ThursdaySpeakers


Elizabeth Manley, MSW


Elizabeth Manley is a Clinical Instructor for Health and Behavioral Health Policy at the Institute for Innovation and Implementation at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. In this capacity, Ms. Manley provides technical assistance to states and communities specific to children’s behavioral health innovations with a specific focus on policy and financing of systems of care. Ms. Manley is the former Assistant Commissioner for NJ's Children's System of Care. In this capacity, Ms. Manley led transformation and implementation of system innovations including integrating individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities, substance use and integration of physical health into the Children’s System of Care. She had direct oversight of the statewide child behavioral health, substance use and development/intellectual disabilities systems. This includes a wide range of community-based services and residential treatment centers. Ms. Manley was the DCF representative on the NJ Board of Social Work Examiners and the Governor's Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse; the Principal Investigator on NJ's Promising Path to Success, a SAMHSA System of Care Expansion Grant with the focus on improving care for youth in need of an out of home intervention; Vice Chair of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD); and has presented at several national conferences. Prior to joining DCF Ms. Manley was the CEO of Caring Partners of Morris/Sussex, Inc., a Care Management Organization (CMO) specializing in working with youth with complex behavioral health challenges. Ms. Manley worked for Capitol County Children's Collaboration, the Mercer County CMO, as the Director of Operations, at the time of its inception in 2002. She came to that position after spending 15 years at SERV Behavioral Health, in various positions with her final position at SERV as the Director of Children's Services for SERV Behavioral Health. MS. Manley earned a B.S. degree in Health Education from William Paterson University and a M.S.W. from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.


Margi Clifford, LPC, E-RYT 500


Margi Clifford is a licensed professional counselor and experienced yoga teacher in Anchorage, Alaska. She integrates techniques of hatha yoga, insight meditation and psychotherapy to promote well-being in individuals and communities at Yoga for Mental Health. Margi founded Yoga for Mental Health in 2006. She offers individual and group therapy, retreats, yoga teacher training and other professional development opportunities for counselors, teachers, healers and systems. Margi has significant experience working with pregnant and postpartum women, mood disorders and anxiety, acute and post-traumatic stress disorders, ADHD, chronic pain, auto-immune disorders including cancer, diagnoses, treatment, and recovery. Margi brings a wealth of knowledge, compassion and optimism to her work. She is a loyal friend, enthusiastic adventurer and sensitive soul. She aims to support and serve vulnerable populations and to foster healthy systems that encourage growth and creativity.


Kristin Mortenson, MS, LPC-S


Kristin Mortenson is the Director of Early Child and Outpatient Services at Anchorage Community Mental Health Services. As part of the Alaska Child trauma Center since inception, Kristin provides mental health services to children and families impacted by trauma and is a nationally certified ARC (Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competency) trainer. Kristin provides training and consultation services regarding trauma-focused services, early childhood mental health and trauma informed systems.


Joseph Solomita, MSW,


Joseph Solomita is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in California with over 35 years’ experience working with children, adolescents and families in a variety of residential, educational and clinical settings. Over the past twenty years, Mr. Solomita has worked for Stars Behavioral Health Group, serving as Clinical Director of both Star View Adolescent Center, an inpatient treatment facility and, TEAMMATES a community-based Wraparound Program. For the past ten years Mr. Solomita has been the Managing Director for Stars Training Academy, a division of Stars Behavioral Health Group that provides a range of services to organizations across the United States in the training, implementation, and sustaining of evidenced-supported and evidenced-based practices.


Joy V. Browne, Ph.D., PCNS, IMH-E® (IV)


Joy V. Browne is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, has faculty positions at the University of South Florida and Fielding Graduate University and the University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry. She holds dual licensure as a Pediatric Psychologist and a Clinical Nurse Specialist and is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Mentor. Dr. Browne is a member of the Zero to Three Academy of Fellows. Additionally, she was the founding President of the Colorado Association for Infant Mental Health, past President of the New Mexico Association for Infant Mental Health and is on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for the Association for Infant Mental Health. Dr. Browne is the founder and director of WONDERbabies, which encompasses several programs including the Colorado Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program (NIDCAP), the Family Infant Relationship Support Training (FIRST) program, the BABIES and PreSTEPS program and the Fragile Infant Feeding Institute (FIFI). Her area of expertise is in neurobehavioral assessment and intervention with high-risk infants and their families, as well as systems change toward developmentally supportive and family centered care in both hospital and community settings. Dr. Browne provides training and consultation nationally and internationally.


John Burek, PhD


John Burek, MS, holds a Masters Degree from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministries from Southeastern University. John has been working in the social services field for the last 23 years. For 9 years, John served as Deputy Director of one of the largest community based providers in Florida overseeing multiple programs throughout the state in the areas of prevention, diversion, intensive intervention and reentry.

John started as an entry level case worker in a juvenile justice provider organization and quickly moved up in the organization and was promoted to deputy director and then executive director; All programs under his direct supervision received a commendable status or higher; one program was the highest Quality Assurance score in the state of any program type reviewed in the Department of Juvenile Justice. John was a Certified Peer Reviewer for the Bureau of Quality Assurance, held executive office positions on for the Juvenile Justice Boards and Councils including the Florida Circuit 10 Chair of the Faith Community Network.

In 2010, John joined the PLL organization where he currently serves as president/CEO of the Evidence Based model Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL). PLL currently works with service delivery providers in multiple states and Europe. John oversees the day to day operations, and works closely with program development, implementation, marketing and research within the agency. Additionally, John has spoken at more than 70 conferences and leadership groups across the country. John has a strong passion for helping hurting families by helping organizations to restore hurting and broken families.


