Keynote Speakers


 

Sean Astin

Sean Astin headshot

Sean Astin is an American film actor, director, voice artist, and producer, best known for his film roles as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mikey Walsh in The Goonies, the title character of Rudy, and Bob Newby in Netflix’s hit series, Stranger Things 2. He is also the author of the New York Times best-selling There and Back Again, a memoir – co-written with Joe Layden – of his film career with emphasis on his experiences with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Son of Academy Award winning actress Patty Duke and acclaimed actor John Astin, Sean Astin scored a career defining, triumphant success in the inspirational and universally applauded college football biopic Rudy, about the life-changing struggles and rewards of the title character, Daniel Ruettiger. In the early 2000s, he experienced another career breakthrough with his role as Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson’s the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, released in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Along with the many awards bestowed upon the trilogy – eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture – Astin received nominations for his own performance. He took home the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor and awards from the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Seattle Film Critics, the Utah Film Critics Association, and the Phoenix Film Critics Society.

Astin has been a long-distance runner since his teens. To date, he has participated in four LA Marathons, the San Francisco Marathon, and the Chicago Marathon, running in all three cities in 2013. While training for the LA Marathon in 2012, he began a Twitter campaign using #Run3rd, a way to dedicate his runs to causes and ideas that mattered not just to him, but to others. From July 2006 through August 2013, he amassed more than 3,000 miles using his Nike+ sensor. Sean Astin attended the Crossroads High School for the Arts and later a master class at the Stella Adler Conservatory in Los Angeles. He graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in History and English. An alumnus of Los Angeles Valley College, he served on the school’s Board of Directors of the Patrons Association and the Arts Council. Since Lord of the Rings, Astin has served on the board of several non-profit organizations, including the National Center for Family Literacy. A vocal advocate for literacy, mental health awareness, bi-polar disorder, civic engagement, and other issues, Astin is an energetic, passionate speaker who promotes a culture of volunteerism to all audiences.

Plenary


 

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

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Dr. Nadine Burke Harris is an award-winning physician, researcher, and public health leader who has spent her career on the front lines of some of our world’s most pressing public health challenges. As California’s first-ever Surgeon General, she helped guide the state’s COVID response, co-chairing the committee to recommend vaccine allocation and helping California achieve the lowest cumulative mortality of any large state. Amid the throes of the COVID pandemic, Dr. Burke Harris successfully launched a first-in-the-nation statewide effort to train over 20,000 primary care providers on how to screen for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and respond with trauma-informed care. Dr. Burke Harris’ career has been dedicated to serving vulnerable communities and combating the root causes of health disparities. After completing her MPH at Harvard and residency at Stanford, she founded a clinic in one of San Francisco’s most underserved communities, Bayview Hunters Point. It was there that Burke Harris identified ACEs as a major risk factor affecting the health of her patients and applied research from the CDC and Kaiser Permanente to develop a novel clinical screening protocol.

In 2011, she founded the Center for Youth Wellness to advance pediatric medicine, raise public awareness, and transform the way society responds to children exposed to ACEs and toxic stress. In this role, she founded the Bay Area Research Consortium on Toxic Stress and Health and led the first randomized-controlled trial to validate ACE screening and assess treatment of toxic stress. Dr. Burke Harris served as a committee member and co-author for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for the consensus report Vibrant and Health Kids: Aligning Science, Practice and Policy to Advance Health Equity, published in 2019. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ National Advisory Board for Screening. Dr. Burke Harris’ work has been profiled in best-selling books including How Children Succeed by Paul Tough and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, as well as in Jamie Redford’s feature film, Resilience. She has also been featured on NPR, CNN, and Fox News, as well as in USA Today and the New York Times. Dr. Burke Harris’ TED Talk, “How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across the Lifetime” has been viewed more than 10 million times. Her book The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity was called “indispensable” by The New York Times. Dr. Burke Harris is the recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Heinz Award for the Human Condition. She was named one of 2018’s Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times and as one of Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 most influential people in 2020.

