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Health education has become a widely popular subject in recent years, but there’s one area of the health sector that remains somewhat of a taboo topic: psychiatry. That hasn’t prevented Tom Schmidt, BSN, RN, nurse manager of Howard County General Hospital’s (HCGH) Psychiatry Inpatient Unit, from establishing both community- and hospital-based speakers bureaus on the topic. In fact, it’s fueled his ambition.

“Psychiatry always has been behind closed doors. Nobody really knows what we do or how we do it. My group is very experienced; most have been here 20 or more years. I thought, let’s share our experience,” Schmidt explains.

Combining his expertise as a public speaker with his desire to promote the knowledge of HCGH’s psychiatry unit staff members, Schmidt decided about a year and a half ago to launch the hospital/community speakers bureau. It’s been well-received by community members and HCGH staff alike.

To date, inquiries for lectures by the community speakers bureau have varied greatly by subject and audience. Two senior groups affiliated with local church organizations have requested and heard lectures on topics relevant to their demographic: sleep disturbances and spirituality in aging. On the other side of the spectrum, the community speakers bureau also has responded to inquiries from school groups.

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