Mindweather Interviews – Brief Bios

Amishi Jha, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Miami Amishi Jha is a cognitive neuroscientist who studies the neural bases of attention and the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction training (MBSR), a Western-style cognitive-affective intervention with origins in the meditative traditions of the East. With grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and several private foundations, she has been systematically investigating the potential applications of MBSR in education, attention deficits, healthy aging and the military. Her work has been featured in the Journal of Cognitive NeuroscienceEmotion, and Brain Research and she is a reviewing editor of Frontiers in Neuroscience.  As a pioneer in the field, Amishi is making important and far-reaching contributions to cognitive neuroscience and attention training – areas of considerable importance to educators, public health officials and others. To learn more about Amishi’s work, visit http://amishi.com/ or @amishijha for ongoing updates!


Amy Saltzman, M.D., Menlo Park, California.  Amy Saltzman is a holistic physician, mindfulness coach, scientist, wife, mother, devoted student of transformation, long-time athlete, and occasional poet. Her passion is supporting people of all ages in enhancing their well being, and discovering the Still Quiet Place within. She is recognized by her peers as a visionary and pioneer in the fields of holistic medicine and mindfulness for youth. Dr. Saltzman has offered mindfulness to young people from pre-K to college undergrads in socioeconomically diverse school, and community settings. She has conducted two research studies evaluating the benefits of teaching mindfulness to child-parent pairs, and to children in low-income elementary schools; these research projects were conducted in collaboration with the Department of Psychology at Stanford University.  Dr. Saltzman is trained in Internal Medicine, a founding diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine, founder and director of the Association for Mindfulness in Education, and a founding member of the Northern California Advisory Committee on Mindfulness. She served on the Board of Trustees of the American Holistic Medical Association for eight years, and was the first medical director of the integrative Health and Healing Clinic, at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. In 2002, Dr. Saltzman established a private practice in Menlo Park , CA , where she provides holistic medical care and individual mindfulness instruction to children, teens and adults. She also offers presentations and courses for young children, teens, parents, educators, and health care professionals.


Ann Rider, CEO, Recovery Empowerment Network.  Ann Rider is a social worker and mediator by training, and a writer and gardener by avocation. Using her own experience recovering from psychiatric disability and addiction, Ann developed and implemented Peer Specialist training for two agencies and for the state of Arizona. She worked as the mental health advocate for Arizona’s Protection and Advocacy system, and has taught peer support and recovery classes in Arizona, Canada, and New Zealand. Ann is the CEO of Recovery Empowerment Network in Arizona, an advocate, and a faculty associate at Arizona State University.


Catherine Penney, R.N.  Cathy’s story of recovery is featured in the book Dante’s Cure, by Dr. Daniel Dorman.  Cathy first experienced signs of schizophrenia when she was seventeen years of age – leading to nearly three years hospitalization. She fully recovered, and went on to obtain a certificate as a licensed psychiatric technician and then finished the requirements for licensure as a registered nurse. Cathy subsequently worked in direct patient care on the wards of a number of psychiatric hospitals, finally retiring in 2009 from Riverside County Department Of Mental Health after working there 15 years.  She has also served on the Regional Access Commission, an organization that grants funding for unmet mental health needs in the Palm Springs, California area from 1998-2001.  In total, she worked in the mental health field for 32 years. Since 2010, Cathy has worked part time as a clinical instructor for an RN nursing program at a local community college. She often speaks about mental health issues to various groups – including the Palm Springs Human Rights Commission. Cathy lives near Palm Springs and enjoys interpretive and flamenco dancing – and has performed in a number of festivals, resorts and productions, including the musical Carmen.


