Adversity and Childhood Trauma

As a near neighbor of people in Montana, I am excited to talk about how the science of adversity is creating real opportunities for change. I have the privilege of working with leaders in Montana already acting in your communities to address ACEs and childhood trauma. Montana is at an exciting point to use the ideas of adversity and childhood trauma to build practical solutions but it will take all of you working together to make this real. That’s why I think Elevate Montana is such a significant opportunity. It is a chance for you all together to start the conversation and leave understanding real steps you can take.  I am looking forward to being with you and sharing what we have been learning in Spokane and across Washington about practical steps grounded in science. We can reduce trauma and begin to address adverse childhood experiences as one of the most significant public health problems facing our children and communities.


Christopher Blodgett, Ph.D., Director
Area Health Education Center of Eastern Washington/CLEAR Trauma Center
Washington State University

Elevate Montana – The ACE Study Summit – TRAINING COMPLETED

When: September 26th and 27th, 2013
Day 1: 8:30am – 5:00pm / Day 2: 8:30am – 2:00pm
Best Western Great Northern Hotel, Helena MT

Who should attend?

Corporate and Small Business Executives, HR Directors, Workforce Development Professionals, Educators, Mental Health Professionals, Healthcare Providers, Health Reform Administrators, Juvenile Justice Professionals and Officers of the Court, Chemical Dependency Professionals, Policy Makers, Parents, Foster Parents, Early Care and Education Professionals, Leaders of Philanthropy and the Non-profit sectors.

Continuing Education:

Up to 11 CEU credits, OPI renewals, Nursing contact hours and POST credits are available for social workers, therapists, psychologists, educators, law enforcement officials and healthcare providers. (pending approval)

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Robert Anda earned his M.D. from Chicago’s Rush Medical College in 1979, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine. After earning an M.S. in Epidemiology from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in 1984, he served for 2 years as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the CDC, Dr. Anda has served as an Epidemiologist in the Nutrition Division, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Branch, the Cardiovascular Health Studies Branch, and on the Task Force on Genetics in Public Health. From 1992 to 1994, he was the Chief of Epidemiology and the Surveillance Section in Cardiovascular Health. Since 1993, Dr. Anda has been a Co-Principal Investigator of the ACE Study. He has authored and coauthored numerous publications on the health and social implications of adverse
childhood experiences.

Christopher Blodgett, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist Dr. Blodgett received his Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Kansas. In addition to his work at Neuro-education he’s a Senior Research Associate and tenured Associate Professor of Human Development at Washington State University. Dr. Blodgett specializes in helping children, adolescents and families overcome challenges with emotional and behavioral problems. In addition to working with children and families, Dr. Blodgett has extensive experience helping adults with depression, anxiety, chronic illness adjustment, eating disorders, and marital problems.

Laura Porter currently serves as the Director of ACE Partnerships for Washington State’s largest agency: the Department of Social and Health Services. She works with state managers and community leaders to embed ACE study findings and related neuroscience and resilience findings into policy, practice and community norms.

For seventeen years, Laura was Staff Director for the Washington State Family Policy Council. She worked with an extensive set of partners from seven state agencies, fifty three community collaboratives and thousands of residents to develop a unique model for improving the capacity of communities to improve child, family and community life. Using this model, communities align and leverage resources and generate more impactful strategies. Communities using the model have documented reductions in the rates of seven major social problems and adverse childhood experience prevalence among young adults. Cost savings from caseload reductions attributable to the Family Policy Council in child welfare, juvenile justice and public medical costs associated with births to teen mothers alone exceed $55m/biennium. For managing a complex system that delivers stunning results for a small investment, Laura won the Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management in 2011.

Suggested Agenda

Day 1 – Sept. 26

1st half of day

Speaker: Dr. Robert Anda
A general overview of ACEs (75-90) min

  • Basics of stress and neurobiology
  • What are ACEs
  • Interrelatedness of ACEs
  • How we used the ACE Score
  • ACE Score and major public health problems: addiction, mental health, violence, chronic disease co morbidity
  • Examples of how ACE has been applied elsewhere (esp. WA)
  • Need for public health surveillance
  • Barriers to change
  • Need for integration of systems and services

Q/A 15 min

  • New Thoughts About What the ACE Study Means (45 min-60 minutes)
  • ACEs and human nature (as opposed to reductionist approaches)
  • Unified systems theory (general concept)
  • ACE study as an (effective) Trojan Horse
  • ACEs as destabilizers of relationship, family, and community
  • Concept of self-healing communities (engaging ACE affected individuals in healing
    and community well-being)

