Past Conference Webinars

We are pleased to make available to you recordings of Keynote Addresses given at past STAR-Center Conferences.  We look forward to making additional conference presentations available to you. 

2021 STAR-Center Conference – Preventing Suicide in Children and Youth:  Building Resilience in the Face of Adversity 

Keynote Addresses:

Black Youth and Suicide Risk

Presented by Tami D. Benton, MD, Psychiatrist and Chief, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Frederick Allen Endowed Professor of Psychiatry, The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

This presentation will focus upon emerging data about Black youth suicide and exposomal factors contributing to its rise among black youth.  Existing evidence about risk and protective factors, interventions and future directions for research will be presented.

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Download a copy of Dr. Benton’s powerpoint presentation

Next Time We’ll Be Ready:  What’s Wrong with School Crisis Preparation Today

Presented by Mary Margaret Kerr, EdD, Professor of Health and Human Development, University of Pittsburgh

This presentation offers a practical look at evidence-informed strategies for crisis team preparation and training in school settings.  Specifically, we review a) risky oversights in pre-service educator preparation programs, b) missteps in convening crisis teams, c) failures in crisis team training, and d) school-based practices for addressing these critical problems.

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Download a copy of Dr. Kerr’s powerpoint presentation

 

Workshops:

Treating Childhood Traumatic Grief with a COVID-19 Focus

Presented by Judith Cohen, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Medical Director, AGH Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, Allegheny Health Network and Drexel University College of Medicine

More than 300,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, with many additional “excess deaths” also associated with the pandemic.  Youth may develop childhood traumatic grief (CTG) due to pandemic-specific traumatic aspects of these deaths.  This presentation will describe the application of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) for COVID-19-related CTG for youth and their surviving caregivers.

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Traversing the Transition to College:  Assisting Students with Mental Health Concerns

Presented by Kym Jordan Simmons, PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Carnegie Mellon University

This presentation will provide an overview of the state of mental health services on college campuses, shifts in counseling center services during the COVID pandemic, ways to examine the mental health services being offered, and concrete tasks to help prepare students and caregivers prior to the launch to college.

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Handout 1

Suicidality among Transgender Youth:  An Introduction to the Health Sciences Literature and Recommendations for Validating Care

Presented by Brian Thoma, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital

This workshop will provide clinicians with: (1) an introduction to transgender identities among teenagers (2) an overview of the research literature describing suicidality among transgender adolescents, and (3) an in-depth discussion of how treatment providers can interact with transgender clients to foster a validating and accepting environment.

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Self-Care and Mindfulness in the School

Presented by Sara Goodyear, MsEd, LPC, NCC, STAR-Center, and A.W. Beattie Career Center

This session will provide school and community professionals with a variety of self-care and mindfulness strategies to utilize on an individual, classroom, and school-wide level.  Highlighted will be teaching coping skills techniques and ways to present the concept of self-care and mindfulness in a meaningful manner to secondary students.

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Handout 1

Handout 2

Social Determinants and their Impact on Childhood Mental Health

Presented by Paula Marie Powe, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Medical Director, Matilda Theiss Early Childhood and School-Based Behavioral Health Center, UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital

This presentation will discuss social determinants of mental health and ways that they contribute to early childhood adversity, toxic stress, and clinical outcomes.  Resilience, protective factors, and considerations for policy change will also be reviewed.

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Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children and Adolescents:  Assessment and Treatment Considerations for the School Setting

Presented by Benjamin L. Handen, PhD, BCBA-D, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder have social and communication deficits along with stereotyped interests and behaviors.  Many have co-morbid disorders such as ADHD and anxiety.  This session provides an overview of autism and comorbid disorders, followed by discussion of specific tools and strategies for working with this population.

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Approaching Social Anxiety:  Leading an Exposure-Based Group

Presented by Christina Kirsch, PsyD, Licenses Psychologist, Center for Pediatric Neuropsychology, and Kelsey Johnson, LPC, NCC, Behavioral Health Therapist, STAR-Center, UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital

This presentation will review the application of exposure-based interventions as a group treatment for social anxiety in adolescents.  Special attention will be given to relevant skill development, the logistics of identifying, planning, and conducting exposures, engaging parents in exposures, and challenging patterns of family dynamics that may reinforce avoidant behaviors.

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Identifying and Responding to Cybervictimization among Adolescents

Presented by Candice Biernesser, PhD, LCSW, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Pittsburgh and Karla Joyce-Good, LSW, MSW, UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital

Cyberbullying is a growing concern among young people with reports of cyberbullying doubling over the past decade.  Youth who are cyberbullied are approximately twice as likely to exhibit suicidal thoughts and behaviors.  This presentation will offer practical guidance for understanding and responding to cyberbullying among adolescents.

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Provider Well-Being:  We Need Not Always Be Heroes

Presented by Sansea L. Jacobson, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, STAR-Center, Program Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Training, Western Psychiatric Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Wellness is an unspoken shared responsibility between patient and provider; now even more poignant during the COVID-19 pandemic.  This session will guide the audience to a better understanding of how to conceptualize and approach our own well-being and its impact on our personal and professional identities. 

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2020 STAR-Center Conference – Bringing Treatment into Focus: Being Virtually Present 

Keynote Addressses:

Focus on Virtual Assessment and Treatment

Presented by Tina R. Goldstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and Associate Director, STAR-Center (Services for Teens at Risk), UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.

