University of Rochester

Restoring Hope for 30 Years

November 10, 2009

Mt. Hope Family Center Celebrates Anniversary With Community Roundtable and Symposium, Nov. 12 & 13

In 1979, Mt. Hope Family Center opened its doors to a small group of preschoolers struggling with the effects of abuse and neglect. Three decades later, the University of Rochester program is one of the nation's leading research sites for the study of trauma on child development and family relationships and one of the region's most valuable resources for children and parents in crisis, helping more than 800 families annually.

To celebrate those years of discovery and outreach, the Center will host a 30th anniversary symposium and community roundtable focused on its core mission: translating the latest scientific discoveries about childhood trauma into effective and proven interventions. On November 12 and 13, Frontiers in Translational Research on Trauma will bring to Rochester six of the nation's foremost authorities in developmental psychology and psychopathology. The presenters will explore new findings in neuroscience, biology, and psychology about children who have experienced abuse and discuss promising treatments for restoring well-being, from repairing emotional attachment between parents and young children to preventing violence in schools.

"It's rare to hear six speakers of such high caliber at one event and we're honored to have them join us for this milestone in Mt. Hope Family Center's history," said Sheree Toth, Center executive director. "I'm confident that everyone attending the symposium or roundtable lunch will gain practical insights into child trauma, one of the most serious issues affecting our communities today."

The symposium builds on Mt. Hope Family Center's ongoing efforts to share the fruits of their psychological research with academics, educators, community leaders, medical professionals and therapists. "The Center is a national leader in bridging the academic and social policy worlds," explained Dante Cicchetti, former Center director and the current McKnight Presidential Chair at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development. "It has made significant contributions to defining the field of developmental psychopathology, to conducting research on evidence-based interventions, and to increasing the availability of services to vulnerable children and families, both in Rochester and across the nation."

Kathleen Plum, director of the Monroe County Office of Mental Health, agrees. "Mt. Hope Family Center is a critical component of the system of care for children who have been traumatized in this community," she said.

Plum points to the Center's work on early intervention, attachment, and resilience as some of its most promising because it holds the key for helping families heal and cope over the long term. "It's very important to keep children from becoming chronically dependent on the mental health system," she said.

Cindy Lewis, director of child and family services for the Monroe County Department of Human Services, says the upcoming symposium will extend and reinforce these improvements in the care of children. "These talks will be enormously helpful to mental health providers in this community. They will help the county and other agencies create systems that are more sensitive to the needs of children who have suffered abuse," Lewis said.

Held at the Memorial Art Gallery, the symposium opens Thursday, Nov. 12, with remarks at 8:45 a.m. by Joel Seligman, University of Rochester president, and Kelly Reed, Monroe County Department of Human Services commissioner. A free community roundtable conversation and luncheon titled Children in Trauma: Restoring Hope is scheduled from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13. Registration is required for all events. For more information or to register, visit:

Mt. Hope Family Center's 30th Anniversary Symposium
Frontiers in Translational Research on Trauma

Thursday, Nov. 12

8:00 8:45 Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:45 9:15 Welcome Remarks:
Sheree L. Toth, Ph.D. - Executive Director, Mt. Hope Family Center
Joel Seligman - President, University of Rochester
Maggie Brooks- Monroe County Executive

9:15 10:30 J. Lawrence Aber, Ph.D.
Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Policy; Chair, Institute for Human Development and Social Change; Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University: "School-Based Strategies to Prevent Violence, Trauma, and Psychopathology: Can we get there from here?"

10:30 10:45 Break

10:45 12:00 Ann S. Masten, Ph.D.
Distinguished McKnight University Professor; Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota: "Catastrophe and Resilience in Human Development: Protecting the Power of Ordinary Magic"

12:15 1:15 Lunch
A box lunch is included with full symposium registration and available for purchase for partial registrants.

1:30 2:45 Gail S. Goodman, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor and Director, Center for Public Policy Research, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis: "Trauma and Memory"

2:45 3:00 Break

3:00 4:15 Dante Cicchetti, Ph.D.
McKnight Presidential Chair and Professor; Institute of Child Development and Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota: "The Effects of Adverse Early Experience: Illustrations from a Multi-Level Perspective on Child Maltreatment"

Friday, Nov. 12

8:15 9:00 Registration and Continental Breakfast

9:15 10:30 Christine M. Heim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine: "The Link between Childhood Trauma & Depression: Insights from HPA Axis Studies in Humans"

10:30 10:45 Break

10:45 12:00 Alicia F. Lieberman, Ph.D.
Irving B. Harris Endowed Chair in Infant Mental Health; Professor and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; Director, Child Trauma Research Project, San Francisco General Hospital: "Child-Parent Psychotherapy: Repairing the Effects of Trauma on Early Attachment"

12:30 2:30 Children in Trauma: Restoring Hope Roundtable Discussion - FREE
Registration required. A box lunch is included with full symposium registration. All others may pre-purchase a box lunch with their registration.