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Community Conversation Series

RIAIMH's Community Conversation Series (CCS) is a 6-session (monthly) series that is organized around a broad theme to showcase IMH-relevant research, clinical practice, and/or policy work in RI.  Our goal is to offer professional development opportunities that serve to enhance knowledge of (and are aligned with) the RI Infant Mental Health Competencies and Endorsement®.  Participants are encouraged to attend the full series to experience the arc of conversation about the topic, deepen connections with others in the RI infant/family workforce community, and broaden awareness of the range of innovative leaders in RI. 

The 202 Community Conversation Series facilitates an understanding of Zero to Thrive's "Strong Roots" model, designed to promote resilience in pregnant women and families with young children, highlighting the power of positive relationships for healing.  We partner with the different service sectors in RI to learn from local leaders about how their unique programs might be aligned with (or informed by) the Strong Roots model.  Discussions include the needs of the workforce to implement programs that hold relationships in mind for the wellbeing of RI's babies, the 5 core components of the model in relation to the different sector, and discussions around issues of race, power, inequity and bias as we explore implications for mental health and wellbeing of infants, young children, and their families.

Total PD: 2 hours/session; up to 12 contact hours/year

In October, CCS combines events with our Celebrating Babies Annual Meeting, 3 hours of Advocacy for IMH

RIAIMH offers NASW and CNE credits, and CELP PD hours for most events. Please see event registration for more information.

General CEU eligibility requirements below. 

The Community Conversation series is open everyone. RIAIMH members may attend at no cost.

All session in this series offer IMH Competencies® aligned with the session's learning objectives. The IMH Competencies® are listed on the Attendance Certificate.

2021 Community Conversation Series

Strong Roots Encounters: Equity Matters For Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health

Kate Rosenblum, PhD., IMH-E® and Susan Dickstein, PhD., IMH-E®

Session Dates:
February 23, March 23, April 27, June 15, September 28 (canceled)   October 12, and November 9, 2021

Next Session

October 12, 2021,  8:30-11:30a. 

Community Conversation Series & Celebrating Babies Annual Meeting

Strong Roots Encounter: Equity Matters for Infant/Early Child Mental Health

Promoting IECMH in RI: Advocating for Change


Susan Dickstein, Ph.D., IMH-E®

Kate Rosenblum, PhD, IMH-E®

Leanne Barrett, IMH-E®

Cherie Cruz, MA, CLC, CPRS, CPST

Each 2021 CCS session, RIAIMH partners with a different service sector in RI to learn from local leaders about how their unique programs might be aligned with (or informed by) the Strong Roots model. We will discuss the needs of the workforce to implement programs that hold relationships in mind for the wellbeing of RI’s babies. We will continue to discuss the 5 core SR components of the model in relation to the different sectors. We will also center discussions around issues of race, power, inequity, and bias as we explore implications for the mental health and wellbeing of infants, young children, and their families.

This month we will also touch upon the Advocacy work in RI through Policy change.


Members fee: free Non-Members fee: $25/session CEU fee: $25/session


This session offers CNE, NASW CEUs, and CELP PD hours. Select CEUs during registration.

IMH Competencies Addressed:

Theoretical Foundations: Pregnancy and Early Parenthood and Attachment, Separation, Trauma, Grief, and Loss
Direct Service Skills: Advocacy

Susan Dickstein, Ph.D., IMH-E®

Welcomes & RIAIMH Annual Report

Kate Rosenblum, PhD, IMH-E®

Strong Roots Encounters: Community Collaboration

Leanne Barrett, IMH-E®
Advocating for Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health:
RIght from the 

Senior Policy Analyst at Rhode Island KIDS COUNT

Leanne works to improve early childhood policy statewide (Birth – Age 8). She is the coordinator of the Rhode Island Early Learning Council and a state leader in the early learning field. Leanne spearheaded the development of BrightStars, the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, managed the state’s Pre-K exploration and design process, and was the director for the state’s first evidence-based home visiting grant. She was the architect for the state legislation establishing tiered quality rates for child care and the Rhode Island Family Home Visiting Act. She has been a strong advocate to establish Rhode Island’s paid family leave program and earned sick leave policies. Prior to joining Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, Leanne was Vice President at United Way of Rhode Island and Program Manager at Work/Family Directions. She has a bachelor’s degree in developmental psychology from

Brown University and a master’s degree in child and family policy from Tufts University. Leanne is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Policy Mentor (Level IV).