This presentation will discuss the use of technology to conduct assessment and treatment with at-risk youth.  We will review data on effectiveness, and highlight lessons learned from our current experiences implementing telemedicine at STAR-Center.  We will explore practical ways that measurement-based care (MBC) can be incorporated into virtual delivery of mental healthcare for youth. 

 

Trauma-Informed Awareness in Schools

Presented by Mary Margaret Kerr, Ed.D., Professor, Psychology in Education and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh.

This session helps school-based professionals in their implementation of the new requirements of Act 44 for trauma-informed education.  Highlighted will be controversies in the field as well as on-line professional development for classroom teachers and other staff who may not have prior background in behavioral health.  Participants will receive resources for use in their own schools. 

Workshops:

Trauma-Focused CBT for Childhood Traumatic Grief

Presented by Judith Cohen, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Medical Director, AGH Center for Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents, Allegheny Health Network and Drexel University College of Medicine. 

This presentation introduces participants to Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT, https://tfcbt2.musc.edu), an evidence-based treatment for youth ages 3-18 years and their parents or primary caregivers, and the model’s applications for youth with traumatic grief, defined as developing trauma and maladaptive grief responses to the death of an important attachment figure.

 

Media and Youth Suicide:  Through the Lens of Thirteen Reasons Why  

Presented by Sansea L. Jacobson, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, STAR-Center, Western Psychiatric Hospital, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Beth Hoffman, MPH, Ph.D. Student, Graduate Research Assistant, Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health (MTH), Graduate School of Public Health.

In the month following the release of the controversial Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, there was a 28.9% increase in youth suicide in our nation.  This session will guide the audience to a better understanding of suicide contagion and related concepts as they pertain to media and adolescent menta health.

 

Borderline Personality Disorder in Teens   

Presented by Stephanie D. Stepp, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Amy Byrd, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. 

Early identification and treatment of borderline personality disorder during adolescence can mitigate long-term negative consequences of this illness, yet clinicians face many barriers when working with this population.  We will dispel common myths about borderline personality disorder in teens to raise awareness in clinicians and educators, and review best practices in assessment diagnosis, and general treatment strategies. 


2019 STAR-Center Conference - Students, Sleep and Safety:  Evidence-Based Approaches to Reducing Teen Suicide Risk

Improving Teen Sleep to Prevent Suicide: Promising Strategy or Impossible Dream?

Presented by Tina R. Goldstein, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and Associate Director, STAR-Center (Services for Teens at Risk), UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital.

This presentation will discuss common sleep difficulties among youth, and review studies that support an association between sleep and suicidality.  We will explore ways that sleep difficulties may affect suicide risk and describe sleep-related assessment and treatment approaches that may aid in identification and treatment of suicidal youth.

 

Overcoming Implementation Barriers in Addressing Depression and Suicidality in Schools

Presented by Mary Margaret Kerr, Ed.D., Professor, Administrative and Policy Studies, Psychology in Education and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh.

This presentation offers a practical look at evidence-informed strategies for preventing, identifying, and addressing depression and suicidality in school settings.  Specifically, we review the a) specific implementation challenges associated with school mental health initiatives (universal, targeted, and intensive) and b) ways to avoid the obstacles in school-mental health interactions.


2018 STAR-Center Conference - Modern Times: Assessing, Supporting, and Engaging Youth at Risk for Suicide In a Digital Era

Youth Suicide in the Digital Age: Impact of Social Media on Teen's Suicidal Risk

David A. Brent, M.D., Academic Chief, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Endowed Chair in Suicide Studies, Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics & Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and Director, STAR-Center (Services for Teens at Risk), Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

This talk reviews the harmful and potentially positive effects of exposure to social media on youths' suicide risk and discusses methods for detecting and mitigation of suicidal risk based on social media postings and use. 

 

Supporting Students with Anxiety and Depression at School: What Works?  

Presented by Mary Margaret Kerr, Ed.D., Professor, Administrative and Policy Studies, Psychology in Education, and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh.   

Often overlooked as members of a treatment team, teachers spend many hours with children who experience anxiety and depression.  Yet, most surveys reveal that teachers feel inadequately prepared to support such students. To facilitate clinic-school communications and increase educators' involvement, this presentation offers evidence-based, practical approaches for teachers, including mobile apps. 


2017 STAR-Center Conference - "Treatment of Suicidal Youth:  A Glimpse into the Future" - STAR-Center Annual Conference - Pittsburgh, PA - May 5, 2017

Fast Forward: Innovations in the Assessment and Treatment of Suicidal Youth

Presented by David A. Brent, M.D., Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics & Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, and Director, STAR-Center (Services for Teens at Risk), Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

Advances in technology and neurobiology create new opportunities for novel approaches to the assessment and treatment of suicidal youth.  With respect to assessment, we will review adaptive screening, computerized tasks, and neuroimaging approaches to detecting suicidal thinking, the use of mobile phone and speech analyses to detect suicidal individuals, and interventions of suicidal behavior and self-harm involving texting to encourage treatment follow-up, and games to alter cognitive bias about suicide.

 

The Role [and toll] of Educators' Involvement in Suicide Prevention, Treatment and Postvention

Presented by Mary Margaret Kerr, Ed.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology in Education, and Administrative and Policy Studies, University of Pittsburgh.

Once overlooked in the delivery of mental health services, both K-12 and university educators now assume a prominent role.  This session first will offer an historical perspective on educators' involvement in suicide-related work.  Next, it will examine what the literature says about the impact on educators when they confront students at risk for suicide.  Lastly, this presentation with highlight lessons learned through STAR-Center's collaborations with schools and universities, and offer recommendations for educators' involvement in the future.