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Mental Health & Mental Illness
Children & Adolescents
Haitian Mental Health
Download a copy of the
Proceedings of the 3rd
Annual Conference on
Haitian Mental Health
4th Annual Conference on Haitian Mental Health
It Takes a Village:
Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Haitian Children, Adolescents, and Families
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
1 Wells Avenue
Click here to register for the conference.
Elizabeth Abbate, M.A.
Ms. Abbate is a 4th year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and a member of the Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience concentration, which focuses on training students to work with underserved children and families with mental health needs. She is currently an intern at the Wetzel Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, a community-based acute treatment (CBAT) facility for children and adolescents. Next year, she will continue her training at Morrison Child & Family Services in Portland, Oregon as an intern in their APA-accredited internship program. Ms. Abbate is conducting her doctoral research on burnout in residential childcare workers.
Michel DeGraff, Ph.D.
Dr. DeGraff is Professor of Linguistics at MIT. Born in Haiti, his linguistic work mostly concerns the development and structures of Creole languages, with a focus on his native Haitian Creole (also known as “Kreyòl” in Haiti). One major thread in his research demonstrates the fundamental ways in which Creole languages are structurally and developmentally on a par with non-Creole (“international”) languages such as French, English, Spanish, etc. In a related vein, Dr. DeGraff’s research suggests that linguists and non-linguists alike, including educators, policy makers and government leaders, have for much too long misunderstood or misrepresented the history and structures of Creole languages and their crucial importance for the wellbeing, the human rights and the future of Creole speakers. For example, Dr. DeGraff documents how the erroneous, yet popular, belief that Kreyòl is “broken French” negatively affects education and research in, and about, Haiti, and socio-economic opportunities for Haitians. His research agenda is coupled with a social vision for the incorporation of Kreyòl and technology as two essential ingredients in research and education toward sustainable development, equal opportunity and dignified citizenship for all in Haiti. One of his current projects is the MIT-Haiti Initiative (http://haiti.mit.edu), which aims toward improving Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) education in high school and university. In collaboration with Haitian universities and the Ministry of National Education, this Initiative is exploring the strategic use of digital tools in Kreyòl to improve Haitian students’ active learning of STEM, across social classes and beyond any linguistic barrier. The success of this Initiative to date suggests that Kreyòl is indeed a full-fledged language with unlimited capacity to express any level of complex thought as in STEM. One key item in Dr. DeGraff’s agenda is to make high-quality education accessible to the greatest numbers of students throughout Haiti, while strengthening the foundations of Haiti’s linguistic and cultural identity and while promoting respect of the human rights of all Haitians. He believes that these linguistic, cultural, academic and human-rights foundations are necessary conditions for Haiti to become a truly “emergent country” with a joyful and creative population of students and professionals in STEM and other professions. These beliefs are central to Dr. DeGraff’s work as a founding member of Haiti’s Haitian Creole Academy and as a member of the Ministry of Education’s National Commission for Curricular Reform. For more details on Dr. DeGraff’s biography and research, see http://mit.edu/degraff and http://haiti.mit.edu.
Charlene Désir, Ed.D.
Dr. Désir received her doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is a research professor at the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Désir’s academic interest is in the social and psychological adjustment of immigrant students in public schools, specifically school’s social curriculum, social trauma occurring in schools, and how social issues affect learning. Dr. Désir has presented various papers on the topic of immigrant students and their adjustment to the U.S. She has also published on the topic of immigrant identity and becoming a reflective researcher. In addition, she co-founded T.E.N. global, an empowerment network for Haitian women and children, was the 2012 president of the Haitian Studies Association, and was also appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the Children’s Services Council in Broward County, FL. Dr. Désir has worked as a school psychologist, K-12 school counselor, school administrator in Massachusetts district schools and as an academic advisor and professor.
William Fitzgerald, M.A.
Mr. Fitzgerald is a 4th year student in the Clinical Psychology Program at MSPP. He is currently completing an APA-accredited internship at Rhode Island College, and will be a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Vanguard in the fall. His clinical interests include major mental illness, substance abuse, adults with early childhood trauma, cross-cultural treatment, and treatment of LGBT concerns. His research interests include how language impacts clinical situations and overall attitudes, and stigma towards people with major mental illnesses. His doctoral thesis focuses on The Effects of Psychiatric Labels on Psychotherapist Attitudes Towards Potential Clients with Major Mental Illness.
