Last year brought many changes to the Consortium. Like most other offices, we closed our doors and spent the better part of the year working from home. We launched our debut solo-hosted conference online, rather than with the in-person spectacle for which we had hoped. Of the experience, the Consortium’s executive director, Colette Anderson, wrote, “Our staff has not hesitated in preparing and delivering on our promise to continue providing high-quality trainings to the behavioral health workforce. In 2020, it is all the more important to ensure that the professionals providing mental health care to isolated, anxious, and scared clients are equipped to manage any scenario sent their way.”
The 2020 Trauma & Recovery Conference holds a special place in our memories. We were so grateful for the patience and excitement our participants demonstrated and were moved by the strong messages our presenters shared, despite the unusual circumstances. One benefit of moving to an online format was that people from across the state and country were able to join with ease, helping to grow our evergreen community. As Board President Carol Huckaby said in her closing statement, “Hearing – and more, knowing – that this work continues throughout the state is a testament to the necessity of a trauma responsive system” as well as “the strength of our communities.”
The community-centered joy last year’s conference inspired motivates this year’s conference theme: Uplifting Voices, where we will highlight local experts and practitioners, helping to bring their messages to you. Among others, our presenters include:
Amy B. Smoyer, PhD, an Associate Professor of Social Work at Southern Connecticut State University. Her program of research examines women’s lived experience of incarceration and the impact of this experience on health outcomes, including HIV care and prevention, food justice, bladder health, housing stability, and psychosocial wellness. www.amysmoyer.com
Margaret Evans, PhD, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the University of Connecticut Health in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Evans received her PhD from the University of Vermont, and subsequently completed a clinical postdoc at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Dr. Evans works with adults in outpatient settings, providing treatment for individuals presenting trauma-related anxiety, OCD and mood disorders. She has been trained in Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD.
Renesha Nichols, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker who has served in the mental health field for 13 years and counting. Her experience includes crisis management, trauma work with foster and adopted youth, school social work, and individual and family counseling. Renesha is currently pursuing her doctorate in social work while rendering virtual counseling services within her private practice. Renesha is passionate about helping others and is a strong advocate for social justice.