2017 Conference Presenters

Thursday October 5, 2017

The 2017 conference offers a wide range of keynotes, breakout sessions, a community day and a panel discussion to accompany the screening of “Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly”.

Keynotes Presenters:


W. Warren Binford, JD

Interfacing Law, Neuroscience, & Genetics to Support Child Sex Abuse Victims in the 21st Century (PDF)

“Interfacing Law, Neuroscience & Genetics to Support Child Sex Abuse Victims in the 21st Century” considers the research gap in understanding the possible biomarkers in childhood sexual abuse and the role that identifying those biomarkers could play in developing more effective legal remedies for those who suffer childhood sexual abuse.

Warren Binford is an international children’s rights scholar and advocate. She is a Professor of Law & the Director of the Clinical Law Program at Willamette University. She was the inaugural Fulbright Canada-Palix Foundation Distinguished Visiting Chair in Brain Science, and Child and Family Health and Wellness at the University of Calgary in 2015 where she researched the impact of child sex abuse on survivors. She previously was a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa. She holds a doctor of laws from Harvard Law School and a B.A., summa cum laude with distinction, and Master of Education from Boston University. 


Stefanie Carnes, Ph.D

Generating Addict Empathy through Partner Sensitivity Training

Addicts in early recovery are often so focused on their own consequences and wounds that they lack empathy for their loved ones experiences.  Yet, for healing the coupleship, empathy is paramount.  Dr. Carnes presents innovative and creative tools to educate addicts on betrayal trauma and to generate empathy for their partners.  Methods for treating addicts from a relationally friendly paradigm will be discussed.

Stefanie Carnes, Ph.D. is the President of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, and a senior fellow for Meadows Behavioral Healthcare where she works with sexually addicted clients and their families. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and an AAMFT approved supervisor. Dr. Carnes is certified sex addiction therapist and supervisor, specializing in therapy for couples and families struggling with sexual addiction.  She is the author of numerous publications including her books, Mending a Shattered Heart: A Guide for Partners of Sex Addicts, and Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts, and Facing Addiction: Starting Recovery from Alcohol and Drugs.

Breakout Sessions:


Dan Lacovara, LMFT

Shame and the Gay Male Sex Addict  

Sex addiction treatment professionals generally agree toxic shame plays a crucial role in driving an addict’s behavior, and that by helping him or her work through it, healthy relationships are within reach. What do we as therapists do when faced with the possibility that an intergenerational transmission of shame might be embedded in the collective psyche of an entire community – in this case the community of gay men?  Despite broader societal acceptance and advances in LGBTQ rights, sex between men remains in many ways a taboo in our society. There still exists a narrative that gay sex is a “dirty secret.”  With the evolution of online hook-up Apps, the prevalence of pornography and the increase in the use of recreational drugs for sexual purposes, many gay men are unwittingly playing into that very narrative. Non-relational, non-intimate sexual behaviors can be seen as the norm. In addition, internalized homophobia can often lead to gay men sexually shaming one another. For the gay male sex addict, the conflation of the two has a devastating impact, making it nearly impossible for them to separate healthy from unhealthy sex.  Understanding this unique shame paradigm is essential to compassionate and effective treatment

Daniel Lacovara is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Los Angeles, specializing in the treatment of gay men struggling with sex and love addiction. In addition to his practice, Mr. Lacovara is the Clinical Outreach Specialist for Center for Healthy Sex, where he received advanced training from Dr. Alexandra Katehakis. In this role, he provides education about the field for graduate students, interns and licensed professional. He has lectured both locally and nationally on the topic of gay men and sex addiction.



Mark Schwartz Sc.D & Stephen Southern, Ed.D

Recovery from Sexual Compulsivity (PDF)

Sexual compulsivity is a developmental disorder requiring a comprehensive understanding of “survival strategies” enlisted over the lifespan. Affect based psychotherapies, including psychodrama, internal family systems therapy, and schema therapy afford access into the inner world and relationships of persons suffering with sexual compulsivity. Effective therapy requires intervention in the repetition-compulsion of reenactments and development of non-compulsive affect regulation skills. Comprehensive therapy involves increasing structural abilities such as interpersonal boundaries and establishing earned-secure attachment. By understanding and intervening in the developmental trajectories that lead to sexual compulsivity, the therapist or coach facilitates openness to new experience, capacity for intimacy, and willingness to make meaning in recovery.

Dr. Mark Schwartz co-directs Harmony Place Monterey. With more than 30 years of trauma and addiction experience, he helped hundreds of individuals and couples heal from deep, often long-lasting issues and addictive disorders. Over the years, Dr. Schwartz has specialized in the sub-specialties that often appear with trauma diagnoses, developing his expertise and profound understanding. Dr. Schwartz was Director of Psychosocial Research at Masters & Johnson Institute. Utilizing and expanding on research findings of the institute, he developed various treatment programs for sexual trauma, sexual compulsivity and trauma-based disorders. In recent years, Dr. Schwartz has been applying developmental and attachment-based models to helping clients with compulsive behaviors.

dr-stephen-southernStephen Southern is Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychology and Counseling at Mississippi College. Trained at Masters and Johnson Institute, he served as clinical consultant in the treatment of sexual dysfunction, trauma, addiction and currently specializes in treating sexual issues. He has over 60 research and professional publications, served as Editor of  Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling and The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families and edited two volumes of the Annual Review of Addiction and Offender Counseling: Best Practices. Recent works include chapters on treatment and ethics. Dr. Southern is Editor-in-Chief of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity and SASH Board member.


Matthew Hedelius, PsyD, LCSW, CSAT-S

Sextortion and Hypersexual Disorder in the Digital Age

This presentation will examine the increasing phenomenon of sextortion, the act of extorting money, power or privilege through blackmailing someone sexually. This is becoming increasingly more common among hypersexual clients who find themselves entrapped in a sexually compulsive cycle. Often hypersexual individuals take excessive risks and are naïve regarding those whom they interact with online. This presentation will examine the paths that generally entrap hypersexual clients.  Focus will also be given on how to address these issues in a treatment setting with the addict and partner.  Trauma associated with the sextortion process will be looked at and how to go about helping the client and partner begin to cope with these factors.  We will also examine ethical guidelines surrounding encouraging clients to report. Case studies of sextortion crimes will be examined.

Dr. Matthew Hedelius has been providing treatment for individuals who suffer from trauma and sexual compulsivity for over 20 years and has completed over 40,000 therapy sessions in that time frame.  He has experience in outpatient, residential and inpatient treatment settings. He provides bio and neurofeedback as a means of helping patients resolve their addictions and trauma issues.  In addition, he has been trained in and provides EMDR to help patients resolve their traumatic histories.  He enjoys running half marathons and marathons and loves working with people. He also provides supervision for therapists who are training to be sex addiction therapists.


Todd Connaughty, MA, LPC, LADC

Problematic Sexual Behavior-101 

There is much controversy in the field of working with problematic sexual behavior (PSB) pertaining to nomenclature, paradigm, and theories within the field. SASH takes the position that individuals, families, communities, and society respond to the treatment and recovery needs of the identified system without getting trapped in the “labeling” of the behaviors under a specific framework or name. Rather, the focus is on the education, treatment and recovery of those who are affected by problematic sexual behavior(s).   This seminar is for professionals both new to the field or already working in the field of sexual health and will explore the various names/frameworks of PSB’s, intake, assessment, treatment/treatment planning, resources, co-morbidity with PSB’s, and movement toward recovery. Attendees will leave with an understanding of problematic sexual behaviors, and the identification, treatment and recovery of those affected by PSB.


