The Southwest Coalition for Substance Abuse Issues


2017 Spring Conference @ Silver Cross Hospital Conference Rooms 1B & 1C
May 5 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Culture in Treatment

Working from their mutual foundation and years of experience working within a diverse community, Doctors Strauss and Grajeda will review the importance of cultural awareness and clinician cultural competency. Additionally, participants will obtain a brief overview Latino-specific therapeutic culture concepts which have become increasingly critical knowledge within the helping fields.

Educational Objectives:

  • Participants will review the definition of cultural awareness and the concepts behind it;
  • Participants will understand necessity of clinician cultural competency;
  • Participants will obtain a brief overview of Latino culture concepts that are valuable in providing therapy.

Presented by:

Kristine Strauss, PsyD, CADC and Sergio Grajeda, MD, PhD, LCSW, CADC, LSOTP, LSOE

Ethics in the Workplace

Ethical Standards are used to give direction to counselors in making decisions concerning their relationship with their clients, peers and society. Each discipline has it’s own, but all share some commonalities. This workshop will review the Ethical Standards of the National Association of Social Workers, American Counseling Association and the Illinois Certification Board and provide the opportunity to discuss and practice applying the standards in various scenarios.

Educational Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to demonstrate knowledge on current ethical standards for being a counselor;
  • Participants will be able to apply ethical standards to real life situations and identify the reasoning behind such application;
  • Participants will be able to demonstrate clear decision making in situations where ambiguity exists regarding ethical standards

Presented by:

Robert Snipes, CADC


6 CEU’s available for


(ICB was formerly known as IAODAPCA)


Presenter Bios:

Kristine Strauss, PsyD, CADC has been involved in the development, implementation and participation in specialty/problem solving courts. She has provided sex offender and domestic violence specific evaluations and treatments, restoration to fitness evaluation and treatment, substance use evaluation and outpatient treatment, anger management assessment and treatment, facilitation of parenting classes, and psychological testing. Dr. Strauss also has experience in creating and facilitating psychosocial rehabilitation groups for the chronically mentally ill. Additionally, she has conducted emergency department assessments for behavioral health admissions. Dr. Strauss has provided trainings for clinicians, Illinois public defenders, probation officers, and various officers of the Court. a co-develop the skills and attitudes necessary for major life changes.

Sergio Grajeda, MD, PhD, LCSW, CADC, LSOTP, LSOE has extensive training in adult and juvenile forensic treatment including sex offender specific treatment, sexually reactive children, survivors of sexual abuse, substance use and anger management treatment. Additionally, Dr. Grajeda has worked in the medical field, both as a practitioner and a social worker. Most recently, he began working with the homeless veterans population. Dr. Grajeda has worked for numerous years in the under-served Latino community in the Chicago-land area.

Robert Snipes CADC is a graduate of the Addictions Counseling program at College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn IL in 2000. He has worked as Recovery Home Manager, Counselor at the Illinois Department of Human Services, Lead Counselor for a DUI Service Provider, Director of Outpatient Services and currently Director of Intensive Residential Treatment at Stepping Stones in Joliet IL. He has been directly involved in developing policy and procedures, presentations on Recovery Planning, Continued Stay Reviews based on ASAM Criteria and has been instrumental in developing procedures and modalities for working with individuals addicted to Heroin and other opioids.

Please print, complete and send in the form below to register:

2017 Spring Conference Brochure

May Coalition Monthly Meeting @ Stepping Stones
May 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Topic: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)

Presenter: Elizabeth Schaefer, MA, LPC

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, originally conducted in the mid-1990s, was one of the first studies to connect childhood trauma to negative health outcomes such as depression, heart disease, severe obesity, suicide attempts, and substance abuse. It also highlighted the prevalence of childhood trauma in America: Out of the original 17,000+ participants, nearly two-thirds endorsed having experienced at least one ACE (out of a possible 10) before the age of 18. Clients who present with both a substance abuse disorder and a history of repeated or severe traumas will need to address their trauma history as part of long-term relapse prevention, in order to ensure they do not return to self-medication.


  1. Understand and articulate the relationships between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and adult health risks and behaviors
  2. Understand the relationship between ACEs and social outcomes
  3. Understand the effects of ACEs and toxic stress on childhood brain development

Presenter Bio:

Elizabeth Schaefer, MA, LPC, has been working in the fields of mental health and substance abuse since 2011. She is currently a counselor and occasional case manager at the Intensive Residential Treatment program at Stepping Stones, where she teaches skills from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, educates clients about trauma and its effects, and enjoys running groups on all topics.

