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6th Annual Social Work Conference 

    The Graduate & Undergraduate Departments of Social Work Present the 6th Annual Social Work Conference:

    annual-social-work-conf

    "Strengthening Generations of Families and Communities"

    The Conference Will be Held Virtually
    Friday, October 2, 2020
    9:00 am to 6:00 pm
    Registration is still open! 


    Conference Overview

    Our nation’s 650,000 social workers deal with some of the most difficult issues impacting individuals, families and communities: schools and interpersonal family violence, natural and human made disasters, telehealth care, health care and mental health care, public health, impact of social media and technology, aging, youth, reentry and reintegration for prisoners, and trauma. It is important that we not only address these issues but more importantly identify solutions and actions to address these problems that lead to hope.

    Attendees can earn up to 6 hours of CEU credit. The cost of registration and CEU is $40.


    Alan-Wilkett-headshot

    Guest Speaker: Alan Wilkett

    Corporal Alan Wilkett has served with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office since 2005 with a total law enforcement experience of over 24 years. Patrol, court security, investigations, crime prevention, and community relations are among the assignments fulfilled in the years of service. In 2007 he was awarded the Law Enforcement Deputy of the Year.

    Corporal Wilkett holds a Florida Practioner Designation in both crime prevention and CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design). Corporal Wilkett has devoted the past several years in the fight against human trafficking. He has trained and instructed law enforcement, federal agencies, state and local agencies, NGO’s, along with multiple groups, churches, and organizations. The Pasco Human Trafficking Task Force, the Human Trafficking Commission, and Light Up The Night are current initiatives. Corporal Wilkett was awarded the 2017 Florida Human Trafficking Law Enforcement Official of the Year from Attorney General Pam Bondi and recently received the Law Enforcement Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Crime Prevention Association.


    For more information about the Sixth Annual Social Work Conference, and Continuing Education Credits, please contact: msw@saintleo.edu.

    Conference Schedule

    Keynote9 AM - 10 AM

    The Impact of Human Trafficking in Social Work

    Alan Wilkett

    This keynote will address human trafficking in the following 4 areas: defining human trafficking, the scope of human trafficking, the various forms of human trafficking, and mitigation efforts to address human trafficking. This keynote will explore focal questions ...

    The Impact of Human Trafficking in Social Work


    This keynote will address human trafficking in the following 4 areas: defining human trafficking, the scope of human trafficking, the various forms of human trafficking, and mitigation efforts to address human trafficking. This keynote will explore focal questions regarding:

    1. What are the cohabiting issues with human trafficking?
    2. Are there intersecting indicators between human trafficking and other criminal activities that impact support and clinical social work practice?

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    Webinar Passcode: 471744


    Presenter(s):
    image of Alan Wilkett
    Alan Wilkett

    Session A10 AM - 11 AM

    Q and A Session About the Impact of Human Trafficking in Social Work

    Alan Wilkett

    Meet with Corporal Alan Wilkett (Keynote) to address questions, thoughts, concerns related human trafficking in the following 4 areas: defining human trafficking, the scope of human trafficking, the various forms of human ...

    Q and A Session About the Impact of Human Trafficking in Social Work


    Meet with Corporal Alan Wilkett (Keynote) to address questions, thoughts, concerns related human trafficking in the following 4 areas: defining human trafficking, the scope of human trafficking, the various forms of human trafficking, and mitigation efforts to address human trafficking.


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    Presenter(s):
    image of Alan Wilkett
    Alan Wilkett

    Using the Art and Science of Advocacy to Effect Change

    Christina Cazanave, MSW & Robert Lucio, Ph.D., LCSW

    This presentation will explore the role of advocacy in supporting youth’s success. The art and science of advocacy work together to create solutions for the challenges which youth face today. Social workers are called to address social injustice in every part of a ...

    Using the Art and Science of Advocacy to Effect Change


    This presentation will explore the role of advocacy in supporting youth’s success. The art and science of advocacy work together to create solutions for the challenges which youth face today. Social workers are called to address social injustice in every part of a system, from fighting for our clients’ rights through to make long lasting change. In the face of constant threats to our youth’s success, social workers are well positioned to understand the complex issues facing our youth and to be leaders in promoting action-oriented solutions. We will present steps to use to tell the stories of our youth as a way to change the conversation from only the issue to a broader approach to how that change can make a meaningful difference.


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    Presenter(s):

    The Varied Interests of Social Work Students

    Victoria Anyikwa, Ph.D., LCSW; Michael Campbell, Ph.D., LCSW; & Veronika Ospina Kammerer, Ph.D., MSW, MFT, RN

    This session will spotlight the efforts of a variety of SLU social work students who are nominated by their faculty to present on issues ranging from clinical to advocacy and evaluation. Faculty will facilitate a series of mini lectures form the students and then an ...

