School to Prison Pipeline

We are pleased to welcome Gretchen Williams, LCPC (Substance Abuse Counselor for PGCPS) & Toni Perry (Deputy Director for Operations at DC Department of Corrections) who are going to speaking to us about the School to Prison pipeline… yet another presentation you won’t want to miss!

Gretchen Williams, MDiv, LCPC, is a therapist who provides substance abuse prevention and intervention to students in the alternative programs with Prince George’s County Public Schools.  She is a compassionate and empathic therapist who motivates, encourages and challenges young people to focus on improvements that lead to positive change.  Ms. Williams’ presentation will incorporate insight from her training, research and experience with urban youth.  This session will focus on the importance of prevention strategies and early intervention to help youth make better choices to prevent addiction and incarceration.

Ms. Perry will explore some of the innovative, cutting edge programming that is being used in the DC Department of Corrections and throughout the USA to stem the school to prison pipeline – programs that provide young people with realistic tools to become productive citizens who will never return once released, even if the youth enter the system.

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Additional Bio Information:

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Gretchen Williams, MDiv, LCPC

Ms. William’s 15 years of professional experience includes inpatient counseling to adults with mental illness and substance abuse concerns, school-based mental health and substance abuse intervention, trauma treatment of incarcerated females, and counseling to children and adolescents in the foster care system in addition to providing outpatient services to individuals, couples and families.

Ms. Williams employs a variety of techniques to guide her clients to wholeness, mental health and sobriety.  She is client-centered and also utilizes motivational interviewing in her approach with clients.  Clients know that the treatment setting is a safe place to discuss the most intimate details of their lives.

Currently, Ms. Williams’ work has surrounded providing assistance to urban youth with a significant rate of substance usage, academic challenges, behavioral problems, legal issues and family concerns.  Many teens are faced with co-occurring disorders that are fueled by undiagnosed or untreated mental illness and self-medication with drugs and alcohol.  Unresolved grief is also a major contributing factor to some of the concerns encountered by urban youth.  Genetics and environment can provide a breeding ground for substance abuse amongst adolescents.  Ms. Williams is committed to addressing these issues to lighten their load, allow them to experience personal success and prevent incarceration.

While large percentages of urban youth are successful; significant numbers encounter challenges that often prevent them from experiencing favorable outcomes.  Early exposure to drugs, sex, instability in the home and untreated mental illness are a few of the concerns that are faced on a daily basis.  Additionally, large numbers of young people have unresolved grief due to the violent death of a family member or friend.  Adolescents seek comfort or self-medicate to manage these issues.  They are typically unaware of the effects of drug usage on their brain and bodies.  Subsequently, truancy, failing grades and expulsions become the standard until they make the choice to change course.

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Toni Perry

Toni Perry has always been interested in Criminal Justice, since first reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood in the sixth grade.  She wanted to major in Criminal Justice in college, but instead attended Yale University where she received a BA in Psychology in 1982.  She realized her dream of immersing herself in the field at SUNY Albany where she received a MA in Criminal Justice in 1983.  She began her criminal justice career within the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, where she worked as a Correctional Counselor for one year before returning to her home in the District of Columbia.

During the last 30 years, Ms. Perry has seen major changes in the field of criminal justice and corrections, most notably advances in how mental health and trauma informed care can be utilized to reach vulnerable populations.  One area that has garnered some of the most intense re-evaluation has been how to deal with the youthful detention and prison population.  In this case, reference in not being made to “youth” who are housed in institutions for various status reasons.  Reference is being made to young men and women, sometimes as young as 14, who are being tried as adults for heinous crimes such as murder, rape and armed robbery.  With the rise in crimes by males under the age of 22, many communities are clamoring for justice with little regard for the outcome of long range incarceration for this population.

