2022 Barbara Rider Colloquium

Session descriptions

Keynote Session

Empathy Across the Lifespan: Considerations for Becoming a Trauma Informed Occupational Therapy Practitioner
Dr. Amy Lynch

This keynote presentation will describe the pervasive impact of trauma to physical, mental, and social well-being and how trauma informed occupational therapists can support individuals in post-traumatic growth and transformation of daily living. Using case examples, Dr. Lynch will highlight intergenerational trauma-framing out habits, roles, routines, and occupational performance of family members across different generations within the “same” family. 

Plenary Session

Collective Trauma and Grief: Reframing Resiliency Following a School Shooting
Dr. James Henry

This presentation will address the impact of the catastrophic trauma of gun violence as witnessed by direct interaction by the presenter with school staff, students, and parents in the aftermath of a fatal school shooting. Dr. Henry will explore how the traditional American value of “being strong” hijack’s the ability of victims to collectively heal and will describe his efforts to implement a trauma informed resiliency response that provides both a framework, common language, and strategies to engage in the recovery process and to begin to answer the question, “Will I...will they...ever be the same again?” through the lens of post-traumatic growth.

Breakout Sessions

Caregiver Co-Regulation Coaching: Creating Opportunities for Joyful Participation in Occupation for Children who have Experienced Trauma
Dr. Michelle Suarez

This session will examine impact of trauma on the developing brain and how a child's adverse experiences impact their ability to regulate, form relationships and engage in day-to-day activities.  Caregiver Co-Regulation Coaching is treatment focused on connected engagement between children who have experienced trauma and their families.  This treatment modality will be described, and practical tips will be provided for improving quality of life and occupational participation in this population.

Recovering From the Trauma of Human Trafficking: An Occupation Based Approach
Dr. Danielle Baker, Karen Moore, Samantha Mansfield

This session will describe the Sanctum House, a community based program dedicated to recovery from the trauma of human trafficking and domestic violent from its beginnings to current programs and outcomes, including the recent development of occupational therapy services. A graduate of the program will share her experience and success post graduation from this highly acclaimed program.

The Pathway to Resilience for Post Traumatic Growth Among Adult Populations: Safety, Relationship, Connection
Breezy Barcelo

This session will describe the importance of identifying the impact of adversity on occupational performance among adults. A description of essential resiliency factors to include in trauma informed and trauma responsive approaches in occupational therapy will be included in the context of the presenter’s work as a certified doula, as an occupational therapist in an inpatient adult psychiatric setting, and in a program which provides strategic coaching of women with a history of trauma to achieve educational goals.

Lessons and Reflections from Working with Immigrant and Refugee Youth
Dr. Katie Mesko

Working with undocumented immigrant and refugee youth highlights the need for our field to be culturally effective, neurodevelopmentally informed, and trauma responsive. Katie will share her experience working with this population and highlight a growing need in our communities to understand the importance of such work. This presentation will use storytelling, reflection, and practical application for practitioners and students to use across treatment settings.

Closing Session

The WMU Resiliency Center for Families and Children
Dr. Yvette Hyter, Dr. Michelle Suarez

Dr. Hyter and Dr. Hyter will share the mission and current activities underway at the center.

Keynote speaker


Amy Lynch, PhD, OTR/L, TBRI® Educator, SCFES, FAOTA

Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Temple University

Dr. Lynch is an associate professor of occupational therapy in the College of Public Health at Temple University. Her career spans three decades with many accomplishments and recognitions. Her postdoctoral training includes intensive trauma training and an appointment as an approved educator of Trust Based Relational Intervention(Dr. Karyn Purvis, Texas Christian University) and phase 1 certification in the NMT measure (Bruce Perry, Child Trauma Academy). She is trained in the HALO Project curriculum, and is a Making Sense of Your Self Worth facilitator.

Dr. Lynch is the lead editor for the American Occupational Therapy Association’s first ever book on trauma: Trauma, Occupation, and Participation: Foundations and Population Considerations for Occupational Therapy. She has received over $500,000 in funding as both a principle and co-principle investigator to support trauma informed, occupation-focused research. She has presented regionally, nationally and internationally on topics like trauma and early adversity, attachment, social emotional regulation, family occupations, international/domestic adoption and foster care, and developmental care.

Her favorite role is one of proud “Mom” to 2 amazing children who began their lives in institutional settings. As she co-navigates parenting amidst complex trauma histories atop her professional experiences, she aims to realize just how pervasive trauma can be upon habits, roles and routines. She seeks to utilize meaningful occupation and occupational therapy theory and practice to empower regulation; to prioritize safe, connected relationships; and to support the learning and reasoning skills of herself, her family, her coworkers and all of the communities she is honored to work alongside.


