March 21 Conference Explores Violence’s Impact on Children, Families

“A Community in Trauma: The Impact on Children and Families” will explore the epidemic of violence and the wounds it inflicts on children who grow up in its shadow.

“A Community in Trauma: The Impact on Children and Families” will explore the epidemic of violence and the wounds it inflicts on children who grow up in its shadow.

The Department of Child and Family Studies in Falk College will host, A Community in Trauma: The Impact on Children and Families,” a day-long conference exploring the epidemic of violence and the long-term wounds it inflicts on the children who grow up in its shadow.

The event, to be held Friday, March 21, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., at Drumlins Country Club, 800 Nottingham Road, will feature community experts who deal with violence and trauma and who will offer different perspectives on related problems and solutions.

The conference cost is $35 and includes lunch. Registration information can be found at Seating is limited. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided. For more information, including assistance with special needs accommodations, contact Arlene Johnston,, or 315-443-1715.

The conference is aimed at persons interested in the well-being of children, youth and families, including but not limited to teachers, school administrators, counselors, criminal justice professionals, agency staff, advocates, volunteers, service providers, social workers and health care professionals. The conference will:

  • examine current stressors that children and families face in our community.
  • identify how trauma influences child and family development.
  • offer insight on how loss impacts the overall well-being of children and families.
  • explore developmental perspectives in childhood grief and loss.
  • outline necessary organizational components that support communities in trauma.

Following remarks by Falk College Dean Diane Lyden Murphy and Syracuse City Policy Department Chief Frank L. Fowler, Timothy Noble Jennings-Bey will give the keynote presentation, “A Community in Trauma: A Call for Action.” He is the director of the trauma response team for the United Way of Central New York and founder of the Identity Research Institute.

Conference faculty include:
Keith Alford, associate professor, School of Social Work
A former child protective services worker and treatment foster care supervisor, Alford concentrates his research in family mental health, contemporary rites of passage programming, child welfare, grief and loss reactions and culturally specific human service intervention.

Colleen Baish Cameron, professor of practice, Department of Child and Family Studies
A certified child life specialist, she specializes in pediatric medical traumatic stress, pediatric procedural pain, influence of adult behaviors on child pain behaviors, pediatric palliative and end-of-life care, play programming in hospitals and family-centered policy design in pediatric health care.

Dessa Bergen-Cico, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition
Bergen-Cico holds a research appointment at the Syracuse VA Medical Center and is a certified addiction specialist (CAS). She teaches in the areas of global drug policy, drugs and addictive behaviors, and mindfulness-based approaches to stress and trauma. Her research focuses on the nexus of politics, violence, and drug policy; substance use and addictive behaviors; and use of mindfulness meditation to foster self-regulation, reduce anxiety and manage PTSD among military veterans, young adults and children.

Terrence Byrd-El, assistant director, Syracuse Trauma Response Team
The Syracuse Trauma Response Team (TRT) is a community-based program that responds to fatal incidents within the urban Syracuse community. Prior to joining the TRT, he worked with youth who were detained at the Hillbrook Detention Facility. While working with youth in detention, he developed “Man to Man,” a self- development program for young men between the ages of 11 and 16.

Susan Cooper
Since 1992, Cooper has been the coordinator of the Mid-State EMS Critical Incident Stress Management Team and provides child life services to area schools via the BOCES CORE Child Life Program. Cooper recently retired from St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica, where she provided psychosocial and emotional support to hospitalized children and their families.

Kimber Gunn
Gunn, a native of Syracuse and graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology, has been working in the youth development field for more than 20 years. After participating in community-based programing as a youth, she went on to manage youth development programming focusing on the benefits of positive and supportive community involvement in lives of children and families.

Arnett Haygood-El, Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility Inc., Southwest Community
Haygood-El is a lifelong native of Syracuse and has worked professionally for 15 years assisting low-income, at-risk youth and their families to overcome the barriers of growing up in poverty. A graduate student at Syracuse University working on a master’s degree in child and family health in a global community, his studies are focused on the effects of community violence on urban youth development. His life experiences make him a leading expert in gun and gang violence and its effect on urban youth development into adulthood.

Robert P. Moreno, chair, associate professor, Department of Child and Family Studies
Moreno's research interests focus familial influences on children's learning, academic achievement and how cultural variations in early parental teaching styles impact children's learning, the role of the family in the education of young children and how the family contributes to children's academic success or failure.

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