2015.
Behavioral Health and Human Services Professional
Carlos Mackall, LMSW is a Behavioral Health and Human Services professional with more than 15 years of experience in providing services to individuals experiencing mental health and/or substance use disorder (SUD) challenges. He has held senior and executive leadership positions with oversight of crisis response programs that have included: crisis stabilization services for inpatient, sub-acute, residential, and outpatient. Carlos sits on the board of Psychology for the University of Wilmington and is an alumnus of Leadership Delaware. Carlos participated in the creation of the 988 workbook that supports all 50 states with the roll out and delivery of mental health and substance use disorder services.
Government Project Officer, Mental Health Promotion Branch
Center for Mental Health Services
Jocelyn Route has over 14 years of experience in working in the Mental Health field and proudly serves as a Government Project Officer in the Center for Mental Health Services in the Mental Health Promotion Branch. Mrs. Route is a person with lived experience in multiple systems of care and truly works to ensure that underserved black women and girls are celebrated and participate in holistic wellness so they can live full lives. Mrs. Jocelyn Route holds a Master of Social Work, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Howard University. Mrs. Route serves her community in Prince George’s County, MD as an elected Council Member and was recently appointed as the Second Treasurer for the National Black Caucus-Local Elected Officials. Jocelyn is a proud Life Member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated where she leads the Eta Iota Sigma chapter as Basileus. Jocelyn Route enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her children who motivate her to keep striving.
Wilfredo (Wil) Torriente
Program Manager, Responder Program
Saint Agnes Hospital
Wilfredo (Wil) Torriente is a Certified Community Health Worker in the State of Maryland with more than 29 years of lived experience with Substance Use Disorder and more than 7 years of uninterrupted recovery. He is a recent graduate of Walden University, Bachelor of Science in Public Health (Summa Cum Laude), and is pursuing a Masters in Healthcare Administration. Wil is currently employed as the Program Manager for the Saint Agnes Hospital’s Responder Program in Baltimore City. The Hospital Responder Program is a violence intervention program that implements strategies to reduce violence, intervene in scenarios of retaliation, and support access to wrap around services offered by the hospital and community partners. Wil is well known in the community and dedicated to serving others and provides direct services to at-risk and high-risk community members through education, advocacy, and linkage to the appropriate resources for survivors of violence and their families.
Dr. Billina Shaw
Senior Medical Advisor, Center for Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Dr. Billina Shaw is a Senior Medical Advisor within the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She is triple board certified in the areas of child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry and addiction medicine. At SAMHSA, some of her areas of focus include serving as a liaison to the 988 and Behavioral Health Crisis Coordinating Office, working on the Black Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative, directing the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee, and Center activities around the Behavioral Health Impacts of Long COVID.
2021 National Survey of Drug Use and Health
The recently released 2021 National Survey of Drug Use and Health provides nationally representative data on mental health, substance use, and associated treatment among individuals aged 12 or older in the United States. For the first time, the report disaggregates selected data by race, ethnicity, and age group.
Religion and Mental Health in Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations: A Review of the Literature This literature review by Nguyen (2020) discusses religiosity in older adult Black and Latino Americans and examines research on the relationship between religion and mental health.
The Role of the Church in Improving Mental Wellness in the African American Community
Armstrong (2021) highlights the connection between faith and the emotional wellbeing of African Americans. The article also discusses the role of historical adversity in mental health outcomes for this population and addresses ways the church can foster mental wellness.
The Opioid Crisis and the Black/African American Population: An Urgent Issue
This issue brief provides an overview of the contextual factors influencing opioid misuse and opioid use disorder in Black/African American communities, highlights outreach and engagement strategies for prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions, and illustrates the importance of ongoing community voice and leadership in addressing the opioid crisis.
Black Youth Suicide: Investigation of Current Trends and Precipitating Circumstances
A study conducted by Sheftall et al. (2021) looking at trends in suicide among Black youth in the United States.
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)
A national network of local crisis centers offering 24/7 free and confidential support to individuals experiencing suicide or mental health crises.
African American Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (AABH CoE)
A SAMHSA-funded Center aimed at cultural and practical transformation of behavioral health systems; intervention, treatment, and recovery support practices; training and support for the professional and non-professional workforce; and the systems of education, training, and technical assistance to improve behavioral health and eliminate disparities in the African American population. Its academic home is the National Center for Primary Care at Morehouse School of Medicine.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities Center for Excellence in Behavioral Health (HBCU-CFE)
A SAMHSA-funded program that recruits students to behavioral health careers, offers training, and prepares them for advanced degrees in the field to address mental and substance use disorders.
Brother, You’re on My Mind Toolkit
A toolkit by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) that provides the Omega Psi Phi chapters with the materials needed to educate fellow fraternity brothers and community members on depression and stress in African American men. Other organizations, such as nonprofits, churches, youth groups, and retirement homes, are invited to use toolkit materials as desired to educate African American families on mental health.
The Economic Burden of Mental Health Inequities in the United States Report
A study released by the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine illuminating the cost of mental health inequities between 2016-2020.
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