American University of Health Sciences, in partnership with College Medical Center of Long Beach, organized and hosted the 5th Annual Behavioral Health & Post-Acute Care Symposium on October 29, 2020. The symposium focused on behavioral and mental health, which are ongoing topics of discussion within society today. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 1 in 5 Americans are affected by mental health conditions. In result, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness each year. The aspects of stigma and rejection are toxic to one’s mental health because it creates an environment of fear, shame and silence that prevents many people from seeking professional help and treatment. Overall, the perception of mental illness will not change unless there is proper, actual change and progress. To raise awareness and to further educate the public, the symposium was held virtually through ZOOM on the AUHS campus while implementing COVID-19 regulations and social distancing guidelines. Joe Avelino, the Chief Executive Officer of College Medical Center, and his team of leadership met with leadership at AUHS in collaboration to provide support, educate the public, fight against stigma, and advocate for policies that uplift those with mental illness along with their families and loved ones. “It’s a great honor to partner up with American University of Health Sciences so that the public can become aware about issues regarding behavioral and mental health. It is an important and ongoing concern that must be discussed in further detail,” stated Mr. Avelino.

The event, which was held from 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., introduced 11 guest speakers from the healthcare industry, legal firms, and various organizations. Faculty, students, and staff from the Schools of Nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing), Pharmacy (Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Doctor of Pharmacy, Pharmacy Technician), and Clinical Research (Master of Science in Clinical Research), were also among those who attended the event. Breakout sessions were included in the scheduled program agenda so that attendees can participate by listening and engaging in a Q & A panel afterwards. It is truly a blessing from God by which AUHS extends their warmest gratitude and thanks to College Medical Center of Long Beach to gather as one so that they can both become centers for outreach regarding behavioral and mental health.

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