Annual Child Maltreatment Symposium 2019

Thursday and Friday, November 14-15, 2019
"A Window into the Psychosocial"

The Protective Services Team invites all professionals whose work involves interaction with child abuse and neglect to the 2019 annual symposium.

This is a continuing education event designed to educate physicians and professionals from all disciplines who care for children. Presented by internationally and nationally known experts in the area of child maltreatment and sponsored by Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, this symposium aims to help medical and other professionals expand their knowledge about child maltreatment.

2019 Key Topics


Thursday, November 14   


Friday, November 15

Speaker Topics & Bios

Ira Chasnoff, MD

Presentation: The Mystery of Risk: Drugs, Alcohol, Pregnancy and the Vulnerable Child

Description: Substance use in pregnancy continues to be a significant factor in the morbidity and mortality associated with pregnancy and the newborn. However, the impact on the child continues over his or her lifespan. This program will present basic and advanced techniques for recognizing and assessing the child affected by prenatal substance exposure.

Presentation: The Neurobiology of Attachment in Substance-Exposed Infants

Description: Children grow and develop in the context of relationships. However, the maternal/child relationship can be negatively affected by biological and psychosocial factors in pregnancies affected by prenatal substance use. This session will focus on the structural and functional changes that occur in the fetal brain due to prenatal exposure to illicit drugs and how those changes interact with environmental issues to affect the child’s ability to attach to his/her primary caregiver.

Biography: Ira J. Chasnoff, M.D., an award-winning author, researcher and lecturer, is president of NTI Upstream and a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. He is one of the nation's leading researchers in the field of child development and the effects of prenatal and post-natal trauma on the newborn infant, child, and adolescent. Dr. Chasnoff led the development and operation of a laboratory preschool classroom to develop specific interventions for children with early trauma and developed a model Head Start Family Service Center for children and their families at risk from an adverse environment. Dr. Chasnoff’s most recent work focuses on community approaches to the integration of behavioral health services into schools and the other multiple systems that serve children and families. Dr. Chasnoff has served several U.S. presidential administrations on committees and commissions dedicated to organizing and coordinating services for children and families across the nation and developing policies and procedures for addressing the needs of children in the child welfare system who have been affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs or to early childhood trauma. He also has worked with a wide range of States across the nation and internationally in developing universal outreach and early intervention programs for children and families.

Dr. Chasnoff received his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, which in 1991 awarded him its first Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is the author of numerous research articles regarding the long-term cognitive, behavioral, and learning outcomes of high-risk children, and his article on racial and social class bias in the health care system has been cited as a landmark study.  Dr. Chasnoff has authored twelve books, which have received numerous awards and one of which has been recognized by The Hague International Court. Dr. Chasnoff’s most recent book, The Mystery of Risk, explores the biological and environmental factors that impact the ultimate development of high-risk children and presents practical strategies for helping children reach their full potential at home and in the classroom. Dr. Chasnoff is a regular contributor to Psychology Today, writing about high-risk children and their families. The recipient of several awards for his work with women, children, and families, the Texas Center for the Judiciary recently honored Dr. Chasnoff for his exemplary work. Dr. Chasnoff for several years has been selected by a poll of physicians across the nation for listing in America’s Best Doctors, cited for his ability to translate complex medical and psychosocial issues into relevant policy that guides the delivery of quality services. Dr. Chasnoff has been active in establishing comprehensive family intervention programs for children in Australia, Denmark, Portugal, Canada, Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, and across the United States and has lectured on this topic around the world.

Jordan Greenbaum, MD 

Presentation: Child Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking

Description: Dr. Greenbaum will discuss the nature and dynamics of child trafficking, including definitions, risk factors, possible indicators and health consequences. The session will examine optimal ways of interacting with trafficked children and youth, strategies that maximize the likelihood of building trust and enabling the trafficked person to discuss their exploitation and accept services. This involves a rights-based, trauma-informed approach and is applicable to any professional working with trafficked children/youth. 

