Events Past, But Not Forgotten

Missed Us the First Time? Not to Worry!


Grant Writing Tips

Are you a nonprofit, business, or government leader in need of grant writing skills? Sign up for this informative and hands-on virtual training on grant writing. Key takeaways include:

  • The outline of a common grant proposal.
  • Where to look for funding for your organization.
  • The most common grant writing mistakes.

Presenters: Patrick Nehring, Ariga Grigoryan, and Kayla Rombalski

Youth Mental Health & Social Success Series:

Digital Consent Rights for Youth with Disabilities (Part 2)

Online Dating, Sexting, and Porn, Oh My! Helping Neurodivergent Teens Connect Safely Online


1. Learn how to identify the needs behind the behavior, to increase understanding and empathy and respond effectively

2. Learn how to build trust with teens to increase safety

3. Identify risk factors and “red flags” of online behavior, to better be able to support and educate neurodivergent teens on these topics

4. Develop alternative strategies to behavioral modification in addressing risky online behavior

Presenters: Ellen Merker

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Location: Closed

Epidemic of Loneliness

We live in the age of constant connection: People text and drive,
frantically refresh their emails, and doom scroll social media. At any
given time we have a half a dozen ways to contact each other. And yet,
ironically, we have become the most disconnected society in history. In
fact, rates of loneliness and social isolation have been trending lower for
decades. The pandemic, of course, only exacerbated this problem.
How lonely are we really? How did we get so lonely? And what can we
do about it? In this session, we explore the Epidemic of Loneliness and
Social Isolation. We answer these essential questions and more as we
devise solutions to counteract loneliness.

Presenter: Dr. Alex Elswick

Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Location: Closed

Know Your Resources:

WI Office of Children’s Mental Health

The Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health has free resources to support the well-being of children, young adults, and caregivers. In this session, explore tools that can be shared with schools, communities, and families in a variety of languages and formats. In addition, learn about the opportunities for lived experts to inform systems change, build their leadership skills, and connect with peers across Wisconsin.

Presenter: Andrea Turtenwald

Date: Thursday, February 29, 2024

Location: Closed

Know Your Resources:

Opioid Response Network (ORN)

Discover a wealth of transformative resources with the Opioid Response Network, a national technical assistance center committed to supporting communities in the fight against the overdose crisis. Join us as we delve into an expansive range of technical assistance, training, and invaluable resources provided by the ORN—all at no cost to you. Through connecting with our Technology Transfer Specialists and talking about recent cases, we will demonstrate the impact of ORN’s services across prevention, treatment, recovery, and harm reduction initiatives. We want to answer your questions and assist you in visualizing the ways in which the ORN can support both you and your communities, all while demonstrating the simplicity of requesting help from our network.

Presenters: Jess Draws, Adrijana Pusnik, Rachelle Greller, Norman McCloud Jr.

Date: Monday, February 26, 2024

Location: Closed

Youth Mental Health & Social Success Series:

Five is Against the Law. Educating Social Skills Differences for Greater Long Term Success

There have been unprecedented advances in neuroscience related to the development of social behavior and emotional understanding. These advances include information about social awareness, social attention, self- awareness, emotion regulation, and self-control. Research not only documents that these skills are brain-based, but emerging educational research indicates that these skills can be taught. The workshop will include a brief overview of this research and focus on specific strategies used to teach these skills. The use of The Incredible 5-Point Scale will be discussed and demonstrated with an emphasis on the scales introduced in the workbook, A 5 is Against the Law! The information in this workshop should be a part of every team discussion for all individuals who exhibit upsetting, confusing, challenging or even violent behavior.

**Please note that identity first language will be utilized in this presentation, in response to the advocacy by the autism community.

Presenter: Kari Dunn Buron (with lived experiences panel)

Date: Thursday, February 22, 2024

Location: Closed

Youth Mental Health & Social Success Series:

Digital Consent Rights for Youth with Disabilities (Part 1)

Foundations of Healthy Relationships: Helping Neurodivergent Teens and Young Adults Connect Safely


1. Better understand your own values and how people find meaningful connections

2. Identify strategies to help neurodivergent teens to develop their own relationship and sexuality goals

3. Develop alternative strategies to behavioral support plans, to better address underlying mental health needs around risky dating and sexual behavior, by better understanding what drives the decision making

**Please note that identity first language will be utilized in this presentation, in response to the advocacy by the autism community.

Presenter: Ellen Merker

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Location: Closed

Youth Mental Health & Social Success Series:

The Social Stories Approach

Social Stories™ are a popular evidence-based strategy used worldwide to support autistic people and others with social communication differences. Grounded in the idea of Social Humility, they are a powerful tool to share information about an otherwise confounding aspect of the social world—in a safe, supportive, respectful, and positive way. This workshop will share the Social Stories definition and approach to help families and professionals working on behalf of autistic children, adolescents, and adults. Using several examples, participants will explore the principles of Social Stories to help them apply the approach to provide respectful and safe social support the autistic people in their lives.

