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This year's Healthcare Summit at Bryant University will focus on solutions to the unprecedented behavioral health needs of Rhode Island's youth and their families.
Bryant University’s Healthcare Summit returns for its second year
Apr 02, 2024, by Staff Writer
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SMITHFIELD, RI: Bryant University’s Healthcare Summit, sponsored by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, returns to Bryant’s Smithfield campus on Friday, April 26. This year’s summit, Rhode Island’s Youth Behavioral Crisis: Paths to Resolution, gives behavioral health providers, medical doctors, health administrators, educators, and others the opportunity to discuss the unprecedented behavioral health needs of Rhode Island’s youth and families. Tickets are $75 and include a continental breakfast and a catered lunch. For more information and to register, visit

Long before COVID, American children were experiencing mental health challenges at alarming and ever-increasing rates.  The pandemic exacerbated and accelerated the disturbing trend. By 2021, the mental health crisis was so acute among children and teens, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Children’s Hospital Association declared a national emergency.  

Locally, Rhode Island’s Hasbro Children’s and Bradley Hospitals, the Rhode Island chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Rhode Island Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry pronounced a statewide child and adolescent mental health emergency in 2022. 

“Stress from the pandemic, social isolation, educational upheaval, and over consumption of social media all impacted the mental health of our kids in extreme ways,” says Joseph Trunzo, Ph.D., professor of Psychology and associate director of the School of Health and Behavioral Sciences at Bryant University. “Cooperation between behavioral health professionals, pediatricians, insurers, healthcare administrators, and educators is crucial to identify at-risk kids and get them the help they need. Bryant’s Healthcare Summit is a big step toward that goal.”  

“It’s critical that we all work together to respond to this unprecedented youth behavioral health crisis.  From community-based prevention efforts to access to clinical care, we must expand programs that are succeeding and find new and innovative solutions to support our youth,” said Dr. Farah Shafi, chief medical officer of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. “It’s fitting that Bryant University has devoted this year’s summit to this important issue and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is proud to be a sponsor. I’m looking forward to listening to, and learning from, the many experts who will be attending.” 

Bryant University’s Healthcare Summit launches with two morning keynote speakers: New York Times bestselling author and one of the most influential voices in the field of child psychology, Dr. Ross Greene, Ph.D., and Brown University’s Dr. Tanuja Gandhi, M.D.  Breakout sessions around key issues — including integrating behavioral health into primary care settings, workforce development, innovative care models, and enhancing provider-payer relations — wrap up the morning.  

Dr. Daisy Bassen, M.D., medical director and child psychiatrist at Thrive Behavioral Health, delivers the final keynote. A panel discussion that includes breakout session leaders and keynote speakers ends the day. 

“Collaboration is one of the hallmarks of a Bryant education, and strong collaboration is what’s needed to help address the mental health crisis,” says Bryant University President Ross Gittell, Ph.D.  “The Healthcare Summit will bring together some of the brightest professionals in the field to find creative solutions to for this crisis impacting the state of Rhode Island.” 

Bryant University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Rupendra Paliwal, Ph.D. agrees, saying, “It will take a village to get quality mental health care to Rhode Islanders, particularly our children. Bryant’s Healthcare Summit looks to innovative models of care, including technology and workforce development, to help our youth get the support they need.”  

The Healthcare Summit comes on the heels of Bryant's announcement of its first doctoral program, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology, which address the growing need for qualified clinical behavioral health practitioners regionally and nationwide.

About Bryant University    

For over 160 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education with top 1% outcomes that anticipate the future and prepare students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. The university delivers a uniquely integrated academic and student life experience with nationally recognized academic programs at the intersection of business, liberal arts, and health and behavioral sciences.    

Located on a 428-acre contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate and graduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a top 1% national leader in student education outcomes and ROI, and regularly receives high rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barron’s.   

The Vision 2030 strategic plan sets an exciting trajectory for Bryant University. Priorities include an ecosystem of academic excellence, vibrant student life, community and belonging, and championing access and economic mobility.   

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