Board & Advisors
Board of Directors
Dr. Sandra L. Bloom is a Board-Certified psychiatrist, graduate of Temple University School of Medicine and currently Associate Professor, Health Management and Policy at the Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University. From 1980-2001, Dr. Bloom served as Founder and Executive Director of the Sanctuary programs, inpatient psychiatric programs for the treatment of trauma-related emotional disorders and during those years was also President of the Alliance for Creative Development, a multidisciplinary outpatient practice group. Dr. Bloom is recognized nationally and internationally as the founder of the Sanctuary Model. Between 2005 and 2016 over 350 social service, juvenile justice and mental health organizations were trained in the Sanctuary Model.
Dr. Bloom is a Past-President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and author or co- author of a series of books on trauma-informed care: Creating Sanctuary: Toward the Evolution of Sane Societies published in 1997 with a second edition in 2013; Destroying Sanctuary: The Crisis in Human Delivery Service Systems published by Oxford University Press in 2010 and Restoring Sanctuary: A New Operating System for Trauma-Informed Systems of Care, published by Oxford University Press in 2013. She is currently co-chairing a new national organization, CTIPP – The Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice whose goal is to advocate for public policies and programs at the federal, state, local and tribal levels that incorporate up-to-date scientific findings regarding the relationship between trauma across the lifespan and many social and health problems (http://www.ctipp.org). Since 2012, Dr. Bloom has also served as served as Co-chair for the Philadelphia ACEs Task Force http://www.philadelphiaaces.org/ . Dr. Bloom’s website is www.sanctuaryweb.com and her many publications can be downloaded from that site.
Sandra L. Bloom, MD
Andrea Blanch, PhD, is an independent consultant with expertise in mental health, trauma- informed approaches and systems change. Her clients include the federal government, state health and human service departments, local municipalities, and a variety of local and statewide agencies and coalitions. She has done significant work for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including writing a number of seminal policy documents. She also staffed the federal Interagency Workgroup on Women and Trauma for eight years. She is currently Co-Chair and Acting Director of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice (CTIPP), a national organization promoting trauma-informed public policy. Andrea also directs a non-profit organization, the Center for Religious Tolerance, which conducts interfaith peace building and women’s empowerment programs in the U.S and across the globe. She was active in second wave feminism and the disability rights movement, and has published numerous articles, book reviews, and book chapters on women’s mental health, empowerment, social change, and trauma-informed approaches. She was a 2009 Fellow in the Women, Religion and Globalization program at Yale University, was awarded the 2010 annual Duisberg Peace Award by the Southwest Florida Coalition on Peace and Justice, and in 2012 received the Elisabeth Schilder Memorial Scholarship Award for her interfaith work.
Andrea Blanch, PhD
Diane Wagenhals, BA, MEd, Fellow with the Child Trauma Academy, CFLE, PQAS Certified
Diane Wagenhals is a Program Director for Lakeside Educational Network. Current responsibilities include overseeing programming and authoring curriculum for the Lakeside Global Institute program (formerly recognized as the Institute for Family Professionals). Since 2003 she has authored 33 courses, each with an accompanying trainers’ manuals. She has been an adjunct instructor for Jefferson University, authoring four courses for which students can receive a trauma minor. She has been a fellow with the Child Trauma Academy since 2010. She completed the Sanctuary Model training in 2011. She received certification as a Pennsylvania PQAS (Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System) instructor in 2007 and is a Certified Family Life Educator. She has been a member of the Executive Committee of CTIPP, the Campaign for Trauma- Informed Policy and Practice since 2016. Ms. Wagenhals has been an elementary school teacher, a childbirth educator, a family therapist and founder of a parenting education company. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from West Chester University and performed graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Maryland in Rehabilitation Counseling. She received a Master’s of Education Degree in Psycho- Educational Processes, specializing in Family Therapy, from Temple University.
Diane Wagenhals, BA, MEd
Suzanne O'Connor is the Director of Education for Impact at United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey where she provides strategic direction and leads the development and execution of education strategies, including United Way's Regional Trauma-Informed Care initiative.
Prior to that, Suzanne was an elementary and pre-K teacher, parenting educator, and a childcare director. Her training is in Early Childhood and Urban Education, with a certificate in Trauma Studies from Saint Joseph's University.
Suzanne O'Connor, MEd
Father Paul Abernathy is an Orthodox Christian priest and the Director of FOCUS Pittsburgh, an Orthodox Christian non-profit focused on Trauma Informed Community Development located in the Hill District, Pittsburgh Pa. He has B.A. in International Studies from Wheeling Jesuit University, and holds a Master in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a Master of Divinity from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. Since its inception in 2011, FOCUS Pittsburgh has distributed millions of dollars in food, clothing, furniture, transportation assistance, Identification, and emergency relief to the Greater Pittsburgh Community which includes a Back Pack Feeding Program that distributes food to 2,700 children every weekend during the school year. Father Paul is also the CEO of the FOCUS Pittsburgh Free Health Center which offers free primary, behavioral health, and dental care to Pittsburgh’s uninsured and underinsured. Under his leadership all FOCUS Pittsburgh programing has been developed as part of an overall initiative currently underway to address Community Trauma called Trauma Informed Community Development, to include a Trauma Response Team for acute stress as a result of homicides in Allegheny County (in partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department). In addition to his work with FOCUS Pittsburgh, Fr. Paul is and has been a member of multiple community boards and committees to include the PA State Parole Citizens Advisory Committee, Neighborhood Allies Grassroots Grant Making Committee, Allegheny County Health Department’s Violence Prevention Community Advisory Board, and is a Foundation of HOPE board member. A former Non-Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army, Father Paul is a combat veteran of the Iraq War and has received community awards to include the rank of Eagle Scout, the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40 award, Larry Richert’s Hometown Hero Award, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 under 40, and Wheeling Jesuit University’s Fr. Pedro Arrupe Distinguished Alumni Award. Fr. Paul is the pastor of St. Moses Orthodox Christian Mission also located in the Hill District.
Paul Abernathy, MPIA, MDiv
Christina D. Bethell, PhD, MBA, MPH Dr. Bethell is a Professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she advances a new integrated Science of Thriving to promote early and lifelong health of children, youth, families and communities.
With roots in culturally-competent, community-engaged approaches to assessing and improving population health, she is the founding director (1996) of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI); which was founded in Portland, Oregon as a national collaboration to define and advance measuring, collecting data and disseminating actionable information on child, youth and family well-being at local, state, and national levels. Since 2014 within the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Bethell has been leading CAHMI’s work to promote “top down” (research and data for policy, program design, accountability and partnerships), “bottom up” (tools and data for engagement in communities and services) and “inside out” (models and methods for mindful, data driven partnerships to innovate and improve) efforts to create inspired and lasting transformation in population health and well-being and the effectiveness of systems of care.
As founder of the National Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health in 2003 and the National Maternal and Child Health Measurement Research Network she continues to catalyze mindful, data driven community partnerships by developing and liberating data for public use and in systems performance reporting. Family-driven health improvement tools, like the Well Visit Planner (www.wellvisitplanner.org) engage and coach families to reflect on health and needs, select priorities and align services to leverage family strengths, build trust, consider social context and meet family goals. Dr. Bethell is dedicated to building self, family and community led healing of developmental, intergenerational and community level trauma. To this end, she initiated and led the design of a recently published national agenda to address childhood trauma and promote healing and well-being. Also related is the Mindfulness in Pediatrics and Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Consortium she launched to support the integration of mind-body-heart and trauma-informed leadership mindsets, skills and tools into the MCH workforce, programs and policy.
She earned an MBA an MPH from the University of California, Berkeley and PhD in public policy from the University of Chicago and has authored over 100 journal articles and works to build knowledge and action. She teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Healing Through Revealing methods and is an avid student of transparent communication, presence and human evolution. She has earned certification through the NeuroLeadership Institute, writes poetry, dances and believes that connection with ourselves, life and others is the source of our creativity and joy.
Christina D. Bethell, PhD, MBA, MPH
Meagan Corrado is a Doctor of Social Work and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is the creator of the Storiez Trauma Narrative intervention (www.storiezguide.com) and has authored seven books. She is a full- time faculty member at Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She provides therapy to inner city youth in the Philadelphia and Camden, NJ areas. She earned her DSW from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, her Masters of Social Services from Bryn Mawr College in 2009. She specializes in work with children and teenagers who have had difficult life experiences. She completed trainings in a variety of modalities. Her experience includes clinical work in a variety of settings including community mental health agencies, residential treatment facilities, schools, hospitals, and homes. She takes a creative approach to her work with children, adolescents, and families, incorporating elements of art, music, poetry, and play therapy in her clinical practice.
