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8th Annual ETHICS in Professional Practice Conference

August 7, 2020

Ethics in Professional Practice Conference

A one day conference featuring leaders in the fields of Psychology, Business, Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis. 

Of benefit to Behavior Analysts, Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Teachers, Special Education Providers, School Administrators, Students and Parents & Caregivers.

Registration Fees
Registration Type Fee
Student/Non-professional (No CEs)
Student/Non-professional – CEs Included
Group discounts available. Contact Rebekah Pavlik at pavlik@behavior.org.

NO CANCELLATION FEE. We will refund your fee up to 3 hours prior to the event. No cancellations will be accepted within 3 hours of start time or during the event. If you miss live you can access the recording for 10 days.

Invited Presenters

Jennifer Zarcone, PhD, BCBA-D - Ethical Implications of a Biobehavioral Approach to Functional Analysis

Ethical Implications of a Biobehavioral Approach to Functional Analysis


This presentation will focus on a variety of biological, medical and psychiatric conditions that may act as setting events or establishing operations for challenging behavior. Specifically, the role that psychotropic medication can play in addressing the mental health needs of individuals with autism will be discussed. In addition, we will look at some biological interventions that may or may not be very promising in the treatment of problem behavior.

Learning Objectives:
  • Attendees will learn how certain biobehavioral antecedent or setting event conditions can affect problem behavior and how they can evaluate them.
  • Attendees will receive information on current psychotropic medications being used to treat problem behavior and how their effects can be effectively measured.
  • Attendees will look at how some “alternative” biological treatments for problem behavior may or may not have some promise in the treatment of problem behavior.

Senior Vice President for Adult Clinical Services and Training, May Institute

Presenter Bio:

Jennifer Zarcone is the Senior Vice President for Adult Clinical Services and Training at May Institute. Dr. Zarcone provides consultation and clinical support to staff around severe problem behavior, staff and parent training, and medication monitoring.

Dr. Zarcone obtained her doctoral degree from the Experimental Analysis of Behavior program at the University of Florida, Department of Psychology, in 1993. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a licensed psychologist.

Dr. Zarcone has served as a co-investigator on several multi-center clinical trials in autism research at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and on self-injury at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She is interested in further development of research in the effects of pharmacological and behavioral interventions in the treatment of severe behavior disorders as well as repetitive behavior disorders in individuals with autism.

Dr. Zarcone has served in leadership positions for the Association of Behavior Analysis (ABAI) on the ABAI Practice Board, and she is a current member of the Science Board. She was the conference coordinator for the annual Autism Conference and a Fellow of ABAI. She served as an associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Intellectual Disabilities Research, and the American Journal of Developmental Disabilities. She is serving as Guest Editor for the Behavior Analysis in Practicespecial issue on Diversity and Inclusion. In addition, Dr. Zarcone is currently on the advisory boards for the Women in Behavior Analysis Conference and the Gatlinburg Conference for Research in Developmental Disabilities.

Ronald Allen, PhD, BCBA - Forgotten Lessons on the Road to an Ethical Applied Science of Behavior

Forgotten Lessons on the Road to an Ethical Applied Science of Behavior


It is undeniably a sign of the maturity of an applied science of behavior to develop and embrace a thorough code of ethics. Consistent with such a code is the guarantee to provide adult individuals with developmental disabilities the civil rights enjoyed by adult individuals without similar disabilities. However, the interplay and competition between the right to habilitation and the right to personal liberties as outlined in Bannerman, Sheldon, Sherman, & Harchik (1990) has yet to be fully resolved. It is here argued that civil rights associated with choice making should be afforded in step with the development and demonstration of foundational choice-making skills. Furthermore, it is argued that such development and demonstration provides the ultimate dignity for the adults we serve. Some initial thoughts on the assessment of choice-making are provided, in line with the assessment of other skills in the repertoires of the individuals we serve.

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will identify at least one advantage and one disadvantage related to allowing clients to exercise personal liberties (e.g., choice making)
  • Participants will state the mand versus tact properties of preference assessments with and without access
  • Participants will list at least three foundational skills for choice-making

Associate Professor of Practice & Doctoral Program Director, Department of Behavior Analysis, Simmons University

Presenter Bio:

Ron Allen received his doctorate thirty years ago from the University of Florida (Go Gators). Ron has worked both in the areas of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and Applied Behavior Analysis. In the latter capacity he has directed three residential schools for adolescents with behavior disorders, including most recently serving for 18 years as the Director of the Ivy Street School for adolescents with brain injury. Currently he is an Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the Doctoral Program in the Department of Behavior Analysis at Simmons University. He is also the Director of Behavioral Treatment Services for Riverside Community Care supporting adult individuals with developmental disabilities and behavioral challenges. His research interests include brain injury, the management of negatively reinforced challenging behavior, adjunctive behavior, derived stimulus relations, conditioned reinforcement, and the philosophy of Behaviorism. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) and is licensed as an Applied Behavior Analyst in Massachusetts (LABA). He serves on the Board of Directors of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, on the Advisory Board for QBS, Inc., and as a member of a Peer Review Committee for the MA Department of Developmental Services. He is a member of ABAI, BABAT, and The Massachusetts Brain Injury Association.

