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Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Texans: Annual research conference focused on mental health issues

Posted: April 16, 2013

Lorraine Walker, PhD, director of the St. David’s–CHPR

Lorraine Walker, PhD, director of the St. David’s–CHPR.

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen and keynote speaker Sam Shore

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen and keynote speaker Sam Shore.

Lynn Rew, PhD, professor at the UT Austin School of Nursing  and Michael O’Hara, PhD, professor of psychology at the  University of Iowa

Lynn Rew, PhD, professor at the UT Austin School of Nursing
and Michael O’Hara, PhD, professor of psychology at the
University of Iowa.

Dean Stuifbergen and Sue Penckofer, professor at  Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University

Dean Stuifbergen and Sue Penckofer, professor at
Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University.

Poster presentation by undergraduate Elise Nellsch

Poster presentation by undergraduate Elise Nellsch.
More than 40 posters were displayed at this year’s
research conference.

Mental illness is a serious and growing public health problem in the United States. Last year, one in five American adults ages 18 and older — or 45.6 million people — suffered from mental illness, according to a recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The nation’s mental health system, however, was able to effectively treat only about 38 percent of those affected.

This year the St. David’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research in Underserved Populations (St. David’s–CHPR) focused on the growing mental health needs of Texas residents during its annual research conference. Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Texans”featured presentations by individuals renowned for their work in mental health and research-based interventions.

Sam Shore, director of Mental Health Transformation and Behavioral Health Operations with the Texas Department of State Health Services was the keynote speaker, presenting “The State of Mental Health Challenges and Innovations in Texas.”

Shore, MSSW, LMSW, is also project director for the SAMHSA-funded Veteran’s Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery grant, a project to implement strategies and train providers for trauma-informed care and trauma-specific treatment to communities across the state. Shore has worked in the Texas public mental health system for 33 years at community and state levels, providing direct client services for inpatient and community mental health programs, directing community mental health programs, and providing training and technical assistance for the state department of mental health.

Additional speakers included:

  • Michael O’Hara, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Iowa, presenting “Perinatal Depression: How Do We Respond?”
  • Jane C. Maxwell, Ph.D., senior research scientist in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, presenting “Substance Abuse Trends: Old and New Drugs”
  • Sue Penckofer, Ph.D., R.N., professor in the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University in Chicago, presenting “The Triple Threat: Depression, Diabetes and Health Disparities”
  • Dr. Mark E. Kunik, professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, presenting “Interventions to Help Caregivers of Dementia Patients”
  • King Davis, Ph.D., professor in the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, presenting “Mental Health Under the Affordable Care Act and the Congress”

In addition to the presentations, students and faculty had an opportunity to present research results in a poster session. More than 40 posters were displayed. Click here to view the poster presentation abstracts!

Co-sponsors of the event were the Jack and Laura Lee Blanton Lectureship in Nursing; the George and Diana Sharpe Perinatal Lectureship in Nursing; Dr. Reuben R. McDaniel Jr., Henry E. Singleton Research Fellow, IC2 Institute; The McCombs Health Care Initiative and the Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Regents Chair in Health Care Management; Sigma Theta Tau International-Epsilon Theta Chapter; and the Center for Social Work Research.