    The Varied Interests of Social Work Students


    This session will spotlight the efforts of a variety of SLU social work students who are nominated by their faculty to present on issues ranging from clinical to advocacy and evaluation. Faculty will facilitate a series of mini lectures form the students and then an engaged question and answer session as time allows.


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    Presenter(s):

    Session B11 AM - 12 PM

    Terapia Para La Comunidad: Engaging Latinx in Therapy

    Yesenia Reta, LCSW

    The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill reports that 33% of Hispanic or Latino people with mental illness receive treatment compared to 49% of white Americans. USA Today reported that Hispanics are 25% less likely to be treated for depression than non-Hispanic ...

    Terapia Para La Comunidad: Engaging Latinx in Therapy


    The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill reports that 33% of Hispanic or Latino people with mental illness receive treatment compared to 49% of white Americans. USA Today reported that Hispanics are 25% less likely to be treated for depression than non-Hispanic whites. Using these statistics, it is estimated that 2 million Hispanic Americans did not get the care they needed in 2018. Not only that, The Hispanic population is projected to grow by 1.9% each year through 2030. This produces a demand in services and Spanish speaking therapists and therapists culturally competent to treat English speaking Latinos. In this presentation, we will explore the reasons that Latinos do not access services to include language, stigma, misinformation, lack of information, family dynamics, and shame. As a therapist in private practice, I will share my experience of starting a practice in a community lacking therapy services fit for Latinos and share techniques that have helped me to engage Latinos in therapy. Those strategies include custom marketing, psychoeducation, consultation, collaboration, and the use of technology. My goal is that participants will feel more competent in serving the Latinx population as well as eager to use their social work experience to impact the community at the micro, mezzo, and macro level using psychotherapy.


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    Presenter(s):

    It Takes a Village: Helping Others to Heal from Heartache and Trauma

    Debra Mims, DBA & Rhondda Waddell, Ph.D., LCSW

    Whether it was an expected illness or a sudden unexplained death, the loss of a loved one is still the same: devastation, anguish and unsurmountable pain and we struggle to cope with the question of “why?” It happens to us all eventually. We get a text, or a call. ...

    It Takes a Village: Helping Others to Heal from Heartache and Trauma


    Whether it was an expected illness or a sudden unexplained death, the loss of a loved one is still the same: devastation, anguish and unsurmountable pain and we struggle to cope with the question of “why?” It happens to us all eventually. We get a text, or a call. Someone is in the hospital, there’s been a terrible diagnosis, a divorce, a fire, a death. Your friend is in crisis. Most of us tend to freeze, we simply don’t know what to do in the face of a serious crisis in the life of someone we love. We cannot control the many hardships in life: illnesses, injuries, suffering, death and abandonment. Although many of us may have encountered some or many of these experiences, every suffering and hurt is individual to each of us. We all grieve in different ways and no matter how many times well-meaning people say “I understand what you are going through” they cannot understand on your own unique personal level. Sometimes you may even resent them for saying they do. No matter what our culture might say crisis is real, and those in the midst of it need the love and support of the people around them. How do we heal and how do we help others who are dealing with personal suffering, pain and sorrow? The key is a support system, which can be family, friends, professionals and even pets. By helping and nurturing others, by being there, listening and lifting up those in pain while they heal, we actually work in healing within ourselves. This presentation will provide information to help you feel more confident helping care for those experiencing a personal crisis in their lives.


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    Presenter(s):

    Social Workers Combating the Opioid Epidemic

    Michael Campbell, Ph.D., LCSW & Suzie Cashwell

    The opioid epidemic has devastated communities. Evidence based treatments are emerging, but they are limited in scope and reach in rural communities. This presentation outlines this local dynamic and highlights the role of social workers to forge coalitions lead to ...

    Social Workers Combating the Opioid Epidemic


    The opioid epidemic has devastated communities. Evidence based treatments are emerging, but they are limited in scope and reach in rural communities. This presentation outlines this local dynamic and highlights the role of social workers to forge coalitions lead to combine resources in the support of stronger communities and generational change.


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    Presenter(s):

    MSW Residency Review12 PM - 1 PM

    MSW Residency Review

    In this session, the MSW faculty will review the upcoming residency experience and highlights area’s of the scholarship that they will leverage in their sections of residency facilitation.  All MSW students are required to attend.

    MSW Residency Review


    In this session, the MSW faculty will review the upcoming residency experience and highlights area’s of the scholarship that they will leverage in their sections of residency facilitation.  All MSW students are required to attend.