Ellen Souder, MA, LPCC-S


Ellen Souder holds a master’s degree in professional counseling and is a family therapist, trainer, and public speaker. She has traveled extensively, conducting seminars and trainings throughout the United States and Europe. She has trained well over 200 clinicians in the Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL) treatment model. Ms. Souder is a co-developer of the Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL) evidence-based family therapy treatment model, which is a family systems stabilization and trauma treatment model. The focus of PLL is not just to help the clinician implement the PLL treatment model, but also to work collaboratively with juvenile justice and foster care systems in the United States and Europe to retool the way we serve our youth and motivate their parents.

Ms. Souder is Vice President of Parenting with Love and Limits (PLL) and oversees the clinical implementation of the PLL treatment model in agencies or organizations throughout the United States as well as Europe. The PLL Family Systems Treatment Model has been implemented in over 20 states and Europe. In addition to co-developing with Dr. Scott Sells the complete PLL Treatment Model, she has co-authored the book “Treating the Traumatized Child: A Family Systems Approach” which covers the PLL trauma treatment.


Tami K. Eller, MS


Tami Eller was born and raised in Anchorage. Tami’s unique perspective on FASD comes from personal and professional experience. Started professionally working with individuals who experience FASD professionally when returning to Alaska and entering the social services field in 2001. After earning her Master’s Degree from Alaska Pacific University, she had the amazing opportunity to learn and be mentored by Diane Malbin, MSW who taught her to provide FASD into Action. Tami has provided education about FASD in Alaska, Utah, Tennessee, and California as well as internationally with the Rotary International Vocational Training Team in Western Australia. She is currently a member of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education FASD 5 Year Strategic Planning Group where she co-chairs the Community Outreach and Engagement workgroup.


Brenda Byrd


Brenda Byrd is an active member of the Ts’msyen Community of Metlakatla with extensive knowledge of Alaska Native Cultural Values. She serves as an Individual and Family Therapist at Wil La Mootk Counseling Center. She has been a Behavioral Health Aide III since 2015 and has integrated cultural values and traditions in her work with youth and their families.


Teagan Presler, MSW, CDC


Teagan Presler was born and raised in Portland, OR, and will be celebrating her 14th anniversary in Alaska this summer. Teagan holds a BA in Psychology from University of Alaska Anchorage and an MSW from Widener University with a focus on Trauma-Informed Clinical Practice. Teagan worked in AK Child & Family’s residential homes as a direct care provider and a program supervisor before becoming a trainer with the agency. She has been training for residential homes across the state of Alaska for about 4 years in curriculums & topics including de-escalation strategies, History & Hope, Trauma 101, FASD 101/201, FASD Into Action, Residential Child and Youth Care Professional (RCYCP), and she is also a facilitator with the Alternatives to Violence Project. Teagan enjoys finding new ways to engage others in trainings and getting other excited about learning.


Robert J. Hilt, MD, FAPA, FAAP


is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Prior to his career as a child psychiatrist, Dr. Hilt worked as a primary care pediatrician and then as a pediatric hospitalist. Dr. Hilt is the Program Director for the new Partnership Access Line child mental health consultation service for primary care providers in Alaska, also known at PAL-PAK. He directs similar services for Washington and Wyoming, is also the Program Director for the Medicaid Medication Second Opinion Programs of Wyoming and Washington, and MDT Consult Service in Wyoming. He has served as co-chair of the Committee on Collaboration with Medical Professions with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and as a Mental Health Editor for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ PREP-Self Assessment, and serves on the editorial boards for Pediatric Annals, Psychiatric Annals, and Psychiatric Services.


Renee Georg, MS


Renée Georg has lived and worked in Alaska since 1991. She is currently an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology at Alaska Pacific University where she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in a wide variety of topics including ethics. Renée is a Licensed Professional Counselor who is also a State of Alaska Approved Counselor Supervisor. Her clinical experience has included individual, family and group interventions with young children, teens, and adults in a variety of treatment settings.


Kristen Clark


Kristin Clark is the Program Supervisor at Alaska Youth and Family Network. She has been working with youth and families for the last fifteen years. Kristin is finishing her BSW through UAF and will be pursuing her MSW this summer. She is currently a practicum student at Choosing Our Roots with Julia Terry. Kristin is a member of the LGBTQ + community and passionate about creating safe and affirming spaces for vulnerable populations.


Julia Terry, MSW


Julia Terry (queer femme; she/her) believes in being of service in the world. Julia grew up on the YK Delta and in the Interior and is constantly craving salmonberries and cabin life. As an advocate, educator, facilitator, and support person, she has worked in crisis response, street outreach, and low-to-no barrier programs for the past 15 years. Julia holds a G.E.D. and a Masters of Social Work. She is a queer, polyamorous, poor, cisgender, white, anti-racist mother who is family to transgender, queer, and lesbian people. Julia thinks it is essential to wellbeing that we make spaces where people can safely explore who they are. )


Elijah McCauley, MA


Elijah McCauley is the lead Clinical Training Specialist at Stars Behavioral Health Group. He is a dynamic Clinical Trainer with 25 years experience in training and delivering therapeutic group services to youth with Emotional & Behavioral Difficulties (EBD). His expertise lies in Evidence Based Practice implementation and effective methods for dealing with difficult and resistant youth with EBD. He currently holds an M.A. in Health Science - Rehabilitation Psychology. Elijah holds certifications as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRCC), Certified Trainer of Aggression Replacement Training/ TPS (CA Institute of Mental health), Certified Trainer of Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescence Responding to Chronic Stress (North Shore Jewish Hospital), and Certified Master Transition to Independence Process (TIP) Consultant/Trainer.


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