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2020 Keynote Speaker

Addressing the Roots of Trauma to Achieve Equity

Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, SCD

Across the US addiction is a growing public health crisis. In order to best address addiction we need to understand the social determinants. Childhood trauma is an often under-addressed contributor to addiction. Adverse childhood experiences are influenced by social adversities, such as structural racism. This talk will provide a discussion of the structural competences that can help address the root causes of addiction.

Participants will be able to: (1) Establish the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and addiction in adolescence and adulthood. (2) Describe the root causes of childhood adversities, which include adverse social environments, structural inequities such as racism. (3) Describe the health impact of racism and childhood adversity as social determinants of health over the lifecourse (4) Describe several “structural competencies” for providers and community-based organizations to best address addiction and distinguish them from cultural-competency. (5) Describe systems-wide practice changes, including trauma-informed care approaches, to address health inequities for those who experience addiction

Renée Boynton-Jarrett, a pediatrician and social epidemiologist, is an associate professor at Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine. She is the founding director of the Vital Village Network. Vital Village uses a trauma-informed lens to improve community capacity to promote child wellbeing in Boston and support coalitions nationally through the NOW Forum. Her scholarship has focused on early-life adversities as life course social determinants of health.


Addiction in 2020: Rethinking Neurons, Emotions & Harms

Erin Alexandra Zerbo, MD, FASAM

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

This workshop will explore the biological basis of addiction in the brain and addresses important emotions like shame and empathy in active substance use and recovery. The importance of a harm reduction approach is discussed, especially within the American context of a “war on drugs.” Finally, we will delve more deeply into the evidence base for medication-assisted treatment for Opioid Use Disorder.

Participants will be able to: 1) Review the neurobiology of addiction, 2) Learn how shame and empathy play an important part in both active substance use and recovery, & 3) Discuss the evidence base behind medication-assisted treatment for Opioid Use Disorder.


How to Be EPIC: A Toolkit to Create a Youth Coalition

Melanie Reynoso, Patryk Klag, Bobby Kramer - EPIC Youth / Kaytie Maguire, EPIC Advisor / Kathi Viola, Garfield Prevention Coalition

EPIC (Empower Peers, Inspire Change) Youth Prevention Coalition

This course is presented by members of the youth prevention coalition, EPIC-Empower Peers, Inspire Change.  The workshop will give participants the toolkit to create a coalition of youth passionate about prevention of substance use among their peers.   Participants will learn everything from recruiting and engaging youth, conducting a needs assessment, creating a logic model and sample program activities and ideas.   All participants will receive a link to the toolkit for their own use.

Participants will be have the tools and knowledge to create a youth led coalition of Middle School and High School youth as a prevention coalition focused on reduction of harm and misuse around alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, marijuana and other drugs. Participants will gain knowledge on the CADCA 7 strategies for community change along with the SPF process, this will give participants the knowledge to conduct community needs assessments.


Changing the Way We Look at Supporting the Mental Health of Our Youth: A Panel Discussion

Susan A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge                  Drug Enforcement Administration-NJ Division   Handle with Care

Stephanie Hartman, Mental Health First Aid Training Corps Coordinator                                    Bergen County Department of Health Services – Division of Mental Health

David J. Cuozzo, M.Ed., L.P.C., C.C.M.H.C., N.C.C., A.C.S.                                                                                                                             Fort Lee Public Schools- Teen Mental Health First Aid Pilot

Moderator: Jacqueline Kim Szabo, LCSW

Schools across the state are collaborating with outside agencies to bring our youth cutting edge programs that will support their mental health. This workshop will explore these programs through a panel discussion.

The Handle with Care program is a tool for law enforcement and school personnel to assist with mitigating the negative affects experienced by a child’s exposure to a traumatic or critical event. 

Mental Health First Aid is being implemented across Bergen County through the County Division of Mental Health. There are several different courses offered depending on who is best served by each course. This program is useful and its beneficial in both professional and personal settings. 

Teen Mental Health First Aid is being implemented at Fort Lee High School in partnership with County of Bergen’s Department of Health Services’ Division of Mental Health through The National Council for Behavioral Health and Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation's expanded pilot program.  This program is offered to 10th grade students and specifically teaches the important step of involving a responsible and trusted adult. To help support this effort, over 90 staff members throughout the district are trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid.

Participants will be able to: 1) identify ACEs and how does trauma impacts substance use, 2) describe the Handle with Care program and identify stakeholders to get the program started, 3) understand the different between the trademarked course - Mental Health First Aid and courses that may have similar titles, 4)  recognize the benefits of this public education program for themselves, the population they serve or their community and properly advocate for course access, & 5) understand the implementation of Teen Mental Health First Aid in schools.  

Social Workers (The New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners):  This program is approved for social work continuing education hours by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in accordance with New Jersey administrative code 13:44G-6.4 and recognized by The New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is approved for 3.0 general continuing education hours. This program meets the 1 hour  topic requirement concerning prescription opioid drugs, including the risks and signs of opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion.

Certified Counselors: This course will count for 3.0 recertification credits for Certified Counselors as approved by The Certification Board of NJ, Inc. Approval number for this course is #

Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors: This course will count for 3.0 recertification credits for Addiction Professionals as approved by The Certification Board of NJ, Inc. Approval number for this course is #

Certified Recovery Support Practitioner: This course will count for 3.0 recertification credits towards Certified Recovery Support Practitioner as approved by the Certification Board of NJ, Inc. Approval number for this course is #

Marriage and Family Therapists: This course will count for 3.0 recertification credits for Marriage and Family Therapists as approved by The Certification Board of NJ, Inc. Approval number for this course is #

Professional Development:  This program will provide to 3 professional development hours. Provider Registration Number 1409.

Want more credits?

All workshops will be recorded and available through December 20, 2020.

Complete the workshops you did not get to see for up to 2 more credits!

For questions about continuing education, please email