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Featured Presentations

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Keynote Presentation:
The Evolving Role of Peer Support in Health Care by Chacku Mathai

Into the Fold Podcast: Issues in Mental Health by Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
Episode 6: Peer Support as Innovative Disruption by Chacku Mathai

About Us

Chacku Mathai
STAR Center Director

Tanya C. Ryder
STAR Center Project Manager

The STAR Center is one of the five National Technical Assistance Centers funded by SAMHSA to support mental health systems transformation. The purpose of the overall program is to provide technical assistance that facilitates the restructuring of the mental health system by promoting recovery and consumer directed approaches.

Each NTAC is organized by SAMHSA to focus on specific topic areas of concentration that can be offered through virtual training and technical assistance or product development for the whole country while also offering direct training and technical assistance to specific states, territories or tribal governments. The STAR Center is charged with supporting four target states/territories Rhode Island, New Mexico, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. read more...

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The STAR Center is funded by a grant from the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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Building Bridges, LGBT Populations: A Dialogue on Advancing Opportunities for Recovery from Addictions and Mental Health Problems

Community Conversations About Mental Health Toolkit

Hogg Foundation Report on Eliminating Disparities through Integrated Health

HHS Plan to Reduce Disparities

Institute of Medicine on Eliminating Disparities

Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy

Behavioral Health United States 2012

The Dynamic System of Power, Privelege and Oppression

Gender: Power and Privelege

Five Faces of Oppression

Difference, Power, and Privelege

A Structural Analysis of Oppression

STAR Center News

Upcoming STAR Center Webinar

Title: Understanding the Role of Hip Hop Culture to Improve Outreach, Engagement and Recovery for People with Serious Mental Health Conditions.

Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Time: 2- 3:30 p.m. ET


Celia Brown, New York State Office of Mental Health Office of Consumer Affairs; Luis Lopez, Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia Psychiatry; Matthew Petitte, Mental Health Association of Rochester/Monroe County; Josh Trujillo, Inside Out Recovery, Espanola, NM.


"When we made Hiphop, we made it hoping it would be about peace, love, unity and having fun so that people could get away from the negativity that was plaguing our streets..." Afrika Bambaataa, the universal Zulu Nation. Emerging from the streets of the Bronx in New York City over 45 years ago, Hip Hop culture is now a world-wide platform for self-expression and cross-cultural connection. Hip hop is now recognized as an effective medium for mental health and addiction recovery engagement and recovery support. For example, the Lancet recently published an article (December, 2014) about the University of Cambridge's Hip Hop Psych initiative that recognizes hip-hop as helping to positively transform lives and achieve a sense of empowerment, street knowledge, resilience, and self-healing. Join us for an exciting dialogue with members of our recovery communities in New York and New Mexico as they review their personal and professional experience in applying Hip Hop as a means for cultural engagement and meaningful recovery support.

Speaker Bios:

Celia Brown, New York State Office of Mental Health Office of Consumer Affairs;

Celia Brown is a psychiatric survivor and a long time advocate for people with psychiatric disabilities. She currently works in the position of Regional Advocacy Specialist for the Bureau of Recipient Affairs at the NYC Field Office, NYS Office of Mental Health. She provides technical assistance and support to peer specialists and recipients in New York. Celia facilitates training on the role of peer specialists, self-help, wellness and recovery approaches in community mental health agencies. She was instrumental in developing and implementing the Peer Specialist Civil Service title for the NYS Office of Mental Health. Celia was an field school student with the Center to Study Recovery in Social Contexts. She is on the Advisory committee for the Center for Practice Innovations. She has worked with disability groups & government delegates at the United Nations for the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

Luis Lopez, Center for Practice Innovations at Columbia Psychiatry;

Luis O. Lopez, MS, is an Implementation Specialist and trainer at the Center for Practice Innovations, at Columbia Psychiatry. He has been involved in the implementation and application of Evidence Based Practices since 2003. He has facilitated educational sessions on Ethics, Trauma Informed Care, Motivational Interviewing, Integrated Treatment, Family Psycho-Education, Cultural Competency, Stages of Change, Harm Reduction, WRAP, CBT, and Wellness Self-Management.