Chris McKenna – Executive Director, The Mind Body Awareness Project.  Chris has spent over a decade working with diverse communities suffering from high incidents of trauma and violence. From 2006-2009, he was Outreach Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability, an NGO launched out of Amnesty International that provides legal and psychosocial services to victims of torture, genocide and war crimes from over 20 countries. He was also the Executive Director of Tibet Justice Center, an NGO which does international advocacy on Tibetan human rights, religious freedom and environmental issues for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, and a campaigner on WITNESS’s “Books Not Bars” initiative, working with grassroots prison reform groups to challenge youth incarceration policies in the U.S. He has a fifteen-year history with mindfulness meditation and has taught mindfulness practices to refugees with post-traumatic stress disorder and other severe mental health conditions. He is on the Advisory Council of “Honoring the Path of the Warrior” – a project of the San Francisco Zen Center which teaches mindfulness and somatic awareness techniques to U.S. soldiers returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Chris also serves on the Executive Committee of the Tibetan Association of Northern California, focusing on the effort to acquire a community center for Tibetan refugees living in the Bay Area. He has a degree in Religion and Asian Studies from Columbia University and has had the good fortune to study with several excellent teachers in the Buddhist and Daoist traditions.


Daniel Dorman, M.D.  Daniel Dorman is the author of Dante’s Cure, an account of his work with Catherine Penney.  Daniel attended Indiana University for his undergraduate degree, and received his M.D. degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1961. His postgraduate education includes an internship at Georgetown University Division of District of Columbia General Hospital, and a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship in neurophysiology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Dr. Dorman worked and borrowed to support himself all through his medical school and postgraduate years. He practiced family medicine in Huntington Beach, California from 1963-69 to pay off the debt. He then entered residency training in psychiatry at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine, graduating in 1972. He also is a graduate of the Los Angeles Psychoanalytic Institute. Dr. Dorman is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, and has been practicing and teaching psychotherapy for over thirty years. Dr. Dorman’s personal interests center around making art. He is an accomplished portraitist, working in charcoal, and colored pencils and chalks. He lives in Los Angeles.


David Cohen, Ph.D., Florida International University. In 2012, as recipient of the Distinguished Tocqueville-Fulbright Chair Award, David Cohen will be visiting Professor at Université de Poitiers, France.  David Cohen’s research and scholarship seeks to develop lines of critical thought as alternatives to biopsychiatric conceptions of distress and misbehavior and to conventional views about the “safety and efficacy” of psychiatric drug treatment. He has contributed to clinical practice by elaborating self-help and professional help methods aimed at clients withdrawing from the use of psychiatric drugs, and to help clinicians in the assessment of clients’ medication histories and experiences. His research experience spans epidemiological surveys to in-depth qualitative inquiries, with nearly 30 externally funded projects as principal or co-investigator. With a grant from the U.S. Attorneys General Consumer and Prescriber Grant Program and in collaboration with Inge Sengelmann, Dr. Cohen created CriticalThinkRx in 2008, a critical curriculum on psychotropic medications aimed at non-medical practitioners and advocates in child welfare and mental health. CriticalThinkRx has been taken by over 4,000 social workers, psychologists and attorneys for continuing education credits, and is being updated for content for 2012. (www.criticalthinkrx.org). Dr. Cohen is author or co-author on 120 publications journals and books in social work, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, medicine, law, ethics, and nursing. His edited or co-edited books include Challenging the Therapeutic State (1990), Tardive Dyskinesia and Cognitive Dysfunction (1993), and Critical New Perspectives on ADHD (2006). His co-authored books include Critical Handbook of Psychiatric Drugs (1995) and Your Drug May Be Your Problem (1999 and 2007). He has received the Elliot Freidson Award for outstanding publication in medical sociology, the Times Educational Supplement Award for Best Academic Book, and the Distinguished Researcher Award from the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry. In 2011, he received the FIU Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has given scores of conferences around the world and his views have appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and on NPR’s Science Friday.


Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is in private practice in West Los Angeles and author of The Now Effect (Simon and Schuster, 2012) and co-author of, A Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn. His work synthesizes key insights of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing – offering practical strategies to calm our anxious minds, transform negative emotions, and facilitate greater self acceptance, freedom and inner peace. As a licensed Psychologist, Dr. Goldstein has taught mindfulness-based programs in his own practice and through InsightLA. He has spoken at the UCLA Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Conference, The NICABM Conference, the UCLA Semel Institute and Anxiety Disorder Clinic, the University of Washington with Dr. Alan Marlatt, and at UCLA Extension. He is author of the popular Mindfulness and Psychotherapy Blog on Psychcentral.com and Mentalhelp.net. He has designed the 12-week Mindfulness at Work program for Emindful and AETNA’s corporate clients and has been published in The Journal of Clinical Psychology and quoted in the New York Daily News, Reuters, NPR, UCLA Today, Examiner.com, Beliefnet.com, Body & Soul, and The Week Magazine. His previous offerings include Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety and DepressionMindful Solutions for Addiction and Relapse PreventionMindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work, and Mindful Solutions for Adults with ADD/ADHD, and an online multimedia program, Mindfulness, Anxiety and Stress.

