2022 Annual November Conference


Challenging the Myths of Violence & Mental Illness Conference

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2022, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM

Join us for a well-rounded program and discussion from various perspectives. Attendees will receive up-to-date research on violence and mental illness, information about prevention programs, ways the media can reduce stigma, and hear gun owners’ perspectives as advocates. Lunch is included.

Check-In & Registration: 7:45 AM – 8:30 AM
Event: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Arts District Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

*Approved for 5 hours of CEU credit.

Facts about mental illness and violence without scare tactics and fear.

Let’s get real with the data and take the fear factor out of mental illness.

Our speakers are mental health advocates, first responders, law enforcement personnel, healthcare providers, academic researchers, and notable legal experts. We will cover:


  • Media Bias
  • School Violence Solutions
  • Responsible Gun Ownership
  • Red Flag Laws & Other Interventions
  • Academic Research
  • Preventative Strategies

Join us for a day of important, relevant discussions.


Tickets can be purchased at the door for $150


Last day to register is Nov 4th

Our Speakers and Panel


Sr. VP of Health and Public Safety, The Meadows Institute

B.J. Wagner, MS, joined the Meadows Institute in the fall of 2015. In her current role, B.J. works to expand the Institute’s efforts in health and public safety, managing multifaceted law enforcement and first responder projects focused on mental health emergency response, first responder health and wellness, and more. B.J. possesses a unique blend of first-hand law enforcement experience and deep knowledge of police policy and operating procedures, program evaluation, and technical advising. She has developed curriculum for disciplines across the criminal justice system on mental health awareness, symptom recognition, and verbal de-escalation techniques. Her work has lead to the creation of national and international award winning programs.

B.J. has worked across our projects focused on the intersection of behavioral health and justice systems with a specific focus on emergency response models. Starting with our Dallas County Smart Justice Project project, B.J. was the primary architect of the RIGHT Care program in Dallas, Texas’ first Multidisciplinary Response Team. It now has multiple sites across Texas, the US, and serves as the foundation for our national work with Pew Charitable Trusts. Through three legislative sessions, B.J. has worked closely with our governmental relations team on related legislation including the creation of the Nation’s first state supported first responder peer network to end law enforcement suicide.

Since 2019 B.J. has served as the Executive Director of the Caruth Police Institute at the University of North Texas at Dallas (CPI) through a unique collaboration with the Meadows Institute and UNTD and has transformed CPI from a Dallas area police training institute to a nationally recognized leader in police policy, training, and consultation. The CPI is now also home the Texas Active Bystandership in Law Enforcement or Texas ABLE© Center of Excellence.

B.J. serves on the National ABLE Board of Advisors and the Texas Police Chiefs Association Mental Health Pathways Committee, and is the law enforcement lead for the National Co-Responder Consortium.

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Exec. VP for State and Federal Advocacy at Mental Health America (MHA)

Debbie is recognized as a national thought leader contributing expertise on a wide range of topics in behavioral health to local, state and federal policymakers, works with national legislator groups as topic expert, serves on task forces, provides background for investigative reporting, and is regularly interviewed by the media.

In her role at Mental Health America, Debbie provides leadership for grassroots and legislative advocacy across the MHA affiliate network and to national legislator groups. She coordinates the efforts of the Regional Policy Council (RPC), which focuses on state-level initiatives for equal access to behavioral health care, a full continuum of treatment and services, criminal justice diversion, and the value of prevention and early intervention. Her most recent projects include working with the firearm-owning community to promote mental health screening and training in suicide prevention for adolescents and adults.

Debbie holds three degrees from Bryn Mawr College: an AB in political science; dual master’s degrees in Social Service (MSS) and Law and Social Policy (MLSP). Informing her perspective and her passion, are the people she works with and for, her own lived experience with depression, as a family member to those with mental health challenges, and her dedication to mental health systems advocacy.

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Founder and managing principal of RDR Investigations & Crisis Management

Douglas Deaton brings more than 25 years of experience in law enforcement and local government management to RDR Investigations & Crisis Mgmt.

As the founder and managing principal of RDR, he is passionate about helping others to make informed decisions and achieve evidence-based clarity in times of personal crisis.

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Senior Vice President of Health Systems Integration, Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

Dr. Hani Talebi is a licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology with focused experience in pediatric psychology. Dr. Talebi is an affiliate faculty member in the UT Austin Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a courtesy affiliate faculty member in the UT Austin Department of Pediatrics and the UT Austin Department of Educational Psychology. In his role as Senior Vice President of Health Systems Integration, Dr. Talebi’s work focuses on advancing collaborative care and measurement-based care in primary care and health system settings.

With more than 20 years of clinical experience, he has served in a variety of roles including Director of Pediatric Psychology at Dell Children’s Medical Center, Director of Psychological Services at Del Valle Independent School District, Director of Clinical Programming in various community mental health centers, and as a clinical/consultative leader in the private sector. Dr. Talebi’s administrative efforts at the juncture of the medical and mental health models have resulted in innovative program development, various quality improvement initiatives and fiscally sustainable service provision platforms across milieus.