June Coalition Monthly Meeting @ University of St. Francis
Jun 20 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

We will be meeting in the President’s Room in Tower Hall. The room is next to the cafeteria on the first floor.

Driving directions:
Plenty of parking is available in the Lots “B” & “B+”

Topic: Pros & Cons of Medical Marijuana Legalization in Illinois: A Debate

Presenter: Larry Dunbar, MS, CAADC, CPS, PCGC, MISA2 and the students of The University of St. Francis Substance Abuse Counseling Program:

Jilan Delk – Junior – Pro

Sandra Jankowski – Senior – Con

Skyler Kern – Senior – Con

Marcus Melancon – Junior – Pro


To provide to the audience the pros and cons of medical marijuana legalization in the State of Illinois. The goal will be to provide the viewer with facts upon which they can make their own, educated thoughts on the topic. The panel will provide information gleaned from journal articles and research on the topic.


  1. Introduction of panel
  2. Presentation of Pros
  3. Presentation of Cons
  4. Discussion between the students
  5. Questions and Answers
July Coalition Monthly Meeting @ No Meeting in July
Jul 19 @ 11:44 am – 12:44 pm
August Coalition Monthly Meeting @ Gateway Joliet
Aug 15 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Topic: Working with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Clients

Presenter: Amanda Jenkins, MA, LCPC


1. Become familiar with terms such as transgender, intersex, genderqueer, nonconforming, and nonbinary.

2. Learn how to correctly use pronouns with gender nonconforming clients.

3. Learn about the issues that are facing this population, with emphasis on mental health and substance use.

Many clinicians feel unprepared to work with transgender and gender nonconforming clients. This training will help clinicians feel more comfortable with the language and pertinent issues central to working with this underserved population. Leave feeling more competent and prepared.

Speaker Bio:

Amanda Jenkins is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with experience in LGBTQ+ health care, substance use, community mental health, and intensive outpatient/partial hospitalization settings. From the time of her counseling internship at the ground-breaking HIV/LGBTQ+ health center Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC, Amanda has developed a specialty in working with this population across treatment settings. Amanda currently works at Hope Enrichment Center, a private practice in Palos Heights, IL. Amanda identifies as female, and uses she/her pronouns.

September Coalition Monthly Meeting @ Stepping Stones Conference Center
Sep 19 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Topic: Generation Found

Presenter: Robert Snipes

Generation Found is the story of Archway Academy, a recovery high school based in Houston, Texas, and of the community in which it is nested. It tells the story of the community and the youth who were at risk of and involved in substance use, the parents, school personnel and community professionals who came together to address the problem. Devastated by an epidemic of addiction, Houston faced the reality of burying and locking up its young people at an alarming rate. And so in one of the largest cities in America, visionary counselors, law school dropouts, aspiring rock musicians, retired football players, oil industry executives, and church leaders came together to build the world’s largest peer-driven youth and family recovery community.
Generation Found takes a close look at how a system of treatment centers, sober high schools, alternative peer groups, and collegiate recovery programs can exist in concert to intervene early and provide a real and tested long-term alternative to the “War on Drugs.”

Following the showing of the 90-minute Generation Found video, a discussion will be held with the attendees, focusing on identifying the key components that made development and launching of the school possible, the components of the school that contribute to its success, the creation of alternative peer groups to support the recovery of Archway students, and the work of community members in supporting substance use prevention and treatment in Houston.


  1. Describe the situation in Houston that lead to the establishment of Archway Academy.
  2. Identify the community members and groups that supported the Academy.
  3. Discuss the community work that occurred outside of the school as part of the overall effort to address youth substance use and addiction.
  4. Identify key issues that brought different community resources together and enabled them to address the substance use problem in Houston.
October Coalition Monthly Meeting @ Woodridge Interventions Woodridge II
Oct 17 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Topic: “Current Trends in Risky Behaviors”

Presenter: Kim Pinkston

This workshop will focus on briefly exploring the current trends in risky behaviors for adolescents and adults, as identified by current research.  These trends include the continuation of marijuana use in adolescents, e-cigarettes, and the dangers of fentanyl, just to name a few.  We will explore old trends that still pose a risk today and learn about some new ones that may be too unreal to be true.  The point of the workshop is open up a conversation about how times are changing and we are becoming more creative with our risky behaviors.


