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March 21, 2019 community forum

THANK YOU TO our distinguished panel and ALL WHO ATTENDED

An important discussion focused on current issues, strategies, and mental health solutions for boys and men of color with emphasis on introducing innovation in mental health programming, interventions, clinical solutions, communications, and technology. We also highlighted successful regional and national campaigns and initiatives to extract best practices and solutions toward meeting the mental health needs of California’s boys and men of color. Presented by Mental Health California and the Sierra Health Foundation. Research and administrative support provided by nurse scholars from Samuel Merritt University. Breakfast refreshments generously sponsored by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA). Event location generously provided by The California Endowment, The Center for Healthy Communities, Sacramento.

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Dr. Altha J. Stewart is the first-ever African American President of the APA, and we warmly welcomed her to Sacramento. Her appearance was made possible through the coordination and generosity of UC Davis Health.

opening remarks

Special Appearance By Altha J. Stewart, M.D., President, American Psychiatric Association (2018-2019)

Altha J. Stewart, M.D. began her term as President of the American Psychiatric Association at the end of the APA Annual Meeting in May, 2018. Dr. Stewart is an associate professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Health in Justice Involved Youth at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr. Stewart has held several leadership roles at the APA, including secretary of the APA, and past president of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. Dr. Stewart previously served as Executive Director for Just Care Family Network, Memphis’ federally funded System of Care program for children with serious emotional disorders and their families. Additionally, Dr. Stewart was Director of Systems of Care for the Shelby County Office of the Public Defender. Prior to this she served as Executive Director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services funded National Leadership Council on African-American Behavioral Health. Dr. Stewart is active in several professional organizations having previously served as president of the Association of Women Psychiatrists and the Black Psychiatrists of America. Dr. Stewart holds a Doctor of Medicine from Temple University Medical School (Philadelphia, PA).


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Julio Cruz, Integrated Behavioral Health Specialist 
Sacramento Native American Health Center, Inc.

Julio Cruz is an Integrated Behavioral Health Provider at the Sacramento Native American Health Center. In his work, he collaborates with a team of primary care providers, psychiatrists, therapists, community resources, and patients to identify behavioral and social stressors that have an impact on patients’ health, utilizing a holistic approach. Before joining the center, Julio worked for the Native American Health Center in Oakland, California in the behavioral health department. Prior to receiving the opportunity to work directly with patients, Julio worked for eight years with a nonprofit organization in San Francisco, California as a manager, supervisor, and coach to a very diverse staff faced with social and personal barriers.

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Chet P. Hewitt, President & CEO 
Sierra Health Foundation

Chet P. Hewitt is President and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and The Center, a nonprofit intermediary. Since beginning his tenure at Sierra Health, Chet has worked with the foundation’s board of directors to craft a bold collective impact strategy focused on promoting health equity in underserved communities and improving the well-being of child and youth populations. Known for his willingness to take thoughtful risk, Chet has made the foundation’s connection to local communities and nonprofits the centerpiece of Sierra Health’s strategy for change. Prior to joining Sierra Health Foundation, Chet held several senior positions including Director of Alameda County’s Social Services Agency, Associate Director for the Rockefeller Foundation in New York, and Director at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco. Chet has received numerous awards for his service to children and families, and serves on several boards including Roberts Enterprise Development Fund, Public Policy Institute of California, Advance Peace and CalNonprofits.

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Dr. Michael Houston, LCSW, CEO 
Treatment and Training Consultants

Dr. Michael Houston has over 14 years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and provides real life tools and effective strategies in coping with behavioral and life issues. He brings a collaborative effort to understanding problems and conflicts, using evidence and strength-based strategies for behavioral health success. His approaches are straightforward and engaged while his therapeutic skills address crisis intervention, anger management, PTSD, anxiety, depression, ADHD, ADD, life transitions, Veterans issues, domestic violence, substance abuse, men’s issues, re-entry to the community from incarceration, and by providing linkages to helpful resources. Dr. Houston also leads “Interdependent Accountable Men” workshops, which provide a safe environment for men to discuss issues, engage in meaningful, therapeutic dialogue, and helps participants gain needed skills for successful living. Retired from the U.S. Air Force as a Biomedical Services Corps Officer, Dr. Houston is also a Doctor of Divinity with Universal Life Church in Elk Grove, California.

