Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Opening Remarks

2:00 pm – 2:15 pm


A Comprehensive Approach to Workforce Behavioral Risk Management

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

Employers are expected to maintain a safe work environment – accommodate their employee’s needs, develop supportive and inclusive office conditions, and adhere to legal-employment regulations. Unfortunately, most employers do not utilize industry assessments and screening protocols to identify potential employee behavioral risks. In a recent study of Fortune 1000 employers with internal security departments, 70% did not have a comprehensive workplace violence plan in place. Even employers who utilized the occasional behavioral assessment, such as the Fitness for Duty evaluations, lacked an all-encompassing approach to employ behavioral risk management tools to mitigate risk during an employee’s tenure.

This presentation provides a high-level model for conceptualizing a range of assessment protocols and interventions to mitigate such risks, including: Pre-Employment Psychological screening; Fitness for Duty evaluations; Fitness for Duty with Violence Screen evaluations; Threat Management consultations; FMLA 2nd Opinion evaluations; Post-Termination Risk consultations; and Disruptive Event Management. When implemented together, this comprehensive model offers employers and EAPs a powerful and effective approach to mitigate behavioral risk at various levels of an organization.

Speaker: George Vergolias, Medical Director, R3 Continuum


Mending the Organization: Addressing the Impaired Professional

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

Researchers reports physicians have a 50% greater risk of death from suicide than the general population. Executive suicide is on the rise as well. Yet, these high-level executives are nearly unapproachable by the EAPs that serve their organizations. EAPs are hired to help all employees, not just those on the ground floor.

There are unique problems in reaching this group of top-level executives that fall outside the boundaries of approach by status and ranking in the workplace. How do we reach them? Do they need special treatment? Are they beyond our reach? The 1% earners — the CEOs, surgeons, attorneys– represent the heart of our organizations. Their impact reaches the entire body of an organization, affecting hundreds of lives each day. The anger, impaired relationships and disorganized thinking at the top will trickle down throughout the organization. This presentation will address the unique assessment and intervention skills to reach this at-risk, underserved group of employees.


  • Steve Davis, MS, Assistant Vice President, NorthBay Medical Center
  • Kevin Dixon, CIP, CNDAI, CMAC, Addiction and Mental Health Intervention Specialist
  • Linda Fensler, MS, CEAP, FLEXIBLE EA Services, LLC

    Artificial Intelligence: Delivering Evidence-based Support On-Demand

    4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

    Mental illness has personal, professional and economic impacts, with research showing that 6.8% of the workforce is directly impacted by depression and $11,936 is lost annually on average per depressed employee, due to absenteeism, disability and presenteeism (Greenberg et al., 2015). Access to mental health care for those in need is hindered by numerous barriers, such as location, availability, cost and, arguably the biggest hurdle of all, stigma. Studies reveal that computer-assisted therapy (CAT) and other digital solutions, such as chatbots, offer a more accessible and cost-effective alternative for treating common mental health concerns like depression and anxiety (Fulmer et al., 2018).

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) based chatbots offer a scalable solution as the demand for affordable, convenient, lasting and secure support grows. Tess, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mental Health Chatbot that engages in text message conversations to coach people through tough times, allows people to build resilience in comparable ways to a therapist. In fact, large employers and EA programs have given more than 4 million employees paid access to Tess. This session will explain how AI chatbots can deliver a high-quality service and reach high engagement rates (10%) without increasing costs. Michiel Rauws will introduce Tess, present case studies, and share outcomes from EA providers who have implemented Tess.


    • Stephen Leider, SVP of Sales, X2 AI, Inc.
    • Michiel Rauws, CEO & Founder, X2 AI, Inc.

      Thursday, May 9, 2019

      Opening Remarks and Award Presentation

      8:30 am – 8:45 am


      Keynote Presentation: OF TWO MINDS: Workplace Mental Health in the Era of Artificial Intelligence

      8:45 am – 9:45 am

      The world is crossing a historic bridge spanning human and artificial intelligence – two minds, one human, one not. Can we keep them both healthy? That is unclear. In his high-octane style, Dr. Bill Wilkerson, executive chairman of Mental Health International, and professor of International Mental Health at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, will present some clarity on the subject.

