Virtual 2020 START National Training Institute

The Center for START Services hosted a no-cost Virtual START National Training Institute (SNTI) from May 4-May 6, 2020. The virtual SNTI was an enormous success, with over 400 participants. We were pleasantly surprised that the sense of community experienced at our live SNTI was achieved via our virtual institute this year. The cohesion, warmth and camaraderie were palpable, and only enhanced our learning and sharing experience. The entire program was recorded and is available for viewing below. 

Download a Certificate of Attendance


Welcoming Remarks

Kelly Nye-Lengerman, PhD, MSW, LGSW


LovingKindness Mindfulness Exercise

with Joan B. Beasley, PhD


Learned Hopefulness

Dan Tomasulo, PhD, MFA, MAPP, incoming Academic Director, Spirituality Mind Body Institute (SMB) MA Degree Program, core faculty, full-time lecturer, Department of Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University
Until recently hope has not been explored as a state or trait that can be cultivated.  New research has revealed there are several cognitive and emotional processes that are able to be acquired.  This presentation gives an overview of Learned Hopefulness research and the activities which facilitate its development.

Text "Hopeful" to 44222 to receive additional resources from Dan Tomaslulo.

(Download Slides)


Q&A with Dan Tomasulo

Facilitated by Karen L. Weigle, PhD


The START Film

The START Film, produced by award-winning documentary filmmaker Dan Habib, captures the unique and groundbreaking practices and philosophies of the START model. START’s impact is viewed through the perspectives of START clients, family members, and local service providers in Fort Worth, Texas, New York City, and Durham, North Carolina. The film will premiere on Tuesday afternoon and include a live Q&A session with flimmaker Dan Habib, producers, and special guests. Panelists: Dr. Karen Weigle, CSS Associate Director & Dan Habib, Filmmaker (Facilitators); From NY4- Richmond Kings: Sharon Cyrus-Savary (Program Director), Deandra Brent (START Coordinator), Ms. Clara Casa Bibiana (Parent of a young woman receiving services from Richmond Kings START program); From TX START Tarrant County: Dave Gunter (Resource Center Director); From NC START Central: Shelle Oosting (START team leader), Braxton Utley (Person receiving services from NC Central START program).


START Film Panel

MH Treatment Approaches in a World with COVID: You can do it! 

Katy Stratigos, MD, Medical Director, NY START Region 4 Triborough

This talk will offer an introduction to the nature of clinical work that can be conducted to support individuals, families, and systems during the COVID crisis.  A basic presumption is that this work will primarily be conducted via telemedicine systems, and will include a discussion of using this modality effectively for clinical work.  We will review common fears and anxieties of individuals during this time, as well as clinical themes that have emerged as individuals have remained in quarantine for weeks.  We will discuss the recurrence of patients prior symptoms in the context of stress from COVID, as well as new onset or worsened anxiety symptoms during this time.  We will discuss the concepts behind psychological first aid (from within the disaster psychiatry framework).  We will discuss clinical strategies to help families and individuals cope with the current challenges. If you have questions for Dr. Stratigos, you can reach her at

(Download Slides)


Q&A with Dr. Stratigos

Facilitated by Anne Laforce


Research Poster Session #1

View the virtual poster session webpage


Research Poster Session #2

View the virtual poster session webpage


2020 Virtual Poster Session Winners

1st Place: START Therapeutic Coaching as a Suicide Prevention Tool for Individuals with IDD in the Era of COVID-19
NC START Central - Meredith Dangel, MA, Maggie Robbins, MA, LCAT, RDT

2nd Place: The Use of Mindfulness to Promote a Trauma Informed Care Environment: A Case Study
NY START Region 5 - Alyse Scura, LMHC; Denise Bronzino, PhD

3rd Place: TIED
Breathe In... Breathe Out... Now We're in the Here and Now: Incorporating Mindfulness & Sensory Integration Activities at the Resource Center
NC START West - Anne Doucette, PhD; Laura Shea, MA; Boyce Smith, LCMHC; Ann Klein, MA

Caregiver Support Group
NC START East - C. Shane Miller


START Research Panel: Promoting Best Practices with Emphasis on Mental Wellness

Luke Kalb, PhD, Andrea Caoili, LCSW, Jessica Kramer, PhD, Destiny Watkins, Micah Peace, Tawara Goode, PhD, Joan B. Beasley, PhD

Research and evaluation in MHIDD and START practices continues to be an area of focus of the Center for START Services. This presentation will include a discussion about research efforts in positive mental wellness, as well as partnerships and linkages developed throughout the year, including the launch of the National Research Consortium in MHIDD. The START Information Reporting System (SIRS), a national database, has grown and allows for more wellness-focused evaluation. A summary of research efforts and finding over the last year will be provided. This presentation is intended for all professionals working in the MH/IDD field including family caregivers and individuals with lived experience.

(Download Slides)

START Awards Ceremony & Closing


Congratulations to the 2020 START Award Recipients!

William I Gardner Award - Liz Weintraub, AUCD Senior Advocacy Specialist
Care Coordination Award - Doak Givan & Janay Kelly-Grant, MHMR Tarrant County Texas
Network Partner Award (Adult Services) - Josh Berezin, MD, NY State Office of Mental Health & Stefanie Griffin, NH START
Network Partner Award (Childrens Services) - Angela Caudle, Nash County Schools, Nashville, NC
Clinical Team Member Award - Matthew Wolcott, NY START Region 3 & Morgan Dettbarn, Iowa START
Clinical Team Leadership Award - Stefon Smith, NY START Region 4 Triborough & Maya Hu-Morabito, NY START Region 1
Therapeutic Supports Award: Resource Center Counselor - Kelly Hanks, NY START Region 1
Therapeutic Supports Award: Resource Center Director - Dave Gunter, Texas START
Therapeutic Supports Award: Therapeutic Coaching Team Leader - Christy Prophete, NC START West
Therapeutic Supports Award: Therapeutic Coach - Kenya Williams, NC START East
START Medical Director AwardRoberto Blanco, MD , NC START Central