General Sessions

General Sessions

A Decade of Unity: Enhancing Lives and Shaping the Future
Oct 10 – 13 at Hershey Lodge!


Tuesday, October 10 • 11:00 am – 11:45 am
K01 | State of the State: DHS Secretary Arkoosh

Presenter(s): Secretary Valerie Arkoosh, MD, MHP,
PA Department of Human Services

Track(s): BI, CH, DEI, EL, HR, IDD, LD, MR, MH, PDA, SUD, TH, VR
Room: Red Ballroom

The secretary will discuss current critical issues for human services providers. Trends in the field, and how PA continues the implementation of innovative treatments via VBP and telehealth, will also be discussed. Treatment model changes and upcoming initiatives for 2024 will also be addressed.

Wednesday, October 11 • 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
K02 | Beyond Accessibility: Diversity and Inclusion in the Disability Community
Presenter(s): Chaz Kellem, MA, DEI Professional

Track(s): DEI
Room: Red Ballroom

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is at the heart of inclusion and access for disabled communities. This session will engage participants in exploring the intersection of race and disability through the lens of consumers. Through storytelling and review of research, participants will enhance their knowledge of intersectionality, including how disability connects us to one another. Showing up for disability means engaging in thought-provoking conversation to assure everyone impacted by disability is included.

Thursday, October 12 • 9:00 am – 10:15 am
K03 | Changing the Conversation Around Mental Health: It’s Way Past Time
Presenter(s): John T. Broderick, Jr., Juris Doctor

Track(s): BI, DEI, EL, HR, IDD, LD, MH, PDA, SUD
Room: Red Ballroom

Dartmouth-Health Senior Director of External Affairs John Broderick, formerly the Chief Justice of the NH Supreme Court, has been reaching out to students, educators, parents, businesses, and communities to change the conversation on mental health and to help reduce stigma. Broderick believes that “we have the ability to change the culture and the way mental health is viewed.” The R.E.A.C.T. Campaign was developed to provide clear next steps to take when someone sees some, or all, of the five signs of emotional suffering in another person. R.E.A.C.T. supplements the 5 Signs Campaign, which was developed by Barbara Van Dahlen of Change Direction. The idea for the 5 Signs was modeled on the theory that, like knowing the 5 signs of a heart attack or stroke, we should all know the 5 signs of emotional distress, and when we see those signs, we should take action.


Tuesday, October 10 • 3:15 pm – 4:45 pm
P01 | Become a Destination Employer
Presenter(s): Michael S. Cohen, Esquire, Duane Morris, LLP

Track(s): BI, CH, CO, DEI, EL, HR, IDD, LD, MR, MH, PDA, SUD, VR
Room: Red Ballroom

The fight for high-caliber talent has never been greater, and the competition for their services has never been higher. Increasingly, the success of our organizations has become dependent on retaining our stars and continually recruiting new people who will help us reach the next level. Notwithstanding this reality, too many organizations still believe that status quo — or worse, reversion to past days — will drive results. Bottom line? This is not the case. We will examine five critical (and achievable) ways your organizations can become not just an employer of choice but a true destination for the finest industry talent.

Tuesday, October 10 • 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Comedy Performance
Presenter(s): Kirsten Michelle Cills

Room: Red Ballroom

Kirsten Michelle Cills is a Philly native comedian, actor, upcoming docuseries subject, and podcast host & creator. With a passion for avoiding her problems and a refusal to open a savings account, Kirsten considers herself truly blessed to be navigating her 20s as a terminally ill comic who will not live to see any consequences to her actions (though she doesn’t want to brag). Having over ten years of acting & writing for both the screen and the stage, Kirsten is driven entirely by her addiction to topics we aren’t supposed to talk about. When not correcting people’s pronunciation of her name or talking about the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2018 Super Bowl LII win, Kirsten has committed her life to creating work that provides audiences with a poignant yet macabre catharsis.

Wednesday, October 11 • 9:00 am – 10:30 am
P02 | Addressing the Workforce Crisis: Strategy and Policy Learnings From Four Organizations

Tine Hansen-Turton, MGA, JD
Woods Services, Inc.

Brian Hancock, JD

Rita Gardner, MPH, LABA, BCBA, CDE

Marco Giordano, CPA
Resources for Human Development


Track(s): BI, CH, DEI, EL, HRF, HR, IDD, LD, MH, PDA, SUD, VBP/R
Room: Red Ballroom

Join executive leadership of Bancroft, Melmark, RHD, and Woods, which are Life Cycle Care Management organizations that are all members of the PA and NJ Health and Disabilities Consortium, for an engaging and interactive panel discussion focusing on key aspects of the workforce crisis in our industry. These organizations are leaders in our field, serving individuals with ID/A and other complex populations with a collective workforce over 13,000 employees. The panelists will highlight policy recommendations, analyze data on DSP compensation, discuss emerging national trends in social justice and racial equity among direct care workers, and discuss how inequities are connected to both job quality for our employees and the challenges in recruitment and retention. The panel will offer concrete strategies that other organizations can learn from to build a committed workforce and enhance recruitment and retention while reducing trauma and burnout for our workforce.

Friday, October 13 • 10:45 am – 12:15 pm
P03 | National Update From Our Association Partners

Chuck Ingoglia, MSW
National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Donna Martin, MEd

Track(s): BI, CH, DEI, EL, HR, IDD, LD, MR, MH, PDA, SUD, TH, VR
Room: Red Ballroom

Our national partner associations, ANCOR and National Council of Mental Wellbeing, will share their insights on national trends that our members need to be aware of. It can be a challenge to keep up-to-date with ever-changing federal rules and policies, particularly post-pandemic. We will also discuss promising new strategies for payment methodologies and service provision.