From a first-year enrollment of six students in 2003, to 100 students annually, more than one thousand students have participated in the Enhanced Placement (EP) Program of Philadelphia Connections
The goal of the EP program is to provide the future behavioral healthcare workforce with a foundation that will provide them with the skills they need to work within the Philadelphia behavioral health system.
The EP program provides a stipend to graduate students and fourth year BSW students completing fieldwork in a Community Behavioral Health (CBH) funded agency, and participate in all EP seminars. Although a stipend is not available to those students interning at a non-CBH funded agency, they are still welcome. Download the list of CBH agencies. Download the Philadelphia Connections Handbook for complete information.
There is no cost to the student, university, or provider agency for this program. Philadelphia Connections Enhanced Placement seminars offered | Download the complete seminar schedules
This course is designed to provide a basic overview of commonly prescribed medications used to treat emotional and psychiatric disorders in adults. The primary classes of medication will be discussed including antipsychotic medication, anti-depressants anti-anxiety medications and mood stabilizers. The benefits, side-effects and drug interactions will be addressed.
At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to: 1. Differentiate between traditional and atypical anti-psychotic medications used to treat mood disorders and psychoses 2. Discuss the differences between the major classes of anti-depressants used to treat depression. 3. Compare the different medication classes to treat anxiety-related disorders. 4. Describe the most common benefits and side-effects associated with commonly prescribed psychotropic medications.
This seminar focuses on providing services to individuals who have at least one mental health disorder that occurs at the same time as at least one substance use disorder. Information about the prevalence and etiology of co-occurring disorders is presented as a backdrop to discussing specific evidenced-based practices and larger systematic approaches to treatment. Participants use case examples and scenarios to apply the theoretical information to practice. Much of the discussion centers around the complex nature of co-occurring diagnoses, including:
• Hypotheses about how co-occurring disorders develop and can impact each other, • Difficulties with clearly identifying and assessing co-occurring diagnoses, • Evidenced-based practices • Common treatment challenges
Diagnostic Issues – DSM
This talk provides an overview of mental health diagnostics, the purpose of using diagnosis, the limitations of diagnosis, assessment and the clinical utility of diagnosis. Students review major diagnostic categories and criteria, learn coding and recording rules, and explore the impact of making and using mental health diagnoses. Students learn the factors to consider when making a diagnosis, the role diagnosis plays in treatment, and the interprofessional factors associated with diagnosis. Attention to cultural context, agency context and environmental factors are all considered while we explore mental health diagnosis.
This session will address concepts of ethics in human services with a focus on critical issues such as boundaries, bias, prejudice, values, and principles. Factors that impact the development of our biases, personal values and professional behavior will be explored. Applications of models of ethical decision making will also be shared and discussed.
Perspectives of Families and Individuals with Lived Experiences
Understanding the lived experience for individuals who have experienced mental illness and the experience of their families is crucial for future clinicians. In this seminar you will hear from an individual who has experienced their own struggles with mental health, and learn about their recovery journey. You will also hear from family members of individuals who have experienced severe mental illness, and how the mental health system was helpful, and not so helpful, in the recovery process. Resources for families will be discussed, and you will be introduced to the Family Inclusion Standards, a set of family inclusive actions that all provider agencies should be, or will shortly be incorporating into their programming.
Introduction to Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Dual Diagnosis
It is important to understand that the individuals you work with in the field may have complex needs, or special needs. This seminar is designed to help you better understand the experience of individuals who have an intellectual disability or Autism Spectrum disorder.
Objectives: From this training participants will: -Enhance their general knowledge about people with an Intellectual Disability (ID), an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or Dual Diagnosis (DD) -Enhance their understanding about diagnostic criteria for an intellectual Disability or Autism Spectrum Disorder and possible etiology of these conditions -Have a better understanding of possible reasons for the significant rise in the number of people diagnosed with an ASD -Enhance their understanding of how Mental Health Challenges may present differently in people with an Intellectual Disability or an Autism Spectrum Disorder -Enhance their understanding that an integrated approach to services is the best way to achieve positive health outcomes for the population discussed in the presentation.
