Posted: January 26, 2021
By: Kris Demers, Prevent Child Abuse NC Communications Manager 

Prevent Child Abuse NC’s (PCANC) 2021 Learning & Leadership Virtual Summit: Investing Upstream – Prioritizing Prevention will feature two keynote presentations to help move our work in child maltreatment prevention to the next level – upstream.

The Learning & Leadership Virtual Summit is a biennial statewide conference designed for anyone interested in going upstream to prevent child abuse and neglect before it ever occurs. Join us, virtually, on March 16th and 17th for the latest upstream strategies to support you in making child maltreatment prevention a priority in your community.

Meet Dan Heath
Opening keynote speaker, Dan Heath, is the co-author, along with his brother Chip, of four New York Times bestsellers: Decisive, Switch, Made to Stick, and The Power of Moments. His most recent book, Upstream, explores the psychological forces that push us downstream—including “problem blindness,” which can leave us oblivious to serious problems in our midst. And Heath introduces us to the thinkers who have overcome these obstacles and scored massive victories by switching to an upstream mindset. Upstream delivers practical solutions for preventing problems rather than simply reacting to them. How many problems in our lives and in society are we tolerating simply because we’ve forgotten that we can fix them?

Dan is a Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE center, which supports social entrepreneurs. Previously, Dan worked as a researcher and case writer for Harvard Business School. In the late 1990s, Dan co-founded an innovative publishing company called Thinkwell, which for almost 25 years has been producing a line of online college textbooks that feature video lectures from some of the country’s top professors. 

Dan has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from the Plan II Honors Program from the University of Texas at Austin. He lives in Durham, NC.

Meet Dr. Melissa Merrick
Our closing keynote speaker, Dr. Melissa Merrick, serves as President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, the nation’s oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the primary prevention of child abuse and neglect. She has nearly 20 years of clinical, research, and leadership experience related to the etiology, course, and prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Previously, Dr. Merrick was a senior epidemiologist at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in Atlanta, and served on a detail in the Office of the Commissioner at the Children’s Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families. In partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Child Abuse and Neglect, she served as the lead scientist for the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study at CDC for 8 years. Dr. Merrick successfully leverages her clinical and research experiences to communicate and disseminate the critical public health importance of preventing early adversity to key stakeholders with diverse priorities, backgrounds, and knowledge, including legislators, business and civic leaders, and members of the academic and medical communities.

Dr. Merrick received her BA in psychology, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego, joint doctoral program in clinical psychology, where she served as a program coordinator for the San Diego site of the Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect consortium. Dr. Merrick was a National Institutes of Health-funded postdoctoral fellow at the University of Miami Child Protection Team (CPT), where she was involved in a multi-site program of research that examined child maltreatment risk and protective factors in families evaluated by CPTs across the state of Florida.

Dr. Merrick is married and has two young children who keep her grounded, thankful, and hopeful for a brighter future for all children. 


Tuesday, March 16:

9:00 AM
Opening Keynote, Dan Heath

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
– Policies that Prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences
– Funding Your Work Locally

2:00 – 3:00 PM
– Faith Community Engagement
– Partnering with Schools

Wednesday, March 17:

9:00 AM
Keynote, Melissa Merrick

10:00 AM
NCDSS Grantee Meeting

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
– Self-Care with Secondary Traumatic Stress
– Equity and Prevention

2:00 – 3:00 PM
– Promoting Resilience with the Latinx Community
– Data Sources for Local Use

Tickets are only $75!

*Register by March 1 to guarantee delivery of your “Connection Kit”—filled with fun connection materials, a Pinwheel Home Kit, and the book, Upstream, written by our opening keynote speaker, Dan Heath!

Register Today!

Join in the conversation! Follow #PCANCsummit on social media.

Questions? Please contact