16th Annual

MELLFIN Conference (Online)

Equip, Empower, and Engage in the Virtual World

Monday, March 22 and Tuesday March 23, from 4-6 p.m. 

CulminatingWednesday, March 24 4:30 - 6 pm with Keynote and Award Presentations

Keynote Speaker

Dipti D. Shah, MPH

Chief, Center for Global Migration and Immigrant Health

State Refugee Health Coordinator

Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Outbreak Response Bureau

Prevention and Health Promotion Administration

Maryland Department of Health (MDH)

Session Descriptions

Monday, March 22 (4:00-5:00 PM) "Not Yet" - The Power of Yet When Connecting with Families of English Learners? Mindset is everything. Many educators freeze at the thought of engaging families who can’t speak English. They simply forget that three-letter word...YET. This session will emphasize the importance of a strengths-based approach to EL Family Engagement, reminding the participants of the power of YET! Presenter: Amanda Ensor, Title I Specialist, Queen Anne's County

Monday, March 22 (5:00-6:00 PM)“Here’s a Tip!”: Using Guiding Principles to Equip, Empower, and Engage English Learner Families In this session participants will learn how to develop equitable, culturally responsive family engagement practices that meet the needs of immigrant families and families with English Learners by using the tips, strategies, and resources developed by MSDE and MAEC. Participants will preview tip sheets based on the draft of MD’s Birth-21 Family Engagement Framework and learn how they can be used across a variety of settings to strengthen family engagement. Presenters: Young-chan Han, Family Engagement Senior Specialist (MAEC). Additional presenters from MSDE: Tanya Filson, Director of Community Schools; Cyndi Lessner, Branch Chief, Collaboration and Program Improvement; Kimberly Marchmen, Family Support Specialist, Early Intervention/Special Education; Barb Scherr, Title I Family Involvement Coordinator


Tuesday, March 23 (4:00-5:00 PM) The Rights of English Learners and their Parents in Public Schools: English learners (EL) and their families often face hurdles with students entering public schools, and once enrolled, overcoming obstacles to access high-quality English language development (ELD) programs, other school programs, and services. This session will discuss public schools' obligation to ELs and their parents and provide clarity concerning student and parental rights. Presenter: Roger Rosenthal, Executive Director, Migrant Legal Action Program


Tuesday, March 23 (5:00-6:00 PM) "Language Access in Mental Health Services in a Virtual Environment" This session will address interpretation, translation, interpretation modes, implications of lesser known indigenous languages, as well as culturally specific mental health terminology that doesn't translate well to English. Presenters: Heather Kathrens, LCSW-c, Refugee Mental Health Coordinator, Center for Global Migration and Immigrant Health, Maryland Department of Health and Carol G. Velandia  MBA., PMP., CHI., MSW  CEO of Equal Access Language Services LLC


Conference participation this year will be free but you will need to register in advance by

March 18, 2021


 Please click here for registration