updated 9/16/2010 2:16:27 AM ET 2010-09-16T06:16:27

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Head Pamela Hyde
to Deliver Keynote Speech

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 15, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Latino Behavioral Health Institute (LBHI), one of the nation's largest non-profit organizations dedicated to eliminating discrimination against Latinos in need of behavioral health services and health care, will present its 16th annual international conference, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Sept. 22 – 24, at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City, Calif.

Themed, "Advancing Latino Behavioral Health from Margin to Mainstream," the event will address contemporary issues of policy, training, research, clinical practice and education related to Latino mental health, substance abuse, health and human services. Approximately 1,000 behavioral health professionals from the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and South American countries are expected to attend. The conference will include more than 40 workshops and plenary sessions, many of which fulfill continuing education unit requirements for mental health professionals. 

This year, LBHI will honor FatherGreg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, a non-profit organization that provides at-risk youth and gang members with counseling, tutoring, employment and a variety of other services. Boyle will be recognized for his work with adolescent and adult gang members.  His nationally known approach of "jobs, not jail" is credited with moving gang members into the mainstream of American life and away from violence and crime.

The keynote address will be delivered by Pamela Hyde, JD, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Appointed to the post by President Barack Obama in 2009, Hyde's remarks will center on the current condition of behavioral health in Latinos across the U.S., particularly the U.S. government's efforts to eliminate the disparity of such services to Latino communities across the country.  She will also discuss the priorities she has established for her office, and how the priorities of the current administration impact Latinos.

  • A panel discussion exploring the integration of health, mental health, and substance abuse services in Latino communities. Panel members include Steve Mayberg, director, State of California Department of Mental Health; Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, professor of Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis; and John Viernes, director, County of Los Angeles Alcohol & Drug Program Administration.
  • "National Substance Abuse Services for Latinos," led by H. Westley Clark, director, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; and
  • "Cultural Competency Considerations in Rehabilitation," presented by Marvin J. Southard, director, L.A. County Department of Mental Health.

About the conference

The largest event of its kind in the Western United States, the LBHI annual conference seeks to provide mental health professionals with training and education tools to help them apply scientific principles to their practice, and promotes a networking environment among participants from various and diverse ethnic backgrounds.

The annual conference provides a forum for learning State-mandated clinical practices and for studying current research on behavioral health trends in Latino communities. Conference attendance has increased from 450 participants in 1995 to 1,000 in 2009. Delegates come from diverse backgrounds, states and countries, including mental health professionals, government workers involved in child and family services, researchers, and the press. The event is complemented by Folkloric music, art and decor that immerse participants in Latino cultures and traditions.

Some of the workshops and seminars provide continuing education units for physicians, social workers, psychologists and other mental health-related professionals.

Recent studies by the University of California, Davis, and the U.S. Office of Minority affairs, continue to reveal disparities in health and mental health in some populations, including Latinos.

"The issue of disparity is multi faceted," says Ambrose Rodriguez, founder and president, Latino Behavioral Health Institute. "The lack of culturally appropriate behavioral health services results in terrible emotional pain. There is also a fiscal cost to society, because mentally ill people who do not receive care will eventually use expensive emergency care or be incarcerated – and many studies have shown that emergency care and incarceration are far more expensive then proper treatment services."

The conference is sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and other human service agencies.

Pricing and Reservations

Pricing for the LBHI Sixteenth Annual Conference is $75 per day; and $200 for all three days. Attendance fees include all workshops and sessions; special events extra. A luncheon will be offered Sept. 23 with entertainment by comedy group "Gilbert Esquivel and Friends" for $25.

For a registration form, or for further information on the conference, call (818) 713-9595 or visit www.lbhi.org and click the "Registration" link.

About Latino Behavioral Health Institute

Latino Behavioral Health Institute (LBHI) is a non-profit corporation founded by its president, Ambrosio Rodriguez, M.P.A., and incorporated in 1996 (EIN No.: 93-1195514).  LBHI's mission is to enhance skills of persons interested or involved in providing behavioral health services to the Latino community.  The Institute is dedicated to eliminating discrimination against persons in need of behavioral health services, human services or health care.

LBHI accomplishes its mission by providing training, interactive and didactic education and experiential opportunities to professionals involved in human services with the Latino community.  The Institute's activities are intended for consumers, family members, professional care providers, administrators, educators, researchers and trainers.

Since its inception, LBHI has provided hands-on training in delivery of culturally competent behavioral health services to practitioners.  It has also participated in education opportunities for family members of persons requiring behavioral healthcare.

LBHI has been joined in its efforts by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), County of Los Angeles Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), County of Los Angeles Mental Health Commission (LACMHC), American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry (ASHP), the Southern California Chapter of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), College Hospital, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LACDHS), Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (LACDCFS), Pacific Clinics, the National Hispanic Consortium on Mental Health and by the United Farmworkers Foundation.

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