Winter Institute

First Responder and Behavioral Health Cross-training

The ASU School of Social Work is excited to announce the 4th Annual Winter Institute for First Responder & Behavioral Health Cross-training.

The hybrid in-person and online conference is scheduled for February 23rd and 24th, 2022 at ASU Skysong Innovation Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, and online via Zoom meetings.

The Winter Institute is intended to assemble experts, leadership, and veterans of Arizona public safety sectors including: firefighters, police officers, correctional personnel, dispatchers, emergency medical services and other first responders as well as behavioral health professionals including social workers, counselors, researchers, and others for the purpose of cross-training and creating opportunities for collaboration within our communities. 

Each year, attendees gather to learn about trauma-informed response, de-escalation, compassion/work fatigue, suicide prevention, self-care and drug-induced behavioral symptoms.

This year, attendees may opt to attend either in-person or remotely via Zoom meetings.

We hope to make these important educational opportunities accessible to First Responders across Arizona, as well as build upon the diversity of our educational sessions.

The Call for Presentations is currently open! Download the Presenter Overview.

Submit your proposal


 Quick links:

Presenters Overview Download | Presentation Proposal Submission
Scholarship ApplicationAward Nomination 


We are currently accepting proposals for the 2022 conference.

Submission Guidelines

Presentations may be either individual, or tandem teams of Public Safety and Behavioral Health Professionals and 75 minutes in length. Presenting in tandem is strongly encouraged.

Consider innovative and impactful initiatives that you have been part of that should be shared with others. Presenters are encouraged to consider alignment with the conference theme and focus on one or more of the following suggested topical areas:

Recognizing drug-induced behavioral symptoms and best ways to respond
Compassion or work fatigue; Finding balance in your life
Addressing burnout
Trauma-informed response
Dealing with Death and Managing Grief
The Importance and Science of Sleep / Sleep Hygeine
Parenting in General /Caregiving as a First Responder
Preserving and Improving Interpersonal Relationships
Working with other sectors of the helping professions, such as Social Workers
Peer support and sharing lived experience
Showing humanity within first responder roles
Understanding the cultures of first responders
Finding common ground in the community
Addressing fear and shame associated with addiction, isolation, depression, etc…
How to address different types of addictions such as gambling; work, substances, etc
Effective Communication/De-escalation
Personal Safety
Public Safety and Harm Reduction
Sharing Resources across Disciplines
Working w/Community Members who have Autism, Dementia, Homeless, or other specific mental health issues
Cancer in First Responders
Crisis Response

 When submitting your workshop proposals, please consider:

Who is your audience?
What do you have to offer the participants?
How do we encourage the participants to think/do their work differently?
How do we challenge participants to confront the hardest issues and overcome challenges?
How do we help participants perform their roles exceptionally  well?
How do we help develop participants as exceptional professionals?
How do we prepare participants to succeed now?
How do we prepare participants to succeed in the future?
How do we help participants see the work they perform as a catalyst to making our communities and the world a better place?
What do you want participants to walk away with? *these may be either tangible or knowledge outcomes.
Most of the attendees are experienced leaders and professionals, so start beyond the basics.
Provide resources, handouts, and checklists for participants to utilize when they return to their organizations and jurisdictions.
Your program and language must be inclusive of all participants at the conference.
Research claims and data should be valid, reliable and relevant to the fields of public safety, behavioral health, mental health, and/or substance use disorders.


 Presenter Expectations

Provide an educational experience that is inclusive of all attendees, unless explicitly explained in the program summary.
Register as attendees for the conference (free as a presenter), and attend in-person on the day of your presentation – please arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your presentation if you are not attending the full day.
Share all Conference communication with co-presenters (if applicable).
Acknowledge no schedule or program changes will be made after Feb 1, 2022
Provide program presentation materials to ASU by Feb 1, 2022. Materials will be published online immediately following the conference.
Undertake all aspects associated with printing session handouts (creation, printing, distributing, etc.). ASU will not provide any on-site copying for presenters.
Be aware, a “session monitor” will be present to manage program evaluation and monitor on- time program ending. Session content should accommodate for a 2-minute introduction and a 5- minute conclusion from a session monitor.
Presenters will receive a complimentary registration on their conference registration.
Participants enjoy interaction to learn from one another in small groups while sharing great ideas from these discussions.
Do not use the time on anything unessential to the learning experience or learning out-comes.


When submitting your workshop proposals, please include the following:

Workshop Title
Workshop Description (100-word abstract for the program)
Workshop Description (extended for program review/selection – approx. 800 words)
Learning Objectives for public safety and behavioral health professionals in APA format.
Main Presenter Information - Name, Title, Agency, Address, Email and Phone Number
Co-Presenter(s) Information (if applicable)
Main Presenter Biography (200-400 words)
Additional Presenter Biographies (200-400 words)

 If your proposal includes more than one presenter up to two (2) additional presenters may attend the conference at no additional cost.

 Application deadline is 5 pm (Mountain Standard Time) on Friday, January 7, 2022. Lead presenters will be notified of their presentation status on or prior to Monday, January 17, 2022.

Submit your presentation

Please consider submitting a nomination for the Winter Institute Awards.

The categories include:

PUBLIC SAFETY PARTNERSHIP: Two or more agencies and/or individual change agents who have creatively broken down barriers and collaborated effectively to bring innovative solutions to address behavioral health and public safety needs of the community.   

INNOVATIVE LEADER: Recognizes leadership for being proactive and implementing a new and effective program to enhance public safety services.   

CRISIS INTERVENTIONIST OF THE YEAR: This excellence in service award goes to an individual who goes above and beyond their job description to ensure quality care to community members experiencing crisis.

FIRST RESPONDER OF THE YEAR: This individual exemplifies exceptional character beyond their sworn duties. This individual is a champion of their agency, a role model for their discipline, and committed to breaking down behavioral health-related stigma amongst their peers.  

ADVOCACY: This individual demonstrates creativity, leadership, and dedication that positively affects policy or change in the public safety community.

Make your nomination



General Info

Wednesday, February 23rd and
Thursday, February 24th 2022
8:00am - 4:00pm both days.

ASU Skysong in Scottsdale, AZ
and Online via Zoom meetings
(Hybrid conference; in-person and online)

Conference cost:
$189 Early Bird (Open December 2021)
$249 General Registration (Available Jan 2022)

Conference agenda will be available on January 20th, 2022.

CE Credits offered: APA, NBCC, NAADAC, NASW, COJET 


A limited number of scholarships will be available pending various sponsorships. 

Apply before January 7th, 2021. Recipients will be notified on or before January 20th, 2022.

 Apply now