Presenters


Dr. T. Lee Burnham, Ph. D.

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Dr. Lee Burnham, Director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Human Development and Rocky Mountain Aquatics has worked with corporations, schools, families, and individuals for over 20 years. He is a licensed psychologist and a corporate consultant. He is well known for his work with families and troubled teens.

Dr. Burnham has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, Brigham Young University, University of Utah, Utah State University, Salt Lake Community College, Capella University, Argosy University and the University of Phoenix. He serves as Chair of 10 Dissertation Committees and teaches in the Master's of Mental Health Counseling program.

Jeremy Christensen, LCSW

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Jeremy Christensen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, working as the Assistant Superintendent and Forensic Director at Utah State Hospital since January 2020. He was an Assistant Director at the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Department of Human Services, from 2013-2019 with oversite of mental health programming including crisis care, suicide prevention, and trauma focused services in the state of Utah. Previously he worked for four years as the Chief Executive Officer of Valley Services, Inc., a social enterprise employing individuals with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, and other employment barriers.

He served for five years as Executive Director of Alliance House, Inc. a recovery program for adults with serious mental illness. He also worked for Valley Mental Health as a case manager, mental health crisis clinician, therapist, and program manager. Additionally, Jeremy has worked as a faculty member with the University of Phoenix, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in Social Work, Psychology, and Sociology since 2004 and as a field faculty working with interns for the University of Utah School of Social Work for ten years.

Dr. S. Gabe Hatch

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Dr. S. Gabe Hatch graduated with his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami. He currently lives in Utah where he provides therapy using evidence-based approaches and artificial intelligence to couples and individuals who experience challenging relationships, affairs, difficulties with sexual functioning, or challenges with dating..

He has authored approximately 30 scientific articles appearing in outlets such as Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Family Psychology, and the Journal of Sexual Medicine covering topics including machine learning, LGBTQ+ issues, treating relationship distress, the impact of systemic inequality, and measuring and treating problematic pornography use.

Kathy Spencer and Sydney Williams

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Kathy Spencer and Sydney Williams have over 30 combined years of experience with working in eating disorder care. They specialize in all areas of eating disorders treatment, including the various complications that come from it. They are co-owners of The Eating Disorder Consultants, where they focus on training and supporting clinicians working with clients with eating disorders. Kathy owns a private practice in Orem and Sydney owns a group practice in Lehi.

Dr. Bryan Bushman

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Bryan Bushman, PhD, has been a licensed psychologist in Utah since 2008. He is an author, lecturer, and clinician who is passionate about helping others through community outreach, research-based psychotherapy, and neuropsychological assessment. Regarding therapy services, he specializes in the treatment of trauma and has been trained extensively in ACT, DBT, CBT, IFS, and EMDR. Regarding assessment services, he specializes in ADHD, TBI, LD, and autism assessment. He is the author of Becoming Okay (When You're Not Okay) and practices at The Counseling Center in Centerville, UT (www.counselingcenterut.com). He can also be found at www.drbryanbushman.com and www.findingyourway2okay.wordpress.com.

Boone Christianson, LMFT

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Boone Christianson is a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Steps Family Therapy in Provo. He specializes in trauma-informed approaches (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing, and Internal Family Systems. His work also emphasizes systemic changes that allow for significant and long-term healing to occur, often by teaching family members how to become knowledgeable and validating therapeutic helpers.

Emily Freeze, LMFT, MPH, PMH-C

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Emily Freeze is a Marriage and Family Therapist who has expertise in working with couples and women’s mental health issues. Emily graduated with honors from Indiana Wesleyan University, receiving her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition, Emily also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Hawaii. Emily has established both her own private practice and a group practice, New Beginnings Counseling Group, which has expanded to 3 locations across Utah County. Emily is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in both Utah and Indiana.