Large urban educational systems, families and communities are failing youth to such a degree that being incarcerated may be the only time in a young man’s life where he is compelled into a structured educational environment.  For example, in the District of Columbia, all inmates under the age of 18 must attend school in a special secondary education program which allows them to accelerate and “catch up” on credits so that they can graduate.  And the best part of the program is that the student “graduates” with a high school diploma of his or her home high school, just like any other student!

There are so many innovative programs that are customized for this young population to give them the discipline and motivation that have shamefully been so lacking in their young lives.  Just recently, President Obama mandated changes in how youth were housed in solitary confinement, sending shockwaves through the Federal Bureau of Prisons and institutions throughout the country.

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FOR SCIENCE!

We are pleased to welcome Deniz Koteen, MS, and Dr. Corbin Clawson, PhD, who will be running a joint session on both the usability of applications AND how delivering drugs in novel ways can be fun AND painful! You don’t THINK these things are related, but they totally are. #SCIENCE!

Deniz completed her BS Degree with honors in Chemical Engineering in Turkey. She then got on a plane to Boston to get a MS in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University. As a life long fan of everything biology, Deniz studied Biochemistry and Biochemical Engineering to build on her knowledge base. Her foot in the door was an internship at a biotech company in Boston. One thing led to another and she ended up in Maryland, working for a large biopharmaceutical company. After working as a lab scientist, she moved onto developing apps for scientists. In her daily work, she has to make sure the apps are intuitive no matter how complicated they may be in their functionality. She sees daily how the success of an app heavily depends on its usability and functional design. She is a certified usability professional and loves talking about it to whomever will listen.

Dr. Clawson graduated Summa Cum Laude from Virginia Tech with a BS in mechanical engineering.  He then went on to get a PhD in bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego.  While at UCSD, Corbin researched nanoparticle drug delivery systems and new ways to increase their circulation half-life in the bloodstream.  Currently, Corbin works for a large biotechnology company developing drug delivery devices, such as pen injectors and wearable injectors.  His responsibilities include improving the usability of injection devices by putting prototypes in the hands of real patients and categorizing the nearly infinite number of creative ways that patients invent to thwart well-intentioned engineers.

5 days until rates increase!

Registration rates go up on July 1st, and most of us will be having a fantastic time at the AG, so we wanted to send out a courtesy notice.  Also, if you’d like to hear our keynote speaker, Edward Gabriel, on Saturday night, remember to book the dinner as well for an awesome rate of $20.  Space is limited!    https://pandemicrg.wordpress.com/register/

65% of our hotel block is spoken for, but there is still availability.  Make your reservation at: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/MENSAAnnualRegionalGathering

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An AI That Understands: A New Paradigm for Solving Critical Problems

We are pleased to welcome Daniel Olsher, who will be blowing our minds with a program focused on artificial intelligence.  Deep Blue agrees… this sounds like one of the coolest offerings in a program jam-packed with awesome speakers.

Past briefer for SecDef/SecAF and expert in the intersection of military complex systems modeling and Artificial Intelligence, Daniel Olsher specializes in nuanced commonsense knowledge- and culture-based reasoning, truly actionable recommender systems, nuanced next-generation knowledge bases and inference, goal detection, implication detection, semantics-driven data mining, knowledge-based Natural Language Processing, information fusion and de-siloing, AI for intelligence (including HUMINT processing, anticipatory analytics, and PIR/CCIR/FFIR recommendation), and social systems modeling.

Creator of the Atomic/Energy-Based AI paradigm intended to facilitate holistic reasoning around hard-to-model real-world technical/social phenomena, his work includes past principal-investigator contributions to five DARPA/Army ARL/Air Force AFRL and two Singapore Ministry of Defence AI projects/MURIs, including RADAR/CALO (predecessor to Apple’s Siri), DARPA ICAS (cybersecurity), the INTELNET and COGVIEW knowledge-representation and reasoning formalisms, the COGBASE commonsense knowledge base, language processing with ACT-R, and the development of related commonsense inference, reasoning, gisting, and categorization algorithms. Across more than 15 years of experience he has developed adversary models and perception modeling systems for use in wargaming (including automated adjudication/red-teaming), Operations Other Than War (OOTW), Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR), Libya (for eventual use by SOCOM, DoS), terrorism reduction, anti-discrimination norm change, norms, trust, emotion, political systems, and other key AI tasks requiring in-depth knowledge of cultural and real-world phenomena. Upcoming work includes financial systems modeling and key contributions to IARPA CAUSE, a project providing automated methods for early forecasting and detection of cyber-based attacks.