      The advent of AI on the level foreseen by informed, supportive and apprehensive sources relates to the scale of job displacement and fundamental changes to the world of work and types of jobs, thus driving a new generation of chronic job stress at a time when 20% of the US population is symptomatic with major mental illnesses each year, and 50% across the lifetime. He will call for a ‘partnership of the ages’ among employers as AI technology users, AI technology developers and advocates, governments as users, funders and policy-makers and a consortium of leaders in the health, brain, genetic, economic, social and psychological sciences – as an integrated/unified form of research, innovation, standards, leadership and advocacy to channel AI into a beneficial stream for work forces and society more broadly as we adjust to these imminent new realities.

      Speaker: Bill Wilkerson Executive Chairman, Mental Health International


      Experiences in Changing Corporate Culture Part I – Changing Mental Health Culture at Kaiser Permanente

      10:15 – 11:15 am

      Kaiser Permanente has trained more than 5,000 marketing, sales, service and administration staff in Mental Health First Aid at Work with 200 classes across multiple states in just under one year. An initiative launched by Kaiser’s executive vice president, Dr. Arthur Southam, aimed to educate all non-represented staff on the most common mental health illnesses in the country and equip them with the tools to help those in their lives that may be impacted by these illnesses. Using a pre, post, and 3-month follow-up to evaluate the outcomes, researchers have seen decreases in stigma, as well as increases in knowledge and confidence in helping others. There has also been a high application rate with most people using what they learned almost immediately.

      This presentation will cover the program’s success, including how it was launched, supported, staffed, communicated and evaluated; the key outputs for each workstream; how Kaiser Permanente collaborated with the EAP program; and the findings, as well as strategies for Year 2+. The presentation will show how partnering with learning professionals and using a validated training program can maximize organizational efforts around stigma reduction in the workplace.

      Speakers: Marcos Guevara, MS, Senior Learning & Evaluation Consultant, Kaiser Permanente


      Experiences in Changing Corporate Culture Part II – Creating a Trauma-Informed Organization at Recovery Centers of America

      2:00 – 3:00 pm

      Recovery Corporation of America has trained more than 1,100 staff members as part of a corporate-wide initiative to put trauma-informed care (TIC) center stage to improve outcomes for everyone they serve. With ongoing research demonstrating the need for treatment facilities to address both addiction and trauma, RCA has committed to trauma-informed care at six current and all future sites and to create a trauma-informed workforce.

      Sustaining organizational change to becoming a trauma-informed system requires programs to be both thoughtful and creative about how to thoroughly integrate trauma-informed principles and practices into the culture of the organization. For programs that have instituted trauma-informed practices, research demonstrates: trauma-informed service settings, with trauma-specific services available, have better outcomes than “treatment as usual” for many symptoms; trauma-informed, integrated services are cost-effective; qualitative results indicate that consumers respond well to TIC; and TIC leads to better outcomes, such as better self-esteem, improved relationships, and increased feelings of safety. The presentation will cover the key components of creating a trauma-informed agency and strategies to begin the implementation of trauma-informed care along with a discussion of how organizations can maximize efforts in working collaboratively with a trauma-impacted community.

      Speaker: Trish Caldwell, MFT, LPC, CCDP-D, CAADC, CCTP, Director of PA Family Services, Recovery Centers of America


      A New Approach for Individual Work Engagement

      3:30 pm – 4:45 pm

      Companies make major expenditures on consultants to help them improve workforce engagement to optimize productivity. One study estimated the annual cost to be around $1.5 billion annually. Despite this interest and work, the percentage of employees who report high levels of engagement has remained stagnant for decades. The cause may be due to the ineffectiveness of the current work engagement paradigm. Moving the needle on employee engagement starts with the employee learning to manage their own work engagement. Based on reinforcement theory, learning theory and cognitive behavioral techniques, a psychological method for training employees on what and how they can increase and maintain their own personal work engagement has been developed.