Q/A 15 minutes

  • Speaker: Chris Blodgett, PhD , Director Area Health Education Center of Eastern Washington/CLEAR Trauma Center – Keynote Address/Audience Exercise

Lunch – On your own (12:15 – 1:15)

2nd half of day

Speaker: Chris Blodgett, Ph.D.
Director Area Health Education Center of Eastern Washington/CLEAR Trauma Center

  • The implications of brain development for understanding traumatic responses to ACEs
    Attachment and the core role of relationships across the life span- implications for action
  • Introducing a conceptual framework (we use the ARC Framework) for understanding trauma behaviors and how to organize our responses for trauma recovery and resilience
  • Lessons learned from working in P-12 education as a complex non-clinical system that can become trauma-informed.
  • Goal 1: Introduce the concept of complex trauma from ACEs and its implications for brain development, relationships, and systems success.
  • Goal 2: Introduce a practical conceptual framework for helping traumatized children.
  • Goal 3: Provide practical guidance and lessons learned from current efforts in Washington State to create universal trauma-informed systems.

Day 2 – Sept. 27
8:30am – 2:00pm

Speaker: Laura Porter
Founder and staff director of the Washington State Family Policy Council

  • What’s predictable is preventable – the magnitude of the solution that is in our hands.
  • Using a dual generation approach; thinking with compassion.
  • Compassion exercise (illustrates a way of thinking that can lead to effective innovation).
  • Working with complex problems in complex adaptive systems.
  • Systems Thinking Iceberg – a model for generating transformative change.
  • Aligning professional practice and community actions: communities need evidence based practice, innovation, and community capacity to collaboratively solve tough problems; when these are aligned around common language and aspirations, lives improve.
  • The promise of peers: everyday actions can build social-emotional support, networks for giving and receiving practical help, and community rituals that support cycles of reflection and action – and can thereby improve health, safety and productivity of the population as a whole.

Working Lunch – Video presentation

*Dr. Anda will participate on day 2 with breakouts, exercises, discussions, etc.

Hot Topic — Are we really achieving the American Dream?

In a recent report called Achieving The American Dream, released by The Burghard Group (, Montana ranks as the #1 state in which to live the “American Dream’. You can get a copy of the report here.

To this, I say, Really?

Maybe we are the #1 state in which to live the American Dream… in the opinion of some.

Maybe we are the #1 state for entrepreneurs (according to a Montana State government website).

Maybe we are one of the nation’s best kept secrets, and stand above all other states for “Badasses” according to a Buzzfeed article.

If Montana is the #1 state in which to live the American Dream — whatever that means — you may have a hard time convincing the children who live here.

KidsCount, a national and statewide non-partisan, non-political non-profit just released some other rankings Montana holds you may be interested in:

Montana ranks #28 in overall child well-being. You can see the article here. Now, perhaps you think that’s not too bad. Heck, that might even sound pretty good to you… just below the middle. But if I told you that we’ve looked at your child or grandchild and he or she ranks below average in well-being, how would you feel about that? I know that it would bother me! I want my children to be at the top when it comes to child well-being, don’t you? We should not be okay with our state ranking below average.

But here’s a kicker… in that same report, Montana ranks dead last when it comes to child health! The worst in the nation in this broad category… for two years in a row!


There are other numbers we need to be aware of, as well… like the State of Montana has one of the highest rates of teen suicide in the nation, and that 20% of Montana’s children live below the poverty line. Do you know what constitutes the Federal Poverty level for 2013? For a family of four it is an annual income of only $23,550! Try feeding your family of four on that! And in Montana, twenty-percent of our children are living in families that make less than that!

We need to elevate the well-being of Montana’s children. And when we do that, we will elevate the future of those children, and thus, elevate the future of this great state!

ChildWise Institute is doing something about the well-being of Montana’s children, and we want you to join us.

We are starting an initiative… a movement… called Elevate Montana; elevating the well-being and future of Montana’s children. We’re starting by presenting The ACE Study Summit on September 26th and 27th in Helena, Montana.

The ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences Study) is a scientific study directly linking adverse childhood experiences to negative health and social outcomes in adulthood. It was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Kaiser Permanente. The implications are staggering, but the motivation for change is inspiring! Elevate Montana’s ACE Study Summit is intended to inform, inspire, and motivate community and state leaders toward actions that will reduce adverse childhood experiences in today’s children so they may become healthier adults, which will result in a healthier Montana.