Plenary speaker


Jim Henry, MSW, PHD

Professor in the School of Social Work and Founding Director of the Children's Trauma Assessment Center at WMU 

Among his many significant contributions, Dr. Henry served for 17 years in the Kalamazoo County Child Protective Services before launching the Children's Trauma Assessment Center at WMU. He is recognized as a leading clinical expert, educator, scholar and advocate in childhood trauma with more than 20 research publications and many chapters in leading textbooks. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Henry has presented to over 150,000 participants nationwide on trauma, secondary trauma, resiliency and building trauma informed systems. He has acquired more than $13 million from local, state, and federal sources since CTAC opened its doors in 2000.

He has received local, state and national recognition and many awards for his leadership and work in child welfare and trauma. He has also served as an expert witness in court cases in more than 45 counties and three states because of his expertise in child trauma, child development, child maltreatment and child sexual abuse.

Most importantly, he loves children and considers himself a “wounded healer.”


Breakout presenters


Danielle Baker, OTD, OTR/L

Occupational Therapist

Dr. Baker is a recent graduate of the Clinical Doctoral Program at the University of Michigan-Flint and holds a bachelors degree in psychology from Albion College, with a minor in kinesiology and a concentration in human service. She is a board certified occupational therapist and a featured presenter on human trafficking for the Sensational Brain series of continuing education programs. Danielle is passionate about human trafficking advocacy and researched-based education. She is co-founder of Save Us Don’t Sell Us, a nonprofit organization that advocates, supports and provides services for victims and survivors of human trafficking. 


Samantha Mansfield

Samantha received her High School diploma from Portage Northern High School and studied at KVCC. She was a regular volunteer at the Recovery Institute. She is now a survivor of human trafficking and in recovery from heroin and methamphetamines addictions. She has been clean for two years. Samantha is now an advocate for education and awareness on human trafficking, domestic violence and addiction.


Karen Moore, BA

Executive Director, Sanctum House

Ms. Moore is a graduate of Michigan State University and was a global executive at Ford Motor Company. She went on to be the president/CEO of Ladywood High School and subsequently became the executive director at Sanctum House. Karen and her team developed the programs and processes to open the first 24-month integrated care safe house for adult women victims of human trafficking in Michigan. Sanctum House provides 24/7 coverage and offers mental healthcare, physical healthcare, life skills training, educational opportunities, spiritual growth and employment opportunities. She is a member of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force and chair of the curriculum committee. Karen is also a member of US Representative Brenda Lawrence’s Women’s Advisory Committee, a board member of The Pearls of Great Price Coalition and is certified by the US government to train on human trafficking on behalf of health and human services.


Breezy Barcelo, MS, OTRL

Scholar Support Specialist, Jeanette Ranking Foundation
Part Time Instructor, Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness, WMU

Breezy Barcelo is currently the scholar support specialist for the Jeannette Rankin Foundation and a part-time instructor of Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness at WMU. Her previous work includes providing occupational therapy at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital and birth and postpartum doula services in the greater Chicago and Grand Rapids areas. She is a board-certified occupational therapist who holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy and a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences.


Katie Mesko, DrOT, OTR/L

Owner and Operator CAYA Therapies LLC, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Part Time Instructor, Occupational Therapy, WMU 

Dr. Mesko is the owner of a private practice in Grand Rapids, Michigan (CAYA Therapies LLC), is a founding director for the Alliance of Trauma-Responsive Occupational Therapy, and has been an adjunct professor in WMU’s OT department for more than six years. She focused her doctoral studies on trauma responsive care and practical ways to reduce health disparities and inequities in the community through private practice OT services. She created the Level 1 Fieldwork site at Bethany Christian Services, where students provide treatment to youth living in residential facilities. This evolved into growth of her private practice, as she was asked to begin working with various immigrant and refugee youth living in foster care and local residential facilities.


Michelle Suarez, PhD, OTR/L

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy WMU
Co-Director, Resiliency Center for Families and Children, WMU

Dr. Suarez is an associate professor of occupational therapy at WMU and the co-director of the WMU Resiliency Center for Families and Children. She has dedicated her career, spanning more than two decades, to working with families and children with conditions that impact occupational performance, with a special expertise for sensory and emotional regulations issues. Currently, she is focused on caregiver co-regulation coaching as a way of facilitating joyful engagement in occupation for families and children who have experienced trauma. An expert in pediatric occupational therapy, Dr. Suarez is a highly acclaimed clinician, educator, scholar, researcher and advocate who has published many articles and chapters in peer reviewed journals and has acquired significant funding to support her research and clinical work.


Closing session


Yvette Hyter, PhD

Professor Emerita, Speech and Hearing Sciences, WMU
Co-Founder and Co-Director, WMU Children’s Trauma Assessment Center

Michelle Suarez, PhD

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, WMU
Co-Director, Resiliency Center for Families and Children, WMU