Philadelphia DBHIDS system overview
This workshop provides an overview of the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health/Intellectual disAbility Services which includes the Office of Mental Health, Office of Intellectual disAbility Services, Office of Addictions and Community Behavioral Health, the Medicaid Managed Care Organization. The workshop provides a framework of how the City is structured in relationship to providing social services, focusing on population health and how behavioral health services are funded and provided. More specifically students will learn how Medicaid managed care evolved, how it is structured in Philadelphia, and how services are authorized. A description of services will be provided as well as the operational structure across the components of the Department of Behavioral Health/Intellectual disAbility Services.
The goals of the workshop are: 1. Students will gain knowledge about the evolution of Community Behavioral Health and its components that support the provision of behavioral health services. 2. Students will be able to identify the process by which services are authorized for both children and adults. 3. Students will be able to identify the types of complex cases supported through the continuum of care within DBH/IDS. 4. Students will learn the definition of medical necessity and how evaluations are to be conducted in order to support medical necessity for a level of care.
Psychopharmacology, Recovery & Ethics
Psychopharmacology, for some individuals, can be a powerful tool within the context of personal recovery. However, all too often the person taking the medications is in, for whatever reason, a passive role regarding these medications. The current workshop is designed to look at the practice of psychopharmacology and how it can be seen as a wellness tool e.g. how a person in recovery can “get off the bench and can get in the game” regarding his/her treatment with psychotropic medications. This course focuses on ways behavioral health staff can help people in recovery become active partners in their treatment, work through issues on medication adherence, provide psychoeducation about medication and work in a collaborative fashion with the prescribing clinician.
At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to: • List three methods by which people in recovery can become active partners in their own treatment with psychotropic medication • Specify five reasons why someone in recovery would choose not to take psychotropic medication • Develop a plan by which people in recovery can communicate more effectively with the prescribing clinician • List three reasons why the discussion of medication within the therapeutic setting is increasing
Suicide Assessment and Intervention
This workshop provides an extensive overview of Suicide – risk, assessment and treatment including themes associated with types of clinical profiles, psychiatric diagnoses, culture, race and geographical. Students will gain an understanding of the multi-factorial elements of suicide and the complexity of assessing risk. The workshop will cover the range of profiles associated with those individuals highest for suicide and the types of psychosocial factors that may lead to suicidal ideation or attempts. Prevalence data will be presented to gain an understanding of the scope of suicidality. The goals of the workshop are:
a) Students will receive an overview of the prevalence of suicide and suicidal ideation across different cultures, races, geography and psychiatric diagnoses. b) Students will be able to identify themes associated with different population groups including Veterans, LGBTQI youth, Adolescents, and Older Adults. c) Students will identify six core elements of the factors associated in assessing suicidal risk, lethality and psychosocial factors. d) Students will learn about treatment interventions that are effective in treating individuals that are suicidal and/or have histories of suicidal attempts and ideation. e) Students will understand the cognitive, behavioral and physiological factors associated with suicide.
Successful and rewarding careers do not just happen. Those who succeed in finding long-term professional fulfillment are often diligent in doing the following: developing their skills to ensure a successful interview and results-oriented resume; maintaining an on-going awareness of their interests, strengths, and areas needing improvement; obtaining the necessary on-going education and training for their chosen field; realizing the importance of maintaining positive professional relationships.
Additional questions on if The Philadelphia Connections Program is right for you? Please read our handbook.
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Philadelphia Connections Instructors
Please click a name below to see the instructor's biographical information.
Monica T. Campbell, Ph.D.
Dr Campbell is a licensed psychologist with over 15 years of experience. She has worked in private practice, outpatient, day treatment and residential settings.She is a continuing education instructor on the DSM-5 through one of the nations largest continuing education providers, PESI. Dr. Campbell has served as a behavioral health expert for articles featured in Essence Magazine and Ebony Magazine.The Beck Initiative Training Program certified her as a “Skilled Cognitive Therapist in Community Mental Health Settings.” Dr. Campbell owns and operates a private practice in Philadelphia where she treats adults with a variety of concerns utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy.
Dr. Campbell completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship through the Harvard University School of Medicine. She received her Master and Doctoral degrees in Psychology from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Campbell has served as an adjunct faculty member at The University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, LaSalle University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and Arcadia University.She teaches courses on mental illness and DSM-5 diagnosis, ethics, professional issues, internship and private practice development.Her clinical work and instruction highlight her passion for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, and her desire to teach clinicians the skills needed for successful private practice. For more information visit: www.drmonicacampbell.com
Ms. Cantwell holds a Bachelor of Social Welfare degree from Temple University. She began her career in the behavioral health field as a family member seeking resources and services, and served for 19 yrs. as a volunteer member of the board of directors for Comhar (a community mental retardation and mental health center).