He has authored more than 20 academic papers, including publications in the top AI, topic modeling, and knowledge representation conferences as well as journal and book contributions (winner of an award at HumTech2015). His past research training spans Computer Science (Carnegie Mellon), Functional Linguistics/AI, and Government/Conflict Resolution (Georgetown).

His platform predicted an early agreement between the US and Iran on the nuclear issue, including the extent to which both sides would be pleased and the reasons why this was the best agreement. Other proven models include analyses of USG messaging on human rights in Africa, detailed models of the suicide terrorism radicalization process, real-time Tweet understanding and processing, and real-time HADR situational awareness and decision support. Related tools are used by NGOs to engage with North Korea and predict/reduce violence, and by DARPA to understand cybersecurity data and make it actionable.

In addition to his research work, Daniel serves as a 2LT in USAF CAP; beyond core duties centering around safety (cyber and mission) he led his squadron’s highly successful efforts in the 2015 AFA CyberPatriot competition. He is attached to Andrews Composite Sqdn (Joint Base Andrews).

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Let’s talk about drug abuse!

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Kendra Woodbury, who will be joining us to discuss the outbreak of medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and the proliferation of synthetic drug abuse.

Dr. Woodbury currently serves as a Commander (O-5) in USPHS and Team Leader in the Office of Computational Science in the Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. She earned her MS in Health Informatics from University of Illinois-Chicago in 2015. She has received numerous awards over her collegiate and professional career, including FAMU Miss College of Pharmacy 1999-2000, the U.S. Public Health Service Pharmacy Practice Award, the US Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Public Health Service Achievement Medal.

She graduated magna cum laude with her Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) degree from Florida A&M University in 2001. She was commissioned as a Lieutenant (O-3) in the U.S. Navy and served as a pharmacy manager at National Naval Medical Center during the Global War on Terrorism. In 2004, she transferred to the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps as a Drug Utilization Analyst with the Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology. She’s held several leadership positions working in Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS) and Medication Errors. As an officer USPHS, Kendra has deployed on missions for Hurricanes Katrina and Ike (both in Baton, Rouge, LA) as well as for the H1N1 Swine Flu outbreak. She has also assisted the Attending Physician staff at the United States Capitol for State of the Union Addresses for President George W. Bush.

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Get Thee Well

Dr. Miriam D. Martin is a practicing physician in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and she’s going to drop some serious health/nutrition knowledge on us at Pandemic!

She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and was inspired to become a doctor by her high school biology instructor.  She attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she graduated with the degree Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. Dr. Martin continued her journey in the pursuit of medicine at Howard University College of Medicine where she received the degree Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Martin’s advanced training has helped her become a leading physician in this area.  She is board certified in General and Emergency Medicine. She currently serves as an Associate Physician at Potomac Region Medical Center where she assists in overseeing the day to day operations of  nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical assistants, technicians, students, and supporting staff members. She has an extensive background in Emergency and Trauma Medicine and has served as attending physician in numerous emergency departments along the east coast.

She has a particular interest in weight loss and nutrition and devotes much of her medical practice to weight loss medicine.  She is fondly known as “The Weight Doc” by her patients and colleagues. Dr. Martin  is a member of the Obesity Medical Association and is CEO and Founder of the Total Wellness Academy. The Academy focuses on total wellness – physical, mental, spiritual, and financial.  In addition, she serves as Co-Chairman of the Health Concerns Committee of the Iota Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

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