General Sessions

General Sessions

2024 RCPA Conference • Sept 24–27 at Hershey Lodge!

Keynote • Tuesday, September 24, 2024, 11:00 am – 11:45 am
K01 | State of the State: DHS Secretary Arkoosh
Presenter(s):  Valerie A. Arkoosh, MD, MPH, PA Department of Human Services

Track(s): BI, CH, CO, DEI, EL, FM, HRF, HR, IDD, LD, MR, MH, PDA, SUD, TH, VBP/R, VR
Room: Blue Ballroom
The secretary will discuss current critical issues for human services providers. Trends in the field will be reviewed, along with how PA continues the implementation of innovative treatments via VBP and telehealth. Performance-Based Contracting for IDD services and other upcoming initiatives for 2025 will also be addressed.




Keynote • Wednesday, September 25, 2024, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
K02 | From Victim to Victory: Navigating Recovery and the Reclamation of Life
Presenter(s):  Lee Yaiva, Scottsdale (AZ) Recovery Center    

Track(s): BI, CH, DEI, EL, HRF, HR, IDD, LD, MH, PDA, SUD
Room: Red Ballroom
Lee Yaiva brings a wealth of knowledge and years of experience in behavioral health and addiction treatment to his role as Chief Executive Officer at Scottsdale (AZ) Recovery Center. But Lee’s story and path to that role is a complex journey through the culture of being a Native American (he is a full blood Hopi from Shungopavi, AZ), and through family issues, trauma, addiction, homelessness, and depression. On February 11, 2005, he decided that the narrative of his story had to change. Lee has served as the tribal liaison for numerous campaigns targeting culturally specific endeavors, incorporating a holistic approach to health and healing that is innate. Lee’s passion for people and respect for the recovery process is evident in his distinct style and commitment to empower utilizing a methodical approach to the reclamation of life that is strategic and impactful. Lee’s mission is to create an opportunity of a lifetime for a lifetime of opportunities for all people. Please attend this presentation to not only learn about Lee’s journey and message, but also to learn more about yourself and how you can make a difference.


Keynote • Thursday, September 26, 2024, 9:00 am – 10:15 am
K03 | Be A Destination Employer: Status Quo is Falling Behind
Presenter(s):  Michael Cohen, JD, Duane Morris, LLP               

Track(s): EL, HR, LD
Room: Red Ballroom
We spoke last year about steps any organization can take to enhance the experience for existing employees and to set ourselves apart for those seeking employment. This program is the next step in the journey. Through the use of clips from some of our favorite movies and television shows, we will identify ways to make our workplace the place to work! Status quo simply isn’t good enough anymore!




Keynote • Friday, September 27, 2024, 10:30 am – 11:45 am
K04 | Define Your Own Potential
Presenter(s):  Craig Dietz, JD

Track(s): BI, CH, DEI, EL, HR, IDD, LD, MH, PDA
Room: Red Ballroom
Despite being born without limbs, Craig is continuously seeking out new opportunities to challenge himself. In this session, Craig shares his extraordinary life story of resiliency and determination. He is currently a licensed attorney and enjoys bowling, skiing, playing volleyball, hunting, fishing, swimming, jamming on his drums, or tooling around the country in his van. Craig shares the importance of humor and perspective in gaining personal and professional success. Everyone who hears his message will leave with a renewed appreciation for the gifts in their lives, and the determination to set more ambitious personal and professional goals for themselves.



Plenary • Tuesday, September 24, 2024, 12:45 pm – 2:00 pm
P01 | Data Modernization: Proven Models and Low-Risk Strategies to Overcome Legacy Hurdles
Presenter(s):  Natasha Nicolai, DPT, MPP, AWS – Public Sector      

Track(s): EL, HRF, LD, VBP/R
Room: Blue Ballroom
Implementing a modern data architecture leveraging AI/ML-enabled cloud technology that have been core to AWS services for 15+ years can be game changing for how states understand outcomes and deliver services. Taking a “think big” approach and executing a thoughtful roadmap planning to leverage machine learning for data discovery, mastering, governance, and protection allows agencies to “start small” and deliver value quickly and safely. Leveraging best practices and foundational patterns enables teams to “scale fast” and iterate through use cases to meet program, department, and state needs at enterprise scale. Cloud best practices applied to data and digital experience provide a low-risk path to iterate while maintaining governance at scale, and allow for higher quality development and deployment practices that facilitate digital transformation over time. Discover how large public organizations can seamlessly automate and manage governed data sharing across diverse lines of business, resulting in a resilient, scalable data hub that delivers superior citizen services.


Plenary • Wednesday, September 25, 2024, 9:00 am – 10:15 am
P02 | Human Trafficking Awareness, Impact, and Recovery
Presenter(s):  Amy Thurston, MA, Hope Inspire Love
Melissa Knechel, BA, Hope Inspire Love / Victory Early Learning

Track(s): BI, CH, DEI, EL, HRF, HR, IDD, LD, MR, MH, PDA, SUD, TH
Room: Red Ballroom
Human trafficking is a worldwide problem that impacts 40.3 million people. Pennsylvania is ranked the 15th state with the highest reported trafficking cases in the US. Victims come from all backgrounds and include women, men, and children, and vulnerable populations are at higher risk. Traffickers are often people known to the victim. Hope Inspire Love’s mission is to eradicate human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and empower survivors of sex trafficking to flourish and thrive. It is critical for all to be aware of the signs of human trafficking and of reforms necessary to prevent victimization as well as provide the trauma-informed care necessary for healing from the complex layers of multiple traumas experienced by victims.


Plenary • Friday, September 27, 2024, 9:00 am – 10:30 am
P03 | National Updates From Our Association Partners
Presenter(s): Chuck Ingoglia, MSW, National Council for Mental Wellbeing
Donna Martin, MED, CAE, ANCOR

Track(s): BI, CH, CO, EL, FM, HRF, HR, IDD, LD, MR, MH, PDA, SUD, TH, VBP/R, VR
Room: Red Ballroom
Our national partner associations, ANCOR and National Council of Mental Wellbeing, will share their insights on national trends that our members need to be aware of. This year, we have seen an unusual amount of federal rule and policy changes, and it remains a challenge for organizations to stay current. We will also discuss the increasing use of technology in service delivery and implementation of new payment methodologies.