Watch the full webinar on YouTube. 

The Westchester County Youth Bureau, through its Youth led, Youth Empowerment Council for Change (YECC), will release a series of webinars concerning health and wellness for children and youth. In observance of Children’s Environmental Health Month, the Westchester County Youth Bureau released a webinar featuring physicians from Columbia Doctors (Columbia University Irving Medical Center), and the United Nations Association of Westchester. The webinar was moderated by youth from the Youth Bureau’s YECC, who had a long list of questions for the panelists about how to handle physical, mental, and environmental health issues as they navigate everyday life. The Youth Bureau is grateful to all of the participants for creating a safe space to share important information.

In recognition of this webinar, and the effort as a whole, Westchester County Executive George Latimer proclaimed October 13, 2022 as Children’s Environmental Health Day in the County.

Latimer said: “In Westchester County, we take the health of our Youth seriously. This panel, along with our proclamation recognizing the month, will help shine a light on this important topic.”

The panelists were Dr. Vicki Iannott and Dr. Anthony Puliafico of Columbia University, and Mr. Paul Prensendieu of the United Nations Association of Westchester.

Youth Bureau Executive Director Dr. DaMia Harris-Madden said: “Allowing our youth to have conversations with distinguished physicians and experts concerning the most important topics to them, physical and mental well-being and the environment, is invaluable. These types of partnerships highlight the greatness of our county, the people who live and work here, but also the cohesive commitment to listen to our youth and provide the tools that they need to address concerns that are most salient amongst their generation.” 

Dr. Vicki Iannotti, Medical Director and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia Primary Care Tarrytown said: “It was a pleasure participating in the webinar, partnering with the Westchester County Youth Bureau and this dynamic group of young people interested in changing the future for the benefit of all.”  Dr. Iannotti brings over 26 years of pediatric experience and expertise to community practice to care for children and their families in a personalized, patient centered medical home environment. Her inpatient experience includes newborn nursery care, pediatric inpatient care at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, Valhalla, and leading the medical care of medically fragile children as the Chief Medical Officer at Elizabeth Seton Children's in Yonkers, NY. Dr. Iannotti has worked on numerous committees to ensure quality and safety, pharmacy and therapeutics, infection control and sepsis evaluation and treatment. She has taught innumerable medical students and residents serving as a mentor and role model to many.

Dr. Anthony Puliafico, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Medical Psychology in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University. He serves as Director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD)—Westchester, which specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and related disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. He also directs CUCARD Westchester's Anxiety Day Program, which provides daily treatment programming for adolescents with anxiety, OCD, and school refusal. Dr. Puliafico is an expert in the assessment and cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety, mood, and externalizing disorders. His clinical work and research have focused on the treatment of pediatric OCD, school refusal, and adapting treatments for young children with anxiety. He is the co-author of "The OCD Workbook for Kids" and is a co-developer of the CALM Program for young children with anxiety. 

Puliafico said: “I am grateful to the Westchester Youth Bureau for the opportunity to participate in their Children’s Environmental Health Day webinar. It is truly important for our youth and families to be informed about physical, mental and environmental health. To discuss these topics with such informed and motivated young people was inspiring. Thanks to the Westchester Youth Bureau for providing such a valuable service.”

Paul Presendieu is the Young Professionals Chair for the United Nations Association of Westchester. He is a product of the City School District of New Rochelle and the State University of New York where he majored in Environmental Studies. He is the Chair of New Rochelle’s Ecology and Natural Resources Advisory Committee, and serves on the New Rochelle School District’s Green Schools Committee.

YECC Youth Moderator Arun Nayakkar said: "The information I gathered from this webinar featuring doctors from Columbia University and Mr. Presendieu of UNA Westchester was extremely valuable to me. Not only did I learn a myriad of ways to aid mental and physical health issues, but I also learned how I, myself, can get better with my anxiety. I am extremely happy that I participated in the webinar and I look forward to helping those that struggle with their mental and physical health."

YECC Youth Participant Joshua Montvelisky said: "I am so proud to have been a part of the webinar. I feel that I learned so much, and being able to speak directly with the experts was an amazing experience."