Al Gobeille, Vermont Secretary of the Agency of Human Services
Nnamdi Pole, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology & Chair of the Institutional Review Board, Smith College

Avaloy Lanning, M.S.W., Executive Director of the Rutland Women's  Network and Shelter
Craig Knapp, Ph.D., VPA President

Who Should Attend:  Psychologists, mental health counselors, social workers, & other mental health professionals, and anyone interested in approaches to address social justice inequities in Vermont.

Beyond the Office: Individual and Collaborative Approaches to Address Social Justice Issues in Vermont


The 67th Annual Meeting of the Vermont Psychological Association

CE Workshop-September 29, 2017

Conference Schedule

8:30              Registration

9:00             Al Gobeille, Keynote Speaker:  AHS Initiatives to Address Social Justice Issues

10:15          Break

10:30          Avaloy Lanning & Dr. Craig Knapp:  Individual & Collaborative Approaches to

                       Respond to Social Justice Inequities
12:00          Lunch & VPA Annual Meeting
1:00             Dr. Nnamdi Pole:  Addressing Multiracial Diversity in Clinical Practice:  Identity and History
2:30             Break

2:45             Dr. Pole:  Racism and Clinical Practice

4:00             Dr. Knapp:  Closing Remarks & Call to Action

Course Description:

Psychologists have been traditionally concerned with discovering universal laws of human behavior and using them to correct dysfunctional behavior and dysphoric mental states in individuals.  Yet, it has become increasingly clear that universal laws of our common humanity must be modified to consider important sources of diversity such as race, culture, and ethnicity.  Moreover, it appears that successful efforts to address psychological suffering in diverse subpopulations require thinking beyond individual and intrapsychic factors to historical and sociopolitical factors.

This workshop will invite self-reflection on the importance of sociodemographic identity to psychological functioning.  It will present key historical information that sets a foundation for understanding modern dilemmas in relating across cultural lines.  It will explore psychological effects of racism from the intrapsychic to institutional level.  It will highlight some disparities in mental health and use of mental health services among people of color in comparison to their White counterparts.  Finally, it will offer recommendations for clinical practice for addressing ethno-racial difference and responding to the special concerns of ethno-racial minorities.


Participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the relevance of their own cultural background to clinical practice.

  • Recognize the connection between major historical events and current psychological functioning of several ethnic minority groups.

  • Describe disparities in mental health and mental health service utilization among ethnic minorities in comparison to white Americans.

  • Describe key adaptations to clinical practice to better address special needs found in ethnic minority groups.


Al Gobeille, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Human Services, works alongside a talented team whose mission is to improve the conditions and well-being of Vermonters and protect those who cannot protect themselves.  AHS serves Vermonters with compassion, dedication, and professionalism, delivering the support, assistance and protection they need to live healthy and safe lives in the Green Mountain State.

In 2011, Secretary Gobeille was appointed to the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB), and in 2013 he was appointed chairperson of that group.  As chairperson of GMCB, Secretary Gobeille was directed the Board’s charge of curbing health care cost growth and reforming the way health care is provided to Vermonters.

Secretary Gobeille served on the Town of Shelburne Select Board and has negotiated with the Town’s union employees on health insurance benefits.  He was a board member of the Visiting Nurses Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties, and served on the State of Vermont’s Payment Reform Advisory Committee.  He is a graduate of Norwich University and has served as an officer in the United States Army.  He lives in Shelburne.

Nnamdi Pole, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at Smith College and is chair of the Smith College Institutional Review Board.  He has taught both undergraduate and graduate students in institutions including UC Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the Wright Institute, Alliant University, and the Smith College School for Social Work.  He teaches courses on race and racism and has co-led monthly anti-racism trainings at CSO in Greenfield and Northampton.  His primary research focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including its sociodemographic variations.  He is a licensed clinical psychologist, former board member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) and former associate editor of Psychological Bulletin.  He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Anxiety Disorders and the publication Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.  He also serves on the American Psychological Association Trauma Division Executive Committee.

Avaloy Lanning, M.S.W., serves as the Executive Director of the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter.  She has decades of experience in Human Services as a social worker, promoting the welfare and dignity of those who are the most vulnerable.  Avaloy’s work has taken her to many destinations, including Latvia and Belarus.  She has a long history of active involvement and legislative advocacy to fight against human trafficking and other social justice issues.  Previously, Avaloy was the Executive Director of the Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless, and served for several years as Senior Director of Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program in New York City.  She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Tarleton State University in Texas and a master’s degree in social work from Catholic University in Washington, DC.

 Craig W. Knapp, Ph.D. , completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in clinical psychology at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, and earned his doctorate degree in psychology with a specialization in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University.  He is a licensed psychologist and school psychologist.  He  has been in continuous private practice in Vermont since 1986, providing assessment and therapy to children, adults, couples and families with a wide variety of individual and family-related concerns.  He has also provided forensic evaluations for courts and consulted with state, public and private organizations.  He taught on a full-time basis at the College of St. Joseph in Rutland, Vermont, from 1987 until 2011, where he served as chairperson for the Division of Psychology and Human Services.  Dr. Knapp is passionate about community service and social justice issues, and has served on a number of non-profit and professional boards, including the boards of the Rutland County Women’s Network and Shelter, Vermont Achievement Center, and scouting and youth sports programs.  He has volunteered with the Red Cross for over 30 years as a member of the Rutland Disaster Action Team, instructor, and formerly as Vermont State Lead for Disaster Mental Health Services.  He served on the board of the Council of Applied Masters Programs in Psychology, and as president of the New England Organization of Human Service Educators.  He is a long-standing member of the Vermont Psychological Association, and has served as chairperson of the Ethics Committee, co-chair of the Medicare Task Force, and president-elect.  He is currently serving as president of VPA for 2017-2018.

Continuing Education Credits:  The Vermont Psychological Association is approved by the American Psychological Association and the Vermont Board of Psychological Examiners to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.  VPA maintains responsibility for this program and its content.  CE certificates for six (6) continuing education credits will be awarded to participants who attend the entire workshop and complete the evaluation form.  Partial credits will not be awarded.  Late arrival or early departure will preclude receipt of a certificate.

Registration/Refund Policy:  Registration at the door is welcome, but is on a space-available basis only; all registrations at the door are $195.  No refunds will be offered for this program.

Directions to Capitol Plaza:  Travel I-89 to Exit 8.  At the second light, turn left.  At the next light, turn right onto State Street.  The Capitol Plaza is on your right at 100 State Street.  Complimentary parking permits are issued at the registration table for public & hotel parking behind the hotel.

Registration at 8:30 a.m.

9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Capitol Plaza Hotel & Conference Center

100 State Street

Montpelier, Vermont


Name of Attendee

Email Address

Dietary Restrictions

How did you hear about this event?