Myrtho Gardiner, LCSW
Mr. Gardiner is a psychotherapist and social worker who was raised, currently lives, and practices in New York City. He serves as the Co-chair for the CapraCare mental health planning committee, and is very active in the development of the CapraCare mental health program. He travels frequently to Haiti to work with the local CapraCare staff to conduct focus groups, trainings, and assessments in order to assist in the development of the mental program. Mr. Gardiner is of Haitian descent and speaks Haitian Creole. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Loyola University and a Master’s degree in clinical social work from Smith College. He has experience working with youth and adults in various settings including, but not limited to, outpatient psychotherapy, group therapy, and substance abuse treatment. Aside from volunteering with CapraCare, he works as a social worker for The Veterans Administration where he assesses justice involved veterans in local jails and community settings, and advocates in court for alternatives to incarceration. He practices psychotherapy at an outpatient clinic, and chairs the Community Action Committee for the Association for Black Social Workers, NYC Chapter.
Amy Harmon, B.A.
Ms. Harmon is a 2nd year Clinical Psychology student with a concentration in Health Psychology at MSPP. She is currently completing her practicum training at New Life Counseling & Wellness Center in Randolph. She will be completing her third and fourth internship years at Joseph M. Smith Community Health Care Center. In addition to her focus on the integration of mental health and medical health care, her other main interests are in multicultural psychology, disease prevention, and mental health care access in developing countries or low-resource populations.
Charmain F. Jackman, Ph.D.
Dr. Jackman is a Licensed Psychologist with specialties in Clinical-Child/Adolescent Psychology and Forensic Psychology. She holds a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi-Hattiesburg; and completed a clinical internship at Children’s Hospital Boston and a post-doctoral fellowship in Forensic Psychology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Additionally, she served as an Instructor at Harvard Medical School for over 10 years. Dr. Jackman is currently the Director of Health & Wellness at Boston Arts Academy. Dr. Jackman’s expertise is in working with diverse children/adolescents and families in schools, courts, hospitals, and community settings. She has worked as a school-based clinician in the Boston Public Schools for the past 10 years providing clinical and consultations services to students, families, and school staff. She has presented on the topics of cross-cultural competence, parenting, and forensic psychology for teachers, mental health professionals, attorneys, and trainees. She has written several articles on parenting and psychological disorders for Family and Health (Familia Y Salud), and she helped to develop a parenting education curriculum for Haitian and Latino families. She has had TV appearances on Urban Update (NBC Boston) and Common Ground (Boston Neighborhood Network), and was a psychological consultant for the film, Knockaround Kids. Currently, Dr. Jackman is focused on increasing her cultural proficiency with the Haitian community. She has a basic understanding of Haitian Kreyòl and recently traveled to Haiti for a service learning immersion experience. She is also the proud mother of two Haitian-Barbadian children.
Carline Jean-Baptiste, Ph.D.
Dr. Jean-Baptiste is a Clinical/Community Psychologist working in community mental health for many years. She is a Senior Instructor at Cambridge College teaching Masters level students in the mental health field. Dr. Jean-Baptiste is also a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School, working within the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at Cambridge Health Alliance. She has clinical experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings with children, adolescents and adults. This has included work within the Haitian community as well as the broader psychiatry population. Dr. Jean-Baptiste currently provides direct clinical assessment and treatment of mental disorders with a particular focus on addressing mental/emotional health concerns within the community that entails the use of a multidisciplinary, inter-agency and community resources approach in providing effective service delivery. Dr. Jean-Baptiste also provides training and consultation around psychological, cultural values and beliefs systems within the Haitian population.
Myrtise Kretsedemas, MSW/MPH, LCSW
Ms. Kretsedemas is Principal Consultant of MK Consulting, a consulting firm that integrates facets of public health and social work to address social health problems. Ms. Kretsedemas is a licensed social worker and public health professional specializing in resource development, program planning and evaluation as well as quality assessment and improvement. She has directed numerous health and social service programs in the areas of mental health, primary healthcare, chronic and infectious diseases and research in U.S., Canada and Haiti. As a clinician, Ms. Kretsedemas has worked in public schools and most recently in a community mental health clinic as part of the In-Home Therapy team.
Evelyne Milorin, MPA
Mrs. Milorin migrated to the U.S. from Haiti in 1971, and currently resides in Medford with her family. She is the parent of two young adults: her son, 43 years old, who has autism; and her daughter, 41 years old. She is the grand-mother of two little girls. Mrs. Milorin is actively involved in several parents’ grass-roots organizations on State and National levels. She is past member of the Massachusetts Developmental Disability Council, Statewide Family Support Council, the National Institute for Urban School Improvement, and the Autism Society of America. She was awarded the Barbara Wilensky Gopen fellowship and the Joseph P. Kennedy Public Policy Fellowship. She lived in Washington for one year working with Congress regarding the Reauthorization of Special Education in 2003. She is currently appointed as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disabilities, and the Governor’s New Autism Commission. She has a Master in Public Administration from Suffolk University, and is currently employed with the Department of the Brookline Public Health, working with the Commission on Disability, Diversity Inclusion, and Community Relations. She has gained great knowledge and the confidence to continue her mission to advocate for people, and to motivate other parents with similar calling.