Dr. Meagan is also a mixed media mosaic artist who works in alcohol ink, collage, and tempered glass. She creates layered artwork to express inner emotions, personal experiences, and elements of her life narrative. Her work has been featured in juried art shows and solo exhibitions. Dr. Meagan’s interest in creatively helping others process difficult life experiences began at a very early age when she helped family members and friends process feelings about significant life issues. Dr. Meagan’s work is inspired by her interactions with children and families as well as her own personal experiences with trauma.
Meagan Corrado, DSW, LCSW
Dr. Davis is an Associate Professor of Practice at Portland State University’s School of Social Work and a licensed clinical social worker. She is Director of Trauma Informed Oregon, a program primarily funded by the Oregon Health Authority, to advance trauma informed care throughout organizations and systems through training, consultation, and implementation resources. Dr. Davis teaches and lectures on implementing trauma informed care and trauma specific services. Her current interests include measuring change when organizations and systems implement the principles of trauma informed care, the impact of toxic stress on the workforce, intersectionality between equity work, and the impact of systemic oppression.
Mandy Davis, PhD, LCSW
Bob Doppelt is the Executive Director of The Resource Innovation Group (TRIG), a 501c3 non-profit affiliated with Willamette University in Oregon, where is he a Senior Fellow. Trained in both counseling psychology (M.S.) and environmental science (M.S.), Bob has combined the two fields throughout his career. In addition, he is also a long-time mindfulness teacher (Spirit Rock Mediation Center) and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Instructor (University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Mindfulness).
Early in his career Bob worked at the Lane County Juvenile Department as a delinquency prevention specialist and family therapist. He then ran an outdoor education business and founded and for 10 years directed the Pacific Rivers Council. He established TRIG in 1996 and until 2002 it was affiliated with the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University, where Bob taught part-time. From 2003 until 2013, TRIG was affiliated with the University of Oregon. During that period Bob also directed the UO Climate Leadership Initiative in the Institute for a Sustainable Environment. From 2003 until 2018 he taught systems thinking and global warming policy in the UO Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management.
Bob led the campaign that established the largest river protection act in U.S. history, the 1988 Oregon Omnibus National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. He helped create the aquatic ecosystem conservation framework that the Clinton Administration applied to federal lands across the west, and helped organize the watershed council movement now utilized by many states. He led the campaigns that formally engaged the states Washington and Oregon in ecological sustainability. Under his direction TRIG also played a leadership role in creating the climate resilience movement by organizing the SE Florida Climate Resilience Compact, hosting the climate communications Climate Access platform, establishing the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP), and helping a number of states, counties, and cities develop their first climate resiliency plans.
Through this work Bob realized that the human psychological and psychosocial dimensions of the climate crisis were essential but not being addressed so in 2015 he organized TRIG's Transformational Resilience Program. This led to the International Transformational Resilience Coalition (ITRC), a network he coordinates of over 350 mental health, resilience, climate, faith, and other professionals working to build personal and psycho-social-spiritual resilience for the traumas and toxic stresses of climate change worldwide.
Bob is the author of a number of books on the interface between psychological, psychosocial, and environmental wellbeing. His most recent book isTransformational Resilience: How Building a Culture of Human Resilience Can Safeguard Society and Increase Wellbeing(Greenleaf Publishing 2016). He also authored From Me to We: The Five Transformative Commitments Required To Rescue the Planet, Your Organization, and Your Life(Greenleaf Publishing, 2012); The Power of Sustainable Thinking: How To Create a Positive Future for the Climate, The Planet and Your Life (Earthscan Publishing, 2008), which in the summer of 2010 was deemed by Audubon Magazine to be one of the “eleven most important books on climate change”; and Leading Change Toward Sustainability: A Change Management Guide for Business, Government, and Civil Society(Greenleaf Publishing, 2003), which just six months after its release was deemed one of the "ten most important publications in sustainability" by a GlobeScan survey of international sustainability experts.
