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There has been an exciting update to the Plenary 3 Session at the 2019 RCPA Annual Conference: Impact. On Friday, September 27, 10:45 am – 11:45 am in the Red Ballroom, John “Jack” Rozel, MD, MSL, Medical Director, Resolve Crisis Services, UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, will give a presentation on the evidence available regarding the relationship between gun violence, mass shootings, and mental health disorders.

Public discourse and public policy on firearm injury prevention are routinely driven by outlier tragedies such as mass shootings: Orlando, Newtown, Las Vegas, and too many others to list. News media and pundit responses to these events often drive misinformation and inspire misguided and ineffective policy. Exploring the complex interplay between violence, firearms, and mental illness in modern America from the perspective of a forensic and emergency psychiatrist, this presentation explores how evidence-based policies and interventions could have a meaningful impact on firearm injury prevention with minimal impact on Constitutional rights. While this is a less clinical topic, it is invariably timely and salient and is intended to demystify and debunk common misperceptions about the issue held by advocates on both sides of this important problem. An emphasis will be made on interventions which can usefully scale across different types of gun violence.

Dr. Rozel has served as an incident commander for mass shootings and been involved in the behavioral health response to several mass casualty events. He was a major contributor to the National Council for Behavioral Health’s 2019 report on Mass Violence. Dr. Rozel is currently working with a team to develop best practices for violence risk screening for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network and was recently appointed to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Special Council on Gun Violence. See Dr. Rozel’s full bio here. @ViolenceWonks on Twitter.

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The RCPA Annual Conference Committee, staff, and Board of Directors look forward to seeing you at the Hershey Lodge on September 24. Here are some tips to help make your conference experience the best possible:

  • Register in advance, to save time when you arrive at check-in.
  • Reserve a hotel room at the Hershey Lodge and be entered to win either an overnight stay or a gift card.
  • Download the mobile app and begin your conference experience (this will also help in the event you need assistance from your IT team). **Note: be sure to use the same email address used when registering for the conference to log into the mobile app.
  • Bring your dancing shoes and leisure suits for the Studio 54 dance party on Thursday evening.
  • Register here for the PAC golf event on Monday September, 23 at the Hershey Country Club.
  • The conference brochure is available electronically only. Please download a copy prior to attending the event, or feel free to access the conference schedule on the app.
  • Visit the Conference website anytime for updated information.
  • At the end of each workshop you attend, please complete the evaluation, so we can continue to make this event better than ever.
  • If you have questions, please visit the Registration Desk at the conference or look for Conference Committee members and RCPA Staff…we will be wearing bright yellow lanyards, so we will be easy to spot!

Contact Sarah Eyster, RCPA Conference Coordinator, with any questions. See you at the Lodge!

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RCPA will host its annual conference at the Hershey Lodge, September 24–27. At this large-scale, statewide event, the RCPA Board of Directors wants to continue the important tradition of recognizing individuals and organizations/facilities for their dedication and commitment to service. The following award categories have been created for this event and recognition:

  • Community Leadership Award – Presented to an individual in recognition of extending service and knowledge to the community at large, and efforts in helping the community understand the needs of individuals served by RCPA members. This can be for specific or short-term significant acts, or to recognize a career-long body of work.
  • Exemplary Service to RCPA Award – Presented to an individual or organization/facility that has shown a strong commitment and dedication in service to the association, its members, and related issues.
  • Innovation Award – Presented to an individual or organization in recognition of significant innovation. Examples include cross-systems integration, physical/behavioral health integration, and implementation of new technologies.
  • Legislative Leadership Award – Presented to an individual who has shown significant leadership and commitment to government affairs and legislative issues, on behalf of RCPA and its members.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Presented to an individual in honor of his/her significant, consistent, and enduring contribution throughout his/her career in support and furthering of the field.

At this time, RCPA is accepting nominations through an open solicitation of members (e.g., designated contacts, CEOs/executive directors, staff) and RCPA committees. Members may nominate one or more individuals/organizations in one or more categories. Nominations will be reviewed by a sub-group of the board of directors to make recommendations for final selection and approval by the full board.

Include the name/organization (if applicable) of the nominee, the award category, and a statement about why you believe the individual/organization should be honored. Nominations should be made by Monday, June 10, 2019. Please send nominations and/or inquiries to Linda Kaufmann.