Lani Fritts, MBA - Mergers, Acquisitions and Private Investors and the Impact on Clinical Services and the Mission

Mergers, Acquisitions and Private Investors and the Impact on Clinical Services and the Mission


The field of Behavior Analysis has gone through monumental changes over the past decade, substantially resulting from the continued rise in diagnostic rates and by the expansion of services funding options for families of individuals on the Autism Spectrum, which as of this year, now includes mandated commercial health insurance coverage in all 50 states.  These dynamics have substantially increased demand for services, driving expansion in BCBA programs educating new behavior analysts, an explosion in the number of new certificants, and a substantial increase in the numbers and size of for profit and not-for-profit organizations attempting to serve this rapidly growing demand.  These market factors have also substantially increased mergers and acquisitions and the interest of traditional healthcare services investors in the field, which has resulted in substantial private equity capital flowing into the companies serving the ASD community.

This presentation will explore the supply and demand dynamics driving this interest in the field, the implications of investment capital flowing into the field, and the pitfalls and the opportunities these dynamics represent for families, clinicians, and organizations.

Learning Objectives:
  • Attendees will be able to identify the economic factors impacting the increasing investment and M&A activities in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Attendees will be able to identify some risks this activity might pose to the priorities of an organization and the contingencies that have the potential to interfere with mission focus and clinical excellence
  • Attendees will be able to identify strategies to mitigate the risks posed by rapid growth, mergers, and private investment in an ABA organization

Chief Executive Officer, Kadiant

Presenter Bio:

Lani left a 15 year career in logistics and technology related companies, and in 2009 he co-founded Trumpet Behavioral Health, a leading provider of Applied Behavior Analysis and related services to individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Since that time, Lani has been active in the ABA provider community, advocating for access to services and developing and sharing organizational and clinical standards. Lani was a founding board member and the first treasurer of The Council for Autism Service Providers (CASP), a nonprofit association focused on cultivating, sharing, and advocating for provider best practices in autism services. Lani has an undergraduate degree in Economics from Georgetown University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Rita M. Gardner, MPH, LABA, BCBA - Ensuring Organizational Ethics: Another Case for Organizational Behavior Management

Ensuring Organizational Ethics: Another Case for Organizational Behavior Management


Behavior Analysts often operate in the context of larger settings that may include many other professions. The BACB’s code of Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts requires under 1.0 (Responsible Conduct of Behavior Analysts) that behavior analysts maintain the high standards of behavior of the profession. Furthermore, the code specifies in section 1.01 that there is a Reliance on Scientific Knowledge. (Behavior analysts rely on professionally derived knowledge based on science and behavior analysis when making scientific or professional judgments in human service provision, or when engaging in scholarly or professional endeavors). Ensuring that organizational systems are set up to promote compliance with the BACB ethics code may be a challenge when individuals in positions of Leadership in Human Service Organizations (HSO’s) are often not credentialed in the field of Behavior Analysis. We are seeing a rapid growth in organizations who claim to be Applied Behavior Analytic Providers, including those funded through Private Equity, whose goals may or may not be value based, and may be strictly monetary. It is critical for organizations to maintain a commitment to our ethical guidelines, and to create systems that ensure a professional work environment for all employees that maintains compliance with the BACB’s ethical codes.  The goal of this presentation is to review how the code of ethics should inform the development of any ABA organizations’ operational systems.

Learning Objectives:
  • Attendees will gain an understanding how the BACB code of ethics can inform an HSO’s development of organizational behavior management systems.
  • Attendees will gain an understanding, as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst ,of your own responsibility to identify and inform leadership of organizational non-compliance with the BACB code of ethics.
  • Attendees will be able to Identify an HSO’s systems that monitor and establish employee protocols to ensure ethical employee behavior that complies with the BACB code of ethics

President and CEO, Melmark

Presenter Bio:

Rita M. Gardner is President and CEO of Melmark, a multi-state human service provider with premier private special education schools, professional development, training and research centers. Rita has devoted 35 years to non-profit management in the field of community-based services for children and adults with the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders, acquired brain injuries, neurological disorders and severe challenging behaviors. In addition to leading Melmark’s $95-million operations across all of its divisions, Rita is the co-founder of Melmark New England in Andover, Massachusetts and a co-founder of Melmark Carolinas in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Rita has been recognized by the Commonwealth Institute and Boston Globe, on the organizations’ list of Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts for the past two years (#35 in 2018 and TBA in 2019). She is dedicated to creating opportunities for skills growth and advancement for women in the field of human services. Rita does this through her work with CASP (Council of Autism Service Providers), for which she and Melmark are founding members; her leadership role as a board member of maaps (Massachusetts Association of Approved Private Schools); and her vital role in WIBA (Women in Behavior Analysis), for which Rita volunteers her time and expertise as a mentor.

