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AAMFT 2013 Leadership Conference
March 14, 2013 to March 18, 2013
Hilton Arlington, Arlington Virginia

Leadership Conference Overview
The AAMFT Leadership Conference provides an opportunity for AAMFT Division Leaders to network and enhance various facets of their leadership through division management training, state and national level advocacy initiatives, and open collaboration. Components of the training received by division leaders include: division advocacy, use of social media, membership engagement, membership recruitment and retention, operational handbooks, staff recruitment and division finance. Components of the state and national level advocacy initiatives relevant for the conference include: Medicare MFT Coverage, Veteran Affairs-MFT Jobs and MFT Student and Faculty Funding.

MFP Fellow/Alumni Overview
The MFP, pursuant to its goal of advancing the MFT and wider behavioral health profession through workforce development and culturally competent service and research provision, has provided support to 6 Fellows/Alumni to attend the 2013 AAMFT Leadership Conference. These Fellows/Alumni were selected based on noted achievements and outlined/demonstrated interest in advocacy efforts, the MFT field, and advancing their professional goals. Attendance to the leadership conference will provide them an opportunity to make advancements in these areas.
MFP Fellows/Alumni not only gain from their experiences at the conference but also contribute their knowledge, expertise and positions to all discussions in which their divisions are involved. MFP Fellows/Alumni engage with Divisional Leaders during congressional visits, in group sessions/discussions on Medicare/Veterans Affairs, via email prior toand after the conference, on Divisional or National AAMFT policy issues, etc.

The following AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program Alumni and Current Fellows were able to attend this Leadership Conference with the support of the AAMFT MFP.

Carizma Chapman - Alumni

Carizma A Chapman is a dual doctoral student of Marital and Family Therapy (DMFT) and Family Studies (PhD) at Loma Linda University. Carizma is committed to increasing the availability and accessibility of culturally sensitive services needed by undeserved, minority, and substance abusing populations. In her work she addresses health disparities, promotes equality, and facilitates family and community development of healthy and sustainable lifestyles. Carizma’s professional focus and research interests include sexual and reproductive health/ethics, interdisciplinary team building and collaboration, community and organizational development and capacity building, minority mental health and health disparities, and biotechnology. As a doctoral candidate, Carizma functions as an administrator, researcher, program developer, instructor, and clinician developing and rendering integrative services. Carizma has over five years of clinical experience in interdisciplinary settings working with diverse treatment populations addressing gender, race, power, and cultural issues in context to larger socio-contextual factors shaping family health. Carizma has also acquired experience conducting local and international community assessments, organizational assessments, and program evaluations. Carizma has been active as an advocacy member and as a district leader for AAMFT-CA for four years. For the last three years, Carizma has functioned as a Co-President of the AAMFT-CA Inland Empire District.  Carizma was an AAMFT Minority Fellow from 2009-2012.

Mathis Vila Kennington - Alumni

Mathis is a PhD candidate in Marriage and Family Therapy out of the Department of Human Development at Virginia Tech University.  As an MFT dedicated to increasing the visibility of the field among consumers, legislators, and other professionals, he works within a school environment for a nonprofit called Communities in Schools.  Among Mathis’s professional advocacy passions are increasing the number of racial and ethnic minority MFTs, advancing proficient internship tracks for student and pre-clinical fellow AAMFT members, MFT licensure retention among MFT graduates, and creating students who are good consumers and producers of empirical research. Mathis is personally impassioned by the criminal justice system, and is writing a dissertation that examines how former prisoners and families are impacted by legislative and penal policy, from juvenile justice systems to adult detention.  As an alumnus of the Minority Fellowship Program, Mathis is dedicated to broadening MFTs services to racial and ethnic minorities who have less frequent access to high quality therapeutic services.  Currently, he is involved in advocacy efforts within the State of Texas to accomplish this goal.  Mathis defended his dissertation in the fall, and hopes to advance MFT knowledge by teaching, supervising, advocating at the state and federal levels, and maintaining a clinical practice.

Melissa Lewis - Alumni

Melissa Lewis, Ph.D., is a visiting assistant professor at University of Akron (Ohio) in the Marriage and Family Therapy program. Her doctoral degree is in Medical Family Therapy and her research focuses on integrated care in both military and Native American populations as well as the social determinants of health in these populations. She can be contacted at mlewis@uakron.edu.

David Cordova - Alumni

David Cordova was an AAMFT MFP Fellow from 2007-2009. Dr. Cordova has recently been awarded an early career award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeding $1,000,000. The Minority HIV/AIDS Research Initiative (MARI) is to build capacity in Black and Hispanic Communities and among Black and Hispanic Researchers to conduct HIV/AIDS Epidemiologic and Prevention Research. The funds will help in narrowing the gap of health inequities among Hispanics particularly as it relates to drug abuse and HIV, but also to advance the field of MFT and evidence-based family preventive interventions. This four year study aims to develop and test the efficacy of a family-based drug abuse and HIV preventive intervention to be delivered via the internet. Dr. Cordova also received the National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Programs which pays for his student loans in return for a two year commitment to research.

Corey Yeager - Fellow

Corey Yeager MA, LMFT is a first year PhD student in the Family Social Science/Couple and Family Therapy program at the University of Minnesota. Corey is a current Fellow with the AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program. Corey currently works with incarcerated youth and their families in a juvenile detention center, located in downtown Minneapolis. His focus is on serving children and families from over-diagnosed and underprivileged communities of color. Corey has gained valuable experience utilizing the Relational Diagnostic Assessment (RDA) process.  The RDA focuses on identifying and utilizing relationships as critical resources in treating individuals and families, as well as understanding relational competence as an essential key in working with diverse populations.  Corey’s work in providing access to mental health opportunities within underserved, inner-city populations has become his passion. Yeager has been a champion for, and an example of, relationally responsive and culturally appropriate mental health service delivery. Corey works primarily within the African American community.

Sergio Pereyra - Fellow

Sergio Benjamin Pereyra is currently attending the MFT doctoral program at Brigham Young University. In terms of research, he is very interested in research with Latino couples and parenting within Latino families.  He is also working on an English /Spanish mental health dictionary which will focus on vocabulary used in clinical settings in order to improve the quality of service for the Spanish speaking population. One of his career goals is to become an approved AAMFT supervisor for Spanish speaking therapy, and to become a full-time professor at a university teaching courses on the treatment of substance abuse and cultural issues in mental health,  introducing cultural issues in any course that he teaches.