African American Family Support Conference: Houston
The annual Central Texas African American Family Support Conference is free to the general public and has been successful in addressing myths about mental illness, treatment and other issues related to health disparities experienced by African Americans, including those with developmental disabilities (DD). It focuses on providing a forum for culturally appropriate information for African Americans. In 2009, the conference reached maximum capacity. Providing this type of resource to at least one other community in Texas would help to promote cultural competence in service provisions and to more actively reach African Americans with DD who are believed to be under-represented in many service and support systems in Texas.
Coordinate an annual African American Family Support Conference in Houston over three years using participatory strategies to expand the knowledge and skills of individuals with DD, their families and their allies, focusing on African Americans. Strengthen the knowledge and skills of individuals with DD, their families, community members and professionals on available behavioral and physical health care services through culturally sensitive education supports and partnerships.
Parents Anonymous coordinated attendance and participation at the Gulf Coast of Texas African American Family Support Conference. Special focus was given to target people with DD who are African American and/or live in Houston and surrounding areas through flyers and Houston-based television. A mass mailing to over 150 nonprofit and grassroots organizations was also conducted. Parents Anonymous developed an online registration database in concert with the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities and Austin Travis County Integral Care. A website was created to share information about the conference to the Gulf Coast region.
A total of 116 persons registered and attended the conference and 21 exhibitors set up booths. Participants met and learned from peers, self-advocates and recognized experts, and increased their capacity to promote the development of supports and services necessary for individuals with DD to be fully integrated in their communities. The conference hosted three panel discussions and four workshops, as well as a keynote address, and a presentation of Medals of Inspiration to honor champions of disability rights.
- 116 people attended the conference
- Participants increased their capacity to promote the development of supports and services necessary for individuals with developmental disabilities to be fully integrated in their communities
- 85% provided high ratings for knowledge, skills and abilities obtained
- The conference was attended by representatives from public agencies and key community stakeholders, including the mayor’s office, the police chief (attended in person) and the city council