Speaker Bio & Presentations

Sara Polley

Special Speaker

Dr. Sara Polley

Dr. Sara Polley is the National Medical Director of the Youth Continuum for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation in Plymouth, Minnesota and serves as a thought leader on topics related to youth mental illness and substance use. In addition to her administrative role, she is active clinically working with young people and families struggling with substance use and mental illness. Dr. Polley is board-certified in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction medicine. She completed her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital, the primary pediatric teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School, and was chief fellow during her final year there—working with the Pediatric Addiction team on research-based interventions that integrate medical, psychological, spiritual, and social treatments for both individuals and families. Prior to that experience, Dr. Polley completed her adult psychiatry training in a joint program between Sheppard Pratt Hospital and the University of Maryland with a focus on the use of motivational interviewing and psychodynamic principles in the treatment of psychiatric illness. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Medical School and earned her bachelors of science degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development.

Desire Vasquez

Special Speaker

Desirae Vasquez

Launching her career two decades ago as a consultant and trainer for the Baltimore City Public Mental Health System Desirae Vasquez (she/they), MHS, MBA is a seasoned public health and behavioral science leader. As the Programming Director for the Consulting and Training area of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, Desirae continues to build professional and community partnerships to achieve global and significant reductions in risk behavior as well as significant improvements in transnational health and wellness outcomes. She carries a particular passion to empower vulnerable populations and the organizations that serve them within in the field of universal, primary prevention of substance misuse and health promotion for children and adolescents.

Presentations & Workshops

Supporting Youth Resilience: Exploring the 2021 U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Youth Mental Health

In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an Advisory on youth mental health. In this presentation, experts from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation will outline the factors noted in the Advisory as contributors to youth wellness both before and during the pandemic. Presenters will then explore the Advisory’s topline recommendations. By sharing how specific recommendations can apply within a continuum of care to include health promotion, risk and illness prevention, early intervention, and treatment of youth mental illness and substance use disorders, presenters will help attendees gain clarity and passion for their personal role in fostering youth resilience.

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The GXC Conference 2022 is dedicated to professionals who want to elevate their knowledge regarding therapeutic practices, treatment models, and the latest mental health, addiction, and wellness innovations.

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