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    Disparities conference addresses behavioral health, service personnel needs
    Baltimore, MD (Oct. 28, 2015) – Today’s 12th Annual Maryland Health Disparities Conference served as a gathering to address disparities for Maryland citizens in the field of behavioral health.  
    The conference, held at Martin’s West in Baltimore, was sponsored by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and was co-sponsored by the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration’s Office of Workforce Development and Training and the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health, Maryland Center for Health Equity. This year’s theme was “Health is a State of Mind:  Addressing Behavioral Health Disparities.” 
    “This year’s conference highlighted successful, innovative initiatives in the state and created a platform for discussion of how to best meet the behavioral health needs of Maryland’s diverse communities,” said Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Van T. Mitchell. 
    More than 400 people registered for today’s conference. Speakers and panelists included Secretary Mitchell; Minority Health and Health Disparities Acting Director Arlee Wallace; Maryland Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam; Dr. Annelle B. Primm, MD, MPH, senior psychiatrist advisor of Urban Behavioral Associates; Dr. Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Human Services; and Dr. Stephen Thomas, director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity, School of Public Health of the University of Maryland. 
    Dr. Brian D. Smedley, executive director of the National Collaborative for Health Equity, is the 2015 recipient of the Annual Shirley Nathan-Pulliam Health Equity Award and delivered the keynote address. Additional conference topics focused on the behavioral health needs of Maryland’s Service Members & Veterans, mental health first aid, recognition and prevention strategies in minority communities, and community-based initiatives. 
    The annual statewide conference brings together local health departments; State and local governments; State-funded organizations; elected officials; service personnel; health care providers; substance abuse counselors; law enforcement and judicial representatives; and a host of representatives from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to collaborate on ways to ensure health equity for all Marylanders.
    The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the state government agency that protects Maryland’s public health and also works to help Marylanders make better health decisions for better health outcomes. Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MarylandDHMH and www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH.