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Research Symposium




April 14, 2016
Phoenix Biomedical Campus
435 North 5th Street   Phoenix, AZ




Thank you to all who attended the Inaugural Research Symposium on April 14. More information about the 2017 Symposium will be available soon.


In partnership with:

ASU UofA USC AZCoalitionasu-school-of-work


Please join us for the Sojourner Center Institute inaugural Research Symposium on April 14, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona, entitled A World Free From Domestic Violence: Moving the Conversation.

This important event aims to expand the domestic violence conversation beyond its usual parameters by convening researchers and experts from across the field to discuss new solutions to end domestic violence. Sojourner Center’s partner, the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix will be hosting the event on their Biomedical Campus in Downtown Phoenix.


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kfnxtolinArizona State Senator Robert Meza

The Issue

Domestic violence is a public health epidemic. Despite the best efforts of many committed activists and policy-makers over the past 40 years, it shows no sign of abating. Domestic violence casts a long shadow, affecting the health and well being of everyone it touches, costing the American economy more than $8 billion a year. And yet, research shows it is scarcely discussed within families or communities.

Domestic violence is a complex social phenomenon that has not been solved by simple answers or catchy slogans. It is clear that we need an all-encompassing, society-wide campaign to change cultural norms around domestic violence. This is an effort that will require leadership and cooperation across academic disciplines, social service providers, philanthropies, health and mental health providers and government.

The Goal of the Symposium

To stimulate the cross-disciplinary sharing needed to develop a successful model of domestic violence prevention and response, the Sojourner Center Institute will convene experts who are examining

  • Root causes of domestic violence
  • Long-term health and mental health effects of domestic violence on women and children
  • The impact domestic violence has on the whole family, including women, men, children and pets
  • The cultural context, including the impact on marginalized populations
  • The effectiveness of existing and new intervention models
  • An expansion of legal services beyond the historical emphasis on Orders of Protection and child custody
  • Long term solutions to prevent domestic violence

We aim to move the conversation about domestic violence to one of a public health epidemic and explore actionable, evidence-based practices that will lead to a world free from domestic violence.

Who Should Attend
  • Researchers and academics studying domestic violence across disciplines such as (but not limited to):
    • Medicine
    • Public Health
    • Psychology
    • Law
    • Sociology
    • Gender Studies
    • Human Services
  • Professionals and agencies working in social and family services
  • Health professionals
  • Philanthropists and foundations funding domestic violence programs and healthy community initiatives
  • Activists and educators
  • Corporations interested in creating healthy communities
  • Civic leaders and public officials
  • First responders
  • Journalists and reporters covering domestic violence and other social and health issues

Symposium Schedule
8:00 – 8:45 a.m.: Introductory Remarks by Arizona State Senator Robert Meza and Keynote Address by Dr. Maria Garay-Serratos, CEO, Sojourner Center
8:45 – 10:00 a.m.: Morning Speakers

Domestic Violence as a Public Health Epidemic  
Given the scale of its impact on society and individuals, domestic violence must be understood as a public health epidemic. By looking at domestic violence through a public health lens, the conversation expands from a family issue to a population-level issue that requires a multidisciplinary approach to understand, and address, underlying causes.
howardHoward Spivak, MD, Deputy Director and Chief of Staff at the National Institute of Justice at the US Department of Justice

Howard Spivak, MD is currently the Deputy Director and Chief of Staff at the National Institute of Justice at the US Department of Justice. Before joining NIJ, he was Director of the Division of Violence Prevention at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Spivak began his career as Director of Adolescent Services for the City of Boston, during which he cofounded the first community-based public health youth violence prevention program in the nation. He moved on to become the Deputy Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, where he was in charge of all prevention and community oriented programs in the department, and among other activities developed the first office for violence prevention at the state level and advanced the funding of the first school-based health centers in MA.

Dr. Spivak has held a number of senior academic appointments including Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health at Tufts University, directed pediatric and adolescent primary care programs at several academic medical centers, published numerous academic and general public articles on youth violence, spoken around the country and internationally on violence related issues, and worked with many community programs both in Boston and nationally addressing youth violence prevention as well as other violence-related concerns. He has co-authored 2 books on youth violence: Murder Is No Accident and Sugar and Spice and No Longer Nice.

