Speakers

Jessica Pryce, Ph.D., MSW
Jessica Pryce, Ph.D., MSW
Assistant Professor at Florida State University and currently the Executive Director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare
Dr. Pryce is an Assistant Professor at Florida State University and currently the Executive Director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare. For the past 10 years, she has been involved at multiple angles of child welfare (direct practice, teaching + training & policy and research). She has published on child welfare related topics, such as, training and education, racial disparity and anti-poverty practices. She has presented her research at 30+ conferences both nationally and internationally. She is the author is several op-eds focused on racial disparity and effective strategies to impact racial disproportionality within child welfare. Her TED Talk on Implicit Racial Bias in Decision Making has since been viewed over 1.3 million times. Dr. Pryce has worked on the frontlines of child welfare, conducted primary research, been a policy advisor to Florida’s legislature and taught graduate level courses in child welfare. Previously holding the positions of Child Protective Caseworker with the Department of Children and Families, and the Deputy Director of the University at Albany's New York State Education Consortium. In 2019, she received a 5-year appointment to the Advisory Board of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, where she consults and advises on leadership and workforce interventions around the country. She currently sits on the Florida Dependency Court Improvement Panel, alongside judges and advocates who are working towards a more trauma informed approach within the judicial system. She has maintained and cultivated a commitment to the wellbeing of vulnerable children and families, the sustainability of the child welfare workforce, and effectively addressing inequity. Her paramount goal includes re-building and leading a child welfare system that focuses on strengthening families instead of pulling them apart.

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Jeffrey Rowe, MD
Jeffrey Rowe, MD
Dr. Rowe is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who has worked in the field of Early Childhood Mental Health for the past 20 years. He has provided clinical assessments and treatments to children under the age of 6 years, built programs for this same population, lead conferences (he is co-chair of the “We Can’t Wait” ECMH conference), and leads ECMH professional committees. In addition, Dr. Rowe is on the clinical faculty of UCSD Department of Psychiatry where he teaches and supervises Child Psychiatry Fellows.

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Kim Flowers, LCSW, IF-ECMH RPF-M
Kim Flowers, LCSW, IF-ECMH RPF-M
Sr. Director Family Support Services at Neighborhood House Association
Kim Flowers, LCSW, currently serves as Sr. Director of Family Support Services for Neighborhood House Association’s Head Start, Early Head Start, and Services to Pregnant Women programs. Endorsed by the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as Reflective Practice Facilitator- Mentor, she has over 30 years of IF-ECMH experience, to include an Advanced Certificate in Infant Preschool Mental Health. Kim has provided IF-ECMH and maternal mental health clinical services in home visitation, early childhood education, military, and community mental health settings and has supported the professional development of early childhood professionals via Reflective Practice and at Alliant International and San Diego State Universities.

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Charmaine Utz, LCSW
Charmaine Utz, LCSW
CEO and Founder Living Unapologetically
Charmaine Utz is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in private practice and bias coach and consultant for leaders and clinicians based in San Diego, CA. She uses a social justice lens to help people explore their relationships with oppression and harmful societal standards. Charmaine has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 10 years, directing various child welfare programs. Her work has focused on issues related to equity, diversity, and inclusion, program development, staff training and coaching, leadership development, and team building.

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Madeleine Anderson, MSW, ASW (name/they/she)
Madeleine Anderson, MSW, ASW (name/they/she)
Mental Health Therapist and Equity Consultant
Madeleine Anderson, MSW, ASW (pronouns: name/they/she), is a Mental Health Therapist and Equity Consultant. Madeleine has been working in social-justice and facilitating workshops around anti-racism and anti-oppression for the last fifteen years. Madeleine has facilitated conversations around Undoing Institutionalized Oppression, Gender and Sexuality, Decolonizing Mental Health, Decolonizing Self-Care, Gender Based Violence, and others. Madeleine currently works full time as a mental health therapist, placing anti-racism at the forefront of their clinical practice.