Kaitlyn Rabb

Advocating for Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health:
RIght from the Start

Health Policy Analyst at RI Kids Count

Kaitlyn is responsible for policy analysis, advocacy, research, and project management in areas related to health. Kaitlyn received both her Bachelor of Arts and her Master of Public Health from Brown University. While at Brown, Kaitlyn wrote her master’s thesis on Black women’s breastfeeding experiences. She is deeply committed to reducing and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in maternal and child health. She has also worked on the issue of childhood obesity, developing training curriculum materials for a family-based child weight management intervention through the Hassenfeld Child Health Institute.

Kaitlyn also brings a deep commitment to community engagement. She worked with the Providence Healthy Communities Office on summer meals participation and as a Bonner Community Fellow led a team of Brown students providing math and science tutoring to students in Providence public schools.

Cherie Cruz, A.M., CLC, CPRS

Keeping Families Together: Advocating for
Young Children and Families Impacted by Parental Incarceration

Program Manager of the Parents as Teachers program at CCAP

Cherie is a first generation college graduate who transcended her own personal and family history of three generations of incarceration and involvement with the criminal injustice system to now hold two degrees from Brown University, a B.A. in Education Cum Laude, and a M.A. in Urban Education Policy as a UEP Fellow. Cherie currently runs a family visiting program, Parents as Teachers, and formerly worked as the Statewide System of Care Family and Youth Leadership Coordinator, working to empower the voices of families involved in the child welfare system. Cherie has a long history of advocacy in the community, including incorporating the first Parent Teacher Student Organization in Central Falls,and advocating for parent’s rights to volunteer in schools. Cherie has worked on various campaigns which includes the "Right to Vote", "Ban the Box", “Unshackling Pregnant Women” and ‘Fair Chance Licensing”. Cherie has also served an appointed role on the Governor's Council on Behavioral Health and the RI State Special Education Advisory Council, and was a co-lead of her local special education advisory council advocating for more children's mental health supports. Cherie is an active Board Member of the Transcending Through Education Foundation and the ReEntry Campus Program, both organizations working to reverse the School to Prison Pipeline. Cherie, along with fellow directly impacted Rhode Islanders, co-founded the Formerly Incarcerated Union of RI (FIU), a membership driven organization working to empower and support people who have been directly impacted by the criminal injustice system. Cherie was also named “ACLU of RI Lay Leader of the Decade, 2009-2019 and is a JLUSA Leading with Conviction 2020 graduate.

Brad Brockmann, JD, MDiv

Brad is an Asst. Professor of the Practice of Health Services, Policy & Practice in Brown University’s School of Public Health where
he has been designing and teaching courses
on incarceration, criminal justice, and health since 2013. He is a civil rights attorney whose career emphasis is on raising awareness at
the national and state levels about the healthcare issues and challenges facing incarcerated and other justice-involved populations as well as the individuals and institutions who are charged with their
custody and care. He provides education
and training opportunities in addition to collaborating with justice system stakeholders to identify and support projects that respond to the intersection of incarceration, recidivism, and public health locally and nationally. In 2020 he received the Howard R. Swearer Engaged Faculty Award for Teaching at Brown.

Alice Hamblett, MPH

Alice Hamblett, MPH, is a COVID-19 Data Analyst at the New York City Department
of Health and Mental Hygiene and an
Advisory Board Member of the Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island. She previously served as Director of Court Advocacy at the Center for Community Alternatives in Brooklyn, New York.

Breyanna Watson

Breyanna Watson is a senior at Brown University studying Public Health and
Biology. This past summer she worked as
an intern with the Formerly Incarcerated
Union of Rhode Island to continue and build upon the Keeping Families Together project.