As a result of her far-reaching work, Rita is known throughout the disability community as a tireless advocate for services for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and autism. She has provided project consultation to nationally-renowned organizations and was appointed to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Special Commission Relative to Autism in 2010. She continues to serve in that capacity, appointed by the current Governor Charles Baker. Rita has testified before the legislature on numerous issues related to Autism Spectrum Disorders, written articles for professional journals, and made a number of presentations on topics ranging from program expansion and behavior management to transitioning students with brain injury back into the community.

Rita has been involved in the organization, design, development and implementation of over 100 community-based programs for children and adults. Her professional experience is focused on high level organizational design using her skills in child advocacy, clinical practice, health service administration, legal issues, public policy and fundraising. Her demonstrated focus on fiscal prudence, ability to build bridges with funding sources, and experience in the development and ongoing maintenance of donor relationships, ensures the future of services for individuals with intellectual disabilities, at Melmark and beyond.

Rita received her Master of Public Health degree from Boston University’s School of Public Health in the School of Medicine. Most important, she holds the heart of Melmark’s mission at the core of her professional standards. She is dedicated to every child, adult and family served at Melmark, as well as every member of Melmark’s professional staff.

David J. Cox, PhD, MSB, BCBA-D - Moral Philosophy, Ethical Theories, and Applied Ethics

Moral Philosophy, Ethical Theories, and Applied Ethics


To be alive is to reside in the expanse of constant choice. Choice about how to live and choice about what to value. Ethics. Moral philosophers have long debated how we know what choice is right and why that choice is best. When observed over time, patterns of ethical choice and justification aggregate into ethical theories that can guide ethical decision-making in novel scenarios. Ethical theories become practically relevant in the domain of applied ethics – the application of ethical theory and moral philosophy to real-world decisions made under time constraints, with missing information, and socially significant uncertain consequences. Far from esoteric and abstract, ethical theories have direct relevance for everyday ethical decision-making in professional practice. This presentation reviews common ethical theories, research on ethical decision-making, and how ethical theories and research help practitioners develop systems to improve their professional practice.

Learning Objectives:
  • Attendees will be able to name 5 major ethical theories and describe the approach to ethical decision-making used by each theory.
  • Attendees will be able to define normative and ethical behavior and describe why applied ethics requires data collection on both.
  • Attendees will be able to describe current methods for researching ethics and how these can be used in professional practice.

GuideWell, Endicott College

Presenter Bio:

David is a Principal Analyst of Behavioral Science and Analytics in the Department of Data Science at GuideWell. His graduate education and training spans behavior analysis (PhD), behavioral economics (post-doc), data science (post-doc), and bioethics (MS). David has worked in Applied Behavior Analysis since 2006 with ages ranging from children to adults and with diagnoses spanning developmental disabilities, psychoses, anxiety, and behavioral health. His basic research foci are quantitative and computational analyses of choice, complex verbal behavior, behavioral health, ethical behavior, and scaling basic and applied research in these areas to population behavioral health, health decision making, and clinical ethics.

Noor Y. Syed, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA/LBS -Towards an Ethical Behavior Analytic Organization: Compassion, Cultural Humility, and Sustainability

Towards an Ethical Behavior Analytic Organization: Compassion, Cultural Humility, and Sustainability


This presentation will describe lessons learned and research utilized in building and maintaining an ethical insurance based behavior analytic organization (namely, a university-based autism clinic) and practicum site. Having a background in behavior analysis programming and supervision is critical, but also vital is knowledge of leadership, business, and sustainability practices. Of paramount importance is dedication at all levels within an organization on creating cultures of ethical operational practices which subsequently lead to sustainability. Further, a strong emphasis is placed on compassion, collaboration, and cultural humility — and always admitting mistakes! To better understand all aspects, we formed verbal communities, solicited stakeholder input (i.e, community members, caregivers, staff, and students), and engaged in continuous evaluation of our methodologies throughout development of the clinic and practicum coursework. We will also learn from leaders in the field who have built local and global organizations in behavior analysis, discovering common themes across their businesses, as well as unique. Finally, tools will be provided that can guide your own development of an ethical, sustainable organization and practicum framework.