Matthew Petitte, Mental Health Association of Rochester/Monroe County;

Matthew Petitte B.S.Ed. is a peer employment support coach that helped develop MHA Rochester's Employment Services, and he is a transitional specialist in Rochester NY's brand new Peer Run Respite Psychiatric Hospital Diversion Program. He is a certified trainer in crisis intervention and training staff who are youth skill builders. Matthew is also a SAMHSA funded INAPS and DBSA partnered Recovery to Practice Next Steps peer training certified trainer. He performed an internship in none other than the birth place of Hip Hop - Bronx, NY. Some of his other previous roles consisted of assisting a unique creative wellness center and serving as residential treatment counselor for adolescents with mental illness. Matthew has personal experience with substance abuse, in which he has been clean and sober for 10 years. After getting clean and sober, he felt something was not right, and was soon diagnosed with mental illness. Playing an active role in his treatment, participating in psycho-education and self-help, developing supportive relationships, and pursuing vocational pursuits has been critical to his hard earned progress in recovery.

Josh Trujillo, Inside Out Recovery, Espanola, NM.

Josh Trujillo is from Espanola NM, a small town plagued by drug addiction. He spent 11 years consumed by this affliction and been 100% drug free since 10/21/11. Many of the lyrics in his music are about overcoming addiction and some of the harsh realities that addicts face. His mission is to spread the message of hope in addiction recovery. He helps educate others, by sharing his personal story and by demonstrating that by staying clean, it is possible to pursue lost dreams.

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Title: STAR Center Interview with Gilberto Romero, PHK: A Public Health Approach to Mental Health

Date: Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Time: 2- 3:30 p.m. ET

Presenters: Gilberto Romero, PHK;

Gilberto Romero, PHK; Mr. Romero has a long history of mental health advocacy and has been recognized with prestigious awards from many national organizations (the New Mexico Governor's Recognition of Achievement in Aging Award 2007, National People of Color Consumer Survivor Network, Esperanza Hope Memorial Award, Latino Behavioral Health Institute, New Mexico Public Health Association, American Association for World Health, Parents of Behaviorally Different Children and the National Association of Social Workers, and the Public Citizen of the Year Award). Mr. Romero was also appointed by the Governor to the New Mexico Board of Social Work Examiners. Mr. Romero is a former Board Member of National Latino Behavioral Health Association and Latino Tenemos Voz. Mr. Romero has extensive knowledge of the mental health system on the national, state, and local level, strong communications skills, and valued experiential knowledge as an advocate and consumer of mental health services. He hosted a radio program in New Mexico on mental health awareness for 11 years. Mr. Romero has a wide range of expertise on mental health policy issues including education, public awareness campaigns, media, community services, peer support, homelessness, criminal justice issues, cultural diversity, discrimination and social exclusion, and co-occurring disorders.


Join us for a STAR Center Interview, featuring Gilberto Romero, PHK from Santa Cruz, New Mexico. Mr. Romero has a long history of mental health advocacy and hosted a radio program in New Mexico on mental health awareness for 11 years. Mr. Romero has a wide range of expertise on mental health policy issues including education, public awareness campaigns, media, community services, peer support, homelessness, criminal justice issues, cultural diversity, discrimination and social exclusion, and co-occurring disorders.

Register Now

Upcoming Event

The Trauma Informed DC Initiative and the ACEs Connection Network proudly present: Wounded Places: Confronting Childhood PTSD in America's Shell-Shocked Cities, a film screening and community discussion.

Too many of our children, especially children of color in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, experience adversity, violence, neglect and other forms of trauma and show symptoms similar to PTSD-except there is no 'post.' Traveling to Philadelphia and Oakland, this 40-minute episode chronicles the stories of children shaken by violence and adversity and asks not "What's wrong with you?" but "What happened to you?" and how can traumatized children and neighborhoods heal?

Thursday, July 16, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
St. Elizabeth's Hospital - Auditorium

St. Elizabeth's can be accessed via the Congress Heights metro station. Admission is free, but please RSVP via Eventbrite!

  • Event Schedule:
  • 5:30 p.m. Welcome, registration & refreshments
  • 5:50 p.m. Purpose: Trauma Informed DC Initiative
  • 6:00 p.m. Showing of Wounded Places
  • 6:45 p.m. Sponsor's Response
  • 7:00 p.m. Open Community Discussion
  • 7:25 p.m. Next Steps & Closing

Community co-sponors include: Community Connections, Green Door, St. Elizabeth's Office of Community Affairs and Volunteer Services and Office of Consumer Affairs, and University Legal Services.

