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What Behavioral Health Professionals Need to Know about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
What Behavioral Health Professionals Need to Know about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

What Behavioral Health Professionals Need to Know about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Presenters: Tami Eller, MS, Lead Behavioral Health Training Coordinator, University of Alaska Anchorage Center for Human Development and Marilyn Pierce-Bulger, APRN (MN, FNP-BC, CNM), President, Board of Directors, Alaska Center for FASD & Consultant, UAA

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It  is estimated in the U. S. that on average 1 in 20 individuals is  impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).  Despite this high  prevalence, many individuals’ impacted by FASD present with primary and  secondary symptoms that are a result of the brain-based difficulties due  to prenatal alcohol exposure, not receiving an accurate or timely  diagnosis, and/or even recognition that they are impacted.  This can  often lead to poor treatment outcomes and the need for higher levels of  clinical interventions.  This training has been developed with  behavioral health clinicians in mind to provide an introduction to the  impacts of prenatal alcohol exposure on the brain, to assist them in  identifying when that may be a contributing factor to the clinical  presentation, and how to provide support to the individual impacted, as  well as their family. Upon completion of the training, providers will  have a beginning ‘toolbox’ of concrete strategies to use and resources  to gain more skills.

About the Presenters

Tami Eller, M.S. is the current Associate Director of Community Programs at AK Child & Family in Anchorage, AK.  Born and raised in Anchorage,Tami has lifelong experience of living with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  Professionally, she has been an advocate and educator for those impacted by FASD and the families raising children raising children prenatally exposed to alcohol.  Tami earned her Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Alaska Pacific University.  She is certified to train FASD 101, FASD 201, and FASD into Action.  Tami has provided training regarding supporting individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure in Alaska and other states as well as internationally when she joined the Rotary International Vocational Training team to Western Australia.  She currently serves as the co-chair for the Community Outreach and Engagement on the Governor’s Council on Disabilities & Special Education FASD 5 Year Strategic Plan group.  

Marilyn Pierce-Bulger, APRN (MN, FNP-BC, CNM) is a family nurse practitioner and certified nurse-midwife with 45 years’ experience in maternal and child health and 25 years’ experience in the field of FASD.  She created Nutaqsiivik, a home visitation program, to address the high post neonatal infant mortality health disparity for Anchorage urban American Indian/Alaska Native infants. During that work she discovered that a large percentage of the high social risk clients served by the program either had an FAS/FAE diagnosis or were living and parenting unsuccessfully due to an undiagnosed cognitive impairment. She has worked as a consultant for the State of Alaska, University of Alaska (UAA) Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services CDC-funded FASD projects, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)/Native American Management Services- Healthy Native Babies project. She founded and managed the Anchorage FASD Diagnostic team for 10 years and created the Alaska Center for FASD in 2017 to promote prevention, support caregivers and individuals with FASD, and to advocate for systems change.

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