Keynote Speakers

Nic Sheff
Tuesday, July 16.

Writer and motivational speaker Nic Sheff is the author of two compelling memoirs about his struggles with addiction, relapse and recovery: the New York Times bestselling Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamine (2009), and We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction (2011).

“I knew the damage I was causing,” Sheff remembers. “It was impossible to keep lying to myself about it.” Sheff’s story and inspirational, holistic approach to understanding and treating addiction is enlightening.

Sheff works with mental health experts and is committed to helping erase the stigma associated with substance abuse. Vocal about his own struggles he is passionate to help others understand and face their own recovery. Eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Nic’s personal story about addiction and relapse is the inspiration behind the critically acclaimed 2018 film, Beautiful Boy, starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.

“The truth is a powerful force,” Sheff wrote in his blog. “And, within my struggles, that is something I’ve always tried to achieve ... Telling our truths can change the world.”

Nic lives in Los Angeles, California where he writes for film and television.

Nic Sheff will share his experiences and understanding of addiction as our Keynote Speaker, from 9:15 a.m -10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16 at the Summer Institute.



Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, Ph.D.
Wednesday, July 17.

A Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry as well as a respected physician and academic, Dr. McCance-Katz joined United States Department of Health and Human Services as the chief medical officer for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from 2013-2015 under President Barack Obama. Dr. McCance-Katz was appointed in 2017 by President Donald Trump to serve as the first Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Mental Health and Substance Use with the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act. She also served on the World Health Organization (WHO) committee developing guidelines for the treatment of drug users living with HIV/AIDS.

Dr. McCantce-Katz has published extensively in the areas of clinical pharmacology, medications development for substance use disorders, drug-drug interactions, addiction psychiatry, and treatment of HIV infection in drug users. The American Psychiatric Association wrote, "Dr. McCance-Katz has a wealth of experience in academic and public sector settings in addressing mental health and substance use disorders.” She has conducted substantial research into addiction, specifically opioid addiction.

Please join us as we welcome Dr. McCance-Katz who will share the keynote address from 9:15 a.m -10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 17 at the Summer Institute.



Frank J. Kros, MSW, JD
Wednesday, July 17.

Frank Kros is president of the Transformation Education Institute, blending educational neuroscience with practical tools to provide professional development training for professionals serving children and youth. He is also Director of the National-At-Risk Education Network and executive vice president of The Children’s Guild. As a career child advocate, he’s served as a childcare worker, child abuse investigator, children's home administrator, consultant and college professor.

Kros also created more than 20 professional development workshops for parents, educators and social workers. He has more than 30 years of experience in children’s services, creating more than 20 professional development workshops for parents, educators and social workers that have been presented in 44 states and six foreign countries. Warm and engaging, Kros is a worldwide speaker, presenting seminars to parents, educators, child-serving professionals and their leaders.

“The brains of young children are amazing!” Kros enthusiastically believes. He expands on brain development and health as our keynote speaker on Wednesday, July 17, from 12:45 p.m. - 2 p.m. with “Resilience for YOU: 7 Strategies for Building Extraordinary Mental Health.” Join Kos for Session 8: “Beyond Poverty: Brain-Inspired Ways to Understand and Respond to Poverty and Session from 10:45 a.m.-12 noon; Session 13: “Trauma and the Brain: the Developmental Impact of Trauma in Childhood” at 2:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m. and Session 19: “Trouble Letting Go: Addiction and the Brain” on the same day.


William R. Miller, PhD,
Friday, July 19.

William (“Bill”) R. Miller, PhD, is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Miller, the co-founder of Motivational Interviewing (alongside Dr. Stephen Rollnick), has published more than 400 scientific articles and 50 books on the ground breaking therapy and communication style. His pioneering work led to one of the most recognized behavioral health modalities used in the U.S. and throughout the world. Miller is a recipient of the R Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award, the Innovator in Combatting Substance Abuse award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s Book of the Year Award, as well as two career achievement awards from the American Psychological Association. He was named one of the “world’s most highly cited scientists” by the Institute for Scientific Information.

Join Dr. Miller for a two-part workshop, Accurate Empathy, on Thursday, July 18, and for his keynote address, Therapists Matter: Eight Skills to Make You Better at What You Do, on Friday, July 19. He will be available for book signing immediately following his presentation.