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Policy Keynote (Tuesday, May 22nd)

Michael J Tanana, Ph.D., M.Stat.
Research Assistant Professor,
University of Utah, Chief Technology Officer for, and an Evaluation Capacity Building Coach for the Center for States

Dr. Michael Tanana’s research focuses on statistical analysis for psychology and public health, applied machine learning for the behavioral sciences, and cloud-based software engineering. He has worked as a statistical consultant and methodologist to analyze real-world implementations of interventions in psychology, child-welfare, criminal justice, and neurology. In the field of child-welfare, Dr. Tanana studies methods for quickly processing, analyzing, and visualizing outcome data to agencies and providers for the purpose of system improvement. His current university-based research involves applying advances in machine learning methodology to patient-provider interactions in mental health, particularly psychotherapy. This work has included machine learning approaches to sentiment analysis, Motivational Interviewing fidelity codes, and conversational agents designed to teach psychotherapy skills. In addition, Dr. Tanana has been heavily involved as a software engineer for the past decade, creating interactive web platforms for collecting, analyzing, and feeding back data for health care and research professionals. Many of these software platforms are currently used by thousands each year in healthcare settings, child welfare agencies, and research institutions. Dr. Tanana received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2004, his Masters in Statistics for Educational Psychology from the University of Utah in 2010, and his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 2017.

Tonya Myrup, M.S.W.,
Deputy Director, Utah Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS)
Tonya Myrup has over 23 years of experience in the field of child welfare. She currently directs the DCFS information system, practice improvement, and data teams. She began her career as a Child Protective Services Investigator and served as an analyst with the Office of Child Protection Ombudsman. Prior to her current role, she served in several leadership positions within DCFS, including Director for the Salt Lake Valley Region.


Research Keynote (Wednesday, May 23rd)

Dr. Emily Putnam-Hornstein
Associate Professor at USC

Dr. Hornstein joined the faculty in 2011 after completing her doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She currently directs the Children’s Data Network, an agency, university and community collaborative funded by First 5 LA and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (co-director: Jacquelyn McCroskey). The Children’s Data Network provides a platform for the linkage and analysis of large-scale, administrative data sources to inform children’s policies and programs. Putnam-Hornstein also maintains an appointment at the UC Berkeley California Child Welfare Indicators Project, a long-standing child welfare data and research collaboration with the California Department of Social Services.

Mary Lau, M.S.W., LCSW,
Manager, Office of Outcomes and Analytics and Strategic Planning,
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)

Mary Lau has been with the Los Angeles County DCFS for 18 years. She manages the Office of Outcomes and Analytics and Strategic Planning, covering County CFSR efforts and the Department’s Data-driven Decision Making (DDDM) Process. Ms. Lau worked for 20 years in the private sector before coming to work in child welfare, and she considers her various positions with county child welfare as the best jobs she has ever had! The development, implementation, and expansion of the DCFS DDDM Process has been her focus for the past eight years. Ms. Lau is an M.S.W., Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and a cheerleader for continuous quality improvement.  

Jennie Feria, M.S.W., LCSW,
Division Chief, Child Protection Hotline Division,
Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)

Jennie Feria has been with Los Angeles County DCFS for 21 years. As the current Division Chief for the Child Protection Hotline Division, she manages a staff of more than 240 individuals who receive about 219,000 calls reporting child abuse and neglect each year. During her career at DCFS, Ms. Feria has served as a Children’s Social Worker, Supervising Children’s Social Worker, Assistant Regional Administrator, and the Special Assistant to former DCFS Director Philip Browning. Ms. Feria received her M.S.W. from UCLA and obtained her LCSW through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. She is a graduate of the Leaders in Action Executive Development Program through the Academies for Professional Excellence and the County of Los Angeles Executive Leadership Development Program through the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. 

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