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Edgar Sierra, LMFT
Edgar Sierra, LMFT
Program Manager, Para Las Familias
Edgar Sierra was born in Mexico and resided in Tijuana Baja California. He immigrated to the United States of America at the age of 18. Edgar's goal was to obtain a post-secondary education in the field of psychology. He attended Cal State San Marcos and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Gender Studies in 2004. In 2010, Edgar received his master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy for the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. Afterwards, in 2015, Edgar went on to receive his Board of Behavioral Sciences license to practice in the state of California. Two years later in 2017, he became an AAMFT approved Supervisor. In 2020 Edgar accepted a position at Episcopal Community Services, working as the Program Manager and Clinical Supervisor at Para Las Familias Program.

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Kaitlyn Nelson, LCSW
Kaitlyn Nelson, LCSW
SAFE Home Study Evaluator
Kaitlyn Nelson, LCSW has been working in the field of foster care since 2015 as a Clinical Case Manager (4 years) and SAFE Certified Home Study Evaluator (2 years) for Angels Foster Family Network. She earned her Masters of Social Work from San Diego State University in 2014 and became licensed in 2017. Kaitlyn has extensive experience in both a professional and volunteer-based capacity in a variety of settings including: a foster family agency, both in-patient and outpatient medical hospitals, a hospice, a behavioral intervention company for children with Autism, a school-based mental health program, children’s bereavement camps, and a victim’s advocacy and sexual assault hotline crisis center. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her dog and two cats, her husband, going to the beach, reading, and practicing yoga. Kaitlyn recently became a Certified Yoga Instructor (200-hour). Kaitlyn is passionate about supporting children and families in foster care.

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LaTysa Flowers, CPDTC
LaTysa Flowers, CPDTC
YMCA of San Diego County
LaTysa Flowers is the Founder of Parents Empowerment Services, an organizations that provides educational advocacy, consultation and coaching for the parents and caregivers of children with academic, developmental and social emotional challenges. She is employed with the YMCA of San Diego County providing organizational leadership, training and development on inclusion, anti-racism and culturally responsive practices. Additionally, she is a Contractor for the Academy for Professional Excellence where she is a facilitator and curriculum consultant for the Cultural Responsiveness Academy, of Child Welfare Developmental Services (CWDS) and a trainer for Responsive Integrated Health Solutions (RIHS). She facilitates several trainings to include Pathways and Child & Family Team Facilitation, Safety Organized Practice, African American Worldview, and Engaging African American Families.
Ms. Flowers is a certified Positive Discipline Educator for parents, classroom management and early childhood professionals where she teaches both trauma informed and culturally responsive practice.
Through her systems partnerships, she utilizes her empirical experience lending her voice to amplify the needs, perspectives and concerns of children, youth and families. Her life’s work consists of efforts to reduce inequities and bias in education, elimination of the preschool to prison pipeline, and building the capacity of adults and caregivers to meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations through education and training.

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Joshua Feder, MD
Joshua Feder, MD
Dr. Joshua Feder is a member of the San Diego Early Childhood Mental Health Leaders Collaborative and a child and family psychiatrist in Solana Beach, California. Dr. Feder is Editor in Chief at the Carlat Child Psychiatry Report, a continuing education publication free of industry influences. Dr Feder is Medical Director at Positive Development, providing insurance-based developmental relationship-based support for families. Dr. Feder teaches and conducts research with UCSD, SDSU and Fielding Graduate University in infant and early childhood development, and develops technology supporting relationship-based interventions as Medical Director in the SymPlay division of Quicksilver Software. Dr Feder serves on the development team for the Autism Is inclusion program. He is both the father and the son of autistic people and advocates nationally and internationally on access to care for Evidence Based Practices. Many of Dr. Feder’s podcasts and lectures can be found online at joshuafedermd.com.

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Pradeep Gidwani MD, MPH
Pradeep Gidwani MD, MPH
Medical Director – Healthy Development Services, American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 3
Pradeep Gidwani, MD, MPH, FAAP is a pediatrician and community health leader focused on creating systematic solutions and changes to improve the lives of children and their families. Currently, he works at American Academy of Pediatrics, California Chapter 3, San Diego and Imperial Counties (AAP-CA3) on a team that provides Countywide Coordination and Support for two large scale community initiatives - Healthy Development Services and First Step Home Visiting funded by First 5 San Diego. Over the last 14 years, these communitywide programs reach over 314,000 children and their families.