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    Session C1 PM - 2 PM

    Voices of Immigrant Experience

    Berta Chavez MSW, LCSWA & Robert Lucio, Ph.D., LCSW

    This presentation reviews a study about the journey of undocumented youth to the US. We will discuss the traumatic experiences encountered in their country of origin and during their journey to the U.S, the silent suffering after their journey, continued negative ...

    Voices of Immigrant Experience


    This presentation reviews a study about the journey of undocumented youth to the US. We will discuss the traumatic experiences encountered in their country of origin and during their journey to the U.S, the silent suffering after their journey, continued negative experiences once in the school system, and implications for social work. The journey exposes youth to traumatic experiences through the treacherous paths to cross into the U.S. For this group of youth, the challenges faced when starting a new life in the U.S impact their health, mental health, and education. Social workers who are aware of these issues can intervene with undocumented youth and address their trauma and other negative experiences much earlier.


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    Presenter(s):

    Increasing the Presence of Social Workers in Schools

    Erica Wortherly, LCSW

    Schools have a critical role in fostering the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors. Childhood trauma, victimization and dysfunctional family life often lead to limited academic performance for students and limited ...

    Increasing the Presence of Social Workers in Schools


    Schools have a critical role in fostering the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors. Childhood trauma, victimization and dysfunctional family life often lead to limited academic performance for students and limited job performance for educators. A teacher with personal mental health problems can have a detrimental effect upon all of those students who are associated with him or her. As the community begins to acknowledge the limited emphasis on educator and student mental health, many educators continue to be confronted with a general feeling of being overwhelmed to facing burnout. Some may argue that school is a place for teachers to teach and students to learn. The questions are 'Teach what? Learn what?' Neither educators nor students are fully equipped without someone available to assist in expanding their view of where the trouble and disconnect lie in the learning environment. Social workers are equipped to teach them about mental health, related issues, and how it translates to emotions and behaviors of both students and teachers. Many in the school system feel unsupported when it comes to student behavior. So much focus is placed on scores and data that signs and symptoms of developmental and emotional challenges are overlooked or dismissed. Social workers have the ability to provide a lens that extends beyond academics and explores solutions to create empathetic environments where students and educators can thrive. Involvement in schools can increase educator and family support in a proactive manner and improve school culture. Social workers also have the ability to support school staff and leaders who are challenged with maintaining a sense of balance between providing a service to meet the needs of their students and living a mentally, emotionally and physically healthy lifestyle.


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    Presenter(s):

    Assessment of Current and Past Violence Exposure: Hope Requires Action

    Lisa Rapp-McCall, Ph.D., MSW

    Violence is so prevalent in American society that a professional social worker is unlikely to work with any client who hasn’t been a victim/survivor of violence or a witness to it. The Department of Justice (2017) found that 60% of children reported exposure to ...

    Assessment of Current and Past Violence Exposure: Hope Requires Action


    Violence is so prevalent in American society that a professional social worker is unlikely to work with any client who hasn’t been a victim/survivor of violence or a witness to it. The Department of Justice (2017) found that 60% of children reported exposure to violence during childhood. Most exposure, especially shocking or repeated violence, can result in trauma. Social workers need to be prepared and knowledgeable about the symptoms of trauma and what tools can be used in clinical practice to identify ongoing or past trauma from violence. In this session participants will: 1.) be able to identify trauma symptoms of current and past trauma from various forms of violence, and 2.) will be able to use brief standardized measures with their clients.


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    Presenter(s):

    Session D2 PM - 3 PM

    Faith Based Partnerships: Pathways to Strengthening Families & Communities

    Victoria Anyikwa, Ph.D., LCSW; Khalilah Louis-Caines, LCSW; & Patricia Senger, Ph.D., LCSW, ACHP-SW

    Faith-based communities can have a profound influence on families’ lives. The social work mission is to promote the well-being of individuals and families, and therefore it is only befitting that churches and social workers collaborate to strengthen and improve the ...

    Faith Based Partnerships: Pathways to Strengthening Families & Communities


    Faith-based communities can have a profound influence on families’ lives. The social work mission is to promote the well-being of individuals and families, and therefore it is only befitting that churches and social workers collaborate to strengthen and improve the lives of families. Social workers have increasingly recognized the high importance on the assessment of an individual’s religious or spiritual orientation. In many ways, failure to incorporate this in the assessment process was a failure on the part of the social work field since many of those we serve hold religion or spirituality has having a major focus in their lives. As a result, social workers have unique abilities to offer a social work skill set in a variety of settings to include faith-based communities in order to strengthen those they serve. In this workshop we will discuss the differences between spirituality and religion, which leads to a holistic understanding of the Initial collaboration with faith-based communities. This requires both time and effort along with a knowledge of how to best integrate social work skills. While pastors or spiritual leaders attempt to address the complex needs of families and communities, there is a need for increased collaboration and resources to meet the needs of families and communities. This interactive workshop will allow participants to discuss their own experiences with the integration of social work skills and faith based communities.