Todd has been employed with Pride Institute since 2006.  He received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Addiction Counseling from Metropolitan State University and his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from St. Mary’s University.  Todd is passionate about his work with the LGBTQI community addressing the mental health, chemical dependency, and sexual health issues and needs of the community, assisting clients in find their pathway to recovery.    Todd enjoys working with alcohol and drug counseling interns and mental health practicum students, assisting new clinicians to become adept in working with the LGBTQI community.


Isabel Nino-de-Guzman, Ph.D., MS, CSAT-S; CMAT-S

Clinical Interventions on Individuals Endorsing Compulsive Use of Pornography with Sexually (PDF)

The purpose of this presentation is to provide information about results of clinical interventions on individuals endorsing compulsive use of pornography with violent sexually/offensive content.  The lecturer will address the problematic use of pornography with violent/offensive content in society; examine issues reported by individuals who indicate compulsive use of this type of pornography, and discuss the effectiveness of clinical interventions and therapeutic techniques utilized with individuals seeking treatment for compulsive sexual behavior, who endorse use of pornography with sexually violent content.  The presenter will a) summarize up-to-date research about the social impact of such practices on such individuals b) identify psychological problems described by such individuals involving cognitive distortions, unhealthy manifestations of unresolved developmental trauma, defense mechanisms, eroticized rage, relational difficulties and problems with intimacy, changes in their arousal template, and different types of sexual dysfunction c)  examine the therapeutic effect of clinical techniques applied to patients treated for sexual compulsivity, who report engaging in violent pornography use. Such techniques involve psychoeducation, somatic experiencing for deactivation of mechanisms of hyperarousal and activation of inhibitory responses, review of individual’s sexual timeline, deconstruction of arousal template, and victim’s empathy.  Finally, the presentation will illustrate the need of prevention campaigns to increase the public’s awareness of the problem and the involvement of professionals in the community in a) promoting psychoeducation of parents and children about the impact of violent pornography b) increasing participation of the educational system in the promotion of healthy sexuality c) increasing propagation of positive sexual values in the media.

Dr. Isabel Nino-de-Guzman is a clinical psychologist from Peru, where she was involved in academia as a professor and researcher, and is author and co-author of several publications.  She works in the United States with patients reporting severely compulsive and addictive sexual patterns since 2006.  She performed the first study utilizing latent cluster analysis to identify patterns of interaction between sexual addiction, mental health disorders, and maladaptive personality patterns.  Dr. Nino-de-Guzman conducts highly specialized psychosexual assessments on patients with sexually addictive behaviors and dual disorders and utilizes multi-modal individual and group techniques to help these persons to overcome their dysfunction.


Marnie Ferree, M.A., LMFT, CSAT

Female Sex & Love Addicts and Female Partners – Differences and Similarities

Recent clinical thought has drawn a hard line in the sand between women who themselves are sex or love addicts and the women who are betrayed by them. These are seen as two very different, even disparate groups of individuals – populations with little in common and much antagonism and animosity between them. This thinking is logical, because the female sex and love addicts are betrayers in relationship, and female partners are the ones betrayed.

Early thinkers in our field, however, held a different viewpoint. Beginning with the groundbreaking book Women, Sex and Addiction, Charlotte Kasl described core similarities between female addicts and partners. Although Kasl used language that is now outdated and often considered pejorative, she outlined a model for the development of sex addiction and what she called “sexual codependency” that traces the roots of both to early neglect, abuse or betrayal.

Current clinical approaches wisely advocate that partners first receive treatment for their trauma of betrayal. This protocol recognizes that intimate betrayal is unique in its devastating pain and deserves tender attention. After that healing foundation, though, what is most helpful?

Marnie C. Ferree, M.A., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Nashville, Tennessee, where she directs Bethesda Workshops, which provides Christian-based treatment for sexual addiction in an intensive setting. The workshop she established for female sex addicts in 1997 was the first of its kind in the country. Marnie’s book, No Stones: Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction, is unique in addressing this issue in women from a Christian perspective. She is also the volume editor and a contributing writer for Making Advances – A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Female Sex and Love Addicts. Marnie may be contacted through www.BethesdaWorkshops.org or 615-467-5610.


Rory Reid, Ph.D., LCSW & Monica Meyer, Ph.D, CSAT-S

Clinical Interventions and Treatment Plans for Online Hypersexual Behavior

The focus of this presentation is to empower providers to create meaningful, relevant, and effective treatment plans for patients seeking help for problematic online hypersexual behavior / sex addiction. Treatment plans discussed in this session will address clinical issues frequently encountered by hypersexual patients such as (1) difficulty coping with stress, (2) intolerance for uncomfortable emotions such as shame, depression, anxiety, etc… and (3) an inability to manage cravings related to online problematic sexual behavior. More importantly, clinicians will learn how to create a treatment plan with several components such as identifying the core problem, defining the problem, writing problem statements, goal development, constructing objectives, and applications for interventions. Finally, content for treatment plans and clinical issues will be informed by empirical research and best practices.

Dr. Rory Reid holds a master’s degree in social work and a doctorate degree in neuropsychology. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA, Dr. Reid pursued post-doctoral education at Harvard Medical School. He’s currently Research Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and has worked clinically with hundreds of individuals and couples negatively impacted by hypersexual behavior. He was the principal investigator for the DSM-5 Field Trial on Hypersexual Disorder and has published numerous scientific articles on hypersexual behavior in scientific journals. His work has been featured in press outlets such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal,  TIME magazine, as well as TV specials on ABC, CBS and Fox News.

Monica Meyer, PhD, CSAT-S, is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and the Clinical Director of Gentle Path and Willow House at The Meadows, providing specialized inpatient treatment to men and women struggling with sexual addiction, intimacy disorders and developmental trauma. She has worked closely with Dr. Patrick Carnes and supervises other professionals as a faculty member for Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) training modules. Dr. Meyer is a contributing author to Integrative Sexual Health and Clinical Management of Sex Addiction (2nd Ed.). She utilizes a neurobiologically-informed, attachment-focused approach to treatment that integrates somatic, attachment and mindfulness-based interventions to deepening intimate connections. 


Daniel A. Glaser, MSW, LCSW

Invisible Chains: Industrialized Sex and Internet Hypersexual Behavior (PDF)

This presentation will explore the negative impact of the use of the internet in promoting hypersexual behavior that is non-paraphilic. Hypersexual behavior will be viewed from a self-harm perspective, hijacking self/other intimacy. Theoretical views and clinical applications will be presented using cognitive-behavioral, systemic and psychodynamic principles. Hypersexual behavior as affect dysregulation will be processed. The four dimensional model for working with the linkage between dissociation (altered states of consciousness) and hypersexual behavior including time, thought, body and emotion will be explicated. Imaginal desensitization and olfactory aversion are two behavioral therapy techniques that are frequently used in the treatment of hypersexual behaviors, and clinical examples will be offered. Psychosocial challenges will be revisited from a non-developmental perspective noting the corrective experiences to solidify a strong sense of self. A format for challenging self-limiting beliefs using a clinical case example from silent secret generated hypersexual behavior will be presented. The Collaborative Change Model will be applied to the treatment of hypersexual behavior disorders including (1) creating a context for change, (2) challenging patterns and expanding realities, (3) consolidation. Compassion fatigue and practitioner reactivity will be defined. Participants will be able to utilize relapse prevention tools to aid clients in maintaining a sober living experience. Nurturing the body, mind, emotions and spirit will be described in order to promote self-transformation. Principles of sex therapy that promote sexual equilibrium using the intersystem model will be selected and utilized.