Mr. Milorin has over 30 years of experience advocating for people with disabilities and their family members on the local, state and national levels. He has worked on Family Support initiatives to help individuals to achieve inclusion and other important goals. He established one of the first support groups in Boston for fathers of children with disabilities. He is a devoted Haitian-American citizen fully committed for a consumer driven community supporting better quality of life and living conditions for individuals of Haitian origin. He is constantly focusing on improving employment outcomes for underserved individuals in the state of Massachusetts and around the country. He provides voluntary technical assistance to community based organization to promote inclusion, civic education, and democratic participation. He is a community builder, an advocate for Haitian cause and the disability community. He has been instrumental in building disability knowledge and capacity in the Haitian community in Boston and throughout the State. He is the proud father of Reginald, an autistic man who lives independently in the community. Additionally, he has advocated and lobbied legislators on Beacon Hill and in Washington, D.C. on many issues. Over the last two decades, he has served as a volunteer and on the board of numerous organizations, including the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, U.S. Army and Massachusetts Army National Guard, Sergeant First Class (retired-2001), City of Medford Commission for Person with disabilities, Massachusetts Autism Coalition & AFAM Representative - Steering Committee, National Disability Institute, National Association for the Advancement of Colored people, and the U.S. Presidential Committee on Mental Retardation. Mr. Milorin is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the United States Army Achievement Medal (1987, 1988, 1993), Massachusetts Meritorious Service Medal (2000), Arc of Massachusetts Distinguished Citizen Award (2006), and East Middlesex Arc of Massachusetts Lucie Cripps Award (2007).
Jean Pierre-Louis, MPH
Mr. Jean Pierre-Louis is the Founder and Executive Director of CapraCare, Inc. He obtained both his B.A in Public Health and M.P.H in Health Administration and Policy at the City University of New York, Brooklyn College. Mr. Pierre-Louis, who is Haitian born, founded CapraCare in April 2009 in response to the gross inadequacies of medical and preventive health services in Haiti. CapraCare is a primarily Haitian-led, non-governmental organization that supports a community-based school health program located in the southern province of Fonfrède, Haiti. After the September 11, 2001 tragedy, Mr. Pierre-Louis worked on the Lower Manhattan Partnership and Development Project, which provided health assistance and services to the lower Manhattan community as they recovered from the disastrous terrorist attack. There, he attended City Council meetings and briefings, state assembly hearings, and worked closely with his director, where he learned firsthand the importance of collaborative work during disasters and how to bring immediate relief as well as long-term stability and recovery to a community in need. A firm believer in promoting positive health change through individual acts of courage, Mr. Pierre-Louis has spearheaded and mobilized an ever-growing number of volunteers, public health and medical professionals in distributing health education, mental health, and pediatric care services to Haiti’s underserved Les Cayes and Fonfrède communities.
Marie Andrée Pierre-Victor, LICSW
Ms. Pierre-Victor is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who holds a BA and MSW degrees from Boston College. She is the Clinical Director of Behavioral Health at Codman Square Health Center. Her training includes certification in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing levels I and II (EMDR), Tapas Acupressure Technique, Advanced Certification in the Treatment of Psychological Trauma, and a certificate in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. She works mostly with individuals diagnosed with complex PTSD, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, and mood disorders. Ms. Pierre-Victor has a private practice in Canton and is an active member of the Haitian Mental Health Network of Boston.
Vanessa Prosper, Ph.D.
Dr. Prosper is a staff psychologist at the Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program where she divides her time between doing school-based clinical work and adolescent depression and suicide awareness trainings and workshops within the Swensrud Depression Prevention Initiative. She also has a private practice in the Back Bay area of Boston and is an adjunct professor at Boston College and Lesley University. Dr. Prosper graduated from Boston College’s doctoral program in counseling psychology. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Boston University Medical Center/Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology and participated in a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program, providing an array of services such as teacher consultation, parent consultation, crisis intervention, case management, classroom prevention, individual therapy, and group therapy to a diverse group of children and adolescents. Dr. Prosper is a licensed psychologist with over 10 years of experience working with racially and ethnically diverse children, adolescents, and young adults as well as Haitian immigrants, youth with pervasive developmental disorders, and youth who are HIV positive.