*Note that this is not a formal Social Stories training; such Social Story certification trainings require a minimum of 6 hours.

Presenter: Aaron Lanou (with lived experiences panel)

Date: Thursday, February 15, 2024

Location: Closed

Know Your Resources Series:

Great Lakes Technology Transfer Center

Join us for an informative webinar as we introduce you to the resources and expertise provided by the Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC), Great Lakes Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC), and Great Lakes Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC). Funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), these three programs serve the behavioral health in HHS Region 5: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. All three Great Lakes programs are hosted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies (CHESS).

The primary mission of the Great Lakes TTCs is to equip the behavioral health workforce with free, expert-led training and technical assistance on the latest evidence-based practices that lead to better treatment outcomes.

Presenter: Jeanne Pulvermacher

Date: Monday, February 12, 2024

Location: Closed

Youth Mental Health & Social Success Series:

Supporting Authentic Communication & Advocacy to Enhance Engagement

*This session included a 57 minute viewing of a video prior to the session presentation that was not recorded.

Following the viewing of “This Isn’t About Me, by Jordyn Zimmerman” we will further discuss simple ways to presume competence by providing and responding to all communication attempts to center autistic perspectives. Additionally, participants will reflect on their environments to ensure we can build skills without asking clients to mask. 

**Please note that identity first language will be utilized in this presentation, in response to the advocacy by the autism community.

Topic Host: Anna Bina

Research on Psychedelic Compounds in the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders

This session will review some of the theoretical underpinnings of the therapeutic potential of psychedelic compounds with a focus on psilocybin as a treatment for substance use disorders. The state of the literature and current ongoing research in this space at University of Wisconsin will be discussed.

Learning Objectives

  1. Discuss the state of the science as it relates to psychedelics as potential treatments for SUDs.
  2. Describe typical study designs and procedures in psychedelic clinical trials.
  3. Discuss challenges to implementation of clinical models for psychedelic medicine administration.

Presenter: Dr. Randy Brown

Date: Monday, February 5, 2024

Location: Closed

Recovery Oriented Systems of Care

Historically, substance use, and mental health challenges have been treated with an acute care medical model, focusing on stabilization but not the long-term recovery process. In this session, learn about recovery-oriented systems of care or ROSC; what it means, how it is changing the recovery field, and how systems can work to coordinate the broad range of support needed for people seeking multiple pathways to recovery.

Presenter: Kris Kelly

Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Location: Closed

Intersection of Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity in Mental Health and Substance Use Recovery

In 2019, 1 in every 8 persons around the world were living with a mental disorder which rose significantly during the COVID‐19 pandemic.  Methamphetamine and the opioid epidemic is at an all‐time high. While Extension has made some progress to address these issues, there is much more to be done, including through integrated health programming. This webinar will:

  • Provide SNAP-Ed educators with an understanding of the role that nutrition and physical activity play a role in substance use and mental health.
  • Share strategies to equip professionals to integrate nutrition education programming to augment existing mental health treatment

Presenters: Dr. Anne Lindsay, Katie Bartko, and Susie West

Date: Wednesday, January 26, 2024

Location: Closed

Early Warning Signs and Suicide Prevention Best Practices in Children and Youth

2 part session

Attendees will learn strategies, interventions, accommodations and modifications to help students flourish emotionally and socially in school settings and in the community. The presenter will describe sings and symptoms of mental illness in children and youth, including developmental differences from infant and early childhood through transition age youth. Resources will be shared to help educators, families and other professionals connect children and youth with appropriate levels of care when needed. A comprehensive school wide toolkit for prevention, intervention and postvention of suicide and will be discussed and shared with participants.

Presenter: Deborah Cavitt

Date: Tuesday, January 23 and Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Location: Closed

Transformational Meditation

In this session, participants will learn about the art of simple breath-mindfulness meditation, the science of how it works, and its benefits to individuals, particularly in the space of mental-wellbeing and overcoming addictions.

1. Learn and practice the simple Breath-Mindfulness Meditation technique.

2. Understand the benefits of the meditation and the science of meditation.

3. With a daily practice, develop the strength to overcome any addictions and move into a positive mindset.

4. With a daily practice, develop greater awareness to be focused and non-judgmental, for personal wellness and a fulfilling workplace/daily life.

5. Increase personal resilience to recover from challenges quickly and be at one’s best in any circumstance.

Presenter: Chandra Pulamarasetti

Date: Thursday, January 4, 2024

Location: Closed


Know Your Resources Series:

Rural Health Information Hub

Your first stop for rural health information.

