CBHW - The Emergency Medical Minute


Monday, October 21- Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the University of Denver

Presented by the Mental Health Center of Denver, the University of Denver, and Envision:You

Click here to check out their website and save the date for next year’s summit!


The Colorado Behavioral Health & Wellness Summit brought together clinicians, educators, researchers, and policymakers as well as leaders in the field of behavioral health on the campus of the University of Denver, October 21 through October 24, 2019. The event was a collaboration between the Mental Health Center of Denver, the University of Denver, and Envision: You- an initiative focused on LGBTQ+ behavioral health concerns. Participants came together to discuss practical strategies for change and connect with colleagues and experts alike to discover new tools and resources. The Emergency Medical Minute was graciously invited to help record seminars and share them via our platform to increase their reach into the community.

Purpose of the Summit

The intersection of substance use and mental health continues to be a challenge in the State of Colorado. It’s estimated that about 20 percent of the state’s adult population—about 832,000 adults—is living with a mental health condition, according to a 2019 report from Mental Health America, and nearly 450,000 of them aren’t being treated for that illness. What’s clear to community leaders, policymakers and providers alike, Colorado’s behavioral health care system must change to keep up with the increased need.

Speakers and presenters engaged our community to break down silos statewide and to bridge the gaps in communication and collaboration. Specifically, the Summit provided various audiences with approaches to:

  • awareness and education;
  • training and clinical practice; and,
  • policy advocacy and action.

Opening Remarks:

Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera

Colorado Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera is a leading patient advocate who has spent three decades fighting for every Coloradan’s access to quality, affordable health care. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Colorado Behavioral Health Task Force. As a young mom in 1988, Dianne was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor told her that she had, at most, five years to live. Since her first diagnosis, Dianne has fought cancer four times and survived. Her personal battle with cancer inspired her to make it her life’s work to ensure every Coloradan has access to the health care they need when they need it. In 1990, Dianne joined the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury Center, where her work focused on helping individuals dealing with serious injuries recover and resume dignified, fulfilling lives. Since then, she’s held many prominent positions throughout the public and nonprofit sectors devoted to furthering life-saving medical research and connecting Coloradans who experience illness with the treatment they need to recover. In 2006, Dianne was elected to the first of four terms in the State Legislature, representing Broomfield, Superior, and parts of Erie. Throughout her service, Dianne was highly regarded for her success working across the aisle to promote Colorado small businesses, lower prescription drug costs, and expand access to affordable health care. Most recently, Dianne served as the CEO of Susan G. Komen Colorado, one of the largest organizations in the country dedicated to breast cancer prevention, treatment, research, and education. Dianne is a lifelong Coloradan and a Broomfield resident. She has two adult daughters and a one-year-old granddaughter, Kailani. Dianne is also an avid country dancer — taking after her dad, who was a dedicated ballroom dancer throughout his life, even on his 95th birthday.

Keynote Address: ‘Positive Psychology and the Science of Well-being’

Carl Clark, MD, President & Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Center of Denver

As the President & CEO of the Mental Health Center of Denver, Dr. Carl Clark inspires a culture of innovation and well-being that motivates employees to deliver evidence-based practices that are strengths-based, person-centered, culturally-proficient and trauma-informed. He has dedicated his career to improving the well-being of the Denver community and beyond through a focus on health promotion, wellness, resilience, and recovery across the life-span. Dr. Clark has extensive involvement at the local, state and national levels working with leaders to elevate the importance of behavioral health care. Under his leadership, the Mental Health Center of Denver has recently been named a Top Workplace by The Denver Post seven years in a row, and won the 2018 Excellence in Behavioral Healthcare Management Award from the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Panel Discussion:

Moderator: Donald Stader, MD, FACEP, Associate Medical Director & Emergency Physician, Swedish Medical Center, CarePoint Health Care 

Don Stader, MD FACEP is an emergency physician, innovator & entrepreneur practicing at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, CO. Don holds a medical degree with honors from Baylor College of Medicine, where he was an Albert Schweitzer Fellow and attended emergency medicine residency at Carolinas Medical Center. He serves as the President on the Colorado ACEP Board of Directors and is the former President of the Emergency Medicine Resident’s Association (EMRA). He is the is the Editor-in-Chief of their 2017 Opioid Prescribing & Treatment Guidelines and serves as the Senior Pain Management & Opioid Policy Advisor for the Colorado Hospital Association. In addition to medicine, Don has a passion for the arts and as a film producer was the creative force behind the Emmy winning documentary 24|7|365 - The Evolution of Emergency Medicine. He is the founder and chair of two nonprofit organizations, The Emergency Medical Minute which provides free online emergency medical education & The Last Words Project which allows individuals with terminal conditions or dangerous vocations to speak “their last words on their terms” through recording posthumous messages for their loved ones.

