2017 Conference Recap


The 2017 Central Texas African American Family Support Conference celebrated its 17th year of bringing 400 consumers and professionals together to explore mental health challenges, foster partnerships, raise awareness of health care services, reduce stigma and increase access to care.

Conference Highlights

  • 40 exhibitors
  • 30 interactive workshops
  • 46 presenters
  • 2 motivating keynote speakers

“Very moving and informative” ~ 2017 conference participant

View the conference photo gallery here.

Wednesday Highlights

dsc_8063Pastor AJ Quinton from Diakonos Ministries a House of Servants, kicked off the conference with a motivational speech about faith and recovery from substance use. Pastor Quinton shared his lived experience with attendees and broke down the myth that pastors must deny their own vulnerability in order to help others.

“Conference has been inspirational and life changing” ~ 2017 conference participant

After lunch, David Evans, Integral Care’s CEO, recognized Dr. King Davis for his vision and dedication to the improvement of behavioral health.

Our afternoon keynote speaker, Tamu Lewis, co-founder of the Lee Thompson Young Foundation, delivered a moving keynote address recounting her experience as a sister and survivor of her brother’s suicide (Lee Thomspon Young, actor). Ms. Lewis encouraged attendees to be aware of protective factors, know the signs of emotional pain and to recognize that “there is no health without mental health.”

After the close of the conference’s first day, attendees gathered at Threadgill’s for a reception hosted by the Austin Area African American Behavioral Health Network.

dsc_7925Thursday Highlights

The conference’s second day opened with a variety of morning workshop sessions.

 “Excellent conference. I can’t wait until next year” ~ 2017 conference participant

After morning workshops, we gathered for the Garnet F. Coleman Awards Luncheon. Former Mayor Pro Tem, Sheryl, Cole, gave a motivational speech revealing her mental illness diagnosis, and sharing that she will never hide her mental illness during a campaign or while in public office.

Then we recognized individuals who have demonstrated dedication and advocacy around the issues of mental illness, substance use disorder, physical health issues and/or addressing health disparities in Central Texas.

Representative Coleman was present to deliver a legislative update and to recognize this year’s Eternal Flame Award winner: Deborah Duncan.

Richard E Hopkins Torch Awards Recipients

  • Stephany Bryan – Family Member
  • Meredith Stacy Jones – Consumer
  • Karen Ranus – Community Leader
  • Courtney Bailey – Professional

Scholarship Winners

  • Cindy Trevino – Consumer
  • April Barefoot – Certified Peer Specialist
  • Kevin Johnson – University of Texas Student
  • Ronald Lee Stephens – Outreach Specialist
  • Alicia Buchanan – Licensed Master Social Worker

We ended the luncheon with Keynote Speaker, Dr. Rebera Foston, M.D. MPH, MATS, D Min., who drew from her wealth of knowledge to deliver a powerful message about the “addiction to hopelessness” that affects many young people. Dr. Foston explored the correlation between the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) study and adult chronic disease and mental illness.


CTAAFSC 2017 Sponsors

The conference was made possible through the generous support from our sponsors:

  • Integral Care
  • Central Health
  • Seton Healthcare Family
  • New Milestones Foundation
  • Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
  • The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School – Health Disparities Initiative
  • The Wood Group
  • Austin Area African American Behavioral Health Network
  • Texas Health and Human Services Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities
  • Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
  • NAMI Austin
  • Austin Public Health


Special Thanks

We want to recognize individuals who helped make this year’s conference memorable.

  • Stephanie Hayden, moderator and lead dancer.
  • Sonja Gaines, gracious welcome to all at the conference.
  • Pastor Larry Crudup, Pastor Sonya Hosey and Minister Matthew Mays, led us in prayer.
  • Sister Dorothy Mays Clark and her beautiful rendition “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
  • Our entertainers Lannaya Dance & Drums Ensemble and Touch of Class.

Thank you all and see you next year!