Dan Glaser is Program Director of The New Orleans Institute Trauma/Compulsivity Programs at River Oaks Hospital.  His national presentations have focused on family therapy, group therapy, and healthy sexuality.  Mr. Glaser received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Tulane University in New Orleans and completed post-graduate specialty training in mental health and aging, sexual dysfunction, and family therapy.  He has served on several graduate faculties, teaching at both the masters and doctoral levels. Mr. Glaser works with clients covering the developmental spectrum – children, adolescents, and adults.  Outpatient treatment includes relational therapy, sexual dysfunction, trauma-based disorders, sexual compulsivity, and family therapy.

Rachel Hoffman, LMSW

Dating, Mating, and Innovating: The Impact of Technology on Intimacy (PDF)

Individuals and couples are presenting to therapy due to the use of technology affecting their level of intimacy. It is not a coincidence that phone addiction is becoming a mainstream debate in the media and mental health associations. The presence of the phone and computer draws the attention and energy away from each other and towards their devices. As a result, intimacy decreases and partners find themselves emotionally and physically distanced. It is becoming increasingly difficult to detach from social media, professional expectations, and external stressors. The need to connect and be available through technology is common and detrimental to relationships. Therapists will need to help couples navigate this presenting problem through therapy.  This presentation will delineate and describe some of the interpersonal behaviors that extensively occur.  Treatment methods and tools for therapists to address those actions that interfere with the relationship will be presented and explored.  Insight oriented, cognitive behavioral therapy, increased mindfulness and self-awareness are all useful techniques in restoring intimacy in relationships. Although therapists might possess the skill set in utilizing these theories, adapting them to address the impact of technology on relationships entails additional education.

Rachel Hoffman, LMSW, is a therapist at the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy. She is earning her doctoral degree in human sexuality from Widener University, Chester, PA. She is a member of both NASW and AASECT. She is the founder of the website SexandTech.com, which highlights various companies in the sex and tech world. Her therapy website is sextherapylongisland.com. Rachel is also writing a book Dating, Mating, and Innovating: Understanding How Technology is Helping and Hurting Relationships, which is due to be published in the fall of 2017.


Friday October 6, 2017


Marc Potenza, Ph.D, MD

What is the rationale and what are the clinical implications for how compulsive sexual behaviors might be considered in ICD-11?

While hypersexual disorder was considered for inclusion in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), it ultimately was omitted from the publication despite testing through a field trial. This decision has significant implications for the considerable number of people struggling with various forms of compulsive sexual behaviors. The eleventh edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) is currently being developed. Several groups, particularly those focusing on addictions and impulse control disorders, have been discussing compulsive sexual behavior disorder. Although the ICD-11 process is not yet finalized, problematic, compulsive, excessive and/or hypersexual behaviors relating to sex are being discussed with respect to inclusion in ICD-11. A currently proposed diagnostic category by the addictive disorders group would permit clinicians to have a diagnosis for a broad range of addictive behaviors relating to sex. A formal diagnostic entity relating to compulsive sexual behaviors, with many of the criteria similar to those proposed for addictions, is also being considered. Given the use of the ICD by many groups including clinicians and insurance companies, the existence of a diagnostic entity capturing addictive behaviors relating to sex could have significant clinical and public health impacts.

Dr. Potenza is a board-certified psychiatrist who has trained at Yale University receiving MD and PhD degrees. He is a Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Neuroscience at Yale. He is on the editorial boards of fifteen journals (including editor-in-chief of Current Addiction Reports) and has received multiple national and international awards for excellence in research and clinical care. He has participated in two DSM-5 research work groups in WHO meetings relating to ICD-11. Dr. Potenza’s research has focused on the neurobiology and treatment of substance and non-substance (behavioral) addictions, including complsive sexual behaviors and problematic pornography use.


Moderated Table Discussion:

Enjoy conversation and fellowship around specific topics relevant to you and your practice.  Choose two of 10 topics!  
  • Spirituality versus Religiosity: Hosted by Gary Kindley, D.Min., LPC, CSAT, CMAT
  • Women & Intimacy: Hosted by Kelly McDaniel, LPC, NCC, CSAT
  • Sexual Minorities: Hosted by Terry Gatewood, LCSW, CSAT, SEP
  • Relapse Prevention: Hosted by John Leadem, LCSW, CSAT-S, CMAT, MS, MSW
  • Creative Therapies: Hosted by Sharon Rinearson, LCSW, FQS
  • The Impact of Trauma on Sexuality: Hosted by Jonathan Taylor, LCSW, CSAT
  • Partners & Betrayal Trauma: Hosted by Karen Brownd, LPC-MHSP, CSAT-S
  • Practice Management: Hosted by David Lewis, MA
  • Coaching/Mentoring: Hosted by Mark Drax, Recovery Coach (PDF)
  • Creating a Program for Adolescents with PSB: Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT
  • How to Write a Research Manuscript: Stephen Southern, Ed.D




Panayiota Courelli PhD

Much Ado About Sexting: Promoting Risk or Enhancing Communication?

Recent research on the increased prevalence of “sexting” raises concerns regarding its potential to increase sexual risk-taking behavior in adolescents.1 However, conflicting data suggests that sexting has no relationship to sexual behavior or psychological well-being2. The role of the clinician to discuss sexting with adolescent patients is also debated, with some vying for a harsh warning to teenagers3 and others suggesting that sexting is a relatable topic which can facilitate discussion of other sexual health concerns in the doctor’s office4. Researchers have yet to investigate the role of “sexting” that occurs outside of “traditional” text/photograph message.  Smartphone applications such as Snapchat and Kik are also used, while other apps like Smart Hide can store explicit photographic and video content behind the front of a simple calculator.  Our poster investigates the potential harms and benefits of “sexting” among adolescents, with a focus on the “non-traditional” forms in which sexual content can be saved and shared


Dr. Panayiota Courelli has worked as clinical psychologist for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, (CDCR), since 2001. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and a certified addiction specialist (CAS) in the areas of alcohol, other substances, and sexual addictions and is certified as a family life educator (CFLE) working with incarcerated adolescents, their families and adults. She is Senior Psychologist Specialist in Quality Management for the California Correctional Health Care and an adjunct professor for Departments of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Global Health, at Keck School of Medicine, undergraduate and graduate programs, University of Southern California.




Barbara Steffens, PhD LPCC-S, CCPS

Do No Harm: Best Practices for Helping Partners (PDF)

The sex addiction field has seen changes in the past decade or so in how the spouse or partner of the “addict” is conceptualized and treated. Although these partners have accessed services for help for years, there is no agreed upon standard of practice for work with this population to date that reaches across organizations or treatment settings. This workshop will offer foundational ethical and treatment guidelines for effectively assisting partners/spouses of sex addicts in their healing journey. Ethical standards related to assessment issues, treatment settings, treatment modalities, use of telemedicine, and recovery coaching will be discussed and explored. These guidelines will seek to address both current practice and future needs of partners and will offer possible steps for improvement for partner care. The workshop will use case examples and case discussions to foster participation and creative thinking. A “self-assessment” process will also be offered.

Dr. Barbara Steffens LPCC, CCPS has specialized in helping women recover from sexual betrayal and on the special issues related to partners of “sexual addicts” for 20 years.   Barbara is President of the Board for APSATS, which provides training and certification for partner specialists. She is also the co-author of Your Sexually Addicted Spouse:  How Partners Can Cope and Heal (Steffens & Means, 2009), which has dramatically affected change in the lives of those who are victims and the professionals who are trained to serve them.