Children and the Cycle of Violence  
Children experiencing and witnessing domestic violence deal with lifelong effects of the emotional trauma of the violence and its aftermath. As they grow older, children who have experienced the trauma of domestic violence are more prone to becoming both perpetrators and victims of abuse. These children need special attention and care in the shelter environment and beyond.
VickyVicky Kelly, Psy.D., MSW, MHA, Consultant, Annie E. Casey Foundation

Dr. Kelly began her career first as the Children’s Advocate and then as Director of the Capital Area Family Violence Center in Baton Rouge, LA. She then was selected as a Congressional Fellow with the Women’s Research and Education Institute in Washington, DC, where she worked on the first federal funding for domestic violence shelters under the CAPTA Reauthorization of 1983. In the decades since this early work, Dr. Kelly has worked in child welfare and behavioral health, focusing on the impact of trauma in children’s lives. Her most recent positions have been in Delaware as the Deputy Director of the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health and then as the Director of the Division of Family Services, the public child welfare system, from which she retired in November 2015. Dr. Kelly was recognized by the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 2015 with the Vision of Peace Award for her work in promoting collaborative trauma-informed approaches. She has recently joined the Child Welfare Strategy Group of the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a consultant.

Real-Life Outcomes from Domestic Violence Cases and the Family Court System  
Surprisingly often, family courts produce outcomes in cases involving abuse that are harmful to the families they are meant to help. The courts must learn to address the real impact of abuse on victims and children in order to better serve both children and their protective parents. Joan Meier will offer evidence of the problem, explanations for its prevalence and suggestions for reform.
joanJoan Meier, Founder and Legal Director, Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project

Joan Meier is a Professor of Clinical Law at George Washington University Law School, and the Founder and Legal Director of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP). Joan Meier has been a clinical law professor for 23 years at the George Washington University Law School, where she founded three pioneering and nationally recognized interdisciplinary domestic violence clinical programs. She has published widely on domestic violence, custody, and various Supreme Court decisions.

Joan founded DV LEAP in 2003 to provide pro bono appeals in domestic violence cases. DV LEAP has filed ten amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court, and represented friends of the court and survivors of domestic violence in state court appeals all over the country and in the District of Columbia on a wide array of issues ranging from criminal law to family law to employment law. DV LEAP and Joan also provide trainings for judges, psychologists, lawyers, domestic violence coalitions, and others on best practices in adjudication of domestic violence and family court litigation.

DV LEAP and Joan have received several awards, including among others, the American Bar Association’s first ever “Sharon Corbitt Award for exceptional service and leadership in improving the legal response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and/or stalking;” and the “Outstanding Leadership” Award from Justice for Children in 2007. Joan received the Cahn Award from the National Equal Justice Library for her article on domestic violence and welfare reform. She was featured as a commentator in Breaking the Silence: Children’s Voices, the PBS documentary that aired in October 2005.

She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1980, cum laude from the University of Chicago Law School in 1983, and clerked on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

10:30 – 11:45 a.m.: Breakout Sessions

Building on the ideas presented during the morning session, collaborative conversations facilitated by morning presenters and other experts will go deeper with the goal of identifying the greatest challenges in their fields and proposing potential solutions that Symposium attendees can apply to their work. During Registration, attendees will select one of the following breakout sessions to attend:

Domestic Violence as a Public Health Epidemic
Children and the Cycle of Violence
Domestic Violence and the Family Court System
12:00 – 2:00 p.m.: Lunch
Presentation by Nick Lowery, MPA, President, Nick Lowery Youth Foundation and NFL Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Famer
Breakout Session Debrief
2:00 – 4:30p.m.: Afternoon Panels

2:00 – 2:45 p.m.: Media and Domestic Violence: Responsibility and Sensitivity  
When reporting on domestic violence cases, the media often miss the opportunity to look at the deeper causes and advance the conversation in directions that would engage their audiences in a meaningful search for solutions. The media’s language choices must also reflect greater awareness of how coverage impacts the ways women, men and children are viewed and view themselves. This panel will convene journalists who are dedicated to representing the issue.
Panel Moderator:
jen-stevensJane Stevens, Founder and Publisher, ACEs Connection Network

Jane Ellen Stevens is founder and publisher of the ACEs Connection Network, which includes ACEsTooHigh.com, a news site for the general public, and its accompanying social network, ACEsConnection.com. The sites focus on research about adverse childhood experiences, and how people are implementing trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on that research. The sites are supported by funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment. A long-time health, science and technology journalist, Stevens has written for the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and National Geographic. Stevens has been a journalist for more than 30 years, and focuses on health, science and technology. Her articles have appeared in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and National Geographic. She began reporting about the ACE Study and related research in 2005. She has lived and worked in Kenya and Indonesia, and has been to Antarctica – in the winter — three times on reporting fellowships. She is on the advisory board for ReportingonHealth.org, a site for the California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships; a member of the National Association of Science Writers; Journalism and Women Symposium; and the Online News Association.
melissa-jeltsenMelissa Jeltsen, Senior Reporter, The Huffington Post

Melissa Jeltsen is a senior reporter at The Huffington Post, where she writes about gender-based violence. Her recent work has investigated how to prevent intimate partner homicides, the intersection of traumatic brain injury and domestic violence, and the role of firearms in abusive relationships. You can follow her work at The Huffington Post and on Twitter.