Dr. Gidwani is a Past President of AAP-CA3 and serves on numerous community advisory boards as well as the National Advisory Committee of Healthy Families America and State Advisory Board for California Nurse Family Partnership. He is a Child Trauma Academy Fellow and a member of the Board Governors at the San Diego Foundation.

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Rosa Ana Lozada LCSW, IFMHS, RFP II
Rosa Ana Lozada LCSW, IFMHS, RFP II
CEO, Harmonium
Rosa Ana Lozada, has dedicated nearly 40 years of service and leadership in behavioral health, system change, and advocacy for children, youth, and families. Ms. Lozada leads Harmonium by providing health prevention and intervention services to over 30,000 children, youth, and their families in collaboration with public and private partnerships. She applies her expertise as a licensed clinical social worker to advance integrated holistic approaches that support family centered and culturally responsive services.
Ms. Lozada serves on various boards and is a founding member of the California Association of Infant Mental Health. Ms. Lozada has received many proclamations and awards, including the County of San Diego’s Behavioral Health Person of the Year Award. Ms. Lozada has written articles for mental health publications, serves as adjunct faculty at local universities, and provides training and consultation on a number of topics that include cultural responsiveness, trauma-informed practices, and system change

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Akiea "Ki" Gross, MA, MS (they/them)
Akiea "Ki" Gross, MA, MS (they/them)
Woke Kindergarten, LLC
Akiea “Ki” Gross (they/them) is an abolitionist early educator, coach, consultant and creative entrepreneur currently innovating ways to unlearn, heal, liberate and create with their pedagogy, Woke Kindergarten. Recently, Ki was selected as the Early Childhood Education Assembly’s 2020 Social Justice Award Recipient and has participated as a speaker, panelist and moderator for many organizations and events including Bank Street’s Black Lives Matter at Schools Week Symposiums, SXSW EDU, Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented, Teachers for Social Justice, Montclair State, UMBC, NYPL, Abolitionist Teaching Network and more.

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Omar Passons, Esq.
Omar Passons, Esq.
Director of the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency’s Division of Integrative Services
Omar Passons is the Director of the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency’s Division of Integrative Services. In that capacity, he leads a team to align critical services and supports offered by the County to best improve the lives of people in need – focused on homelessness, economic inclusion and health and justice. This work requires leveraging leadership both to help his team and through supportive partnership with government and community leaders from a range of backgrounds. He is passionate about cultivating a Strengths-based leadership approach that recognizes the unique talents people bring to their roles and the importance of shaping well-rounded teams. Omar is a former construction and land use attorney who has worked to elevate inclusive workforce and economic development in San Diego for several years.
Omar has served on the San Diego Workforce Development Board and the Board of CDC Small Business Finance and is a long-time partner with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation on issues of economic inclusion in San Diego County.
Omar grew up in San Diego County’s foster care system and brings a unique perspective to the work of elevating the needs of young people and their families. He is a past-President of the Earl B. Gilliam Bar Association, a member of the Truman National Security Project, and a frequent guest columnist in the San Diego Union Tribune. Omar received his undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Arizona and his law degree from George Mason University School of Law. He is a civic leader on issues impacting economic equity, youth homelessness, and creating opportunities for all members of the community to lead lives of dignity.

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Shavon Moore, MD
Shavon Moore, MD
Co-chief, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow University of California, San Diego

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June Louis Cabales, MS, AMFT (he/him)
June Louis Cabales, MS, AMFT (he/him)
Connections Coach and Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Hi, my name is June! I am a mental health therapist supporting youth through case management at Our Safe Place as well as an associate therapist in private practice. I identify as a first-generation immigrant Filipino American and a queer person. My experience drives my passion for supporting QT+ folks navigating identity within different cultural contexts of mixed immigrant status. My experience in corporate training and leadership development also helps me support my peers and other providers through facilitation and workshops. Collaboration is an important part of my therapeutic practice as I work to deconstruct power within therapy. I am interested in the modern possibilities and resources available in therapy today and invite popular media like music, movies, tv, and videogames into the work that I do as a way of connecting and healing.