      This presentation will show how personal work engagement training integrates well with the outcomes assessment results from the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS). Change-score data from the pooled WOS dataset of 25,000 paired cases to support the claim that EAP-like interventions can improve work engagement scores will be shared.

      Speaker: Dr. Richard Lennox, CEO and Founder, WorkMatters


      Friday, May 10, 2019

      Opening Remarks and Award Presentation

      8:30 am – 8:45 am


      I’m Rubber & You’re Glue: Developing Resiliency to Mitigate Health Risks

      8:45 am – 9:45 am

      Much has been learned about the risk and protective factors for the development of mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders. Military, nursing and disaster research has examined resilience as a key factor in mitigating the impact of stressors on overall health and wellness. This presentation will assert that resiliency can, in fact, be cultivated and mental illnesses can be prevented. A review of risk and protective factors will be presented, and stress links with psychiatric illnesses through biological mechanisms will be examined. Holistic health practices will be discussed as a key to everything via reduction in inflammation and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) overdrive. Triggers of inflammation that need to be avoided to bolster resilience and reduce risk of illness will be described. Finally, warning signs will be identified along with early interventions that may help develop resilience and fortitude.

      Speaker: Ray Kotwicki, MD, Charles B. West Chief Medical Officer, Skyland Trail


      Changing Crisis Managers’ View of EAPs: Assignment to Inclusion

      10:45 am – 11:45 am
      This presentation will provide insights into the decision-making process by organizational executives during crisis events from multiple perspectives. Participants will gain an understanding of the traditional value placed on EAPs throughout the crisis management process and why it can be damaging to the overall response. Finally, the connection points EAPs can use to enhance both the response and assist the executive team will be identified. The goal is to drive increased engagement by establishing more connections for EAPs to the executive level of the organization during a crisis.


      • Hart Brown, CORP, CBCP, CLCS, CEH, LPQ, Senior Vice President, R3 Continuum
      • Jeff Gorter, MSW, LMSW, Clinical Director and EAP Relations, R3 Continuum

        Measuring Outcomes of Workplace Trauma Response

        12:15 – 1:15 pm

        Worksite Critical Incident Response (CIR) is a highly prevalent approach used by EAPs throughout the world. CIR is arguably a specialty within the EA profession, aimed at helping affected employees cope with a disruptive workplace event or return to their pre-event level of functioning at work. Despite the high visibility nature of CIR, there is no accepted measurement tool or approach to evaluate the effectiveness or outcomes of EAP-based CIR interventions, due in large part to the lack of an applied measurement tool and program evaluation methodology.

        This interactive and engaging presentation will provide an overview of the newly validated CIR measurement tool, an extension of the Workplace Outcome Suite (WOS) and review how to incorporate the tool as part of business practices. Attendees will learn about results from the pilot sample, lessons learned from the tool’s implementation and details on next steps for those interested in using this tool.

        Speaker: Barbara Veder, MSW, RSW, Vice President Global Clinical Services, Research Lead and Chief Clinician, Morneau Shepell


        Addressing Mental Health through Partnership with SAMSHA, EAPs & Employers

        1:15 – 2:15 pm

        Commander Karen Hearod will discuss the implication of the recent document, “Mental Health: A Workforce Challenge” that provides a well-documented case of the need for employers to support employee mental health. The document includes insights from a nationwide employee survey and a synthesis of evidence on the effectiveness of workplace mental health interventions. Commander Hearod will review the critical aspects of policy, communication, effective programs, promising technologies, community partnerships and outcome data as avenues to improve the mental health of 157 million working adults.

        Speaker: Commander Karen Hearod, SAMHSA Regional Administrator Region 6 US Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration


        Closing Session

        2:15 – 2:30 pm

        This closing session will reiterate the theme of the Institute, how each session contributed to an understanding of Business Solutions to the Human Condition and solicit participant feedback in the form of observations, acknowledge new appreciations, enhanced skills and recommendations for future learning experiences.