She is a certified expert in perinatal mental health, has extensive training in trauma treatment (including EMDR), and completed post-graduate training in Infertility Counseling. In addition, Emily has received specialized training in Emotional Focused Therapy & the Gottman Method, some of the most used and effective methods in couples’ therapy. Emily is the founder and President of the Utah Reproductive Health Network and a member of PSI Utah. Emily is an approved supervisor with the state of Utah and has developed a passion for teaching and training new therapists. She also loves to share her knowledge in the community through speaking and training opportunities.

Michaelann Gardner

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Michaelann Gardner is the Senior Impact Director at United Way of Utah County. She received her B.S. from Brigham Young University with coursework emphasis in educational equity. She has been with United Way for 10 years and created the Everyday Strong program 5 years ago. Michaelann is a former volunteer for the suicide crisis hotline. She is working hard to create awareness of mental health while creating accessible content and learning materials for the community.

Peggy Maguire, J.D.

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As president of Cambia Health Foundation, Peggy Maguire works with a wide range of stakeholders to advance equity through whole person health in underserved communities. Peggy is passionate about increasing access to behavioral health and helping people of all ages, stages, and backgrounds achieve optimal health and well-being, no matter who they are or where they live. In addition to her role as president of the Cambia Health Foundation, Peggy co-chairs the Roundtable on Quality of Care for People with Serious Illness at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), as well as the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s National Palliative Care Learning Collaborative.

Peggy also serves as the vice chair of Grantmakers in Aging’s National Board of Directors and as chair-elect of the American Heart Association’s regional board for the Western States Region. Peggy founded Generations Together, an Oregon cross-sector network to advance community well-being by embracing the value of all people at all stages of life and promoting social connection and equitable access to resources.

Halee Ficklin

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Halee Ficklin is a mental health professional with a diverse background in counseling and coordination. Currently, she is at the forefront of groundbreaking initiatives as the Mental Health Coordinator for the MHAT (Mental Health Awareness and Training) grant at UBTECH. Halee’s passion is driving positive change in the mental health landscape of rural Utah. In this role, she is responsible for overseeing and managing the implementation of mental health programs and initiatives. With her strong foundation as a mental health counselor, she has gained skills in project management, leadership, and public speaking.

Halee’s entrepreneurial spirit helped her start a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide more opportunities and resources in remote communities. Halee’s journey is one of relentless energy and passion, fueled by the belief that every individual, regardless of location, deserves top-notch mental health support. Her mission is to create a world where rural areas flourish with holistic well-being, empowering individuals to lead fulfilling lives!

Stacy Heaps, LCSW

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Stacy Heaps is founder and owner of a private mental health practice S&S Counseling located in St George, Hurricane, and Hildale, Utah. She is a public speaker and podcast host of "You Might Relate". Stacy graduated from the University of Utah in 2006 and is an LCSW. Stacy loves watching people become the best version of themselves. She currently sees couples for marital counseling, people who are experiencing a faith transition, and clients who have BPD or family members of a loved one with BPD.

Outside of work, she enjoys mostly anything outdoors (especially pickleball), cooking healthy food, reading, writing, and spending time with her family. She has been married for 23 years to Michael Heaps and they have four children. You can find her on facebook under StacyHeaps LCSW, MSW, Youmightrelatepodcast on Instagram, and You Might Relate Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

Gabrielle Kouris, LCSW

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Gabrielle Kouris is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in psychotherapy with survivors of adverse childhood experiences, including sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect.

She received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Utah, and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Westminster College and is trained as a UCASA Sexual Assault counselor. Gabrielle currently works full-time doing clinical work at Compass Counseling and Consulting.

Victoria Sanders, LMFT

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Victoria Sanders is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who is licensed in both California and Utah and owns VMS Family Counseling Services, a group practice that provides treatment and services to individuals, families, and couples. Victoria specializes in the treatment of foster and adopted children, focusing on the way interpersonal/relational trauma impacts individuals in a unique way that must be treated in an evidence-based manner. Victoria is an adjunct faculty at CSU Fresno in their MFCC Department and seeks to provide training and support to new generations of therapists.