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Leslie Manriquez, LMFT
Leslie Manriquez, LMFT
Lead Clinician, Para Las Familias
Leslie Manriquez is a bilingual English/Spanish Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, currently working with families of children between the ages of 0-5. Leslie has been working with families in the mental health field for over 13 years in the non-profit sector. Leslie mainly practices attachment-based therapies as she believes that healthy relationships play a key role in improving overall wellbeing. She as experience in working with families of diverse backgrounds that have been impacted by trauma. Additionally she has received formal trainings in EMDT and TF-CBT.

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Meredith Leigh Mauze’ LMFT
Meredith Leigh Mauze’ LMFT
Senior Clinical Case Manager
Meredith Mauze’, LMFT, is a Senior Clinical Case Manager at Angels Foster Family Network, and has been working within the foster care system since 2014. Meredith attended California State University Los Angeles to study Psychology and earned her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from USC in 2011. She became licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2016 after working in a variety of mental health fields. Meredith has experience providing individual, couples, family, and group therapy for several communities, including those infected with, impacted by, and at risk for HIV/AIDS. She has worked in hospice care as a grief counselor. While Meredith pursued graduate school and a license in therapy, she is passionate about supporting foster families and the children in their care in the dynamic way that case management allows. In her free time, Meredith enjoys reading, practicing yoga, and spending time with her family and her adopted dog.

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Aisha Pope, LCSW, BCD (she/her)
Aisha Pope, LCSW, BCD (she/her)
Program Director Foster Family Agency Stabilization and Treatment (FFAST) - San Diego Center for Children
Aisha Pope, LCSW, is ecstatic to be one of the tri-chairs of the Inaugural Birth Of Brilliance Conference. She has worked in San Diego County's Children's Behavioral Health System of Care for the last 20 years.  Aisha has provided therapeutic services and clinical supervision in a variety of settings including outpatient, inpatient, residential, community/home based, private practice, and now telehealth. She currently works for San Diego Center for Children as a Program Director in the Foster Family Agency Stabilization & Treatment (FFAST) Program, and has a private practice, Roots & Wings Consulting, where she specializes in supporting BIPOC, youth 0-5, couples, and those needing support with parenting. She also currently co-chairs the county's CYFSOC Early Childhood Mental Health Subcommittee.  Aisha is proud to be a Registered Provider in Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) and a Certified Positive Discipline Trainer. She is passionate about helping families to grow their connections to each other and community, reach their goals, and improve their resilience.

Sessions

Melanie Morones, MFT, ATR, ECMHS (She/They)
Melanie Morones, MFT, ATR, ECMHS (She/They)
SDYS Our Safe Place Program Manager
Melanie Morones, MFT/ATR, is humbled to be in such amazing company as one of the tri-chairs of our very first Birth of Brilliance Conference. Melanie began her career in early childhood mental health in south central Los Angeles providing intensive mental health services to youth and their families, as well as participating as a facilitator in the Early Intervention Training Institute. There she was selected to be in the first cohort to complete and join the rosters of the CPP (Child Parent Psychotherapy) family. Melanie continues to serve her community through providing mental health services and program management in partnership with various organizations. Additionally, Melanie also facilitates trainings and conversations in effort to support program development and ensure youth and families receive appropriate trauma-informed care. She holds an adjunct faculty position at Loyola Marymount University, providing group and individual Clinical Art Therapy supervision to emerging providers within the graduate program. Melanie currently works for San Diego Youth Services, Our Safe Place, where she is the program manager of an outpatient clinic and 4 drop-in centers throughout San Diego County that focus on the health and wellbeing of QT+ youth, families, and allies. Hailing from the smallest of rural towns in the White Mountains of Arizona, she is well versed in seeing the impact of racial (and other) inequities on youth and families. Her roots, combined with intentionally sought diverse professional experiences have cultivated a frame of compassionate curiosity & cultural reverence that is the foundation of both her clinical work and approach to life.

Sessions

Precious Jackson-Hubbard
Precious Jackson-Hubbard
SDUSD Principal
Precious has spent 15 years in education as a K-12 educator and administrator where she is working to advocate for students who require additional supports and services. Precious is a member of the local chapter of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa Inc., a sorority of educators and counselors who provide mentoring and professional and professional development.

Sessions