Adventist Conference on Family Research & Practice 2016


Jul 21 - 23, 2016

Welcome to the 4th annual Adventist Conference on Family Research & Practice (ACFRP) dedicated to stregthening families. Andrews University's School of Education & Theological Seminary are partnering with both of the Family Ministries Depts. at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists & the North American Division. Geared towards Family Life Professionals (Therapists, Counselors, Social Workers, Family Nurses), Pastors, Chaplains, Individuals in all kinds of helping professions or Youth/Family/Healing ministries and any person wanting to further their knowledge and practical application of family ministry.

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Nivischi Edwards

Assistant Professor & Counselor , Liberty University

Bio: Nivischi is passionate about her role as a counselor and coach and the ability to have healthy relationships with self and others, satisfying marriages and dynamic families. She accept clients from all races, cultures, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds and practices Christianity then meets clients wherever they are on their individual spiritual journey. She has more than fifteen years of counselling experience in the following areas: Military & Family Life, Outpatient & Outreach Therapy, Substance Abuse Treatment, Transitional Living, HIV/AIDS Substance Abuse and College Counselling. She has a PhD in Counsellor Education.

Alina Baltazar

Associate Professor, Social Work & MSW Director , Andrews University

Bio: Alina M. Baltazar, PhD, MSW, CFLE is an Associate Professor of Social Work and MSW program director at Andrews University. She has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies, is a licensed clinical social worker, and a certified family life educator. Dr. Baltazar has been a practicing clinical social worker for over 20 years and has conducted research in the role of parents and religion in preventing youth health risk behaviors. She is also the Director for the Center of Prevention Education at the Institute for the Prevention of Addiction at Andrews University.

Annette Heck

BSW Program Director , Southern Adventist University

Bio: Since 2010, Annette Heck has been the BSW Program Director for the School of Social Work at Southern Adventist University. In addition to overseeing the undergraduate social work program, she has taught on the BSW and MSW level. She finds it an honor to work with the amazing social work students attending Southern. Prior to her work at Southern, Dr. Heck provided clinical services in Orlando, Florida in both in-home and school based settings. Dr. Heck completed her Doctor of Social Work degree in Clinical Practice and Leadership from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and her Master of Social Work degree from Andrews University. She is dually licensed as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Florida and Tennessee.

Beverly Sedlacek, DNP(c)

Assistant Professor, Nursing , Andrews University

Bio: Beverly Sedlacek, an advanced practice nurse, has worked for over 36 years counseling hurting people in the areas of addiction, abuse, relationship difficulties, emotional problems and financial difficulties. She is passionate about empowering people and families to make healthy choices in Christ. She is currently Assistant Professor of Nursing, at Andrews University, and is presently working on her doctorate in Nursing Practice.

Brad Hinman

Assistant Professor, Graduate Psychology & Counseling, Andrews University

Bio: Brad Hinman is currently an Assistant Professor at Andrews University in the Department of Graduate Psychology and Counseling and is the Coordinator of the School Counseling Program. He joined Andrews University as faculty in 2011. He brings with him his expertise as a private practice counselor specializing in marriage and family therapy, child and adolescent behavior disorders, domestic violence, and sexuality issues - including sexual addictions. Dr. Hinman completed his PhD at Western Michigan University in Counselor Education and Supervision and is an alumnus of Andrews University. He holds professional licensure through the State of Michigan as both a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Limited License Marriage and Family Therapist.

Curt VanderWaal

Chair, Social Work, Andrews University

Bio: Curtis VanderWaal, PhD, MSW, is Chair and Professor of Social Work at Andrews University, where he has taught since 1990. He is also Director of the Center for Community Impact Research at the Institute for Prevention of Addictions. VanderWaal received his Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in 1987 from The University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in Social Welfare in 1995 from Case Western Reserve University. He teaches classes in drug and alcohol addiction and treatment, values and ethics, and program evaluation. The majority of his research has focused on addiction treatment, prevention and faith-based ministries and he regularly publishes and presents in these areas.

David Olson


Bio: David Olson, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, Family Social Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN and Founder and CEO of PREPARE/ENRICH. He is past President of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) and the Upper Midwest Association of Marital and Family Therapists (UMAMFT). He has received over 10 national awards for his contributions from a variety of national organizations. Distinguished alumni awards from St. Olaf College, Penn. State University & University of Minnesota. He developed the PREPARE/ENRICH Program, which has been taken by over 3 million couples and offices in 13 countries (8 different languages). He has written 20 books and over 100 articles in the field of marriage and family. Marriage & family textbook (7th edition) is used in over 850 colleges and universities. His most recent books include: Couple Checkup (2008) and Remarriage Checkup (2010). He has appeared numerous times on national television including the NBC Today Show, CBS Morning Show, ABC Good Morning America and the Oprah Show.

David Sedlacek

Professor of Family Ministry & Discipleship , Andrews University

Bio: David Sedlacek is currently Professor of Family Ministry and Discipleship in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University. He received a Masters of Social Science Administration (MSSA) from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in 1976 and a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the School of Graduate Studies at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1979. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Family Life Educator who maintains a small practice to mainly assist pastoral students and families with life issues.

Dedrick Blue

Dean, School of Religion & Theology , Oakwood University

Bio: Dedrick Blue is currently Dean, School of Religion & Theology at Oakwood University. He has served the Church in various ministry capacities for 34 years, as a pastor, teacher and conference administrator, in addition to several years of service at Oakwood as chaplain and then as vice president of Student Services.

