Breaking the Stigma
African American Mental Health Symposium
Evolving... Silent No More
Friday October 14, 2022
8:30 AM to 4 PM
Live and online event
Valarie Cunningham, the founder and CEO of The Synergy Health Center (SHC), a 501c3 nonprofit organization, has been passionately educating, empowering, and equipping on Black mental health for almost two decades. Facilitating community conversations, highlighting areas of stigma, and rebuilding courage has been a worthy cause to champion. The mission to transform lives for generations and empower people for a lifetime continues to be her mantra. As an African American woman, announcing the fourth Breaking the Stigma: African American Mental Health Symposium (AAMHS) in partnership with Western Michigan University College of Health and Human Services still brings excitement.
Harriet A. Washington is an American writer and medical ethicist. She is the author of the book Medical Apartheid, which won the 2007 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. She has also written books on environmental racism and the erosion of informed consent in medicine.
Wesley Morgan has been counseling professionally for more than twelve years. Wesley’s goal is not to change people but to help facilitate the change they want to see. He’s willing to walk with you every step of the way even if that means getting down in the trenches with people to bring them to where they wish to be.
Jeff Cotton is the founder of Big Homies, a mentorship organization with a focus on helping at-risk youth get their lives on track for graduation and establishing successful futures. As a Community Engagement Specialist, Mr. Cotton spends most of his time speaking to youth about life choices and positive change.
J.R. Reynolds is Director of Special Initiatives at the Beyond Diversity Resource Center, which engages in anti-oppression training and organizational development. He is also the Beyond Separation Coordinator for Battle Creek Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, with particular attention to African Americans.
Margaret Uwayo completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis at Western Michigan University. She has extensive experience in early intervention in clinical settings and working with K-12 students with and without exceptional needs in school settings. She has experience working with children and families with diverse backgrounds. She is an adjunct lecturer, a clinician, and a published researcher.
Shoni Newhouse was born and raised in Southern California. She earned a B.S. in Biology, an M.A. in Pastoral Care and Counseling, and an M.A. in Professional Counseling. She is pursuing a doctorate in Public Health with emphasis on community health. Shoni is a full-time psychotherapist in Kalamazoo and mentors and tutors refugees from Eritrea and has been involved in missions trip in India, Ukraine, China, and Kenya.
Devin Willis, M.A., DTLLP, Western Michigan University. M.A. in Counseling Psychology. B.S. Applied Psychology. As a full-time graduate student and part-time mental health therapist, Devin has had the opportunity to engage in her passion towards Black mental wellness through both scholarship and practice.