Dr. Talebi earned his combined doctorate degree in clinical, counseling, and school psychology from The University of California, Santa Barbara, and his bachelor’s degree in cognitive science from The University of California, Irvine. He completed an internship in pediatric psychology at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and a fellowship in pediatric trauma at Child Abuse Listening and Mediation at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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Retired Judge, award-winning lawyer, and Dallas County District Attorney

John Creuzot is a retired Judge and an award-winning lawyer with more than three decades of experience in the criminal justice system, including more than 21 years as a Felony District Court Judge. His background also includes seven years of service as a Dallas County Assistant District Attorney and Chief Felony Prosecutor as well as a criminal defense lawyer while in private practice.

In addition to his trusted service on both sides of the bench, Creuzot has earned a national reputation for his innovative work on drug courts, criminal justice reform and evidence-based sentencing. He regularly appears in the news and on television as an expert on these and other criminal justice topics. He has lectured and taught courses at the National Drug Court Institute, the National Judicial College, and the National Center for State Courts. He has also presented at several national training conferences for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, and has taught drug court teams from across the country. Creuzot has lectured and directed seminars for the Texas Center for the Judiciary, the Texas Bar Association, and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

After his retirement from the judiciary, Dallas County honored Creuzot by renaming its drug treatment facility the Judge John C. Creuzot Judicial Treatment Center in May of 2013. The center provides an intensive residential program as an alternative to incarceration for Dallas County probationers. The facility is coordinated with the Dallas Community Supervision and Corrections Department and the Dallas County Courts. The center works to ensure successful substance abuse treatment and reintegration into the community. It also offers education and skills training and job search assistance to probationers, and education and counseling for family members.

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RIGHT Care Social Work Manager, Parkland Health

Kristin Peterson, LCSW-S, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 14 years of social work experience primarily serving individuals suffering from significant behavioral health issues and with vulnerable populations in a safety net health setting.

Currently, Kristin is the RIGHT Care Social Work Manager at Parkland Health where she leads a team of social work clinicians who partner with a Dallas police officer and a paramedic from Dallas Fire and Rescue to respond to mental health emergency calls, utilizing a co-responder model. Kristin has played a pivotal role in the expansion of the RIGHT Care Team from one team during the pilot period to now 9 teams covering the entire city of Dallas. She additionally provides clinical supervision and consultation to staff who are pursuing their clinical licensure.

Prior to her current role with RIGHT Care, Kristin has worked for the Veterans Administration as an outpatient therapist, as a case manager at an HIV clinic, and spent many years in the Parkland Psychiatric Emergency Department.

Kristin has a B.A. in Psychology from Texas A&M University and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. In her free time, you can find Kristin attending OrangeTheory classes and volunteering with rescue dogs at The Love Pit.

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Operations Administrator – Acute Psychiatric Services, Parkland Health

Kurtis Young, a native Nebraskan, received his Bachelors of Social Work from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb in 2004. After working for 1 ½ years in homeless and near-homeless services in the Omaha area, he moved to Dallas and started working with a child placing agency. In 2008 he completed his Masters of Science in Social Work degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Young has been with Parkland Health since April 2009 where he started as a licensed social worker on the night shift of the Psych ER. He then worked on the Consult Liaison team before being hired as a Social Work Manager in 2016 after obtaining his clinical licensure. He now serves as the Operations Administrator for Acute Psychiatric Services as Parkland. During his time at Parkland, Young was the Parkland leader for the launch of the RIGHT Care Team and continues to provide oversight of the program. Young has also been involved in the creation of the extended observation unit, expansion of the inpatient psychiatric unit, and building strong working relationships with organizations in the behavioral health community.

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Sr. Dir. of Health and Public Safety, The Meadows Institute, and former Chief of Police, City of Rockwall, Texas

Max Geron has over 30 years of experience in Law Enforcement – more than 27 of those years with the Dallas Police Department where he served in a multitude of roles with increasing responsibility, retiring in 2020 as a Major over the Criminal Investigations Bureau.

Prior to joining the Meadows Institute, Max was Chief of Police for the City of Rockwall, Texas where he worked to modernize the department, increasing its analytical capabilities, and enhancing its ability to respond to the changing community and crime trends. During his tenure, the department made significant strides in caring for the mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing of its officers and civilian professional staff while keeping Rockwall one of the safest cities in Texas. Rockwall was one of the first Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) Recognized Agencies in the nation.

In his role at the Institute, Max is a key member of the Health and Public Safety Team and works closely with the Justice and Health Center. Max works across Institute teams and disciplines to advance the Institute’s work in public safety crisis systems transformation including early mental health emergency identification, call center triage, and Multi-Disciplinary Response Teams advancement and implementation. He also works with Jeff Spivey, Executive Director of the Caruth Police Institute and Senior Fellow of Law Enforcement Policy, on peer network development and workforce enhancement, as well as a critical leadership role in our work with and Active Bystandership in Law Enforcement and Public Safety.

Max received his undergraduate degree from Midwestern State University master’s degree in Homeland Security Studies from the United States Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is a graduate of the 269th Session of the FBI National Academy. Max is passionate about improving the profession of policing for the next generation of officers and citizens they will serve. He lives in Rockwall with his daughter and son.


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