The Rural Health Information Hub, formerly the Rural Assistance Center, is funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy to be a national clearinghouse on rural health issues. We are committed to supporting healthcare and population health in rural communities.

Presenter: Erin Kunz

Date: Thursday, December 14, 2023

Location: Closed

A Closer Look at the Farm – Mental Health, Wellness and Risk

During this session participants will identify unique stressors, risks, and factors supporting farmers, family, rural life and agriculture workers.

Session Objectives

  • Indentify unique stressors impacting daily rural life, work/life balance and agriculture
  • Assess impact of stressors on daily life, morale and job satisfaction for agriculture workers, familes and communities
  • Assess the impact of uncertainty as related to aspects of farming and the business of agriculture
  • Identify opportunities for access to wellness services

Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Location: Closed

Role of Forgiveness In Recovery

Forgiveness Factor exists to promote forgiveness as a way to live mentally well. Tim brings a unique perspective through sharing his personal journey through childhood trauma, alcoholism, betrayals, misunderstandings, mental health challenges, and life. He is a speaker and contributing writer for the International Forgiveness Institute. In July of 2022, Tim was presented with the Healing Hearts Hero Award at the International Agape Love and Forgiveness Conference for “his years of commitment to helping others learn about the virtues of self-forgiveness and interpersonal forgiveness.” He also provides keynotes and workshop for educators and families.

Presenter: Tim Markle

Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Location: Closed

Reimagining Recovery

3 Part Series

This webinar series explores the structural, social, and root determinants of health, limitations of the brain disease model of addiction, and how criminalizing and punitive approaches to substance use are both normalized and exacerbating the overdose crisis. Presenters will highlight regional trends in opioid use, emphasize non-punitive strategies to support people who use drugs and/or are living in recovery, including harm reduction, and describe ways that communities can better support people who use drugs and their families. Participants will be encouraged to reimagine their roles and efforts in prevention, treatment, and recovery, to be more aligned with principles of health equity and justice.

Presenters: Tanner Derror, Lauren Kennedy, and Elizabeth Williams

Date: Thursdays, August 31, September 21, October 26, 2023

Location: Closed

Helping Difficult Conversations Work Using Motivational Interviewing

Not everyone we meet will want to talk about change. In fact, it is quite
rare to immediately take action without struggling with internal questions
about our willingness, confidence or even the importance to change.
So how can we help people to change? How can we serve even the
most challenging of individuals? This session will explore methods of
having difficult conversations with positive outcomes using Motivational
Interviewing. During this session we will discuss (and practice) how to
use communication skills while addressing a crisis as well as what works
best when someone is contemplating change. This webinar will provide
an overview of Motivational Interviewing and provide opportunities to
examine methods for engaging all clients.

Presenter: Mallori DeSalle

Date: Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Location: Closed

Xylazine & Fentanyl: A Deadly Duo

 This presentation will review the history of fentanyl and xylazine in the United States drug supply, compare the pharmacology of fentanyl and xylazine, and describe how fentanyl and xylazine can cause toxicity and overdose, separately and together. Attendees will review the pharmacology of naloxone and its utility in reversing opioid overdose. Participants will also be able to describe harm reduction strategies to reduce overdose and other harm resulting from fentanyl and xylazine use.

Presenter: Dr. Laura Palombi

Date: Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Location: Closed

Grief: the Flip Side of the Trauma-Informed Care Coin

This session will highlight the full definition of trauma beyond ACEs. We will also explore trauma as a loss event and look at how grief shows up and is the normal and natural emotional response to a traumatic event. Research has shown that clients who use substances, or are in recovery programming, have significant grief due to years of accumulating loss experiences. This session will introduce participants to a holistic approach to self discovery and grief recovery.

Presenter: Kim Buehler Jones

Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Location: Closed

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy in the Context of Recovery

This session will describe Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), a dynamic intervention that works directly with parents and their young children to help parents strengthen their bonds and communication with their children. PCIT provides parents with the skills they can use to help enhance their child’s emotional and behavioral regulation. It can even provide them the skills to help them resolve their children’s experience of trauma, including children’s exposure to substance use and other adversities. PCIT has been modified for use in various diverse communities and can be considered for the substance use recovery context.

Presenter: Dr. Dimitri Topitzes

Date: Thursday, August 17, 2023

Location: Closed

Compassion Resilience

Are little things making you mad? Do you wish you could just disappear? In the last few years, we have seen burnout flourish and our compassion fatigue grow.

Join Mandi and Heather to embrace our own authentic well-being, learn what we can do as individuals to give ourselves more self compassion, and create a plan that fits each of our lives. We will also dissect our collective burnout and compassion fatigue as we work within systems and hustle culture to learn what equitable, inclusive, authentic, and just environments look like, feel like and how we, as the leaders we are, can create them.

