Free for members!
$30 for nonmembers (includes annual membership)
Registration is now closed.
The Power of Assessment for Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing
We often think of ourselves as "just the technicians," but assessment professionals have unique skills and perspectives that are invaluable for making our institutions healthier. In this interactive keynote, we will review the current state of mental health in higher education through a brief review of research and your own institutions' experiences. We will then consider the power of a community-based approach to wellbeing that harnesses the skills of assessment professionals. Next will be ideas for engaging (sometimes reluctant) stakeholders in the assessment process. Finally, we will brainstorm ideas for gathering effective data without worsening survey fatigue. Bring all your ideas and questions, or just listen along. I look forward to learning with and from you!
Nicole Whyms Brocato, PhD, has over 15 years of experience as a psychologist in wellbeing, assessment, data analysis, research methods, and therapeutic services. She currently works at Wake Forest University, where her most recent role was the Director of the Wellbeing Assessment. In that role, Nicole led a team of faculty and staff to create the 18-dimension Wellbeing Assessment. The Assessment is deployed as a national survey to help higher education institutions develop effective and inclusive wellbeing programs, policies, and practices. Outside of the Wellbeing Assessment, Nicole’s work focuses on promoting inclusive and community-based approaches to wellbeing, integrating participatory and evidence-based practices into institutions’ standard procedures, and developing data and assessment systems that work in real-life settings.
Panelist: Jerimy Blowers, PhD
Dr. Jerimy Blowers is an associate professor coordinator of wellness and intervention services. Jerimy Blowers earned his Master of Science in Psychology from SUNY Plattsburgh and his doctorate in Health Psychology from Northcentral University in Arizona in 2007. He returned to Cayuga in 2014 after serving as the director for the Academy for Academic Excellence and Student Success at the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls. At Cayuga, Jerimy develops programs enhancing campus community health and wellness, provides personal counseling, serves as a behavioral health consultant and an academic advisor for the Office of Student Engagement. He also leads the College’s Behavioral Intervention Team and chairs the Violence Prevention Team. In 2019, he received the Alumni Achievement Award, the Richard Malstead Award for student service, and the Gold Award by Cayuga County SAVAR, a recognition of his service supporting survivors of violence and sexual assault.
Dr. Jennifer Calder is a veterinarian, epidemiologist, and an applied public health practitioner. She is currently an associate dean at the City University of New York, Herbert Lehman College. Dr. Calder has worked in many different capacities including as a veterinarian for the Jamaican Government and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an as Assistant State Epidemiologist and State Public Health Veterinarian for the State of Kansas. She worked with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in the Bureau of Communicable Diseases as the Assistant Director of Parasitic Disease Surveillance. Her work expanded into healthcare epidemiology as the Director of Infection Control of for a large health care facility in New York City. Most recently she was the Director of Health for the City of Stamford’s Department of Health where among other things she led the COVID-19 response for the City. Dr. Calder has taught at a wide variety of academic institutions throughout the USA.
Dr. DeWitt-Parker has served as an assistant vice president of Student Affairs at University at Albany since April 2020. Her portfolio includes Student Health Services, Campus Recreation, the Office of Health Promotion and Counseling and Psychological Services, and Sexual Violence Support, Prevention, and Education Services. Before this promotion, for nearly two decades, she served on the clinical staff of the University at Albany’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Dr. DeWitt-Parker has over thirty-five years of experience in mental health care. Two years ago, Dr. DeWitt-Parker led efforts to establish UAlbany as the first University in New York State to be designated as a Health Promoting University. In addition to working with individuals and couples as a clinician, she established programs and developed policies to support at-risk college students, including UAlbany student-athletes, the America East Conference, NCAA, those at high risk for alcohol abuse, and those impacted by sexual violence.
Laura Goff is an associate dean at Excelsior University within the School of Undergraduate Studies. She has worked in online higher education for more than a decade focusing on health science and public service disciplines.
Panelist: Karen Sokolowski, PhD
Karen Sokolowski, PhD, is the director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and a New York State licensed psychologist. She has worked in higher education mental health for 13 years, previously serving as a Staff Psychologist at CAPS and as the assistant director of the Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research at UAlbany. Dr. Sokolowski has developed, implemented, and evaluated a range of services for students including prevention and health promotion, screening and early intervention for substance use, and therapy and consultation services. She has conducted grant-funded translational research focused on improving the health and well-being of college students. Dr. Sokolowski earned her BA in Psychology from Boston College and her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany.
10:00am to 11:15am – Keynote Presentation on The Power of Assessment for Promoting Mental Health and Wellbeing
11:30am to 12:30pm – Presentation by Mary Beth Honsinger, President of the Albany Chapter of NAMI: National Alliance of Mental Illness
12:30pm to 1:00pm – Break
1:00pm to 2:00pm - Panel Discussion on Mental Health and Assessment