Challenges and Opportunities Supporting Youth of Color

Presented by

This Steve Fund symposium brings together mental health professionals, religious and spiritual leaders, academics, and youth leaders to explore how religion, spirituality and mental health intersect and how this impacts the support of young people of color in different cultural groups and with different identities.  This topic is one of great relevance and resonance but with scant documentation.

As an organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well- being of young people of color, we are committed to building and sharing knowledge.  This is one of a series of convenings that will examine critically important topics in order to surface opportunities for collaboration, provide learning and inform the work of The Steve Fund going forward.

We are delighted to be meeting in the historic True Reformer Building, in the heart of the famous U St. Corridor in Washington, DC.  This civic and cultural landmark was designed for community conversations, conferences, and reform- mission aligned with our symposium.


True Reformer Building
1200 U Street NW, Washington, D.C. 
8:00 AM — 5:00 PM

8:00- 9:00


9:00- 9:10


Emcee:  Julie Bayley, Founder & CEO, BayleyConsults, LLC

Affirmation:  Elaine Harris, Symposium Coordinator, Golden Rule Technology, LLC

9:10- 9:50

Speakers will provide a common set of understandings that we will use for the day

Faith, Religion and Spirituality: Working Definitions

Rev. Dr. Willard Ashley, Vice President of Community Relations, Director of the Center for Clergy Care, and Tenured Associate Professor of Practical Theology, New Brunswick Theological Seminary

The Steve Fund and Mental Health of Youth of Color

Dr. Annelle Primm, Senior Medical Director, The Steve Fund

9:55- 10:55

Religion, Spirituality & Mental Health: Intersectional Issues

Panelists will discuss the unique pressures that young people of color face and how their religious and spiritual beliefs mitigate or add to these impacts 

Moderator: Dr. Sherry Molock, Associate Professor of Psychology, George Washington University 

Panelists: Dr. Farha Abbasi, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Michigan State University, Managing Editor, Journal of Muslim Mental Health; Dr. Jonathan Shepherd- Chief, Medical Director, Hope Health Systems, Ordained Elder, Church of God in Christ; Dr. Hans Momplaisir, Associate Professor of Sociology, Trinity Washington University; Shawna Murray-Browne, LCSW-C, Executive Director & Founder, Kindred Wellness and Kindred Community Healing; Aaron Slater, Tribal Policy and Native Youth Advocate, Member of the Navajo Nation

10:55- 11:10

Note learnings, implications, next steps

11:10- 12:10

State of Mental Health & Spirituality Support for Youth of Color on College Campuses

Panelists will discuss recent mental health trends at colleges, the extent to which accessibility and stigma remain issues, and best practices being utilized by both mental health and religious/spiritual professionals in this environment.  

Moderator:  Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, Associate Professor of Psychology, Program Chair, Trinity Washington University

Panelists: Dr. Todd Sevig, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, University of Michigan; Rev. Adam Lawrence Dyer, Lead Minister, First Parish in Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist; Chaplain, Harvard University; Shelter Dziya, PhD Candidate, Meyerhoff Graduate Fellow, Psychology Teaching Fellow, Clinician, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Psychology Associate- The Village Family Support Center of Baltimore; Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President, Westchester Community College


12:10- 1:10

Lunch & Keynote

Susan L. Taylor, Founder & CEO
National CARES Mentoring Movement
Editor-in-Chief Emerita, Essence Magazine

1:10- 2:15

Authentic Voices Youth Panel
Young people of color will share their perspectives on the pursuit of mental wellness and the relationship that has to their religious/spiritual beliefs.

Discussion will also include problem recognition, peer outreach, and establishing trust.

Moderator:  Rev. Ciara Simonson, Senior Minister, Springfield Christian Church; MD, Howard University School of Divinity, MS, Clinical Mental Health, Loyola University

Panelists: Jay Wang, Chair, Youth Advisory Board, The Steve Fund; Ms. Ewaoluwa Ogundana, Rising Junior, Political Science, Trinity Washington University; Nyla Wofford, Doctoral Student, Psychology, Howard University; Research Associate, Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network; Josh Cocker, Wellness and Healing Facilitator, Native Wellness Institute, Advisor, Indigenous 20-Something Project; Tribal Member, Kiowa people of Oklahoma

2:15- 3:15

Religion & Spirituality and Mental Health- Either/Or or Both/And

Panelists will discuss issue categorization as religious/spiritual and/or medically oriented, address the perceived conflicts between respective approaches to addressing trauma, identify integrative approaches being successfully employed, and discuss how cross competency can be achieved. 

Moderator: Dr. Eindra Khin Khin, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences
Dr. Ometha Lewis-JackAssistant Professor, Bowie State; Akan Priestess; Dr. Michael Torres, Psychiatrist. Private Practice, Ordained Minister; Dr. Karriem Salaam, Psychiatrist, Director Adolescent Inpatient Unit, Friends Hospital 

3:15- 3:30

Share learnings, implications, next steps

3:30- 4:15

Breakout Session

Groups will summarize key learnings; identify research gaps, discuss ways to share knowledge, and recommend next steps

Facilitators:  Dr. Jeffrey Volkmann, Executive Director, American University Counseling Center; Dr. Janeé Avent Harris, Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Professions, Counselor Education, East Carolina University; Dr. Karen Craddock, Visiting Scholar, Wellesley Centers for Women, Tribal Member and Chair of the Wampanoag Women’s Center of Aquinnah; Dr. Narcisa Polonio, Board Governance, Organizational Leadership & Strategic Solutions Independent Consultant Advisor to the Steve Fund

4:15- 4:45

Breakout reports to the whole group

4:45- 5:00

Planned follow up and acknowledgments
Anuja Khemka, Executive Director, The Steve Fund