As we look at decolonizing self-care, together, we will individually and collectively create compassion for ourselves, our environments, in our policies, and throughout our systems.

Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Location: Closed

Nutrition as a Pathway to Recovery

The relationship between nutrition and substance use is complicated. Nutrition can either help or hinder recovery. In fact, food can become an addiction of its own! This workshop aims to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the role of nutrition in substance use recovery. More specifically, we identify common nutrition-related challenges faced by those in recovery, explore practical strategies for supporting and improving nutrition, and consider the impact of sustained nutritional wellness on long-term recovery. Eat Good, Feel Good. Feel Good, Do Good!

Presenter: Dr. Alex Elswick and Dr. Heather Norman-Burgdolf

Date: Friday, July 21, 2023

Location: Closed

ACE’s and Trauma Mitigation as Prevention

This interactive presentation will provide discussion regarding the impact of adverse childhood experiences as it relates to three specific cases. We will take an in-depth look at these cases, discuss warning signs that may have prevented the event, and examine how we, as community systems of support, can adjust its efforts. This discussion, related to a collaborative approach to trauma, will help mitigate the growing mental health crisis.

Presenter: Lt. Mike Blaser

Date: Thursday, July 20, 2023

Location: Closed

Childhood Trauma and Coping

Children have a variety of experiences beginning in the earliest moments of their lives. We now know how deeply these moments can impact their future abilities, strengths, and relationships. Both positive and negative experiences
can set the foundations for our resilience skills and coping mechanisms as we grow. The more our experiences are negative or involve traumatic events, the more we are at risk for developing unhealthy coping mechanisms and outcomes
as adults. This session is a discussion of childhood psychological trauma and the impact on a child’s ability to cope, grow, learn, and behave. We will discuss both the stress response system as well as the onset of traumatic stressors by
exposure and duration. The session will also examine the possible effects of early exposure to traumatic events on a child’s physical health, emotional health, behavioral health, and the overall risks for maladaptive coping practices in
adolescence and adulthood.

Presenter: Missy McClaine

Date: Thursday, June 13, 2023

Location: Closed

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD/MAT)

Join Dr. Keri Hager for a discussion about the use of medication to treat opioid use disorder. Participants will learn about the evidence behind medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), consider ways to explain MOUD, and discuss how to avoid stigma and ensure adequate treatment for people with OUD.

Presenter: Dr. Keri Hager

Date: Thursday, June 8, 2023

Location: Closed

Opioid Overdoses: Risk Factors, Signs and Saving Lives!

Dr. Laura Palombi will discuss how to recognize and reverse opioid overdose using naloxone. This presentation will discuss factors that increase an individual’s risk of opioid overdose, signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and the pros and cons of different types of naloxone. Participants will also learn about resources for finding naloxone, legal considerations for prescribing and dispensing of naloxone in Minnesota and naloxone and opioid resources for healthcare providers and patients.

Presenter: Dr. Laura Palombi

Date: Thursday, June 8, 2023

Location: Closed

Harm Reduction 101

Learn about the life-saving role of harm reduction in the opioid crisis. Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. This presentation will provide an overview of what harm reduction is, provide specific examples of harm reduction strategies and how these strategies are being implemented in Minnesota.

Presenter: Dr. Laura Palombi

Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Location: Closed

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD/MAT)

Join Dr. Keri Hager for a discussion about the use of medication to treat opioid use disorder. Participants will learn about the evidence behind medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), consider ways to explain MOUD, and discuss how to avoid stigma and ensure adequate treatment for people with OUD.

Presenter: Dr. Keri Hager

Date: Thursday, May 25, 2023

Time: Closed

Indigenous Evaluation: Learning Together!

This session is for people who work with Indigenous communities and who want to ensure that the evaluation of their activities is culturally responsive and aligned. This session will answer the basic questions: what is evaluation? what is Indigenous evaluation?

We will also share methods and approaches that have worked well for us in various Indigenous evaluation contexts. We will also give you some ideas about how to start an Indigenous evaluation using a program theory of change. And finally, we will briefly highlight some of the common challenges (and solutions) in Indigenous evaluation.

Presenter: Dr. Nicole MartinRogers and Jennifer Garbow

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2023

Time: Closed

How To Be A Recovery Ally

Join the University of Missouri’s Recovery Friendly Workplaces project staff and learn about how to be a recovery ally. Do you or does someone you know identify as in recovery from a substance use disorder (SUD)? Do you or does someone you know live sober or utilize harm reduction strategies to engage with substances in less risky ways? Living in recovery takes many forms. Some people might share with you that they are in recovery, and others may choose to remain anonymous. If you know someone in recovery from a SUD, you might be wondering how you can be a better friend to them or how you might better support them. Being a friend to someone in recovery and supporting their journey is described as a recovery ally. University of Missouri Extension’s Community Health Engagement and Outreach program collaborated with Missouri’s Partners in Prevention to create a training for becoming a recovery ally in the workplace. During this presentation we will discuss SUD, common misperceptions, person first language, how to support someone seeking or already in recovery, and how to support employees with SUD in the workplace.