Dr. Vanessa Watts

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Vanessa Watts is a pediatric psychologist and is currently an instructor at Weber State University. Her research interests include teen dating violence (TDV), community-based participatory research (CBPR), and the intersection of these two areas.

Anne Brown

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President and CEO of the Cook Center for Human Connection, Anne Brown brings a unique blend of education, corporate, and non-profit leadership to solving the crisis of youth mental health and youth suicide. Her decades of experience as a public school teacher and an Ed Tech executive offer a wealth of talents and abilities. However, more important than the skills Anne offers, is her early life that gives her a heart for this work. With a father who suffered from alcoholism and bi-polar disorder and a grandfather who died by suicide, Anne understands first-hand how mental illness and suicide not only affects the person suffering but all of those around them.

Dr. Angelea Panos

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Dr. Panos has clinical experience in working with more than 25 different Indigenous groups around the world. She is a Board Certified Expert in Trauma and a tenured Associate Professor at Utah Valley University (UVU). She is currently the Director of the Substance Use Disorders Certificate Programs at UVU.

Dr. Katherine Supiano, LCSW, F-GSA, FT, APHSW-C

Kathie Supiano headshot

Kathie Supiano, PhD, LCSW, F-GSA, FT, APHSW-C, is an Associate Professor in the College of Nursing, and the director of Caring Connections: A Hope and Comfort in Grief Program at the University of Utah College of Nursing. Dr. Supiano’s research is in clinical interventions in complicated grief, prevention of adverse grief outcomes, suicide survivorship, overdose, grief, and prison hospice.

She has been a practicing clinical social worker and psychotherapist for over 40 years. Her clinical practice has included care of older adults with depression and multiple chronic health concerns, end-of-life care, and bereavement care. Dr. Supiano is a Fellow in the Gerontological Society of America and a Fellow of Thanatology.

Doug Thomas, MSW, LCSW

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Doug Thomas, MSW, LCSW, is a Community Health Director at Intermountain Health focused on children’s health issues, which include mental well-being and suicide prevention, addressing equity, social determinants of health, food scarcity, chronic disease, injury prevention, and access to quality care. Previously, Doug worked as a psych tech, human service worker, case manager, social worker, County Director, and State Director in Utah's public mental health system. His work focuses on implementing community health needs assessment priorities for children’s health across the communities where Intermountain Health operates.

He is passionate about community and public health, and policy work that impacts the intersectionality of risk and protective factors in physical, mental, community, and determinants of health work. Doug loves spending time with his wife, 2 children, their dog and cat, playing and watching soccer, running/hiking, mountain biking, reading historical biographies, serving in his church and community, listening to a wide variety of music, and eating good food.

Matthew Quackenbush

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Matt Quackenbush has been a prominent advocate for change within the mental health community for nearly two decades and an exceptional public speaker with over 300+ hours of on-stage speaking experience. Renowned for his captivating presence, thought-provoking ideas, and impeccable delivery, Matt has become a sought-after expert. He is currently engaged in a national speaking tour with Deer Hollow Recovery and First Watch Wellness, where he educates First Responders and their families on the profound impact of stress, trauma, and PTSD. This training program showcases the most up-to-date best practices that are currently being utilized to address the mental health crisis within the First Responder Community. Matt serves as the esteemed host of the critically acclaimed Finding Strength Podcast. Through this platform, he explores various topics related to mental health, resilience, and personal growth, providing valuable insights to thousands of listeners. Moreover, Matt holds the distinction of being a Certified Mind-Body Bridging Therapist, specializing in a diverse range of evidence-based trauma treatment models. With extensive experience encompassing over 15,000 hours of trauma-focused therapy, he employs therapeutic approaches such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Psychodrama, and mindfulness techniques. Matt's dedication to his field and his extensive expertise makes him a highly respected professional within the mental health community. He was recently honored at the Health 2.0 International Healthcare Conference receiving the "Outstanding Leadership Award" due to his innovative work that is creating wide-spread change across the landscape of healthcare. He continues to make significant contributions by empowering individuals and promoting healing and resilience in the face of trauma.