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Conference Program

Breakout sessions will focus on the progress made to date in advancing the vision set out by JFK, what remains unfinished, and the way forward to achieving it. In each session, a thought leader will offer a perspective on the way forward followed by reactions from a panel of expert stakeholders. A session moderator will keep time and steer the discussion in a conversation, living-room style format.

How History Regards the Community Mental Health Act

The morning of the conference will open with this plenary session to examine how President Kennedy’s initiative fits into the history of federal activity in serving people with mental disabilities and how it has set the tone for action in the decades since it became law.

Pushing Back the Frontiers of Knowledge

Research into Mental Illness, Substance Use Disorders, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

In this breakout, the state of brain and behavioral health care research will be considered. The discussion will include an analysis of the prospects and promises for basic brain research, the most promising avenues for development of new therapies, and the links between clinical research and improved quality of care.

Promise and Potential in Prevention and Early Intervention Programs

We will explore the new potential for prevention in children (mental health and addictions) and early intervention for psychoses and substance use disorders that have been emerging in recent years. We will consider a range of issues that must be addressed to craft a stronger prevention policy in behavioral health. These issues involve financing, regulatory, organization, clinical, and ethical challenges.

Public Health and Community Approaches

We’re All In This Together

Addiction, mental illness, and intellectual disability affect the lives of all in the community, and the whole community has a stake in how these conditions are addressed. Because behavioral health disorders touch lives in such fundamental ways, they involve basic social institutions and the way affected populations interact with those institutions. Thus behavioral health policy touches houses, income support, disability, criminal justice and civil rights policy. In this session, we will focus on the alignment of these efforts to create community capacity for people with behavioral health conditions.

Getting Into the Workplace – and Getting the Most Out of It

Employment is a two-way street: employers need a competent, productive, and loyal workforce, while people with intellectual disabilities, mental illness, or substance use disorders benefit in various ways from employment. Yet, these populations experience extremely high rates of unemployment, while businesses struggle daily with the consequences of untreated addiction and mental illness and lack of knowledge in the provision of supports to people with intellectual disabilities. This panel will investigate the state of the art in meeting the needs of employers as well as current and potential employees.

Health Care Integration

Attaining the Triple Aim for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Behavioral Health Disorders

The ACA is ushering in a period in which a premium is being put on integration and coordination of care to meet the varied health and human service needs of the U.S. population. The creation of ACO’s, Health Homes and coordinated care entities are providing new opportunities to better address the full range of needs of people with behavioral health problems. What policy actions are required to realize the potential gains from this thrust towards integration and coordination?

Securing Policy and Practice Advances

Monitoring and Measuring Progress

In this session we will consider the potential risks and benefits to progress towards JFK’s initiative. This will include identifying risks and benefits of emerging policy directions and methods of measuring and assessing progress and threats.

Setting the Agenda to Further President Kennedy’s Vision

The conference will close with this plenary session where policy leaders will discuss the ways in which President Kennedy’s vision remains relevant to the needs of people with intellectual disabilities, mental health disorders, and substance use problems. Building on the morning’s breakout sessions, the speakers will identify policy issues for the community to address as it rededicates itself to the principles of the Community Mental Health Act.