BreaKING the Ice: Black Men’s Mental Health and Wellness Conference
A ground-breaking event where participants will hear from community leaders, alumni and therapists who will share their inspirational stories, coping skills, workable strategies and resources for achieving mental health/wellness.
It will be explored as an essential part of well-being for individuals, families, and the Black community. Our workshop will discuss mental health from a holistic standpoint by exploring the core determinants of health and how various institutions interact and reinforce one another. Participants will hear from a panelist and facilitators of Black men who are community leaders, alumni and therapists who will share their inspirational stories, experiences, coping skills, workable strategies, encouragement to seek help, and resources for achieving mental health/wellness.
6CEs will be awarded to licensed social workers for participating in this full day conference.
Registration for the in person conference has ended. You can still register for the virtual conference.
Please note: CEs will not be provided to those attending virtually.
Damyn Kelly, ’83, PhD ’19, JD
Dr. Damyn Kelly serves as the President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services of NY; a nonprofit human services organization that has an operating budget of more than $70 million and employs more than 642 human service professionals at over 39 sites in the city of New York. Key programs of LSSNY include early childhood education, foster care, immigrant services, supportive housing, immigration legal services and a school for special needs children.
Damyn has also served as a frequent speaker, presenter and lecturer on issues pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion with a special emphasis on the lack of executives of color in the nonprofit sector. He also emphasizes the lack of Black males in leadership positions. He is frequently sought out by other nonprofit organizations who seek training and assistance in insuring that their organizations are addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
He is a strong proponent of changing the way human service organization’s function. Emphasizing that human service organizations need to be purveyors of social change as opposed to being providers of social services. He frequently comments on the fact that organizations are measured by how long clients are tethered to an organization instead of how many are “released” to lead independent lives.
Dr. Kelly has also served as a Bronx Assistant District Attorney and a senior staffer for a Member of Congress. Presently, he serves as a member of the Board and Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Coalition of Family and Child Caring Agencies, Vice Chair of the Human Services Council, and Treasurer of Black Agency Executives. In addition, Damyn serves as a member of the Board of GallopNYC and Graham Windham. He is also a member of the advisory Board of the Adelphi University, Center for Nonprofit Leadership and Prospanica, Inc. He has also taught several graduate courses in public policy at the Hunter College School of Public Health and in the Social Work Program at Adelphi University.
Damyn has a Bachelors of Business Administration from Adelphi University, a Juris Doctorate from the Antioch School of Law and a PhD from the Adelphi University School of Social Work
Alain Berrouet currently serves as a Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) where he works with elected officials across Queens. Prior to this role, Alain served at the NYC DOE as a Family Leadership Coordinator liaising with Parent Coordinators and families across 46 schools in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. With his overall passion for education, Alain has contributed to creating greater opportunities for students to thrive during his five year tenure by collaborating with the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), an initiative focused on increasing life outcomes of black and Latino males who attend NYC public high schools by closing educational achievement and opportunity gaps and preparing them to graduate college and career ready. Alain, born in Brooklyn and raised in South East Queens, NY, is the oldest of four siblings and son to parents who immigrated from Haiti in the ’70s with the help of his late grandmother. Alain’s great passion and fervor for increasing the quality of life and professional opportunities for others stemmed from listening to his parents tell stories in Creole of how they got mistreated and denied opportunities to advance in the workplace because they were from another country. This led him to co-found “The Black Latino Employee Networking and Development” (BLEND) group for Black and Latino employees within the NYC DOE. Listening to experiences from his parents also activated Alain’s desire to support his local community, Southeast Queens, where he organizes local residents of all ages around quality of life issues.
In addition to co-founding the BLEND, Alain’s passion for supporting transformative opportunities for equity and inclusion has extended to his involvement in his union and his greater community. At present Alain serves as the Union Delegate for Local 372 (DC-37) is a current member of Community Board 13 in Queens with a tenure of 7 years, a fellow of the Congressional Black Caucus Institute 2014, Latino Justice Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (PRLDEF), and Latino Leadership Institute. Given his experiences, in these roles, Alain aims to support city government in increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion for Black & Latino men.
