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American Psychiatric Foundation Presents First-Ever Minority Mental Health Awards; With First-Year Awards Given, Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.-Supported Program Enters Its Second Year Of Recognition of the Special Efforts on Behalf of Minority Mental Health in Underserved Communities.

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Project for Psychiatric Outreach to the Homeless, Inc. (PPOH), New York, and Dr. Carl C. Bell, Community Mental Health Council and Foundation, Inc., (CMHC), Chicago, are the recipients of the American Psychiatric Foundation's Minority Mental Health Awards. The awards, which were established last year, recognize psychiatrists and mental health programs that are undertaking special efforts to increase public awareness of mental healthcare for underserved minorities; increasing access to mental health services for minorities; and enhancing the quality of care for minorities, especially those who suffer from severe mental illness.

Founded by Katherine Falk, M.D., PPOH has assisted nearly 10,000 homeless mentally ill men, women and children in New York City at no cost -- 70% of them minority -- with direct clinical services including outreach, assessment and ongoing psychiatric care. Since its inception in 1986 PPOH has offered services at drop-in centers, soup kitchens, shelters, and temporary and permanent residences.

PPOH educates the public, policymakers and providers about the rehabilitative and treatment needs of the mentally ill homeless and the kinds of interventions that assist them. PPOH also recruits psychiatrists, provides clinical and elective training to psychiatric residents, and conducts extensive research on behalf of mentally ill people.

Dr. Bell is President, CEO and co-founder of Community Mental Health Council (CMHC), which was established in 1985 to help de-stigmatize mental illness and increase awareness of available services and treatment options. He was also instrumental in launching a collaborative venture with the Illinois Department of Mental Health and other behavioral health care organizations that led to round the clock emergency psychiatric care requiring immediate attention. More than 2,000 people -- 95% of them minorities -- benefited from this collaboration last year. He is the lead investigator conducting HIV/AIDS preventative research in South Africa as part of a proposal to the National Institute of Mental Health. And his extensive involvement in the mental health impact of violence on children includes a seat on Attorney General Janet Reno's Committee on Children and Violence under President Bill Clinton.

He has published more than 140 articles on mental health, including "Community Violence: Causes, Prevention and Intervention," "Stress-Related Disorders in African-American Children," and "Treatment Issues for African- American Men."

"Dr. Bell and PPOH have made significant contributions to mentally ill people in minority communities that are often ignored," says Altha Stewart, M.D., President of the American Psychiatric Foundation. "Their efforts to remove barriers to care are an example to all who care about providing access to the underserved."

The Foundation will present PPOH and Dr. Bell with their awards, including a check each for $5,000, May 3 at the American Psychiatric Association's 157th Annual Meeting in New York. The awards are supported by an unrestricted grant from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. The Minority Mental Health Awards Program will continue into 2004, and calls for entries and nominations will be announced shortly.

The American Psychiatric Foundation is a charitable and educational subsidiary of the American Psychiatric Association. The mission of the Foundation is to advance understanding that mental illnesses are real and can be effectively treated.

Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. (OAPI) is a successful, innovative, fast-growing health care company that commercializes Otsuka-discovered and other product opportunities in North America, with a strong focus on and commitment to neuroscience and cardiovascular therapeutic treatments. OAPI is dedicated to improving patients' health and the quality of their lives. The company is part of the Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Group, a privately-held conglomerate comprised of 51 businesses and more than 22,000 employees worldwide.

CONTACT: Debra Kaufmann of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., +1-240-683-3568, debrak@otsuka.com; or Steven Rubloff of the American Psychiatric Foundation, +1-703-907-8518, SRubloff@psych.org

Web site: http://www.otsuka.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 13, 2004
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