There are many keys to wellness and the 21st Annual Women’s Wellness Forum is focusing on three: harmony, balance, laughter ... or in a word — joy. The theme may bring to mind a popular tune from a few years back — “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

The event is Saturday, April 27 at the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino Ballroom. Check-in starts at 7:45 a.m. with a chance to visit the vendor tables until 8:30 a.m. Presentations start at 8:30 a.m. and continue through 1:35 p.m., with breaks, plus a buffet brunch from 10:25 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. The cost is $15 and pre-registration is required. Make checks payable to MHA Foundation and mail to MHA Foundation, 308 E. Aero Dr., Payson, AZ 85541. Call MHAF at 928-472-2588 to register by phone.

The focus on finding harmony, balance and laughter in our lives is designed to help us spend less time worrying and more time being happy.

Good health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. So this year, organizers are also addressing mental wellness. The guest speakers — Patty Wisner; Dale Bellisfield, RN; and Dr. Ergi Gumusaneli, MD — will be discussing: Tools to Deal with Stress (Wisner); How to Provide Fuel for Wellness (Bellisfield); and No Wellness Without Mental Wellness (Gumusaneli).

The keynote speaker is Karen Mills, whose presentation is “Laughter Lifts You Up.” She will address the forum from 12:35 p.m. to 1:35 p.m.

Mills, a comedian, has toured nationally for 25 years. She can be heard daily on Sirius/XM comedy channels.

She has a straight-forward approach to the realities of life. Her smart, funny, keen observations keep audiences laughing as they relate to her experiences.

Even ovarian cancer couldn’t stop her from turning her pain into punchlines. Diagnosed in 2013, Mills was determined to take on the disease with hope and humor.

She stands at 5 feet 2 inches tall and was told she was too short to play basketball. In 1981 she led the nation in assists and became the first, Division 1 first team All-American in UT-Chattanooga’s history. She was the first UTC athlete to earn that distinction. She became the first female inducted into Chattanooga’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Other presenters

Patty Wisner, with National Alliance on Mental Illness Payson, speaks from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Wisner began her professional life as an elementary school teacher after graduating from Arizona State University. She later pursued graduate coursework in curriculum and design at San Diego State University and legal studies at the University of San Diego. She was a fellow in the BEST Program at SDSU in 1988, which strongly influenced her educational and organizational philosophies.

She now leads the Training Team of Mazatzal Hotel & Casino in Payson. Wisner serves her community as president and program director of the local NAMI Affiliate, NAMI Payson. NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She first learned about this grassroots nonprofit organization in 2013 when a family member was in the throes of a mental health crisis.

NAMI Payson now offers many education, support and presentation programs for the Rim Country community.

Wisner believes support is the answer to help individuals lead healthier lives and to boost community health.

Wisner discusses strategies to deal with stress in her presentation.

Dale Bellisfield, RN, Medical Herbalist-Holistic Nurse speaks from 9:40 a.m. to 10:25 a.m. Her topic is Fuel for Wellness.

Bellisfield is a Medical Herbalist and National Board-Certified Holistic Registered Nurse, trained in many traditions of healing. She is one of the few professional members of the American Herbalists Guild, the only peer-reviewed credentialing organization for medical herbalists in the country.

Bellisfield had been the Integrative Medicine RN at Barnabas Health’s Siegler Center for Integrative Medicine in New Jersey. As part of the practitioner team for 15 years, she was actively involved in patient consultations, staff education and community lectures. She was also the Integrative Medicine Specialist for the Montclair Breast Center, a pioneering multidisciplinary breast surgical center where she led patient educational groups and created many community outreach programs on breast health.

Bellisfield currently has a private practice in Payson and Pine, and sees a variety of patients and conditions in her clinical work. She enjoys being the advocate for holistic approaches, as she continues to teach and lecture on the use of herbs, supplements, therapeutic foods and lifestyle choices to both health care practitioners and the general public. Her experience as a local hospice nurse has added to her understanding of the profound mind-body-spirit beings that we are.

Dr. Ergi Gumusaneli, MD, speaks on “No wellness without mental wellness” from 11:40 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. He will discuss the link between mental and physical wellness.

Gumusaneli obtained his medical degree at the University of California, Irvine, and graduated with honors in psychiatry and internal medicine. He finished psychiatry residency at the University of Colorado and was the chief resident at the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He was a psychiatrist with the residential PTSD program and Homeless Veterans Program. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.

Gumusaneli was one of the first adopters of telemedicine, and worked with Dr. Dan Savin at the University of Colorado doing telemedicine for the psychiatry residents at the Medical School of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. He worked in the refugee program at the University of Colorado and learned about PTSD related to war traumas. He now practices telemedicine in seven states.

He’s interested in cutting edge research in mental health like ketamine for treatment resistant PTSD and depression, pharmacogenetics, and neural imaging.

One of his interests in Payson is to help organize a program to prevent kids from committing suicide and helping with the opioid crises, and he’s eager to work with area residents to find good solutions.

Gumusaneli’s hobbies include sleep deprivation to the point of prepsychosis. But since his baby Evren is sleeping through the night he might give up that hobby until his next baby is born next month. If you have any good baby names, let him or his wife know.

He used to have real hobbies. He was a pretty good golfer at one point. He introduced himself to his wife as a golfer because she wouldn’t date doctors. If there is anyone here who wants to take him to The Rim Club, let him know.

Following the last presentation there will be raffle drawings and winners must be present to receive their prizes.

For details about the event call the MHA Foundation, 928-472-2588, or visit

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