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Nexus of disabilities, mental health is summit topic

Jessica Reese

The Tucson Jewish Community Center Special Needs Initiative in partnership with Jewish Family & Children’s Services, with support from the David and Lura Lovell Foundation, will hold a professional development summit, “Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health: The Intersection of Treatment” on Thursday, Feb. 28, 8:15-3 p.m.

The keynote speaker is Jessica Reese, CEO of Optima Behavioral Consulting. Reese is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is licensed as a Behavior Analyst with the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners and Behavior Analysts. Additionally, she has a M.Ed. in cross categorical special education from Northern Arizona University.

Reese has worked in Arizona in the fields of developmental disabilities and behavioral health for the past 17 years. She has worked with adults, children, and families, providing treatment and behavior intervention focusing on acute challenging behaviors that present a danger to the individual, family, or the community. She has provided clinical oversight to programs in a variety of clinical settings including schools, individuals’ homes, group homes, therapeutic foster homes, assessment and intervention centers, and integrated community programs. At Optima Behavioral Consulting, she supports a team of BCBAs who are working to expand access to evidence-based best practices for autism treatment in Arizona.

There also will be four workshops.

Jean Millen, MA, LAC, will present “Campo Urbano: No Therapy Left Inside.  Why Nature-Based Therapy Works for Individuals with Mental Illness and/or Developmental Disabilities.”

Ken Dunlap, LCSW will present “The Use of Family Therapy in Working with Developmental Disabilities.”

Jennifer  Isom, MC, M.Ed, LAMFT, will present “The Intersection of Trauma and Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Family System.”

Sally Boeve, MD, will present “A Closer Look at Dual Diagnosis in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Recognizing Shared and Distinctive Features.”

The cost to attend is $25, which includes a continental breakfast and vegetarian lunch. Continuing education units will be available at no additional cost. To register, visit
and click on “Lectures & Events.” For more information, contact Allison Wexler, Tucson J special abilities coordinator, at 299-3000, ext. 203, or