2024 Conference Schedule

May 21, 2024

Day 1

11:00 – 11:20WelcomeAriel Reynolds & Chris Fournier
11:20 – 12:35Keynote
Beyond Checkbox Inclusion: The Unseen Layers of Behavioral Health   
Joe Conway
12:35 – 1:35 Lunch (provided)*
1:35 – 2:25Breakout session 1-A (Main Room)
Somatic Awareness: Harnessing the power of the breath and body on our journey of being human
Stephanie Vlad
Breakout session 1-B (Classroom)
Introduction to culturally responsive practice & resources for Latine individuals & communities
Rachel Galanter
2:25 – 2:40Break
2:40 – 3:30Breakout session 2-A (Main Room)
Looking Beyond the Individual: How to Bring a Structural Humility Lens into the Treatment Process
Dr. Steve Smith 
Breakout session 2-B (Classroom)
Sexual Orientation and Gender Centered Care in Mental Health and Vocational Services   
Danielle and Heather Dest
3:30 – 3:45Break
3:45 – 5:00Plenary Session  
Blindspots in Recovery-focused Care
Dr. Steve Smith 
5:00 – 5:10 Closing, directions to social hour Ariel Reynolds & Chris Fournier
5:30 – 7:00Social/ Networking Event @ Ironclad Brewery

*ACT Coalition meeting in Breakout Room

May 22, 2024

Day 2

9:00 – 9:15  Welcome Ariel Reynolds & Chris Fournier
9:15 – 10:30Plenary Session
Peer Support Gone Wild: Pitfalls, Lessons Learned, and Tips from Messing it Up
Cherene Caraco
10:30 – 10:45Break
10:45 – 11:35Breakout session 3-A (Main Room)
Somatic Awareness: Harnessing the power of the breath and body on our journey of being human
Stephanie Vlad
Breakout session 3-B (Classroom)
Decriminalization of the Mentally Ill: How we got here and how we can facilitate change
Hillary Faulk Vaughan
11:35 – 11:55 Awards
11:55 – 12:55Lunch (provided)
12:55 – 1:45Breakout session 4-A (Main Room) 
Trauma-informed Care
Cherene Caraco
12:55 – 1:45Breakout session 4-B (Classroom) 
Occupational justice in community mental health: Practical applications for everyday encounters
Dr. Antoine Balliard
1:45 – 2:00Break
2:00 – 3:15Plenary Session
Intensive, Community-Based Rehabilitation Programs: The Essential Workforce in Need of Great Care, Support, and Investment
Dr. Lorna Moser
3:15 – 3:30Closing  Ariel Reynolds & Chris Fournier

Presenter Bios

Antoine Bailliard, PhD

Dr. Antoine Bailliard is an Associate Professor in the Occupational Therapy Doctorate Division at Duke University and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is a consultant and trainer for the Institute for Best Practices and is co-principal investigator of a SAMHSA grant to develop HomeLink, an innovative peer-led team that provides assertive outreach to adults with serious mental illness who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Dr. Bailliard is also a consultant for the Public Mental Health Partnership between the L.A. County Department of Mental Health and UCLA. He is a Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair of the Center for Community Connections, an organization that provides mental health services to enhance participation in meaningful activities and social connection using an occupational justice perspective. Dr. Bailliard’s clinical experience spans from working in acute inpatient mental health, chronic inpatient mental health, and community-based mental health settings.

Cherene Caraco

I have been involved in mental health services for 33 years- both professionally and personally- and as an international consultant, have been given the gift of learning from people around the world about their recovery from complex trauma and labels of mental illness. 
18 years ago, I founded Promise Resource Network, a survivor led organization operated and staffed by people that had experienced suicide attempts, mental health and substance use diagnoses, long term homelessness, incarceration, gang involvement, trauma, domestic violence, etc.  
PRN serves people that are uninsured and have been kicked out or opted out of traditional mental health and substance use treatments. We create healing alternatives that are rooted in 8 Dimensions of Wellness, resilience and recovery. All of our efforts are guided by the people most directly impacted- Experts by Experience. It works.  
Promise Resource Network has been ranked nationally in the Top 10 Non-Profit Organizations in 2018, 2019, 2020 and in 2021, we were ranked the 2nd Best in the country to work for.  
When I was 13, I received my first mental health diagnosis. The assumption of illness was made without consideration of trauma. It harmed me more than it helped. Through PRN, I pursue effective ways to elevate the voices and wisdom of people directly impacted by social issues while mitigating re-traumatization in the name of treatment. We currently operate 16 programs including a 24/7 warm-line, peer respite hospital alternative, jail/prison diversion and re entry, houseless to homeownership initiatives, community health, and supported employment.  
Through the support of a 3 year federal SAMHSA grant, we are seeding, incubating and launching a NC statewide peer/“consumer” movement, Peer Voice NC, to create a unified voice in policy, practice and system change. In 2020, PVNC had 4 bills with bipartisan sponsorship. 

Rachel Galanter

Rachel Galanter is El Futuro’s Technical Assistance and Consultation Lead working to Advance Latine Mental Health Access. As a child, she lived abroad twice and was immersed in a foreign school system, language, culture and community. Rachel learned Spanish as an adult and developed fluency as a foster parent to a child who was an unaccompanied immigrant from Mexico and spoke no English. For over 30 years, she has supported children, youth, and families. Certified by the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers and by the Trauma Resource Institute, Rachel provides training and coaching to professionals on client engagement, cultivating resilience, cultural humility and responsiveness, effective communication, and implementation of best practices.