Jeff Zacharias, ACSW, LCSW, CSAT, CAADC 

Sexual Health In The LGBT Community:  The Crossroads Of Technology as Uniting or Dividing Factor In The Community (PDF)

It has become imperative that clinicians must broaden their scope of practice when working with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in order to achieve the utmost levels of healing.  This broadening practice must include issues related to gender, privilege, power and oppression.  An even broader approach must be taken into consideration when working within these contexts while dealing with addiction(s), mental health challenges, issues around sexual compulsion/addiction as affect dysregulation and traumatic re-enactments all of which too often are exacerbated by the use of technology by LGBT clients.  For many years, the cultural mores were to meet same sex partners in bars/clubs but that culture is quickly dying and being replaced by one based in technology, hook up apps which are based in digital advances rather than in person introduction which has resulted in the debate of “intimacy versus intensity.”  Youth culture  – often driven by tech dynamics is often at odds with older members of the culture resulting in mixed messages and learning experiences around sexual health and the outcomes of operating from opposite ends of the spectrum.  It’s this unification around sexual health that can be powerful or the divisiveness of the community, which can be destructive.  Using an all avenues approach to wellness it will be important for all LGBT factions to use a similar language base in order to heal the community around sexual health and recovery focused on holistic healing for all.

Jeff Zacharias is the President/Clinical Director of New Hope Recovery Center in Chicago and maintains a private practice there.  His areas of interest include working within the LGBTQI community, all forms of addiction(s) including individual client and their partners, severe and persistent mental health issues, attachment theory related issues, trauma and its impact on holistic recovery.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors for NALGAP and has extensive experience speaking nationally and internationally on his areas of interest.  Currently he is the NASW Illinois Chapter Chicago District Chair and was the 2015 NASW-IL Social Worker of the Year.  



Dan Gray, LCSW, CSAT

Keeping the Healer Healthy: Avoiding and Coping with Compassion Fatigue and Professional Burnout  (PDF) 

This presentation will address therapists’ physical, emotional and relationship challenges in treating individuals and couples affected by compulsive, problematic sexual behaviors. A review of surveys and studies on this subject will be presented. Specific coping strategies will be discussed. Many of these strategies include therapeutic tools that we often encourage our clients to implement in their recovery plans, such as mindful living, meditation, and balanced life choices such as healthy nutrition and exercise. The importance of self-care, setting healthy boundaries and connecting with others will also be explored.

Dan Gray, is a licensed clinical social worker . He has a master’s degree in social work and is a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist. He is a Certified Addictions Counselor with the National Association of Forensic Counselors. Dan maintains a busy private practice while lecturing and training civic, religious, and professional organizations throughout the United States, Eastern Europe and China. He is the co-founder and clinical director of the LifeStar Network. He has co-authored and edited 2 books: Confronting Pornography: A Guide to Prevention and Recovery for Individuals, Loved Ones, and Leaders and Discussing Pornography Problems with a Spouse: Confronting and Disclosing Secret Behaviors.


Lucien Thomsen, LCSW, CSAT-S, CSOTS

Differential diagnosis and treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Sexual Addiction/Hypersexual Behaviors 

Individuals who present with Sexual Addiction/ Hypersexual Behaviors often have co-occurring diagnoses including others addictions, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can be misdiagnosed by clinicians specializing in treating Problematic Sexual Behavior.  In turn, Sexual Addiction/Hypersexual Behaviors can be misunderstood and mistreated by therapists who primarily treatment anxiety disorders including OCD. Although treatment for both diagnoses is primarily based on cognitive behavioral techniques, there are some significant differences on how to effectively treat these disorders. This presentation will begin with a review of assessment measures used to evaluate OCD and Sexual Addiction/Hypersexual Behaviors. The presentation will then provide an overview of treatment techniques to address these disorders and include case examples of when and how to use clinical techniques. Participants are welcome to bring cases examples for discussion.

Lucien specializes in the assessment and treatment of adolescents and adults with sexual behavior problems, including sex addiction, sex offending and professional sexual misconduct. A Certified Sex Addiction Therapist-Supervisor and a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist, he conducts psychosexual evaluations and works collaboratively with treatment professionals, professional assistance programs, attorneys, and supervising authorities to effectively treat his clients. Lucien also treats individuals with chronic interpersonal problems and issues related to trauma. He is a clinical member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers; a member of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health; a member of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals; and a member of the National Association of Forensic Counselors. He regularly presents at conferences and trainings.


Movie & Panel Discussion: Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly

Filmmaker Justin Hunt

Justin Hunt is an internationally-acclaimed filmmaker whose documentaries have shifted the paradigms of thinking on several issues.  His films on meth addiction, fatherlessness and pornography addiction have earned him national media awards, parliamentary speaking invites, national television appearances and extensive social recognition.  Justin’s latest film, Addicted to Porn: Chasing the Cardboard Butterfly, was a Top 20 film in more than 20 countries and is distributed in over 60 nations in five different languages.  He has worked with the likes of Val Kilmer, World Champion boxer Johnny Tapia, authors John Eldredge and Father Richard Rohr, and, most notably, Metallica’s James Hetfield.

Panel: Rob Weiss, Amy Smith,  Mark Bell

Robert Weiss is a digital-age intimacy and relationships expert specializing in infidelity and addictions—in particular sex, porn, and love addiction. He is the author of several highly regarded books, including “Out of the Doghouse: A Step-by-Step Relationship Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating,” “Sex Addiction 101,” He is also the co-author, with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, of “Closer Together, Further Apart” and “Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age.” He blogs regularly for Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Psych Central, Mind Body Green. He is Senior Vice President of National Clinical Development for Elements Behavioral Health.



Amy Smith is a gifted educator and has spent over fifteen years teaching, training and developing curriculum materials for learners of varying ages and backgrounds. After decades of acting out and living in sex addiction, Amy chose bottom and began recovery in 2011. With a strong desire to help dispel shame and build hope in the lives of women recovering from sex and other addictions, Worth Recovery and the Worth Recovery Podcast was born, www.worthrecovery.com. In addition to the podcast, Amy offers recovery coaching and recovery events focused on supporting and connecting women in addiction.


Mark Bell, is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) currently with Arizona Family Institute (AFI). Mark previously worked 8½ years at Psychological Counseling Services (PCS) in Scottsdale, AZ on the PCS Intensive treatment team. Prior to PCS he worked 2½ years as a primary therapist at Gentle Path, a Sexual Addiction in-patient treatment center, and trained under Dr. Patrick Carnes, distinguished expert on Sexual Addiction. He received his  graduate training in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Southern Mississippi and undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University. Mark  works significantly with people struggling with problematic sexual behaviors, relational challenges, and emotional intimacy issues. He also works with spouses, partners, families, and others impacted by their loved one. Mark  has regularly been a guest interviewee on media shows, written for counselor/therapy publications, and have presented locally and nationally. Most importantly, he has been married 14 years to his wife, Dyan, and together they are the parents of 5 kids… all boys!


Saturday October 7, 2017



Rob Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S 

Sexual Evolution: How We Got from Spin-the-Bottle to Sexting in a Single Generation. (PDF)

As we continue our rapid cultural shift from our familiar analog world into the wild, wild digital one, sexual and relationship norms are changing. What defines sex, a relationship, dating, mating and even fidelity, (especially to a younger person today), is changing as meaningful and rapidly (if less visibly) now, as it did 50 years ago (via the sexual revolution of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s). This workshop is designed to offer a broad, but concrete overview of the changing face of human relationships and sexuality related to life online. The ‘new sexuality’ provoked in great part by the Millennials and Gen Y generations’ unlimited access to sexual information (and experience) will be introduced. Attendees will gain insight into related current trends in online sexuality, both positive and negative, along with problems faced by parents, employers and loved ones related to our now instantaneous Internet-driven access to intensely pleasurable sexual imagery and casual, anonymous sex.