As Coordinator of the Family Resource Network (FRN) she works collaboratively with family support groups in Philadelphia to promote their efforts in educating/ supporting families of loved ones, both adult and children, who may have behavioral health challenges. Ms. Cantwell is involved with those behavioral health providers engaged in Recovery Transformation efforts that incorporate the FRN Standards For A Model Approach to Involving Consumer-Identified “Significant People” In Mental Health Treatment & Recovery Programs as a part of their family inclusive practices and policies. These Standards are also presented at various national and local conferences. Kathleen brings the “family” perspective about mental illness in trainings to: Philadelphia Connections program’s graduate social work & psychology students (since 2008), the Philadelphia Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team training, and in various cross-systems trainings. She serves on various Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility (DBHIDS) committees. Kathleen is staff to the Family Committee of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Leadership Council. She is also a National Council certified trainer for Mental Health First Aid.
Laura Anne DeRiggi, LSW, MSW
Laura has been with Community Behavioral Health since 1999 beginning as the Director of Clinical Management responsible for the oversight of behavioral health services. She is currently the Director of Integrated Clinical Consultation Services for Community Behavioral Health and the Department of Human Services. In that role, Laura is responsible for program development, integrated service planning, training and clinical consultation. Her role with DHS includes assessing behavioral health needs of dependent and delinquent children, youth and families, program development, clinical consultation to the Courts and consultation to the new Community Umbrella Agencies. She specializes in case planning and program development for young adults involved in multiple systems of care.
Laura is originally from Pittsburgh. Prior to her move to Philadelphia, she was responsible for planning and program development for behavioral health services, assisted in developing a unified system of care for clients with serious mental illness and mental retardation, directed the Act 152 drug and alcohol managed care program, and worked in private managed care. Laura’s experience includes both private and public sector human services and encompasses every disability area and system. She is an adjunct professor at Alvernia University since 2000 teaching various courses in behavioral health and human services, and most recently in the Undergraduate Social Work Program. She is also adjunct professor at West Chester University and Alvernia University, teaching in the MSW Programs.Laura is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work in 1989. She was awarded the Social Work Alumni Fellowship and the Student Leadership Award. In 1989, she was awarded the Citizen of the Year award in the City of Pittsburgh for her work with homeless individuals and won the Distinguished Advocate Award presented by the Support Center for Child Advocates in Philadelphia in 2007.
Kate Ledwith, DSW, LCSW
Ms. Ledwith is a graduate of both the Masters of Social Work and the Doctorate of Social Work programs at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice (Sp2). She currently holds a Senior Lecturer position at Sp2 where she teaches clinical practice and clinical electives. Her background is in social work and mental health, including crisis intervention, community mental health, brief treatment, and ongoing psychotherapy. In addition to teaching and training, she maintains a private practice in Center City where she sees adult clients for psychotherapy and provides clinical supervision. Her research interests include attachment, termination and the therapeutic relationship.
Ms. Lonker has served as the Administrator of the Philadelphia Connections Enhanced Placement (EP) Program since 2004. In this capacity, her responsibilities include: scheduling seminar dates in conjunction with presenters, academic, and holiday calendars; resolving student-related issues; and leading the program’s final “Wrap-Up” seminar. She has managed the Professional Training and Development Series, which began in 2007, and is open to EP alumni, field placement, and college and university representatives. She also works as an Independent Career Consultant and Trainer delivering group training in the private, non-profit and government sectors, and providing individual career consulting and management services. Susan received her BSW from Temple University.
Pamela Piscitelli MSEd
Ms. Piscitelli is the Clinical Project Manager for the ASERT Collaborative Eastern Region and the Philadelphia Autism Project at the AJ Drexel Autism Institute. Prior to her work as a Clinical Project Manager she work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and at the Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research at the University of Pennsylvania. Pamela received her Master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania.
Thomas J. Sheeran III, L.C.S.W.
Mr. Sheeran is originally from Philadelphia and now living outside Scranton. He earned a B.S. in Clinical Psychology from University of Scranton in 1991 and a Masters in Social Work from Boston College in 1997.Licensed as a Social Worker in 1997 and as a Clinical Social Worker in 2001.Has worked clinically in most levels of mental health treatment and currently works as an Outpatient Mental Health Therapist in an integrated care, community health clinic in Susquehanna County as well as being adjunct faculty at Marywood University and the University of Scranton.