Bob facilitates workshops and is a frequent speaker at conferences in the U.S. and abroad. In 2014 he was the recipient of a Bellagio Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2015 he was named one the world’s “50 Most Talented Social Innovators” by the World CRS Congress.
Bob Doppelt, MS
Wendy Ellis is the Project Director of the Building Community Resilience collaborative at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. The Building Community Resilience (BCR) collaborative and networks are testing and implementing a model based on Ms. Ellis’ research in designing a strategic process for child health systems to align resources, programs and initiatives with community based partners to address adverse childhood experiences and adverse community environments-- or as Ellis has coined it "The Pair of ACEs". The strengths based approach is aimed at building the infrastructure to promote resilience in vulnerable communities by improving access to supports and buffers that help individuals 'bounce back' and communities thrive. The BCR model is being tested in five major metropolitan areas including Cincinnati, OH; Dallas, TX; Portland, OR; Washington, DC, St. Louis and Kansas City, MO. and is supported in part by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Kresge Foundation. Ms. Ellis co-authored an article detailing the BCR process, "A New Framework for Addressing Adverse Childhood and Community Experiences: The Building Community Resilience Model" which can be found in the September 2017 Journal of Academic Pediatrics.
Ms. Ellis has spent the last decade developing and working to grow a 'resilience movement' to address systemic inequities that contribute to social and health disparities that are often transmitted in families and communities from generation to generation. In 2018 Ms. Ellis was selected as an Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow.
Wendy Ellis, DrPH, MPH
Dr. Felter, Associate Professor, is Chair of the Counseling and Behavioral Health Department and Director of the Community and Trauma Counseling (CTC) Program at Thomas Jefferson University, among the few clinical graduate programs nationally to offer a fully integrated trauma counseling curriculum. Dr. Felter conceived of and spearheads the annual Philadelphia Trauma Training Conference at Jefferson, a week- long training event that gathers a national and international audience of providers, researchers, policy makers, and community members invested in addressing the needs of trauma-impacted individuals and communities. Finally, Dr. Felter serves as the Co- Director of Jefferson’s Trauma Education Network (J-TEN), a grant funded initiative aimed at growing a network of trauma-informed providers and communities, improving the quality of care and services delivered, and ultimately improving health, psychological and educational outcomes of residents in the Philadelphia region and beyond.
Dr. Felter earned a Masters in Counseling and a PhD in Education Psychology from the Catholic University of America. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Pennsylvania. Dr. Felter has clinical expertise in the treatment of urban children, adolescents and families who have endured adverse experiences and traumatic stress. She has served as a clinical supervisor, trainer and consultant for many schools and organizations regionally, including the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the School District of Philadelphia, Lehigh and Allentown Counties and School Districts, and Philadelphia’s Community Behavioral Health organization. She engaged as a Faculty Expert for the Defending Childhood Initiative, a national program sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and coordinated by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice to help selected states develop and implement a strategic plan for identifying, assessing, and treating children who suffer from trauma. An active participant in the local and national trauma movement, Dr. Felter is a Steering Committee member of The Philadelphia Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Taskforce, and a board member for the Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy and Practice.
Jeanne M. Felter, PhD, LPC
A social worker at heart, Leslie Lieberman believes deeply in the power of relationships to create change and heal. Leslie has spent her professional life working at the cross-roads of public health and social work, bringing together and fostering relationships among diverse groups who collectively address pressing health and social justice issues. Prior to coming to the Health Federation of Philadelphia in 2007, Leslie served as the Program Director for the award winning Early Start Perinatal Substance Abuse Program at Kaiser Permanente for 10 years. Today, Leslie is the Senior Director of Training and Organizational Development at the Health Federation where she leads a multi-disciplinary department which builds organizational, system, and community capacity for trauma informed care, HIV/AIDS care, resilience and healing. Leslie continues to be guided by her passion to assist others as they work to transform visions into reality. Leslie holds a masters degree in social work from the University of California at Berkeley and received her BA Cum Laude from Carleton College. In 2017, Leslie was recognized as a Sesame Street “Sesame Hero” for her long term commitment to improving the lives of young children.