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    Presenter(s):

    Social Work with Dialysis Patients Aiming at Increasing Social Support, Treatment Adherence, and Reducing Barriers

    Shabu Varghese, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, CAP

    End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) constitutes a serious public health problem in the United States. ESRD has an adverse effect on a patient's health, family, lifestyle, and in most instances, are incurable and lifelong. Significant ...

    Social Work with Dialysis Patients Aiming at Increasing Social Support, Treatment Adherence, and Reducing Barriers


    End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) or Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) constitutes a serious public health problem in the United States. ESRD has an adverse effect on a patient's health, family, lifestyle, and in most instances, are incurable and lifelong. Significant developments in immunology and technology have contributed to the advancement of different treatment models in renal replacement therapies (RRT) for ESRD patients. As the treatment for ESRD is lifelong, treatment adherence becomes a significant factor that affects the patient's life. Noncompliance with ESRD treatments has been associated with adverse outcomes such as higher risk of death and increased rate of hospitalization. The complexity and the ongoing lifelong treatment process in ESRD, affects the HRQOL of the patients as well as the wellbeing of the patient's families. Many empirical studies indicated social support is positively related to treatment and adherence and health-related quality of life of ESRD patients. Fewer studies identified the influence of the factors such as age of the patient, gross income and the number of years of treatment on treatment adherence amongst ESRD patients. For in-center hemodialysis treatments, ESRD patients travel to the dialysis centers usually three times a week. Dialysis patients who are unable to drive or don't have transportation of their own depend on transportation services available in the community. Reliable transportation to dialysis centers is critical for keeping up with the lifesaving treatments for the ESRD patients. Addressing barriers and crises through available resources in the community is a significant function of the helping profession. Depending on the patient's needs and situations, social workers can provide appropriately targeted evidence-based interventions in improving treatment adherence, reducing barriers, and increased health-related quality of life of ESRD patients.


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    Presenter(s):

    How Animal Assisted Interventions Can Impact the Work with Interdisciplinary Helping Professions

    Debra Mims, DBA; Rhondda Waddell, Ph.D., LCSW; & Nancy Wood, Ph.D.

    The majority of households in the United States report having at least one companion animal. From seeing-eye dogs to therapeutic horseback riding, animals contribute to our lives in many ways. The human animal bond (HAB) is important to human service providers and ...

    How Animal Assisted Interventions Can Impact the Work with Interdisciplinary Helping Professions


    The majority of households in the United States report having at least one companion animal. From seeing-eye dogs to therapeutic horseback riding, animals contribute to our lives in many ways. The human animal bond (HAB) is important to human service providers and community health. The HAB is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that positively influences the health and well-being of both. Animals keep us company, and while they can provide comic relief, they also serve us as valuable assistants and provide great comfort. The panel discussion will provide an overview of how human-animal interactions (HAI) and the HAB can impact work with interdisciplinary helping professions. Interdisciplinary work is already happening around human-animal interaction. Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) are goal-oriented and structured interventions that intentionally incorporate animals in health, education, and human service for the purpose of therapeutic gains and improved health and wellness. A wide variety of disciplines may incorporate AAI. This panel discussion will provide participants the opportunity to learn about the topic of interdisciplinary AAI within the following disciplines; social work, criminal justice, human service. The following topics will be discussed; ideas on collaborating with other disciplines, ideas on introducing animal assisted interventions to students, steps to writing an interdisciplinary e-textbook and creating learning opportunities (micro-credentials) for professionals. Participants will take away knowledge on how to bring attention to the animal assisted discipline through interdisciplinary collaboration in addition to ways in which to explore, describe, and improve understanding of how teachers can incorporate an AAI program into their classrooms.


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    Presenter(s):

    Session E3 PM - 4 PM

    Clinical Cultural Connections; Cultural Competences and the DSM 5 Cultural Formulation Interview

    Louis Gomez, DSW, MSW, MDIV, LCSW

    The Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) is a set of 16 questions that clinicians may use to obtain information during a mental health assessment about the impact of culture on key aspects of an individual’s clinical presentation and care (American Psychiatric ...

