NJ Department of Children and Families Hope and Resilience Symposia

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Two-Part Symposia Series on Long-term Recovery

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Host, Collaborators


Exhibitor Opportunity

Fees, Meals, Location

Symposium #2
Friday, June 5, 2015

Course Code: IT0108HB15

About the Symposium

The New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJDCF) is pleased to present the Hope and Resilience Symposia in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health, New Jersey Department of Human Services, and Rutgers University Behavioral Health. This unique training will feature individuals who have successfully overcome seemingly insurmountable personal adversities. In this second symposia in the Hope and Resilience Symposia series, presenters will focus on mental health and disabilities, the stigma associated with such and effective tools and techniques in treatment.

8:30am Registration & Refreshments
  Welcoming Remarks, Commissioner Allison Blake, PhD, LSW

Morning Keynote:
Frederick J. Frese III, PhD, FAPPA

Frederick Frese, Hope and Resilience Symposia SpeakerFrederick J. Frese III, Ph.D. is a psychologist with over forty years' experience in public mental health care and is presently professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University; clinical assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University; and coordinator of the Summit County Recovery Project, serving recovering consumers in the Akron area. For fifteen years, until his retirement in 1995, Fred was Director of Psychology at Western Reserve Psychiatric Hospital.

Click to read full bio.

Dr. Frese is also a consumer, diagnosed with schizophrenia as a young Marine Corps officer. Despite his disability, he was able to gain a degree from the American Graduate School of International Management in Phoenix, AZ; and a doctorate in psychology from Ohio University. Fred founded the Community and State Hospital Section of the American Psychological Association and is past president of the National Mental Health Consumers' Association. He served on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance on Mental Illness for 12 years, and is also on the Board of Scientific Advisors for Schizophrenia Bulletin. He was a panelist on PBS's MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness, which aired October 2009. This video is part of a national initiative that includes extensive web content with tools for civic engagement, active social media on Facebook and Twitter, and an ambitious strategy to engage citizens, professionals in many fields, and policy makers at all levels of government. The goal of the project is to advance consensus about how to improve the kinds of support and treatment available for people with mental illness.

Facilitated Q&A, Christopher Kosseff


Guest Speaker:
James A. Kutsch, Jr., PhD, President and CEO, The Seeing Eye, Inc.

Jim Kutsch, Hope and Resilience Symposia SpeakerJim Kutsch has been serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey since August 2006. The Seeing Eye, the oldest guide dog school in the world, provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind, instructs blind people in the use and care of these dogs, and advocates on behalf of blind people for their right to travel freely and independently. Students come to the school from all 50 U.S. states and every Canadian province. Over 16,000 person-dog teams have been produced since the school’s founding in 1929.

Click to read full bio.

Kutsch, who received his first Seeing Eye® dog in 1970, also serves as Chair of the Board of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) and as Chairman of the Morris Animal Foundation Board of Trustees. Previously, he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Industries for the Blind, President of the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools, and was a member of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. Prior to assuming the role of President at The Seeing Eye, he served 10 years on their Board of Trustees.

He has lectured nationally on disability awareness, adaptive technology, and advocacy. He has made extensive contributions in product accessibility evaluations and is the author of several published articles. He designed and developed the first talking computer for blind computer users in 1975 as his doctoral dissertation research.

Prior to joining The Seeing Eye, Kutsch was a Professor of Computer Science at West Virginia University, then worked for three decades in Telecommunications, including as a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories, as Vice President of Computing and Network Services and later Chief Information Officer at AT&T Universal Card Services, and as Vice President of Strategic Technology at Convergys.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Science in Computer Science from West Virginia University. He also holds a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Illinois. In 2008, he was recognized with an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Rowan University for his lifetime service to people with disabilities, including designing the first talking computer.

He and his wife, Ginger, live in Morristown, New Jersey with their Seeing Eye dogs, Vegas and Pixie. His hobbies include amateur radio (call sign KY2D), sailing, bicycling, and cooking.


