18 & 19

May 2018

Mental Health Collaborations: Diversity and Inclusion-
Integrating Research, Education, and Practice


Welcome to the 2018 Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health Collaborations: Diversity and Inclusion-Integrating Research, Education, and Practice!

The 2018 Symposium will be held on May 18-19th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

The theme for 2018 is Mental Health Collaborations: Diversity and Inclusion – Integrating Research, Education, and Practice. This annual educational forum will facilitate collaboration among patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, academicians and community partners for those suffering with mental illness.

The Executive Committee of the SESMH and our partners are committed to advancing the welfare of our communities through improving access to mental health care, knowledge and education. We are excited about the diversity of our program and the culmination of our collaborative efforts. We look forward to your participation in this annual event.





The 2018 Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health will feature:

  • Top-notch psychiatrists, researchers, psychologists and clinicians providing tools and resources to advance and sustain recovery from mental illness
  • Professional and mental health consumers discussing how they cope with their own mental illness  and with clients or  family members who have mental illness, while providing stories of experience and perspective on recovery
  • Networking opportunities
  • Topics about living with mental illness
  • Cutting-edge research updates and innovative recovery initiatives


Friday, May 18, 2018

Morning Speaker, State Director John H. Magill

State Director of South Carolina Department of Mental Health, John H. Magill, is currently the longest serving State Mental Health director in America with 11 years in the position. Mr. Magill has also served as Deputy Chair of Operations in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina, and remains a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at both the Medical University of South Carolina and the University Of South Carolina School Of Medicine’s Department of Neuropsychiatry.

Luncheon Speaker, Associate Director, Elisabeth Houtsmuller, PhD

Associate Director, Elisabeth Houtsmuller, PhD, leads the Healthcare Delivery and Disparities Research program at the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Prior to PCORI, Dr. Houtsmuller served as vice president of research at the Center for Medical Policy Technology. As managing editor of Health Technology Assessments at Hayes, Inc. who also led the Behavioral and Mental Health Services program, she led her team producing numerous Health Technology Assessments on a wide range of medical and mental health topics.

Earlier, Dr. Houtsmuller was an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where she served as principal investigator on several research grants, and directed a human subjects research laboratory focused on drug abuse and addiction.

Plenary Speaker: Executive Director, Deborah S. Blalock, MEd, LPCS, CPM,

Executive Director, Deborah S. Blalock, MEd., LPCS, CPM, of Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center, has served since 2004, one of the largest and most innovative of the seventeen centers operated by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. Ms. Blalock joined the SC Department of Mental Health in 1993 and previously served as Director of Acute Services.

Ms. Blalock has extensive training in crisis negotiation, crisis intervention, and critical incident management. She directed services that focused on people in crisis including the Mobile Crisis Team, South Carolina’s first Mental Health Court, the Crisis Stabilization Center, and services in local detention centers.

In 2015, after the tragic mass shooting and murder of nine parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Ms. Blalock provided trauma counseling, and since then, she has been engaged with the families of Emanuel AME on their journey to hope, healing, and recovery.

Plenary Speaker:  Forensic Psychiatrist, Donna Maddox, M.D.

Donna Maddox, MD is a General and Forensic Psychiatrist. She is licensed to practice medicine in South Carolina and Georgia. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in 1989. She retired from the Department of Mental Health in 2016. She formerly worked at the University of South Carolina for 17 years.  She actively teaches and has faculty appointments at University of South Carolina and MUSC. She has testified over 700 times in United States District Courts in South Carolina, Arizona and Georgia and state courts in SC, Georgia, NC, Florida, Mississippi and Arizona. She specializes in Sexual Violence and Death Penalty work. She has evaluated numerous serial killers and mass murderers. She has published in areas of sex offending, stalking, murder, and autism spectrum disorders. She has worked at the Department of Juvenile Justice, Department of Corrections, Sexually Violent Predator Program, Insanity Acquittee Program and various psychiatric hospitals.

Friday, May 18, 2018
Dinner Speaker, Founder and President of Mindstrong Health, Thomas R. Insel, MD
Thomas R. Insel, M.D, Founder and President of Mindstrong Health, is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist. From 2002-2015, Dr. Insel served as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed to research on mental disorders. Most recently he led the Mental Health Team at Verily.

Prior to his appointment at the NIMH, Dr. Insel was a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Emory University School of Medicine. He also served as Director of the Center for Autism Research and is a member of the scientific advisory board at the Autism Science Foundation. Dr. Insel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received numerous national and international awards including honorary degrees in the U.S. and Europe.

Saturday, May 19, 2018
Luncheon Speaker, ABC News Anchor, Elizabeth Vargas
Emmy-Award winning journalist, television anchor, and investigative reporter Elizabeth Vargas has traveled the world covering breaking news stories, reporting in-depth investigations, and conducting interviews with world leaders and other influential newsmakers. She is currently the co-anchor of “20/20” with David Muir.

Elizabeth’s childhood was beset by anxiety and she suffered from daily, debilitating panic attacks before self-medicating with alcohol as an adult. In 2014, Elizabeth revealed both her alcoholism and her anxiety disorder on national television. Since then, she has become an outspoken and impactful advocate for mental health and substance use disorder treatment. Her powerful book, Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction, was an instant New York Times and USA Today best-seller.

GHS Health Sciences Center Partners