Robert Weiss is a digital-age intimacy and relationships expert specializing in infidelity and addictions—in particular sex, porn, and love addiction. He is the author of several highly regarded books, including “Out of the Doghouse: A Step-by-Step Relationship Saving Guide for Men Caught Cheating,” “Sex Addiction 101,” He is also the co-author, with Dr. Jennifer Schneider, of “Closer Together, Further Apart” and “Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age.” He blogs regularly for Psychology Today, Huffington Post, Psych Central, Mind Body Green. He is Senior Vice President of National Clinical Development for Elements Behavioral Health.


Dan Griffin, MA

Venus and Mars, Really? The Intersection of Gender, Relationships and Sex (PDF)

We don’t tend to spend a lot of time thinking about how our ideas of being men and women affect our relationships. But we need to. This presentation explores a unique perspective on relationships. It focuses on the ways in which the ideas about our culture’s masculinity and femininity are fundamentally opposed to the most critical elements of healthy intimacy and relationships. Attendees will learn how to support each other in the development of relationship and the balance of recovery while navigating the changing needs of men and women in the 21st century.

Dan Griffin has worked in the mental health and addictions field for over two decades. A speaker, author and advocate for changing the way we think about men. He is recognized internationally as an expert on males and trauma. In the fall of 2015, Griffin was honored to be named as a senior fellow at The Meadows. He is the author of, A Man’s Way through Relationships, the first trauma-informed book written to help men create healthy relationships while navigating the challenges of internalizing the “Man Rules. You can read more about Dan and his work at www.dangriffin.com.


Community Day Sessions:


Adolescent Panel:

Candice Christiansen, LPC; Mary Sharpe, and Darryl Mead

Helping Generation Sext.™: A Global Prevention-Love Ed. Movement™ For Youth (PDF)

Generation Sext™ is the first generation of youth to know about group sex before going on a first date or having a face to face conversation. Youth are being normed on social media and pornography at it’s finest. Hundreds of new and “exciting” teen dating apps exist to keep teens wrapped up in a world of swiping, sexting, or scoring and sending nude pics, revenge porn, and cyber-bullying are at an all-time high. Parents, teachers, school administrators, and law enforcement are at a loss at what to do and how to intervene to prevent the school to prison pipeline. Research shows that youth don’t care about the potential legal consequences which means scare tactics and outdated forms of education are not the solution. At The Teen Prevention Project.™ our prevention model, Helping Generation Sext™  has a successful solution for youth, parents, schools, and our communities. We access various means (therapy, education, classes) while incorporating a Restorative Justice theme (i.e., teaching empathy & accountability) along with Intimacy Education™ to educate parents, youth, and youth mentors on ways to stay safe, healthy, and connected in a cyber-obsessed world. Our goal is to create connected, empathic, loving, and respectful youth who are able to have an open and safe dialogue with their parents and other adults about one of the most important topics in their lives: Real Intimacy.

Candice Christiansen is the founder of Namasté Center for Healing, The Global Prevention Project, and The Love Ed. Movement.™ She is the creator of the Helping Generation Sext™ Prevention-Intervention Model for youth. Candice is a Consultant for the International Institute of Trauma and Addictions Professionals and on the Utah Mental Health Counselor Association’s (UMHCA) Board, the Utah Coalition Against Pornography (UCAP) board, the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health’s (SASH) Conference Committee, and a member of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abuser’s (ATSA) Global Prevention Committee where she consults internationally on prevention initiatives.


Internet Pornography: What Parents, Teachers And Healthcare Professionals Need To Know (PDF)

Internet pornography is here to stay and the challenges of the digital world for sexual health are becoming more obvious every day. The biggest risks are to adolescents whose brains are primed for sexual cues. Young people are the most vulnerable to addiction of all kinds.  In this workshop The Reward Foundation will share some tried and tested strategies to help parents, teachers and professionals work together to navigate this tricky environment with young people. Telling young people that they should simply not watch pornography is not an effective basis for successful prevention or intervention.  Young people benefit from information about how their brain seeks reward, is vulnerable to overstimulation and what strategies they can adopt to strengthen their mind and body to build resilience to stress. We will look at short term and longer term screen fasts that can help young people “feel the urge” in a controlled, supportive way and start the process to recovery and balance.

Mary Sharpe is a lawyer and the Chief Executive Officer of The Reward Foundation – Our brain on love and sex, a charity based in Edinburgh, Scotland (www.rewardfoundation.org).  Mary is a member of the SASH board and the chair of its Public Relations and Advocacy committee.

Dr. Darryl Mead is the Chair of The Reward Foundation and an internet specialist. Mary and Darryl communicate about the potential harms of excessive internet pornography consumption at all levels, from helping form government policy to direct delivery of sessions to young people in schools.



Millennial Panel:

Millennials Reconnecting Relationships in a Pornified Culture 

Craig Smith, Cassandra Hulse, Zachary Andrews, Vauna Davis

Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with Internet pornography, and are now living with the consequences. One of the problems of pornography that concerns many young adults is its damage on relationships. Young people who have grown up in a culture of fear, silence, and shame regarding pornography and sexuality find that this barrier can make problems even worse by keeping people from helping each other.

Join us and hear Millennials share their ideas on creating a new culture of courage, communication, and compassion. Human connection is one of the great casualties of pornography, but it is also the greatest remedy! Change will happen as young adults share effective ways to talk about the issue and learn to connect more deeply with the real people in their lives, empowering them live according to their values regarding pornography.

Millennials are the bridge generation who can help each other heal, teach their parents and leaders, and model healthier connection for the teens following them.  Learn how you can help them take the lead on one of the biggest challenges of their time.

Craig grew up on a small farm in southern Wisconsin where he learned an appreciation for the outdoors and the importance of family unity. After spending two years serving as a missionary in the Philippines, he began studies at Brigham Young University (BYU) and will soon to graduate with a degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities. He sees the social dilemmas created by pornography as the greatest threats to people finding true joy, freedom, and connection in their lives and is determined to help facilitate the necessary changes to make a real difference. Craig currently serves as an officer at Reach 10.


Cassandra Hulse is an activist for women in recovery from sexual addiction, specifically pornography addiction. She is involved with several organizations dedicated to fighting the plague of pornography and human trafficking, including Reach 10. She shares her personal journey of pornography addiction on her blog (www.battletogether.com). Her mission is to give a voice to women who feel that they cannot speak openly about their addiction and to dispel the taboo surrounding pornography addiction. She is from Hermiston, Oregon and is currently attending BYU as a Linguistics and English Language major. She enjoys hiking, singing, and playing the guitar.

Zachary is 23 years old and studies Psychology at BYU. He is from Henderson, Nevada, and currently works as a Korean teacher at the Provo LDS Missionary Training Center. He has been married to his beautiful wife, Rachel, for almost two years. They serve together as officers at Reach 10. Zachary enjoys reading, writing, playing ultimate frisbee, and sharing his story of recovery from compulsive pornography use.