Afternoon Keynote:
Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, Co-Director and Dalio Family Professor, Mood Disorders Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Kay Jamison, Hope and Resilience Symposia SpeakerKay Redfield Jamison is the Dalio Family Professor in Mood Disorders, Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center. She is also Honorary Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the co-author of the standard medical text on manic-depressive (bipolar) illness, which was chosen as the most outstanding book in biomedical sciences by the American Association of Publishers, and author of Touched with Fire, An Unquiet Mind, Night Falls Fast, Exuberance, and Nothing Was the Same. Her memoir about her experiences with manic-depressive illness, An Unquiet Mind, was cited by several major publications as one of the best books of 1995; it was on The New York Times Bestseller List for more than five months and translated into twenty–five languages. Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide was a national bestseller, translated into twenty languages, and selected by The New York Times as a Notable Book of 1999. Her book Exuberance: The Passion for Life, was selected by The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle as one of the best books of 2004 and by Discover magazine as one of the best science books of the year. Her most recent book, Nothing Was the Same, was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The Washington Post.

Click to read full bio.

Dr. Jamison did her undergraduate and doctoral studies at the University of California, Los Angeles where she was a National Science Foundation Research Fellow, University of California Cook Scholar, John F. Kennedy Scholar, United States Public Health Service Pre-doctoral Research Fellow, and UCLA Graduate Woman of the Year. She also studied zoology and neurophysiology at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Dr. Jamison, formerly the director of the UCLA Affective Disorders Clinic, was selected as UCLA Woman of Science. She is recipient of the American Suicide Foundation Research Award, the UCLA Distinguished Alumnus Award, the UCLA Award for Creative Excellence, the Siena Medal, the Endowment Award from the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, the Fawcett Humanitarian Award, the Steven V. Logan Award for Research into Brain Disorders from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, the William Styron Award from the National Mental Health Association, the Falcone Prize for Research in Affective Illness from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, the Yale University McGovern Award for excellence in medical communication, and the David Mahoney Prize from Harvard University. She has been awarded numerous honorary degrees, selected as one of five individuals for the public television series "Great Minds of Medicine," and chosen by Time magazine as a "Hero of Medicine." She was Distinguished Lecturer at Harvard University in 2002 and the Litchfield Lecturer at the University of Oxford in 2003. She is the recipient of the Lewis Thomas Prize and a MacArthur Award.

Facilitated Q&A, Christopher Kosseff

4:00pm Closing Remarks, Adjourn
Presented by NJDCF, in Collaboration with NJ Dept. of Health, NJ Dept. of Human Services & University Behavioral Health Care

New Jersey Department of Children and Families

Allison Blake, PhD, LSW

Allison Blake, Hope and Resilience Symposia Presenter

Dr. Allison Blake was appointed Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families by Governor Chris Christie and was confirmed with a unanimous vote by the Senate on June 21, 2010.

As Commissioner, she has emphasized an integrated and strategic approach to serving children and families in the State. To that end, Dr. Blake has focused on a community-based, family-centered approach to service delivery throughout the work of the entire Department, ensured the inclusion of the parent and youth voice in the Department's planning and quality improvement work, and fostered a significant expansion of partnerships with the community to help enhance child abuse prevention and family strengthening efforts across the state.

Click to read Dr. Allison Blake's bio.

With a vision to promote sustainable growth and identify areas of improvement, as one of her first initiatives, Dr. Blake elevated the status of the child protection division's office on adolescents to a Department-level office with an emphasis on more strategic approach to serving youth transitioning to adulthood. By partnering with youth, parents, stakeholders, and service providers, and other state agencies to determine the current strengths of the system and the opportunities for improvement, a formal strategic plan was launched in 2011. Early achievements include the expansion of transitional housing, internships, and financial literacy programs, as well as practice improvements across the system.

This work prepared New Jersey well for the response needed to the growing human trafficking challenge faced by many states. Dr. Blake's commitment to these youth has allowed the department to take a comprehensive approach that includes prevention, intervention and treatment strategies to help victims become survivors.

Dr. Blake has placed a strong emphasis on continuous quality improvement, first by creating a department level office focused on performance management and accountability to help the department become a self-correcting, transparent organization; and later supporting a statewide leadership development plan to teach mid level staff how to manage by data in order to address problems and trends as they are identified. This work has included studying and understanding practice with children and families, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data, and including input from external stakeholders as well as internal staff.