After raising five children until the youngest were Junior High School age, Vivian became involved as a Center Director/teacher with the Head Start Program in Lancaster, PA for 16 years, after which time she assumed a position as the Director of Affiliate Relations for the NAMI of Pennsylvania. As an advocate for family members she was a founding member of the Family Training and Advocacy Center (FTAC) in 2000 where she supports the work of several local NAMI groups, participates in trainings to professionals, police and prison personnel, offering the personal experience of living with someone with a serious mental illness.
Craig Strickland, Psy.D.
Dr. Strickland graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1993 with a Doctorate in Psychology and a focus on experimental research. Past academic positions include a faculty position at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and adjunct faculty positions at Widener University and Springfield College. Dr. Strickland currently is a guest lecturer at the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and Rutgers University. In addition, he maintains an Affiliate Professor position at Jefferson University-East Falls campus in Philadelphia. Finally, he is the sole owner of Biobehavioral Education and Consultation, LLC.
Dr. Strickland lectures on local, state, and national levels on such topics as psychopharmacology for people recovering from dual-diagnoses, medication adherence, attention deficit disorder, herbal treatments, the biology of the co-occurring diagnoses and the neurobiology and pharmacological treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jack Toomy has worked with people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and Mental Health Challenges (MHCs) for more than 20 years. He discovered early in his nursing career that he enjoyed working with both populations and also learned early to respect the challenges both populations face.
Jack works as a public health nurse for Philadelphia Coordinated Health Care (PCHC). PCHC is a small public health agency that serves a specialized population of people with ID, MHCs, and Dual Diagnosis. His current title is Integrated Health Care Systems Navigator in this role he attempts to link the physical, ID and the behavioral health systems to achieve positive outcomes for the people we serve. PCHC provides physical and behavioral health consultations for individuals and their teams that are struggling. PCHC provides written recommendations to help teams better meet the health care needs of the individuals they help support. Jack is a Board Certified in Psychiatric Nursing by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Clinically Certified in Dual Diagnosis by the National Association Dual Diagnosis and I am a Certified Developmental Disability Nurse by the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association (DDNA).He also helped to develop and served as President of the Pennsylvania Developmental Nurses Network (PADDNN) for 10 years. While President the PADDNN was honored as DDNA's best Network several times. Jack has made many presentations at agency, county, state and national organizations.
Dr. Caryn Wetcher, Psy.D.
Dr. Wetcher has over 20 years of experience in the human services field. As early as Fifth Grade, when she was chosen as the advice columnist for her elementary school newspaper, Dr. Caryn Wetcher demonstrated a propensity for helping others. With an interest in the helping professions, she earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Widener University, with specializations in school psychology and group counseling. After earning her degree, Dr. Wetcher began working as a mental health therapist for at-risk clients and their families. Over time, Dr. Wetcher found herself wanting to expand her efforts at providing quality care by influencing the larger service culture. She began providing consultation and training support to students and professionals working in the human services and educational fields. She has presented on various topics in a number of venues, including: workshops and seminars for mental health and education professionals, lectures to graduate and undergraduate students, training classes for direct care workers, supervisors, and clinical staff. The range of topics include trauma, trauma-informed care, diversity, stress and resiliency, ethical decision-making, learning and memory, motivation, effective communication, topics related to specific diagnoses, treatment approaches and positive behavior support. In addition to her private consulting and lecturing, Dr. Wetcher is currently the Director of Training and Staff Support at Quality Management Associates, Inc., a community provider of services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Along with her professional achievements and certifications, she was named 2010/2011 Woman of the Year in Healthcare and Behavioral Health Professions by the National Association for Professional Women.
Mi-Yeet Wong, LCSW
Ms. Wong is a Clinical Coordinator with the Philadelphia Autism Project and the Autism Services, Education, Resources and Training (ASERT) Collaborative. For the Philadelphia Autism Project, she provides support on citywide initiatives that examines the services and supports for individuals with autism in Philadelphia. For the ASERT Collaborative, she provides support on statewide clinical projects for adults with autism in PA. In her previous role, she was a Case Manager working with adults with a variety of neurodevelopmental conditions.