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27655 Middlebelt Road, Suite 170, Farmington Hills, MI 48336
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Information and referral line: 248.706.0591 or


AMI Oakland Office
27655 Middlebelt Rd

Suite 170

Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Phone: 248.203.1998

News Media Contact
Fred Cummins, President
Phone: 248.752.3872

Newsletter -

Hope Cummins
Phone: 248.752.6616

Publicity -

Cheryl Patel


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AMI of Oakland CountyEducation
AMI of Oakland County offers education for consumers, family members, providers and the general public. These programs draw on the experience of mental health consumers and family members who have learned to live or are still learning to live with mental illness in their lives and are eager to help others.


General Meeting--Everyone Welcome

In bad weather, please confirm meeting by calling the Information and Referral Line.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date:  Thursday, September 25, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: An Overview of Medicaid and Spend-Downs

Speakers:  Belinda Arbogast, Department of Human Services (DHS) District Manager for Oakland County, Walled Lake Office, and Sallie Kuhne, DHS Program Manager for Oakland County Madison Heights Office

Our speakers have extensive knowledge in the area of Medicaid and spend-downs.  Ms. Arbogast has been with the Department of Human Services for 32 years.  Ms. Kuhne has been with the department for 15 years.  Since Medicaid is the primary funder of mental health services in Michigan, this meeting is important to gain an understanding of qualifications for Medicaid, Medicaid-covered services, the changes that have recently occurred and what might be coming.  Bring your questions.


Date:  Thursday, August 28, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Legislative and Administrative Issues Affecting Persons with Mental Illness

Speaker: Mark Reinstein, PhD, President and CEO, Mental Health Association in Michigan)

Dr. Reinstein is active in a number of state-wide advocacy initiatives.  He will discuss current state and national legislation and administrative issues of concern to persons with mental illness and their families.  For example, many people are being affected by budget cuts, some recommendations of Governor Snyder’s mental health commission have been implemented and others have not, and the commission recently completed recommendations on diversion of persons with mental illness from criminal justice.  It is important to understand these issues, particularly in an election year.  Candidates should be challenged to take positions on these issues, and you should consider their answers when you vote.


Date:  Thursday, July 24, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Oakland County Community Mental Health Moving Forward

Speaker: Willie Brooks, New Executive Director, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA)

Mr. Brooks was recently appointed Executive Director of OCCMHA.  As the previous Chief Financial Officer, he comes withan understanding of OCCMHA. He will speak about the challenges he sees in this new position, current issues that will affect persons with mental illness served by OCCMHA, and his vision for OCCMHA in the future.  Tis will also be an opportunity for you to express your concerns.


Date:  Thursday, June 26, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Minds on the Edge: Facing Mental Illness

Speaker: PBS Video and Open Discussion

This video describes the state of the United States mental health system through a dialog with a number of experts on different aspects of mental illness in the United States.  We will view the video followed by an open discussion of current problems facing persons with mental illness and their families in Oakland County


Date:  Thursday, May 22, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Navigating and understanding mental health issues and care in Michigan's prisons

Speaker: Natalie Holbrook, Program Director, American Friends Service Committee, Michigan Criminal Justice Program

Natalie Holbrook, Program Director, is a prisoner rights advocate.  She has worked for the American Friends Service Committee¹s Michigan Criminal Justice program for eleven years advocating for and with people held in Michigan¹s prisons around a myriad of issues including access to adequate health care and mental health care, conditions of confinement, parole related issues, and solitary confinement.  She has co-authored various reports for public education on prison related issues and self-help information for people in prison.  Natalie has an MA in Social Foundations of Education from Eastern Michigan University.


Date:  Thursday, April 28, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : State Legislative Issues in Health Care and Services for Persons with Mental Illness

Speaker: State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton, 27-th District

Representative Lipton will discuss changes in Michigan health care and the impact on services for persons with mental illness.  The Medicaid expansion will put added demand on Community Mental Health (CMH) at the same time that CMH is experiencing budget cuts.  There is discussion in Lansing of reducing or eliminating general fund dollars for CMH.  Close to half of the individuals with mental illness that CMH are not on Medicaid and are served by general fund dollars.  Cutting these funds will be catastrophic to these people.  This will also violate the mental health code which requires CMH to serve people with mental illness regardless of their ability to pay for services or their Medicaid status.

Representative Lipton represents Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Royal Oak Township, Ferndale and Hazel Park.