Presenter: Recovery Friendly Workplaces Missouri

Rock Bottom Has a Basement: A Case for Harm Reduction and Recovery

The notion that people with a substance use disorder (SUD) need to hit “rock bottom” to recover is harmful during an overdose crisis occurring nationally. In 2021, more than 100,000 Americans died as a result of a preventable drug overdose. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disorder, and recovery is a process, not an event. This 1-hour presentation will make the case for a more humane, sensible, and effective approach to addressing SUD in our communities.

Presenter: Dr. Alex Elswick

Date: Tuesday, Mar. 14, 2023

Time: Closed

Harm Reduction 101

Learn about the life-saving role of harm reduction in the opioid crisis. Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. This presentation will provide an overview of what harm reduction is, provide specific examples of harm reduction strategies and how these strategies are being implemented in Minnesota.

Presenter: Dr. Laura Palombi

Date: Thursday, Mar. 9, 2023

Time: Closed

Opioid Overdoses: Risk Factors, Signs and Saving Lives!

Dr. Laura Palombi will discuss how to recognize and reverse opioid overdose using naloxone. This presentation will discuss factors that increase an individual’s risk of opioid overdose, signs and symptoms of opioid overdose and the pros and cons of different types of naloxone. Participants will also learn about resources for finding naloxone, legal considerations for prescribing and dispensing of naloxone in Minnesota and naloxone and opioid resources for healthcare providers and patients.

Presenter: Dr. Laura Palombi

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023

Time: – Closed –

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD/MAT)

Join Dr. Keri Hager for a discussion about the use of medication to treat opioid use disorder. Participants will learn about the evidence behind medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD), consider ways to explain MOUD, and discuss how to avoid stigma and ensure adequate treatment for people with OUD.

Presenter: Dr. Keri Hager

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 8th, 2023

Time: – Closed –

WhatsApp with Media?

This 1-hour presentation will discuss global and national statistics across multiple media
formats. We’ll review critical thinking skills and their impact on consumer perceptions and health behavior.

Presenter: Pamela Werb

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 6th, 2022

Time: – Closed –

About the Presenters

Pamela Werb is based in Minnesota, Consultant and trainer, facilitates substance use prevention trainings around the world, providing training for
schools, families, communities, and non-profit agencies in evidence-based curriculum and implementation.

Keri Hager, Pharm.D., BCACP is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. Dr. Hager currently practices at the Center for Alcohol & Drug Treatment (CADT) and provides MAT/MOUD and harm reduction education for northeast Minnesota’s rural and Indigenous communities.

Laura Palombi, PharmD, MPH, MAT is the Associate Dean for Students and an Associate Professor in the Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences Department at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy – Duluth. Dr. Palombi is also a consultant for area treatment court teams. She has established relationships with public health professionals, healthcare systems, and providers and has a strong background in providing effective, multi-pronged education on topics including harm reduction and opioid-emergency response.

Alex Elswick, PhD is an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist for Substance Use Prevention and Recovery at the University of Kentucky. He is the co-founder of Voice for Hope, a peer-driven recovery organization, and a person in long-term recovery.

Dr. Nicole MartinRogers is a descendant of White Earth Nation. She grew up and currently lives in the Twin Cities. She has been doing evaluation and related applied research and program planning work with many organizations and communities for nearly 25 years, with a focus on Indigenous communities around Minnesota. She is both formally trained by academia and educated by community members and elders about how to do evaluation in a good way with, and for, the community. She lives with her husband, two children, and her dog Roscoe, and she loves reading, hiking, and spending time with her family at their cabin in Ely, MN.

Jennifer Garbow is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. Jennifer has worked directly with Indigenous communities over 20 years, and currently serves as Extension’s Director of American Indian Affairs and Programs. She co-leads a team of Tribal Community Facilitators who provide educational workshops and technical assistance to communities around intergenerational, historical trauma, and healing. In addition, she currently co-leads an Indigenous evaluation project that is grounded in cultural understanding and appropriate methods for gathering and sharing information about programs. She is the mother of four and lives with her family in Onigamiising (Duluth).

Missy McClaine is a graduate of Kent State University and is the Community Education Program Coordinator for the School Health Services department at Akron Children’s Hospital. Over the last 15 years, Missy has had the privilege to travel, train, collaborate, and learn from thousands of students, school staff and community leaders from all over Ohio. Missy utilizes a mix of personal experiences and lessons from the road to bring practical resources to any adult looking to make a difference in the life of a child.

