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Preconference Universities

The 2017 National Council Preconference Universities present best practices for highly effective organizations — those determined to take their organizations to the next level in today’s dynamic health care world.

Preconference Universities include full-day and half-day sessions on Sunday, April 2, 2017. They require a separate registration fee and are not included in your conference registration.



Full-day Preconference Universities

Sunday, April 2, 2017, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

FD1: Give the Presentation of Your Life SOLD OUT 

*If you would like to be added to the wait list, please e-mail Melissa Coons, at

Do you want to inspire people like a championship coach on game day, but feel your presentation skills fall short? Suit up for this intensive, one-day training camp with Gerry Sandusky, executive media coach, author and voice of the Baltimore Ravens. You will master a 10-step process for building presentations, speeches and meeting agendas, developing techniques to identify and close communication gaps, energize audiences and expand your ability to achieve objectives. Be ready to participate in extensive exercises and role playing to identify and eliminate bad habits and learn those that make a persuasive presentation. Learn what to eliminate from presentations, how to use multimedia and how to develop a story database to dramatically increase audience retention.

Faculty: Gerry Sandusky, executive media coach, American sports broadcaster, The Sandusky Group

FD2: Hurt and Healing in Our Work and World 

Feeling tired, disengaged or cynical?  Is staff performance down and critical incidents up? Can’t find ways to manage feelings of being overwhelmed by the constant pain in our work and world? Don’t know how to help your staff manage the barrage of ongoing trauma so they can do their work?

If these questions resonate with you or your workforce, book your seat now for this powerful pre-con.

To begin, Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, an expert on creating wellness while addressing a world of hurt, provides every day answers to our most difficult questions about the impact of this work and how to respond. Laura is a pioneer in the field of trauma exposure, founder and director of The Trauma Stewardship Institute and author of Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. Laura’s highly demanded expertise comes with the exact message we need in this time of ongoing community violence and manmade and natural disasters.

Later, the National Council expert trauma-informed faculty builds upon Laura’s lessons and explores how to create a culture of wellness and trauma-informed care. Examining the tough questions:

What does a culture of wellness and trauma-informed care look like?

What hard conversations are necessary when focusing on workforce development?

What real strategies advance wellness and trauma-informed care with your staff?

Come away from this interactive, dynamic day with practical tools on how to:

  • Build a resilient, impactful workforce.
  • Maintain the critical work-life balance needed to stay in this work long-term.
  • Increase effectiveness in responding to needs of trauma survivors.
  • Advance a culture change of toward wellness and trauma-informed care.

Seize this chance to energize yourself, strengthen your work and equip your workforce for the complex and fulfilling work ahead.

Faculty: Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, The Trauma Stewardship Institute; Cheryl Sharp, Karen Johnson, Linda Henderson-Smith, National Council for Behavioral Health

FD3: Best Practices in Suicide Prevention

While health care systems and providers encounter people at risk for suicide, they are not always equipped with the training, tools and support to effectively do this work. In the last few years, several widespread and growing national efforts have emerged that hone in on suicide care as an essential responsibility of the health care system. Funding and support for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) will help improve community mental health services, including suicide care, and many CCBHC principles are captured in the Zero Suicide framework, which aspires for zero defects in the delivery of suicide care for individuals at risk of suicide in health care systems. This approach, bundled with several other evidence-based practices, will ultimately reduce suicide.

Join a panel of experts to learn a comprehensive approach to suicide care and the resources available for system-wide suicide care improvement, as well as how to overcome obstacles in patient care transitions and to engage individuals and families struggling with suicide through crisis services. Hear about the successful, innovative and comprehensive suicide care practices at two agencies — a behavioral health treatment organization and a federally-qualified health center — and one individual’s experience with multiple health care systems. 

FacultyDiana Cortez, Advocate and Lived Experience Consultant; John Draper, Director, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, MHA-NYC; Julie Goldstein Grumet, Director of Health & Behavioral Health Initiatives, Suicide Prevention Resource Center; Mike Hogan, Consultant, Mike Hogan Health Solutions LLC; Virna Little, Senior Vice President, Institute for Family Health; Richard McKeon, Chief, SAMHSA Suicide Prevention; Becky Stoll, Vice President of Crisis & Disaster Management, Centerstone; Ursula Whiteside, CEO,

Half-day Preconference Universities


Sunday, April 2, 2017, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

HD1: Leadership for Successful Change  SOLD OUT

*If you would like to be added to the wait list, please e-mail Melissa Coons, at

Constant change is inevitable. Accountable Care Organizations, health homes, Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers, value-based contracting and everything in between continue to change the way treatment organizations look and operate.

And successful change requires creative, innovative and adaptable staff willing to approach new things in unprecedented ways. Yet, the nagging question remains: how can leaders practice and instill the essential values, skills, competencies, actions and culture necessary for staff to adapt successfully?

Tackle this fundamental question and take home concrete, action-oriented guidance on what to do (and not to do) when fostering a culture that promotes change. Identify the concrete leadership strategies that inspire and support staff innovation and creativity. Learn the critical values necessary for staff to ground their practice. And return to your organization with a list of staff competencies that cut across clinical and payment models — thus driving your training and supervision plans.

Faculty:  Jeannie Supin, President & CEO, Watauga Consulting, Inc.; Joan King, Senior Consultant, Integrated Health, National Council


Sunday, April 2, 2017, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

HD2: Managed Care Contracts: A Win-Win Approach

Even with the best negotiator, obtaining higher fee-for-service payments from managed care organizations can be a fruitless endeavor. As an alternative, consider participating in managed care organizations under new payment models that align better with the goals of managed care, while at the same time generate additional revenue for your organization.

