22nd Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (Spring)
Registration Is Now Open!
Registration is now open for our upcoming Empowering Community Wellness Symposium on Thursday, May 4th. We’ll explore the theme “Mental Health- Another Level of Self-Care” and discuss treatment, the barriers that often prevent early intervention and broadening representation of People of Color in Behavioral Health. To join, click below to register!
Mental Health Awareness month is quickly approaching and with it our 22nd annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium! We invite you to join us as we take a closer look at “Mental Health – Another Level of Self-Care”. Throughout the pandemic, self-care has been an ever-growing topic of importance and one that deserves a deeper exploration of what it means, how it may look and the benefits to individuals, families and our community. Workshops included: 1) Dr. Larence Kirby will be presenting on the topic of “Counseling Brothers: Perceptions & Truths” as well as moderating a panel discussion to address disparities in behavioral health services for black males and 2) Dr. Daniel Saddawi-Konefka will be presenting on the Emotional PPE Project and addressing barriers to emotional self-care. Space for this symposium is limited so we encourage early registration to ensure your placement. Additionally, breakfast is included with registration, vendors will be on site and we will update with information regarding CEU credits very soon.
Date & Time:
Thursday, May 4th. 2023
8:00am – 12:00pm
Riverfront Events Center (760 Justison St, Wilmington, DE 19801)
1) Dr. Larence Kirby: “Counseling Brothers – Perceptions and Truths” + Panel Discussion
2) Dr. Daniel Saddawi-Konefka: “The Emotional PPE Project: Addressing Barriers to Emotional Self-Care”
Dr. Larence Kirby
Dr. Larence Kirby is a Licensed Counselor and owner of Key 2 Clarity Counseling Services where he assists Black males and Veterans in resolving life issues. He also serves as an academic advisor for Delaware Technical Community College. Prior to this, he served as Director, Delaware Office of Veterans Services where he ensured benefits for 71,000 state veterans. Dr. Kirby retired from United State Air Force as a Command Chief Master Sergeant, was stationed around the globe, and earned a Bronze Star Medal for actions in Afghanistan. Dr. Kirby believes in community empowerment through his work as Past Board President, Mental Health Association in Delaware, Vice President, Dover Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, and by presenting seminars, nationwide, on mental health challenges affecting Veterans and People of Color.
Dr. Daniel Saddawi-Konefka
Dr. Daniel Saddawi-Konefka is an anesthesiologist and intensivist at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He co-founded and serves as President of the Board of The Emotional PPE Project at the beginning of the COVID pandemic to help decrease barriers to help-seeking for emotional and mental health needs amongst healthcare workers. His research interests relate to helping people develop and optimize performance and wellbeing. At work, he serves as the Program Director for the MGH anesthesiology residency (105 resident physicians). Outside of work, he enjoys playing with his wife and four children, chess, and woodwork.
Sponsorship Opportunities Are Open!
Sponsorship opportunities are open for the upcoming Empowering Community Wellness Symposium! To learn more, read below.
• Leader Sponsor ($2,500.00)- 20 additional participant tickets provided, plus a vendor table (pending availability). Organization will be included in all ECWS marketing for both Spring and Fall Symposiums for the year of 2023.
• Prevailing Sponsor ($1,000.00)- 10 additional participant tickets provided, plus a vendor table (pending availability). Organization will be included in all ECWS marketing for both Spring and Fall Symposiums for the year of 2023.
• Partner Sponsor ($500.00)- Vendor table included (pending availability), plus 5 additional participant tickets. Business Certificate of Recognition. Employee and Customer resource guide to understanding Mental Health and tips for providing support to those who are struggling.
• Joint Sponsor ($250.00)– Vendor table included (pending availability). Business Certificate of Recognition. Employee and Customer resource guide to understanding Mental Health and tips for providing support to those who are struggling.
• Ally Sponsor ($100.00)- Ally Sponsorship will go directly to allowing mental health service consumers the opportunity to attend the conference at no cost. Business Certificate of Recognition. Employee and Customer resource guide to understanding Mental Health and tips for providing support to those who are struggling.
Note: Due to very limited space vendor tables will be available on a first come first serve basis. Each vendor table will come with 2 seats for the organization. Sponsors will be included in all ECWS marketing and the Leader and Prevailing Sponsor levels will be highlighted throughout the 2023 year marketing for both the May 4th Symposium as well as our Fall Virtual Symposium.
Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP
GreenbrookTMS Neurohealth Centers
We are grateful for our sponsors helping to make mental health education and resources more available in our community!
ECWS Committee Members:
• Jason Coleman • Jennifer Seo • Ismay Miller • Jennifer Smolowitz • Shea Marriott • Matia Bryan • LaKeetra Josey • Monica Shockley-Porter • Frank Hawkins • Desmond Wynn • Onika Harris • Norwood Coleman • Nishelle Hines • John Roland • Adeyimika Isichei •
ECWS Committee Organizations:
21st Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (Fall)
On November 10th, 2022, we continued the theme of the Pandemic State of Mental Health. Joined by guest Keynote Speakers Dr. Michelle Ratcliff and Dr. Tyreese McAllister, we addressed the topics of Grief and Radical Resiliency.
