You are Invited to 2022 HDSA Social Work Professional Training Day! 

Date & Time:  June 25, 2022 9:30m -4pm EST 

Method of Instruction: HDSA will be providing this training virtually via interactive distance learning through live Zoom Webinar.  Links for the Zoom Webinar will be provided upon registration for the Professional Training Day.  

Target Audience: HDSA Chapter, Affiliate and Center of Excellence Social Workers along with any other social workers who are engaged with families impacted by Huntington’s disease with LMSW or LCSW equivalent licensure 


9:30am-10:00am :  Welcome and Introductions to HDSA Professional Training Day 2022 

  • Jennifer Simpson, LCSW, Assistant Director, Youth & Community Services, HDSA 
  • Louise Vetter, President & CEO, HDSA  

10:00-10:30am: HDSA 101: HDSA Resources and Programs for HD Families- Jennifer Simpson, LCSW 

10:30am-11:30am: Course 1- Long Term Care Advocacy: Working With Families to Find the Right Placement , Hope Heller, LCSW-C, LISW  

SPEAKER BIO: Hope Heller is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Therapist, and founding partner at The Heller Psychology Group. As a Rare Disease Patient Advocate, her mission is to help those impacted by chronic and terminal illnesses find their new normal.  


Hope has over 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry, with a specific focus in the Huntington’s Disease community.  In 2009, Hope became the social worker for the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) DC Metro Chapter, she spent over 6 years facilitating their support groups and providing the broader HD community with support and resources. In 2012, while working on the Neuro-ICU at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Hope was recruited to help start and build the first multidisciplinary Huntington’s Disease center in the DC Metro Area. Hope helped to build and grow the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital Huntington’s Disease Care, Education, and Research Center (HD CERC) and played an integral role in the HD CERC receiving and maintaining HDSA Center of Excellence designation.  Hope continues to provide training to healthcare facilities, and consults for pharmaceutical companies on Huntington’s Disease outreach.  She has served on the Huntington’s Study Group Member Education committee and Executive Coordinator Council. Hope has been able to take advantage of her proximity to Capitol Hill advocating for Huntington’s Disease and other rare diseases over the years.  


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Long term care placement is often the most difficult aspect of caring for HD patients and families. In this course, Hope Heller will walk you through important advocacy strategies for helping families walk through the process of placing a loved one in a facility, including evaluating appropriateness of a placement, setting expectations with families, strategies for families and social workers to advocate with facilities to place loved ones, and important regulations to know that will help facilities manage HD patients.  


After attending this course individuals will be able to:  

  • Identify key factors in finding the most appropriate Long term Care Facility 
  • Classify areas that will be a concern for Long Term Care Facilities.  
  • Identify ways to prepare the facility and the person with HD for admission and the transitions 
  • Demonstrate how to help families identify solutions when areas of concern arise  
  • Differentiate appropriate organizations, individuals, regulations, and resources to utilize when working with a Long Term Care facility.  


CE Credit: 1  

CONTENT LEVEL: Intermediate  

11:30-12:15 – Breakout Discussions 

12:15-1:00- Lunch Break  

1:00- 2:00- Course 2: Providing Spiritually Sensitive Care to People with Huntington Disease, Dr. Jim Dudley 

SPEAKER BIO: Jim Dudley has been a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the School of Social Work since 1991 and prior to that was a faculty member at Temple University in the School of Administration beginning in 1973.  He was instrumental in establishing the MSW program and obtaining accreditation for the MSW and BSW programs at UNC Charlotte.  He served as Department Chair for seven years and is currently a Professor Emeritus.  Overall, he has primarily taught courses on research methods, program evaluation, and social work practice with individuals, families, and groups.  He has always valued working closely with students, helping them become the best professional practitioners and researchers they can be, and helping them find and grow their personal and professional selves. Jim Dudley’s research in the area of spirituality includes the spirituality of hospice workers, religious and non-religious spiritual assessments, preparing students for spiritually-sensitive practice, and exploring models for spiritually-sensitive human service organizations.  


This workshop focuses on the spirituality of clients and how this area of work can be incorporated into social work practice with families with a Huntington’s Disease (HD) member. This workshop begins with spirituality and religion being introduced and defined. While each of us is spiritual, some also identify with a religious group. Those affiliated with a religion usually find meaningful ways of expressing their spirituality within it, while others not affiliated with a religion have numerous non-religious ways of expressing their spirituality.  Several spiritual issues and problems are identified in the workshop that clients with Huntington’s Disease (HD) and their family members may have. Some of these issues revolve around seeking meaning in their lives such as questioning why they have a chronic disability. Our spirituality is also where we seek deeper connections within ourselves and others, and a desire for many to have a closer relationship with a Higher Power or God.   


