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Westheimer Peace Symposium

2018 Westheimer Peace Symposium – Social Justice & The Opioid Crisis

Since 2016, Ohio has ranked 2nd in the nation for overdose deaths from opioids. Wilmington College will join together with area communities Oct. 2 in an effort to better understand this high rate of death through the 28th Westheimer Peace Symposium. The annual daylong program will look at the opioid crisis from a social justice perspective. It will consider how issues such as low-paying jobs and the lack of availability of social services in Ohio, relate to spikes in incarceration. The program also will examine the racial aspects of addiction responses.

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Schedule of Events

Free and Open to the Public


Opening Keynote (9:30-11:00 a.m.): Addiction, Race and Social Bonds: A History of Law Enforcement in America

Hugh G. Heiland Theatre, Boyd Cultural Arts Center

  • Ekow Yankah, Professor of Law, Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University

In the opening keynote, Professor Yankah, examines the historical context of how the justice system in the United States has responded to addiction over time. In particular, Yankah focuses on the judicial and social responses to the crack/cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and 90s and compares it to the current responses to the Opioid Crisis today.

The Opioid Crisis in Ohio: Exhibit and Testimonials Readings with Dance (11:00-11:30 a.m.)

Quaker Heritage Center Gallery, Boyd Cultural Arts Center

This poster exhibit, created by the Wilmington College student organization, Active Minds, will highlight the current state of the Opioid Crisis in Ohio through statistical data and personal stories. From 11:00-11:30 a.m. testimonials from our campus and community will be read the Wilmington College Educational Theater Company and accompanied by body movement led by Wilmington College student and choreographer Carley Wilson and dancers from “All That Dance Studio” in Springboro, Ohio.

Lunch (11:30-12:45 p.m.)

The TOP of Pyle Center

Health Rhythms: An Alternative Therapy (12:00-12:45 p.m.)

Dining Room C & D, Pyle Center

  • Don Gauck, INCDC, Bethesda Alcohol and Drug Treatment
  • Wendy Grab, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Wilmington College, MSW/LISW, Trained facilitator of HealthRHYTHMS

Learn about “HealthRHYTHMS” whereby patients in addiction rehabilitation use a special collection of percussion instruments to relieve their stress, improve anger management skills, and create a team-oriented environment. The program has enhanced treatment for many patients.

Panel 1: The Science of Opioid Addiction (1:00-2:30 p.m.)

McCoy Room, Kelly Center

  • Dr. Michael Newman, MD, Clinton County Common Pleas Court
  • Dr. Chris Wyatt, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, Physiology, and Cell Biology, Wright State University
  • Dr. Chris Tuell, EdD, LPCC-S, LICDC, Lindner Center of HOPE
  • Kristen Parr, Vice President, General Manager, Alkermes

This panel explores the neurology of opioid dependence by discussing how opioids change the brain in ways that undermine individual attempts at recovery. The panel will also consider current pharmaceutical and therapeutic treatments intended to address the biological changes that have taken place.

Panel 2: Addressing the Crisis through Activism and Art (2:30-4:00 p.m.)

McCoy Room, Kelly Center

  • Kev O’Donnell, Ohio Students Association
  • Elizabeth Hopkins, AMOS Project
  • Jes McMillan, The Mosaic Institute of Greater Dayton

This panel considers the work that artists and activist are doing to raise awareness about the Opioid Crisis from Jes McMillan’s “Wall of Perseverance” project in West Dayton to the work of activists to realize Ohio’s ballot Issue No. 1.

Panel 3: Judicial and Rehabilitative Responses (4:00-5:30 p.m.)

McCoy Room, Kelly Center

  • Taylor Bennett, Director of Advocacy, Harm Reduction, Ohio
  • Judge John W. Rudduck, J.D., Clinton County Common Pleas Court
  • Dr. William Kennedy, Psy.D, Kennedy Consulting and Training, LLC
  • Lee Sandlin, Sugartree Ministries

This panel examines judicial and rehabilitative responses to the Opioid Crisis including the Clinton County Drug Court and other local organizations who are responding to the crisis. In particular, the panel will consider the appropriateness of incarceration versus treatment.

Closing Keynote: The Worsening Opioid Crisis -Where Did We Go Wrong? (7:00-9:00 p.m.)

Hugh G. Heiland Theatre, Boyd Cultural Arts Center

  • Dr. Clifford Cabansag, MD, DABAM, CTTS, Lindner Center of HOPE

In the closing keynote, Dr. Cabansag will focus on the need for adequate treatment of Opioid Addiction. In particular, he will address the disparities between how we address known diseases such as cancer vs. the disease of addiction.

Exhibit: The Opioid Crisis in Ohio

Quaker Heritage Center Gallery, Boyd Cultural Arts Center

This poster exhibit, created by the Wilmington College student organization, Active Minds, will highlight the current state of the Opioid Crisis in Ohio through statistical data and personal stories.

Wilmington College student organizations and Counseling Services will highlight their current work related to the Opioid Crisis. Wilmington-based A.C.T. will facilitate voter registration throughout the day.

Voter Registration/Counseling Services, Student Organization Tabling (All Day)

Boyd Cultural Arts Center Lobby & Kelly Center Lobby

Wilmington College student organizations and Counseling Services will highlight their current work related to the Opioid Crisis. Wilmington-based A.C.T. will facilitate voter registration throughout the day.