Biography: Jordan Greenbaum, MD, is a child abuse physician from Atlanta, GA. She is the medical director of the Global Health and Well-being Initiative with the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and medical director of the Institute on Healthcare and Human Trafficking at the Stephanie Blank Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. She co-chairs the Education/Training committee for HEAL Trafficking, an organization of professionals working on human trafficking issues. Her research focuses on designing and validating a screening tool to be used in healthcare settings to identify youth at risk for trafficking/sexual exploitation.

Mary Clyde Pierce, MD 

Presentation: Fractures in Young Children: a Plausibility Assessment in Distinguishing Abuse from Accidental Injury 

Description: This talk will focus on key factors to help differentiate abuse from accidental injury in children with long bone fractures. This talk will also touch on differentiating features from bone disease and abnormalities. The audience participants at this end of this talk with be able to: identify four key differences in patients with abuse vs. accidental fracture occurrences and will be able to describe key bone health conditions that can make a child more vulnerable to fracture occurrence. 

Biography: Mary Clyde Pierce, MD, received her undergraduate degree in Zoology from the Louisiana Tech University and her medical school degree from Louisiana State University. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at John Hopkins University. Her fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine was completed at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Pierce’s research interest focuses primarily on injuries in children with an emphasis on differentiating abusive from accidental trauma. Dr. Pierce collaborates with a multi-disciplinary lab with emphasis on injury biomechanics. Her interest is also in epigenetics, psychosocial risk factors, ecologic factors, and how child maltreatment confers health problems later in life.


Stacey Patton, Ph.D 

Presentation: What Doctors Need To Know About Race and Corporal Punishment

Description: Nearly 700,000 children are abused each year in the United States and an average of 5 children die each day as a result of maltreatment. Researchers have found that spanking is the most prevalent risk factor for injuries and fatalities and that upwards of 80 percent of parents admit to using physical punishment. With these statistics in mind, in November 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with a strong policy statement against spanking children, requiring pediatricians to address this very common but harmful parenting practice. Yet, many pediatricians and other health professionals are not prepared, either academically or in practice, to have this difficult conversation in an effective and efficient way in the exam room or other clinical settings. Professionals are also hesitant about broaching this controversial issue with parents from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. This presentation not only address these fears, but will also provide participants with the communication tools to navigate these longstanding cultural landmines.

Biography: Dr. Stacey Patton is a child abuse survivor and former foster alumna turned award-winning journalist, author, and child advocate. She is an associate research professor at Morgan State University's Institute for Urban Research in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Patton is also the creator of Spare the Kids, Inc. and the author of two books on race and parenting – That Mean Old Yesterday, and Spare the Kids: Why Whupping Children Won’t Save Black America. Her writings on race and child welfare issues have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She has also appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Democracy Now, and CBS News. Dr. Patton has trained pediatricians, clinicians, social workers, and law enforcement on cultural competency issues in child welfare practice and has served as an expert witness in child abuse cases involving the “culture defense.” Her next book, Strung Up: The Lynching of Black Children and Teenagers During Jim Crow, will be published in 2020 by Beacon Press.

Janine Young, MD

Presentation: Female Genital Cutting in Children—Diagnosis, Management and Treatment

Description: Review of female genital mutilation and/or cutting (FGM/C) in children including countries where it is practiced, ethno-cultural history and beliefs regarding FGM/C, Clinical findings by type, Diagnostic challenges, management and treatment options, ethical and legal challenges.

Biography: Dr. Janine Young is a general pediatrician at Denver Health and Hospitals and an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Department of General Pediatrics. She was an undergraduate at Columbia University, received her medical training at Harvard Medical School, and pediatric residency training at the Boston Combined Program and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. She is the Medical Director of the Denver Health Refugee Clinic, Co-Medical Director of the Denver Health Human Rights Clinic and serves as the Medical Advisor for the State of Colorado’s Refugee Services Program. She is funded through the State of Minnesota’s CDC grant working to develop a Refugee Centers of Excellence.