Marcel Crooks MSW ’18
Marcel Crooks is a Licensed Social Worker, Speaker and Philanthropist. Driven to make a difference based on what he saw in his community he found himself pursuing a career in mental health. Marcel holds a Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University in 2018. Prior to this he obtained his Bachelors in English and Psychology from the City University of New York’s York College & is currently pursuing his doctorate in Social Work. Marcel’s passion for helping the underserved community motivated him to also pursue the Certified Alcohol and Substance Counselor Certification. Marcel is currently the Deputy Director of Mental Health Services at WellLife Network. Recognizing the need for community support in 2019 Marcel started Represent the Alternative, L.L.C., which is a multi-sector initiative that provides opportunities and solutions to rebranding the infrastructure of health, wealth, education, wellness and housing in minority communities. Marcel has been featured as a mental health expert on various panels in New York. Most recently Marcel was on a panel for the Black Men of South East Queens “Voicing Our Truth” with Congressmen Gregory Meeks about the importance of mental health in Southeast Queens. Marcel currently resides on Long Island with his fiance’ Sammerah.
Warren K. Graham LCSW
Warren K. Graham is currently an Assistant Dean of Field Education and Clinical Assistant Professor at SUNY Stony Brook. Warren has been an educator in higher education for 10 years and is a NYS licensed clinical social worker, NYS credentialed substance abuse counselor, and 4th year doctoral candidate at Adelphi University.
Warren’s past direct practice experience includes outpatient substance use and mental health, alternatives to incarceration treatment programs, and project director overseeing the family and juvenile drug treatment courts. Maintaining a private forensic/clinical practice for the past 10 years, Warren was an active member of Nassau County Probation Department’s Placement Review Committee, the Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect’s Child Protection/Substance Abuse Task Force, Nassau County’s Disproportionate Minority Representation Advisory Group, Roosevelt School District’s Truancy Court Committee and Nassau County’s Father’s Rights Subcommittee.
Warren is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers as a current Social Worker in the Courts Specialty Practice Section Committee member, and NASW NYS Diversity Committee member, and formerly elected as a Delegate to the National Assembly, Nassau Division Director, NYS Program Committee Member, Advocacy and Governmental Relations Committee member, and NYS Board Member. Warren was most recently appointed a Councilor for the Council on Social Work Education’s Council on Racial, Ethnic, and Cultural Diversity.
Some of Warren’s co-authored publications include Retributive and restorative justice (2021), Educating the Next Generation of Human Rights Advocates and Defenders: An Interprofessional Partnership (2020), Navigating confidentiality and privilege for social workers in legal settings (2019), Clinical Interventions in the Criminal Justice System (2018), To protect and serve: Examining race, law Enforcement culture and social work practice (2018), The Death of Black Males: The unmasking of cultural competence and oppressive practices in a micro-aggressive environment (2017), and Criminal Injustice Competency: A missing component of social work education to end mass incarceration (2017).
Silas W. Kelly MSW ’14
Mr. Kelly, is CEO & Founder of Kelsunn Communications, Inc., He is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). In 2013, Silas was inducted into the Adelphi Circle of the Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) National Leadership Honor Society. Silas graduated with honors in 2014 from Adelphi’s School of Social Work. His undergrad degree is in broadcast journalism. He hosts and produces the award-winning “Kelsunn-on-the-Air” Social Work Podcast which earned a Press Club of LI, Society of Professional Journalist (SPJ) 1st Place award in 2021. It’s listed as one of the “Best 35 Social Work Podcasts” you must hear in 2022, currently ranked #6. On June 18, 2021 Mr. Kelly was selected as the National Association of Social Workers Long Island, NY “Social Worker of the Year”. On May 19, 2021 Mr. Kelly’s Biographical Record was published in the 2021 edition of Marquis “Who’s Who in America”, “Celebrated for Dedication to the Social Work Profession”. He also currently works as a HUD-VASH Social Worker serving the homeless veteran population.