Award recipients are not limited to RCPA members and every award may not be presented annually. Please join the association in continuing this tradition and in offering nominations for those who deserve recognition for their significant contributions.

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With the recent increase of individuals contracting measles, Dr. Gregory Cherpes from the Office of Developmental Programs (ODP) has issued a health alert. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “From January 1 to May 3, 2019, 764 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 23 states. This is the greatest number of cases reported in the US since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.” Pennsylvania is among the states confirming new cases of measles.

What is Measles:
Measles is a highly contagious virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. The symptoms of measles generally appear about 7 to 14 days after a person is infected. The measles rash usually starts first as flat red spots on the face. These spots may increase in number and connect spreading down the neck and body. Small raised bumps may form on the flat red spots.

Measles symptoms typically include:

  • High fever
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Red watery eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Rash breaks out 3–5 days after symptoms begin

Are Measles Serious? 
Measles can be serious at all ages, but children less than 5 and adults over 20 are more likely to have complications. Complications include:

  • Ear infection that can result in permanent hearing loss.
  • Diarrhea requiring hospitalization.
  • Pneumonia – this is the most common cause of death in children.
  • Swelling of the brain – that may lead to brain damage.
  • Pregnant women may have their babies early and the baby’s weight may be low.
  • Of every 1,000 people who get measles 1–2 of them will die.

How do Measles Spread to Other People?

  • Infected people can spread measles to others from 4 days before through 4 days after the rash appears.
  • It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing.
  • When someone sneezes or coughs the virus can live for up to 2 hours in the air.
  • If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses, or mouths, they can become infected.
  • Up to 90% of the people close to an infected person who have not been vaccinated against measles will also become infected.

Can Measles be Prevented? 
Receiving the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination can prevent measles. See your health care provider for more information related to the measles vaccination.

For more information, visit:

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a memo is on the keyboard of a computer as a reminder: meeting

Dr. Michael Gamel-McCormick, Disability Policy Director, Special Committee on Aging, for Senator Bob Casey, will be speaking with RCPA members at our Annual Meeting to be held on Friday, May 10, 2019 at Hershey Lodge and Convention Center. The meeting that was previously scheduled to occur on Thursday, May 2 has been cancelled. The conversation will focus on state policies on disabilities and legislative initiatives that will have an impact on services and opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Pennsylvania.

Michael Gamel-McCormick held a similar position in the office of Senator Tom Harkin, as well as being Senator Harkin’s senior education staffer. He began his career as an early childhood education teacher, teaching in inclusive settings. He was a special education technical assistance provider for over 40 counties and cities in Virginia. For 15 years, he was a professor and dean at the University of Delaware as well as director of the university’s Center for Disability Studies. Just prior to joining Senator Casey’s staff, he was Associate Executive Director for Research and Policy at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

Register here for the Annual Meeting. Please contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA IDD Division Director, with questions.

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The 2019 RCPA Conference, Impact PA, will be held September 24–27 at the Hershey Lodge. A premier statewide event, the Conference Committee is seeking workshop proposals for possible inclusion. The conference offers diverse educational opportunities and submissions are needed in every area. A complete listing of focus tracks is available on the proposal form. Presentations are encouraged that assist providers in developing and maintaining quality, stable, and effective treatments, services, and agencies in an industry where change is constant. The committee looks for presentations which:

  • Highlight new policy, research, and treatment initiatives such as the CCBHC model;
  • Provide specific skills and information related to individual and organizational leadership development and enhancement;
  • Address system changes that affect business practices such as value-based purchasing; and
  • Offer concrete skills and tools to operate more efficient, effective agencies, allowing organizations to Impact PA.

Workshop ideas for 2019 include workforce shortage solutions; the changing health care landscape; executive leadership; integrated care strategies for implementation and reimbursement; managed care models for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities – other state experiences; ethics topics across the membership; emergency planning for community violence; acquisitions/mergers and consolidations; value-based purchasing; and employing people with disabilities. The committee welcomes any proposal that addresses these and other topics essential to the rehabilitation, mental health, addiction, children’s, aging, and physical/developmental disability communities. Members are encouraged to consider submitting proposals and to forward this opportunity to those who are exceptionally good speakers and have state-of-the-art information to share.