Kim Pinkston has worked in the addictions field for over twenty years, focusing her attention on utilizing movement and other expressive arts to assist in the exploration of a healthy body, mind and spirit.  She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist, and Certified Movement Analyst.  Kim currently works as the Training Supervisor for Abraxas, providing staff education and training at the Southwood and Woodridge sites.  Kim has been a guest instructor at Columbia College Chicago, South Suburban Community College, and Western Michigan University.  Kim has also presented at several IAODAPCA Spring conferences and IADA fall workshops.

November Coalition Monthly Meeting @ Stepping Stones Treatment Center
Nov 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Topic: Introduction to Cultural Humility

Presenter: Gabriela Zapata-Alma, LCSW, CADC

Learning Objectives:

1) Identify key differences between Cultural Humility & Cultural Competence.

2) Identify 4 basic components and values of Cultural Humility.

3) Increase the practice of self-reflection: examining how one’s own culture(s) and experiences impact assessment of and interventions with others.

4) Recognize how history can continue to shape present-day beliefs and behaviors.

Workshop Description

Highly vulnerable populations often present with chronic needs, complex trauma, high ambivalence and diminished opportunities for self-determination as well as self-efficacy. As such, it can be challenging for service providers to effectively engage these populations, and empower them to achieving greater stability and self-sufficiency. Often these populations are rejected by or discharged from social service settings due to the many barriers they encounter and present to accessing services. Additionally, many individuals and communities have developed mistrust of service systems due to experiences of both personal and historical trauma. Complex client needs coupled with significant barriers, requires service provision to be non-pathologizing, highly individualized and adaptable, while also engaging clients as experts in their own lives and building upon their existing strength and resilience.

Cultural Humility provides a highly applicable and grounded framework for the flexible delivery of services to highly vulnerable populations across diverse cultures, communities, and needs. Many times we work with individuals and communities that are different from our own, which can work as a natural reminder for us as service providers to reflect on our differences and how these may impact our clinical process and service delivery. This workshop will explore cultural issues not only where we experience difference, but also in contexts where we share culture with our clients, as these situations can often present the greater risk of engaging assumptions and less effective practice.

Through  brief lecture, case presentation, small group activities, and self-assessment/reflection exercises, this workshop helps participants examine and reflect on intersectionality, as well as how individual, group and system-level practices and environments support diverse and vulnerable populations, and ultimately how to improve on building safety for our clients to access and engage our services.

Trainer Bio

Gabriela Zapata-Alma, LCSW, CADC, is the Director of Substance Use Treatment Programs at Thresholds, Co-Owner/Founder of Roots Counseling & Training Solutions, Independent Consultant for both the Illinois Co-Occurring Center for Excellence and the Midwest Harm Reduction Institute, as well as Adjunct Faculty at The University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. Gabriela brings over a decade of experience providing direct services, training, and consultation, as well as designing and leading programs using Motivational Interviewing, Harm Reduction, Trauma-informed Care, Housing First, and third wave behavioral interventions. Gabriela graduated from University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, earning certifications in Evidence-based Practice and Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counseling. They currently serve as an executive member of Department of Human’s Services / Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Women’s Committee of the Illinois Advisory Council, and President of the Southwest Coalition on Substance Abuse. In 2017, Gabriela was recognized by the Illinois Association of Addiction Professionals chapter of NADAAC with the Rising Star award. Gabriela has presented locally and nationally on a range of topics specific to serving highly vulnerable and medically complex populations, and has provided consultation and technical assistance to programs serving homeless individuals, families, and youth with co-occurring disorders locally, nationally, and internationally.


Holiday Luncheon @ City Gate Grille
Dec 19 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

The luncheon for the Coalition is December 19th 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.  Members only.  Please RSVP to Gloria Bloodsaw at 312-285-3132.

January Coalition Monthly Meeting @ Soft Landing Recovery Naperville
Jan 16 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location is in Suite #201

Topic:  OTP vs. OBOT

Presenter: Natalie Thukkaram


Medication assisted treatment. Natalie will discuss how Soft Landing Recovery implemented MAT into client care with regards to primarily opioid use disorder.  She will discuss the differences between Opioid Treatment Program and Office Based Opioid Treatment program.


1. Educated on OTP

2. Educate on OBOT

3. Focus on the difference between OTP and OBOT – explore myths and facts about MAT.

Speaker bio:

Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in Addiction and Trauma. At Soft Landing Recovery, Natalie currently serves as Program Director. Demonstrating quality care and compassion, Natalie oversees conversions of inquiries to admissions and leads a team of dedicated professionals in navigating barriers and guiding patients comfortable through the admission process; from initial contact to induction into the Soft Landing Program.