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A free community open house, Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culturewill be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on June 6 at Methodist College in Peoria. On June 7, Wellness Forum: Providing Holistic Care to the LGBTQ Community, will take place at the same location. 

The open house will feature three interactive experiences for the public:

  • Surviving and Thriving exhibits developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, which illustrate how critical those living with AIDS are in the political and medical fight against the national AIDS crisis.  
  • A panel of the AIDS Memorial Quilt will be displayed. The panel is one of more than 48,000 individual 3-by-6-foot memorial panels that commemorate the life of someone who has died of AIDS.  
  • A panel discussion will begin at 6:15 p.m. led by leaders in the HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ communities. The focus of the panel discussion will be to raise awareness and converse about current issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, including social determinants of health and reducing new HIV infections. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions to drive the evening’s conversation. 

No registration is required for the free June 6 Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture open house. 

The June 7 Wellness Forum: Providing Holistic Care to the LGBTQ Communitywill features two keynote speakers and 14 breakout sessions. The forum will last from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The conference is open to the public and offers up to 6.5 continuing education credits for nurses and K-12 educators. Continuing education credit certification is expected for counselors and social workers. Registration is open at www.methodistcol.edu/wellness-forum.

The morning keynote will be presented by Dr. Magda Houlberg, Chief Clinical Officer at Howard Brown Health in Chicago. Dr. Houlberg will present LGBTQ Health at the Crossroads, which will explore the crossroads between the social determinants of health and delivery systems that are transforming to better serve LGBTQ patients and communities.

Mr. Beckett Kenney, Bradley University freshman and comedian, will deliver the luncheon keynote. Mr. Kenney will present Too Ugly for Bob Evans: A Story of a Gay Peoria Teen. He tells his personal journey on how he and his peers came together to build a better, more inclusive community for LGBTQ individuals at Richwoods High School and his thoughts on how other organizations can do the same. 

Fourteen break-out sessions will be offered at the conference over three time-slots. These include:

  • Brea Adams, MEd, LPC, of Illinois Safe Schools Alliance presenting Creating Affirming Learning Environments
  • Denise Goff, MS, LCPC, CSADC, PCGC, of Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery presenting Counseling LGBTQ Substance Abusers
  • Valentina Fillman, PhD, RN, of Illinois State University – Mennonite College of Nursing presenting Bridging the Gap between LGBTQ Health Disparities and Undergraduate Nursing Curriculum Inclusion
  • Debra Disney, MSEd, LCPC, and Alissa Selburg, MA, of Methodist College presenting Creating a Safe Zone
  • Jill Dunlap, PhD, of NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education presenting Creating Inclusive Environments for Trans Students
  • Daryl Carlson, BA, of the Alzheimer’s Association presenting Know The 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Pam Ferguson, PhD, CNE, RN-BC, Certified Crucial Conversations Trainer, of Methodist College presenting You Cannot Believe What They Just Said to Me! How to Resolve Interpersonal and Personal Conflicts
  • Amy Braman, LCSW, of Balanced, LLC, presenting Transgender and Mental Health
  • Brett Vacek, LCPC, CAADC, of Top of the World Ranch presenting Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Within the LGBTQ Population
  • James (Agbara) Bryson, MA, of New Millennium Institute presenting Understanding Implicit Bias: The Key to Healthier Organizations, and LGBTQ Communities
  • Robin Anderson, MA, of Methodist College presenting What Can We Do?
  • Staci Wolfe, PhD, LCSW, of Methodist College, and Lisa Roeder, MPH, of UIC College of Medicine presenting Words Matter: Affirming and Inclusive Language

Questions about the Wellness Forum or the Surviving and Thriving Open House can be directed to continuinged@methodistcol.edu or to Laura Ennenbach at 309/282-8474.