Date: 8/24/2005

St. Mary Medical Center and Community Healthcare System offer child abuse action & recognition symposium

“Recognizing and Acting on the Symptoms of Child Abuse” will be the topic of a day-long educational symposium sponsored by the St. Mary Medical Center Pastoral Care Department and Community Healthcare System. The program, featuring three professional speakers with unique topics, would be particularly useful for emergency room and pediatric medical professionals, and clergy who play a role in the lives of families and children.

The program will take place from 8:30 am. — 3 p.m., Sept. 9 at St. Mary Medical Center, 1500 S. Lake Park Ave., Hobart, in the new patient tower conference rooms 3 and 3A. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required in advance by calling 219-947-6185. Lunch will be provided. For medical professionals, the program is worth 3.6 contact hours as continuing education through the Indiana State Nurses Association.

The three speakers bring a wealth of knowledge to the topic of child abuse. The discussion begins with Dr. Jeffrey R. Robertson, PhD, LCSW, who has been practicing psychotherapy since 1980, treating adults, adolescents and children in the individual and family setting. His expertise is in sexual/emotional abuse, trauma treatment and recovery, and couples counseling/mentoring. Robertson is a Lake/Porter County Guardian et litem for Children, and a certified domestic violence counselor & substance abuse professional.

The second speaker, Kelly Vates, is an adult survivor of child sexual abuse, who, after seeking treatment in 1994, has since been able to break her silence and help educate others on the healing process. She is the author of Shattered Innocence and has appeared on numerous public talk shows. Locally, Vates facilitates support groups and programming for adults and teens through New HOPE Women’s Outreach in Highland, St. Jude House in Crown Point, and Seas of Life Ministries in Griffith.

Rita Luczak is a licensed social worker who has been with Community Healthcare System for 17 years, eight of those as a Maternal/Child Social Worker. Luczak has been a foster parent trainer for 11 years and maintains a close working relationship with DCS case managers. Her undergraduate degree is in Sociology/Social Work from Calumet College of St. Joseph. Her Master’s degree is in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Sociology from Valparaiso University.

For more information on the symposium or to register, call 219-947-6185.