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The Institute for Innovative Practice

The Institute for Innovative Practice is committed to improving the social determinants of health, meaning the way people live, learn, work, and play. Advancing the systems that support communities promotes the health and wellbeing of the people who live there. By providing quality professional development, research, and consultation we help people, communities, and organizations solve problems, adapt to change, and evolve.

To learn more about partnering with the Institute for Innovative Practice, please contact Jessica Smith,
Deputy Chief of Business Development, at (860) 343-5500 x1125 or at


Our team of seasoned professional consultants have the expertise to guide and support your
organization through the following topics:

Improving your information management systems
Preparing your organization for the COA accreditation process
Implementation of innovative programming
Improving clinical best practice
Project implementation

We will help your organization create a stable foundation for your project with ongoing guidance and project management.
Our process begins with a free project review. Contact Jessica Smith, Deputy Chief of Business Development, at (860) 434-5500 x1125
or at, to schedule your project review.

The Connection Training Sessions

The Connection provides quality training and professional development designed to promote excellence in the human services field. Our Fall/Winter catalog is now available and enrollment is open for all sessions.

We have a deep commitment to keeping our staff, clients, and community partners safe and healthy during this time. Most of our Fall/Winter courses will be offered virtually via Zoom.

Click the cover image below to browse the full training catalog for descriptions, presenter information as well as important information about our policies and registration. To register, click on the course titles below and select a training date.

Don’t see what you are looking for in our catalog? The Institute for Innovative Practice at The Connection can partner with you to create professional development courses that are specific to your organizational needs. Please contact Director of Training and Practice, Michele Klimczak, MA, LMSW for more information.

Click to view/download the 2021-2022 Training Catalog

Clinical Best Practice Courses:

Essential Direct Practice Skills Courses:

Validation: The Essential Element of Empathic Communication

Personal Efficiency: Your Guide to Ultimate Productivity

The Art of the Case Note

Emotional Intelligence for Human Service Providers

Foundational Concepts of Client Engagement

Mastering Professional Communication in the Workplace

Special Topics in Community Justice Courses:

Out of Prison & Out of Work: Developing Employment Opportunities for the Formerly Incarcerated

The Impact of Youth Incarceration in Adulthood

The Prevalence of Trauma Among the Justice-Involved Individuals

African American Men and Mental Health Within the Criminal Justice System

The Science of Wellness Courses:

Mindfulness and Meditation: Becoming an Informed Consumer

The Neuroscience of Self-Care

Polyvagal Theory: Accessing the Healing Power of your Nervous System

Introduction to the Science of Cognitive and Emotional Adaptability

Leadership Development Courses:

Motivational Interviewing for Supervisors

Planning and Facilitating Effective Meetings

The Successful and Accountable Nonprofit Courses:

SMART Goals and Logic Models: Roadmaps for Change

How to be an Excellent Brand Ambassador and Effective Networker

HIPAA and Confidentiality

Developing a Customer Service Approach

Planning a Consumer Event: Steps for Success

Defining and Maintaining Professional Boundaries in the Human Services

Strategic Communication: Managing Your Media Presence

Microsoft Office Courses:

Microsoft Excel Training, Part 1: Getting Started with the Basics

Microsoft Excel Training, Part 2: Exploring Data and Creating Reports

Microsoft Excel Training, Part 3: Understanding Advanced Formulas and Creating Graphs

Introduction to Microsoft Teams

Questions about our trainings?

Contact Nikita Joslyn, LMSW, Business Development Manager at 860 343-5500 x2110

Research & Reports

The Institute for Innovative Practice conducts and sponsors a range of research studies and collaborative projects. You can read more about these projects below. Every project championed by the Institute is designed to improve the lives of our clients and their communities.

Institute News

The Connection Training Sessions, Spring/Summer 2020 Courses

Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns,...

The Connection's Institute for Innovative Practice Provides

For over a decade, community-based...

Connecting criminal justice, mental health, and family

The Connection’s uniquely flexible and...

Key Personnel

Michele Klimczak (Co-Director)

Michele Klimczak (Co-Director)
Michele Klimczak, M.A., L.M.S.W., is the Co-Director of the Connection Institute for Innovative Practice and the Director of Training for The Connection. She is also an associate professor in the Human Services Department of Post University in Waterbury, CT. She has over twenty-five years of direct practice and administrative experience in the fields of child welfare and family violence. Her research interests include the developmental effects of complex trauma, innovative case management models, and narrative approaches to recovery.

Dr. David Sells (Research Director)

Dr. David Sells (Research Director)
David Sells, Ph.D., is the Research Director at The Connection Institute for Innovative Practice. He is a licensed clinical psychologist serving on the faculty at the Yale School of Medicine for over ten years, currently as an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health. His research interests include therapeutic relationships, psychological recovery in chronic illness, community reentry following incarceration, and the integration of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. David has published scores of research articles on these and related topics, served as principal investigator on funded grants, and presented his work to audiences both nationally and internationally.

Research Associates

Michael Rowe (Research Consultant)

Michael Rowe (Research Consultant)
Michael Rowe, M.P.H, Ph.D., is a Professor of Sociology in the Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and the Co-Director of the Yale Program on Recovery and Community Health. A medical sociologist, Dr. Rowe’s main areas of study are citizenship as an applied theoretical framework of social inclusion of persons with mental illnesses, homelessness, illness, and peers as providers of support to people with like experiences. He also writes and has conducted research in the areas of narrative medicine and medical errors. He is the author of many peer-review articles, book chapters, and other publications. Among his six books are Citizenship and Mental Health (Oxford University Press), Crossing the Border: Encounters Between Homeless People and Outreach Workers (University of California Press), and The Book of Jesse: A Story of Youth, Illness, and Medicine. (Francis Press).

Chyrell Bellamy (Research Consultant)

Chyrell Bellamy (Research Consultant)
Chyrell Bellamy, M.S.W., Ph.D. is an Associate Professor for Yale University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry’s Program for Recovery and Community Health and the Director of Peer Services and Research. She researches interventions for people with mental illness, co‐occurring disorders, substance abuse, and HIV. Chyrell received her Ph.D. in the Joint program in Social Work and Social Psychology from the University of Michigan and her M.S.W. and B.A. degrees from Rutgers University. As the Director of Peer Services and Research she provides instruction on peer curricula development and training based on her research and practice experience with peer employees; training of peers to conduct research; and research and evaluation of peer support projects. At Yale, she directs a grant funded by NIMH assessing the effectiveness of peer supports in reducing hospitalizations. She is currently conducting a federal study that examines how to improve health care for individuals with psychiatric illness. She proudly identifies as a person with first‐hand lived experiences with mental health and substance abuse and brings these experiences to her work related to prevention and recovery issues.

Dr. Mark Costa (Research Consultant)

Dr. Mark Costa (Research Consultant)
Mark Costa, M.D., M.P.H., is currently an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Department of Psychiatry, Program for Recovery and Community Health. He served for eighteen years as a psychiatrist in Brazil, where he also completed his Master of Public Health degree. His research and practical interest relates to Integrated Health Care and Community Re-entry for people with mental illness and substance abuse challenges.

Contact Us

Main Office
100 Roscommon Dr, Ste. 203
Middletown CT 06457
(860) 343-5500

Fraud Alert Line: To report a concern or fraudulent activity, please call 1-855-868-5656. All calls will be handled anonymously and in a timely manner.

For easy access to our services call our Toll-free Helpline at (855)Help955 — (855)435-7955 anytime during business hours. A trained staff member will assist you with your questions and will guide you to the appropriate Connection service.

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