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Argosy U. Aims to Train More Diverse Mental Health Workers

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Dr. Benjamin Barnes
As a clinical psychologist and mental health worker with San Bernardino and Riverside counties, Dr. Benjamin Barnes saw first hand some of the psychological problems affecting African Americans and Latinos in the Inland Empire.  Argosy University/Inland Empire is hoping to train more mental health workers from a diverse background to address the growing needs of the community.

While working as both a professor at Argosy University/Inland Empire and a county mental health provider, Dr. Barnes has noticed the lack of African American and Latino psychologists.

"There are very few African American therapists," he said. "Even now only 10 to 15 percent of the therapists in San Bernardino County are African American. And we don't have many bilingual therapists."

An African-American, Dr. Barnes is one of the ethnically diverse faculty members at Argosy University/Inland Empire who are dedicated to increasing the number of local African-American and Latino mental health workers. Wendy Vasquez-Osborn, interim campus president, said that Argosy University's blended programs, which offer online, evening and weekend courses, are attractive to students in the Inland Empire who are often working full-time jobs.

"Many students entered the workforce right after high school or had to raise families, and now they need a degree to move to the next level," she said. "Our programs fit the needs of working adults."

Dr. Barnes says that, "Many of Argosy University/Inland Empire's faculty members have extensive backgrounds working with the Black and Latino communities and have spent many years working on the front lines of the mental health field."

Dr. Barnes said the psychology profession is still predominately white and female, and this may cause problems for people of color who are looking for a mental health provider. "In some cases, it may put up a cultural barrier. Some minorities may believe that the therapists are not sensitive to their cultural needs," he said.

He added that there is also a lack of awareness about mental health issues in the Black/Latino communities. Dr. Barnes said most African-American and Latino college students go into the computer and business fields and shy away from psychology, because of the fear they may not get a job after graduating.

"They stay away from psychology because there is still a stigma about it in the African-American/Latino community," he said "That is the reason why African-American and Latino people often don't use mental health services." He also said that the African-American and Latino community may be unaware of the signs of mental health problems because they are accustomed to dealing with other stressful issues such as racism and unemployment. "Our definition of mental health stressors are different from the mainstream," he said.

Dr. Barnes is currently in a master's degree program in psychopharmacology at Alliant University, and he holds a master's degree and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University. He teaches courses in Clinical Psychology at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels at Argosy University. Dr. Barnes also teaches at San Bernardino Valley College.

He said he is pleased to see the ethnic diversity in his classes at Argosy. "Argosy University has many programs making it visible in local high schools and colleges," Barnes said. "The solution to boosting the number of African-American and Latino psychologists is by reaching out to those communities through face-to-face marketing in non-traditional places such as community recreation centers, shopping malls, churches, sports clubs and public events."

"Argosy University is going out and meeting people in their communities and neighborhoods," Dr. Barnes said. He also stated that, "Argosy University is targeting potential psychologists earlier through associate's and bachelor's degree programs, which are attractive to high school students, and by talking to individuals in the health, business and education professions who want to move to the next level of their career."

Argosy University/Inland Empire is one of 18 Argosy University (www.argosyu.edu) locations in 12 states. Argosy University offers doctoral and master's degree programs in psychology, business, counseling, and education. Argosy University also offers bachelor's degree completion programs in psychology and business, and associate's degree programs in various health sciences fields. Argosy University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA) (30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602, 1-800-621-7440), (www.ncahlc.org).

Riverside County Escrow Association Hosts 2007 Mini Conference

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The Riverside County Escrow Association, one of the founding   regions of the California Escrow Association (CEA) in 1956, is presenting their 2007 Mini Conference entitled "Education for Motivation," a day-long program looking at current trends, issues and legislation affecting the escrow process.  The event begins at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, June 9 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino located at 45000 Pechanga Parkway in Temecula, Calif.

 "Education is the most important factor to success as an escrow practitioner," said Pete Carey, president of the Riverside County Escrow Association. "This conference is designed to assist industry professionals in keeping up-to-date in our ever-changing industry."

The conference will include educational sessions for escrow practitioners of all levels, from beginners to seasoned professionals. The event includes keynote speaker Deb Perry CEA President Elect, who will discuss ideas on how to build your business in the current real estate market.

A prestigious panel of speakers will also be on hand to lead discussions on a range of topics including:

  • Manufactured Home - Marvina Vrabel will teach regulations involved with manufactured homes.
  • How to Manage Your Staff - Donna Grosso will discuss how to prioritize and delegate.
  • Short Sales & Foreclosures - Diane Weifenbach, Esq. will explore the essentials to handle foreclosures.
  • Beginning Bulk Sales - Debbi Faber will discuss the basics of bulk sales.

