Purdue Northwest welcomes renowned psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Perry for campus visit

October 11, 2023
Bruce D. Perry sits on stage and talks.

Renowned clinician, researcher and scholar Dr. Bruce Perry will deliver talks at Purdue Northwest on Oct. 15 and 16 that are open to the public.

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) will host influential clinician, researcher and scholar Dr. Bruce Perry for a two-day visit to share his insights on trauma and resilience with campus and public audiences.

For over 30 years, Perry has conducted research and provided training and consultation on children’s mental health and the neuroscience of trauma. His career has focused on the impact of abuse, neglect and adverse childhood experiences on the developing brain which, in turn, has greatly influenced clinical practice, programs and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how childhood experiences, including neglect and traumatic stress, change the biology of the brain – and, thereby, the health of the child.

Perry is the principal of the Neurosequential Network, an adjunct professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

PNW Professor of Psychology, Dr. Amanda Zelechoski, expressed her excitement, “Dr. Perry’s willingness to visit both of our PNW campuses and meet with multiple groups of students, clinicians, community partners and local residents is truly a testament to his ongoing collaboration with PNW and his commitment to helping us continue to provide the most cutting-edge clinical training and intervention programs for children and families in Northwest Indiana.”

Events open to the public

Dr. Perry will present at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15 at the Sinai Forum at Purdue Northwest at the James B. Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex, 1401 S. U.S. 421, Westville, IN.

Perry’s program titled “What Happened to You? A Conversation on Trauma, Resilience and Healing” will discuss his clinical experience and research on how early childhood trauma influences people as they grow into adults, and how the healing process begins when we stop asking “What is wrong with you?” and instead start asking “What happened to you?”

Purchase Sinai Forum at PNW tickets

College and high school students can attend free of charge with pre-registration.

Book Cover "What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing" by Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., and Oprah WinfreyPerry will speak to PNW students and the public during the university’s One Book, One University author presentation on Monday, Oct. 16 starting at 9 a.m. The program will take place inside Alumni Hall of the Student Union and Library Building, 2200 169th Street, Hammond, IN. There is no charge to attend.

PNW’s One Book, One University program advances the university’s commitment to student success by bringing together students, faculty and staff engaged in first-year experience programming across both campuses with a common literature selection. The 2023-24 selection is Perry’s book, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing.

Read More About One Book, One University

NWI Community Consultation

As part of his ongoing collaboration with PNW, Perry will additionally meet with invited Northwest Indiana region leaders and PNW faculty and staff for a discussion on reducing trauma exposure and improving child mental health in our community. Zelechoski explained, “Dr. Perry’s visit has given us an incredible and timely opportunity to bring together our community partners and region leaders to examine post-pandemic trends and local service gaps for children. We’re looking forward to Dr. Perry’s consultation and guidance on next steps for continuing to leverage the expertise and training opportunities at PNW to directly support our local providers, educators, child-serving systems and the surrounding community.”

Pending final approval by the Higher Learning Commission, PNW will begin offering a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in fall 2024, an applied clinical psychology doctoral program intended to prepare students as both practitioners and scholars. The innovative program will not only train students to provide clinical assessment, diagnosis and intervention services, but will also offer opportunities for students to become certified in Perry’s Neurosequential Model. PNW’s PsyD will be its third applied doctoral program and the only degree of its kind available in Northwest Indiana.

See More Information about PNW’s PsyD

We’re looking forward to Dr. Perry’s consultation and guidance on next steps for continuing to leverage the expertise and training opportunities at PNW to directly support our local providers, educators, child-serving systems and the surrounding community.

Dr. Amanda Zelechoski, PNW Professor of Psychology

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About Dr. Bruce Perry

Dr. Bruce Perry has conducted both basic neuroscience and clinical research. His neuroscience research has examined the effects of prenatal drug exposure on brain development, the neurobiology of human neuropsychiatric disorders, the neurophysiology of traumatic life events and basic mechanisms related to the development of neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. His clinical research and practice has focused on high-risk children. This work has examined the cognitive, behavioral, emotional, social and physiological effects of neglect and trauma in children, adolescents and adults.

His clinical research over the last 20 years has been focused on integrating emerging principles of developmental neuroscience into clinical practice. This work has resulted in the development of innovative clinical practices and programs working with maltreated and traumatized children, most prominently the Neurosequential Model©, a developmentally sensitive, neurobiology-informed approach to clinical work (NMT), education (NME) and caregiving (NMC). This approach to clinical problem solving has been integrated into the programs at dozens of large public and non-profit organizations serving at-risk children and their families.

His experience as a clinician and a researcher with traumatized children has led many community and governmental agencies to consult Perry following high-profile incidents involving traumatized children and youth, including the Branch Davidian siege in Waco (1993), the Oklahoma City bombing (1995), the Columbine school shootings (1999), the September 11th terrorist attacks (2001), Hurricane Katrina (2005), the FLDS polygamist sect (2008), the earthquake in Haiti (2010), the tsunami in Tohoku Japan (2011), the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings (2012), and the Camp wildfire in California (2018) among many others.

Perry has published over 500 journal articles, book chapters and scientific proceedings and is the recipient of numerous professional awards and honors, including the T. Berry Brazelton Infant Mental Health Advocacy Award, the Award for Leadership in Public Child Welfare, the Alberta Centennial Medal and the 2014 Kohl Education Prize. He serves on the Board of Directors of multiple organizations including Prevent Child Abuse America and the Ana Grace Project.