Dr. Young’s career focus has been in providing care for new immigrants and refugees and has presented talks nationally regarding the development of standard of care medical screening guidelines for these populations, including the diagnosis and management of FGC in children. She is the lead author of the pending American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Review of FGC in children and teens, the American Academy of Pediatrics Immigrant and Refugee Toolkit screening guidelines and CDC’s pending pediatric guidelines on FGC in refugee populations.

Matthew Torbenson  

Presentation: Prosecuting and Investigating Child Torture 

Presentation: Overcoming Untrue Defenses of Head Trauma

Biography: As Deputy District Attorney, Matthew Torbenson oversees the domestic violence unit, the sensitive crimes unit, and the child protection and advocacy unit within the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. Matthew also directly handles child homicides and complex child maltreatment cases.

Prior to becoming a deputy district attorney, Attorney Torbenson served as the first team captain of the Child Protection & Advocacy Unit (CPAU). District Attorney John Chisholm formed the Child Protection & Advocacy Unit in 2008 to provide a greater focus on the protection of child victims and to hold those who abuse or neglect children to a higher level of accountability. District Attorney Chisholm chose Attorney Torbenson to lead this initiative.

Attorney Torbenson has extensive training and experience in prosecuting complex child abuse and child neglect matters, with specialization in child homicides, abusive head trauma (formerly shaken baby), child torture cases, inflicted burn injuries, and child neglect.

In addition to his expertise in child maltreatment, in 2011 Attorney Torbenson successfully negotiated the first ever return of a child who was abducted by a parent to Japan. In 2015 he partnered with the US Attorney's Office to negotiate the safe return of a child who was abducted by her mother to Mexico.

Prior to serving as the team captain of CPAU, Attorney Torbenson served as the team captain of the juvenile sensitive crimes unit for five years, where he successfully prosecuted a number of complex cases, including gang sexual assaults and one of the first widespread "sexstortion" cases in Wisconsin’s history.

Attorney Torbenson grew up in the City of Milwaukee, attending Milwaukee Public Schools. In 2001 he graduated from Marquette University with a triple major in history, social philosophy, and criminology. In 2004 he graduated from Marquette Law School and was hired by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office by then District Attorney E. Michael McCann.

When he is not working, he pretends to coach both of his beautiful daughters in soccer.


Jennifer Greene

Presentation: Impact Domestic Violence has on Child Development 

Description: This session will focus on key premises to understanding the intersection of domestic violence and child development, particularly the differences between abuse and exposure to abuse. Participants will learn the difference between intimate partner violence and child maltreatment, the impact of domestic violence on children as witnesses as well as the impact of child maltreatment on development. 

Biography: Jennifer S. Greene provides analysis and monitoring of trends, opportunities and challenges for projects on domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault. As a consultant, Jennifer specializes in program development, training and technical assistance, establishing and strengthening strategic partnerships with key stakeholders. As the Policy Advisor to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, she created and implemented policy for the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country, with particular focus on domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault. Ms. Greene represented the State’s Attorney in the community and conducted extensive training in Cook County and around the country. For more than a decade Ms. Greene demonstrated her award winning leadership as the Director of Family Rescue’s Court Advocacy Program, a comprehensive legal program providing services to victims of domestic violence.

Jessica A. Pryce, Ph.D., MSW

Presentation: Confronting Implicit Bias in Child Welfare Decision Making

Description: Racial disproportionality has been a longstanding issue within child welfare. The continued overrepresentation of minority children in the foster care system is troubling. This presentation will discuss the impact of systemic racism on child welfare and explore the work being done in multiple communities around our country. In addition, the presenter will share one community’s novel strategy, which has significantly influenced disparity in their decision-making. There will be a conversation around the multiple levels of racism, racial identity development, implicit bias awareness and strategies to improve the ethics and fairness in our work.