Lieutenant Mike Blaser is a serving lieutenant in the Janesville Police Department and has been active in law enforcement for 25 years.  A certified Trauma Instructor for the Mercyhealth system in Rock County, WI, he specializes in tactics, leadership, crisis intervention, patrol response, communication, de-escalation, CRASE, RTF and trauma intervention & preparedness. Lt. Blaser educates across the US, to home and international audiences, on crisis intervention and has been working with the local first responder community to understand and address stress management, compassion fatigue and resilience.

Dr. Heather Norman-Burgdolf is an Assistant Extension Professor in Dietetics and Human Nutrition at the University of Kentucky. Her work includes translating research into extension programming related to nutrition recovery.

Mandi Dornfeld, MS is an Area Director at UW-Madison Division of Extension. Her focus is on creating healthy, thriving workplace cultures that empower people to identify and pursue their own health and wellbeing. She is certified by UW Madison’s coaching program as a coach. Her career has focused upon community strategies to build resilience and prevent suicide, individual empowerment and building capacity in adults to address the challenges of navigating adolescence and young adulthood. She has an intense focus on creating community level awareness of trauma and the healing that workplaces and relationships can provide.  She brings her deep belief in the self-efficacy of people along with her coaching style into her training environments and trains with authenticity, humor and compassion.

Heather Quackenboss is Human Development & Relationships Educator at UW-Madison, Division of Extension – La Crosse County. Her focus is on wellbeing, culture & diversity, community collaboration, and mental wellness.  She provides strategic facilitation for organizations, collaborations, and committees ensuring action oriented outcomes and goals.  She is certified in the Science of Happiness at Work through UC Berkeley, has been trained by UW-Madison, Public Health and Division of Extension as a facilitator for Racism as a Public Health Crisis and Health Equity Coaching, with Racial Justice from the Heart, and facilitates Racial Justice with the YWCA, BLACK (Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge), and Ho-Chunk Nation. Heather has an authentic approach, utilizing a collaborative facilitation style infused with compassion, adaptability, and humor. 

Dr. Dimitri Topitzes is an LCSW and serving social work professor and department chair at UW-Milwaukee. He is the Director of Clinical Services for the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being in Milwaukee, WI. As a researcher, he partners with community-based agencies to implement and test innovative, trauma-responsive programming. As an instructor, he founded and directed the trauma-informed care (TIC) graduate program at UW-Milwaukee and teaches courses within it such as Trauma Counseling & Mindfulness and Community Building.

Kim Buehler Jones, M.A.Ed., AGRMS has been an educator for three decades spanning early childhood through adult professional education. She earned her MA in Education from St. Mary’s University. Kim learned about the Grief Recovery Method during a period of significant loss and having no tools to heal her grief. She not only learned the action steps to grief recovery, but became an Advanced Grief Recovery Method Specialist (AGRMS) to help others. She provides the Grief Recovery Method to individuals experiencing grief and trans audiences work with individuals at risk to recognize grief and its manifestations to assist in recovery. She recently published Open Up Your Soul’s SMILETM(2022), her holistic SMILETM (Story, Mindfulness, Ignite, Let go, Embrace), an approach to self discovery and grief recovery. It’s a shift from a mind-centered view of the world to a heart-centered one. It’s the path to an aware life filled with happiness, gratitude, hope, and love.

Tanner Derror, MPH Tanner is a health educator for District 9 based in the Midland office. He provides health promotion programming for Midland, Bay, Saginaw, Shiawassee, and Genesee counties in Michigan. Tanner graduated with his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the Frederik Meijer Honors College at Grand Valley State University in 2018. While attending Grand Valley, he worked with the University Counseling Center as a Peer Educator to promote mental health and social justice initiatives on campus. He then received his Master of Public Health degree from the Health Behavior and Health Education program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2021. Tanner has a special interest in addressing stress, loneliness, and adverse childhood experiences.

Lauren Kennedy, Ph.D. Dr. Lauren Kennedy is an Extension Specialist in Community Behavioral Health with the MSU Extension Health and Nutrition Institute. Her role includes building Extension’s capacity to improve health equity in our communities by contextualizing individual health behaviors and outcomes within broader socioecological systems and structures. She studies and develops ways that traditional Extension delivery models and practices can be enhanced through use of implementation science frameworks, critical race theory, and authentic community engagement. She brings more than 15 years of experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating community health programming to MSU Extension.