Victor Jose Santana, M.A.
Mr. Santana is an educator, facilitator, peacemaker and youth development specialist. He has consulted and worked with organizations nationally on youth development, trauma, racism and the peacemaking circle process. As the Training Manager for the Defending Childhood Initiative at the Boston Public Health Commission, he has been developing trainings and curricula on trauma awareness and resilience for youth workers across the City of Boston. Mr. Santana has a Bachelor in Science Communication and a music degree from Salem State University and holds a Master of Arts degree with a specialization in Restorative Justice through Youth Leadership Development and Trauma Awareness from Lesley University. Mr. Santana is bilingual, and a natural and dynamic facilitator who has extensive experience working with court, street and gang involved young people. He teaches innovative ways of communication that support effective trust building and education.
Gemima St. Louis, Ph.D.
Dr. St. Louis is a Core Faculty in the Department of Clinical Psychology and the Concentration on Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR), and the Co-Director of the Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Her primary clinical and research focus is on ethnically-diverse children, adolescents, and families with histories of trauma, chronic diseases, and behavioral and emotional challenges. Dr. St. Louis has developed culturally-sensitive psychoeducational programs for youth and women, and conducted research on trauma and HIV disease among ethnic minority and immigrant groups. Currently, she directs the PATHWAYS Program, a school-based initiative that provides trauma-focused, evidence-informed mental health services to youth who are at risk for truancy and suspension in the Boston Public Schools. Additionally, Dr. St. Louis is actively engaged in implementing mental health capacity-building programs in Haiti, and serves as the President of the Boston-based Haitian Mental Health Network.
Cidna Valentin, Ph.D.
Dr. Valentin is a clinical psychologist and postdoctoral fellow at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), where she primarily works for the university’s initiative in Haiti. Her activities with the initiative have included co-developing and implementing a community health seminar for health professionals and community health workers in Les Cayes, Haiti and coordinating a scholarship program for students at four of the ten Haitian regional public universities (UPRs). In 2012, she conducted a dissertation research examining healthcare provider-patient relationships at multiple medical sites in Haiti. Dr. Valentin is active in the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Division 39 (Psychoanalytic Psychology), serving on the Multicultural Concerns and the International Relations Committees, and Division 52 (International Psychology), as co-chair of the Early Career Professional (ECP) membership sub-committee. Dr. Valentin has had the honor of holding a fellowship at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at the City College of New York (CCNY) and an internship with the APA Committee at the United Nations.
Bronwen White, MPH
Ms. White is the Training Coordinator for the Boston Family Justice Center, a program of the Boston Public Health Commission, where she collaborates with agency partners to design and implement trainings related to preventing and addressing violence and trauma. She received her Master of Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Community Health Sciences, with a focus on Health Education and Health Promotion. Prior to obtaining her MPH she worked in direct services with individuals and families in the areas of homelessness, sexual health, and school-based family support services. Her interests include comprehensive sexual violence prevention strategies, trauma-informed systems related to childhood exposure to violence, and approaches to ensuring health equity and racial justice in anti-violence work.
Samantha Zaid, M.A.
Ms. Zaid is a 4th year doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology Program at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. As a student in the Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR) Concentration, she has committed her work to addressing the needs of high risk youth and their families. She is currently a psychology trainee at Manville School (at Judge Baker Children’s Center), a therapeutic day school for children and adolescents with complex emotional, behavioral, neurological, and/or learning difficulties. She will soon begin her APA pre-doctoral internship at Long Island Jewish, Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York. Ms. Zaid is conducting her doctoral research on clinician’s moral orientation and the subsequent likelihood of clinicians to report suspected child maltreatment. Her passion for global mental health, international advocacy, and public policy inspired her participation in MSPP’s Haiti Summer Immersion Program as well as other advanced training opportunities in global mental health practices.
The conference will be held at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) on Saturday, May 2, 2015. MSPP is located at 1 Wells Avenue in Newton, Massachusetts.
The conference registration fee is $130 for professionals (6 CE credits), and $65 for students, members of the general public, and professionals not requesting CE credits. The fee will include all conference materials, lunch, and admission to the Haitian Art Exhibition and Cultural Event.
To register for the conference, click here.
For more information, please contact:
Gemima St. Louis, Ph.D.
President, Haitian Mental Health Network
Core Faculty, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
1 Wells Avenue, Newton, MA 02459
Phone: (617) 327-6777 ext. 1241