Last year, Rudy Rousseau, LP, MEq, a long time Twin Cities mental health provider, was honored as the 2018 recipient of the John M. Taborn Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychology by a Person of African Descent. Rousseau had worked for many years as a counselor in the clinic of J. Taborn Associates. The award, launched as a joint endeavor of the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA) and the Minnesota Chapter of The Association of Black Psychologists (MnABPsi) is presented each year in partial observance of Black History Month. As is customary, the recipient each year is then asked to give or to arrange a presentation for the following year.
In keeping with that tradition, and also in keeping with his longtime style of nudging others to show their talents, and them letting them have the spotlight, Rousseau used the occasion to showcase his colleagues at Project Kofi, a program he is credited with founding more than two decades ago.
Project Kofi is now Kofi Services, the Amherst Wilder Foundation’s School Mental Health Services. Originally targeted at African American boys, Kofi now serves both boys and girls. A companion program, Hlub Zoo, operated under the same banner, serves primarily Hmong students and their families.
This years presentation was entitled “Trauma Informed Must be Race Informed: Culturally Informing Mental Health Practices to Partner with Clients, Families, and Communities”. Rousseau’s colleagues not only described how they use a trauma informed approach to connecting with their students and families, but also gave participants the opportunity to explore how our own perceptions might change if we used such an approach, and gave us guidelines for how we might integrate this approach into our own practices.
Rousseau was joined by Cristina Combs, M.A., LICSW a Clincal Supervisor for Kofi Services, as well as Mary Her, M.A., LICSW, a Clinical Therapist who started and works primarily with Hlub Zoo, Evette Farley, M.A., LPCC also a Mental Health Professional, and Chanee Rudolph,Ph.D., a Mental Health Practitioner.