Dion Henry

Pastor, presenter, Southeastern Conference

Bio: Dion Henry is an ordained minister in the Southeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Oakwood University, and a Master's of Divinity as well as a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Andrews University. His doctoral project dealt with stressors that impact young marriages in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He believes in community involvement which has led him to served in different positions within the community such as: NAACP, Chairperson for the Martin Luther King Breakfast in Highlands County, Florida Hospital Mission Peer Review Committee, Vice Chair for Samaritan’s Touch Health Care Center, Meals on Wheels, and President of the Local Interfaith Ministerial Association in Avon Park, FL. Dion G. Henry is happily married to Dilyn Henry who is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Together they conduct workshops and retreats geared towards strengthening families. They have been married for 18 years and have two children: Hannah (15) and Michael (13). His motto is found in Matthew 6:33 which says, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

Duane McBride

Professor, Sociology , Andrews University

Bio: Duane C. McBride holds a B.A. degree in Behavioral Sciences from the Andrews University, an M.A. from the University of Maryland in Industrial Sociology, and PhD in the Sociology of Deviant Behavior from the University of Kentucky. He is a Professor of Sociology at Andrews University as well as Director of the University's Institute for the Prevention of Addictions. He has published over 100 articles, chapters, books and monographs in the areas of drug abuse policy, health services research, the correlates of health risk and protective factors and crime and delinquency in scientific and professional journals

Eva Starner

Alabama, Licensed Professional Counselor

Bio: Dr. Eva Starner was born and raised in Southern California. She is a graduate of Oakwood University with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management, a graduate of Alabama A&M University with a degree in Counseling Psychology, and a graduate of Loma Linda University with a Ph.D. in Family Studies. Dr. Starner is an Assistant Professor in the department of Psychological Sciences at Oakwood University in Huntsville, AL. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private therapy practice. She is also the mother of three adult daughters and the grandmother of one granddaughter and three grandsons.

Harvey Burnett

Associate Professor, Psychology & Chair of Behavioral Sciences Dept., Andrews University

Bio: Harvey J. Burnett, Jr. is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Behavioral Sciences Department at Andrews University. He is a fully licensed psychologist in the state of Michigan and holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology (2001) and a Master’s of Divinity (1994) from Andrews University and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology (1991) from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has been a certified police officer in the State of Michigan for over 20 years and is also a sergeant with the Buchanan Police Department.

Jonathan Thompson

Director of Ellen G. White Estate, Oakwood Branch, Oakwood University

Bio: Jonathan Thompson currently serves as the Director of the Oakwood Branch of the Ellen G. White Estate in Huntsville, Alabama. Dr. Thompson has served the Seventh-day Adventist Church for over 45 years in various pastoral and administrative capacities.

Lael Caesar

Associate editor , Adventist Review & Adventist World

Bio: Lael and Lena Caesar love each other, love their neighbors and their enemies, and love to work for God. Lael has worked as district pastor, conference departmental director, and college professor. He holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew & Semitic Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Lael and Lena taught for 4 ½ years at Montemorelos University, and for 15 years at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. Currently, Lael is an associate editor of the Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, and Research Professor of Hebrew Bible at Andrews University. Lena and Lael have authored scores of professional and scholarly articles in their respective fields and are in demand as speakers and seminar presenters. Their son, Lloyd, and daughter, La Vonne are both graduates of Andrews University.

Lena Caesar

Director of Speech Language Pathology & Audiology, Loyola University

Bio: Lael and Lena Caesar love each other, love their neighbors and their enemies, and love to work for God. Lena has been a High School English teacher, Modern Language Institute director, and professor of Speech Language Pathology. She holds an M.S. from UW Madison, an Ed.D in Special Education and a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Health Studies from Western Michigan University. Lael and Lena taught for 4 ½ years at Montemorelos University, and for 15 years at Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. Lena taught and directed the department of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology at Andrews University as she does now at Loyola University. Lena and Lael have authored scores of professional and scholarly articles in their respective fields and are in demand as speakers and seminar presenters. Their son, Lloyd, and daughter, La Vonne are both graduates of Andrews University.

Melissa Ponce-Rodas

Assistant Professor, Psychology, Andrews University

Bio: Melissa has been working on the issue of domestic violence in Hispanic SDA congregations for the past 8 years. She has just completed her dissertation work (PhD) on understanding how ethnicity and religiosity impact the way women define domestic violence and their perceptions about the acceptability of church and secular resources for victims. She is currently an assistant professor of Psychology at Andrews University, where she continues to conduct research to better understand how religion and domestic violence intersect.

René Drumm

Dean, College of Health , University of Southern Mississippi

Bio: René Drumm is the associate dean for the College of Health for the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Drumm has worked in Adventist higher education for more than 20 years. Her positions included serving as the dean of the school of social work at Southern Adventist University, MSW clinical program director at Andrews University and BSW program director at Southwestern Adventist University. Dr. Drumm holds a PhD degree in sociology with an emphasis in family studies from Texas Woman’s University and the Master of Social Work from Michigan State University.

Sharon Dudgeon

WAUS General Manager , Andrews University

Bio: Sharon has been a counselor at Shepard House Counseling since 2010; special interests include pain psychology and female survivors of abuse; she has been leading a Grow Group for female survivors for abuse for Pioneer Memorial Seventh-day Adventist Church on the campus of Andrews University for the past three years. Trained also as a saxophonist, she holds an M.Mus., and in her early career began as a junior high band director.

Susan Murray

Professor Emerita, Andrews University

Bio: Susan E. Murray, Professor Emerita of Family Studies, retired from AU several years ago but continues as adjunct faculty at the Seminary. She writes the column, Family Ties, for the Lake Union Herald and has been a columnist for the AAFLP publication, Family Life. She is a Certified Family Life Educator (NCFR), and Clinical Fellow with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She holds Michigan licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist and is on the counseling staff of Thrive Psychology in Saint Joseph, MI.

Barbara Stovall

Director, Alumni Relations, Oakwood University

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