Wilkes University

2019 Pennsylvania Pain and Addiction Summit

Putting People First

Join the leaders at the forefront of the addiction crisis in our region for the Pennsylvania Pain and Addiction Summit on April 12, 2019. 


“Overdose deaths, particularly from prescription drugs and heroin, have reached epidemic levels, now making drug overdoses the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Locally, overdose deaths in Luzerne County have increased every year, with an all-time high of 156 in 2018. This scourge of drug addiction shows no sign of abating any time soon.


The theme of the 2019 Pennsylvania Pain and Addiction Summit is “Putting People First,” with the emphasis on the holistic treatment of the patient. During this full-day conference, medical, legal, and law enforcement professionals will discuss the current state of the opioid crisis, share methodology and inter-professional approaches to deal with critical issues, and identify opportunities to approach the treatment of pain and substance abuse. Education hours will be provided.

COST: FULL DAY: $150 ($130 if registered before 3/20/19; includes lunch presentation with keynote speaker)
  • MORNING SESSION: $75 (does not include lunch)
  • AFTERNOON SESSION: $75 (does not include lunch)


7 - 8 a.m.—Registration, Breakfast, Screening of WVIA’s
“Battling Opioids” Video

8 - 9 a.m.—Panel discussion with members of Athletes for Care
Former professional athletes will share their thoughts on topics including chronic pain, depression, anxiety, substance misuse and opioid dependency. Participating athletes include: Riley Cote (NHL), Anna Symonds (Rugby), Cullen Jenkins (NFL) and Nate Quarry (UFC).

9 - 9:15 a.m.—BREAK

9:15 - 10:15 a.m.—BREAKOUT SESSIONS

  • Cold Turkey Kills, Dr. Donna Eget, Physician
  • Tackling Pain as a Team: A Novel Shared Medical Appointment for Interdisciplinary Care in Primary Care, Dr. Elizabeth Ahlers, Psy.D., and Dr. Benjamin P. Van Dyke, Ph.D. 
  • Patients Over Party: Crossing the Aisle to Combat the Opioid Crisis, Panel Discussion with elected state officials

10:15-10:30 a.m.—BREAK

10:30-11:30 a.m.—BREAKOUT SESSIONS

  • Medical Cannabis and Chronic Pain: Where is the Evidence, Dr. Bruce Nicholson, Physician
  • Ethical and Clinical Considerations in Telebehavioral Health Treatment, Maryellen Evers, Social Worker 
  • An Understanding of the Relationship between Addiction Trauma, Robert Reed, Pennsylvania Attorney General Office

11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.—LUNCH KEYNOTE SPEAKER Tee Simpkins, Graniteville House of Recovery

12:30 - 12:45 p.m.—BREAK

12:45 - 1:45 p.m.—BREAKOUT SESSIONS

  • Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) In Pregnancy, Dr. Gary Stoner, Physician
  • Cognitive-Behavorial Approaches to Managing Chronic Pain, Michelle Kwiec, Social Worker 
  • Boots on the Ground: Stories from the Front Lines of Addiction, Panel Discussion with members of the PA State Police, SCI Dallas, and the Luzerne County Treatment Court

1:45 - 2 p.m.—BREAK


  • Therapeutic Yoga for Chronic Pain and Addiction, Dr. Jay Gupta, Pharmacist
  • The Warm Handoff and the Role of CRS’s, Steven Ross, Drug & Alcohol Program Administrator for the Luzerne/ Wyoming Counties Drug & Alcohol Program, and Lisa Medvitz, Northweast Counseling

3 - 4 p.m.—CLOSING SPEAKER Don Tollefson, sports broadcast journalist

4 - 5 p.m.—Cocktail social and poster presentations

Conference Speakers

ATHLETES FOR CARE PANEL DISCUSSION: Riley Cote (NHL), Anna Symonds (rugby), Nate Quarry (UFC) and Cullen Jenkins (NFL) will discuss how their organization empowers and encourages athletes from every sport to improve global standards of health, safety and quality of life.

TEE SIMPKINS Keynote Speaker In 2009, Tee Simpkins recognized a strong need for women’s recovery services in northeastern Pennsylvania. With the support of the local community, she opened a non profit sober living home for women in Luzerne County in 2015, named The Graniteville House of Recovery. By 2017, Graniteville transitioned to a women’s halfway house, offering long term residential services for women in early recovery. Ms. Simpkins remains active in various forums for recovery support and awareness throughout the state, bringing with her an unbridled passion and hope for Pennsylvania’s recovering community.

DON TOLLEFSON Closing Speaker Don Tollefson is an American television broadcast journalist, best known for his work as a sportscaster for the Philadelphia local ABC affiliate WPVI-TV from 1975-1990. He will share his story of addiction and recovery. He currently is the CEO of Overcome Thyself Ministries and is working to help people in recovery & active addiction work to secure sobriety and spirituality.

Mohegan Sun Pocono
To reserve a room at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Thursday, April 12, please go to: https://book.passkey.com/go/ WIL0419

A list of other area hotels can be found at: wilkes.edu/placestostay

Up to 6 hours of continuing education credit available for these professionals:

Six hours Substantive CLE credit will be awarded by the Wilkes-Barre Law and Library Association (#53). The Wilkes-Barre Law and Library Association is an Accredited Continuing Legal Education provider.

Wilkes University is a preapproved provider of continuing education for professional counselors through the State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors.

Luzerne County Dental Society-Pa is designated as an Approved PACE Program Provider by the Academy of General Dentistry. The formal continuing education programs of this program provider are accepted by AGD for Fellowship, Mastership and membership maintenance credit. Approval does not imply acceptance by a state or provincial board of dentistry or AGD endorsement. The current term of approval extends from 10/1/2018 to 9/30/2021. Provider ID#219119

The Nesbitt School of Pharmacy at Wilkes University is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. Participants who attend the full program and complete an evaluation form for this knowledge-based activity will be awarded a statement of credit at the conclusion of the program for .6 CEUs (6 hours). ACPE # 0097-0000-19-013-L05-P.

Physical Therapists
An application has been submitted to the Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy for 6 hours.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint providership of the Pennsylvania Medical Society and Luzerne County Medical Society. The Pennsylvania Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Pennsylvania Medical Society designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physician should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Registered Nurses and Nurse Practitioners
Wilkes University is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the PA State Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Nurses who attend will receive a certificate for 6 hours at the conclusion of the programs, 6 of which qualify for pharmacology.

Social Workers
Wilkes University is a pre-approved provider of continuing education for programs for social workers and clinical social workers as an accredited university. Social Workers who attend will receive a certificate for 6 hours at the conclusion of the program.

Register Online


This program is supported by educational grants from the Moses Taylor Foundation, the Luzerne County District Attorney's Office and the Wilkes-Barre City Department of Health.