Location: OCCMHA Resource and Crisis Center

Conference room at 1200 N. Telegraph Road (county complex), Building 32E

Date:  Thursday, March 27, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Common Ground Overview and New Facility Tour

Speaker: Heather Rae, MA, LLP, Vice President, Programs and Services, Common Ground

Common Ground provides mental heatth crisis intervention and is the gateway to community mental health hospital and community services for persons with mental illness in Oakland County.  Common Ground recently moved to a new, modern facility in the Oakland County complex.  Persons in need of services may be admitted for services at a CMH core agency, they may be admitted for psychiatric hospitalization, or they may be provided intensive services with medical supervision at the new Common Ground site.  Ms Rae will present an overview of Common Ground services and then take participants on a tour of the new facility.

To get to Common Ground, take Telegraph Road to the North intersection of County Center Drive and turn East.  Take the second right, Hospital Drive, to the right.  Building 32E is on the right and parking is on the left.


Date:  Thursday, February 27, 2014 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: : Social Capital: What Is it and Why Do I Care?

Speaker: Amy Smolski, Commonwealth Administrator, Macomb County Community Mental Health

Social capital is the value people obtain from personal relationships with others.  Persons with a mental illness tend to be somewhat isolated, and it is important that we understand their need for relationships and the importance of relationships to a person’s well-being, including their physical and mental health.  Ms Smolski will discuss the nature of social capital, the potential benefits to individuals, and her efforts to incorporate these concepts to improve the lives of persons served by Macomb County Community Mental Health.


Date:  Thursday, November 21, 2013 (Third Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Mental Health Court Legislation--A Case Study in Advocacy

Speaker:  Mark Reinstein, PhD, President and CEO, Mental Health Association in Michigan

Dr. Mark Reinstein will discuss the current status of legislation to establish mental health courts in Michigan and the political process by which this legislation has developed as a result of participation by multiple interest groups. Michigan has had pilot mental health court programs in several counties. These courts conduct special, individualized programs for persons with mental illness who become involved in the criminal justice system.  Legislation will formalize mental health courts as part of the court system.  The goal is help the individual avoid future criminal justice involvement.  Dr. Reinstein's talk will provide insights on the legislation as well as legislative advocacy and how you can participate in efforts to improve the mental health system.


Date:  Thursday, October 24, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: The Affordable Care Act (Obamcare) and You

Speakers:  State Senator Vincent Gregory (District 14) and Marjorie Mitchell, Executive Director, MICHUHCAN

October 1 began enrollment for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) for 2014.  In Michigan this includes expansion of Medicaid and opening of the health insurance exchange to provide affordable healthcare for persons who do not have employer-based healthcare.  Senator Gregory and Marjorie Mitchell will describe the changes in healthcare insurance in Michigan, how it will affect you and what action you should take for enrollment.  Please encourage other family members and friends to attend as well, particularly if they do not have employer-based healthcare insurance.


Date:  Thursday, September 26, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Criteria for Access to Services and Hospitalization with OCCMHA

Speakers:  Amy Heincelman, LMSW, Community Liaison-Access and Community Integration, OCCMHA, and Heather Visengardi, MA, LLP, Vice President of Programs & Services, Common Ground  

All new recipients of OCCMHA (Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority) services enter the system through Common Ground.  All persons who require psychiatric hospitalization with OCCMHA (new or current recipients) are also screened by Common Ground.  Ms Heincelman and Ms Visengardi will discuss the process and criteria for hospitalization and the broader criteria under which a person may be accepted for community care if they don’t require hospitalization.


Date:  Thursday, August 22, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Efforts to Reinvent Mental Health: The Governor's Health and Wellness Commission

Speaker:  Fred Cummins, President, AMI Oakland and participant in the Commission Workgroups  

Governor Snyder chartered Commission efforts to improve the Michigan mental health system and reduce the number of persons with mental illness in Michigan prisons.  Mr. Cummins will report on the work of several of the ongoing commission work groups, discuss his contributions, and seek input from the audience regarding issues important to persons with mental illness and their families. .


Date:  Thursday, July 25, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Navigating the Mental Health System: Insights from Families

Speaker:  AMI Panel  

A panel of AMI Oakland members will give insights into how to get adequate and appropriate services for your friend or loved one with mental illness. Speakers have decades of combined experience in advocating for their family members and in helping others with getting services.


