The 22nd Annual Conference

The 22nd Annual Conference


Impact of Trauma and Violence: Interventions for School, Clinical and Community Settings

About the conference

Many children and youths are exposed to trauma and adverse experiences creating life-span implications. Unrecognized or unacknowledged adversity and trauma can lead to toxic stress, including other issues that affect development and lifelong well-being.

Assessments of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) may not adequately encompass the extent of adversity to which low-income urban children and adolescents are exposed. The purpose of this conference is to characterize the range of adverse childhood and adolescent experiences faced by young adults who grow up in a low-income urban area. The importance of adopting a public health approach and engaging multiple stakeholders to address these complex issues will be explored. Trauma-specific perspectives, treatments and resiliency factors will be discussed. Building effective and sustainable strategies that promote protective factors for long-term well-being will be identified.

Topics covered also include an introduction to specific planning, needs assessment and implementation tools as well as evidence-based interventions. A Case Conceptualization Model of risk and protective factors that informs treatment decision making will be emphasized. Ways to achieve optimal results for clients will be highlighted.


Lynn Aptman, M.Ed., is President of The Melissa Institute and a former elementary school teacher. She is one of the founders of the Institute, along with her husband, Michael Aptman, M.D., Suzanne L. Keeley, Ph.D., and Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D.

Daniel Santisteban, Ph.D., is a tenured professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami. He was named Director of Dunspaugh-Dalton Community and Educational Well-Being Research Center in 2015. Dr. Santisteban has over 25 years of experience conducting clinical trials and developing and testing behavioral treatments for underserved families, and has received six large NIH-funded grants. He is a member of The Melissa Institute Scientific Board.

Heather Winters, LMHC, is Executive Director of The Melissa Institute and former Executive Director of Family Counseling Services of Greater Miami. She has more than 18 years of experience providing individual and group counseling to child, adolescent and adult survivors of sexual violence. Her specializations include trauma, PTSD, anxiety and depression.


Colleen Cicchetti, Ph.D., M.Ed., is Director of the Center for Childhood Resilience, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Assistant Professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She has worked at Lurie Children’s Hospital for over 25 years, focusing on the areas of program development and evaluation, community outreach and parent education, therapeutic summer camp programming and treatment for children who have been exposed to trauma or victimization. In 2004, she established the Center for Childhood Resilience to provide training, consulting, education and outreach to school professionals, community health agencies, city leaders and parents, increasing youth access to mental health services.

She represents the Lurie Children’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry on the hospital Advocacy Board and the Injury Prevention and Research Center, as well as in several local and state interagency initiatives that address children’s mental health and trauma treatment: The Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, for which she serves as Co-Chair of the School-Age Practices and Policies Committee; and The Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition, for which she is the Clinical Director.

Donald Meichenbaum, Ph.D., is Research Director of The Melissa Institute and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. He has served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Education at the University of Miami. He is one of the founders of cognitive behavior therapy. North American clinicians voted Dr. Meichenbaum “one of the 10 most influential psychotherapists of the 20th century.” He has presented in all 50 states and internationally. Dr. Meichenbaum has published extensively, and his most recent book is Roadmap to Resilience: A Guide for Military, Trauma Victims and Their Families. Other books include Treatment of Individuals with Anger-control Problems and Aggressive Behavior; Treating Adults with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; Nurturing Independent Learners; and Stress Inoculation Training.