Ninth Annual Riggs-Yale Conference on Developmental Psychopathology, Family Process, and Social Context: Supporting Children, Families, and Communities in the time of COVID-19

Saturday, July 25, 2020 

8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Remote learning via Zoom hosted by the Austen Riggs Center

Please join us for a “virtual” working conference focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and their families in our local Berkshire community. Grounding ourselves in an understanding of toxic stress and learning from other urban and rural settings, we will reflect on the challenges faced by educators and clinicians working with vulnerable children and families in Berkshire County at this extraordinary time. We will then move to understanding the factors that support resilience in the face of adversity. Through both didactic presentations and active discussion, we will explore ways of understanding and dealing with the unique challenges of our current context; we hope to explore issues such as economic strain, increased domestic violence, school closures, remote access to learning, and telemedicine as well as the ways clinicians and educators can help children and families cope with these challenges.

We hope you will join us for a morning of learning together. There will be no charge for participation but only those who are registered may attend. Please contact Lee Watroba at lee.watroba@austenriggs.net for further information.

CONTINUING EDUCATION CREDITS AUTHORIZED:  4.5 (MD, PhD, Social Work, LMHC, Nursing Contact Hours) - see details below.

Register now


  • Karen Baicker, Executive Director of the Yale Child Study Center–Scholastic Collaborative for Child & Family Resilience; Publisher for Family and Community Engagement (FACE) at Scholastic 

  • Deb Buccino, MD, Pediatrician affiliated with Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington, MA; Instructor in Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine  

  • Brenda J. Butler, MD, Medical Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Berkshire Health System, The Brien Center 

  • Nancy Close, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Yale Child Study Center and the Clinical Director of the MOMS Partnership® and the Yale Parent and Family Development Program; Director of Clinical Services for Minding the Baby 

  • Jennifer Daily, LICSW, Founder of Jennifer Daily Counseling and Associates, co-author of the S.E.L.F. Psychoeducational Group Curriculum through The Sanctuary Institute 

  • Linda Mayes, MD, Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology and Director of the Yale Child Study Center; Special Advisor to the Dean in the Yale School of Medicine 

  • Peg Oliveira, PhD, Director of the Gesell Program in Early Childhood at The Yale Child Study Center and founding Director of 108 Monkeys, a yoga service organization in New Haven, CT. 

  • Steven Southwick, MD, Glenn H. Greenberg Professor of Psychiatry, PTSD and Resilience at Yale University Medical School and Yale Child Study Center, Medical Director of the Clinical Neuroscience Diversion of the Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine 


8:30-8:45 a.m.  Welcome, introductions, and polling questions 

Notes from the Front: What’s Happening with Our Children and Families? 

8:45-9:00 a.m.  New Haven, CT: Nancy Close, PhD   

9:00-9:15 a.m.  Pittsfield, MA: Brenda Butler, MD  

9:15-9:30 a.m.  Grundy, TN: Karen Baicker  

9:30-9:45 a.m.  Southern Berkshire County, MA: Deb Buccino, MD, and Jennifer Daly, LICSW  

9:45-10:10 a.m.  Reflection/Discussion 

10:10-10:30 a.m.  Optional stretching breakout room with Peg Oliveira, PhD 

Toxic Stress as a Framework for Understanding the Impact of COVID-19  

10:30-11:10 a.m.  Linda Mayes, MD  

Building Resilience 

11:10-11:40 a.m.  Steven Southwick, MD 

Creative Approaches to Intervening in Berkshire County 

11:40 a.m.-12:20 p.m.  Break-out groups 

12:20-12:30 p.m.  Break 

12:30-1:00 p.m.  Reflections on learning 

Ending Yoga/Meditation 

1:00-1:30 p.m.  Self-care session with Peg Oliveira, PhD 

Learning Objectives  

  • Participants will be able to identify the range of stressors experienced by children and families related to COVID19. 
  • Participants will be able to recognize the effects of COVID19 on systems of care. 
  • Participants will be able to describe the effects of toxic stress on children. 
  • Participants will be able to discuss strategies for building and supporting resilience in children and families in relation to COVID19 stressors. 
  • Participants will be able to practice strategies of self-care through relaxation and yoga techniques. 

This presentation is designed for mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and nurses, with a _0__registration fee. Requirements for course completion include: Signing in and out on the attendance roster, attending the entire session, and completing a course evaluation. Certificate of attendance will be issued electronically through the CME Tracker website, available to print immediately after submission of the electronic evaluation form. 

The Austen Riggs Center follows all state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).  In accordance with the ADA, the Austen Riggs Center is committed to accessibility. If you need accommodations for your online course, please contact info@austenriggs.net.   

Continuing Education 

(MD, PhD, Social Work, LMHC, Nursing Contact Hours) 

The Austen Riggs Center designates this live activity for a maximum of 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The Austen Riggs Center is accredited by the Massachusetts Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The Austen Riggs Center also designates this live interactive webinar for 4.5 continuing education credit(s) (CE) for psychology. 

This live interactive webinar program meets the requirements of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing at 244 CMR 5.00 for (4.5) contact hours.    

This live interactive webinar meets the requirements of the MaMHCA, authorization # TBD for 4.5 category 1 continuing education credits. 

The Austen Riggs Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for the program and its content. For additional information about this program, please call the Erikson Institute Education Coordinator, at 413.931.5230. 

The Austen Riggs Center’s policy on disclosure, in keeping with requirements of the Massachusetts Medical Society, requires continuing education planners and speakers to disclose any relevant financial interest or other relationship with commercial entities that could pose a potential conflict of interest in the presentation of this educational activity. The Austen Riggs Center Continuing Medical Education Committee has established policies for identifying and resolving all conflicts of interest prior to this educational activity. The Austen Riggs Center accepts no commercial support of any kind to support our CME/CE activity. 

The Austen Riggs Center, #1344, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Austen Riggs Center maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider Approval Period: 2/2/2020-2/2/2023. Social workers completing this live interactive webinar course will receive (4.5) continuing education credits. 

For a listing of jurisdictions that accept ACE, please visit www.aswb.org/ace/ace-jurisdiction-map/