TOTAL CONFERENCE CEUs: 8.0 CEUs including 3.0 cultural competency CEUs (minimum) &
1-hour sexual harassment prevention training each day


  • CC = Cultural Competency Training

  • SHP = Sexual Harassment Prevention Training

​DAY ONE: Thursday, October 21, 2021 | 12:00–5:00pm
Section A

The Future of the Social Work Profession in a Post-COVID World

COVID will continue to affect our profession long after the virus is gone. The pandemic has fundamentally changed social work education and practice. It has forced us to rethink how and where we do our jobs, with many of us moving to virtual platforms. We have been innovative and creative in the ways we have used technology to deliver client-centered services. Social work is positioned to lead the paradigm shift needed to develop new practices and strategies that will create a better “new normal.” This workshop will focus on ways the profession can intentionally engage in a deeper exploration of its future.

Don Phelps, LCSW
Professor, Aurora University

Immigration Updates: What Your Communities Need to Know (CC)

This workshop will provide the latest updates on what is happening with immigration law and policy and explain clearly what these developments mean for our communities. It will also briefly explain how to get involved in community education work and in advocacy to help make public policies more responsive to the needs of immigrant families.
Fred Tsao, JD
Senior Policy Counsel, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Supporting LGBTQAI+ Youth (CC)

Have you ever wished you had a better grasp on the issues affecting LGBTQAI+ youth? This interactive workshop addresses cultural relevancy in working with LGBTQAI+ youth, the specific presenting concerns affecting the LGBTQAI+ community, and inclusive interventions that can be implemented in your practice, whether micro, mezzo, or macro. You will leave with ideas to inform your work and expand your knowledge.
Jenny Andersen, LCSW
Prevention and Wellness Coordinator and Therapist, Grayslake North High School

Section B

Beyond the Book Club: The Impact of an 11-Week Anti-Racism Accountability Group for White-Identified Mental Health Clinicians on Anti-Racist Praxis and Values (CC)

In the wake of the uprisings in summer 2020, many social workers are eager to engage in anti-racist clinical work to better support their clients. However, many social workers recognize deficits in their social work education with regards to practicing anti-racism in clinical spaces. To help address this critical need, we developed and facilitated an 11-week curriculum to educate and empower white-identifying mental health clinicians to challenge and interrupt white supremacy in their clinical relationships and their agencies. This workshop provides an overview of the curriculum and data on participants’ anti-racist identity development and resulting praxis.

Brit Holmberg, LCSW

Co-Founder, Becoming an Anti-Racist Social Worker

Kelin Hall, LCSW

Therapist, Private Practice


Navigating the Dementia Journey (CC)

The population of Americans 65 and older is expected to double to 70 million individuals by 2030. Of those 70 million, roughly 3.8 million individuals will have a dementia diagnosis. This workshop will explain the differences in normal aging and dementia and will focus on considerations and coping after a dementia diagnosis. This workshop will deliver information on care options, cost of care, how to pay for care, and financial and legal considerations. Finally, health care disparities of minorities and low-income populations diagnosed with dementia will be examined.

Tawnya Caldwell, LMSW, CMC, CDP

Medical Social Worker


Women Who Were Sexually Abused as Children: Mothering, Resilience, and Protecting the Next Generation

This workshop will provide valuable information to mental health professionals in order to increase their understanding of the long-term intergenerational impact of child sexual abuse on mothering abilities and help prevent the consequences of trauma on the next generation.

Teresa Gil, PhD, MSW

Professor, Hudson Valley Community College

Section C

Applying an Intersectional Framework to Eating Disorders: Addressing Barriers to Diagnosis and Treatment for the BIPOC Community (CC)
From film to media to treatment center brochures, eating disorders have been framed as a white women’s illness. Eating disorders impact people of all genders, races, ethnicities, sexualities, and ages. The BIPOC community have been greatly impacted by medical professionals, mental health professionals, and researchers overlooking how racial trauma can lead to eating disorders. Researchers and clinicians taking an intersectional approach to eating disorder diagnosis and treatment would help center BIPOC voices. This workshop will address the importance of mental health professionals acknowledging their racial biases, an increase of multicultural research, and the need for culturally inclusive treatment for eating disorders among BIPOC folks.
Javon Nelson Garcia, LSW
Therapist, Howard Brown Health Center

DBT in a Nutshell
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a highly effective treatment first developed to help individuals with borderline personality disorder to help regulate their emotions and reduce distressful events in their life. Recent studies suggest that DBT can also be helpful for other disorders including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction. This workshop will introduce DBT and how to utilize these interventions in individual and group therapy.
Jennie Cornell, MSW, LCSW, CDBT, CPT
Clinical Director, Summit Counseling Services

Social Workers Speaking Out Loud
Did you know that social workers have an ethical obligation to speak out in public spaces regarding social conditions? This presentation will briefly discuss those sections of the NASW Code of Ethics which exhort social workers to speak out loud for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Public speaking, however, is something many of us are uncomfortable doing! This workshop will address the fears we have about public speaking and offer strategies for improving our abilities to speak in public.
Carl E. Johnson, LCSW
Training Specialist, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center

Section D

Be Safe: Identify Appropriate and Inappropriate Behavior in the Workplace (SHP)
This workshop will educate participants on understanding sexual harassment, how to identify acts of sexual harassment, and how to report it. This course will also identify tools to prevent backlash.
Charisma S. Pryor, LSW
Educator, Inspirations of Courage

Building Community for Equity in Aging and End of Life (CC)
This workshop will provide an informative look at the impact of social equity on various aging populations, paying special attention to the inequities in healthcare for these populations as well as special challenges faced at end of life. In addition, this workshop will provide information and engage participants in development of strategies for interacting with and improving access to important resources for those who are doubly vulnerable.
Cassandra Cotton, BSHM, MPA, MFT-Intern
Community Outreach Manager, Nathan Adelson Hospice
Cheryl Johnston, MSW, LSW, ACHP-SW
Clinical Manager, Nathan Adelson Hospice

Military Cultural Awareness (CC)
This workshop is designed to teach audiences best practices for working with military-connected populations. Here you can learn more about the military culture, increase your insight to challenge media sensationalism and stereotypes, common challenges among this population, and best practices for building rapport and trust.
Ingrid Wheeler, MSW, LCSW
Assistant Director, Behavioral Health Services, Chez Veterans Center
Jeni Hunniecutt, PhD
Assistant Director for Research Engagement and Educational Programming, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, Chez Veterans Center

​DAY TWO: Friday, October 22, 2021 | 12:00–5:00pm
Section A

The Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on the Elderly During and Post-COVID-19 and Best Practices from the Field: Lessons Learned
Older adults are at higher risk for isolation and loneliness due to a number of factors. Compounding an already existing risk for isolation and loneliness were the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Overnight, our elderly population found themselves without outside social connections. In response to these concerns, we adapted our practice to a virtual platform and created programs to help our clients feel more connected. This workshop will discuss concerns regarding the impact of social isolation and loneliness on wellbeing, then turn its focus to the response of the Fargo VA Caregiver Support Program.
Heidii Poplick, LMSW
Social Worker, Fargo VA Medical Center
Patricia Sele, LCSW
Caregive Support Coordinator, Fargo VA

Secrets of the Sand Tray: The Neuroscience of Stress and Strategies for Engaging Youth through Play
This interactive and fun workshop will explore sand tray therapy for use with children, teens, and adults. This workshop will give you a brief overview of the modality as well as an opportunity to practice basic skills.
Nicole L. Ekiss, LCSW
Owner, Minds Matter Behavioral Health

Understanding Autism: Strength-Based Strategies to Help Students Flourish
This engaging workshop will enable attendees to understand and respect the unique attributes of individuals on the spectrum as well as communicate, discipline, and nurture more effectively. Participants in this workshop will learn skills that will enable them to improve interactions with individuals on the autism spectrum. The format of the class will be based in a strength perspective, emphasizing the value of respecting that individuals on the spectrum are empowered by a supportive structure in their environment whether it is at home, school, or the workplace. Skills in relating to individuals on the spectrum will be addressed.
Laura Debenham, MSW
Coordinator, Great Basin College

Section B

“But I'm Not a Racist!”: How Non-Racists Contribute to Racism (CC)
Racism continues to be a major problem in American society. Yet despite protests, trainings, seminars, newscasts, documentaries, testimonials, and debates, many people still claim that racism does not exist or that they themselves are not racists. "I'm not racist because I have a black friend!" or "I'm not racist, I like black people!" or "I'm not racist, I'm colorblind!" Such statements actually contribute to the problem of racism. One of the major problems is that many people don't understand these microaggressions. This workshop will teach what racism is, how it is perpetrated by "non-racist" people, why the Black community needs the white community regarding racism, and what can be done to continue addressing this issue with people who can make a difference.
Anthony Harris, LCSW, LADC

Courageous Conversations about Race Matters (CC)
This workshop will identify ways in which having courageous conversations about race matters creates congruency between internal/external self-awareness. Participants will be able to articulate the importance of having courageous conversation in the workplace regardless of systemic biases—specifically racial bias.
Sandra L. Abdullah, LCSW
Psychotherapist, Private Practice

Practicing What We Teach: Influencing Cultural Inclusivity in the Workplace (CC)
Social workers are known for our lifelong learning commitment to cultural awareness, practicing cultural humility, and treating individuals with dignity. Cultural diversity is a multifaceted, complex concept involving our working environment and our practice. Systemic changes to promote inclusivity, civic discourse, and psychological safety can be more difficult though. Where do you start? What will make a difference? Development requires an intersectional framework that defines cultural identity broadly. This workshop discusses practical ways to positively shift our working environment by using macro strategies and interpersonal sharing in professional and workplace development. We’ll share our ideas, challenges, and best practices.
Mary Gollings, LCSW Headshot attached
Clinical Social Work Supervisor, Jesse Brown VA
Debbie Rafael Shanley, LCSW Headshot TK
Minority Veterans Program Coordinator, Jesse Brown VA
Becky Powers, LCSW Headshot attached
LGBTQ Veterans Coordinator, Jesse Brown VA

Section C

Anxiety Treatment Utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and Measurement-Based Care
Not counting adolescents and children under the age of 18 (who also experience anxiety), prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was estimated that at least 40 million adults in the United States suffered from some form of anxiety. It is believed that number has likely tripled during the pandemic. This workshop will offer an overview of the combination of techniques used to address anxious symptoms in the short term, adjust client responses to anxiety in the long term, and how to use measurement-based care approaches both as an objective measure of progress and as an intervention and prompt in treatment.
Jack W. Gordon, MSW, LCSW, CCATP
Owner, Bass 3 Services LLC

Hanging Out or Hooking Up: Adolescent Relationship Abuse—How Can I Help? (SHP)
This workshop is designed to educate social work professionals who work with adolescents the warning signs of an abusive relationship, how to use trauma-informed approaches to intervene, and strategies to promote healthy relationships.
Judy Henderson, MEd Mgt
Training Coordinator, Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence

Voices of Families with a Transgender Member: Building Religious Cultural Competency (CC)
The dialogue on transgender people’s transitions emphasizes the individuals experiencing it while discussion of its effect on their families is infrequent. When the family holds strong religious values, this factor can play a role in the family’s response. The purpose of this workshop is to start to fill in this family perspective gap and answer the question of perhaps why these voices have been silent with the goal of facilitating some degree of family acceptance of the gender transition of one of its members.
Sean Lynch, PhD, LCSW
Private Practice

Section D

The Revolution IS Being Televised: Grounding Ourselves in Justice and Equity-Driven Social Work Values (CC)
The lyrics of Gil Scott-Heron’s 1971 song, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” challenge that change won’t come from passively watching injustices; action is necessary to bring about change. Fast forward 50 years, the visibility of George Floyd’s death sparked a nationwide rally cry for action. For some, Black males dying at the hands of law enforcement was a shocking revelation. For others, it illuminated the inequities long known and experienced. Where do social workers enter? This interactive workshop will explore implications in social workers’ response to racial inequities in service delivery, lived experiences of BIPOC practitioners, and the calling of our values-based profession to take action.
Sandra Bankston, MSW, LCSW
Therapist, Multi-Victimization Program, Lake County States Attorney's Office
Valerie A. Walker, LCSW, ACSW
Director of Social Work, National Louis University

Meeting Them Where They Are: Engaging Youth through Technology
Participants will reflect on strategies to engage students in conversations about equity in their schools and community with the support of virtual tools that support in-person or virtual instruction and settings. First, a review of relevant frameworks will ground this therapeutic strategy in social emotional learning, and youth-led project-based learning. Second, participants will be guided through interactive activities that can be used in person and in virtual settings. Ultimately, participants will walk away with tangible, interactive tools to engage students in group discussions. User-friendly virtual tools that will help motivate students will be shared.
Chastity L. Owens, AM, LCSW
Lecturer, University of Illinois at Chicago
Aubrey Thornton, MSW, LCSW
Therapist, Aspire Center for Positive Change

Protecting Our Children from Violence One Behavior at a Time
Nationally recognized school safety expert and best-selling author of Education in a Violent World: A Practical Guide to Keeping our Kids Safe, Dr. Steve Webb will present lessons learned from American school violence and utilizing the PARA Mindset to enhance behavioral threat assessments and social and emotional learning in order to prevent violence in our schools.
Steve Webb, PhD
Founder, Safe School Systems