Because of changes to Federal and State statute, El Paso Mental Health & Mental Retardation will change its name to Emergence Health Network, thereby eliminating the stigma associated with the term “mental retardation.”
The name change wil
l take place on Friday, January 27. Consumers receiving services from the agency will see no changes in services offered or hours of operation.
In late 2010, President Obama signed Rosa’s Law, legislation that removed the term Mental Retardation from federal education, health and labor laws. During the last legislative session, Governor Rick Perry signed Respectful Language legislation that also requires State agencies to adopt similar verbiage.
“With our change to Emergence Health Network comes a wonderful opportunity to reframe how individuals with developmental disabilities are viewed by fellow El Pasoans,” says Mike Wendt, Board Chair, Emergence Health Network. “There are thousands of individuals with a developmental disability diagnosis living and contributing to our community. Our name change provides an opportunity to honor their contributions.”
The Mental Health/Developmental Disabilities Authority has been planning the change for several months and worked with board members, staff and consumers to determine the new name.
“Emergence is a word with many meanings,” says Wendt, “It implies action, change and transformation, and all of these words are very important to our consumers and their service providers as they work to eliminate old fears and stereotypes.”