Rural Conference Expands in 2014

The 6th Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference, “Integrated Care in Rural Practice,” grew significantly in 2014, with 10 organizational partners and over 200 participants from 21 states.  Co-Chairs Willie Garrett, Ed.D. and Scott Palmer, Ph.D., concluded that this growth shows that the conference is filling a national need.  “MPA’s Rural and Greater Minnesota Division has got a great thing going, and we’re pleased that MPA is really supporting it,” Garrett noted.

Making the conference available both by individual webcast and at 20 group webcast sites, in addition to the UM-Morris origination site, was instrumental in its success.  The conference went to Minnesota groups at Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Mankato, Marshall, Minneapolis, Rochester, and St. Cloud, as well as to 10 individual webcast participants in Minnesota.  MPA contracted with Kay Slama, Ph.D., to coordinate partners, presenters and posters, exhibitors and sponsors, and group webcast sites, as well as more extensive publicity efforts than in past years.

Keynoter Gina Lasky, Ph.D., kicked off the conference with a comprehensive presentation, “Integrating Primary Care and Behavioral Health in Rural Settings.”

Participants at UM-Morris Multi-Media Room during Dr. Gina Lasky’s Keynote Address

Participants in earlier time zones had the option to view her presentation at the end of the day and ask her questions.  The second presenter, Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic, described “The Integrated Behavioral Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Primary Care: Extension to Rural Practice.”

Dr. Craig Sawchuck Presents at UM-Morris Origination Site

After lunch, an integrated treatment team from Colorado, Kristen Roessler, M.D. and Casie LaMunyon, L.P.C., described their rural pediatric integrated care model and experiences implementing it.  Lastly, Joseph Troiani, Ph.D., from Illinois discussed “The Challenge of Treating Individuals with both Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders in Integrated Rural Settings.”

Only posters describing the results of research studies with rural people were accepted.  Conference participants voted for the winning poster, and results were close, with the prize going to Lakota Holman and Danielle Giroux’s “Doorway to a Sacred Place Formative Program Evaluation” from the University of Alaska.

UM-Morris Poster and Exhibitor Area

Participants received up to seven continuing education credits under MPA’s CE accreditation with APA.  The conference committee received comments such as:  “I ‘attended’ the conference last Friday via webcast.  I just want to thank you for providing such a wonderful opportunity that was so accessible – truly pertinent in terms of rural.  It was a great conference and I learned so much.”  “Thank you again for the opportunity to participate in the webinar Friday. I came away with lots of great information and an idea for how to help ‘move the envelope’ on integrating primary and behavioral health care in rural SC.”  “Overall, this conference was quite informative, and I especially liked how it focused on integrated care, but what I enjoyed the most was the real life examples of how providers are integrating this into their practice, what works and what doesn’t specific to their site. WONDERFUL conference, well worth my time!”  “Like the fact that I can attend without having the cost of travel and get lots of great information that is useful.”  “Good opportunity to visit informally/network with others.”  “It was really refreshing to hear from true experts in the field.  This information helped me to think creatively about how we can meet the needs in our small 6000-resident island. It also felt like there was a real message of do what you can, every little bit helps, you don’t have to be all to all people and good, reliable care makes a difference even in complicated cases.”

Anchorage group webcast site participants network at break

MPA members, do you want to help with the 2015 Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference?  You are welcome to volunteer on subcommittees, including those for Posters, Group Webcasts, and Publicity, and you can choose how much time to contribute.  Working on this conference will give members, including students, opportunities to learn about rural practice, online conference production, and networking with rural providers.  To volunteer, please contact 2015 Rural Conference Committee Chair Willie Garrett, Ed.D., at [email protected].

The conference is calling for Presentation proposals here.  It is calling for Poster submissions here. Please consider passing on this information to anyone you know who might be interested in submitting.

Be sure to SAVE THE DATE, Friday, October 9, 2015, on your calendar for the 7th Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference, with the theme “Innovation in Rural Behavioral Health.”  The mission of the Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference is “To make quality continuing education available to behavioral health professionals about the particular practice issues involved in working with rural people and communities.”  Click here to visit the conference website.

Katherine (Kay) Slama, Ph.D., L.P., has worked in clinical services, teaching, management, consulting, and research.  She holds a masters in administration and an adjunct position at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  She has published articles in rural behavioral health and is involved in dissemination/evaluation work for the online rural stress workshops at  Slama has served on the Governing Council of the Minnesota Psychological Association and as its Secretary, as well as President of the Minnesota Rural Health Association, Minnesota’s APA Rural Health Coordinator, chair of MPA’s Rural and Greater Minnesota Division, and chair of its Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference.

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