A. Brian Leander, Ph.D.
Dr. A. Brian Leander has been fortunate to have a successful career in management and leadership spanning the greater part of the last thirty years in the U.S. and abroad. Brian also serves as a leadership development consultant and executive coach to a range of the education, business and nonprofit sectors. In 2010, Brian began to explore the relationship between leaders and the orientation of their organization’s towards diversity, equity and inclusion, which led to a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. The study’s findings established significant relationships between leaders’ cultural intelligence, openness to diversity and leadership practices, and explained how they contribute to a positive organizational diversity climate. In 2013, Brian created Leading in Community, a leadership development program with a goal broaden and strengthen the leadership pipeline for people of color and prepare them for nonprofit and community leadership. In his current role at Adelphi University, Brian oversees all University professional development programs, including its Diversity Certificate Program—which has been recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in the Best Practices in Diversity Programming category. In 2020, Brian received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recognition Award from the Nassau County Human Rights Commission, for building bridges for people of color by developing impactful learning programs. Recently, a learning and development program Brian designed—Rise Academy for Leaders of Color—has been awarded Best Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in two categories, Community Engagement and Partnerships at the Inaugural Anthem Awards.
Arron Muller MSW ’12
Arron Muller, LCSW is the Chief Operating Officer and Therapist at Life Matters Psychological Services alongside his wife Dr. Trudy-Ann Gayle. Life Matters Psychological Services is located in Valley Stream, New York. He holds a Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University. As a therapist, he provides Individuals, Couples and family counseling using an eclectic approach. As a mental health trainer and speaker, Arron conducts stress and anxiety trainings for schools, companies, organizations and facilitates workshops at churches and colleges. Arron recently facilitated NYC “Brothers Thrive”- An Initiative about mental health developed by First Lady Chirlane McCray of New York City to provide a forum for black men to have conversations about mental health. Arron was highlighted as one of the *15 Black Male Therapists You Should Know in the Huffington Post in 2017. One of his latest projects was the launch of his t-shirt line promoting Black Men seeking therapy which includes the empowering slogan, “Black Kings Need Therapy Too”. Arron’s mission is to change the stigma associated with mental health and therapy in the African American community by providing information, educating and providing low-cost services. Arron provides training in mental health tips and strategies for Adelphi University Social Work students, nursing students, organizations and local schools. He recently launched his podcast ARRON TLKS to provide a platform for black men to come together for important discussions impacting their daily lives. Due to recent racial tension Arron was featured on HBO as a co-host of “What’s Good Bro? A Brotherhood Mental Health Check In*, in partnership with the premier of the Documentary, “Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn”. He has also been featured on News 12 (New York), Cosmopolitan Magazine and NY radio station Hot 97 to provide information and support. He can also be seen in VHr’s Black Ink Crew providing couples counseling and recognizing the importance of Black Men going to therapy. In addition, Arron holds the position of Licensing Instructor with Adelphi University School of Social Work program.
