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United Way of Broward County’s Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention Conference a Success

Kathleen Cannon and Rev. Peter Tokar -
Kathleen Cannon and Rev. Peter Tokar

[FORT LAUDERDALE] – More than 400 health professionals from across the region joined United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention, in collaboration with Broward Behavioral Health Coalition, Florida Department of Children and Families, FHE Health and Signature Grand, for the 7th Annual Behavioral Health Conference: The Power Of Prevention, where renowned psychologists, professors, trauma and grief specialists, DEI experts and prevention specialists provided crucial continuing education to Broward’s behavioral health professionals.

Reducing Substance Use

With this year’s event focused on the Power of Prevention in reducing substance use, the materials promoted behavioral health as a critical driver of overall wellness.  The annual conference provided a forum for participants to learn from thought leaders in behavioral health, network with industry peers, and discuss issues related to research, policy and practice. Attendees engaged in conversations around trauma, building resiliency and diversity to reach the most vulnerable populations in the community.

Shaikh Shafayat Mohamed and Calvin Martin
Shaikh Shafayat Mohamed and Calvin Martin

Faith Based / Community Based Pre-Conference Summit

The 2022 festivities kicked off on Monday, May 9th, with a Faith Based / Community Based Pre-Conference Summit, bringing together faith-based leaders from across the community who shared ideas, experiences, and best practices. The Faith Based / Community Based Conference Day featured Rev. Dr. Que English, as the Keynote Speaker, in addition to Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren, 17th District Mental Health Court Judge; Calvin Martin, Director of Program Advocacy and Inclusion, Florida Guardian ad Litem; Don McCulloch, MA. MS. Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychology, Palm Beach Atlantic University and Private Practitioner, Spanish River Counseling Center; Dr. Beau Nelson, DBH, LCSW Chief Clinical Officer, FHE Health; and Rev. Dr. Peter Tokar, PhD Graduand Chaplain, Miramar/Pembroke Pines Fire Department Senior Conflict Resolution Specialist, B.O.L.D. Consulting.

Increasing Community Awareness

Beginning on Tuesday, May 10th, conference attendees received two days of focused learning around increased community awareness and in support of behavioral health and substance use prevention.

During the Opening Ceremony, United Way of Broward County announced a special presentation to U.S. Congressman Ted Deutch in recognition of his service to the community and his assistance in helping United Way secure a $650,000 federal earmark to aid in the development and advancement of the Broward Suicide Prevention Coalition which is focused on suicide prevention for in Broward County.  This is the first federal earmark ever awarded to United Way of Broward County.

Award Presentation

Additionally, United Way of Broward County presented the Inaugural Paul E. Daly Champion for Prevention Award to Paul Daly, one of the founding fathers of United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention. Since inception, Paul has been part of the nonprofit organization’s work, all the way from the banning of Rohypnol — which became a well-known date-rape drug under the nickname “roofie” — to the efforts disrupting Chinese production of flakka.

Kathleen Cannon, President/CEO of United Way of Broward County, welcomed the attendees each morning and Maria Hernandez, LCSW, Chief Program Officer of United Way of Broward County, provided Welcome Remarks on Tuesday afternoon.

Some of the featured speakers from the second and third day of the conference included Dr. Victor Schwartz, MD, DLFAPA, CEO, Director at Mind Strategies, LLC.; Nora McInerny, Best-Selling Author & “Terrible Thanks for Asking” Podcast Host; Dr. Atiya Abdelmalik, Nurse, Certified Coach, Author & Community Engagement Practitioner; Dr. Mimi Graham, Director of Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy; Derreck Kayongo, Entrepreneur, Global Soap Project Founder, CNN Hero, and Former CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights; Justin & Alexis Black, Authors, Speakers & Business Owners; and Blake Evans Cohen, Co-founder of Next Level Recovery Associates, Inc.  Vanessa James of Vanessa James Media served as the Mistress of Ceremonies.



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