FASD Pre-Conference

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Moving from Awareness to Action - $50

The Rooted in Advocacy pre-conference event will put a spotlight on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD refers to a range of effects that can occur when a developing fetus is prenatally exposed to alcohol. FASD can include physical, cognitive, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications.  They can affect each person in different ways and range from mild to severe. FASD is the one developmental disability that is 100% preventable. State and national experts will share the latest prevalence research, how to expand diagnostic capacity in North Carolina, strategies for supporting individuals with an FASD, the importance of preventing alcohol-exposed pregnancies, and removing the stigma surrounding this diagnosis.  Presenters sharing their expertise include Dan Dubovsky, Dr. Phillip A. May, Kathleen Tavenner Mitchell, and Dr. Yasmin Senturias.  

Interested in both the FASD Pre-conference event and the Rooted in Advocacy conference? Make sure to add each event to your cart before checking out! 


Thursday, March 12, 2020
9:00 am - 4:30 pm (includes lunch)


Embassy Suites (connected to the Benton Convention Center via indoor walkway)
Please register at the Benton Convention Center
301 W. 5th Street, Winston-Salem, NC



For any person who needs continuing education credit (social workers, K-12 educators, substance abuse providers, nurses, counselors, psychologists or any other allied health professionals), we are pleased to offer this through Northwest AHEC at this year’s event. There is no additional cost to registrants for these credits and contact hours.

Interested in both the FASD Pre-conference event and the Rooted in Advocacy conference? Make sure to add each event to your cart before checking out!

Pre-Conference Schedule

9:00am - 6:00pm


Registration / Information Desk Open

Pick up your name badge and goodie bag for the FASD Pre-Conference Training.
9:00am -9:15am



Melinda Plue, The Arc of North Carolina
9:15am - 9:45am


The Normalization of Alcohol Use in Society: The Scope of the Issue

Amy Hendricks, FASDinNC ACH/TBD (.50)
9:45am - 10:00am
10:00am - 11:15am


FASDs: Identification and Management

Dr. Yasmin Senturias ACH/TBD (1.25)
11:15am - 12:15pm


Prevalence and Characteristics of FASD in a Southeastern County

Dr. Phillip May ACH/TBD (1.0)
12:15pm - 1:00pm


Boxed LunchNetworking on-site

1:00pm - 2:30pm


Creating a circle of Hope for Women and Families Living with FASDs

Kathy Mitchell, NOFAS ACH/TBD (1.50)
2:30pm - 2:45pm
2:45pm - 4:15pm


Recognizing and Responding Appropriately to FASD: Improving Outcomes in Education, Treatment, Corrections, Home, and Other Settings

Dan Dubovsky ACH/TBD (1.5)
4:15pm - 4:30pm


Call to Action

ACH/TBD (.25)
5:30pm - 8:30pm


The Arc of North Carolina's Awards Dinner

(Ticketed event) Join us as we recognize and honor the people that have made 2019 such a great year.

Meet our Speakers

Amy C. Hendricks, BS, is the Program Coordinator for the North Carolina Fetal Alcohol Prevention Program (FASDinNC) and is a certified FASD Trainer through the University of Wisconsin and currently serves on the Executive Affiliate Council for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS).   Amy has over 25 years of experience deeply rooted in the field of public health and prevention.  In her current position, Amy provides education to professionals who work with women of reproductive age about the importance of preventing alcohol exposed pregnancies. In addition to prevention efforts, Amy shares how Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) may present in an individual across the lifespan and why early diagnosis and interventions are so important. 

Presentation Title:

The Normalization of Alcohol Use in Society:  The Scope of the Issue

Presentation Description/Abstract:

This interactive piece will help participants identify the social determinants that contribute to alcohol use among women, including the normalization of alcohol in our society. Participants will recognize the importance of talking with all women of reproductive age (15 - 44yrs.) about their alcohol use, review current statistics on alcohol use among women in our state and nation, as well as understand our call to action in preventing this disorder.

Dr. Philip May is a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Gillings School of Global Public Health where he works from the UNC Nutrition Institute in Kannapolis as an epidemiologist.

By joining UNC-NRI and moving to North Carolina in 2011, Dr. May has returned to his roots in the Southeastern United States. He graduated from Catawba College, received his Masters at Wake Forest University, and earned his Doctorate in demography, epidemiology, and population studies from the University of Montana. He built his professional career in public health research serving first as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service in Idaho and Montana. He came back to North Carolina after 33 years as a Professor of Sociology, Family and Community Medicine, and Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

His research over the past 25 years has been primarily on the prevalence and characteristics of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). He served as a member of the groundbreaking Institute of Medicine Study Committee on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (1994-1996). With an exceptional multidisciplinary clinical and epidemiological research teams from several universities across the United States and South Africa, Dr. May has been, and is currently, the principle investigator of studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research the characteristics of the continuum of FASD in the general populations of South Africa, United States, and Italy.

He has been honored with the Henry Rosett Award from the FASD Study Group of the Research Society on Alcoholism, an Excellence Award from the National Organization Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, has twice delivered the Geoffrey Robinson Memorial Keynote Presentation and the Starfish Award from the International Conference on FASD, and in 2018, he delivered the Mark Keller Honorary Lecture at NIH.