Leslie Lieberman, MSW
Helga Luest is a senior manager of communications with Abt Associates, leading efforts with HHS, DOJ, Ed, and EPA. She is the project director for the National Bullying Prevention Initiative and StopBullying.gov, a partnership of many federal agencies. Helga has worked in public interest public relations and health communications, providing strategic counsel and communications support over the past 25 years. She was a television news producer earlier in her career. In 2018 she ran for Maryland State Delegate and, although not advancing from the primary election, Helga remains very engaged in community efforts and advocates to address climate change and promote trauma informed approaches. Helga is an expert on behavioral health issues, violence and bullying prevention, child abuse and neglect, family and domestic violence, and trauma-informed support. In 2016 Helga was appointed to the Maryland Governor’s Family Violence Council, she has served the U.S. Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus Advisory Group since 2009, and currently supports the development of the U.S. Congressional Trauma-Informed Care Caucus. In 2011 she was awarded the Congressional Unsung Hero Award for her effective advocacy work on violence prevention and response.
Helga’s passion for this work stems from her work with survivors to turn the dark cloud of violence into positive social change – something she learned in her own experience as a survivor of attempted murder and domestic abuse. The criminal justice process became a Forensic Files episode, as her case was one of the first in the United States to be tried with dental pathology as critical evidence. Outside of work, Helga facilitates a community art collaboration that is proving to build personal and community resilience. Luest is a distance runner who has completed 15 marathons. She is the mother of teenage twins, has two rescued dogs, and resides in Rockville, MD.
Helga Luest, MA
Marsha Morgan retired from Truman Medical Center (TMC) in February of 2016. While there, she served as the Chief Operating Officer for Behavioral Health for 23 years. During her career of 45 years, she was always an advocate for people with mental illnesses and disabilities. Marsha has been involved with creating trauma informed and resilient organizations since 2009. TMC was one of the Missouri Department of Mental Health’s early adopters for trauma informed care and a participant in the National Council of Community Behavioral Health’s first trauma informed learning collaborative. Marsha’s work at TMC included creating a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders’ specialty service, and bringing trauma informed practices to primary and medical specialty clinics. At her direction, grant funding was secured to initiate several innovative community projects. These projects include: training community mental health providers, developing secondary trauma training for first responders, and trainings to create trauma sensitive schools.
Her community involvement includes being a co-founder of Trauma Matters KC and serving on the following community boards and committees where she consistently promoted creating trauma informed and resilient communities: Missouri Coalition of Community Behavioral Healthcare, Chamber of Commerce Healthy KC Behavioral Health Committee, Community Network for Behavioral Health Care, and Metro Council of Community Mental Health Centers. Marsha has provided training and consultation to a variety of organizations who are committed to becoming trauma informed. Marsha was the Kansas City team lead for the 2015 Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) meeting which was convened to advise SAMHSA on ways to create trauma informed communities. She was a presenter at the September, 2015 Federal Partners on Trauma National Dialogue where she presented on trauma informed schools. She was also the team lead to a SAMHSA session that focused on developing outcome measures.
Since retiring from TMC, Marsha created her company, Resilience Builders. She has co-facilitated learning collaboratives in Missouri, facilitated trauma responsive trainings for the Missouri Department of Mental Health, supported Trauma Matters KC grant implementation, and is working with the Campaign for Trauma Informed Policy and Practice, a National organization promoting trauma informed policy and practice across the nation.
Marsha Morgan, MPA
Darby Penney, a long-time activist in the human rights movement for people with psychiatric histories, is president of The Community Consortium, which works to end marginalization and promote community integration for people with psychiatric labels. She is also a Senior Research Associate with Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. Darby has published and lectured nationally and internationally on issues including trauma-informed peer support and the history of psychiatry from patients' perspectives. With Peter Stastny, she is the author of The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic (Bellevue Literary Press, 2008).
Darby Penney, MLS
Laura Porter has more than a decade of experience leading successful implementation of ACE Study concepts in Washington State in partnership with over 30 communities and nine Tribes. In addition to her work in Washington, Laura works with leaders in over 20 states, providing education, facilitation, and empowerment strategies for building self-healing communities. Laura provides support and services to a wide range of groups… from parents and youth who are convening neighborhood conversations, to philanthropic leaders and government officials who are using ACE science in investment and policy decisions. She and Dr. Robert Anda founded ACE Interface to help leaders to use ACE concepts to build Self-Healing Communities. Laura loves to travel, garden, learn, and play with her children and grandchildren.
