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UTPA seminar Oct. 26 addresses sexual misconduct by health care, human service professionals
By Gail Fagan, Public Affairs Representative
381-2741
Posted: 10/15/2007
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Three departments at The University of Texas-Pan American have joined together to sponsor a seminar Friday, Oct. 26 titled “Sexual Misconduct by Health Care and Human Service Professionals.”

Planned to educate the public about the increasing problem of sexual abuse by professionals in a position of power over their victims, the seminar is sponsored by Student Health Services, the Department of Rehabilitation Addictions Studies Project and the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services. The seminar, which is free and open to anyone who pre-registers, will be held 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. at the UTPA Annex, 2412 S. Closner in Edinburg. Sign in will begin at 7:45 a.m.

"Sexual exploitation by trusted professionals is a serious and pervasive problem. Counselors, clergy, doctors, teachers, attorneys and others in a position of power can abuse their trust for sexual purposes, causing psychological and sometimes physical damage to the client, with severe and often long-lasting consequences. Educating others on this topic could literally save a life," said Patti Koo, Student Health Services physician assistant, who helped organize the seminar.

The seminar will feature presentations by Gary Schoener, a licensed psychologist and executive director of the Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, Minn., and Judy Powell, eight-year member and current chair of the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.

Schoener has consulted in more than 3,000 cases of professional sexual misconduct spanning all health professions and was a consultant to Texas legislators and those in other states in the creation of statutes related to this issue. He has 30 years experience in consultation, training work and professional presentations not only in the United States but in numerous other countries.

Powell, trained in mediation, negotiation and public policy dispute resolution, is a regular speaker to counselor and speaker groups across the state. She is a lifetime member of the American Association of State Counseling Boards, serving in many leadership roles over the years.

A total of 4.0 continuing education credits may be awarded for licensed chemical dependency counselors, licensed professional counselors, social workers, certified rehabilitation counselors, and probation and law enforcement officers. All persons planning to attend must be registered.

To register or for more information, contact Judith Guetzow at 956/318-5240 or via e-mail at guetzowjk@panam.edu.