Elizabeth Williams, M.Ed. Liz is a health educator housed in Genesee County. Counties of Primary Responsibility: Genesee, Saginaw, Shiawassee, Bay, and Midland. Liz offers a variety of disease prevention and community behavioral health programs. She has a specific interest in nutrition, physical activity, sleep health and substance use disorder. Before her work as a health educator, she worked as a community nutrition instructor for MSU Extension, delivering SNAP- Ed nutrition education in Genesee County. She received her Master’s in Community Health Education from Wayne State University and her Bachelor’s in Family Studies with a concentration on Substance Abuse Education: Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment from Central Michigan University.

Mallori DeSalle is a licensed mental health therapist and a MINT Certified Motivational Interviewing Trainer. More than 10,000 people have participated in training Mallori has developed or facilitated. Over the past 20 years as a helping professional Mallori has served in prevention, treatment and recovery roles. With a passion for creating engaging learning spaces, Mallori invites learners to laugh while they are listening and learning. Mallori is a Certified Humor Professional, faculty member at Indiana University in the School of Public Health and a TEDx speaker.

Ted Matthews is a mental health practitioner with over 30 years of experience in counseling in rural areas. His focus for the past two decades has been farmer mental health support. He has been the director of mental health services during five natural disasters. Matthews provides outreach training and public speaking related to farm stressors, nationwide. He will discuss mental health and wellbeing as well as factors impacting families and communities within agriculture.

Fiona Doherty, MSW, is a PhD Candidate in the College of Social Work at The Ohio State University. She received her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and later worked as an Extension Support Specialist in a statewide position with Cornell. Doherty’s community-engaged, interdisciplinary research is driven by the pursuit of social justice and community well-being in the context of global environmental change. She will share data from a two-year, community-engaged research project conducted in collaboration with the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA).

Chandra Pulamarasetti is a Transformational Meditation Coach, successful entrepreneur, former Vice President at IBM Corporation and board member of Pyramid Valley International, Bangalore. Chandra Pulamarasetti is the visionary founder of Buddha- CEO Quantum Foundation, and currently leads this non- profit entity as Chairman & Chief Meditation Mentor. Chandra attributes a lot of his business and life success including the acquisition of his software company, to the powerful techniques based on meditation and manifestation. Inspired and deeply transformed by the teachings of grand meditation master Brahmarshi Patriji from India. Chandra has studied several masters from East and West and has been practicing meditation for 23 years. Chandra regularly participates in several meditation service projects.

Deborah Cavitt is an advocate, trainer, and project director or Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health (MACMH). Cavitt gives presentations and works on projects with schools, children, youth, parents and professionals to increase understanding and reduce the stigma related mental health disorders. As a parent coach and advocate, she helps families navigate systems on their journey of raising a child with mental health challenges. Deborah has a master’s degree in human services with specializations in mental health and substance use counseling and a bachelor’s degree in education. Before joining MACHM, she worked as a prevention specialist and grant coordinator for substance abuse treatment agency in Iowa City. Preceding her mental health and substance use prevention work, she was a teacher for over twenty years, working on the White Earth Indian Reservation in Northern Minnesota.

Anne Lindsay,  PhD, FACSM‘s, work includes promoting  physical activity and nutrition to reduce the incidence of obesity and other health related issues; research, program development, implementation and evaluation of physical activity and health in early childhood obesity; gender-responsive health, nutrition, body image programs for women in substance abuse treatment and correctional settings; and programs/evaluation for older adults related to nutrition, exercise and fall prevention

Kris Kelly is a Project Manager for the Peer Recovery Center of Excellence at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and subject matter expert on peer recovery support services. Kris has developed best practices for integrating recovery supports into a wide variety of systems and services. As a former ED and Director of Programs of a Recovery Community Organization, Kris is a leader in the peer support movement in Minnesota. Kris has presented at state and national conferences on topics ranging from supervision in peer recovery support services, integrating peer support services into behavioral health organizations, and recovery-oriented systems of care.

Dr. Randy Brown serves as a consulting physician in addiction medicine at UW Hospital (where he is the Director of the Center for Addictive Disorders), the UW HIV/AIDS Comprehensive Care Center, and at the UW Multi-Disciplinary Clinic for Alcohol-Related Liver Disease. He has been a certified prescriber of buprenorphine as adjunctive treatment for opioid dependence since 2001. He is also the Founding Director of the UW Addiction Medicine Fellowship Program, the Director of the Madison VA Interprofessional Advanced Fellowship in Addiction Treatment.

Anna Bina is a licensed speech language pathologist with over 11 years of experience serving autistic children and teens across various settings, including home, clinical, school, and recreational environments. Anna holds an undergraduate degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, complemented by a minor in Education Policy, and a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology, both earned from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her academic journey, she worked at the Waisman Center, in a lab focused on enhancing the understanding of receptive and expressive language skills in autistic children. Currently serving as an Autism Program Support Teacher in a Wisconsin school district, Anna has a passion for advocating for neurodiversity-affirming care. In her role, Anna collaborates closely with educators, administrators, and families, emphasizing the importance of student autonomy and advocacy. Her approach revolves around evidence-based strategies, ensuring students have access to augmentative and alternative communication tools to support their participation in academic and social activities.