Perhaps we may one day truly be a state in which living the American Dream is possible
even for its children.

Stay tuned and check back with us frequently as we begin the movement of positive change for our children!

Todd Garrison
Executive Director – Curator
ChildWise Institute

Autism Spectrum Disorders in Children – TRAINING COMPLETED

When:       Saturday, July 13th 2013
         9:00am – 4:30pm
      Gran Tree Inn, Bozeman, Montana (Click for Directions)

Conference Description:

This conference is designed to expand understanding and awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders in children and develop competencies for parents, mental health professionals, teachers and healthcare providers. Participants will be able to better understand and treat children diagnosed with symptoms on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Social, emotional, behavioral and medical factors affecting children with ASD will be discussed. In addition, this learning seminar will identify ways to collaborate and integrate services from multiple agencies.

Information from experts will be presented from:

  • Julia Turner, MMSc, RD, LN – Registered Dietician, Licensed Nutritionist, “Brain Health Nutrition Expert”
  • Shawna Heiser, M.S. BCBA – Professor of Psychology at MSU, “Behavioral/Autism Consultant’
  • Jennifer Leight, PT, PhD, PCS – Clinical Psychologist, Licensed Physical Therapist,
    “ASD from a Neuropsychological/Developmental Perspective”
  • Special Appearance by Miss Montana, Alexis Wineman

Conference Objectives:

  • Identifying treatments barriers and successful strategies to work around inhibiting factors.
  • Discuss social, emotional, behavioral and medical factors affecting children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
  • Identify ways to collaborate and integrate services from multiple agencies.
  • Identifying therapeutic strategies and interventions for treating youth and supporting their families.

Who should attend?

Parents, Teachers, Psychologists, Therapists, Mental Health Professionals and Healthcare Providers,

Continuing Education:

Up to 6 CEU credits total and OPI renewals are available for social workers, therapists, psychologists, educators, and healthcare providers.


Cost: $75 Professionals (includes CEU’s) $50 Parents – scholarships may be available
For more information contact Cathy (406) 457-4816

How are you managing co-occurring disorders?

Coming to Helena, MT
David Mee-Lee, M.D.


It will be twelve years since I first visited Helena to provide training on the Patient Placement Criteria of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) in June 2001.  A lot has happened in 12 years.  Since the current edition published that year, there will be a new edition of The ASAM Criteria out in October and the new edition from the American Psychiatric Association, DSM-5.

But what is more important is how the behavioral health field has moved towards integrated treatment for people with co-occurring mental and substance-related conditions.  Time was when clients would be shunted back and forth between addiction and mental health services: “No, you can’t be admitted here in mental health until you are 30 days sober.”  Or: “Sorry, we don’t take people who have suicidal thoughts or are on those medications.  You have to take care of your mental health problems first before you are ready to get into addiction recovery.”

We’ve come a long way in treating people holistically instead of having them drop through the cracks……or have we?  Well, when I come to the ChildWise Institute Spring Conference on Co-Occurring Disorders, I look forward to seeing how far the Helena area and Montana overall has come in helping youth with co-occurring disorders (COD).  Perhaps my keynote presentation on May 10, “Co-Occurring Disorders in Youth: Building Bridges in Assessment and Treatment” will be a helpful review for those who are well along in integrated COD services.  Or maybe for those still getting there, I will have a few suggestions that can jumpstart your work.

Then in the workshop I will do on “Engaging Adolescents in Client-Directed, Accountable Treatment: Skills to Help Youth Change”, we’ll have a good time looking at new ways to think about “resistance” and how to engage and attract people into recovery. If you are coming to the conference (and of course you should) bring some challenging clinical vignettes and we’ll see if we can help you engage your client a little better.

So I am looking forward to getting back to Helena and hope to see you at the conference. We’ll bounce around a few ideas together and see if we can find ways to serve youth with co-occurring disorders even better.

Brief Bio

David Mee-Lee, M.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist, and is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM). He trains and consults both nationally and internationally.  Dr. Mee-Lee is Chief Editor of The ASAM Criteria and is Senior Vice President of The Change Companies. Dr. Mee-Lee has over thirty years’ experience in person centered treatment and program development for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions.

If I robbed a bank…

If I was the getaway driver, and my partners-in-crime went into the bank and someone got killed in the process, I AM CULPABLE. I mean, I knew we were there to rob a bank. I knew my partners had guns. I knew there was a risk that someone would get hurt. I knew it! I’m culpable.