Michelle Barnes, MBA, Executive Director, Colorado Department of Human Services

Michelle Barnes is the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Human Services. She was appointed to this position in February of this year by Governor Jared Polis. Coming most recently from the nonprofit sector, Barnes has held leadership positions in a variety of organizations in different sectors. In 2008, she founded Interim Leadership Solutions to lead organizations in transition by serving as the interim CEO, including Food Bank of the Rockies, Senior Housing Options and Tourette Association. Other roles were in youth development, domestic violence, environmental sustainability, getting youth active in the outdoors, and early childhood education. She currently volunteers as a court-appointed special advocate. Barnes also spent a dozen years in high-tech marketing/ communications and holds an M.B.A. from UCLA and an B.A. from William and Mary.

Michael LaFarr, PsyD, Executive Director, Health & Counseling Center, University of Denver

Dr. LaFarr serves the University of Denver as the Executive Director of Health and Counseling. He is also provides clinical supervision and teaches doctoral students at DU. His clinical interests include: health care disparity & access, college health and wellness, differences in learning, grief counseling, giftedness, psychodynamic psychotherapy, sexual therapy, non-majority sexual orientation & transgender mental health.

Jennifer Tippett, PsyD, Director of the Substance Use Disorder Specialty Program at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology

Dr. Jennifer Tippett is a Licensed Clinical Forensic Psychologist. She worked in the field of addiction and severe mental illness throughout the Denver area for several years while obtaining her Doctorate Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology, before completing an APA-accredited internship at New York University- Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan. During that time, Dr. Tippett had the opportunity to receive training in the Harm Reduction model of addiction as well exploring other modes of service delivery. Following her internship, Dr. Tippett has conducted both individual and group therapy targeting substance use disorders in multiple settings, and continued to build her knowledge base of conceptualization and treatment. Presently, she remains a consulting psychologist at Seasons of Malibu, a nationally renowned addiction treatment center, specializing in evidenced-based approaches to treatment. As the director of the Substance Use Disorder specialty program, Dr. Tippett is passionate about training graduate students to be responsible and informed clinicians. She enjoys providing informative and engaging coursework that prepares her students to become leaders in the field of addiction psychology. Her current work looks at how attachment and trauma contribute to addictive behaviors across the lifespan.

Benzos: Boon or Blunder

Steven Wright, MD, Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

After listening to this podcast listeners will be able to...

» Describe the indications and evidence base for the clinical use of benzodiazepines 

» Describe the major negative consequences to benzodiazepine use

» Outline an approach to patients with benzodiazepine - related problems

Follow along with presentation slides

Male Mental Health: A Crisis in Public Health

Jason Vitello, MSW, Behavioral Health Coordinator, Denver Public Health/CPHA

Men experience disproportionately high rates of suicide, addiction, overdose fatalities, violence, victimization and incarceration. While typically treated independently these are often symptoms of a deeper problem with far reaching consequences. Poor and untreated male mental health does not harm men alone, but children, women, families, communities and all of society; and societal problems require a societal response.

Safe Prescribing 101 & 102

Christopher Urbina, MD, MPH, Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

After listening to this podcast listeners will be able to...

» Describe risks and benefits of opioid therapy for acute and chronic pain, including validated tools to assess patient risk for opioid prescribing, monitoring, and management; methods to select patients appropriately for opioid therapy; and documentation of opioid use. 

» Formulate a patient treatment plan that optimizes opioid and non-opioid pharmacologic treatment, non-pharmacologic supports and utilizes available community resources reflective of a multidisciplinary approach. 

» Safely select, monitor, and discontinue opioid therapy based on nationally recognized guidelines.

Follow along with 101 Slides and 201 Slides

The Center for Addiction Medicine’s Strategic Framework at Denver Health

Judith Shlay, MD, MSPH, Associate Director, Denver Public Health, and Brooke Bender, MPH, Center for Addiction Medicine Planner, Denver Health

The vision of Denver Health’s Center for Addiction Medicine is to be a compassionate model for the prevention and treatment of substance misuse, to transform lives and to educate all. Join this presentation to learn about the hub & spoke model of care that has been implemented to address the opioid epidemic in our community. Gaps in our current system will be shared, as well as strategic initiatives that have been identified as focus areas for the next five years.

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Innovative and Interactive Approaches to Suicide Assessment and Safety Planning

Khara Croswaite Brindle, MA, LPC, ACS, Croswaite Counseling, PLLC

This presentation will provide an overview of risk factors and protective factors as well as ongoing research trends that factor into risk and evaluation of a person in crisis. The role of the presenter is to introduce innovation and encourage critical thinking in presentation participants around client needs when engaging in suicide assessment, as well as resource and documentation needs to support positive outcomes and appropriate measurements of safety response, including the use of technology.

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The Cycle of Drug Related Stigma: Implications of the Opioid Crisis

Michael Miller, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, Jefferson County Public Health

The cycle of drug-related stigma is often a primary barrier to the health and well-being of people living with addiction. This deeper dive workshop will provide participants the tools and resources to challenge their conscious or unconscious internal bias and understand how stigma affects their work and outcomes for the people they serve.

