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2014 Annual Conference
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Top 10 Reasons to Go to the 2014 Conference

By Stephen A. Giunta, PhD, LMHC, NCC
AMHCA President-Elect, 2013–2014, and 
Chair, AMHCA Conference Planning Committee

With comedian Stephen Colbert replacing the retiring David Letterman on “The Late Show,” I find myself compelled to provide you with a Top 10 list. So, in no particular order and with malice toward none, I offer my top 10 reasons to head for Seattle to attend AMHCA’s Annual Conference in July:

10.   Where else but Seattle, the birthplace of Starbucks, can you order a “venti latte, skinny, with an extra shot and no foam” and not sound at least a little pretentious
9.    This year’s conference theme, “Thriving in the New Era of Healthcare Reform,” translates into sessions that will give you the information you need now to get ahead of the curve in our profession.

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And those attendees who participate in at least 10 hours of ACA-specific activities will earn a certificate noting their special training.

8. We’ve gone “green” and developed a conference app for your cell phone.

(And, we used a tech contractor with no connection to the website.) A few weeks before the conference, attendees will receive an email with a link that will enable them to download the conference program—at no charge—onto Android and Apple devices through Google play store and iTunes. Attendees will also be able to download any materials that speakers provide in advance of the conference.

7. We’ve instituted a new tradition to provide yet another opportunity for our attendees to interact with leaders within the field: This year will mark the inaugural Past Presidents Luncheon.
6. Baseball! The Seattle Mariners will be playing at home against the Oakland Athletics, and Saturday, July 12 is Hisashi Iwakuma Bobblehead Night. The first 20,000 fans receive a mini bobblehead of the Mariners’ All-Star and American League Cy Young finalist.

5. This year will be the first conference with our new executive director and CEO, Joel Miller, who will be available to AMHCA members throughout the conference. Please take the opportunity to meet this incredibly talented leader of our association.
4. SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde, JD, will be delivering the Saturday morning keynote address on “Challenges and Opportunities for Mental Health Professionals: Behavioral Health as Public Health in an Era of Health Reform.”

Administrator Hyde will discuss the current drivers of change in the behavioral health field, including the role of behavioral health in public health; implementation of the Affordable Care Act; and emerging issues facing the behavioral health workforce. She will also explore ways to strengthen partnerships and address the evolving role of providers with regard to new opportunities for behavioral health in healthcare. 

3. This is your chance to meet one of the (if not “the”) most respected and dynamic couples researchers in the field: John Gottman, PhD. I have driven graduate students across the state to hear him speak. All you’ll need to do is take the elevator down from your room to hear him discuss the science of trust and betrayal.  
2. The money you spend on conference registration goes toward helping AMHCA represent you, your profession, and the people you serve. AMHCA’s motto—“The only organization working exclusively for the mental health counseling profession”—is a commitment taken very seriously by every member of AMHCA’s staff, from executive director to intern. I have seen them in action and they are worth every penny and more.  

And, the number one reason to attend this year’s AMHCA Conference:

1. Hey! You’ll be surrounded by like-minded colleagues, the restaurants downtown are fantastic, the scenery is beautiful, and it’s all a potential tax write-off!