Board & Advisors
Board of Directors
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
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
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 (https://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
Clarencetine (Teena) Brooks, LMSW, ABD identifies as a trauma survivor and is the Assistant Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)- NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. OCA provides the consumer/peer perspectives to inform the Divisions policy development and community engagement work. Previously, she worked for thirteen years with the Urban Justice Center, an innovative nonprofit that serves New York City’s most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing.
In this position she worked to support the development of impact litigation and public policy strategies to address the criminalization of people with mental health conditions. Teena has also worked closely with the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS). Ms. Brooks served as a Regional Organizer from 2000 to 2006. Teena also served as Co-President of the Board of Directors for NYAPRS from 2006-2008 and co-chaired the organizations’ cultural competence committee and was an active member of the public policy and the strategic planning committees before becoming a consultant for the organization from 2009 to 2014.
She is also currently a lecturer and adjunct professor at Columbia University School of Social Work and has taught social welfare policy at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and Touro School of Social Work. She has received awards for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), The New York Association Psychiatric of Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), and Transitional Services for NY, Inc. Teena is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in the Social Welfare program.
Clarencetine (Teena) Brooks, LMSW, ABD
Erin Connolly is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Yoga Teacher currently working in a local school district. Erin is a graduate of Temple University (BSW, Class of 1999), Widener University (MSW, Class of 2006), Education Policy Leadership Center (Fellow, Class of 2007) and Beyond Asana Yoga Teacher Training (CYT, Class of 2014). Over the past 20 years, she has worked with and on behalf of trauma impacted children, families and communities through trauma-competent advocacy, education and healing-centered engagement and practice.
Erin thrives on interconnectedness and multi-disciplinary approaches which is reflected in her prior work; as a Community Engagement Coordinator for Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Initiative, as a Social Worker at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, as a Forensic Interviewer for a Child Advocacy Center, as the Trauma Initiatives Impact Manager with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, and as an Adjunct Professor at Widener University’s School of Social Work. Erin is an unwavering advocate for creating communities and systems of care that promote whole-being wellness and strength-based services for all.
Erin Connolly, LCSW
Associate Professor of Practice
Trauma Informed Oregon
Portland State University
School of Social Work
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. Mimi Graham is Director of the Florida State University Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy promoting public policy and practices during the critical period from pregnancy to age 3 known as The First 1000 Days of Life. She oversees a multidisciplinary team with a national reputation for excellence across systems and state agencies including child welfare, maternal health, early intervention, juvenile justice, courts, health care, & early learning communities. Her pioneering efforts created an infant mental health movement in Florida, building a professional development network and galvanizing funding to integrate infant mental health across systems. She partnered with the Supreme Court, Office of Court Improvement to create Florida’s Early Childhood Court Initiative enhancing outcomes for maltreated infants and toddlers. She co-authored the widely-used FSU Partners for A Healthy Baby Home Visiting curricular series translating research into practical use with families with over $11 million in sales. She is past president and co-founder of the Florida Association for Infant Mental Health; Fellow of Zero to Three National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families; and past member of the Supreme Court Committee on Children.
Mimi Graham, PhD
organization, 12+, where he worked at an inner-city public high school to promote a college going culture, as well as coaching baseball and basketball. His time in the
school illuminated how education reform could drastically improve other social service systems as well, and toward the end of his fellowship he was accepted into a Masters in Educational Leadership executive cohort. During his Masters, Jesse
got an internship in the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro in the Office of Public Engagement, predominantly working to develop the Pennsylvania
Trauma-Informed Network. Jesse ultimately wrote his thesis on the promises of a trauma-informed education system.
educational and enrichment programs, workforce development, and emergency services available without cost ever being a barrier to entry. In addition to all of the
fundraising responsibilities, Jesse was able to establish new programs for the communities North Light served, including the Lowering Overdose and Violence
Epidemics (LOVE) initiative, which embeds trauma-informed care and resilience-focused programs into all that North Light does. During his time at North Light, Jesse received certification as a trauma-competent professional from Lakeside Global Institute and was elected to CTIPP's board, and ultimately became the
Jesse Kohler, MEd
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
As the Chief Executive Officer of Crossnore School & Children’s Home, Brett Lofits leads an organization that is dedicated to growing healthy futures for children and families. His experience working in a residential program for at-risk children and as a Guardian ad Litem in South Carolina; a youth minister in Texas; and an attorney and the Executive Director of the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte, NC positioned him well to assume the executive role at Crossnore in 2013.
Brett’s executive leadership and strategic planning with the Board of Trustees led Crossnore to a successful merger with The Children’s Home in Winston-Salem, NC to become Crossnore School & Children’s Home in 2017. Services have expanded to underserved counties in western North Carolina through a satellite office opened in Hendersonville, NC in early 2018. He co-founded the Center for Trauma Resilient Communities, a program of Crossnore School & Children’s Home, in 2018. The Center for Trauma Resilient Communities helps organizations embed and embody the science of trauma resilience. Brett works across the nation training organizations to become trauma-informed and to build trauma resilience for their staff and clients.