Dan Dubovsky has worked for over 40 years in the field of behavioral health and has been involved in the field of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) for over 20 years. He has presented nationally and internationally on FASD focusing on interventions and prevention for children, adolescents and adults.  For this work, his son Bill, who was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome at age 19, has been his mentor and best teacher. 

Dan was the FASD Specialist for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) FASD Center for Excellence in the U.S.  He currently works as a consultant, providing training and technical assistance to agencies, communities, states, grant programs, and provinces.  Dan has a keen interest in improving outcomes for individuals, families, and the providers and services that support them.

Presentation Title:

Improving Outcomes in Education, Treatment, Corrections, Home, and Other Settings by Recognizing and Responding Appropriately to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Presentation Description/Abstract:

When an individual “fails” in school, treatment and other settings, we often label the person as being non-compliant, unmotivated, or disruptive. However, their behavior may well be due to brain damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Due to this damage, which spans the intellectual spectrum, evidence-based practices that rely on verbal interactions and reward and consequence systems are often not successful and often set them up to fail. If we don’t recognize the impact of FASD, interventions in all settings are often ineffective. This presentation addresses the importance of recognizing FASD and modifying our approaches to improve outcomes. Methods to identify those with a possible FASD and strategies for modifying approaches to improve outcomes for the individual, family, and service providers are discussed.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this training, participants will be able to:
1. Examine how “challenging” behaviors may reflect the brain damage due to prenatal alcohol exposure;
2. Discuss how viewing FASD as co-occurring with other disorders is different than the general view of addressing co-occurring disorders;
3. List strategies to improve outcomes for individuals with FASD.



Yasmin Senturias, MD, FAAP is a Professor of Pediatrics, Academic Division Director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Medical Director, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics of the Carolinas with Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC.  Dr. Senturias is a leader in the field of FASD and an advocate for families navigating this disorder.

Presentation Title:

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Identification and Management

Presentation Description/Abstract:

 Participants will learn about the signs and symptoms including developmental, learning and behavioral challenges of individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. As well as recognize the importance of getting a diagnosis, connecting with appropriate therapies and learn neurobehavioral strategies for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Kathy Mitchell has been working with the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) for over thirty years and is currently their Vice President and Spokesperson. She is a noted international speaker on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), Women and Addiction and Stigma. Ms. Mitchell has a Master of Human Services (MHS) degree and is a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor (LCADC). She developed and supervised addiction programs for women, pregnant women and women and children. She served on the special committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) developing guidelines for the identification and management of substance use disorders in pregnancy and in 2019 presented FASD: A Vision for the Future at the WHO 2nd Alcohol Forum in Geneva.  
Presentation Title:

Creating a circle of Hope for Women and Families Living with FASDs

 Presentation Description/Abstract:

This session will examine how stigma has impacted the prevention and diagnosis of FASDs and identification and support for women living with substance use disorders (SUD) or alcohol use disorders (AUD). The presenter will review recent research that investigated stigma towards mothers of children with FASDs and how education on both addiction and recovery transforms systems of care to reframe both expectations and interventions to improve outcomes for women and their families. 


Participants will be able to:

  1. Define stigma and list one way it is currently acted out by society or systems of care towards women and mothers living with AUD/SUD.
  2. Describe how NOFAS modified FASD prevention messages to reduce stigma.
  3. Discuss the NOFAS-ACOG partnership to reduce stigma amongst physicians.

FASD Track Speakers

We will be hosting several breakout sessions throughout the day of the main Rooted in Advocacy conference on March 13th. Make sure to check out these expert presenters and register for both days.

Nate Sheets is an international FASD behavior consultant, speaker, and advocate. He has a decade of experience in the developmental disability field and helps families, schools, mental health programs, and government agencies understand the needs of people with FASD's. Nate is interested in taking neuropsychology concepts and finding practical ways to apply them to challenging behaviors in a way that values the dignity and respect of all people involved. Nate works with both children and adults, and provides free videos to parents and professionals at www.youtube.com/oregonbehavior

Title of Presentation: 

The Little Moments: Practical Supports for People with FASD's

Description of Session: 

Children and adults with FASD's struggle meeting the expectations of a neurotypical world. These struggles lead directly to challenging behaviors, strained relationships, and ongoing stress. By focusing on the "little moments", where we can forget to provide support, we may find that the "big issues" begin to improve. In this training, Nate will help participants re-think the everyday situations that lead to struggles, allowing us to identify practical supports that can be individualized to each person. We'll learn how situations are impacted by a person's cognitive skills, and how supporters can proactively support those skills. 

Kathy Hotelling 

Title of Presentation: 

The FASD Brain Versus The Criminal Justice System

Description of Session: 

Estimates are that youth with an FASD are nineteen times more likely to be incarcerated than youth without an FASD in a given year.  Professional judgment indicates that 50% of those in jail/prison have an FASD. How does lack of awareness of FASD and misdiagnosis render these statistics believable?  What characteristics of brain damage caused by exposure to alcohol contribute to the incarceration of individuals with this disorder? What methods are being used to deal with these high rates in the US and other countries? The mother of a 29-year-old son with FASD will speak about their experiences with the criminal justice system.

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