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Member Voices

Member Voices

Elisabeth Cannata: Service Innovator

Elisabeth Cannata and Higher Education Partnership faculty members

Elisabeth Cannata and Higher Education Partnership faculty members

Elisabeth Cannata, Ph.D. is Vice President, Community-based Family Services and Practice Innovation at the Wheeler Clinic in New Britain. Born in America, she was raised in Italy and returned to the U.S. for college and graduate school. After receiving her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Connecticut, she remained in the state, working at all levels of services for children and families. Her experience as an Italian-American growing up in Italy sparked a life-long interest in and sensitivity to family and culture.
After employment in the children and adolescent inpatient psychiatric program at Newington Children’s Hospital, she came to Wheeler, where she has remained for over 13 years. She is especially interested in  families with children and adolescents. In recent years, she launched the intensive in-home family intervention program at Wheeler and was directly trained in many of the models used. Intensive in-home models and services aim to help children with emotional needs and their families in their home settings.
Having served on a number of regional and statewide workforce committees, Dr. Cannata has long been interested in linkages among those who develop program models, providers, and educators. “It’s very exciting to see what’s happening,” she said. “Connecticut, a little tiny state, is really on the map in its efforts to improve the quality and skills of the workforce.” She notes that “our workforce is only as good as those who are in the positions.” This reality contributed to her interest in working with higher education institutions to recruit top students to learn about evidence-based models in order to become skilled clinicians.
After years of planning, and as a part of the Transformation Grant workforce development process, the Higher Education Partnership on Intensive Home-Based Services was created as a Connecticut Workforce Collaborative project. The Partnership project aims to increase the number of interested and qualified professionals in the field, while including family members as faculty.
Dr. Cannata noted that the Collaborative has helped greatly with participation among providers, consumer and family members, family advocacy agencies, and state agencies together with the six higher education institutions involved in the project. She said, “There’s an incredible process of energy and excitement that family members have to give back as they come into the classroom. Students and families give mutual feedback. The Collaborative helped to bring these participants together. The Collaborative has helped us think – and act - creatively.”
Dr. Cannata’s passion and commitment to her work exemplify the Collaborative ideal of creatively engaging workforce leaders and emerging leaders to bring about needed change.
 

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