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UM School of Medicine Set to Host Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health

November 04, 2019 | Deborah Kotz

Sharon Hoover, PhD

UMSOM’s National Center for School Mental Health Annual Meeting Will Focus on the Role of Schools in Addressing Child Mental Health Issues

The National Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) will host its 24th Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health in Austin, TX on November 7-9, 2019. This year’s theme focuses on teaching evidence-based programs that help children feel safer and more supported in schools, while highlighting the important role schools play in addressing child and adolescent mental health and well-being.

The conference will bring together nearly 2,000 national and international experts to advance knowledge and skills related to school mental health practice, research, training, and policy. Conference attendees include educators, administrators, student instructional support personnel, mental health practitioners, policymakers, researchers, child health advocates, as well as parents and students.

“We expect our biggest conference ever this year,” said Sharon Hoover, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Director of the National Center for School Mental Health at UMSOM. “Our growing attendance reflects the recognition that schools must attend to students’ mental health to promote their health and academic success. The conference provides education and mental health leaders opportunities to network and learn best practices in building comprehensive school mental health systems.”

One session will focus on equipping school personnel with evidence-informed strategies to support refugee and immigrant students. Another provides insights from a three-year project to assist schools in enhancing drug prevention efforts by meeting the needs of the whole child. Several sessions focus on dealing with violence and trauma and how a child’s exposure to violence can impact their learning, behavior and overall health.

“By the end of the three-day conference, we expect participants will be able to identify strategies for effectively implementing a full continuum of integrated school mental health approaches to support students’ academic, behavioral, and social-emotional success,” said Nancy Lever, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Director of the National Center for School Mental Health at UMSOM.

The mission of the National Center for School Mental Health is to strengthen policies and programs in school mental health to improve learning and promote success for America's youth. From its inception in 1995, the Center's leadership and interdisciplinary staff has promoted the importance of providing mental health services to children, adolescents, and families directly in schools and communities. In 2018, the Center received $1.6 million, 5-year federal award to lead a national school-based health services quality improvement initiative on state implementation of national school mental health performance measures.

“Identifying ways to provide mental health services in schools can level the playing field for all children and adolescents by eliminating the health disparities that plague our nation’s most vulnerable students.” said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA. “The National Center for School Mental Health is at the forefront of leading this effort – one that is so vital for our children, and for the future of our nation.”

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and more than $540 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit 


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Deborah Kotz
Director of Media Relations
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University of Maryland School of Medicine
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