Conference Center hosts Resiliency and Hispanic Mental Health Centennial Symposium

By+hosting+speakers+from+different+educational+backgrounds%2C+resilience+as+part+of+dealing+with+this+issue+was+addressed+at+the+event.

Jose Soto

By hosting speakers from different educational backgrounds, resilience as part of dealing with this issue was addressed at the event.

Jose Soto, Staff reporter

A symposium that gathered social workers, doctors, physicians, psychologists and professors sought to inform about mental health related issues within the Hispanic community.  By hosting speakers from different educational backgrounds, resilience as part of dealing with this issue was addressed at the event.

The Centennial Symposium on Resiliency and Hispanic Mental Health took place from 9 a.m. to noon, Tuesday at the Tomas Rivera Conference Center.

Mark Lusk, professor of social work and Director of the Social Work Program at UTEP, organized the event, inviting students from psychology, social work, medicine and kinesiology along with faculty and staff.

Local physicians, licensed psychologists, drug counselors and those studying or practicing in the medical field were invited.  In total, the symposium saw 109 attendees.

“With different centennial events coming along, our department thought it was a great time to address the importance of dealing with these issues, especially with UTEP being a well-known Hispanic school,” Lusk said.

A key speaker was Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, professor of Clinical Internal Medicine at UC Davis.  Aguilar-Gaxiola is the director for the Center of Reducing Health Disparities at the university.  He focused on mental health disorders amongst Mexican-Americans and Mexican immigrants and how to develop models of convenient service.  He also spoke on taking cultural and linguistic measures to properly inform Hispanic consumers.

Edward Castañeda, psychology professor, was the only speaker from UTEP.  He spoke about issues related to prescription drugs and Parkinson’s disease.  Amelia Leony-Carrete from the Department of Psychiatry at Texas Tech spoke of social work when dealing with depression, potential suicide and trauma recovery amongst Hispanic families.

Margie Rodriguez LeSage, professor at the Michigan State University School of Social Work, addressed the importance of resilience for Hispanic women, stating that home and family environment as the key to overcome many mental health issues in our city.

The symposium, despite having small issues with their projection system, ran thoroughly and smoothly.

Jose Soto may be reached at [email protected]