Learn new payment models that reward clinical outcomes and encourage coordinated delivery of services. To participate under those models, discover how to market your organization to managed care organizations and manage legal and financial risk.

Faculty: Adam J. Falcone, Feldesman, Tucker, Leifer, & Fidell LLP; Steven E. Ramsland, Catalyst Health Resources, LLC; Debbie Cagle, Centerstone

HD3: Data-Driven Supervision

Effective supervision is critical for a sustainable workforce. At any given time, a supervisor may need to switch hats between being a mentor, coach, teacher, consultant or gatekeeper. So how can you best leverage your strengths and your staff’s to drive innovation, improvement and engagement? How can you effectively use, communicate and translate data into knowledge to cultivate innovation and action?

Whether you’re a seasoned supervisor or a new manager, join a National Council power team to unpack the skills needed to improve team communication, patient care and team effectiveness using data so you can achieve targeted outcomes.

Go back to your organization with new found energy for partnering with your employees to develop shared expectations, elicit needs and enhance their autonomy. Specifically, you’ll be packed with how to:

  • Offer non-threatening, data-driven supervision
  • Use continuous quality improvement in supervision
  • Managing and resolving conflict between employees and within and between departments
  • Gain the confidence and knowledge to manage value-based payment

Faculty: Aaron Surma, Kate Davidson, Pam Pietruszewski, Nick Szubiak, National Council for Behavorioral Health

HD4: Get Rid of Your Agent of Government Thinking and Get Your Retail On

This is pre-conference in an interactive – TED Talk style. This session will share a strategic and useful way to lead organizations from our era of government contracts and fee-for-service into the new ear where value is at the center of opportunity. You will see strategic tools – specifically the Nonprofit Vector Scan™ a tool for looking at organizational strength and risk. Beyond seeing the tools, you will hear from experienced CEOs about how they have used the tool to lead a real agency through merger, simultaneous program line closures and expansions and developing new business lines while keeping the trains running on time. This university will provide you with:

  • New information and tools
  • Space to question, think and apply what you learned
  • Strategies that are working today for industry-leading organizations

Faculty: Kristin Woodlock, Woodlock & Associates; Jeff Richardson, Mosaic Community Services; David Woodlock, Institute for Community Living

HD5: Diversity, Inclusion and Multiculturalism: A Moral Imperative

Do your clients and employees reflect tremendous diversity? Are you committed to inclusion, individual regard and a multicultural work environment as the means to improve workplace satisfaction, excellence and health equity and to reduce health disparities? But you’re unsure of what practical steps to take?

Explore the practical how-to’s with guidance from national experts who share the rare combination of deep knowledge about health disparities, cultural competency, diversity and multiculturalism; an integrated care perspective; and practical real-world experience leading multicultural initiatives and thoughtful leadership in their own organizations.

Gain the information you need and take home practical and concrete actions (with sample policies and other materials), while engaging in a safe, lively space that helps you explore the promise and power of embracing true multiculturalism.

Learn how to use data analytics to trend — diversity, identify disparities, discrimination and measure outcomes — as powerful opportunities to improve the overall health of those you serve and your community. Acquire resources to implement successful multicultural cultures and operations. And explore thoughtful leadership strategies to create safe space throughout your organizations for difficult — but crucial — conversations about diversity, privilege, cultural humility and multiculturalism.

Faculty: Diane Benavides Wille, Director of Diversity and Workforce Development, Lifeworks NW; Sandra Wilborn, Senior Director, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Department, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare; Jeanne Supin, President & CEO Watauga Consulting

HD6: What Every Board Should Know: Key Competencies of an Effective Board

Changes in the health care industry, payment reform and new local and regional alliances require behavioral health treatment organizations to concentrate on many areas all at one time — areas like effective delivery of clinical services, health care integration, different expectations from payers, the demand for improved patient outcomes, workforce shortages and increased competition.

Some organizations that thrived in the past now struggle to survive; meanwhile, other organizations use the shifting environment to expand and flourish. The current model for success requires operational shifts in clinical practices, use of data in decision-making, business acumen and current management approaches. Unfortunately, an often overlooked component of an organization’s success is an effective board of directors.

Regardless of whether an organization faces survival or opportunity, how a board of directors functions as a group and how individual board members contribute becomes more crucial. The core responsibilities remain mainly unchanged, but how a board functions may need adaptation. To be effective, increased training, development and communication become more imperative.

Learn how changes in the health care industry directly impact behavioral health organizations and their governance. Gain a greater understanding of what an effective board looks like and what it takes to be an effective member. Go home with the resources to assess how your board functions and to help your board improve its effectiveness.

Faculty: George DelGrosso, National Council Consultant; Scott Lloyd, MTM Services

HD7: Your Personal Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)

Working with author and mental health recovery advocate, Mary Ellen Copeland, begin to develop your own Wellness Recovery Action Plan® (WRAP), a widely used evidence-based prevention and wellness tool. Explore key recovery concepts, design your wellness toolbox, create a daily maintenance plan, identify your triggers and early warning signs and develop action plans, a crisis plan/advance directive and a post-crisis plan. Also, learn to support others in developing their own WRAP and to understand the group WRAP facilitation model.

If you’re interested in implementing a strong evidence-based recovery program, developing your own WRAP or supporting others in developing theirs, this Preconference University is for you. Participants will also receive a copy of Wellness Recovery Action Plan signed by Mary Ellen.

Faculty: Mary Ellen Copeland