The Over-Sexualization of the Millennial Culture in the U.S. and Abroad

Nina Lawson, Savannah Cuthbertson

Our culture is lying to us.  Photo shopped images, explicit videos featuring unrealistic scenarios, gossip articles featuring the next big scandal are just a few examples of where the millennial generation is learning about body image, sexuality, and romantic interactions.  The reality is that none of these are portraying a healthy, realistic view of sex.  Our generation is learning about sex through the internet, largely internet pornography, and that is shaping our values and beliefs on what healthy sexuality actually looks like.

Western culture is a great influence, with the United States leading much of the mass media output. Around the world our youth respond to the messages in films, television, and music created in the sexualized culture of the U.S. Our influence is even greater, as we fuel a large portion of the demand for foreign sex trafficking, with it being more prominent surrounding areas that are heavily inhabited by foreign aid and humanitarian workers, and a U.S. military presence.  We are fueling the sex industry abroad.

How have we become a culture that buys children for sex?  How is it that 1 in 4 girls will be raped or forced into unwanted sexual acts before the age of 18?  How do we continue to stand by as the numbers only go up?  When we raise a generation on complete accessibility to sexually explicit content, we raise those numbers.  We must address the issues we are facing together.

Nina Lawson graduated from the University of Wisconsin Superior with a degree in English and a passion for paying off student loans. She has worked diligently for youth as a para professional in a high school, and a personal care assistant.  She has worked more specifically against the sexual exploitation of minors as a case manager for trafficked youth, a wilderness therapy guide for teens with sexual behavioral issues, and is now working for the Diamond Heart Foundation, a nonprofit uniting the movement of opposition to sexual exploitation and pornography.


Savannah Cuthbertson is a transfer student from Polytechnic Institute of Virginia to University of Utah working to obtain a degree in writing and psychology.  Before transferring she took a year off from school to gain experience as a wilderness therapy guide in Utah, where she worked with clients who struggled with sexual behavior issues.  She grew up living abroad in Australia, Kenya, Italy, and Panama, gaining experiences with diverse cultures.  She is passionate about human rights and cares deeply for those who have suffered due to the harms of sexual exploitation.  She is passionate about making change.

Partners Panel:

 Jackie Pack, LCSW, CSAT-S and Jonathan Taylor

Healing Betrayal Trauma: Effective Strategies for Recovery (PDF)

Partners are often the unforgotten individual impacted by the compulsive sexual behavior of their loved one. They experience profound sexual betrayal trauma, and are overwhelmed by how to recover. A critical task to their healing is understanding and using  boundaries for self-protection and empowerment. This workshop will address strategies for boundary development and roadblocks to enforcing them in relationships often riddled with years of emotional chaos and patterning that have kept a partner inhibited from expressing her true wishes and needs. The road to recovery changes as partners move through the different stages of healing that includes discovery/disclosure; finding footing through the initial stages of shock and grief; establishing meaningful and empowering boundaries and reclaiming a healthy sense of self.  This class will be beneficial to individuals, couples, families and support people.

Jackie is founder and Clinical Director of Healing Paths, Inc in Bountiful, Utah.  She is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist/Supervisor and a Certified Multiple Addiction Therapist/Supervisor, specializing in the treatment of sexual addiction, trauma and relationship health and dysfunction.  Jackie has been featured on Sex Help with Carol the Coach and The Worth Recovery Podcast talking about boundary basics.  Jackie can also be heard co-hosting her weekly podcast Thanks For Sharing which can be found in the iTunes and Google play stores.

Jon Taylor, SASH, Sex addictionJon Taylor, SASH, Sex addiction

Jon Taylor, SASH, Sex addictionJon Taylor is a member of the Healing Paths team in Bountiful Utah, He is a licensed social worker, CSAT and trained in EMDR.  He is passionate about helping others to heal and find recovery.  He understands the impact of sex and porn addiction on families and works directly with couples and partners to heal the wounds of trauma from problematic sexual behavior.

Advanced Trainings:


Michael Twohig, Ph.D

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Problematic Pornography Use

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a modern form of cognitive behavioral therapy that has been shown to be useful in addressing a number of clinical issues including problematic pornography use. Specifically, ACT for problematic has been tested in a couple smaller studies and one large randomized trial. Additionally, the key target of ACT, psychological flexibility, has been shown to be lacking in those with who struggle with pornography viewing and have more negative effects from it. ACT teaches clients to mindfully notice their urges or cognitions, while basing actions on personal values. This may end up being particularly useful for problematic pornography use because the urges to view may be difficult to meaningfully regulate, and attempts to do so may increase their frequency and power. In this session, the data on ACT for problematic pornography use will be covered. The six processes of change that are addressed in ACT will be described and participants will learn about detecting them in session. Some basic exercises to promote mindfulness and values-based behavior change will be described. Much of the session will be didactic, but if time permits, there will also be demonstrations.

Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D. is a psychologist in Utah and a Professor of Psychology at Utah State University. He received his B.A. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, his Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Reno, and completed his clinical internship at the University of British Columbia Hospital. He is past-President of the Association of Contextual Behavioral Science. He has published over 100 scholarly works including two books: An ACT-Enhanced Behavior Therapy approach to the Treatment of Trichotillomania (with Woods) and ACT Verbatim for Depression and Anxiety (with Hayes). His research has been funded through multiple sources.


Peter Qualliotine

Stopping Sexual Exploitation: a Program for Men (SSE) (PDF)

Sex-buying is increasingly being understood as a social practice of gender based violence. In 2015, the Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS) launched SSE, a new 10-week model educational program for buyers of commercial sex. This innovative course is a step forward in the evolution of intervention strategies targeting sex buyers and is a core component of a coordinated community response to commercial sexual exploitation.

Sex buyers intervention programs emerged in the 1990s as a response to the demand side of the commercial sex industry, signaling a recognition that sex buyers were an appropriate focus population for education efforts. These early programs were limited in their potential to drive change due to a lack of available information about the motivation of the target populations and the slow to change social and cultural norms that have persistently regarded the buying of sex as a victimless crime.

Many localities throughout the country have adopted one-day “John Schools” modeled after these early and insufficient efforts without significant consideration of the effectiveness of the programs on the attitudinal and behavioral change of individual participants or the meaning and influence of those programs as legal consequences to sex buying that set social norms for the larger population.

The duration, content and participatory design of SSE creates greater opportunities for individual change. Adoption of the program also serves a social norm setting function by identifying sex buying as a harmful social practice that requires a substantive and thoughtful response.

Peter has been working to end commercial sexual exploitation and gender based violence for over two decades. He is co-founder of and Director of Men’s Accountability for the Seattle based Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS). He co-coordinates “Buyer Beware: a Partnership to End Commercial Sexual Exploitation with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office In King County Washington. In 2015, Peter launched OPS’ “Stopping Sexual Exploitation: a Program for Men” a new model 10 session prostitution buyers intervention program utilized by municipalities throughout King County.


Ty Mansfield Ph.D

Increasing Clinical Competency when Working with Gender Variant Clients and their Families

This workshop will overview psychological, emotional, interpersonal and sociological dynamics when working with clients who present with non-traditional gender or their families. Included will be an exploration of the spectrum of gender, an overview of some of the recent research, and clinical when providing care and treatment for gender variant individuals and their families.

Dr. Mansfield is a marriage and family therapist and an adjunct instructor at Brigham Young and Utah Valley Universities. He specializes in working with religious clients who are struggling with conflicts between their sexual orientation and/or gender identity and religious/spiritual beliefs and identity. He is a member of the Reconciliation and Growth Project, a group of ideologically diverse mental health professionals and academics who have engaged in dialogue for several years and have found common ground sufficient to develop a recently-released ethical mental health treatment protocol that takes into account an understanding of the current research, clinical literature, and the various professional codes of ethics regarding sexual and gender diversity. 

