WMU News

Forum focuses on issues facing Hispanic families

Nov. 1, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Issues facing Hispanic families will be in the spotlight Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 9-11, during a series of presentations featuring a noted authority on counseling Hispanic and Latino families.

Dr. Maria Flores, executive director of the Marriage & Family Institute of San Antonio, will be guest speaker at public events highlighted by a large forum starting at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at St. Thomas More Student Parish. Her appearances here are sponsored by WMU's Visiting Scholars and Artists Program. Other sponsors include the WMU Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, the College of Education, and the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Friday's event, titled "Latinos and Hispanics in Southwest Michigan: A Forum for Human Services Professionals," also will include panelists representing the education, healthcare, legal/law enforcement, spiritual needs and counseling communities.

Additional presenters are: Kathi Fuller, director of the WMU Rural Health Education Program and Latino Advocacy Center; the Rev. Robert Gerl, clinical supervisor of The Bridges Program of Catholic Family Services and a school psychologist for the Allegan Independent School District; the Rev. Michael D. Hazard, pastor of St. Joseph Parish; Guillermo Martinez, agricultural employment specialist for the Michigan Department of Career Development; Armando Romero, board president of the Hispanic American Council; Thomas K. Thornburg, managing attorney for Farm Workers Legal Services; Dr. Petra A. Sabala, pediatrician for the Family Health Center; and Manuel J. Brenes, coordinator of bilingual migrant education for Kalamazoo Public Schools. The Rev. Kenneth Schmidt, pastor of St. Thomas More Student Parish, will serve as moderator.

Flores is a member of the clinical faculty at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center of San Antonio. She is an approved supervisor and clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a member of the American Family Therapy Academy.

From 1992 to 1999, she served on the Texas State Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapy. Nationally, she is a frequent presenter on topics related to the particular needs of the Hispanic and Latino community. She is author of "Site-Based Therapy: A Family Systems Approach for Schools" and was the principal psychological consultant for the Spanish translation of the "Introduction to Types" by Isabel Briggs Myers.

Flores has published several articles in major marriage and family therapy journals and is co-editor of a new book titled "Family Therapy with Hispanics: Toward Appreciating Diversity."

The Friday forum runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and includes an optional lunch from noon to 1 p.m. sponsored by St. Thomas More Student Parish. There is no charge for the forum or lunch. People interested in attending should call Jane Runza at St. Thomas More at (616) 381-8917 or fax a response to (616) 381-0195.

Other presentations Thursday morning, Friday afternoon and on Saturday also are open to the public. A presentation from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday is titled "Training Bi-Culturally Sensitive Educators and Human Services Professionals." The session includes a question-and-answer period and is in Room 210 of the West Ballroom in the Bernhard Center on the WMU campus.

The public also is invited to a session from 4 to 5 p.m. Friday. Part of the Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology Colloquium Series, the session is called "Counseling Strategies with Bi-Cultural Latino Couples and Families" and is in the Merze Tate Center conference room in Room 3210 of Sangren Hall.

On Saturday, two presentations are geared to lay people in the community, especially Latino and Hispanic parents. A presentation from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. called "The Bi-Cultural Experience: Impact on Children, Adolescents and Parents" is in the Immaculate Conception Parish in Hartford, Mich., west of Kalamazoo. The presentation will be in Spanish and English and will include a question-and-answer period and group discussion. The presentation will be repeated from 2 to 4 p.m. in St. Joseph Parish in Kalamazoo.

While in Kalamazoo, Flores also will meet with CECP doctoral students and faculty.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 and has supported some 500 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. James M. Hillenbrand, professor of speech pathology and audiology.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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