Ohiro Oni-Eseleh MSW ’93, Ph.D. ’21
In addition to his position as Assistant Dean of Program Development and Community Engagement at Adelphi University’s School of Social Work, Dr. Ohiro Oni-Eseleh is also the Director of the Hudson Valley Center of the School. Prior to entering academia, he held management positions in health care organizations and led several efforts in program development, creating and implementing policies, and supporting the workforce of organizations through training and interdepartmental collaborative work. Dr. Oni-Eseleh was instrumental in expanding the Hudson Valley Center to two campuses and he is currently leading the effort to create another program at a neighboring county, which would make the Hudson Valley Center three campuses with five programs under his direction. In 2019, he was appointed by the Provost to Adelphi University’s Academic Diversity Implementation Committee. Dr. Oni-Eseleh is also currently co-chairing the Dean’s Exploratory Committee for the development of a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) program in the School of Social Work. Dr. Oni-Eseleh’s other accomplishments include sourcing and obtaining funding to provide scholarships to students of the Hudson Valley Center, creating community partnerships resulting in increased field education opportunities for students and ensuring a more extensive presence for Adelphi University in the Hudson Valley area, leading alumni engagement efforts to develop a strong alumni network, growing the university’s continuing education program in the Hudson Valley area, creating a program to mentor students in research and mentoring them to present their work at academic conferences, creating the first ever anti-racism initiative at the Hudson Valley Center and creating a policy forum for the exchange of ideas regarding the social policies that affect less privileged and vulnerable groups. In his professional practice prior to his current life in academia, Dr. Oni-Eseleh designed, created and ran a social work department at a health care agency and supervised multiple social work departments in various organizations. Along with others, he also played significant roles in developing best practices and treatment approaches, staff trainings, performance improvement initiatives and providing overall direction for the missions of the organizations where he worked. In each of these organizations, he worked efficiently as part of multidisciplinary teams to which he made immense contributions. In the process, he accumulated a tremendous amount of experiences that have also served him very well in academia. Dr. Ohiro Oni-Eseleh is the author of multiple books, including “In Pursuit of Dreams: The Truth about Immigration”, which is probably the book by which he is best known. His most recently published book titled When Loving Brings Pain: How to deal with hurtful feelings in your relationship was published in 2021. Dr. Oni-Eseleh has also published Through the eyes of theory: The need for a comprehensive eldercare; Examining the Role of Social Work in Poverty Alleviation in the United States from 1964-2014; Othering and marginalization of minorities: A synopsis of fear and social rejection; and Symptom Burden and Activity of Daily Living (ADL) Dependency Among Home Health Care Patients Discharged to Home Hospice. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. He is the writer of the blog titled Ruminations Blog and his podcast called Ruminations with Ohiro Oni-Eseleh is available on iTunes and several other media platforms.
Jason Phillips is a licensed therapist, confidence coach, and college professor who advocates relentlessly for prosperity and wellness to strengthen individuals, couples, families, and communities across the globe. He has been featured in WebMD, Forbes, FOX, NBC, Cosmopolitan and many more. With over 10 years of experience in the mental health and coaching profession, he is considered an expert in evidence-based treatment and strategic goal setting. Jason Phillips is the owner of Peace & Prosperity Coaching and host of the Peace & Prosperity Podcast. He is highly recommended and sought out for his passion for mental health and personal development.
Paul B. Williams, MSW, LCSW-C, LICSW
Paul Bashea (Bah-Shay) Williams, LCSW-C, LICSW is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Relationship Advisor, Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Corporate Consultant and Author of the book Dear Future Wife: A man’s guide and a woman’s reference to healthy relationships. As a business owner, Paul Bashea Williams owns and operates, Hearts In Mind Counseling, a mental health private practice that specializes in marriage, family, couples, and individual therapy helping others address their mental health needs. Paul Bashea Williams is well sought after to provide corporate coaching and consulting helping companies address mental health concerns, establish psychological safety and design safe spaces while ensuring company growth. His writing, public speaking and trainings have been featured in and on CNN, HBO, A&E, Gilead, Churches, Universities, Men’s Health Magazine, Essence Magazine, BET, Bustle, Roland Martin Show, Huffington Post, TV One, Radio One, TV Guide, national syndicated radio shows, ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, movies, and conferences all over the nation. Paul Bashea Williams attended East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee for both his undergrad and graduate studies in Social Work where he was awarded and inducted into the Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Alumnus for community impact. Paul Bashea Williams’ goal is to influence healthy relationships with self and others by having comprehension, compromise, consideration, and an understanding of how people interact with one another. You can follow his work at BasheaWilliams.com, BasheaWilliams on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. His counseling services can be found at www.HeartsInMindCounseling.com
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