NMHA Elects First Latino Chairman of the Board Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, UC...

NMHA Elects First Latino Chairman of the Board Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, UC Davis Professor, to lead country’s largest mental health organization



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Alexandria, VA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–June 20, 2006–The National Mental Health Association’s Delegate Assembly has unanimously elected Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola as its new Chairman of the Board of Directors beginning June 2006. The first Latino to serve as NMHA’s board chair, Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola will provide direction and leadership to the national organization and its 340 Affiliates nationwide.

“It is not only an honor to serve as the new Chair of the Board for the country’s oldest and most established mental health organization, but as a Latino serving in such a capacity, it demonstrates NMHA’s leadership on improving cultural and linguistic competency and integrating within America’s overall outlook on mental health care,” said Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola. “We are at a crucial tipping point in our nation’s history in understanding and treating mental illness and addressing the stigma that often detours treatment and limits recovery.”

Currently a Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine and Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola has been an avid educator, researcher, and leader in the mental health community for more than two decades. Since 1993, he has been the Director of the Mexican-American Prevalence and Services Survey (MAPSS) Project. He has served as the Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Surveys initiative. He is a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and a Research Scientist member of the National Hispanic Network on Drug Abuse (NHSNDA), and a member of the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) Advisory Board.

In early 2006, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office honored Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola with a Minority Health’s National Minority Health Community Leader Award (Hispanic Community). In 2002, he was selected as an Outstanding Latino Faculty in Higher Education Award by the American Association for Higher Education, Hispanic Caucus. In 1999, he received the Medal of Congress (“Medalla de la Cámara de Diputados”) of Chile for work related to mental health research and, in 1998, he received the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The National Mental Health Association is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness. The NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research and service.

NMHA Elects First Latino Chairman of the Board Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, UC Davis Professor, to lead country’s largest mental health organization