Monday, October 12, 2015

Healthy Habits: Statewide FASD Conference (MN)

The Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) will host its fourth annual statewide FASD matters conference on November 19 and 20, 2015 at the Minneapolis Marriott NW in Brooklyn Park, MN. Each year, over 7,000 babies are born in Minnesota with prenatal alcohol exposure which puts them at higher risk for permanent brain damage and the lifelong challenges of living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
This year’s theme is “FASD across the lifespan”. FASD is a serious condition that impacts both the individual and their family. This conference is unique for bringing together parents and caregivers, as well as service providers in health care, mental health, addictions, justice, education, adoption, prevention, and child welfare to discuss how to address this lifelong disability both medically and socially. 
“A child with an FASD becomes an adult with an FASD” states MOFAS Executive Director, Sara Messelt.  “It is imperative that society understand that FASD is a complicated disability. There is a need for appropriate and proactive intervention and support to help these families and individuals impacted by an FASD live a full life.”

The 2015 FASD matters conference will feature several national guest speakers and keynotes: 
Singer and songwriter John McAndrew will deliver an inspirational performance.  He understands the FASD journey all too well, and his songs of forgiveness, healing, and stepping forward have lifted FASD communities around the United States.
National renowned FASD researcher Dr. Jeffrey Wozniak from the University of Minnesota will deliver a timely and informative research update.
Award winning author and New York Times reporter Susannah Cahalan will deliver a powerful keynote on her personal journey through stigma and misunderstanding.  Susannah is the author of the New York Times best-selling book, “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness.”  The first 200 registrants will receive a complimentary copy of Susannah’s powerful book.
MOFAS will host the Minnesota premiere screening of “The Barefoot Bandit.”  The film recounts the journey of Colton Harris Moore, a young man on the FASD spectrum who made international headlines when he stole an airplane and crash landed in the Bahamas. Amazingly, he survived and a major motion picture is being made about his life.  His story has been recounted on 60 minutes, 48 hours, and Dateline.
Commissioner Edward Ehlinger, MD, MSPH will deliver special remarks related to advancing health equity.  Dr. Ehlinger established the Center for Health Equity in 2013 to modify policies, systems, and environments to advance health equity for all Minnesotans and address inequities that contribute to health disparities.
Dan Dubovsky, MSW, LSW of the SAMHSA FASD Center of Excellence will deliver a closing keynote focused on strengths and hope!
The full program is attached or is available online HERE. Registration is open through November 12, 2015 and includes admission to all sessions, program materials, refreshment breaks, continental breakfast and lunch, and a certificate of attendance.  Continuing Education Hours credits are also available for psychology, social work, education, nursing, marriage and family therapy, behavioral health, licensed alcohol and drug counselors, and attorneys.
MOFAS was founded in 1998 by former First Lady, Susan Carlson, and works around the state of Minnesota to educate and train about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy and to provide intervention and support for those individuals and families already affected.
For more information contact MOFAS at 651-917-2370 or toll-free 1-866-90-MOFAS; 2233 University Avenue West, Suite 395, St. Paul, MN 55114;

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