Mindfulness is discussed, offering a set of tools to help family members discuss and manage their concerns in the present moment without being distracted by past or future preoccupations or obsessions. Many in a HD family, being religious, are supported in using religious resources, including prayer, meditation, and reflections on sacred writings. Non-religious resources are also introduced for those who are not religious.   


Five specific personal qualities of a social worker are also introduced pertinent to a spiritually sensitive practice. Finally, we will focus on how spirituality can be introduced to a client with HD and their family members. The workshop offers examples of spiritual cues of clients that can be identified in bringing up spiritual topics and a variety of questions are introduced that can introduce these discussions.    


After attending this course, individuals will be able to: 

  • Define spirituality and religion, and how they are different but related.  
  • Describe 3 examples of several spiritual issues. 
  • Identify 2 relevant spiritual skills, tools, and exercises to use with clients 
  • Summarize if, when, and how to discuss spirituality with clients. 

CE Credit: 1  


2:00- 2:15 Break  

2:15-3:00 Social Worker Family Feud!  

3:00-4:00 Course 3: Social Security Disability- The Role of Social Workers and Medical Letters in the SSDI Process,  Allison Bartlett, Esq.  

SPEAKER BIO: Allison Bartlett is HDSA’s Manager of Disability Program and is a disability attorney who specializes in guiding people with rare, chronic conditions, like Huntington’s disease, through the complex Social Security disability system. She comes to HDSA from the Caring Voice Coalition, where she represented patients with rare diseases, including HD, in their navigation of the legal processes associated with securing disability support. Allison has more than ten years of experience in the non-profit field, working on a variety of issues including human rights, domestic violence, social justice, and environmental protections. She has traveled extensively and has spent time working in England and studying in Argentina and Switzerland. Allison holds a J.D. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law and a B.A. in International Affairs from James Madison University. She is admitted to the Virginia Bar. 


 The SSDI process can be daunting not just for families, but for social workers as well. For those working with HD families, SSDI is one of the few resources individuals have to supplement lost income due to HD symptom progression. In this session, Allison Bartlett, Esq., will review the disability application and eligibility process, and dive in-depth into how SSA evaluates patients with HD for disability, key definitions of terms within the SSDI listing for HD, additional listings that can be useful for HD patients and the importance of quality medical support letters in the SSDI application.  

After attending this course, individuals will be able to:  

  • Explain the 5 step sequential evaluation for SSDI 
  • Describe Social Security Administration’s Huntington’s Disease Listing for Social Security Disability Programs 
  • Determine Relevant Medical Testing for Social Security disability Application for Huntington’s Disease  
  • Show how to write an effective Medical Support Letter for a Social Security disability application 

CE Credit: 1 

CONTENT LEVEL: Intermediate 


Cancellation & Refund Policy 

Attendees can cancel their registration by emailing Jennifer Simpson at In order to receive a refund, cancellation requests must be received 24 hours prior to the beginning of the conference.  

ACE Approval Statement:  


Course Completion Requirements & CE Info:  

To earn CE credit, social workers must log in at the scheduled time for each course, attend the entire course, complete an online course evaluation as well as an overall course evaluation. Certificates of completion will be emailed within 10 business days of course completion

How to Register: Go to to register 

Course Interaction & System Requirements:  

This Live Webinar is fully interactive. Attendees may ask and answer questions throughout the presentation and participate in instructor-led discussions.  

System Requirements:  

  • Operating System: macOS X 10.9 or later; Windows 7 or higher; iOS and Android compatible 
  • Internet Browser: Edge12 or higher; Firefox 27 or higher; Chrome 30 or higher; Safai 7 or higher  
  • Internet Connection: Broadband wired or wireless, (3G, 4G/LTE or higher)  
  • Speaker/Microphone: built in, USB plug in or wireless Bluetooth  


For any questions or concerns, or to request special accommodations please contact Jennifer Simpson, LCSW at Please include: 2022 HDSA SW Professional Training in the title of your email.  


Huntington’s Disease Society of America: Mission, Programs & Scientific Affairs, [provider number 1565], is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit.  Huntington’s Disease Society of America: Mission, Programs & Scientific Affairs, maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 9/7/2021-9/7/2024.