Well, often when a child is put into a potentially dangerous situation, there’s a “getaway driver”. Someone knew they were leaving the child with a person that has hurt the child before. Someone knew they were taking the child into a crack house or meth lab. Someone knew a child needed medical care but was too focused on their own need to smoke some pot or have another beer. Someone knew the driver of the car is intoxicated or high, yet they allowed their child to ride in the car anyway.

There is often a getaway driver when it comes to a child being abuse or neglect by a person other than themselves. When that child suffers because of that abuse or neglect; when that child is hurt or killed, shouldn’t they be held accountable?

There is a Bill currently in our legislative session that needs your attention. Senate Bill 160. You can read it here.

Senate Bill #160 provides an act creating the offense of criminal child endangerment if a person purposely, knowingly, or negligently causes substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to a child under 14 years of age.

I just testified at the Hearing today in support of this important Bill, and I hope you’ll join us by calling or emailing our legislators.

Many good questions were asked by the Committee, helping to clarify situations that may come into play in cases of child endangerment,. Situations such as a mother at risk of bodily harm herself in a domestic dispute, causing her to leave her child in the care of a dangerous person (husband or boyfriend, for example). A question was brought up about a religious choice not to seek medical care for a child. In answering both of these questions (and others regarding the specifics of the Bill), Attorney Parker — who helped author the Bill — provided satisfactory answers, assuring that an injustice would not occur in those situations, and that existing law provides protection in those types of situations.

This is a good Bill, and will go further in protecting our children. Please call or email your legislators and encourage them to support this Bill #160. The Committee members are as follows, and you can email each one of them by clicking here.

Kerns, Krayton (R – Ch)
Bennett, Jerry (R – V Ch)
MacDonald, Margie (D – V Ch)
Blasdel, Mark (R)
Court, Virginia (D)
Doane, Alan (R)
Eck, Jenny (D)
Fiscus, Clayton (R)
Gursky, Jenifer (D)
Halvorson, David (R)
Hill, Ellie Boldman (D)
Laszloffy, Sarah (R)
Lenz, Dennis (R)
Lynch, Ryan (D)
O’Neil, Jerry (R)
Pease-Lopez, Carolyn (D)
Regier, Keith (R)
Smith, Bridget (D)
Wagoner, Kirk (R)
Warburton, Wendy (R

Your message may simply be something like this:

Dear (Senator/Representative) ______________, I’m writing/calling you today because I care about our children. We need to dissuade people from endangering young children, and we need to hold those people accountable that do endanger our children. Please support Senate Bill No. 160. Show us that you care about our children as much as we do.

Thank you for your selfless and hard work in making Montana a better place to live.



ChildWise Institute receives $150,000 grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation

Helena, MT, February 25, 2013:  ChildWise Institute has a vision: “A society that is committed to the wellbeing of children.”  And thanks to a recent grant from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, they are a step closer to making communities safer and healthier for children.

Mike Halligan, Executive Director of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, said, “It’s a distinct honor to support the ChildWise Institute in its effort to promote the well-being of children who struggle with many kinds of issues. Through this three-year grant, we strongly support their efforts to be the catalyst for urgent change in how we view children’s development, protection, and advancement in our communities.”

The ChildWise Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit based in Helena, Montana, and established by Intermountain, a nationally accredited mental health provider for children.

 “We believe that all children have a fundamental right to live in safe families and communities, to be emotionally and physically healthy, and to receive the necessary support in order to achieve academic and life success,” explains Todd Garrison, Executive Director of ChildWise.  “And for the sake of our future, it is in all of our best interests that this be accomplished.”

According to Garrison, the focus of the ChildWise Institute is to elevate the wellbeing of children as a priority through three distinct focuses: advanced awareness, accelerated knowledge, and advocacy for positive change. 

“We are experiencing an epidemic of relational poverty,” said Garrison. “We better wake up because the consequences in each of our communities are sobering.”   

In the last twelve months, ChildWise has hosted major conferences to better equip parents, teachers, mental health professionals, judges, and law enforcement officers in the care and treatment of vulnerable children and families in crisis.  These conferences have been focused on child brain development, autism-spectrum disorders, and specific therapeutic interventions.  Just last year, ChildWise provided much-needed training to more than 1,000 parents, professionals, and community officials from all corners of Montana, and even from other states.

 The ChildWise Institute is also influencing change through its accredited online course through the University of Montana titled “Relational Development.”  The innovative instruction is an easy to understand guide for raising healthy children in today’s culture, and places an emphasis on caring for emotionally distressed children who have been exposed to trauma, grief or loss.   It incorporates significant discoveries in the fields of neuroscience, childhood trauma, grief and loss, child development, and family systems.

