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Cedar Valley Mental Health Summit


Friday, September 23, 2022


Main Campus—Tama Hall

Map and Directions


To equip our community's service delivery professionals with tools and best practices to support those who face mental health challenges. We seek to help professionals, who work with these individuals on a daily basis, gain a better understanding of the underlying issues of these individuals' behaviors, as well as how to best respond in a positive, healthy, and impactful way. We also intend to provide attendees with information on local mental health resources, as well as resources for continued learning opportunities. This year's Summit will focus on the Impact and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Nurses, EMS professionals, substance abuse counselors, social workers, educators, and other healthcare providers.

Continuing Education

Continuing education units will be offered for educators, EMS professionals, nurses, substance abuse counselors, social workers, and other healthcare providers. Participants must attend the entire conference. No partial credit will be awarded. Allied health professionals are responsible for reviewing the governing rules of their board to determine if appropriate subject matter will apply for continuing education.

Conference Details and Registration

Date: Friday, September 23
Time: 8:00am–5:00pm
Cost: $60 / person – includes continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks
Location: Hawkeye Community College – Main Campus, Tama Hall Auditorium

Call 319-296-4290 for more information or register online for the Mental Health Summit.

Register for the Mental Health Summit


7:30am–8:15am Check-in and Breakfast
8:15am–8:30am Welcome and Opening Remarks
Dr. Todd Holcomb, President, Hawkeye Community College

Keynote: Stephanie Foo
Mental Illness: Disability or Superpower?

Stephanie Foo, journalist and author of What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing from Complex PTSD, talks about the difference practitioners can make when they encourage their clients to see a nuanced perspective on their mental health conditions. What happens when you cut down on pathologizing, become your clients' equal, and focus instead on the potential to harness trauma into a superpower?

9:15am–9:30am Break/Vendors
9:30am–10:15am Keynote: Stephanie Foo
(presentation continued)
10:15am–11:15am Speaker: Jessica Christensen, Iowa Regional Trainer, MidAmerica MHTTC
Professional Well-being in the Era of COVID-19
11:15am–12:00pm Lunch and Vendors
12:00pm–1:00pm Speaker: Alex Rohn, Director of Therapeutic Programs, Please Pass the Love
Please Pass the Love
1:00pm–1:15pm Break and Vendors
1:15pm–2:15pm Speaker: Molly Mackey, Director of Knowledge Acquisition and Transfer at Optimae LifeServices and chief learning officer at the LEAdeRNship Institute LLC
Trauma-Informed Empathy (TIE)
2:15pm–2:30pm Snacks and Vendors
2:30pm–3:30pm Speaker: Rebecca Renze, Professional School Counselor, Waterloo Community School District
Trauma-Informed Resiliency-Focused Practices: Looking Beyond Behaviors
3:30pm–4:30pm Speaker: Jordan Dunn, LISW, IADC, Clinical Director, Pathways Behavioral Services
Substance Use Disorder and COVID-19
4:30pm–4:45pm Closing Remarks

Keynote Presenter

Stephanie Foo

Stephanie Foo was diagnosed with Complex PTSD in 2018. "At the time, I looked good on paper — a successful journalist in a happy relationship — but I had been having panic attacks every morning in my office for months. After I got diagnosed, I found it impossible to maintain the veneer of perfection I was trying so desperately to uphold, and instead dedicated my life to healing from C-PTSD. But because C-PTSD is an under-researched, under-diagnosed condition, it was hard to find material on it, and many of the books I did read made me feel pathologized, stigmatized and alone. I told myself that when I finally healed, I would write the book I so wanted to read when I was first diagnosed — a stigma-busting, kind, first-person account with real science and solutions." The book, What My Bones Know, was released in 2022.

Stephanie previously worked as a radio producer for This American Life and Snap Judgment, and freelanced for podcasts like The Cut, Nancy, Reply All and 99% Invisible. Additionally, she created a video series for TAL that won an Emmy and made an app for sharing podcast audio. Today, Stephanie mostly edits audio pieces and writes, with her work being featured in The New York Times and Vox.


Jessica Christensen

Jessica Christensen has been an English-Language Arts and Reading teacher for 12 years. She received her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University in secondary English education and she also attained her master's degree in Differentiated Instruction through Graceland University. She is a native of Central Iowa and has always had a passion for working with youth especially when it comes to their social-emotional learning and impacting their mental health. Jessica is She is passionate about helping educators and students learn more about how to support their own mental health needs and therefore have more to give in supporting others' needs.

Alex Rohn

Alex Rohn is the director of therapeutic programs at Please Pass the Love where she facilitates support groups, assist in the creation of therapeutic programs, and provides presentations/workshops surrounding mental health. She is a licensed mental health counselor and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling in 2016. Alex has worked in a variety of academic settings providing individual and group therapy as well as education and outreach surrounding trauma mental health and stress management. 

Molly Mackey

Molly J. Mackey received her undergraduate degree and Master's of Business Administration from the University of Iowa. In2021 she earned her Certified Professional of Talent Development (CPTD) designation from the Association of Talent Development. She has a passion for business strategy, leadership and learning and has over 17 years of business and speaking experience. Molly currently serves as the Director of Knowledge Acquisition and Transfer at Optimae LifeServices and chief learning officer at the LEAdeRNship Institute LLC. She has taught business classes at the collegiate level since 2009 and currently partners with community colleges offering continuing education to businesses.

Rebecca Renze

Rebecca Renze has been both a teacher and counselor for the last 20 years and is currently a professional school counselor at Lincoln Elementary in Waterloo. Rebecca has a Bachelor or Arts in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education from the University of Northern Iowa and a Master's in Elementary Education from Viterbo University and a Master's in Counseling from the University of Northern Iowa. Rebecca has 150 hours of play therapy training and holds certifications as both a Trauma and Resiliency Practitioner and a Trauma and Resiliency Coach through STARR Commonwealth. She will complete her certification as a Trauma and Resiliency Trainer in the Summer of 2022.

Jordan Dunn

Jordan Dunn has worked at Pathways Behavioral Services since 2009 and currently serves as Clinical Director. Jordan previously worked as a substance use disorder counselor in settings including outpatient, jail-based, residential, and with the Blackhawk County Adult Drug Court program. From 2015-2021, Jordan worked as a SUD and mental health counselor and coordinator for Pathways' Outreach Office in downtown Waterloo. Jordan received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and Master of Social Work: Social Administration from the University of Northern Iowa.

Pre-Conference Event: QPR Training

QPR is a training that focuses on three steps anyone can learn to help prevent suicide. It is the most widely taught gatekeeper training in the world. You will learn how to question, persuade, and refer someone who may be suicidal. Ryan Nesbit, training instructor, is the co-director of Alive and Running Iowa and has done nearly 350 suicide prevention trainings. Ryan will share is own stories of suicide, loss, and suicidal intention. Plan for an interactive learning session, this training will be a combination of presentation, question and answers, and discussion points.

Date: Thursday, September 22
Time: 6:00pm–8:00pm
Cost: Free
Location: Hawkeye Community College – Main Campus, Tama Hall Auditorium

Register for the FREE Pre-Conference Event


  1. community events
  2. continuing education
  3. continuing education health
  4. mental health
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