CareyCarey Peña, Founder and CEO of Inspired Media 360

Carey Peña is an Emmy Award winning News Anchor and Reporter and the Founder & CEO of Inspired Media 360, a media firm based in Arizona. Previously she was main anchor at KTVK, covering international events and interviewing major newsmakers in Arizona and nationally. Domestic violence is an important issue to Carey as she has covered the topic for many years and has done volunteer work to help adult victims and their children. She has interviewed professionals throughout Arizona who are working to end domestic violence.
tonyTony Paniagua, Reporter and Producer, Arizona Public Media

Tony Paniagua is a television and radio reporter/producer for Arizona Public Media, the NPR/PBS affiliates in Tucson, where he contributes stories to the operation’s weekly and daily programs. He focuses on topics such as the environment, social issues and current affairs. Tony joined AZPM in 2005, returning to Arizona for the second time in his career. Originally from Colombia, Paniagua has lived in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Texas in addition to Arizona. After he graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville, he worked at a cable television station in Miami, the Univision affiliate in Phoenix, the NBC affiliate in Tucson and the NBC affiliate in Houston. From Houston he came back to Tucson to join AZPM. He has won several awards for his work.
hediHeidi Renpenning, News Anchor, Univision Arizona

Heidi Renpenning is a news anchor for Univision Arizona. She has over 14 years of experience in broadcast journalism in Mexico and the U.S. Heidi grew up in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and began her career at XEJ-TV Channel 5 in 1999 as host of the morning news. Later, she was host of the entertainment program Express, which was transmitted in several cities including Chihuahua, Tijuana and San Antonio. In 2005, she joined the Univision news team in El Paso. In addition to covering stories about immigration, education and health, Heidi has covered issues of importance to local, state and federal government as well as state and federal trials. Her journalistic work has received an Emmy nomination and has been recognized by Texas Associated Press Broadcasters.
KarinaKarina Bland, Reporter and Columnist, The Arizona Republic

Karina Bland is an award-winning reporter and columnist at The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com. In the area of domestic violence, her work has included stories about how intimate partner violence turns deadly, recognizing patterns of abuse and the role domestic violence plays in drug use, prostitution, homelessness and child abuse. In 2012, Bland was awarded a First Amendment Award from the Valley of the Sun chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for “Domestic violence deaths in Arizona tragically consistent,” which blended emotional first-person accounts of abuse and loss with data and research. She is a two-time graduate of Arizona State University.


2:45 – 3:30 p.m.: Domestic Violence Affects the Whole Family – How to End the Cycle  
In an abusive household, everyone is affected – including women, men, children and pets. This panel will convene a range of experts to explore solutions to family violence that will halt the cycle of violence from reaching the next generation.
Panel Moderator:
mariaMaria Garay-Serratos, Ph.D., CEO, Sojourner Center

Dr. Garay-Serratos is CEO of Sojourner Center, one of the nation’s largest and longest running domestic violence shelters, serving nearly 9,000 women and children impacted by domestic violence each year. Dr. Garay-Serratos’ passion for understanding the roots and various forms of domestic violence and for pursuing innovative methods to prevent it inspired her to become a leader in the domestic violence eld. Under her leadership, Sojourner Center is implementing a five-year strategic plan, known as the Circle of Care/Transformation Program. This plan aims to strengthen Sojourner Center’s core programs and services for women while expanding its care continuum to not only treat but also end the cycle of domestic violence.

Prior to joining Sojourner Center, Dr. Garay- Serratos was a senior advisor to the Good Shepard Shelter in Los Angeles, a domestic violence shelter. She has also served as president and CEO of John Tracy Clinic, and vice president and chief operating of cer of Para Los Niños. Previously she was associate director of social services for the Salvation Army Southern California Division, where her responsibilities included oversight of two domestic violence facilities.

Dr. Garay-Serratos’ studies in sociology and social work are rooted in her personal history as the eldest child in an immigrant family from Mexico which experienced horrific domestic violence. She was convinced that she and her siblings were able to break the cycle that caused domestic violence to continue down through generations of her family by thoughtful discourse and a deeper understanding of some of the root causes.

Dr. Garay-Serratos attended Pitzer College at Claremont where she earned her undergraduate degree in sociology. Her graduate studies in social work were at University of Southern California where she earned both a master’s degree and a doctorate.
nancyNancy Bradley, DVM, MNM, Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine, Midwestern University

Dr. Bradley is a shelter and forensic veterinarian and currently teaches full-time at Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ. Dr. Bradley began her career in private and emergency practice. She entered shelter medicine 16 years ago working for a government animal shelter where investigations with local law enforcement agencies involving animal cruelty encompassed part of her duties. Dr. Bradley’s final two years were as the Chief veterinarian. Dr. Bradley began working for her current employer (a nonprofit animal shelter) as the Chief Veterinarian eventually rising to the level of Medical Director. The last three years Dr Bradley has been a staff veterinarian dedicating more of her time to forensic cases and teaching as an adjunct assistant professor at Midwestern University College of Veterinary Medicine in Glendale, AZ. During her years as a veterinarian Dr Bradley was a reserve police officer for the city of Glendale, AZ (9 years) and a reserve detective in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Animal Crimes Unit (3 years).
ellenEllen Olshansky, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FAAN, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Nursing, School of Social Work, University of Southern California
Dr. Ellen Olshansky is the new Chair of the new Department of Nursing in the School of Social Work at USC. She earned a BSW at UC Berkeley and then a BSN, MS, and PhD in Nursing Science at UC San Francisco. She is a women’s health nurse practitioner and a researcher focused on women’s health across the lifespan, with a particular emphasis on reproductive health. Her most recent position, before joining the USC faculty, was Professor and Founding Director of the Program in Nursing Science at the UC Irvine. While at UCI, she chaired the Community Engagement Unit of the Institute for Clinical & Translational Science, funded by the NIH CTSA award. She also served as Director of the newly inaugurated Initiative to End Family Violence. While at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, where she served as Chair of the Dept. of Health & Community Systems, she developed an Interdisciplinary Qualitative Research Group. Dr. Olshansky is excited about the prospect of developing a new and innovative graduate nursing program in close collaboration with social work.
michelleMichelle Mohr Carney, Ph.D., Director of the Arizona State University School of Social Work

Dr. Michelle Mohr Carney is a professor and the director of the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. Dr. Carney received her bachelor’s degree in social work from The Ohio State University, her master’s degree in social science administration from Case Western Reserve University and her doctoral degree from The Ohio State University. She is an international expert in program evaluation research on intimate partner violence and is one of a handful of people in any discipline that publishes articles on aggressive women. She teaches courses in nonprofit management, foundation and advanced community practice, and program evaluation. Dr. Carney has won numerous awards for outstanding educator of the year and is committed to exposing students to a curriculum area that focuses on formal organizations and communities and is directed towards helping these larger systems function effectively and efficiently to advance the well-being of those they serve. Her publications address the need to empower communities through social work research including the importance of reducing family violence and developing researcher-agency partnerships.
aleshaAlesha Durfee, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Arizona State University School of Social Transformation

Dr. Alesha Durfee’s research and teaching focus on social policy and domestic violence, including mandatory arrest policies and civil protection orders. Her work has been published in journals such as Crime & Delinquency, Gender & Society, Journal of Marriage and Family, Violence Against Women, Global Public Health, and Feminist Criminology. She has received several grants to fund her research on protection orders, including a National Institute of Justice Researcher-Practitioner partnership grant (with the National Center for State Courts and Mesa Municipal Court) to identify and analyze institutional and contextual factors that influence the protection order decision-making and processing, as well as a National Science Foundation grant (with Dr. Jill Messing) to understand legal mobilization among domestic violence survivors, including the decision to file for a protection order, how domestic violence survivors perceive the legal system, and the costs and benefits of filing an order for survivors. In 2012 she was nominated for ASU Professor of the Year.

3:45 – 4:30 p.m.: Traumatic Brain Injury in Women Affected by Domestic Violence  
While evidence shows that large numbers of women could be suffering from brain trauma as a result of domestic violence, there are few services that address the lifelong personal and societal effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the domestic violence population. This panel will focus on the science of this little-known phenomenon and how to improve services for this population.
Panel Moderator:
nicole-fisherNicole Fisher, Founder and CEO, HHR Strategies

Nicole Fisher is the founder and CEO of HHR Strategies, a healthcare- and human-rights-focused advising firm. She is also a senior policy advisor on Capitol Hill and expert on health technology, neuroscience and reform, specifically as they impact vulnerable populations. Fisher runs a Health Innovation and Policy page at Forbes, highlighting ideas and advising companies and people that are changing the health landscape, and she curates a monthly international dinner series, “A Seat at the Table,” bringing together thought leaders for an off-the-record discussion of moving health policy and planning forward. She also runs the nonprofit Global Brain Health Coalition and is pursuing a doctoral degree in health policy at the University of North Carolina. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals and publications, and her talks can be found on the United Nations website and various news outlets. Before pursuing her PhD, Fisher earned her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago and her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri. Her healthcare and policy work at those institutions emphasized underserved populations, women’s and children’s issues, and brain health. She serves on several boards for domestic and international health organizations and frequently speaks on health reform, innovation, human rights, and the context surrounding health.
dodick-1David W. Dodick, MD, FRCP (C), FACP, Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

David W. Dodick, MD, FRCP (C), FACP, is Professor of Neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and a consultant in neurology at the Mayo Clinic, in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the Program Director of the Mayo Clinic Neurology Residency Program and Headache Medicine Fellowship Program. He is the Medical Director of the Headache Program and the Sports Neurology and Concussion Program at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He is the Chair of the American Academy of Neurology Concussion Symposium Workgroup, and Chair of the US Academic Headache Directors Consortium. Dr Dodick is board certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). He also holds United Council for Neurologic Subspecialtiescertification in headache medicine and ABPN certification in vascular neurology. Dr Dodick has authored more than 325 peer-reviewed publications and coauthored 10 books. He is President of the International Headache Society, Immediate past-Editor-in-Chief of Cephalalgia, Chair of the American Migraine Foundation, and Past-President of the American Headache Society.
sarahSarah A. Raskin, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Trinity College

Sarah A. Raskin, Ph.D. is a Board Certified Clinical Neuropsychologist and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She received her BA in Behavioral Biology from Johns Hopkins University and her PhD in Neuropsychology from the City University of New York Graduate Center. She has published numerous articles investigating neuropsychological functions and cognitive rehabilitation for a variety of disorders, including brain injury. She co-authored the Memory for Intentions Test (MIST) published by Psychological Assessment Resources. She is co-author with Catherine Mateer of Neuropsychological Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, published by Oxford University Press (2000) and is the editor of Neuroplasticity and Rehabilitation, published by Guilford Press (2011).
Javier Cárdenas, MD, Director, Barrow Concussion Network and Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center

Dr. Cárdenas is the director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, a multidisciplinary clinic that is nationally recognized for comprehensive patient care. Since 2009, the Center has treated thousands of individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury due to sports, accidents, and domestic violence. He is also the director of the Barrow Concussion Network, the most comprehensive statewide concussion education, prevention, and treatment program in the United States. Dr. Cárdenas provides sideline concussion coverage for Arizona State University and the NFL. He serves on the NFL’s Head, Neck & Spine Committee, the Sport Medical Advisory Committee of the National Federation of High Schools, is chair of the Arizona Interscholastic Association Sport Medical Advisory Committee, and chair of the Arizona Governor’s Council on Spinal and Head Injuries. He was awarded Arizona State University’s Young Alumni award in 2014 and the 2015 American Academy of Neurology Advocate Year for his work in concussion prevention.
rob-kRobert Knechtel, J.D., M.D., Chief Operating Officer and Director of the BRAIN Program, Sojourner Center

Robb Knechtel, J.D., M.D., was appointed Sojourner Center’s COO in December 2014 where he also serves as the interim director of the Sojourner BRAIN Program. Dr. Knechtel was most recently a partner at Wiemelt Knechtel, a boutique Intellectual Property and FDA regulatory law rm with of ces in Phoenix and Chicago. He has led technology, medical and pharmaceutical, and manufacturing companies as president/ CEO, COO, and as general counsel over the course of his 25-year career. Dr. Knechtel became involved with Sojourner Center as a volunteer in 2010. Until recently, he served on the Sojourner Center Board of Directors. Dr. Knechtel holds a B.S. degree in Political Science from Northern Illinois University, a Doctor of Medicine degree from Utesa School of Medicine and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University.

4:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Closing Remarks

Travel and Accommodation


For those traveling to the Symposium from outside of the Phoenix area, we recommend booking accommodation as soon as possible. Sojourner Center has blocked a limited number of rooms at the Hyatt Regency Phoenix which is within walking distance of the Symposium venue. If you are interested in booking one of these rooms, please contact us at symposium@www.sojournercenter.org.

These are additional hotels within walking distance to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in Downtown Phoenix, AZ:

The closest airports to the venue are Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) which is a 10-minute drive away, and Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport (AZA) which is about 30 minutes away.