“The scientific research of recent years affirmed that much of what our grandparents and earlier generations did with respect to raising children was spot on,” said Garrison. “But as a culture, we have lost our way.  The ChildWise Institute exists to change that.” 

For more information on the ChildWise Institute, visit


The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is the major philanthropic organization for The Washington Companies and the Washington family. Funding for the Foundation comes from the profits of the Washington Companies and personal contributions for the Washington family. Since its inception, Foundation giving and the Washington family’s personal contributions and pledges to charitable causes total more than $135 million.

Co-occurring Mental & Substance Abuse Disorders in Youth – TRAINING COMPLETED

Co-occurring Mental & Substance Abuse Disorders in Youth

ChildWise Institute will bring together a team of experts to present on co-occurring mental and substance abuse disorders among children and youth. This Conference is designed to expand understanding and awareness of co-occurring disorders and develop competencies for mental health professionals, chemical dependency professionals, psychologists, educators, juvenile justice and healthcare providers. Participants will be able to better understand and treat children diagnosed with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Normal adolescent brain development, including brain and socio-emotional maturation, will be explored and how substance use during this time impacts adolescent functioning and relates to developmental changes.

When: May 10, 2013
Where: Helena, MT – The Gateway Center (click for directions)
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cost: $125 (see below)

Registration fee $125 (Price includes lunch and up to 6 CEU’s or OPI Renewal Units) For more information contact Cathy Huntley, Conference Coordinator, at 406-457-4816.

Conference Description:

This conference is designed to expand understanding and awareness of co-occurring disorders and develop competencies for mental health professionals, chemical dependency professionals, psychologists, educators, juvenile justice and healthcare providers. Participants will be able to better understand and treat children diagnosed with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Normal adolescent brain development, including brain and socio-emotional maturation, will be explored and how substance use during this time impacts adolescent functioning and relates to developmental changes.

Conference Objectives:

  • Identify assessment and treatment dilemmas in co-occurring disorders and discuss concepts to bridge mental health and addiction systems.
  • Identifying treatment barriers and successful strategies to work around inhibiting factors.
  • Therapeutic strategies and interventions for youth using substances and exhibiting mental health problems and supporting their families.
  • Discuss normative adolescent development, including brain and socio-emotional maturation, and explores how substance impacts adolescent functioning.
  • Identify and discuss clinical implications of working with adolescents on both substance abuse issues and co-occurring mental health problems.

Who should attend?

Educators, Psychologists, Therapists, Mental Health Professionals, Healthcare Providers, Juvenile Justice, Chemical Dependency Professionals

Continuing Education:

Up to 6 CEU credits total and OPI renewals are available for social workers, therapists, psychologists, educators, and healthcare providers.

About the Speakers:

Speaker: Dr. David Mee-Lee

Presentation title: “Building Bridges in Assessment and Treatment”

Course Description:

Adolescent development tasks can contribute to assessment dilemmas over whether the adolescent’s substance use is experimentation, problem use or addiction; and/or whether there is co-occurring mental health condition. This presentation examines dilemmas in assessment and treatment for adolescents and identifies strategies that can help build bridges between mental health and addiction treatment systems. Both fields have arisen from very different roots. This cultural clash accounts for the ongoing fragmentation that has been aggravated by different training, systems and funding. Clients and clinicians are separated by ideology and treatment orientations that do not serve well youth with co-occurring conditions.

This presentation focuses on how to better meet the needs of youth using substances and exhibiting mental health problems. It offers common language of the Revised Second Edition of ASAM Criteria, ASAM PPC-2R, which includes criteria for co-occurring mental and substance-related disorders to encourage more targeted service planning and documentation.

Course Objectives:

1. To review assessment strategies, techniques and priorities to distinguish between experimentation, abuse and dependence; and also co-occurring disorders.

2. To discuss treatment strategies to address both substance use and mental health problems.

3. To identify staff, program and systems issues in providing integrated services for people with co-occurring mental and substance-related disorders.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. David Mee-Lee is a leading expert in co-occurring substance use and mental disorders with over 30 years experience in person-centered treatment and program development. He is not your usual psychiatrist, nor is he your usual educator. He writes and speaks in down-to-earth, jargon-free language and makes learning challenging and enjoyable. Audiences consistently express satisfaction with his combination of rich content and practical approach delivered in his engaging style. His down-to-earth upbringing in Australia coupled with his Chinese heritage make for an interesting mix of dry humor and quiet wisdom.
David is a Board-certified psychiatrist and is certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM). David has trained and consulted for hundreds of organizations, ranging from small mental health centers to government departments and national behavioral healthcare companies. David has also authored a number of book chapters and papers in a variety of professional publications. He is Chief Editor of the ASAM Patient Placement Criteria and is the Senior Vice President for The Change Companies®.