Brett received his undergraduate degrees in Sociology and Political Science from Furman University. His passion for children eventually sent him to Wake Forest University School of Law to continue his career in child advocacy. In 2018, he was appointed to the North Carolina Child Well-Being Transformation Council by Senator Philip E. Berger and in 2019, he was asked to serve on the Board of the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice. He is past chair of the Board of Trustees for Benchmarks NC, an alliance of agencies helping children, adults and families. Locally, Brett also serves on the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Board of Directors and is past president of the Avery County Rotary Club. Brett also speaks statewide and nationally about child welfare, trauma and resilience, as well as leadership development.
Brett and his family live on the Avery county campus of Crossnore School & Children’s Home and in his free time, he loves to coach youth soccer and basketball. Brett’s greatest love is his wife, Sally, and their three sons, Will, Elijah, and Lawson.
Holly Solomon, Director of Communications | 704-607-9415 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Brett Loftis, JD
Christina Love is an Alutiiq/Sugpiaq (Aleut) woman from Egegik village who was raised in Chitina, Alaska. Christina is open about her lived experiences of domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual assault as a minor, and the connection that the violence she survived has between her substance use disorders, mental health illnesses, and incarceration. Christina serves as the Training and Technical Assistant Expert on Substance Use and Trauma for numerous agencies and communities nationwide. Christina works as a Specialist for the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (ANDVSA), the state’s coalition of domestic and sexual violence programs. At ANDVSA, Christina works with programs, agencies, and communities nationwide to address the roots causes of violence (trauma), continuum of care for support services through strategic initiatives, equity and inclusion, organizational transformation, training and technical assistance, community-based organization, integrated services, curriculum development, evaluation, assessment, and community healing.
Christina’s vision is to serve our nations most targeted populations through bridging the gaps in our systems of care ultimately making access to services accessible, culturally relevant and trauma informed.
Christina’s greatest passion is the liberation through education.
Helga 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 retired from Truman Medical Center (TMC) February, 2016. 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
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.
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 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
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.
Renee Wilson-Simmons, DrPH
Jenifer Urff, JD, has more than 20 years of experience with advocacy, policy development, and technical assistance related to public and private mental health and addiction service systems. She has worked closely with SAMHSA and state behavioral health authorities to deliver technical assistance, training, and creative products to support recovery, community integration, and trauma-informed practices. Currently, she is Director of Knowledge Dissemination and Technical Assistance at the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH), where she is responsible for disseminating research findings and best practices to key stakeholder across the Commonwealth.
Prior to joining MAMH, Jenifer led state technical assistance activities at the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD). From 2014-2017, she was Director of Recovery for the MA Department of Mental Health’s Western Area, where she managed contracts for the peer-led Recovery Learning Community and Afiya, one of fewer than 20 peer-run respite programs in the country, and established and led a Task Force on Trauma-Informed Approaches. From 2003-2014, she was Deputy Director of Mental Health at Advocates for Human Potential (AHP). From 1999-2003, she served as Director of Government Relations and then Senior Policy Counsel at NASMHPD.
Jenifer is a founding member of Building a Trauma-Informed Hampshire County, and serves on the Advisory Board for the SAMHSA Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network. She is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and the University of Michigan Law School.
Jenifer Urff, JD
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
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
Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia (Dr. AMC) graduated from Stanford University and an M.D. from George Washington University. After medical school, Dr. AMC completed four years of training in psychiatry and a fellowship in addiction medicine, both at Oregon Health & Science University.
She is an expert in trauma-informed systems change, and specifically has interacted with numerous and varied aspects of the criminal justice system. She has served on the Portland Community Oversight Advisory Board, charged with monitoring the implementation of the City of Portland’s settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to enact reform to Portland Police Bureau (PPB) policies and training. She has partnered with the Federal Judicial Center and the National Judicial College to provide training for Federal Judges and Probation Officers and State Supreme Court Judges, respectively.
Dr. AMC has trained U.S. Senators and staffers in applying a trauma-informed lens to policies and legislation. She is training various U.S. Probation and Pretrial Service District Offices to facilitate trauma-informed change in U.S. presentencing and sentencing guidelines and post-prison supervision.
While in residency training, Dr. AMC built Healing Hurt People-Portland (HHP), a trauma-informed, hospital-based, community-focused youth violence prevention program.
Dr. AMC's trauma-informed efforts are global as she works in Angola, Africa at their family clinic Centro Medico Bom Samaritano and is the co-founder of The Capuia Foundation.
She is currently working to establish an institute for trauma-informed systems change at McLean Hospital-Harvard Medical School and is the sole author of Training for Change: Transforming Systems to be Trauma-Informed, Culturally Responsive, and Neuroscientifically Focused (2019) and forthcoming book “The Trauma of Racism: Exploring the Systems and People Fear built” (Spring 2021).
She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and children.