Lorna L. Moser, Ph.D., HSPP

Dr. Moser is the Director of the Institute for Best Practices and clinical associate professor in the UNC Dept of Psychiatry. For the past 24 years, Dr. Moser has provided training, consultation, and evaluation services in support of ACT across the United States and abroad. She is the co-author of the Tool for Measurement of ACT (TMACT), a contemporary measure of ACT fidelity, and conducts research examining the facilitators and barriers to higher fidelity ACT implementation. She is currently leading the largest descriptive study of the status of ACT implementation across the U.S., funded by Arnold Ventures.

Stephanie Vlad, MA, LPA, PMH-C

Stephanie is a Master’s level Psychologist with over 15 years of experience in various settings, including nonprofit, private, and community organizations, and specializes in anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, perinatal and women’s issues, and entrepreneurship. She has been in solo private practice since 2017 and recently opened up an Embodiment Studio, where she has merged talk therapy with movement and mindfulness practices to help people become fully embodied and empowered in their own skin.

Joe Conway, MHCM, CDM

Meet Joseph ‘Joe’ Conway, one of Wilmington, NC’s beacons of equity and inclusion and the driving force behind A.B.I.D.E. of NC, LLC, and lends his talents as a System Manager for Equity & Inclusion at UNC Health. As Wilmington’s first Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer and a former Director of Health Equity/Human Experience at Novant Health | NHRMC, Joe combines more than 25 years of leadership with a dedication to justice and community growth. His approach to equity work is infused with optimism, humor, and a commitment to fostering environments where everyone can succeed.

Joe’s academic background spans from the halls of the United States Naval Academy to being a Church Ministries major at Trinity Baptist College (Jax, FL), to earning an MBA in Healthcare Management, along with DEI certifications from Cornell University and a Lean-Six Sigma Black Belt initiated at Belmont University. Married to his high school sweetheart, Tiffany, for over 32 years and a father to four adult sons, Joe’s passions extend to reading, music, cooking, and travel. Joe Conway is a man who lives with purpose, challenges the status quo, and enriches his community with every step, or at least he tries to.

Hillary Faulk Vaughan, MA, LPA, HSP-PA

Hillary is a psychologist who has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years. She received a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and her graduate work was focused on individuals with severe and persistent mental illness within the prison system.

After graduation she found her passion working with adults diagnosed with severe mental illness (SMI). In 2009 she began working at Physician Alliance for Mental Health in Wilmington NC as an ACT Therapist and in 2010 she became the Clinical Director where she focused her efforts on supporting and educating direct care clinicians in implementation of best practice models for the SMI population.

She has been tirelessly focused on efforts to help reduce the stigma around mental illness. Part of this work is to support decriminalization of the mentally ill. She worked with the late Judge Ola Lewis in the development of the Brunswick County Mental Health Court and is currently on the advisory committee for a New Hanover County Mental Health Court. She has trained Police Officers, Sherriff’s Deputies and Probation Officers on mental illness, effective interventions for individuals with SMI, and available community resources. She has served on the Clinical Advisory Committees and the Credentialing Committees for Southeastern Center for Mental Health, CoastalCare and Trillium Health Resources and is currently the chair of the Clinical Advisory Committee for Trillium Health Resources.

Danielle Dest, MSW, LCSW

Danielle Dest, LCSW graduated from Long Island University in 2015 with her master’s in social work degree, a concentration in gerontology and an advanced certificate in Long Term Care Administration. She has worked across the social work spectrum of services as many of us have. She began her career in gerontology and hospice care however found a passion quickly in working with severe and persistent mental health issues. She has worked by providing counseling to our unsheltered neighbors in the Cape Fear region. She continued her practice as a therapist in a residential psychiatric treatment facility for adolescents. Eventually moving into a therapist position on an Assertive Community Treatment Team at Physicians Alliance for Mental Health which further deepened her commitment to working with an interdisciplinary team to serve our diverse and deserving population of individuals with severe and persistent mental health issues. She grew into the Community Support Team Lead at Physicians Alliance for Mental Health prior to moving into private practice full time in 2021. She is co-owner with her spouse of Salt Therapy Mental Health Services.

Heather Dest, MSW, LCSW

Heather Dest, MSW, LCSW graduated from UNCW with her MSW degree in 2009. Since that time, she has worked in various clinical settings including a myriad of enhanced adult and child services, the state prison system, a youth residential behavioral facility and private practice. She has provided therapy to clients on the CST and ACT Teams at Waynesboro Family Clinic in Wayne County NC and then acted as the ACT Team Lead at Physician Alliance for Mental Health until 2019. Heather has been in private practice since 2019 and became co-owner of her own private practice, Salt Therapy Mental Health Services with her spouse in 2020.

Stephen Smith, PhD

Dr. Stephen M. Smith is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist whose professional mission is dedicated to equipping mental health providers and organizations with the necessary tools to advance health equity for individuals experiencing serious mental health concerns, and particularly those individuals from marginalized communities. Whether providing direct care or training and supporting other treatment providers, Dr. Smith constantly seeks to expand our understanding of the impact of cultural and structural factors on how we conceptualize and respond to individuals experiencing mental health concerns. Dr. Smith also has a private practice in which he provides psychotherapy specifically for adult people of color.