    Clinical Cultural Connections; Cultural Competences and the DSM 5 Cultural Formulation Interview


    The Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) is a set of 16 questions that clinicians may use to obtain information during a mental health assessment about the impact of culture on key aspects of an individual’s clinical presentation and care (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 750). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is the guide mental health clinicians utilize to diagnose psychological disorders. Not all countries use the DSM-5 for “understanding the cultural context of illness experience is essential for effective diagnostic assessment and clinical management” American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 749). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) contains the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) as opposed to the cultural syndromes that were part of the previous edition, DSM-IV-TR. Social Workers practicing in the United States and abroad will encounter people from different cultures presenting psychological problems. “Research in psychology has led to substantial advances in mental health treatment, educational practices, health care, child rearing, and other important domains of life” (Knapp & VandeCreek, 2012, p. 247). The DSM is a malleable manual that is now on its fifth edition. It includes a section on cultural factors, so mental health professionals can have additional pertinent information to better help clients (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). With social workers being at the forefront of clinical practice, cultural factors become paramount in this pluralistic society. Being attuned to cultural elements will help social workers address details in client narratives that may be missed without acknowledging culture. The DSM-5 (2013) states: Culture, race, and ethnicity are related to economic inequities, racism, and discrimination that result in health disparities. Cultural, ethnic, and racial identities can be sources of strength and group support that enhance resilience, but they may also lead to psychological, interpersonal, and intergenerational conflict or difficulties in adaption that requires diagnostic assessment (p. 749). There will be case studies for reading, debating, consulting, and decision-making while utilizing the Cultural Formulation Interview. There will be a power point presentation, lecture, and a time for answering questions and discussion about utilizing culture in clinical social work practice.


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    Presenter(s):

    Mobile Response Teams: Addressing Florida’s Rural Youth Mental Health Crises

    Alesha Smith, LCSW, Vice President of Access and Admissions & Manette Cheshareck, Care Coordinator (Meridian Behavioral Healthcare)

    Meridian’s Mobile Response Teams serve youth aged 25 and under in 10 rural FL counties. With Florida ranked near the bottom nationally in mental health funding, local mental health efforts turned to cost effective, evidence-based programming for reaching and ...

    Mobile Response Teams: Addressing Florida’s Rural Youth Mental Health Crises


    Meridian’s Mobile Response Teams serve youth aged 25 and under in 10 rural FL counties. With Florida ranked near the bottom nationally in mental health funding, local mental health efforts turned to cost effective, evidence-based programming for reaching and connecting vulnerable youth to much needed mental health services.


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    Presenter(s):
    image of Alesha Smith, LCSW
    Alesha Smith, LCSW
    image of Manette Cheshareck
    Manette Cheshareck

    Spiritually Oriented Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families

    Rev. Sha’Leda A. Mirra, PhD, M.Div, LCSW, MS, CAP

    Individuals who present to social workers for services, whether case management, psychotherapy, or other services, present as whole persons, with mind, body, and soul/spirit. Therefore, culturally competent social work practice with individuals and families depends ...

    Spiritually Oriented Social Work Practice with Individuals and Families


    Individuals who present to social workers for services, whether case management, psychotherapy, or other services, present as whole persons, with mind, body, and soul/spirit. Therefore, culturally competent social work practice with individuals and families depends on a clinical understanding and appreciation of the impact of spirituality on both client worldview and behaviors. The purpose of this workshop is to develop and enhance requisite social work practice skills to engage clients in issues surrounding spiritual beliefs and practices, and the impact of these beliefs and practices on their values, morals, and daily living. By enhancing social work practice to include exercising competence in both assessment and application of interventions from the spiritual perspective, clinicians and clients can collaboratively develop strengths based strategies that not only identify and problem solve spiritual conflict, but also motivate perceptions of spirituality as a source of strength that can be used as a vital coping strategy.


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    Presenter(s):

    Community Showcase4 PM - 6 PM

    Community Showcase

    This event will feature a virtual networking opportunity to introduce community partners to conference attendees, as well as Saint Leo University students and alumni. All interested in the showcase will sign in to one virtual space, where each agency hosts their own ...

    Community Showcase


    This event will feature a virtual networking opportunity to introduce community partners to conference attendees, as well as Saint Leo University students and alumni. All interested in the showcase will sign in to one virtual space, where each agency hosts their own breakout room. Attendees choose to visit agencies of interest; learning more about their services, the resources they have to offer, and possible employment opportunities. Agency representatives can speak to attendees live in the meeting space using camera and microphone, just as they would if they were in a booth at a live expo.

    Take this opportunity to safely and conveniently network with our valued community partners!


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    Presenter(s):

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