Download Flyer

Recent STAR Center Events

STAR Center Webinar:

Title: The Zero Suicide Movement and How Peers and Family Members Can Get Involved

Date: Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Time: 3 - 4:30 p.m. ET


Michael Hogan, PhD, Hogan Health Solutions; Leah Harris, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors; Julie Goldstein Grumet, PhD, Suicide Prevention Resource Center.


As suicide rates among young people and veterans continue to rise, people with mental health conditions remain at the highest risk. This includes people and families in crisis who are already relying on mental health services. Such services need to do a much better job of engaging their needs and wellness while minimizing the use of coercive and institutional "solutions." The presenters will highlight several new national initiatives: the Zero Suicide movement that seeks to make health care safer, and a just-released national report, "The Way Forward: Pathways to Hope, Recovery and Wellness with Insights from Lived Experience," that seeks to bridge the gaps between suicide attempt survivors, mental health policy makers, suicide prevention leaders, and program implementers.

View Webinar Recording
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Title: Native American Health and Healing Approaches

Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Time: 2 - 3:30 p.m. ET



Shirley Montoya and Anthony Lee, Healing Circles Wellness Center in Shiprock, New Mexico; Rudy Soto, National Council on Urban Indian Health.


Understanding and embracing indigenous healing approaches is an important way to move forward in addressing healthcare inequalities, especially in Native communities. In this STAR Center webinar, our presenters shared examples of self-care and healing approaches that are used in urban, rural and frontier communities, described the history, foundations, values and standards inherent in these approaches as well as offered recommendations for how these approaches may be better engaged by Native people in states, territories and tribal governments across the country.

We hope you are engaged, educated and empowered by this provocative and inspiring webinar presentation on approaches to eliminating the health and mental health disparities in our communities.

View Webinar Recording
Download The Presentations
Shirley and Anthony- Presentation
Rudy Soto- Presentation
Provide Feedback

Links to Additional Resources:
U.S. Department of the Interior: Trace Indian Ancestry
The Pursuit of Happiness: Personal Wellbeing and the Management of Stress
Self-Care While Caring For Others: Methods & Strategies for Wellness- Webinar Part 2
Relational Worldview
ACEs Connection
ACEs Connection Network: Native Americans

Title: One Size Does Not Fit All: Closing the Mental Health Disparities Gap for African-American Communities

Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Time: 2 - 3:30 p.m. ET


Nicki King, Ph.D., and Jim Gilmer, M.A., Co-Directors of the African American Strategic Planning Workgroup of the California Reducing Disparities Project; Bennie Crayton, Prevention Specialist, Ventura County Mental Health; Vincent Shelton, Transition Age Youth Focus Group facilitator and participant, Beyond the Beats and the Lyrics narrator; Mark Spencer, Co-Founder/President Lavlife Foundation and Co-Founder Hip-Hop Collective Group and Member of California Reducing Disparities Project African American Strategic Planning Work Group; Chief Calvin Handy, retired law enforcement officer.


The California Reducing Disparities Project (CRDP) recently released the Strategic Plan to Reduce Mental Health Disparities which was developed in partnership with the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) and workgroups from five populations - African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders (API), Latinos, Native Americans, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) communities. Building on their 2012 report We Ain't Crazy! Just Coping with a Crazy System, the African American Strategic Planning Workgroup recently developed a video called Beyond the Beat and the Lyrics, and a Facilitator's Guide to increase dialogue and understanding of the impact of stigma and discrimination on the mental health status of transition age African-American men. Join us for a provocative and informative webinar presentation on recommendations for systems transformation to reduce disparities that may apply or be useful in your community.

View Webinar Recording
Download The Presentation
Provide Feedback

View Archive of Webinars

STAR Center Meeting

Building Resilience Through Trauma Informed Communities: How Do We Get Started?

Date: Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Time: 1 - 2:30 p.m. ET

Dorothy I. Height/Benning Neighborhood Library
3935 Benning Rd. NE
Washington, D.C. 20019

Moderator: Chacku Mathai, CPRP, Director, STAR Center
Panelists: Leah Harris, M.A., Director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery; Iden Campbell McCollum, CPRP, Executive Director of The Campbell Center;

A movement to create Trauma-Informed Communities is well underway across the United States and Canada. A Community Resilience Cookbook was recently created to highlight these initiatives and offer interested communities some resources and suggested ways to move forward. Continue the conversation about Community Resilience in the DC Metro Area.

Meeting Handouts and Resources:

ACEs Infographic
Reflection Questions

Community of Practice

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