Cameron University has selected “Care and Health: A Generational Approach” as the theme of its 12th academic festival, a dynamic, privately funded, year-long symposium that explores a topic worthy of in-depth study. Using presentations that include nationally recognized speakers, Cameron will consider three distinct aspects of the festival theme: child and adolescent mental health, adult mental health and mental health support for caregivers and the individuals they support.
“Every day, news outlets report stories focusing on bullying, mental health issues and the struggles faced by those who need full-time care as well as their caregivers,” says CU President John McArthur. “I dare say that every individual will be forced to deal with at least one of these issues during their lifetime. We are pleased to present engaging speakers to address these concerns as part of Festival XII.”
Headlining the academic festival will be internationally renowned educator and award-winning author Dr. Michele Borba; neuroscientist and mental health advocate Dr. Nii Addy; and stand-up comedian, keynote speaker and author Leighann Lord
Michele Borba, Ed.D. – Thursday, September 14
A parenting child expert recognized for her solution-based strategies to strengthen children’s character, resilience, and reduce peer cruelty, Borba will address child and adolescent mental health on Thursday, September 14. She is recognized globally for her work in bullying and youth violence prevention.
Borba is a former classroom and special education teacher with a wide range of teaching experience, including work in a private practice with children with learning and emotional disabilities. She received a Doctorate in Educational Psychology and Counseling degree from the University of San Francisco, an M.A. in Learning Disabilities degree and B.A. from the University of Santa Clara, and Life Teaching Credential from San Jose State University.
She was named Honorary Chairperson for Self-Esteem in Hong Kong, consultant for the U.S. Department of Education’s Character Education and Civic Engagement initiative, Disney Influencer, and Goodwill Ambassador for M.I.T.’s One Laptop per Child project. Board memberships include Parents, Character.org, Child Safety Network, Boys & Girls Club of America, USTA Sportsmanship Committee. Her proposal: “Ending School Violence and Bullying” (SB1667) was signed into California law in 2002.
Awards include the National Educator Award (presented by the National Council of Self-Esteem), National Child Safety Award of 2016 by Child Safety Network, Santa Clara University’s Outstanding Alumna Award, Outstanding Contribution to the Educational Profession by the Bureau of Education and Research and a 2016 SHORTY nominee for “Best Social Media Influencer in Parenting.”
Nii Addy, Ph.D. – Thursday, November 9
An associate professor at Yale University, Addy will offer strategies for adults who struggle with mental health issues on Thursday, November 9. Addy engages audiences through his expertise in the brain biology of anxiety, depression and addiction, his familiarity with effective psychological interventions, his perspective as a black scientist in the midst of ongoing racism and racial injustices, and as a person of faith.
Addy is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale University. At the Yale School of Medicine, he directs a federally funded research program investigating the neurobiological bases of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. He and his team also investigate new potential therapies for mental health challenges.
As the creator and host of powerful town hall events, he has built unique partnerships between scientists, clinicians, educators, faith leaders, entertainers, professional athletes, and community and mental health advocacy groups. In these engaging town hall conversations, panelists discuss topics at the intersection of neuroscience, mental health, faith, culture and social justice.
Addy is the host of “The Addy Hour” podcast, where he explores the same subjects with community leaders, scientists, professional athletes, entertainers, faith leaders and mental health experts.
He serves on the editorial boards of multiple scientific journals, reviews grant applications for the National Institutes of Health, and serves on the Board of Trustees for The Carver Project.
Leighann Lord – Tuesday, February 27
Drawing on her personal experiences as a caregiver for her own parents, Lord will bring a realistic yet humorous perspective to her presentation on mental health support for caregivers and the individuals they support on Tuesday, February 27, 2024.
When launching her podcast, “People with Parents,” Lord referred to the role reversal she has undergone with her parents as “scary, exhausting, enlightening and funny.” “People with Parents” has been named to the Wall Street Journal’s list of “10 Podcasts for Older Adults that Promise to Entertain – and Enlighten!
Lord also co-hosts “Point of Inquiry,” the podcast for the Center for Inquiry. She is the creator of “Hanging In There with Leighann Lord” on YouTube and has a daily social media post called #LightheartedHistory, which takes a humorous, tongue and cheek approach to random events in history.
With a beautiful blend of grace, charm, humor and intellect, Lord has become one of the hottest public speakers working today. Whether discussing caregiver survival tips or describing the sights and sounds encountered as a caregiver, Lord is known as an intuitive and engaging speaker who leaves her audiences enlightened and entertained.
“Care and Health: Connections: A Generational Approach” continues Cameron’s popular series of academic festivals that began with “Year of the Renaissance” in 1991-92. Other academic festivals focused on such topics as cultural diversity, globalization, health and wellness, Afghanistan, sustainability, and American identities in the 21st century.
The McCasland Foundation of Duncan is the primary sponsor for CU’s academic festival series. Over the years, financial support has come from the McCasland/Amquest Bank Endowed Chair, established by the McCasland Foundation in 1989. Additional funding is provided by the Cameron University Foundation and through the CU Lectures and Concerts Series.