Speaker: Carolyn A. McCarty, PhD

Research Associate Professor, Pediatrics
Adjunct Research Associate Professor, Psychology
Seattle Children’s Hospital Center for Child Health Behavior and Development

Presentation title: “Adolescent Development and Substance Use: Understanding Behavioral and Neurocognitive influences on Functioning”

Adolescence is a crucial and necessary period of plasticity when brain circuitry and behavior is beginning to be established. Both neurobiology and the broader context of the environment are important developmental influences on adolescent behavior. This presentation examines normative adolescent development,

including brain and socio-emotional maturation, and explores how substance use during this time impacts adolescent functioning and relates to these developmental changes. Clinical implications of working with adolescents on both substance abuse issues and co-occurring mental health problems will be highlighted and discussed.

Course Objectives:

1. Review critical developmental changes and facets of brain maturation that occur during adolescence.

2. Identify risk and protective factors for adolescent substance abuse and co-occurring mental health problems.

3. Discuss effective principles and strategies working with adolescents in prevention and treatment efforts.

Speaker Biography:

Dr. Carolyn McCarty has been conducting research to better understand child and adolescent depression for the past 10 years. She has been on the faculty at the University of Washington for the past eight years, and has been productive in conducting research on understanding risk for depression, testing etiological models, conducting meta-analytic reviews, and developing intervention curricula. She has developed a prevention program entitled “Positive Thoughts and Actions” to intervene with middle school students at risk for depression. This developmentally-based prevention program is unique and innovative in addressing key contextual factors that can make a big difference during the early adolescent years, including relationships with parents and family, school functioning, and health behavior. Dr. McCarty is now actively testing the program, as well as a briefer intervention, in the Middle School Matters Study. Dr. McCarty attended Medical/Professional School at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and University of California, Los Angeles.

Speaker: Ron Clevenger
Clinical Laboratory Scientist, St. Peter’s Hospital, Helena, MT
B.S. Microbiology, Montana State University

Presentation title: “Current Drugs of Use and Drugs of Abuse”

Course Description:

To gain knowledge of emerging drugs of abuse by adolescents, review how to recognize the warning signs and symptoms of use and abuse. Ron will explore how to use drug testing as a tool in deciphering co-occurring disorders and the pros and cons of testing.

Course Objectives:

1. To review emerging trends in drugs of use and abuse.

2. To identify signs and symptoms of drug use and abuse.

3. To discuss pre-test knowledge of drugs of abuse and the pros and cons of testing for them.

Speaker Biography:

Ron Clevenger has over 30 years experience as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist for St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, MT. He has preformed several thousand drug screenings and hundreds of breath alcohol tests for Drug Information Systems, Inc. He is considered an expert witness in District Court on Drug and Alcohol cases and Federal Court on vehicular homicides (DUI). Ron has taught at Carroll College on “Drug Abuse and the Brain” and for the Department of Transportation on “Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use and Abuse”. He has presented to numerous organizations “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, a visual demonstration of diseased human organs from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Ron has a B.S. in Microbiology from Montana State University with a minor in Chemistry.

Session Schedule

Friday, May 10th

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Registration

9:00 a.m. Welcome & Introduction

9:05 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Dr. Mee-Lee – Keynote Address (Co-occurring Disorders)

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Break

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Dr. Carolyn McCarty- Keynote Address (The Adolescent Brain & Substance Abuse)

12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch

1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Dr. Mee-Lee – Workshop (Co-occurring Disorders)

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break

3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Children’s Mental Health

3:15p.m. – 4:30 p.m. “Current Drugs of Use and Drugs of Abuse” Ron Clevenger, Clinical Lab Scientist

Bigfork woman builds life around helping children.

Our very own Dee Incoronato, member of the ChildWise Board of Directors, was featured in a Daily Inter Lake newspaper article for her devotion to helping children. Dee is an example of the kind of passionate, committed people that involve themselves with ChildWise Institute. She is a wonderful leader, and we are very fortunate to have her on the team!

Please click on the link below to read  the article!

Bigfork woman builds life around helping children.


Infographic: Adoption in America

Adoption in America

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