Poster Presentations: All Day Saturday


Elaine Qian, Alison Schenone, Limari Archuleta, Sophia Skaaden, Michael Tien, Panayiota Courelli  

Evaluation and Technological Intervention for Middle School Sexual Health Education

Evaluation of sexual health activity among 6-8th grade students revealed a need for increased data and knowledge on both adolescent sexual health activity and their sexual health education.  Technology and Internet access offers the potential for reformed adolescent sexual health education, as these resources can be utilized for alternative education beyond the classroom. Such education can be adapted and personalized for age groups, sexual orientation, and geographic locations. Current Internet resources can be intimidating, and the need for a more personal system to relay this important information is vital in ensuring the physical and emotional well being of today’s youth. Our plan proposes to create a downloadable application, synced to an online portal, which could act as such a resource. To ensure anonymity, no identifiable information would be required from the individual, and passcode requirements would ensure confidentiality. In order to personalize one’s account, the individual can specify age, gender, and sexual orientation. The user experience would be always be adaptable, and thus could provide the individual with the resources best suited to their current maturity and interests. Though modern day technology enables middle schoolers to readily access sexual health education, today’s youth necessitates reformed sexual health education through a personalized platform catered towards age, sexual orientation, and geographic location.

Sophia Skaaden is a junior majoring in Global Health and minoring in Natural Sciences. She is from Calabasas, California and is currently engaged in her classes, a research project with the Keck School of Preventative Medicine in the Program of Global Health and Human Rights, and different organizations on campus. She is the President of the Alpha Psi chapter of Alpha Delta Pi and volunteers with Ronald McDonald House Charities, and volunteers with Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE), which teaches sexual health to middle school girls at schoolers in the greater Los Angeles area.  

Limari Archuleta was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  She is a junior at the University of Southern California, majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Keck School of Medicine and minoring in Musical Studies at the Thornton School of Music. Limari has worked with Global Medical Brigades and Love Your Melon for two years and currently serves on both organizations’ executive boards.  Since her freshman year, Limari has worked at the USC Caruso Catholic Center. Additionally, she interned for Dr. Jane Figuereido for the Hispanic Colorectal Cancer GWAS Study at the Keck Department of Preventive Medicine.

Elaine Qian is a junior at USC majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and minoring in Healthcare Studies and Natural Sciences. Elaine is a teaching assistant for Critical Issues in Race, Class and Leadership Education (CIRCLE), where she facilitates discussions on the intersection of social issues and Asian American identity. She’s also on the executive board for Global Medical Brigades and Mobile Clinic, as well as a senior advisor for a competitive hip-hop dance team. Additionally, Elaine is a research assistant at USC Health, Emotion and Addiction Laboratory, where she studies the effects of tobacco withdrawal in African Americans.  

Alison Schenone is currently a sophomore at the University of Southern California studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the Keck department of Preventative Medicine, and she is minoring in Natural Sciences.  She is from Naperville, Illinois, and is currently working as an undergraduate research assistant on the MATCH Study researching the link between maternal stress and childhood obesity risk at the USC Reach Lab.  She also serves on the executive board for USC’s Mobile Clinic, working with physicians, pharmacists, occupational therapists, and other health professionals to provide medical care and social services to the homeless community near USC.


Amaka Agodi, Ashley Knight, and Christian Amirkhanian, Panayiota Courelli

Are Focus Groups Really Effective for Prevention?

This research project will explore the use of focus groups for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Case studies will be reviewed to exemplify the effectiveness and efficiency of focus groups as an intervention. Focus groups have been successful as an intervention in many public health capacities; however, focus groups may have different results when trying to discuss topics such as sexual health. The case studies will reveal that there are different levels of effectiveness of focus groups depending on the demographics of the group. There will also be a literature review of pertinent studies that have addressed the methodological concepts and limitations of focus groups as a prevention method.

Ashley Knight is a graduating senior from the University of Southern California majoring in Global Health. She is interested in studying epidemiology in the future and hopes to attain a Master in Public Health. Ashley has assisted on several projects at the USC Department of Preventative Medicine. She has researched topics on mental health in the Latino community, childhood obesity in Los Angeles, and oral deformity prevalence globally.  

Amaka Chioma Mae Agodi is a graduating senior majoring in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention at the University of Southern California. She hopes to become an OB/GYN or pediatrician in a marginalized community with her own clinic. Amaka is currently a research assistant at USC’s Health, Emotion & Addiction Laboratory and for Jaih Craddock, Ph.D. candidate. In the past, Amaka has conducted research at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital for a study called SHINE where she is one of the co-authors. Her research interests include sexual health and environmental racism.

Christian Amirkhanian is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Southern California. Upon graduating in May of 2017 with a Bachelors of Science in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, he will pursue medical school in the hopes of becoming a surgeon in the coming years.   


Kai Iwamoto, Rachel Wahhab, Ema Shah, Astrid Steensberg, Panayiota Courelli

Men’s Sexual Health Services at Planned Parenthood

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are about 20 million new STD infections each year, most of which are preventable. The cost of STDs is detrimental to the U.S. health care system, estimated to be as much as $16 billion annually. However, many of the current services offered are geared towards helping women recognize signs, symptoms, and treatment for these diseases and are rarely focused on men’s sexual health. In 1994, the United Nations shifted the social outlook of men’s health by encouraging and enabling men to take responsibility for their sexual health Program of Action of the UN International Conference on Population and Development . In 2010, this disparity was finally recognized by the US Department of Health, and was directly addressed in the “Healthy People 2020” objectives. The US Health System needed a change in approach towards men’s sexual health, and Planned Parenthood took charge. Planned Parenthood encourages men to take charge of their sexual health with regular checkups, screenings, and testing for STI’s. It’s important not to let embarrassment and anxiety get in the way for checkups. PP offers services including STD testing and treatment, and sex education for males. Furthermore, some PP health centers offers cancer screening, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation support, and treatment for other conditions for males. Although PP offers many physical examinations and services for men, it is important to analyze and deduce the missing pieces and improve on emotional and health services available to their community.

Kai Iwamoto is a junior at USC pursuing a major in Biological Science and Health Promotion. She hopes to work in pediatric physical therapy to help children with neurologic diseases regain motor functions. She was first involved in sexual health education in high school as an editor on the Sex etc. page, a site where teens educate teens on sexual health and behavior. She hopes to expand her understanding on the global significance of STD education and prevention through her research and presentation at the SASH conference.

Ema Shah is a junior at the University of Southern California, studying Health and Human Sciences, with a vested interest in sexual health, and is using this opportunity as a platform to understand the many aspects associated with sexual health. In addition, as a Public Health minor she hopes that the SASH conference will allow her to integrate both aspects of her education. Post University, Ema hopes to attend medical school and work with underserved communities in order to provide them with proper health care.  

Astrid Steensberg is a freshman at the University of Southern California majoring in Science in Global Health. Steensberg has a deep interest in sexual health especially with a focus in health prevention and education in developing countries. She hopes to get further knowledge of sexual health prevention at the SASH conference. Steensberg is born and raised in Denmark and after graduating from USC, she plan to go back to Denmark and get a Master in Global Health there.  