Cole Exline

Cole Exline is a senior at Brown University studying Computational Biology and Public Health. He worked as an intern for the Formerly Incarcerated Union of Rhode Island (FIURI) this past summer on a variety of projects; he was introduced to the FIURI through Professor Bradley Brockmann’s course Designing Education for Better Prisoner and Community Health. He previously worked as a Public Health Scholar at the Rhode Island Department of Health on the Recovery Friendly Workplace Rhode Island Initiative.

Post Event Thoughts  --  June 15th's Community Conversation Series:

"I learned a lot about the social justice elements of Strong Roots practices. I would love to explore more about this topic and further my knowledge on this topic. I really loved how RIAIMH could reflect on the topic and gather strong leaders in the community to discuss, learn and grow together. THANK YOU."

"I see a real opportunity to build interconnectedness between child care centers and other agencies which support infants and their families in RI. This will enrich the overall support system for infants and support consistency among the many spokes of the wheel for our youngest citizens and their families."

"How to spread the work beyond our programs and agencies and get it into the bricks of our community?”

This WordArt "CLOUD" was created from participant's answers to the following question:

"What questions/thoughts/ideas relating to today's topic are most on your mind now?"

Thank you for your thoughtful responses, your participation is how change is made
and how systems improve for our families.

It is our time to "TEND THE FIELD".


Registration and Cancellation:

Pre-registration is required. Cancellation requests emailed to the event manager prior to 11:59 pm on Wednesdays before event, will receive a full refund. No refunds for cancellation requests received on or after Wednesday, regardless of the cause for cancellation including failure to join meeting on the day of the training. If the training cannot be held due to circumstances beyond the hosts’ control (natural disaster, strike, fire, severe weather, illness of speaker, speaker cancellation, etc.) the seminar will be rescheduled, if possible, and the registration fee applied to that date. If rescheduling is not possible or registrant cannot attend the rescheduled date, reimbursement will be provided less any actual costs accrued.

Instructions for ZOOM will be included in the confirmation and reminder email sent to all participants upon completion of registration.

For questions please contact Maryann Lynch, the RIAIMH Community Conversation Series Coordinator, program@riaimh.org 

Post Event Evaluation:

Nearly every RIAIMH event will have a post evaluation survey. We strive to include our members in many aspects of our Association and asking for their feedback is on the top of the list.

Evaluation links are shared through Zoom CHAT or upon exiting the event.  If you did not receive a post evaluation link, the post email from RIAIMH will include the link again.

Evaluations must be completed by all who wish to receive a CEU credit.

Continuing Education & Nursing Units: optional

Full attendance and participation in the small group exercises meets the qualifications for 2.0 hours of continuing education credit as required by the National Association of Social Workers, Rhode Island Chapter-NASW units, Northeast Multi Division (NEMD) for Nursing Professionals and the Center for Early Learning Professionals (CELP)-credit for Rhode Island's Early Childhood workforce.

In order to receive CE/CN Units, participants must register and purchase CE or CN units ($25) during event registration (CE/CN unit price is NOT included in registration).

Reminder, full attendance and participation in small group exercises are required in order to receive CE/CN units and no partial credit will be offered (participants must join meeting by 8:45 am at the latest). Failure to meet these requirements will prohibit RIAIMH from issuing certificates and no refund will be provided.

Participation Certificate:

All attendees will receive a Participation Certificate. This certificate lists speakers, title, date, and Infant Mental Health (IMH) Competencies®. Please use these competencies in your IMH Endorsement® Application. 

Please let us know if you have questions. program@riaimh.org     

Infant Mental Health Competencies®:

All RIAIMH events are aligned to the IMH-Competencies® .  They will be listed on your Participation or Continuing Education or Nursing Certificate.

To find upcoming sessions,  CLICK HERE for our EVENTS Calendar

RIAIMH members can see materials from past events HERE

RIAIMH is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

RIAIMH is a founding member of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health.

RIAIMH is an affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health.

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