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Lakshmi Malroutu, Ph.D., Chief Operations Officer 
Asian Pacific Community Counseling

Dr. Lakshmi Malroutu is the COO of Asian Pacific Community Counseling, a mental health and counseling service for persons of Asian and Pacific Islander (API) descent. Formally known as “Stepping Stones”, APCC incorporated in 1977 as a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency to provide culturally and linguistically relevant outreach, prevention, education, therapy, counseling, and recovery support services. APCC is fortunate to have a multi-cultural and multilingual staff. Through this diversity, APCC is capable of serving the majority of API communities directly or with interpreters from partner agencies in Sacramento. The stigma associated with mental illness remains strong in the API community and in the larger society. Through a culturally and linguistically relevant approach, individuals and their families receive services and participate in programs that address their unique needs. This person-centered approach effectively serves clients, families, and the community while reducing the stigma associated with mental illness.


Kristene (K.N.) Smith, Founder & CEO 
Mental Health California

Kristene (K.N.) Smith is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and 20+-year communications consultant, creative director, and strategist behind successful campaigns in mental health and wellness, independent living, government, education, entertainment, and other sectors. She holds a degree in Family and Consumer Science and is recognized for her understanding of both general and multi-ethnic audiences. Her non-profit venture, Mental Health California™, is her signature community project, one that is personal considering she is a family member with lived experience. In 2018, she joined the Behavioral Health Subcommittee of the California Future Health Workforce Commission. She is nationally-certified to teach Mental Health First Aid™ and is a popular speaker and trainer for organizations including cities, counties, housing authorities, schools, universities, inpatient settings, and business districts. She is also the editor, creative director, and publisher of Mental Health California Magazine.

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Hendry Ton, M.D., M.S., Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Inclusion; Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity; Director of Education for the Center for Reducing Health Disparities; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, UC Davis Health

Dr. Hendry Ton is the Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office at UC Davis Health, Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. He serves as the Director of Education at the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities where he authored a training program to teach health care leaders how to make culturally and linguistically appropriate system changes at academic, county, and state health organizations. He is also the founding medical director of the Transcultural Wellness Center of Asian Pacific Community Counseling; a community clinic that specializes in serving the mental health needs of Sacramento’s diverse Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Dr. Ton has presented nationally on the topics of cultural competence, education, and system change and regularly receives teaching, leadership, and community awards for his work with health care professionals and underserved communities.

Joining via conference line:


Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, M.D., Ph.D., Founding Director
UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities

Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola is a Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis. He is also the Founding Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at the UC Davis Health System, and the Director of the Community Engagement Program of the UCD Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC). He is a past member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He has held several World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) advisory board and consulting appointments and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health Survey Consortium (WMH) and its Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean. He has expertise translating community-engaged research aimed at improving population health and reducing health care disparities of local underserved communities.  

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Delon Brennen, M.D., M.P.H., Chairman, International Medical and Health Initiatives Committee
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated

Dr. Delon Brennen is the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the Ministry of Health in the Bahamas. He previously headed the country’s National Health Insurance, where he led the country’s quest toward fully implementing Universal Health Coverage. Dr. Brennen is a life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated where he previously served as the District Representative for the 13th (International) District and currently serves as the International Medical and Health Initiatives Committee Chairman.

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Ms. Kelli Carrington, Director of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health

Ms. Kelli Carrington is Director of the Office of Communications and Public Liaison at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) and principal advisor to the NIMHD Director and senior staff on all communication matters concerning minority health and health disparities. As communications director, she also oversees and directs the Institute’s online communications, media relations, public affairs, and outreach programs in support of the Institute’s mission.

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Ms. Shelly Pollard, Outreach Coordinator
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health

Ms. Shelly Pollard works in the NIMHD Office of Communications and Public Liaison as the outreach coordinator and the NIMHD Insights blog editor. As the outreach coordinator, she helps strengthen NIMHD’s engagement for Brother, You’re on My Mind and is also developing a framework to expand the Institute’s outreach activities. As blog editor, Ms. Pollard works with program staff and grantees to raise national awareness of the prevalence and impact of health disparities and efforts to help reduce and eliminate those disparities.

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Daphne C. Watkins, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Michigan, School of Social Work 
Director, Young Black Men, Masculinities, and Mental Health Project

Dr. Daphne C. Watkins studies gender disparities and mental health over the adult life course using mixed methods research approaches. To date, her research has focused on understanding the social determinants of health that explain within group differences among black men; developing evidence-based strategies to improve the physical and mental health of black men; and increasing knowledge about the intersection of culture, ethnicity, age, and gender. Prior to joining the School of Social Work, Professor Watkins completed a NIMH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Social Research and a NIH career development award in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, both at the University of Michigan. In addition to her research and teaching obligations, Dr. Watkins is also the Director of the U-M Gender and Health Research Lab and the Director of the Certificate Program in Mixed Methods Research at the University of Michigan.