Embracing Black Mental Wellness
Learn More About our Speakers
Victor Armstrong, MSW is Vice President, Behavioral Health with Atrium Health, based in Charlotte, NC and serves as Facility Executive of Behavioral Health- Charlotte. As such, he has responsibility for operational and strategic oversight of the 66 inpatient beds, the psychiatric emergency department, and 10 provider based, outpatient behavioral health programs on the BHC campus. Prior to his role with Atrium, Victor served as Behavioral Medicine Program Manager with the Cone Health System. Victor has worked on the payer side of behavioral health through the Medicaid Managed Care Organizations, as well as in community mental health. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of National Council for Behavioral Health, i2i Center for Integrative Health, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-NC, and is former Board President for National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) NC. In addition, Victor serves on the Mecklenburg County Mental Health Task Force, Mecklenburg Provider Council Executive Board, among many other committees and subcommittees.
Victor graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Business Administration from NC Central University and received his graduate degree in Social Work from East Carolina University. He is also a graduate of the Atrium Health Diversity Certificate Program, and Community Building Initiative’s Leadership Development Program, which is a year-long deep dive into equity and inclusion. He has facilitated over 30 “Let’s Talk” conversations throughout the Atrium Health system including conversations regarding LGBTQ issues, DACA, and law enforcement shootings of African American Males, to name a few. He has also hosted community conversations for area schools, churches, and community groups in the Mecklenburg County area.
Dr. Kimya N. Dennis does interdisciplinary community outreach, consulting, teaching and research regarding mental health, suicide and suicidal self-harm, criminal justice processes and reproductive health and freedom. Dr. Dennis’s work emphasizes demographic and cultural variance in health conditions, health resources, and criminal justice.
For physical health, mental health and suicide and suicidal self-harm, Dr. Dennis wants all health-medical students to take undergraduate and graduate courses that emphasize cultural consciousness, consumer-patient advocacy, and realistic ways to connect communities with health-medical professionals and practitioners. Dr. Dennis also wants this to be a central component of every undergraduate course and graduate course to challenge the falsehood that health conditions and health services can be objective, neutral and “one size fits all.”
Pertaining to reproductive health and freedom, Dr. Dennis conducted the first known study solely about childfree-by-choice people of African descent (62 people interviewed from 6 nations: Canada, Kenya, London, Sweden, Switzerland and United States of America); and created the first known college course about people who are childfree-by-choice.
Dr. Dennis collaborates with community members and organizations. Collaborations include guest posts for organizations’ websites, interviews with media outlets, organizational memberships and board of directors for mental health and research organizations. Dr. Dennis does public writing to reach communities/public in addition to reaching colleagues and health-medical professionals and practitioners. For additional information www.kimyandennis.com
Mr. Kurtis Taylor is a person in long-term recovery. For him, this means that he has not used alcohol or any other drug in over 15 years. Mr. Taylor obtained his associates degree in Human Services & Substance Use Disorder Counseling from Wake Technical Community College in 2015. He is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in social work from Shaw University, where he will graduate in May of 2019.
For many years, Kurtis Taylor has been a voice for citizens seeking long-term recovery from substance use disorders. He has served as the Chairperson of the NC State Consumer & Family Advisory Committee (NC SCFAC) for two terms. He served as Chairperson for the NC Substance Use Disorder Federation for multiple terms and is currently serving as Vice-Chairperson for the Federation. Mr. Taylor served as an appointed member of Governor Pat McCrory’s Task Force on Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder. He currently serves on the NC Departmental Waiver Advisory Committee (DWAC) and the newly formed board of directors for i2i Center for Integrated Health (formerly the NC Council of Community Programs).
Presently, Mr. Taylor serves as the executive director of the Alcohol Drug Council of NC, where he is committed to making their information & referral hotline, perinatal and prevention services the best in the country. Under his leadership, the Council respects and embraces all paths to recovery. He is committed to eliminating the stigma attached to the subject of recovery. Mr. Taylor is an extremely vocal advocate for all citizens faced with the challenges that accompany substance use disorders. He is proud to serve at ADCNC.
Cornell P. Wright, MPA is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. Wright serves as a subject-matter expert, consultant, advisor, and presenter around the areas of health equity, health disparities, and minority health. In his most recent position, Wright served as the Outreach and Screening Patient Navigation Coordinator for the Duke Cancer Institute’s Office of Health Equity and Disparities. Mr. Wright has previously served as the Interim Director of Community and Multicultural Health Initiatives with the American Heart Association’s Mid-Atlantic Affiliate. Before that placement, Wright was the Programs Manager with the Center for Health and Healing, Inc., a nonprofit affiliate of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. He previously served as Project Coordinator for the Center’s Minority Health Careers Initiative, funded by a grant by The Duke Endowment to the North Carolina Hospital Association. Wright also has experience working on a Lower G.I. Surgery Unit at UNC Health Systems.
Wright is an active member in the health community, serving various groups, organizations and boards including; the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) where he serves on the Communication and Dissemination Advisory Panel, and the Southeastern Health Equity Council (SHEC), as part of the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA), serving as the Co-Chair to the Social Determinants of Health Committee.
A much-sought after speaker, Wright has provided his expertise in various speaking roles through keynote addresses, conferences, panels, and presentations in national and local platforms. During one of the more recent speaking engagements, Wright served as the closing keynote speaker for the first annual North Carolina Sexual Health Conference, where his presentation, “From the Color Purple to Purple Rain: Exploring the Historical Context of Sexual Violence, Sexual Expression, and Sexual Health Equity”, provided a unique and innovative approach to public health messaging through the use of interactive media including music, poetry, and visuals to intimately connect with his audience. This presentation was recently turned into a TEDxTalk, “#ColorPurpleRain: Sexual Health Equity in Context” at TEDxUNC.
Always ready to serve, Wright is passionate about his work and assisting all in need.
Danielle R. Busby, PhD. is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and a founding member of Black Mental Wellness Corp., a virtual platform dedicated to the mental health and wellness of the Black community. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the George Washington University. Dr. Busby completed her clinical internship, with a primary concentration in child trauma, at Duke University Medical Center. Her research and clinical experiences have focused primarily on academic outcomes and psychological effects of neighborhood stressors, such as community violence exposure among African American adolescents, and the treatment of youth and families exposed to trauma. Dr. Busby is a current recipient of the National Institute of Mental Health’s (NIMH) Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, where her work focuses on examining barriers to mental health service utilization among Black college students at elevated risk for suicide. Dr. Busby is passionate about addressing disparities in mental health service use among Black youth and families and is committed to efforts that promote health and wellness among racial and ethnic minorities.