Opening Remarks Speaker:
Dr. Terry Harrison-Goldman
Director of the Neuropsychology Department and the Training Director of the Pediatric Neuropsychology Fellowship at Nemours Children’s Health of Delaware
Dr. Terry Harrison-Goldman is a clinical pediatric neuropsychologist, Director of the Neuropsychology department and the Training Director of the pediatric neuropsychology fellowship at Nemours Children’s Health of Delaware (NCH-DE). Dr. Harrison-Goldman is also a Clinical Assistant professor of Pediatrics, at Sidney Kimmel Medical School, Thomas Jefferson University. She has extensive experience in pediatric development and pediatric neuropsychology across a broad age range (birth to age 21) and has been working in the field for 23 years. Dr. Harrison-Goldman obtained her degree at Northern Arizona University and completed an internship at the University of Pennsylvania Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)/Children’s Seashore House where her training focused on acquired brain injuries through all stages of recovery (inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services). Dr. Harrison-Goldman also completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship in neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She remained on faculty at the University of Minnesota for several years and then moved to Rhode Island where she was on faculty at Brown University Medical School. In 2017, she was recruited to be the Director of Neuropsychology at NCH-DE. Clinically, she currently conducts neuropsychological evaluations of children of all ages with acquired brain injuries and provides assessment consultation and works closely with several multidisciplinary teams, including the rehab team. Dr. Harrison-Goldman recently joined the Board of the Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIADE) and is the Co-Chair of the Grants and Fundraising Committee for BIADE. She presents at both local and national conferences and is an active member of several national organizations.
Dr. Tyreese R. McAllister, LPC, CSOTP, CCTP
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor; Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist
Dr. Tyreese R. McAllister has over 25 years’ experience in the fields of emergency mental health, helping individuals experiencing crisis and/or traumatic events. She has worked in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area as a licensed mental health practitioner. Dr. Tyreese R. McAllister gained her doctorate degree at the University of Arizona in Psy.D. with a concentration in Criminology and Justice. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and a postmaster’s certificate in Addictions Counseling from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. McAllister was credentialed as a Criminal Justice Addictions Professional in 1999 and licensed as a Professional Counselor in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia. She is a certified clinical supervisor in Maryland and Virginia. She is a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Professional and Certified Clinical Trauma Specialist. She earned various other certifications and has extensive forensic and Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Response training and experience.
Michelle R. Ratcliff, MSS, DMFT, LSW
Assistant Professor at Delaware State University
Dr. Michelle R. Ratcliff is a goal oriented, highly skilled, compassionate, trauma focused clinician and educator with 21 years of social work experience serving families. She has served in many populations, such as homelessness, pregnant and parenting teens, drug and alcohol, physical abuse and neglect, as well as sexual and domestic abuse/violence in communities, schools and shelters. She has experience with providing Trauma informed care, managing programs, facilitating parenting education and Healthy Sexuality to teenagers in middle and high school, Self – Care, and Life Skills classes, supervising case managers, instructing bachelor’s and master’s level social work interns, and enhancing program capacity. Additionally, Dr. Ratcliff provides family therapy at a non- profit program in Media, PA where she works with clients who have endured trauma, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, behavioral issues, and other mental health disorders
Dr. Ratcliff is an Assistant Professor at Delaware State University, teaching in the social work department. Dr. Ratcliff has been a professor at this institution for 4 years teaching students in their first year of college to their fourth year. She also provides mentoring, career counseling and
Dr Ratcliff is a licensed social worker in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in African Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College, and a Doctor of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Eastern University.
21st Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (Spring)
On May 5th, 2022, MHA held our 21st annual in-person Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (ECWS), formerly known as the Community Mental Health Conference. This marks our official move for the symposium to coincide with May’s Mental Health Awareness month. The theme “The Pandemic State of Mental Health” was our focus for this event, and will continue in our virtual fall event taking place on Thursday, November 10th, 2022.
Thank you to our Keynote speakers Priscilla Murphy and Lisa Savage who graciously shared their time and expertise with all those attending. It would not be an understatement to say that COVID-19 has changed the landscape of not only mental health but our society as we all have been challenged in unique and unprecedented ways. We are so grateful to our Keynote speakers who both on and off stage are providing the kind of leadership and vision that can guide individuals, families and communities forward in these uncertain times. We also want to express gratitude to our Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long for delivering the opening remarks for the symposium and her continual efforts to advocate for mental health awareness, education and support throughout Delaware.
The Empowering Community Wellness Symposium Planning Council would also like to extend a special recognition to Planning Council member Dona Mesko, who will be retiring this May. Through the many changes that the symposium undertook, Dona has been a consistent participant, leader and voice on the Planning Council. Thank you for always going above and beyond!
MHA and the Planning Council would like to thank all of our community allies who helped to make this event possible through sponsorship. We could not have done this without you!
• Greenbrook TMS Neurohealth Center
• Dover Behavioral Health System
• Rockford Center
• Lisa D. Thornton
• Jewish Family Services
• Delaware Nurses Association
To our previous attendees and future participants, please remember to mark your calendars for Thursday, November 10th, 2022 and join us for our virtual fall Empowering Community Wellness Symposium!