Date:  Thursday, June 27, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: The Impact of Mental Health Courts

Speaker:  John Paul Torres, Wayne County Mental Health Court  

There are a growing number of Criminal Mental Health Court Programs in the State of Michigan. These court programs are a specialty courts that identify individuals involved in the criminal justice system diagnosed with Mental Illness. The aim of Mental Health Courts is to reduce recidivism, rebuild lives and save taxpayer dollars. Torres will explore the dynamics of Criminal Mental Health Courts and impacts on participants.

Torres previously served as Congressional Fellow in the 107th United States Congress. He has served as a Board Member with the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority and currently works with a specialty Mental Heath Court Program in Detroit. He is an Adjunct Professor of American Government at Oakland Community College. Torres has a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Michigan, Bachelor of Political Science from Oakland University, Post Graduate work through Eastern Michigan's Graduate School of Business Administration and Michigan State University's Department of Public Policy & Social Research.


Date:  Thursday, May 23, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Medical Care Clinics associated with CMH Sites

Speaker:  Bob Kamphuis, CEO, Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network (OIHN)  

Nearly 2 years ago, Oakland County Community Mental Health (OCCMHA) invested $4 million in development of a network of Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHC).  Clinics located at the mental health offices of the core providers will improve access to physical healthcare and dental care for OCCMHA clients.  Persons with mental illness die, on average, 25 years younger than the general population.  The hope is that easier access to physical healthcare will improve the timeliness of diagnosis and treatment of physical problems.  FQHCs are funded by Medicaid, but their reimbursement covers free treatment of persons without medical insurance.  While these clinics will be convenient for persons with mental illness, they are available to all persons in the community. Mr. Kamphuis will discuss the services of OIHN (the FQHC network) and their progress in establishing these clinics and engaging patients.


Date:  Thursday, April 25, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Level of Care Utilization System (LOCUS)

Speaker:  Jasmine White, LPC, NCC, CAADC, Clinical Analyst, OCCMHA  

Ms White will discuss LOCUS, the assessment tool used by Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA) to determine the level of care required for clients.  LOCUS is used at least annually for initial intake, second opinion by Common Ground, for treatment planning, level of care change, changes in life circumstances, periodic review, acute/crisis assessment and discharge.  This presentation should help you understand the basis for level of care decisions.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Date:  Thursday, March 28, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Research on Treatment for Schizophrenia and Bipolar 1 Disorder

Speaker:  Dr. Sanjeev Venkataraman, MD, Neurobehavioral Medicine Group  

Dr. Venkataraman is an MD, a board certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist.  He will discuss recent research on treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and he will describe new trials that are currently enrolling participants: two schizophrenia trials; one for adults and one for adolescents (ages 13-17) and two bipolar studies that are looking for adults with bipolar I disorder.  


Date:  Thursday, February 28, 2013 (Fourth Thursday)

Time:  7:30 PM to 9:30 PM 

Program Topic: Efforts to provide quality services at Community Network Services (CNS)

Speaker:  Michael Garrett, President, Community Network Services  

CNS is one of the core service providers for mental health services from Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA).  Mr. Garrett has been the President and CEO for about a year and is committed to providing quality care.  He has announced an open door policy for employees, consumers and families to hear their concerns and address problems.  He will discuss his role at CNS and his plans to ensure quality services.  He is glad for this opportunity to hear feedback from families and consumers regarding their experiences with CNS, both good and bad. People receiving services from other core agencies may wish to learn about CNS as an alternative provider.


Regular General Meetings are held at Beaumont Hospital Administration Building, Auditorium, 3601 W. Thirteen Mile Road, Royal Oak, Michigan. Free parking is in the lot west of the building or south of the building in the Dr's lot or in the parking deck (entered from the East side). See map.


Everyone is welcome

These educational meetings are typically the fourth Thursday of each month. They are held at the Beaumont Hospital Administration Building. 3601 W. Thirteen Mile Road, Royal Oak, Michigan. In addition to updates on information of concern to families of persons with mental illness, there are speakers that include, psychiatrists, professionals, and service agencies. Refreshments will be available at 7:00 p.m. and the meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. If you have any suggestions for future meeting topics, you can call the AMI Oakland County information and referrals phone.


Educational Outreach/Speakers Bureau

Presentations to civic, religious and professional groups are available on request. Please contact Fred Cummins, President, at for information. These may include talks on nature of mental illness, family experiences, public policy, stigma, the metal health system, etc. We will tailor the presentation to the specific interest and forum.
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