Mother and child painting

w/KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Jonathan Dalton
and featuring Dr. Parul Bawa, Chasity Rush, Dr. Dwonna D. Thompson Lenoir, and Christi Valentini-Lackner

Join Hamilton County ESC in collaboration with Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services for our fall symposium, Getting a Grip on Anxiety, as speakers define anxiety and ways for educators to support students struggling with anxiety in the learning environment. This is an opportunity to broaden your knowledge and resources to implement at school, foster positive classroom culture, and increase academic achievement and student engagement.


*To keep everyone safe and healthy, this event is socially distanced. Masks are required.

Continental Breakfast and Registration

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM


8:30 AM – 8:45 AM

Mindy Fischer, Center Director of Behavioral Health and Mental Wellness at Hamilton County ESC, and Linda Gallagher, Vice President of Mental Health and Addiction Services at Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board

Keynote: Helping Youth Living with Anxiety – Evidence-based but Counterintuitive Strategies

8:45 AM – 10:45 AM

Dr. Johnathan Dalton addresses the increase in childhood anxiety that we are witnessing, the differences between adaptive anxiety and anxiety disorders, and the central role that avoidance plays in developing and maintaining problematic anxiety. He will provide a practical toolbox of specific skills that help reduce suffering in kids and teens struggling with anxiety.

Working With Anxious Minds

10:55 AM – 11:40 AM

Dr. Parul Bawa – Let’s review what causes anxiety and the symptoms and behaviors of anxiety students show. We will discuss accommodations for students and strategies to work with parents to maximize academic and social potential.

Lunch / Free time

11:40 AM – 12:50 PM

Visit the Calming Room, and explore the Informational Booth

Benzodiazepine Use Disorder – Addiction Potential for Medication Used for Anxiety Symptoms

12:50 PM – 1:35 PM

Chasity Rush – Explore an overview of the signs and symptoms of substance use disorders and how addiction stems from anxiety. We will discuss the potential for the development of addiction to prescribed medications and learn prevention strategies and ways to help someone who may be experiencing symptoms.

Combined Prevention for Substance Misuse and Anxiety

1:45 PM – 2:30 PM

Christi Valentini-Lackner – Substance misuse and anxiety in young people are public health problems requiring evidence-based, data-driven prevention strategies. In this session, we will discuss the effectiveness of combined universal school-based preventive interventions.

Understanding and Exploring Anxiety in Young Children

2:40 PM – 3:25 PM

Dr. Dwonna D. Thompson Lenoir – Learn how anxiety presents in children ages 0-5 years old and explore common behaviors and expressions, co-occurring symptoms, and common misconceptions of anxiety in young children. We will discuss helping young children cope with anxiety, learning ways to understand what may be causing the anxiety, and exploring ways to structure the environment for young children to reduce feelings of anxiety.

Closing Session – Managing Anxiety in the Classroom

3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

After exploring anxiety and how it impacts individuals, learn from Mindy Fischer and the Behavioral Health and Mental Wellness Team of Hamilton County ESC about how anxiety affects the school culture and gain strategies and structure ideas to mitigate anxiety in the classroom.

Featured Speakers

Dr. Jonathan Dalton

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Jonathan Dalton, is a licensed psychologist and the founder and director of the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change (CABC) in Rockville, MD. He received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Villanova University, a master’s degree in psychology from The Catholic University of America, and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Fordham University, specializing in child and family psychology. He completed two years of pre-doctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine – Kennedy Krieger Institute and advanced postdoctoral training at the Maryland Center for Anxiety Disorders at the University of Maryland. He specializes in treating anxiety disorders in children and teens, focusing on anxiety-based school refusal. He strongly believes in the importance of public outreach and frequently presents to student bodies, educators, mental health professionals, and community groups on the treatment of anxiety and related disorders.

Christi Valentini-Lackner, OCPS

Christi Valentini-Lackner, OCPS is an Ohio University graduate and Ohio-certified Prevention Specialist who has worked in the field of prevention for over 18 years. Christi serves as the director of Prevention Action at PreventionFIRST!. The Center for Prevention Action strives to influence community conditions and circumstances to reduce community-level alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use/misuse. She served as a board member for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Association (ADAPAO) and was the 2016 recipient of the ADAPAO Advocate Award.

Chasity Rush, MRC, LICDC-CS, LPCC

Chasity Rush, MRC, LICDC-CS, LPCC is a graduate of Wright State University with a Masters of Rehabilitation Counseling. She is a licensed independent chemical dependency counselor (LICDC) with supervising states and a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) in the State of Ohio. She has worked at Talbert House since 2013 and is currently the Training Coordinator of the Institute for Training and Development. Chasity has worked as a Clinical Supervisor and as an Associate Director in Community Corrections with the Agency. Her experience in direct care includes substance use disorder and mental health treatment.

Dr. Parul Bawa, MD

Dr. Parul Bawa, MD received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The Ohio State University and her degree in medicine from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, and is a member of the Cincinnati Pediatric Society. Dr. Bawa has served as Chief Resident at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and was in private practice in Glenview, Illinois, before joining Springdale-Mason Pediatrics in 2002. She is a recipient of the Emanuel O. Doyne Community Teaching Award (Mead-Johnson National Award) for 2014. Dr. Bawa loves the opportunity to be a part of children’s lives as they grow and develop. She believes that there should be an emphasis on prevention and education at all levels, including parents, patients, and future physicians.

Dr. Dwonna D. Thompson Lenoir, Psy.D., LPCC-S

Dr. Dwonna D. Thompson Lenoir, Psy.D., LPCC-S has worked in the field of psychology since 1998 and comes with over 21 years of experience providing services to children, adults, and families. Dr. Dwonna earned her Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Psychology from Hampton University (Hampton, VA) in 1998 and her Masters of Arts (MA) degree in Counseling Psychology from Saint Xavier University (Chicago, IL) in 2000. Dr. Dwonna is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the State of Ohio. She is a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) having obtained her degree from Adler University (Chicago, IL) in 2011. Dr. Dwonna is currently the Director of the Young Child Institute with Central Clinic Behavioral Health Services and teaches psychology courses at Wright State University as an adjunct professor. In addition, Dr. Dwonna is owner of LiveWell Group, LLC, a private psychological services practice in Blue Ash, Ohio where she helps individuals and families live their best lives.

Hamilton County ESC Conference Center
11083 Hamilton Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio 45231
October 20th, 2021
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

$150 per person

(7) Contact Hours available to all participants
*CEU credit is available to Social Workers only for an additional $15.00 per person*

There will be two food trucks available to choose from for lunch!

Sponsored by Hamilton County ESC and PreventionFirst!

HCESC and PreventionFirst logos - green ball and multi-colored stick people
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