The conference costs $80 for members and $90 for non-members. To reserve your seat, please mail your entry form and check to Judy Jackson at Vineyard Escrow at 3349 W. Florida Ave., Hemet, CA 92545.  A registration form can be found online at http://www.ceaescrow.org/ed/2007/rcea-edsem06-07.pdf. For more information about the event contact Tina Thompson at (909) 652-4958 ext. 35.

Global Philanthropy Forum 2007

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Former UCR Alumni attends philanthropy forum

In mid-April, the Global Philanthropy Forum (GPF) was hosted on the Google campus in Mountain View, California. This three-day, sixth annual Philanthropy Forum was, "comprised of a new generation of innovators who are unconstrained by traditional boundaries and committed to systematic change," according to Jane Wales, President of the Global Philanthropy Forum and President of the World Affairs Council.

James W. Sweeney of James Sweeney and Associates and former President William J. Clinton discuss philanthropy in urban areas and emerging markets. Sweeney is a UC Riverside graduate having majored in Political Science, Sociology and Black Studies with honors in all three majors.
The keynote address was a call to action subsequent to a number of specific panels. The keynoter, former President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, also founder of the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, spoke to the interdependent nature of the world community and the necessity of private citizens to leverage public and private resources to impact health issues like AIDS, peace, technological innovation, and other major issues of our time.

The Global Philanthropy Forum additionally impacts issues such as climate change, financing poverty alleviation, and building sustainable economies, emphasizing children and youth services, supporting social entrepreneurs, social equity, environmental sustainability, human rights and tolerance, among others.

The Global Philanthropy Forum was hosted on the Google campus in Mountain View and featured speakers like former President Bill Clinton
The Global Philanthropy Forum reaches around the world, linked by individual donors and social investors, as well as leaders of corporate, public, private and family foundations. The GPF numbered 475 participants representing Sub Sahara Africa, Central and South Asia, Southeast Asia and China, Europe, the Balkans, East Central Europe, Russia, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The strategic philanthropy partners include: Aviana Foundation, International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), Skoll Foundation, Google.org, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Wallace Alexaander Gerbode Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Shell Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and the World Affairs Council.

James Sweeney spoke with a small group of philanthropic partners, including President Clinton. He emphasized the need for U.S. partnerships focused on education and inclusion, not for affirmative action, but effective survival, since 56% of California includes minorities.

Jobs, taxes, literacy and the ability to compete in an interdependent world requires working with all groups as we seek one culturally respectful society.

Developing and Retaining High Caliber Educational Leaders

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On July 1st, 2007, the Riverside County Office of Education will be implementing a new initiative called the Division of Educational Leadership Services to help address this problem.

This new RCOE division will focus on preparing and developing the highest caliber of leadership at all levels in educational administration and support staff.  An extraordinary educator and leadership facilitator, Diana Blackledge, has been appointed to fill the position of Assistant Superintendent of Educational Leadership Services beginning on July 1.

Blackledge spent 10 years as a classroom teacher before becoming a highly successful site administrator, including her role as principal for several schools in the Moreno Valley Unified School District.

She came to RCOE a number of years ago and served in a variety of positions, including Executive Director of the Division of Educational Services and Program Director for the California School Leadership Academy, a model training program for educational leaders.

Most recently, she has been serving as an Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Riverside Unified School District. She received her bachelor's degree from California Baptist College and master's degree from Azusa Pacific University.

Newly appointed County Superintendent Kenneth Young said, "Diana Blackledge will not only be guiding the development and launch of this important effort, but she will help to guide its successful implementation and refinement for many years to come.  We are very fortunate to have Diana back with the RCOE organization."

Riverside Appoints New Local History Librarian

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The Main Library on Mission Inn Avenue has a new local history librarian on staff.

Dominique McCafferty, who has been at the library for five years as the government documents librarian, took on the duties two weeks ago.

She's eager to take on the new challenge, she said, and has decided to use her expertise in applying critical methods to local history that she once applied to the Brontes and Jane Austen for her degree in English literature. 

"Joining an established program is like beginning a novel on Page 105," she said.  "You miss out on what happened before."

The first thing she did was start reading up on Southern California and Riverside history beginning at 10,000 B.C. to get a sense of the sweep of history.  She's been feverishly cracking every dusty volume she can find in the archive for the last two weeks.

"I'm putting up Riverside timelines all over my home, getting a chronology of the area in my head," McCafferty said.  "I love research and I love a challenge."

One of the challenges she wants to complete as soon as possible is to get everything in an electronic database to preserve the city's history long after the paper copies dissolve. 

But even with such commitment, she admits she has a long way to go.

"I'm asking local historians and researchers, librarians and archivists for help," McCafferty said.  "For the next year, I'll be going to the experts to learn from them."

According to library officials, McCafferty was right person for the right job.

"Dominique was the perfect member of the library staff to do this job," said Library Director Barbara Custen.   "With her enthusiasm and work ethic, Riverside Public Library will offer the Inland Empire's premiere local history archive within the year."

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BVN National News Wire