Since Superstorm Sandy touched down in New Jersey in October 2012 causing unprecedented damage, Dr. Blake has provided leadership to the state's recovery efforts for women, children, and families. She has also spearheaded efforts to better prepare child serving organizations for natural disasters and improve sheltering strategies for children and their families. Dr. Blake has been committed to building partnerships and enhancing collaborative efforts through a public health approach with an emphasis on trauma-informed care in the aftermath of the storm.

New Jersey Department of Health

Mary E. O'Dowd, MPH

Mary O'Dowd, Hope and Resilience Symposia Collaborator

Mary E. O'Dowd has been serving as the New Jersey Health Commissioner since April 2011. As Commissioner, she oversees a staff of more than 1,200 and a budget of $1.9 billion. Commissioner O'Dowd is entrusted by Governor Christie to protect the public's health, promote healthy communities and continue to improve the quality of health care in New Jersey. The Commissioner has focused on three priority areas: building healthier communities, raising awareness about end-of-life care planning and working smarter.

She has worked to ensure residents have access to health care to lead healthier lives. Under O'Dowdís leadership, the Department has invested funding to support the health care safety netómore than $1 billion is provided each year to New Jersey hospitals and the state's Federally Qualified Health Centers to care for the uninsured and underinsured.

Click to read Mary E. O'Dowd's bio.

Recognizing the importance of giving children a healthy start in life, Commissioner O'Dowd has led an expansion of the Newborn Screening program and an initiative to increase breastfeeding rates in New Jersey. Under her leadership, New Jersey was the first state to implement pulse oximetry screening to improve early detection of critical congenital heart defects. Additionally, she expanded newborn testing from 54 to 60 genetic and metabolic disorders. To increase breastfeeding rates, the Department has supported maternity hospitals to implement the Baby Friendly Hospitals Initiative, a World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) program that encourages and recognizes hospitals that promote and support breastfeeding. Four New Jersey hospitals have achieved this designation since the initiative began and several more have made significant improvements.

During her time as Commissioner, O'Dowd has worked to generate greater discussion around end-of-life care planning. She has convened roundtable discussions with health providers, authored articles and visited facilities to raise awareness around this issue. In collaboration with the New Jersey Hospital Association, O'Dowd implemented the Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment—or POLST form. This form empowers individuals to work with their physician or advance practice nurse to document preferences for medical care at the end of life.

In the area of working smarter through creative partnerships, the Commissioner has worked to achieve measurable results in promoting organ, tissue and blood donations in the state. By collaborating closely with advocates and the Motor Vehicle Commission to increase the number of registered organ donors—there has been a 13 percent increase statewide. Through a partnership with some of the state's leading corporations, as co-chair of the Workplace Blood Donor Coalition, Commissioner O'Dowd is working to reduce the state's chronic blood shortage. A targeted 2012 summer campaign resulted in an 11 percent increase in units of blood collected. To build on this success, the Department has partnered with the 2014 New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee to conduct a campaign called the Super Community Blood Drive.

As Commissioner, she led the Department's response and recovery efforts to Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy—working closely with healthcare facilities, emergency responders and public health partners before, during, and after the storms to ensure they had the resources needed to care for residents.

New Jersey Department of Human Services

Elizabeth Connolly, MPA
Acting Commissioner

Elizabeth Connolly, Hope and Resilience Symposia Collaborator

Elizabeth Connolly became the Department's Acting Commissioner on February 28, 2015. She has worked in various roles at the department for 26 years, most recently as Chief of Staff. She began her career in the department's Division of Family Development and worked in child welfare reform as Director of Data Analysis and Reporting in the Office of Children's Services. Ms. Connolly also served as Director of Research and Evaluation, Special Assistant to the Commissioner and led the department's Sandy recovery initiatives and emergency preparedness activities related to Ebola Virus Disease. She lives in North Brunswick and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters in Public Administration from Seton Hall University.

Click to read Elizabeth Connolly's bio.

DHS has the largest budget in state government, with over 15,000 employees - approximately 75-percent of them serving as direct care workers in the state-run developmental centers and psychiatric hospitals. About one in six New Jersey residents is impacted by the work of DHS.

The Department works in partnership with the Administration on initiatives including: Medicaid reform; advancing supported placement of individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness in the community; creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities; and sustaining the safety-net of services made available for the state's older population, and individuals and families with low income.