Alisha Moreland-Capuia, MD
For over 40 years, Dan Press has provided legal and Washington representation assistance to Indian tribes, Indian organizations, and companies doing business with tribes.
Dan assists tribes with strengthening their tribal governments by helping them develop and implement ordinances that exercise the tribe’s sovereign authority in such areas as employment rights and labor relations. He has helped to establish a range of entities designed to promote economic development in Indian country, including creative use of the special 8(a) rights Congress has provided to tribes and the first multi-tribally owned financial institution. He has also counseled tribes to obtain legislation awarding them hundreds of millions of dollars in land claims settlements, new health facilities, and new authority to promote employment on their reservations. He has special knowledge of Indian land issues, including rights of ways and leases on Indian land and the unique legal issues that arise when doing business on reservations and assisted companies to negotiate various agreements with tribes regarding land use.
Dan has used his years of experience working with tribes and private sector companies to assist his clients to develop productive business partnerships with tribes so that their projects can move forward quickly and cooperatively. He has also assisted his clients with advocating before Congress for funds or new programs to help them strengthen their governments and their economic enterprises.
Dan has litigated in tribal and Federal courts on behalf of tribes and Indian business. Through his extensive knowledge of federal procurement law, he has advised tribes and businesses on contract issues and represented them on such issues in the Court of Federal Claims.
Dan serves as pro bono general counsel for two national organizations that assist communities to apply the science on the causes and effects of historical and childhood trauma to address social and health problems in their communities. The Roundtable on Native American Trauma-Informed Initiatives works to assist Native communities implement comprehensive trauma-informed initiatives while the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice works at the Federal, state and community levels to encourage elected and agency officials to adopt policies that apply the science on trauma to the programs that address the effects of trauma, such as suicide, substance abuse, and domestic violence. It also educates local communities about the benefits of implementing comprehensive trauma-informed initiatives. For six years until retiring in 2017, Dan was an adjunct professor at Columbia University where he taught undergraduate courses on current issues facing Indian tribes to include Issues in Tribal Government and Native American Economic Development. He also co-taught an original course called The Holocaust and Genocide in America in which the students examined these two genocidal events and the way the United States government and the public have treated each in recent years.
In November 2018, Dan received the Public Advocacy award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for "Outstanding and Fundamental Contributions to Advancing the Social Understanding of Trauma," and is the author of "A How-To Handbook on Creating Comprehensive, Integrated Trauma- Informed Initiatives in Native American Communities."
Pro Bono Attorney
Lina is a mission-driven senior and executive leader with over two decades tenure in the social and human services sector, advancing traumatic stress theory and ACEs awareness into practice across multiple service industries. She has worked with non-profits and government agencies utilizing a strengths-based and resilience-centered approach to promote well-being, health and social-emotional learning for direct service clients and the professionals working within these organizations. Lina worked alongside Dr. Sandra Bloom to adapt and research the efficacy of the Sanctuary Model of Trauma-Informed Care for children and adolescents and served as a faculty member of the Sanctuary Institute since its inception. She has provided trauma-informed and trauma-responsive implementation expertise and consultation to multiple organizations and their leadership teams throughout the US and Internationally. In addition, Lina has served as a senior administrator of program operations for non-profit youth and family based organizations throughout her career - with a focus on child welfare and residential services. In 2014, Lina was awarded the opportunity to participate in the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge, resulting in the development of the Center for Trauma-Informed Practice. She has held positions as a researcher and training specialist for Columbia University and Fordham University and has taught as an Adjunct Faculty at Iona College. Lina Pasquale holds two graduate degrees from Teachers College, Columbia University and The New School for Social Research.
Lina remains active in her local community as a Girl Scout troop leader and engaging in volunteer programs alongside her children. You can find Lina and her children spending quality family and community-time together volunteering at the local food pantry, nature center, and animal rescue shelter.
Lina E. Pasquale, MA
Marlo Nash is a policy advocacy and systems strategist experienced in network engagement to influence public policy and systems change. Her contributions include training and mentoring advocates, leading public policy campaigns, and providing support to policymakers, advocates, and business leaders on change making initiatives. Her practice of working on undoing racism and systemic inequities is both a personal and professional commitment. She is passionate about ensuring that all children and families are equitably supported in achieving their full potential and believes that restructuring today’s systems to build or re-build well-being, cultivate resilience, and address trauma and ACEs is at the center of the work.
Lindsay Broyhill has a decade of experience raising awareness and funds on behalf of children, women, and families with low incomes. Lindsay is the Director of Strategic Programs and Administration at the Winer Family Foundation, where she leads strategic planning, program management, and communications strategies with the president and founder. She previously led communications strategy and supported fundraising and grantmaking at Ascend, a policy program at the Aspen Institute focused on building intergenerational cycles of prosperity for families in the U.S. Prior to joining Ascend, she was an account supervisor at Widmeyer Communications, a public policy communications firm, where she managed communications projects for early childhood education, K-12 public education, education technology, and public health organizations and agencies. Broyhill graduated from Cornell University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina.