NJAMHAA and its IT Project’s Virtual Conferences Promise Full Experiences

August 17, 2020

As part of the growing trend of offering virtual events to ensure everyone's safety during the coronavirus pandemic, the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies (NJAMHAA) and its Information Technology (IT) Project are planning virtual versions of their popular conferences. These events will provide as much high quality content from experts, as well as networking opportunities with vendors and fellow providers, as all the previous in-person conferences have offered.

"We are excited to continue our mission of expanding behavioral healthcare providers' knowledge and skills to enhance their effectiveness in providing life-saving services through a virtual platform. Our upcoming conferences are two examples of how we have not missed a beat in offering relevant training, as well as in advocating on behalf of our members, throughout the pandemic," said Debra L. Wentz, PhD, President and CEO of NJAMHAA.

NJAMHAA is working with Trusted Provider Network (TPN), which has been offering a digital platform to connect behavioral health professionals, treatment facilities, hospitals and employee wellness programs. "We began hosting virtual continuing education events on behalf of behavioral health associations throughout the country in response to COVID-19. We are proud to now be the nation's largest virtual conference provider for the behavioral health industry," said Dick MacWilliams, Chief Operating Officer at TPN.

"Based on their impressive technical expertise and extensive understanding of the behavioral health field, I have no doubt that the TPN team will enable NJAMHAA to present conferences as effectively as we have done in person over the years," said June Noto, NJAMHAA's Vice President of IT, Human Resources and Administrative Services. "We are working together to ensure seamless events and an equally smooth registration process leading up to them."

Conferences Continue to Offer Invaluable Information, Skill Development and Networking

IT Conference, No Fooling, IT is Critical!, October 21, 2020
"As if coronavirus wasn't scary enough, scammers are using this pandemic in the most notorious ways by preying on those who are already vulnerable and individuals who are working from home, as well as organizations, especially in the healthcare industry. With these challenges in mind, the IT Project has lined up a keynote speaker and workshop presenters who will focus on cyber security," Noto said.

The IT conference will begin with a keynote presentation, Converting Awareness into Action: It Begins with Culture, during which Daniel Eliot, Director of Education & Strategic Initiatives, National Cyber Security, will explain how to create more resilient organizations in the face of increased cyber-attacks, clarify misconceptions of cyber security, and will share tips for engaging employees to convert awareness into action. The program will continue with workshops covering more aspects of cyber security and other topics, including transforming data into actionable analytics, working with the cloud and using artificial intelligence in clinical programming.

Annual Conference, Reimagining Health Care, October 29-30, 2020
"As the healthcare system is constantly evolving, we developed the theme for this conference months before the coronavirus crisis began. Now, this theme is even more fitting because of the changes in service delivery the pandemic has required. Similarly, while the demand for mental healthcare and substance use treatment has been increasing for years, it has risen exponentially due to the impact of COVID-19, as well as other traumatic events - most notably, incidents that have led to a much needed focus on racism, as well as health and social inequities," Dr. Wentz said. "As part of our mission to enable providers to maximize their effectiveness in helping individuals cope with the physical and mental health impacts of situations they encounter, as well as diagnosed disorders, this conference will provide knowledge clinicians and agency executives need to provide the most effective services and ensure the ongoing viability of their organizations."

NJAMHAA will launch the Reimaging Health Care conference with a discussion about population and public health, with a focus on mental health, substance use disorders and social determinants of health, with Leana S. Wen, MD, MSc, Visiting Professor of Health Policy and Management and Distinguished Fellow, Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity, Milken Institute School of Public Health, The George Washington University. The second day will begin with a keynote presentation, The Behavioral Market: Disruption & Evolution, during which John Talbot, PhD, Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS, will discuss the rapidly changing behavioral healthcare environment and how providers can prepare for it. Talbot will follow up this presentation with a workshop to share strategies for ensuring sustainability.

Other workshop topics throughout the two days will include predicting suicide risk; outcomes management; social determinants of health; achieving organizations' financial sustainability; improving medication adherence and health outcomes; serving veterans and individuals involved in the criminal justice system; and providing integrated care. In addition to earning continuing education (CE) units from each workshop during the event, providers can earn up to an additional 1.25 CE units by viewing the workshop recordings and completing a quiz and evaluation for each within one year following the conference without any additional fees. "This equates to a maximum savings of $300, depending on the number of additional workshops each individual attends," according to Noto.

Conferences also Feature Networking and Award Presentations
NJAMHAA and its IT Project are grateful to conference sponsors. For the IT Conference, sponsors to date are 4River, Applied Business Services and Chorus Communications.

Sponsors of the Annual Conference to date are Ammon Labs, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, CarePlus New Jersey, Hackensack Meridian Health Carrier Clinic, NextStep Solutions, and TopLab.

Both conferences will offer networking opportunities with vendors - including specific time slots to interact with attendees and links for participants to connect with vendors throughout the events. These companies offer various products and services that help enhance efficiency and effectiveness of mental healthcare and substance use treatment services and supports.

The IT Project will also present its 10th Annual IT Hero Awards to highlight individuals' and organizations' excellent use of technology to improve business and/or clinical operations. These awards are open to members of NJAMHAA, including its Councils, and member agencies that contract with the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Division of Developmental Disabilities, and the Department of Children and Families, Children's System of Care.

Nominations are due September 18, 2020. Details are available at www.njamhaa.org/events.

During the Annual Conference, Courage & Compassion awards will be presented to honor service providers and agency leaders. Unique highlights of this event will be presentation of awards to two celebrities. Ricky Byrd, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2015 Inductee with Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, will receive the Rock & Roll Recovery Troubadour Award in honor of his music that focuses on substance use recovery and his role as a Certified Recovery Coach. Erik Coleman, former American football safety in the National Football League, will receive the Intercepting Addiction Award in recognition of his work speaking to students to prevent substance use and helping individuals and their families who are experiencing drug addiction.

Links to event details and online registration are available at www.njamhaa.org/events.

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