University Behavioral Health Care (UBHC)

Christopher O. Kosseff
President & CEO

Christopher Kosseff, Hope and Resilience Symposia CollaboratorChris Kosseff is responsible for a state-wide system of academically based mental health and addiction services across New Jersey. In 1996 when he assumed responsibility for this system, the operating budget was approximately $50 million per year, with the majority derived from Medicaid reimbursements. In 2015, the budget is $251 million, with a dramatically diversified portfolio. While all of the core clinical services remain vibrant and serving the academic and clinical missions, the range of services now includes correctional health care, an administrative services organization, peer operated helplines for service members, veterans, mothers of children with special needs, law enforcement officers and child protection workers, a statewide suicide prevention hotline and a clinical research and training institute.

Click to read Christopher O. Kosseff's bio.

Chris has a Master of Science degree from Syracuse University. Additionally, he holds clinical assistant professor appointments in the departments of Psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School. Included in the awards he has received is the Meritorious Service Medal by the National Guard.


The June 5, 2015 symposia was approved for the following credits:

Certified Health Education Specialists:An application has been submitted to award Certified Health Specialists (CHES) and Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) up to 3.0 total Category I Continuing Education Contact Hours (CECH). Maximum Advanced-level contact hours available are 3.0. The Rutgers Office of Public Health Practice is designated multiple event provider of CECH/s by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.

Health Officers and Registered Environmental Health Specialists: Rutgers University, NJAES, Office of Continuing Professional Education has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Health as a provider of NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs). Participants who complete this education program will be awarded 4.0 NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs).

NOTE: No certificate will be provided. Your transcript on the NJLMN will be updated to reflect these continuing education contact hours within one (1) week of the program.


  • Continuing Education Credit Request Form available at the program.
  • Please note that participants may not be eligible for continuing education credits if they are not on time and present for the entire session.
  • Participants must sign in.
  • Participants must submit a completed evaluation form at the end of the program.
  • Partial credits will not be issued to participants arriving late or leaving early.
  • Complete, Sign and Submit a "Continuing Education Credit Request Form" and $20 fee, for the following credits only.

NOTE: Your certificate for these professional contact hours will be emailed to you within four (4) weeks of receiving your request form and $20 fee.

Marriage and Family Therapists: This course will count for recertification credit towards NJDCA Marriage and Family Board licenses and certifications (LMFT) Rutgers UBHC provider number #200201113.5REC. (4 credit hours)

Psychologists: Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care maintains responsibility for the program and its content. Provider# 1532. Instructional Level: Introductory. (4 CE credits)

Social Workers (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 and recognized by The New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is approved for 4 general continuing education hours.

NOTE: Social Workers must be prepared to write in their Social Work license/certification / registration number and license jurisdiction on the sign in sheet. Please be sure to bring this information with you to the training. Check with your state board to ensure credits are accepted.

Speakers and Planning Committee members have nothing to disclose. For the latest credit information, please call 848-932-7316.

Exhibitor Opportunity

Interested in being an exhibitor? Please contact Bianca Scardina for information. Space is limited.

The Hope and Resilience Symposia are a two-part series for mental health professionals to learn new perspectives, tools, and techniques to deal effectively and intervene appropriately with individuals affected by Superstorm Sandy. To that end, exhibitions should be aligned with the goal of the symposia. We reserve the right to deny the application of companies whose business practices are not in keeping with the symposia’s professional business environment. In an effort to provide a diverse lineup of exhibitors, show management reserves the right to limit similar services. Exhibitors are expressly prohibited from promoting political candidates. Please note we are unable to accommodate requests for vendors who intend to sell goods/services on site.

Registration Fee $27.50 This fee covers the cost of providing a buffet lunch for each attendee.

Substitutions are permitted. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested at least two weeks in advance.


Breakfast and a buffet lunch are included.

If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please alert us at least one (1) week in advance of the course start date so that we can make reasonable accommodations. We cannot guarantee accommodations for special requests made after that time.


Pines Manor
2085 Route 27 (Lincoln Highway)
Edison, NJ 08817

Note: Pre-registration is required. We're sorry, but we cannot guarantee a seat, materials or meals for walk-in registrants at this time.


Sorry, registration is not currently available for this course.

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Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities

If you require special assistance, please notify our office when you register for a course and no less than one week in advance of the course start date. Every effort will be made to accommodate reasonable requests to meet your needs. For more information, please visit the Rutgers Office of Disability Services.