Biography: Dr. Pryce is a faculty member at Florida State University and currently the Executive Director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare. For the past 10 years, she has been involved at multiple angles of child welfare (direct practice, policy and research, and teaching). She has published on child welfare related topics, such as, training and education, University and Agency partnerships, racial disparity and anti-poverty practices. She has presented her research at 30+ conferences both nationally and internationally. She has worked in the child protective service field, conducted primary research, been a policy advisor to Florida’s legislature and taught graduate level courses in child welfare. Previously holding the positions of Child Protective Caseworker and the Deputy Director of the University At Albany's New York State Education Consortium. In 2018, Dr. Pryce presented a TED Talk on Implicit Bias in Child Welfare Decisions and it has since been viewed over 1 million times. This year, she received a 5-year appointment to the Advisory Board of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, where she consults and advises on leadership and workforce interventions around the country. She has maintained and cultivated a commitment to the wellbeing of vulnerable children and families, the sustainability of the child welfare workforce, and effectively addressing racial disproportionality within foster care.

Lisa Spector, MD  

Presentation: An Ounce of Prevention: Positive Parenting Strategies

Description: This presentation will review happens to the brain when repeatedly exposed to traumatic stressors, including the hard wiring of the fight, flight, freeze responses. Dr. Spector will discuss the symptoms children exhibit when the experience chronic traumatic stress and how these symptoms can be misinterpreted as other neurodevelopmental or mental health disorders. A significant aspect of the presentation will focus on key behavior management strategies that can mitigate the effects of traumatic stress on the child’s brain by strengthening the caregiver-child bond and improving child compliance and self-esteem.

Biography: Lisa Spector, MD, is a certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in Child Abuse Pediatrics, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and General Pediatrics. Dr. Spector earned her medical degree at the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City and completed a residency in pediatrics at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. She specialized in child abuse and neglect with a fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and continued her training with a fellowship in developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. She is Division Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, and is a Professor of Pediatrics through University of Central Florida.

Jeremy Harvey

Presentation: Survivors Panel 

Biography: Jeremy Harvey currently serves as the Deputy Director of Strategy Planning and Innovation with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He has worked in the field of child welfare for the last 11 years, and brings with him the experience of growing up in the state foster care system, spending 20 of his first 23 years in care. These experiences positive and negative, provide him the understanding of pitfalls in foster care, a vision for systemic improvement, and a hunger for change. Currently, major projects include Title IV-e Demonstration waiver lead, B-3 behavior change management using Four Dimension of Execution, and the administration of 2 advisory councils. Mr. Harvey has served the American Academy of Pediatrics as the Liaison to the Foster Care Alumni of America National chapter on the Council on Foster Care, Adoption, and kinship care for the last 5 years. He is also one of the founding members of the NCTSN Youth Taskforce were he serves as the lead on their new mentoring efforts.


Sylvester JonesPresentation: Survivors Panel

Biography: This panel discussion will give participants the opportunity to view the child welfare system from the eyes of the youth whose lives are affected directly by child abuse. Mr. Jones will tell his stories from his 10 years in the child welfare system both before and after emancipation. He will discuss how he was impacted by his interactions with case managers, public guardians, judges, foster parents and others in the system.


Fire-Brown Gadsden

Presentation: Survivors Panel 

Biography:  Prior to being the Founding Facilitator for ASCA-Atlanta, a Self-Help Healing Support Group for ADULT SURVIVORS OF CHILD ABUSE, Ms. Gadsden spent nearly three years (from December 2006 – August 2009) as an Agoraphobic, anxious, emotional and psychologically paralyzed, in a deep depression, not trusting relationships, experiencing thoughts, self-harm, drunk with maladaptive behaviors, and was suicidal.

She was triggered back in 2006; by an incident resulting in flashbacks, nightmares, and many memories of childhood sexual abuse, incest, and trauma. Drinking away the pain, she finally hit rock bottom; sought help.