Elizabeth Prewitt has served as the Policy Analyst for the ACEs Connection since 2013. ACEs Connection uses journalism and social media to increase knowledge about and demand for programs and policies aimed at preventing adverse childhood experiences and building resilience in individuals, systems, families, and communities. Nearly 30,000 people have joined ACEs Connection to share information, ideas, and strategies to reduce ACEs. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment support the Network.
Previously, she served as Director of Government Relations and Public Policy for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) from 2006 to 2011 where she worked on health care reform and mental health parity. Before NASMHPD, she was Director of Governmental Affairs for the American College of Physicians. She served on the legislative staff of several members of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. Ms. Prewitt holds a master's degree in Legislative Affairs from George Washington University.
Elizabeth Prewitt, MPS
From 2006 to 2012 Dr. Shern served as the President and CEO of Mental Health America (MHA), formerly the National Mental Health Association and on an interim basis in 2014 following the departure of his successor. MHA is the country’s oldest advocacy organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness. After leaving MHA Shern joined the staff of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors as a Senior Public Health Advisor. He also has an appointment in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins.
Prior to joining MHA, Dr. Shern served as dean of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) at the University of South Florida, one of the largest research and training institutes in behavioral health services in the United States.
His work has spanned a variety of mental health services research topics including serving street dwelling individuals with SMI; epidemiological studies of the need for community services; the effects of differing organizational, financing and service delivery strategies on continuity of care and client outcome and the use of alternative service delivery strategies such as peer counseling and self help on the outcomes of care.
David L. Shern, PhD
Carole Warshaw, M.D., is the Director of the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health (the US DHHS ACF, Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, Special Issue Resource Center on these issues). Dr. Warshaw has been at the forefront of developing collaborative models and building system capacity to address the mental health, substance use and advocacy concerns of survivors of DV and other trauma and to create accessible, culturally responsive, domestic violence- and trauma-informed services and organizations. She has written and spoken extensively on these topics and has served as an advisor to numerous health, mental health and advocacy organizations and federal agencies. She has maintained a private practice in psychiatry since 1989 and is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois.
Carole Warshaw, MD
Renée Wilson-Simmons, DrPH, a child and adolescent development expert, is executive director of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) Awareness Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee. She joined the foundation from New York, where she served for six years as director of the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), a nonpartisan public policy research center at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She was also faculty in the Department of Health Policy and Management and a member of the executive steering committee for Trauma-Free NYC, a Columbia University-community partnership that is identifying and promoting trauma-informed practice and policy in New York City.
Prior to leading NCCP, Dr. Wilson-Simmons was the Senior Associate for Adolescent Health & Development at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in Baltimore, Maryland, where she managed the foundation’s investment strategy for adolescent health and taking to larger scale evidence-based interventions that improve systems and frontline practice. She also directed Plain Talk/Hablando Claro, a neighborhood-based, family-centered initiative operating in 16 sites across the U.S. designed to increase the quantity and quality of adult-teen communication as well as access to age-appropriate reproductive health services and resources.
Before joining the Casey Foundation, Dr. Wilson-Simmons was Associate Director of the Center for Research on High-Risk Behaviors at Education Development Center, where she developed and managed a range of projects that addressed the health and safety needs of youths living in high-poverty areas. She was also director of the Health Promotion Program for Urban Youth at Boston City Hospital, principal investigator of the first Office of Minority Health-funded grant to develop a community-based coalition to prevent homicide in the African American community, and director of a five-year National Institutes of Health funded intervention study of the long-term impact of a comprehensive adolescent health program on reductions in multiple-risk behaviors related to violence, substance abuse, and early and unprotected sexual activity among inner-city African American and Hispanic youths. The intervention, Reach for Health, was named a promising program by the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Wilson-Simmons grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and between her undergraduate and graduate studies was a reporter for The Pittsburgh Courier. She earned a doctorate in public health, with a concentration in maternal and child health, from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; a master’s degree in urban journalism from the University of Minnesota; and a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Shippensburg University.
Renée Wilson-Simmons, DrPH