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Judy and Dennis Shepard lived the nightmare of a hate crime. Their son, Matthew, died following a brutal attack determined by authorities to be a hate crime. Judy Shepard keeps Matthew's spirit alive in the poignant messages she has been delivering about her personal experience to audiences for more than a decade. As a keynote speaker at the ACA Conference in Charlotte, NC March 19-23, 2009, she will share here message about what professional counselors can do to help make our communities and our schools safer for everyone, regardless of their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.
Developing a climate of access, equity, and excellence in education for all students is the topic of keynote speaker C. Adolfo Bermeo, PhD, Senior Scholar for The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education. Dr. Bermeo works with both state and national organizations committed to increasing access to higher education for historically underrepresented first-generation and low-income students. In the K-12 arena, he has worked closely with the Los Angeles Achievement Council to provide counselors and other school officials with strategies for achieving a climate conducive to success.
Dr. Bermeo, Ms. Shepard, and a host of other experts from all counseling settings and professional specialty areas will present their current work, insightful case studies and practical techniques at the ACA Conference & Exposition, as event co-sponsored by the North Carolina Counseling Association.
House and Senate negotiators have reportedly reached an agreement on a final version of legislation (H.R. 1424, S. 558) that would require most private sector health plans to provide parity of insurance coverage for mental and addictive disorder services. Lawmakers are still working out how to pay for the legislation, but have apparently resolved differences on other aspects of the parity legislation. Advocates are pushing for enactment of the legislation this year, to avoid having the issue become mired in broader discussions about the US health care system.
The agreement reached on the parity legislation was a trade-off. The agreement reportedly includes language requiring health plans to cover out-of-network mental and addictive disorder services at parity with coverage for other types of out-of-network care. However, the agreement apparently will not include language, which had been included in the House-passed version of the legislation, to require coverage of all DSM diagnoses.
ACA, AMHCA, and other mental health and addictive disorder advocacy organizations are encouraging their members to call their Senators and Representative to ask them to pass mental health parity legislation in July. Health plans should no longer be allowed to provide sub-par coverage for mental, emotional, and addictive disorders, and enactment of federal parity legislation should not be put off any longer.
All ACA and AMHCA members, and others interested in this issue, are urged to call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to their Members of Congress. Please be sure to leave your name and address with the staff member to make it clear that you are a constituent.
Using 50 years of US Census Bureau data, Princeton University doctoral student and researcher Christine Percheski reports in the June American Sociological Review that women's employment levels have increased over time, not decreased as reflected in recent "opting out" news stories in the popular media. Her findings suggest that young professional women are participating in full-time employment more now than at any time in the past century.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older -- about one in four adults -- suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.
The 26-member ACA Council of Presidents and Region Chairs (COPARC) will meet July 24-26 in Alexandria, Virginia to address matters of importance to the association, it's constituent organizations and the counseling profession. COPARC is composed of division presidents, region chairs and the ACA President, President-Elect and Executive Director. It's primary function is to promote intra- and inter-organizational collaboration and cooperation and to provide input to the overall strategic planning process for the future of the association.
Relevant Research: Study Reports Successful Latino Student Programs in 12 New York, Texas and California Colleges
The Office of Policy and Research of Excelencia in Education has just released a report, Modeling Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Campus Programs That Work With Latino Students that profiles 12 two- and four-year institutions that are enjoying an unusually high level of success recruiting, retaining and graduating Hispanic students. Consistent throughout the profiles of the dozen institutional programs are references to advising, counseling, mentoring and outreach activities.
Thinking about acquiring a professional book for your summer vacation reading. Why not one of the ten best selling ACA titles from the past year? Following (in rank order) are the ACA's most popular books for the past 12 months:
The Disney Minnie Grants, managed by Youth Service America program, supporting youth led service projects implemented at the community level are back for another round of funding. Projects can address the environment, disaster relief, public health and awareness, community education, hunger, literacy or any issue that participating youth identify as a community need. Maximum Award: $500. Eligibility: Educators, older youth (15-25), youth-leaders, and youth-serving organizations. Application deadline: August 30, 2008.
ACA's monthly publication, Counseling Today has won six Communications Concepts APEX Awards for Publication Excellence and three Magnum Opus Publication Management Awards. Submissions were reviewed by judges from the Missouri School of Journalism and other leaders in the custom publishing industry. The awards include:
Staff writer Angie Kennedy received the APEX Award in Health & Medical Writing for her 2007 article "Bound With Pink Ribbons" and Magnum Opus in the Best How-To Article category for her October, 2007 story "Silent Sorrow."
Graphic Designer Carlos Soto earned an APEX Award for Magapaper & Newspaper Design and Layout for the January, 2008 edition and Magnun Opus in the Best Feature Design category for the April 2007 feature "Calling for a Shift in Strategy."
Editor Jonathan Rollins won the APEX Award for Feature Writing for the September 2007 article "Students Lacking Education on Healthy Relationships" and a Silver Award from Magnum Opus in Best News Story category for "Addictions Don't Have Age Preference" in October, 2007 edition.
Counselors working with postsecondary-bound students with disabilities will find the HEATH Resource Center at George Washington University a valuable information tool. This online clearinghouse has information for students with disabilities on educational disability support services, policies, procedures, adaptations, accessing college or university campuses, career-technical schools, and other postsecondary training entities.
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