After finally getting support and validation, she went into a trauma/crisis facility. There she gained confidence and the capacity to take the first steps towards healing and a breakthrough in living without shame, trauma, and guilt of being a child abuse victim.

Ms. Gadsden spent years, in therapy, journaling, researching and blogging. Author of “Journal of a Suicide Failed,” Ms. Gadsden has shared her story and memories of childhood abuse with over 250,000 individuals; survivors, therapists, social workers, CASAs, law enforcement personnel and friends, neighbors and families. Her 2016 TEDx Greenville Talk “Healing Adult Survivors of Child Abuse,” has been viewed and shared globally over 100,000 times.

Ms. Gadsden has been interviewed via StoryCorps and is archived in both the Library of Congress and The Smithsonian Institute’s African American History Museum. Along with her NPR Podcasts recording, she has been featured on two Oprah Winfrey Shows and on The OWN network for advocacy works of compassion and healing.

Ms. Gadsden has gone from VICTIM to SURVIVOR to THRIVER. In her weekly Self-Help support group (ASCA-Atlanta), she often says “This is Really Hard Work.” And adds “But it is Worth Every Bit.”

Understanding the Impact of Child Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect) and the Healing Path & Journey, has led Ms. Gadsden to develop a list of Universal Precautions for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Mistreatment, to researching and proposing Legislation for mandatory rehabilitation treatment in sentencing of convicted predators and pedophiles, and to consult with ministries, therapists, adult survivors and parents/families/spouses/mates for the support and understanding of the impact – in all aspects of the Survivor’s Life.

Ms. Gadsden has shared her story & journey through healing -- in auditoriums, churches, classrooms, social-media, and internet; YouTube, podcasts and radio; and in writings.

“It’s not a Position in life. It’s a Passion; rather a compassion.”

Ms. Gadsden has made herself available to taking calls, emails and messages from adult survivors; as well as speaking and networking with people who labor, fighting and advocating as stewards - including concerns with child sex trafficking, and young victims of on-line predators.

Ms. Gadsden makes her home in Forsyth County Georgia with her Spousal-Equivalent and their two teens; where she has been a SAHM for 19+ years. She enjoys entertaining, cooking & dancing – all at the same time.


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Continuing Education


  • Describe how trafficked/exploited persons may present for medical care
  • Recall 3 aspects of a trauma-informed approach to patient care
  • Recall the definitions of human trafficking and describe which populations are at highest risk.
  • Identify important cultural components associated with females genital mutilation immigrants policies
  • Discuss immediate and long-term medical complications associated with female genital cutting
  • Review clinical signs, symptoms, and physical exam findings associated with female genital cutting in pre-pubertal and pubertal girls
  • Discuss pediatric female genital cutting case scenarios in the context of medical, ethical, and legal approaches.
  • Describe the impact that domestic violence has on children and the differences between child maltreatment and children's exposure to domestic violence.
  • Discuss the correlation between domestic violence and child maltreatment.
  • Describe difference components associated with prosecuting and investigating child torture
  • Describe and name the four criteria for diagnosis within the fetal alcohol spectrum.
  • Discuss the three primary domains of functioning affected by prenatal substance exposure.
  • Describe attachments as a dyadic process.
  • List three factors that affect attachments behaviors in pregnancies complicated by substance use and misuse.


Accreditation Statement: The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit Designation Statement: The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 11.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Note: Continuing social work education credit and continuing legal education credit will be also available.



Lurie Children’s Conference Center, 11th floor, 225 E. Chicago Avenue, Chicago.

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Pricing Rates


  • 2-day: $220
  • 1-day: $120

Government/Nonprofit Employees, Lurie Children's Employees and Trainees:

  • 2-day: $120
  • 1-day: $60


Parking is available in the Huron-Superior garage, located at 225 E. Huron, or the Erie-Ontario garage, located at 321 E. Erie.

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