We would like to thank the following individuals who participated in the conference:
• Emily Vera • Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long
• Frank Hawkins
• Priscilla Murphy • Lisa Savage
• Dr. LaKeetra Josey
ECWS Committee Members:
• Jason Coleman • Jennifer Seo • Dona Mesko • Ismay Miller • Jennifer Wendell • Jenna Hoffman • Sophia Llopiz • Celine Jeun • Shea Marriott • Matia Bryan • LaKeetra Josey • Monica Shockley-Porter • Frank Hawkins • Desmond Wynn • Onika Harris • Norwood Coleman • Nishelle Hines • John Roland • Adeyimika Isichei
20th Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (Fall)
“The Empowering Community Wellness Symposium provided a refreshing surge of encouragement during a pandemic. Offering a unique combination of mental health research and self-care exercises, the panel discussion was a masterclass for anyone interested in supporting Delaware’s mental wellness. A big thank you to the MHA staff for making the event warm, inviting, and enjoyable—I can’t wait for next year’s conference!” – Celine Jeun
On November 18, 2021, MHA held our first in-person Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (ECWS), formerly known as the Community Mental Health Conference. We held a panel discussion that allowed our speakers and participants opportunity to discuss two intriguing topics: Normalizing Therapy and Resources and Disparities in Treatment.
Thank you to our speakers for sharing their time and expertise to make this a one-of-a-kind event! As a part of our 20th year anniversary, this event was the second Empowering Community Wellness Symposium held in 2021. Looking forward, the ECWS will continue to be held in-person in the spring and virtually for the fall event.
The Empowering Community Wellness Symposium Planning Council would also like to extend a special thank you to the Riverfront Events Center staff. Amidst the current health pandemic, their efforts helped make the event safe and comfortable for our participants and speakers. Mark your calendars for May 5th, 2022 as we return in-person to celebrate May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Please check back for registration details and information on how you or your organization can become an ally through sponsorship.
“From being involved in the planning committee, I got the chance to observe firsthand the hard work that went into brainstorming, outreaching, collaborating and advertising for the Empowering Community Wellness Symposium. It was incredibly rewarding to see the committee’s dedication and commitment pay off at the conference. The conference offered a wide range of perspectives and expertise to reflect upon the impact of COVID, treatment disparities, resources and recommendations. I am excited to see the conference continually evolve, and uphold the tradition of educating, supporting and empowering the community!” – Jennifer Wendell
We would like to thank the following individuals who participated in the conference:
• Emily Vera
• Frank Hawkins • Monica Shockley-Porter
• Nineka Dyson • David Frye • Rebecca Roebke• Stacy Shamburger • Alexus Sheppherd • Shanelle Sotilleo• Lena Queen
MC & Closing Speaker:
• Dr. LaKeetra Josey
ECWS Committee Members:
• Jason Coleman • Jennifer Seo • Dona Mesko • Jennifer Wendell • Celine Jeun • Shea Marriott • Matia Bryan • LaKeetra Josey • Monica Shockley-Porter • Frank Hawkins • Desmond Wynn • Onika Harris • Norwood Coleman • Nishelle Hines • John Roland • Adeyimika Isichei
20th Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (Spring)
On May 6, 2021, MHA held the 20th Annual Empowering Community Wellness Symposium (ECWS), formerly known as the Community Mental Health Conference. The symposium was held virtually for the first time ever due to the pandemic. Marking the 20th anniversary of the conference, the small shift in name highlights what has always been the core goal of the event: empowering and improving our community by providing access to resources, timely information and an opportunity to connect with leading pioneers in mental health.
The keynote was delivered by Lisa R. Savage, LCSW, who spoke on the topic of “Disrupting Systems that Reinforce Trauma and Racism”. A panel discussion followed the keynote focusing on the impact of the Coronavirus Health Pandemic on a number of supportive services industries that directly relate to mental health. Each panel member brought a wealth of experience and insight into the areas of Healthcare, Therapeutic Services, and Higher Education.
The first virtual symposium brought 84 individuals from all throughout the state of Delaware together for the half-day event. As part of the 20th year anniversary, the ECWS planning committee plans and hopes to have a second related in-person event later this year. More details on the event will follow, so please make sure you are subscribed to our email list, which you can sign up for at MHA Chats – Mental Health Association in Delaware.
19th Annual Community Mental Health Conference
In November 2019, MHA sponsored the 19th Annual Community Mental Health Conference in Wilmington, DE. The conference was held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront and focused on the theme of “The Mental Health System: Through the Ages”. Workshops focused on a range of topics including gender and sexuality in the Latinx community, depression and suicide among the elderly, ACE’s informed care for youth, and connections between trauma and substance use disorders.
The event was devoted to increasing the ability of the participants to access resources and a deeper understanding of some topics that can have significant mental health implications throughout the lifespan. The community members, mental health consumers and providers who attended enjoyed interactive workshops, a panel discussion on the evolution of the Peer Support model in Delaware and a keynote address by Priscilla Murphey on Intergenerational Mental Health Issues.