Howard Center Presents Annual Conference: Vision, Visionaries and Voices

Burlington, VT—Howard Center will present its fifth annual conference, Vision, Visionaries and Voices virtually on April 7 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, featuring international speakers, Mary Bassett, Anita Hill, Byron Katie, Ethan Nadelmann and Tara Westover.

More about our speakers and topics:

Mary Bassett M.D., M.P.H., is the Acting Commissioner of Health of the State of New York. Mary’s conference discussion is called Pulling Back the Curtain: COVID-19 and Historic Health Inequities where she will discuss the factors underlying structural racism, how they negatively impact communities of color, and actionable steps that healthcare providers, public health officials, and others must take to make meaningful change towards health equity and justice.

Anita Hill will discuss Our Critical Need to Eliminate Gender Violence and Inequality by drawing from personal experience to discuss the prevalence of gender violence and racial inequality in society and the toll these ills take on the mental health of victims. Her message is a call to acknowledge the issues of gender violence and inequality and the damage it is doing to the nation every day.

Byron Katie’s simple yet powerful process of self-inquiry, which she calls The Work, consists of four questions and the turnaround, which is a way of experiencing the opposite of what you believe. The topic ‘What if relief from suffering, depression, and discontent were as simple as questioning your thoughts?’ will be explored and discussed in this session.

Ethan Nadelmann will present on the evolution of drug policies in the US, the harms that result from punitive prohibitionist policies, and the range of alternatives for better treating drug use and addiction as matters of health rather than criminal justice. He will focus in particular on four sets of psychoactive drugs: cannabis, opioids, psychedelics and nicotine.

Tara Westover published her memoir, Educated, which explores her struggle to reconcile her desire for education and autonomy with her desire to be loyal to her family. Her topic of Reconciling with a Traumatic Childhood focuses on how the conditions of her youth and upbringing shaped her life experience and how, in spite of never attending school as a child, she navigated her way into college and later to graduate school.

This full-day conference will be hosted by Howard Center’s Catherine Simonson, LICSW and moderated by Dr. Jude Smith Rachele of Howard Center and Abundant Sun. Howard Center’s annual conference brings together national and international speakers and attendees from the United States and Canada. Our speakers will provide unique perspectives for a broad audience, including mental health and healthcare providers, educators, clients and families, representatives of state and local government, law enforcement, the judiciary, and the general public.

The conference will be held by Zoom webinar. Registration is $89 for the event. CEU credits are available for a variety of professions. Visit  for more information and to register. The conference is supported by over twenty businesses and organizations including our Champion sponsor: The New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center.