Keynote Speakers


Jessica Pryce, Ph.D., MSW

Executive Director, Florida Institute for Child Welfare

Assistant Professor, Florida State University

Dr. Pryce is an Assistant Professor at Florida State University and currently the Executive Director of the Florida Institute for Child Welfare. For the past 10 years, she has been involved at multiple angles of child welfare (direct practice, teaching + training & policy and research). She has published on child welfare related topics, such as, training and education, racial disparity and anti-poverty practices. She has presented her research at 50+ conferences both nationally and internationally. She is the author is several op-eds focused on racial disparity and effective strategies to impact racial disproportionality within child welfare. Her TED Talk on Implicit Racial Bias in Decision Making has since been viewed over 1.3 million times.

Dr. Pryce has worked on the frontlines of child welfare, conducted primary research, been a policy advisor to Florida’s legislature and taught graduate level courses in child welfare. Previously holding the positions of Child Protective Caseworker with the Department of Children and Families, and the Deputy Director of the University at Albany’s New York State Education Consortium. In 2019, she received a 5-year appointment to the Advisory Board of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, where she consults and advises on leadership and workforce interventions around the country. She currently sits on the Florida Dependency Court Improvement Panel, alongside judges and advocates who are working towards a more trauma informed approach within the judicial system. She has maintained and cultivated a commitment to the wellbeing of vulnerable children and families, the sustainability of the child welfare workforce, and effectively addressing inequity. Her paramount goal includes re-building and leading a child welfare system that focuses on strengthening families instead of pulling them apart.


Wendy Ellis, DrPh, MPH

Assistant Professor, Global Health and Director, Center for Community Resilience, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University

Dr. Ellis has spent the last decade developing and working to grow a ‘resilience movement’ to address systemic inequities that contribute to social and health disparities that are often transmitted in families and communities from generation to generation.  Under Dr. Ellis’ direction, the groundbreaking work of the Center for Community Resilience has been pivotal in influencing public health and child health advocates placing equity at the center of addressing trauma and building community resilience.

The Center for Community Resilience seeks to improve the health of communities by enabling cross-sectoral partners to align policy, program and practice to address adverse childhood experiences in the context of adverse community environments–or as Dr. Ellis has coined it “The Pair of ACEs”. This innovative framing of ACEs, with an explicit focus on equity and prevention, has had a substantial influence on local initiatives, programs, public health initiatives and local, state and federal policy. Using the Pair of ACEs framing, Building Community Resilience (BCR) networks have successfully led systems and policy change focused on addressing long-standing economic, social and health disparties by partnering with community, integrating service delivery and building political will for change.


Dawn Yazzie, MA, NCC

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant, Navajo NationTechnical Assistance Specialist, Center of Excellence (CoE) for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC)

Dawn A. Yazzie, MA, NCC, serves as an Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant on the Navajo Nation; and for the Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (CoE for IECMHC) as a technical assistance provider to Tribal communities building their IECMHC programs. She partners with the Children’s Equity Project (CEP) in advocating for accessible and equitable ECE systems. Dawn provides early childhood mental health consultation to ECE centers, home visitors, and FFN staff on the Navajo Nation, and incorporates traditional Navajo cultural perspectives into her work locally and nationally.


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