Aaron Lanou is an educational consultant supporting schools and organizations to reach all kids with inclusive, strengths-based practices. Through the lens of Universal Design for learning, Aaron coaches teachers and others to teach and support autistic students and all kids with a variety of academic, executive functioning, and social support needs. A member of Carol Gray’s Team Social Stories, Aaron also provides Social Stories workshop and collaborates with Carol and the team to continually update and refine the Social Stories philosophy and approach. Aaron was previously a special education teacher in the New York City Public Schools and Executive Director of ASD Nest at NYU, leading the nation’s largest inclusion program for autistic students.

Ellen Merker, LPC, started Heart Consulting LLC in 2017, after seeing the need for more resources around sexual assault and domestic violence in the neurodivergent community. Ellen received her MS in Rehabilitation Psychology from UW-Madison in 2012, and has worked in various roles with neurodivergent individuals for over 15 years. Ellen’s therapy, education, and team consultation focus on individual needs and looking at how one’s environment may be impacting mental health. Ellen takes a neurodivergent affirmative approach in all work, and works to build on strengths, supportive environments, and accommodation of needs. In addition to individual therapy, Ellen has also has extensive experience in speaking and training. Ellen has presented at various conferences and organizations, including the National Project Search Conference, Waisman Center’s Community Outreach Wisconsin training, WI State Human Trafficking Conference, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Reproductive Health Conference, Circles of Life, and Integral Autism Conference.

Kari Dunn Buron taught in the K-12 public school system with autistic students for 30+ years and was a founding member of the MN Dept of Education’s Autism Project. Kari developed an Autism Spectrum Disorders Graduate Certificate program for educators at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN and she sits on the Advisory Board for the Autism Society of Trinidad and Tobago and for the Autism Society of MN. In 2003, Kari received a Fellowship that allowed her to spend a year working internationally with a number of scientists and researchers in the area of Neuroscience, Social Cognition, Education and Autism. Kari is the co-author of The Incredible 5-Point Scale and Social Behavior and Self-Management. She is the author of When My Worries Get Too Big, Adalyn’s Clare, A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control and A 5 is Against the Law! Kari is also the co-editor of a textbook for educators titled Learners on the Autism Spectrum: Preparing Highly Qualified Educators. Kari has done volunteer work with autistic children in Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Nepal and in 2012, Kari was inducted into the Illinois State University Department of Education Hall of Fame.

Jess Draws has been with the Opioid Response Network since November of 2018 and is based in Madison, WI. She graduated with her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2017. She works mostly with the state of Ohio on technology transfer requests and is currently planning five Regional Summits across Region 5.

Adrijana Pusnik has been with the Opioid Response Network since January 2020 and is based in Wisconsin. She graduated with her Master of Public Health from the University of Iowa College of Public Health. Go Hawks!  She coordinates TA requests for IL, WI and MN, as well as working on various projects across the ATTC and PTTC. Adrijana’s favorite vegetables are onions, broccoli and zucchini.  

Rachelle Greller has been with the Opioid Response Network for the past 3 years and is based in Madison, WI. Shelly works with Indiana and Michigan and enjoys gardening and raising her two teenage girls.

Norman McCloud Jr is a Member of the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa and has worked for ORN as a Technology Transfer Specialist since 2021. More recently he has transitioned into a new role working directly with Tribal Opioid Grant recipients and requests addressing indigenous needs. Before coming to ORN, Norm worked in the public and private sector as a Administrator for a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, Program director providing housing and services for kids with autism and Regional Director for US Senator Heidi Heitkamp, working on healthcare policy and tribal issues throughout her term.

Andrea Turtenwald joined the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health (OCMH) in 2018, having served Wisconsin youth, parents, and families for over ten years. Andrea’s professional experiences include youth development and service-learning for Military families, as well as providing child welfare case management in Milwaukee. More recently, Andrea facilitated an evidence-based parent empowerment program and managed a Social-Emotional Learning program in four Milwaukee schools. Andrea earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and her Master’s degree in Public Service from Marquette University. She is passionate about the work of the OCMH, in part, because of her personal journey with self-harm, depression, anxiety, and an adult diagnosis of ADHD. As a parent of a 4 year old and 2 year old, she learns more each day about child development and emotional wellness for both children and caregivers. Andrea is honored to raise up the voices of those with lived experiences as the Family Relations Coordinator with the Wisconsin Office of Children’s Mental Health.

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