Addictions Conference

An annual Addictions Conference is supported through the HRSA OWEP grant from 2020 - 2022. The conference will be virtual in 2020 given the concerns with Covid-19, but we hope that future meetings can take place in person.

Webinars will be offered weekly that cover a variety of addictions topics, see schedule below. Links to register are provided below. You must register for each session individually. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) available for NCC and/or LSW/LCSW/LPC/LMFT. You must attend the entire session to receive a CEU certificate or a certificate of completion.

A graphic of a ticket for the Addictions Conference 2020: Innovations in Prevention event.


Thank you to everyone who attended the 2020 Addictions Conference. Recordings for the sessions are available below by clicking the title. We are unable to provide certificates for viewing the recorded sessions. If you would like to be added to our email list to be notified of future training opportunities please email

September 4, 2020, 12 - 1 pm
Appalachia Mourning: The Opioid Epidemic as a Symptom of Cultural Trauma
Presenter: Rayelle Davis (MSEd, NCC, LCPC)
An educational session on how the cultural factors of rural America relate to the opioid epidemic including current treatment limitations. How can current treatment modalities be adjusted to address the underlying issues that have allowed the opioid epidemic to rage through an entire population and perhaps prevent the next one from beginning?  

September 9, 2020, 3 - 4 pm
Reducing Fatal Opioid Overdose; Prevention and Treatment (no recording available)
Presenter: Shannon Brogdon (MS)
The Opioid Overdose Prevention Program presentation reviews a quality study completed on an inpatient dual diagnosis unit that addressed reducing fatal opioid overdose; prevention and treatment. The program included group, individual, and family education on overdose prevention, and offering to the patient/family Narcan Rescue Kits. 

September 18, 2020, 12 - 1 pm
Burning Bright, Not Out: Strategies to Increase Resiliency in the Addictions Workforce
Presenters: Jayna Bonfini (PhD, LPC, NCC, MAC) and Ashley Farabough
Helping professionals who support clients through issues daily are at high risk for professional burnout. This is especially true for rural providers working with clients who struggle with addiction. Session attendees will learn to identify signs of burnout and learn specific strategies to maintain wellness individually and within their organizations.  

September 23, 2020, 3 - 4 pm
The Culture of Addiction: Addressing Implicit Bias to Improve Treatment Outcomes

Presenter: Demond Bledsoe (MS, PhD, LPC)
This presentation will explore the impact of implicit bias, racial stereotypes and stigma associated with clients struggling with substance use disorders. Participants will learn strategies on self-assessment and acknowledgement of bias and stigmatizing beliefs as well as strategies for improving the quality of culturally responsive care.

October 2, 2020, 12 - 1 pm
Skills for Effective Encounters: The SBIRT Training Model
Presenters: Marcus Poindexter (MSW, LSW), Janet Bucey (OTD,OTR/L) and Gabrielle Strong (MBA)
Utilizing the evidenced-based SBIRT training model, presenters will engage participants in learning and practicing skills necessary to facilitate conversation about at-risk drug and alcohol use. The session includes a discussion aimed at introducing one university-based interprofessional SBIRT training model and suggesting strategies applicable to any nonphysician health professional’s setting.

October 7, 2020, 3 - 4 pm
Plans of Safe Care: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Support Well-Being of Substance Affected Infants and their Families
Presenters: Jane Zupanic (LSW), Dawn Houston (MS), Beth Phillips (MAAT), and Barb Daubner (MSW)
Prenatal substance exposure can cause a wide spectrum of physical, emotional and developmental problems for infants. Plans of Safe Care, developed by a multidisciplinary team, are designed to address both the needs of the substance-affected infant and the parents/caregivers to ensure the overall health, development, and well-being of both.

October 16, 2020, 12 - 1 pm
“Examining More Than Throat Cultures”…Transforming Collegiate Culture with SBIRT
Presenters: Donna George (MSEd), Alec Howard (MPH), and Colleen Moyer
PASSHE, California University of Pennsylvania’s Wellness Center, and Pitt PERU took a transformational journey which is having an impact on individual student choice and the entire state’s collegiate culture. This session will give participants a look at this courageous pilot funded by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD).    

October 21, 2020, 3 - 4 pm
The Impact of Addiction within the Family System: The Intersection of Familial, LGBTQ, and Rural Issues
Michelle Colarusso (PhD, LPC, NCC) & Nickolas Summa (PhD, LMFT)
This session will explore common issues that arise within the family system when addiction is present. The session will highlight unique issues that occur when the addicted individual identifies as LGBTQ, and also identify the challenges that families and families of LGBTQ individuals in rural communities face seeking help with addiction.

October 30, 2020, 12 - 1 pm
A Comprehensive Approach to the Opioid Crisis in our Region
Presenters: Cheryld Emala (MSW, LCSW) and Kellie McKevitt (MSW, LSW)
This session will provide participants with an overview of how a local non-profit human service organization (SPHS), designed, obtained funding, and deployed services in our local communities to address the opioid epidemic. The session will primarily highlight the organization’s Centers of Excellence project, with an overview of organization’s overall effort to address addiction issues locally.

November 4, 2020, 3 - 4 pm
Stigma and Access to Healthcare
Presenters: Ashley Potts (MSW) and Caesar DeLeo (MD)
The opioid crisis is devastating our communities and straining the healthcare system. Learn how Highmark has taken innovative approaches to addressing stigma and through technology has brought substance use care to underserved rural communities in Appalachia.  

November 13, 2020, 12 - 1 pm
The Theoretical Underpinning of Addiction Prevention (no recording available)
Presenter: Waganesh Zeleke (EdD, LCPC, NCC)
Understanding the theory and principle of prevention is a critical first step for those learning about prevention. Informed by the web of influence model, this presentation aims to provide audience information about the theoretical underpinning of addiction prevention and its application.

November 18, 2020, 3 - 4 pm
Are There Substance Free Safe Spaces? Supporting LGBTQ+ Clients in Recovery
Presenters: David Loeffler (MA, MS, NCC) and Joe Charette (MSEd, NCC)
This session will discuss conceptualizing substance use among LGBTQ+ people through an intersectional lens. Examining substance use through this lens will illuminate particular challenges this community faces in recovery including social engagement and positive relationship formation. Attendees will discuss resources that can compliment substance use treatment for LGBTQ+ clients.