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Education and Training

Clergy Mental Health Collaborative (CMHC)

Facilitated by John S. Walker, MDiv, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry (Adjunct)

CMHC was formed in the Fall of 2017 and continues to meet monthly at various sites to have lunch and plan community participation events. It is a collaborative team of approximately 8-10 clergy members from diverse faith communities in the Rochester community working together to address issues critical to the community, particularly regarding the overall health of the poor community, especially mental health. Public events to raise awareness and provide resources have been their focus. 

On May 1st, 2021, the collaborative held a virtual panel focusing on suicide prevention in the Black, Hispanic and wider community.
The panel featured local speakers:
April Aycock, EdD, Director, Monroe County Office of Mental Health
Eric Caine, MD, Professor Emeritus, University of Rochester Medical Center
Minister Earl Greene, MA, Director of Family Engagement and Equity, Children’s Institute
Rudy Rivera,  Executive Director, Fr. Laurence Tracy Advocacy Center 
Melanie Funchess, President, Ubuntu Village Works, LLC.
For a list of resources mentioned in the presentation, click here. 

Past Events Include:

  • A health event was held in 2018 at one of the participating churches. 
  • A panel discussion on African American protest literature featuring the writings of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison was held on October 3, 2019.  The panel brought to light aspects of each writer’s views on mental health.

Renewing of the Mind (ROM)

ROM is a free class for community clergy, pastoral leaders, and members of faith communities with a heart for mental health. This class supports those with a desire to increase community mental wellness with a particular focus on promoting physical, psychological, and spiritual wellness for people of color. The course covers many topics related to mental health, including the referral process, depression, substance abuse, domestic violence, and much more. Pastoral leaders, lay health ministers, or congregation members are often best situated to promote mental wellness in their congregations and reduce the stigma of mental illness in their faith communities.
Questions can be directed to: or calling (585) 275-3571. 

Community Scholars Award

In 2016, Rev. John Walker, MDiv, PhD, joined Psychiatry to advance his scholarship in mental health and to open up the curriculum and training the UR offers to community voices. In partial completion of this award, Dr. Walker led a course on Poverty and Mental Health that is now available for viewing:

Safety and Violence Education

Mental health professionals often work with patients who have risk factors for violence. The goals of this training are to disseminate experiences derived from work with dually diagnosed patients from Project Link, a nationally recognized Assertive Community Treatment team located in Upstate New York. Learn more about Safety and Violence Education.