Learning Objectives:
  • Attendees will be able to describe and engage in methods to build a culture of ethics, compassion, cultural humility, and sustainability within a behavior analytic organization
  • Attendees will be able to gain an understanding of how to build a hierarchical and sustainable practicum framework
  • Attendees will be able to identify challenges and potential solutions in developing a behavior analytic organization and local and broader levels

Clinical Director, Lehigh University Autism Services

Faculty, Lehigh University, Department of Education and Human Services

Research Coordinator, Global Autism Project

Presenter Bio:

Noor Syed, PhD, BCBA-D is faculty with and the Clinical Director of Lehigh University Autism Services (LUAS). She is also a Research Coordinator and Clinical Consultant with the Global Autism Project. Prior to this, Dr. Syed was an Assistant Professor of Special Education with Manhattanville College. Dr. Syed is a certified general and special education teacher, birth through grade six, and a licensed behavior analyst in New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. She has worked with individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities for over 10 years from early intervention through adulthood. Dr. Syed received her undergraduate degree in Applied Behavior Analysis under Dr. Raymond G. Romanczyk in the Institute of Child Development at Binghamton University and completed her PhD in ABA with Dr. R. Douglas Greer at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Syed has consulted for autism clinics around the world, including in Uganda, India, Romania, Antigua and Barbuda, and Indonesia and currently serves as the international and school-based expert on ABAEthicsHotline.com with Dr. Jon Bailey. Her research interests lie in effective supervision as well as ethical, sustainable, and culturally humble practices. Most recently, Dr. Syed authored a set of criterion-referenced proficiency standards for RBTs and BCBA trainees. Dr. Syed is also currently engaging in international research collaborations with clinical sites in the Czech Republic, Kenya, and the Dominican Republic.

Continuing Education Opportunities

BACB® Learning CEs and Psychology CE Credits (Includes Licensed psychologists, school psychologists, and EdDs/educational psychologists)

APA Approved Sponsor

BACB® Learning CEs (6.0 ETHICS): The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies is an approved Learning CE Provider by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®) and is authorized to offer Learning CE units for this conference.

APA Approved Sponsor

APA Approved Sponsor

Psychology CE Credits (6.0) – 1 CE per speaker/presentation:

Amego Prepare is a co-sponsor of this conference for Continuing Education Credits for Psychologists. Amego Prepare is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Amego Prepare maintains responsibility for this program and its content. *Attendees must be present during the entire conference.

**It is attendee’s responsibility to check with their State and Professional organization to confirm all CE offerings.

Location - Now Live Online

Important Notice: Now Live Online Conference* 

We are so happy to be able to continue to offer this incredible opportunity to see some of the world’s top experts in the field present together on one day. Presented through our strategic partner, ABAC, participants will have a fully inclusive experience with no links to worry about with a personal portal where they will enter the conference. Certificates are available in the portal, no waiting for an email. Recordings of the presentations will be available for 10 days post-conference should you miss any during the day.

We are confident that our partner ABAC, a company with over 6 years experience and close to 400 live events hosted, will provide a high-quality experience our conference attendees expect from CCBS.

Join us for what will be a truly unique Ethics conference experience with our six invited speakers!

*Powered by: ABAC’s Learning Management System and Webinar Platform

NO CANCELLATION FEE. We will refund your fee up to 3 hours prior to the event. No cancellations will be accepted within 3 hours of start time or during the event. If you miss live you can access the recording for 10 days.

Presented by

Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies™ in cooperation with The Institute for Behavioral Studies, Van Loan School at Endicott College.

Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies

Institute for Behavioral Studies, Van Loan School at Endicott College aba facebook.jpg

Special thanks to Amego Prepare and the University of West Florida, Center for Behavior Analysis for expanding our continuing education offerings.

University of West Florida, Office of ABA

Melmark is a multi-state human service provider with premier private special education schools, professional development, training, and research centers in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and the Carolinas. The not-for-profit organization provides clinically-sophisticated evidence-based special education, residential, vocational and therapeutic services for children and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, developmental and intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries, medical complexities, and other neurological and genetic disorders. Melmark’s applied behavior analytic programs are offered in the least restrictive environment possible.

Melmark is committed to providing exceptional applied behavior analytic services to every individual, every day. With a vision to expand and raise the quality of service delivery systems throughout the country by disseminating and replicating the Melmark Model of Program Development and Clinical Treatment, Melmark embraces the following core commitments: Compassionate Care, Integrity in Everything We Do, Highly Skilled Workforce, Evidence-Based Practices, and Best Outcomes.

To learn more, visit www.melmark.org.

Invited Presenters

With opening remarks by:


August 7, 2020
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Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies
(978) 369-2227