10th Annual Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference


Friday, October 5, 2018



The purpose of the Rural Behavioral Health Practice Conference is to make quality continuing education accessible locally and affordably to behavioral health providers and researchers about the practice issues involved in working with rural people and communities.
WHEN -- Friday, October 5, 2018

THEME -- This year’s theme centers on Promoting Resilience in Rural FamiliesWe encourage presentations that uphold our mission, are based on evidence-based practices, and promote clinical tools and practical skills through the lens of family and rurality. For the purposes of the conference, family may include rural children, adolescents, and elders in addition to the family unit. Examples of presentations might include:
  • The impact of and treatment of opioid addiction
  • Trauma based diagnosis and treatment
  • Ethics and Multiple Relationships
  • Suicide Assessment and Treatment


Keynote Address: Adverse Childhood Experiences: Practice Issues in Rural Healthcare

Presenters: Afton M Koball, Ph.D., ABPP, LP & Denyse Olson-Dorff, Psy.D.
Summary: Gundersen Health System (GHS) provides medical care to individuals across 19 counties in Western WI, Northeast IA, and Southeast MN. Given its reach across a wide network of rural communities, the system as a whole has focused on moving healthcare beyond the reach of our hospital walls and out into communities. In particular, a variety of initiatives related to intervening on adversity in childhood and making known the long-lasting impact of these experiences on health have been undertaken. This presentation will describe a collection of research projects within GHS that have examined how individuals with high ACE-screening scores utilize the healthcare system and how patients and providers respond to discussion of adverse childhood experiences as a standard part of their medical care. Resiliency strategies for better managing ACEs in a rural community will also be discussed.

Ethics & Boundaries in Rural America – A Practical Approach

Presenters: Jennifer Andrashko, MSW, LICSW & Kimberly Sommers, Psy.D., LP
Summary: Considering the role of ethics and boundaries in rural behavioral health practice, it requires thoughtful and intentional assessment of the realities in small communities. This presentation will focus on what the research says about boundaries and ethics in rural clinical practice and offer practical tools for effective management of these often complex contexts. Case studies will be used for discussion and illustration.

Fostering Resilience in Rural Older Adults and Their families

Presenter: Maggie Black, Psy.D.
Summary: This presentation will focus on the unique needs of rural adults as they age and offer clinicians strategies to foster resilience among rural older adults and their families/caregivers. Topics such as memory screening, engagement in community, and therapeutic interventions for both patients and caregivers will be discussed.

Suicide and Drug Overdose Deaths: How is Postvention, Prevention?

Presenters: Tonya Carter, B.A. & Kate Erickson, MSW
Summary: No provider wants to think about one of his or her patients dying. Unfortunately, they need to be prepared to effectively respond to promote healing and recovery after a client’s death by suicide or overdose - known as postvention. This presentation we will introduce and discuss postvention. How it is an effective suicide prevention strategy, how it is in a behavioral health organization to respond within the agency, and how the framework may be useful in response to overdose deaths –especially for providers and communities that may be experiencing multiple traumas or deaths in a limited time-period. Will also discuss the importance of self-care as providers.

More information coming soon!

Contact the Conference Coordinator Jon Aligada at [email protected] with questions.

MPA Event Refund Policy:  A 100% refund will be made if the event is cancelled. Refunds, less a $5 handling fee, will be given if a written or emailed cancellation is received at least five working days before the scheduled program begins. No refund will be given after September 28.


Diversity Statement

The Minnesota Psychological Association actively encourages the participation of all psychologists regardless of age, creed, race, ethnic background, gender, socio-economic status, region of residence, physical or mental status, political beliefs, religious or spiritual affiliation, and sexual or affectional orientation.Although we are an organization of individuals from diverse cultures and backgrounds, the Minnesota Psychological Association also recognizes our core unifying identities as Psychologists who practice in America. We also recognize that we may hold unintentional attitudes and beliefs that influence our perceptions of and interactions with others. Within this context of unity and self-exploration, we are committed to increasing our sensitivity to all aspects of diversity as well as our knowledge and appreciation of the unique qualities of different cultures and backgrounds.We aspire to becoming alert to aspects of diversity, previously unseen or unacknowledged in our culture. In this spirit, we are committed to collaborating with multicultural groups to combat racism and other forms of prejudice as we seek to promote diversity in our society. To this end, we are dedicated to increasing our multicultural competencies and effectiveness as educators, researchers, administrators, policy makers, and practitioners.