Peer Support Recovery and Resiliency Symposium

July 9, 1800-2100 & July 10, 0900-1730 
Best Western Wichita North (fully renovated!)

Sponsored by :

Course Description:

The Peer Support Recovery and Resiliency Symposium will be held in Wichita, Kansas.  This event will bring together first responders who have survived mental health injuries. The speakers will be sharing their success with others who may still be struggling along with sharing their journeys of post-traumatic growth.  We will have international, national, and regional speakers.  Our goal for the symposium is to educate and promote mental health awareness and education.  This symposium will also give you a chance to network with other first responders with similar experiences and to find resources to help you or others in your service.

Download a copy of the agenda here.


Best Western Wichita North (newly remodeled!)
915 E 53rd St North, Wichita, KS 67219

KEMSA has reserved a hotel block for Friday,  July 9 if you want to take advantage of group pricing. 

Room rate: $92.99/night + taxes
Group: Kansas EMS Association
Room block deadline: June 18, 2020

For reservations, call the Best Western North Wichita at 316-832-9387.


$20 KEMSA Members |  $20 for Non-Members
Fee includes light refreshments during the Friday social and lunch/snacks on Saturday.

Thanks to the support of Kansas Region 5 EMS, we will reimburse hotel costs up to $100 per room and mileage for those staying overnight or traveling from more than 30 miles from the event.  Those with the greatest travel distance will be reimbursed first with Region 5 attendees getting priority while funding lasts.


Register using the link below.  The registration and payment deadline is June 25. 

Attendee Online Registration


All registrations will be taken online. You will have the option to pay with credit card or you will automatically be emailed an invoice that you can turn in for payment. All registration fees are due on or before two weeks before the event.  If you don't pay by the deadline, your spot will be forfeited.

Make sure to login for the member price.

If you need to register more than one person, just add a guest registration for each additional person you want to include. Then you will get one invoice for everyone.  Or if you are registering someone else, go to the registration form and substitute their information for your information that it fills in.

  • Hotel Room Deadline: June 18
  • Registration Deadline:
    June 25
  • Payment Deadline: June  25 (ALL payments are due by this date)
    If you don't pay by the deadline, your spot will be forfeited.

Refund/Cancellation Policy
A refund, minus a $15 administrative fee, will be granted ONLY if cancellation is received in writing in the KEMSA office. 


Friday, July 9

1800 - 1900 Welcome/Networking Social

1900 - 2100 Keynote: Health, Wellness and Resilience - Living your best life in EMS - Rhonda Kelly

Saturday, July 10

0800 - 0900 An Officer PTS - Brian Rousseu

0900 - 0915 Break

0915 - 1015 Peer Support: Invest in Your Organization - Frank Barden

1015 - 1030 Break

1030 - 1200 Marriage and the First Responder Family - Dane & Alison Fienning

1200 - 1300 Lunch

1300 - 1400 A Paramedic's Road to Recovery & Resiliency - Samantha Troyer

1400 - 1415 Break

1415 - 1515 Beyond the Peer - Alison Fienning

1515 - 1530 Break

1530 - 1630 When All the Boxes Fall - Chrissy Bartel

1630 - 1730 Peer Support Q&A

Speaker Bios:

Rhonda Kelly

Rhonda Kelly started her career in emergency response in 1996, spending the next 21 years working in career and volunteer roles in EMS, Fire and Nursing. During her career, she also served as the Health & Safety Officer for a metropolitan Fire Department, developing physical fitness, nutrition, wellness, injury prevention, crisis response and mental wellness programs. In 2016, she founded ResponderStrong, a collaborative initiative to build better mental health supports for responders and their families. In January 2020, ResponderStrong transitioned to its new home within the All Clear Foundation as Rhonda became the Director of GMR Life with Global Medical Response. Since November 2020, she has also served as the Executive Director of the All Clear Foundation.

Brian Rouseu

Brian Rousseau has been an LEO for over 23 years.  During those 23 years, he has been a field training officer, shift supervisor, on the SWAT team and Team Leader for 15 years, RAIDER instructor, Taser Instructors, part of the Crisis Intervention Team, and outreach coordinator for Warriors Ascent.  

Frank Barden 

Captain Frank Barden has served the citizens of Johnson County, Kansas as a Nationally Registered Paramedic since January of 2006.  He has steadily risen through the ranks at Med-Act becoming a Lieutenant in 2009 and ultimately promoting to his current rank in January of 2018.  Frank is currently assigned to the Operations Division where he is a Field Training Officer for newly-hired paramedics.

Frank was instrumental in the formation of Med-Act’s Peer Support Team in 2017 and has served as the team’s coordinator since inception.  Frank serves on both the Peer Support Team and the county-wide CISM team.  Frank received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas in 2015. Frank is currently a member of KEMSA and is Vice-President of the Peer Support Society.  Frank has a wife of 16 years (Courtney) and two children (Hank, age 12 and Maisy, age 8).  In his free-time, Frank enjoys coaching his son’s baseball team and traveling with his family.  Frank’s vision is for Peer Support to grow and thrive as a regional collaboration that will care for our brothers and sisters in their times of need.

“To care for others, we must first care for ourselves.”

Dane & Alison Fienning

Unsure of where to turn after a tragedy, First Responder Marriage Speakers, Alison and Dane Fienning have catapulted themselves into challenging the status quo and being leaders of change. With Alison being a mental health therapist and Dane a career firefighter, they thought they would be ready for when tragedy hit close to home. Now, they speak with fellow first responder couples to let them know they aren’t alone and how they made it to the other side. 

Alison has been a practicing mental health provider (LISW-S) over the last 10 years. Alison is the owner of Pinpoint Behavioral Health Solutions and has created online support groups to connect those who ‘get it’. Pinpoint is a private practice dedicated to serving first responders, veterans, military members and their spouses through counseling and consultation. Dane has 16 years of experience as a firefighter & paramedic. He serves as the Chief Training Officer with a vocational school. He has received several awards, including the 2017 City of Norwood Firefighter of the Year.

Samantha Troyer  

Samantha Troyer has been a Lead Paramedic Instructor for a CoAEMSP accredited paramedic program at a college in Southcentral Kansas since 2015. Prior to becoming a full-time educator, she worked as an EMT and paramedic for both rural and urban EMS services since 2005.

In addition to focusing on the clinical and operational educational aspects of teaching new paramedics, Samantha also emphasizes provider well-being. “Paramedics serve in a very high-stress career setting. We teach our students on day one and throughout the program concepts on mental health self-care and resiliency principles so they can have a long and rewarding career.”

Samantha is recovering from substance use disorder. She hopes that sharing her story will shed light on a problem that many first responders are unwilling to discuss.

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