SAMHSA’s Webinar on Supporting the Wellness of Military Children and their Families

SAMHSA’s Service Members, Veterans and Their Families Technical Assistance Center Presents: Resources, Innovations, and Partnerships: Supporting the Wellness of Military Children and their Families

Tuesday, November 22 at 1:30 pm

Since 9/11, millions of military children across the country have experienced the heartbreak of having a parent leave for a prolonged deployment.  Research has shown that military and veteran children are particularly resilient, especially when provided with the right tools, activities, and support.  Strengthening their resiliency and helping military families to cope with frequent moves, family transitions, loss, and separation are important steps in supporting our military and veteran families.  But, how to start, and where to go?

This webinar will provide answers in your search for resources, with an overview of the research on military and veteran children and tips for supporting military families.  Presenters will also discuss strategies to build partnerships and develop targeted messaging to better engage and support military and veteran families.  Sesame Street, a leader in creating effective resources for supporting the wellness and resiliency of young children, will be featured.  Several of Sesame Workshop’s new and most effective tools and resources will be highlighted, including their latest mobile app and resources for military and veteran children.  Participants will be able to download the mobile app, a variety of links, and innovative tools and resources to aid parents, caregivers, educators, and providers in providing the needed support to the children of our service members and veterans.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the unique strengths and needs of military and veteran children
  • Review the research behind the resources and partnerships that have been developed to support military and veteran children
  • Explore the latest products and resources developed by Sesame Workshop
  • Examine strategies to engage and support military and veteran families

Please visit these links to view the resources that will be highlighted during the webinar:


Cicely K.  Burrows-McElwain, L.C.S.W.-C. | Military and Veteran Affairs Liaison, National Policy Liaison Branch, Division of Regional and National Policy/ Office of Policy, Planning, and Innovation (OPPI), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)


Gregory Leskin, Ph.D. | Program Director, Military and Veteran Families Program, UCLA/Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress

Rocio Galarza, M.A. | Assistant Vice President, Sesame Workshop

Target Audience

Representatives serving SMVF from state, territory, and tribal behavioral health systems, workforce development and training staff, providers, mental health and addiction peers, military family coalitions, and advocates.

Click here to register prior to the event: 

Please note:

  • Participants will only be able to hear the webinar through their computer via headphones or speakers
  • Participants are asked to test their system before the broadcast
  • The webinar archive will be made available to registrants after the webinar
  • Continuing education units are not available for this webinar

If you have any questions about your registration, please contact Amanda Rózsavölgyi, at 518-439-7415 ext. 5272 or by e-mail at


Presenter Biographies

Cicely K. Burrows-McElwain, L.C.S.W.-C. | Public Health Advisor (Military and Veteran Affairs), National Policy Liaison Branch, Division of Regional and National Policy/OPPI, SAMHSA

Ms. Burrows‐McElwain currently serves as the Military and Veteran Affairs Liaison for SAMHSA, where she focuses her efforts on strengthening cross-agency collaboration between the VA, and the Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense in meeting the behavioral health needs of Service Members, Veterans, and their Families.  Prior to her current position, she served as a Public Health Advisor in the SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services, National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative as the network’s military families government liaison.  She has over 18 years of experience working in rural behavioral health systems in local, state, and federal programs.  Prior to joining the team at SAMHSA, she served as a clinical social worker for the VA in Veterans Integrated Service Network 5 at the VA Maryland Healthcare System.  Ms. Burrows‐McElwain is an Adjunct Lecturer for Salisbury University’s Social Work Department, teaching course content with a focus on rural social work and disaster mental health.  She received her M.S.W. from the University of Maryland Baltimore with a specialized focus in Clinical Services and Human Services Administration.  She proudly volunteers her time as a First Lieutenant in the Maryland Military Department’s Defense Force (MDDF) as a clinical social worker with the 10th Medical Regiment.

Rocio Galarza, M.A. | Assistant Vice President, Sesame Workshop

Ms. Galarza serves as Assistant Vice President for Sesame Workshop.  In this role, Rocio manages the development of educational content and research for a wide range of multimedia projects. As an expert in early childhood educational development and the needs of young children, Rocio works with advisors to ensure that the content of Sesame Street’s outreach initiatives is age-appropriate, appealing and effective in motivating families to use their everyday routines as learning moments for young children. Rocio previously served as the Senior Education and Research Specialist for Sesame Workshop’s International Research group where she managed the development of educational content and research for different multimedia projects with partners in Colombia, Mexico, Kosovo, and Russia. She has also collaborated in research conducted with partners in Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Before joining Sesame Workshop, she worked for New York University, assisting in project development and management of afterschool programs. Rocio has also served as Assistant Director of an afterschool program in New York City. She holds a masters of Arts from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Gregory Leskin, Ph.D. | Program Director, Military and Veteran Families Program, UCLA/Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress  

Dr. Leskin is the Program Director for Military and Veteran Families Program for University of California, Los Angeles/Duke University’s National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.  In this capacity, Dr. Leskin directs the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) Military and Veteran Families Program to provide education, training, and resources on military culture, screening, assessment, and evidence-based interventions to the military, the VA, and community-based behavioral health providers throughout the United States.  Previously, Dr. Leskin worked as a Clinical Researcher and Director of Clinical Training at the National Center for PTSD at Stanford University and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System.  He completed a National Institute of Mental Health post-doctoral fellowship at the National Center for PTSD at the Boston VA Medical Center.  He is the primary architect of multiple national, state, and local initiatives to provide supportive services for service members, veterans, and their families for the U.S. Marines, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and the VA.  Dr. Leskin has written, consulted, and lectured extensively on a number of topics, including assessment and treatment for combat-related PTSD, impact of deployment on families and children, and promoting psychological resilience.