Children’s Mental Health: Rethinking the Role of Schools and the Mental Health System for Children

Sarah Davidon, EdD, Director of Research & Child and Adolescent Strategy, Mental Health Colorado, and Sarah Younggren, LCSW, Child & Adolescent Specialist, Mental Health Colorado

Audience members will learn how problems such as bullying and suicide risk disproportionately affect LGBTQ youth in Colorado and how these issues vary regionally across the state. A review of contemporary legislation will show audience members how the Colorado community has taken strides, but tolerance is not enough. Strategies and their implementation will be explored, so we can begin to build communities that truly embody equity.

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Words Matter: How Language Can Shift Public Thinking

Karen Prestia, MBA, Director, Marketing & Communications, Mental Health Center of Denver
Media and the LGBTQ+ Community
Sheena Kadi, MBA, One Colorado

The media shapes our ideas and how we understand those around us. Reporters play an important role in eliminating the inaccurate perceptions surrounding mental health and substance use. Learn how to use appropriate language when writing stories on behavioral health issues that positively shape perceptions.

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Integrated Substance Use, Family Systems, and Culturally Responsive Treatment in Community Mental Health Settings

Allison Miller, LCSW, LAC, Program Manager of Child and Family Outpatient Services, Mental Health Center of Denver, and Jon Roberts, LCSW, CAC II, Licensed Mental Health Therapist, Mental Health Center of Denver

The three instructors are part of an integrated treatment model (SUMMIT) at Mental Health Center of Denver that are providing services directed at youth ages 5 to 25 yo, their families, and addressing both mental health and substance use needs with marginalized and underserved populations. Participants will explore cultural and family system theories and interventions utilized to integrate mental health and substance use treatment with youth and families. Participants will also learn about how an integrated treatment model is being developed and implemented in this setting that traditionally only provided mental health services for youth and families

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Substance Use During the Perinatal Period

Tracy Vozar, Ph.D., Director of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialty,  and Jennifer M. Tippett, Psy.D., Director of the Substance Use Disorder Specialty, both at the University of Denver’s Graduate School for Professional Psychology

Substance use in the perinatal population in Colorado is a current Maternal and Child Health priority for the state, with substance misuse prevention in women of reproductive age as an identified area of focus for certain regions, including the Tri-County (i.e., Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas) Health Department (Goforth, 2018). During this presentation, we review the risks of various types of substance use and misuse during pregnancy and in women’s reproductive years. We discuss the implications of substance use during pregnancy for prenatal care seeking as well as maternal morbidity and mortality. Notably, mental health, substance use and behavioral health concerns are the leading causes of maternal mortality in Colorado. With nearly 80% of all maternal deaths categorized as preventable, we can and must intervene sooner and more effectively. We will also overview Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and prevalence rates which increased by 120 percent in Colorado from 2011 to 2016 according to hospital discharge data as well as implications for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance use during pregnancy and for the newborn. Implications for treatment will be discussed, as well as current best practices based on a relational/attachment model. We end with a call to action for providers across physical, mental health, and substance use specialties to provide effective screening, preventative care, early intervention, and attachment-informed treatments to the perinatal population and their infants.

Strategies for Remaining Adaptive and Agile in Response to the Dynamic Issue of Substance (Mis)use

Marion Rorke, MPH, Substance Use Resource Coordinator, City and County of Denver, and Maggie Kauffman, MPH, Health Equity Data Analyst, City and County of Denver, and Jean Finn, RN, Substance Misuse Manager, City and County of Denver

Given that the characterization of substance misuse is constantly changing, it can be particularly challenging for local governments to respond and work toward prevention in a way that is adaptive to changes happening globally and within communities of use. During this presentation, the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment will briefly cover different approaches it has used over the past two years to utilize a participatory collective impact approach to response, use data driven processes for developing and implementing programs, and continually evaluate progress. Attendees will gain an understanding of what has worked, and lessons learned from the City of Denver examples, and will gain concrete strategies they can utilize in their own work to help remain adaptive in response to this dynamic issue.

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Project Colorado Opioid Synergy – Larimer and Weld (CO-SLAW): Expanding Treatment Capacity through Community Collaboration, Innovation, and Education

Lesley Brooks, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Sunrise Community Health Center; Medical Director – Quality, North Colorado Health Alliance, and Heather Ihrig, RN, CO-SLAW Program Director, North Colorado Health Alliance, and Meredith Silverstein, PhD, Sr. Research Associate, Butler Institute for Families, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver, and Kali Jefferson, MSW, Research Assistant, Butler Institute for Families, Graduate School of Social Work, University of Denver

CO-SLAW is a growing network of healthcare providers and community stakeholders with a goal of increasing access to behavioral healthcare and medication assisted treatment across Larimer and Weld counties. This interactive presentation will describe CO-SLAW’s approach to building and sustaining community partnerships, expanding opportunities for provider waiver training, and its work towards building a hub and spoke model of care. Preliminary outcomes will also be presented.

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Podcasts made possible thanks to DU College of Natural Science and Mathematics and Emergency Medical Minute.


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