The Call for Proposals and accompanying Guidelines for Developing Educational Objectives outlines requirements for submissions. The deadline for submissions is Monday, March 4 at 5:00 pm. Proposals must be submitted electronically to Sarah Eyster on the form provided. Confirmation of receipt will be sent. Proposals submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

Proposals selected stand out by inclusion of solid learning objectives, information that a participant can use to enhance professional skills or methods, and being geared to a diverse and advanced audience. If the proposal is accepted, individuals must be prepared to present on any day of the conference. Workshops are 90 or 180 minutes in length. At the time of acceptance, presenters will be required to confirm the ability to submit workshop handouts electronically four weeks prior to the conference. Individuals unable to meet this expectation should not submit proposals for consideration.

Individuals are welcome to submit multiple proposals. Notification of inclusion will be made via email by May 1. Questions may be directed to Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator.

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Join RCPA as we host our 2019 conference, September 24 – 27 at the Hershey Lodge. RCPA staff and the Conference Committee are excited to release this year’s Sponsors, Exhibitors, and Advertisers brochure, with new opportunities to get in on the action. New this year, based on requests from our previous sponsors and exhibitors, is booth self-selection — sponsors who would also like to exhibit will be given first booth choice through March 31. In order to be considered for self-selection, a completed contract with payment must be submitted. And beginning April 1, exhibitors who have submitted a completed contract with payment will be able to self-select their booths. Booth selections are contingent upon availability.

Don’t miss your chance to be seen and to support the work of this dynamic organization! This event is a highlight for the Pennsylvania mental health, drug and alcohol, intellectual and developmental disabilities, children’s, brain injury, medical/vocational rehabilitation, and physical disabilities and aging provider communities. Complete information about exhibiting, sponsoring, and advertising options are available from the link above.

Sponsor, Exhibit, and Advertise

Exhibit activities take place September 25 – 26. Based on your feedback from last year, we have increased the number of activities offered throughout the event. RCPA encourages all interested parties to complete the contract now! Events within Exhibit Hall include an opening reception, breakfast, coffee breaks, lunch, and prize giveaways. Exhibit hours occur during the two busiest days of the conference, increasing the opportunity for exhibitors — an integral component to conference success — to interact with the maximum amount of attendees. A “Best of Show” competition provides even more prospects to engage guests and winners receive a discount on 2020 exhibit rates.

Interaction with conference guests outside of the exhibit area is just as important! Participating in other conference events such as receptions, meals, and educational offerings provides exhibitors greater potential and flexibility to establish opportunities for business. RCPA includes two exhibitor registrations with the exhibit fee; since exhibitors can attend the entire conference, RCPA encourages organizations to use those registrations fully.

Exciting New Sponsorship Opportunities

The association is privileged to have the backing of the finest organizations in the field for our conference. Through the use of sponsorship circles, RCPA is able to honor all supporting organizations. Within each sponsorship circle, specific events and items such as meals, receptions, conference tote bags, attendee materials, etc. are available, providing additional “naming recognition” for sponsors. Other ideas are welcome as well. Please review sponsorship materials and contact Sarah Eyster to reserve your opportunity.

Sign Up Now

The deadline for inclusion in all digital material is July 26, 2019. Sponsors, exhibitors, and advertisers who wish to be listed on the website, the mobile app, and in the online conference program must adhere to that deadline.

The association looks forward to welcoming you at the conference! Space and opportunities are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis and no reservation is considered complete without payment. For any additional questions, please contact Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator.

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RCPA is Seeking Sponsorships for the 2019 Annual Conference: IMPACT

Over the years, RCPA staff and the Conference Committee have received requests from sponsors and exhibitors to have the option of choosing their own exhibit booths. RPCA is excited to be able to offer such a benefit this year.

The sponsorship/exhibitor/advertiser contract is now available for the 2019 RCPA Annual Conference: IMPACT. For the first time, sponsors — and later on, exhibitors — can select their own exhibit booths.

  • Through March 31, self-selection is open only to sponsors who submit their contracts with payment.
  • Beginning April 1, this option also opens to those exhibitors who submit their contracts and payments.

Contact Sarah Eyster, Conference Coordinator, with any questions.