Rachel Wahhab is a junior from Cypress, California majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and minoring in Health Care Studies. As a research assistant at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and member of USC’s oldest all women’s service organization, Rachel’s true passion lies in bringing positive change and giving back to others in need, which motivates her career goals. Through the SASH Conference, she hopes to expand her knowledge of STIs in order to be a more effective and empathetic health care provider to her future patients and contribute to the research community through her presentation.  After graduation, Rachel hopes to continue pursuing her dreams of becoming a physician and improving the health of others by attending medical school.  


Carson Klasner, Mary-Ann Cabrales, Harsimar Kang, Anika Washington, Panayiota Courelli

Latinx Sexual Health in the Context of Telenovelas and Promotoras

Undocumented Latinx immigrants face unique barriers to obtaining treatment for sexually transmitted infections. These barriers include economic, sociocultural, and political barriers, such as reduced health care access, increased stigma towards sexual health issues, and lack of health insurance. Through anecdotal evidence as well as a literature review, we examine the causes of these barriers and how they interrelate. Lack of financial and educational resources compounds the severity of sexually transmitted infections in this population. Possible solutions should therefore be interdisciplinary, including political advocacy to increase health care options and sexual education, adherence to treatment, and cultural competence amongst providers when treating patients within the community. We should keep in mind that we can’t always access these solutions through traditional avenues, but rather should utilize more creative methods including telenovelas and promotoras. These methods will actively engage the community and through their familiarity will be more accessible.  

MaryAnn Cabrales is a sophomore studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Health Care Studies at the University of Southern California. She is currently working as a research assistant in the Page Lab that aims at investigating the brain response to sugar stimuli. MaryAnn plans to further her education by completing a progressive degree in Global Medicine to earn masters and then continue on to attend medical school. MaryAnn is from Los Angeles, California and is the first in her family to attend college.  

Carson Klasner is a junior studying Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and Dramatic Arts at the University of Southern California. She currently does research at the USC School of Social Work with previously homeless adults living in permanent supportive housing on Skid Row. Carson plans to attend medical school after she graduates and become an OB/GYN. Carson is from Rochester, New York and has a twin sister who also attends USC.  

Harsimar Kang is a junior studying Global Health and Health Care Studies at the University of Southern California. She is working as a research assistant at the USC School of Social Work with the mental health of sexual minority adolescents in Los Angeles. Harsimar plans to pursue a career in both public health and medicine after she graduates. Harsimar is from Erie, Pennsylvania and is looking forward to returning to the East Coast after college.  

Anika Washington is a junior at the University of Southern California studying Global Health. Being a Los Angeles native, Anika has a strong desire to travel internationally, both in college and for her career, to learn about various cultures and to make an impact. Her goals are to obtain a Master’s Degree in Public Health and a Pharmacy Degree, and to eventually become involved in fixing healthcare disparities internationally. She is currently a research assistant in the USC Real-Time Eating and Children’s Health Lab studying Mother’s and their Children’s Health.  


Stacy Moroz, Meleeka Akbarpour, Lekha Chirala, Panayiota Courelli

Characteristics of the Most Sexually Active Cities in the World

Globally, cities such as Berlin, Moscow, Denver and Tijuana are known for being the most sexually active. A survey done on Denver, Colorado showed that the city had the highest birth rates and contraceptive sales — 189% higher than the national average. The study also notes that female contraceptives are 278% higher in Denver than nationally. However, in other cities such as Berlin, and Moscow, the number of prostitutes has skyrocketed in recent years, which has resulted in more instances of unsafe and casual sex. Social media seems to be the primary way that many younger people on hooking up and could prove an avenue for an intervention to improve sexual health but also to understand what makes these cities have so much more sex because of changes in new technologies.

Stacy Moroz is currently a sophomore majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of Southern California. Stacy is on the Differentiation Team at the Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM laboratory, which specializes in the regenerative and repair orientated capabilities of the kidney. The objective of the project she is working on focuses on the maintenance of pluripotency in hESC and iPSC lines. Stacy also volunteers as a COPE Health Scholar at Dignity Health Hospital. At this time she is shifting in the Intensive Care Unit.

Meleeka Akbarpour is currently a sophomore majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of Southern California. She is an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Andrew Gracey’s lab. Meleeka researches the dopamine pathway and biomechanical movement differences in aged C. elegans, such serves as an invertebrate model for Parkinson’s Disease. Meleeka also volunteers at California Hospital Medical Center and tutors at Dorsey High School. She also does research with the Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science at the Keck School of Medicine to understand how and why people make decisions about using tobacco and nicotine products. Furthermore, Meleeka is an executive board member on the Persian Academic and Cultural Student Association at USC.  

Lekha Chirala is a sophomore at the University of Southern California and is majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. She is a student researcher at the Real-Time Eating Activity and Children’s Health lab under the supervision of Dr. Genevieve Dunton. She is involved in the data analysis from the surveys that the participants fill out. In addition, she does material preparation for saliva collection in order to test the cortisol levels in the subjects. Additionally, Lekha is actively involved as a mentor in USC Women and Youth Supporting Each Other (WYSE).   


Helen Banh and Heidi Banh

Modern Social Media Influences on Happiness, Relationship Expectations, and STD Correlation

In our technology-centered world, the frequent use of social media plays a role in modern-day relationships. Seeing others’ relationship progressions and acts of romance may cause people to feel the need to project their own relationship statuses onto social media to validate their relationships and emotions. As a result, the constant comparing of one’s relationship to others’ can lead to jealousy and depression, and this may affect the duration of relationships and divorce rates. Along the same vein, social media usage has the potential to create unrealistic expectations for one’s own relationships. We will also examine the possible correlation of STD incidence and social media usage, to see if unhappy couples may turn to other sources to provide and fulfill their unmet sexual needs.

Helen Banh is a graduate of USC with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies, and an M.S. in Global Medicine. She plans to attend medical school this upcoming fall.

Heidi Banh will be graduating from USC with a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies, and is working towards an M.S. in Global Medicine. She plans to apply medical school in the near future.


Eugene Moon and Panayiota Courelli

Reducing Sexually Transmitted Infection Rate Through Educating Politicians and the Public of the Benefits of Needle Exchange Program

Changing a drug habit or addiction is difficult, as the war on drugs has proven futile. Thus, the resources should instead be directed towards reducing disease incidences. It has been shown that various Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), such as Hepatitis and HIV, transmit through needle sharing among intravenous drug users. And this transmission route for STDs spreads and preserves the illnesses in our society. As a result, the World Health Organization and other private organizations have implemented clean needle exchange programs. After the launch of the program, a reduction in transmission of HIV and other STIs occurred and multiple studies have emerged to mark the program’s efficacy. Unfortunately, the needle exchange program is not well advocated by the lawmakers and the public because of their misconceived notion that providing needles enables drug use. However, as we have learned from the war on drugs, drug users will continue to use intravenous drugs with or without the clean needle distribution. In addition, research has shown that providing clean needles saves government money by reducing the healthcare fees associated with STD treatments. Therefore, I propose educating politicians and the community on the effectiveness of the needle exchange program in order to gain political support for the program and ultimately reduce STD transmission.

My name is Eugene Moon and I have earned a degree in B.S. Biochemistry and currently, a M.S. Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry candidate for this coming May. I am pursuing to become a medical doctor, as I was awestruck by how seemingly insignificant chemical reactions inside cells accumulate to generate a sophisticated being like us. In addition, my enthusiasm and respect for sciences naturally compelled me into research. As a result, I hope to both practice medicine and research in a university hospital for my career. For the immediate future, I applied to do research in antibiotic resistance bacteria under Association of Public Health Laboratory and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fellowship program. However, I would like to extend my scope of research into public health and the impact of sexually transmitted disease on it.