Jacob Hess, Ph.D., Co-founder, All of Life


Jill Littrell, PhD, Department of Social Work, Georgia State University.  Jill is a professor in the School of Social Work at Georgia State University where she has taught since 1992. She received an MSSW in l972 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and then worked for many years in child welfare, at a state psychiatric hospital, and in residential treatment for adolescent girls. Following this, she returned to school and received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Arizona State University in l982. She worked in the Department of Drug and Alcohol Dependence at CIGNA Health Plan for five years while writing a two volume work on alcoholism, Understanding and treating alcoholism (Lawrence Erlbaum). Dr. Littrell has published extensively on issues related to mental health and substance abuse, including in Social Work Research, Journal of Social Work Research, Health & Social Work, Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, Community Mental Health Journal, and Journal of Social Work Practice with Addictions. Jill received her PhD from the Arizona State University Clinical Psychology–with a research focus on the emerging field of psychoneuroimmunology. Other primary research interests include psychopathology, substance abuse, and the relationship between mind and body; emotional vicissitudes and health statues of those who are HIV positive.


Joanne Cacciatore, PhD, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Arizona State University.  Dr. Joanne Cacciatore studies traumatic loss and child death in families and is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. Her research has been published in peer reviewed journals such as Death Studies, Omega Journal of Death and Dying, and Families in Society. She received her Doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her Masters degree and Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arizona State University. Director, Graduate Certificate in Trauma and Bereavement; Founder, MISS Foundation International Center for Loss and Trauma


Joe Klein, Founder, Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and Blue Mountain High School. Joe Klein is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a long term practitioner of meditation, yoga and Chinese internal martial arts. As the founder of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education (iBme) Joe leads transformative meditation retreats for teens and teaches a graduate level course on mindfulness applications for teachers and counselors at Radford University. In 2013 Joe founded a high school centered in the contemplative and compassionate climate of the teen retreats. Blue Mountain High School is dedicated to creating a learning environment where teens feel a sense of connection and belonging with each other and with the places and people in the community that nurture their growth. Joe’s main goal in working with teens is to help them become more aware of the depths of who they are and to feel fully supported in developing the unique talents and gifts they bring to the world. In addition to leading daily mindfulness practices that all students participate in, Joe provides weekly counseling/advising sessions for individual students and facilitates small group discussions and other community building activities among the students.


Jonathan Grindlinger, M.D., Psychiatrist.  Dr. Grindlinger is a psychiatrist in full-time private practice specializing in intensive affect script-based psychotherapy with individuals and couples.After residency, he fulfilled his obligation to the National Health Service Corp by providing Clinton County, Pennsylvania with their first full-time psychiatrist. In 1990, he joined the faculty of The Williamsport Hospital & Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program, allowing the program for the first time to add a formal psychiatry rotation to the training of their Family Practice Residents.  He was awarded “Teacher of the Year” in 1993. He appointed Training Director of the Silvan S. Tomkins Institute in 1998 by Executive Director, Donald L. Nathanson, M.D. He and his loving wife Randy live in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with his son Robert and daughter Fallon.


Judith E. Pentz, MD, University of New Mexico.  Judith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical School at the University of New Mexico.  Judith has been in practice in Albuquerque for 20 years with a brief ‘sabbatical’ in New Zealand about seven years ago. Upon her return, she has evolved her practice to include complementary/integrative focus. Interests include individual therapy with a spiritual, in depth focus, the role of nutrition and nutriceuticals as option/additions to psychotropic medication. Assisting therapists, physicians and others in health care fields to explore finding their own heart focused approach in their work is an important interest.  Her current research interest is currently to focus on a mindfulness meditation based project with teens having metabolic syndrome. Her current work at UNM is assisting in the expansion of the Telehealth program with the Native American program. Her medical degree (obtained in 1985) is from University of Toledo, formerly known as Medical College of Ohio at Toledo. She completed her adult and child/adolescent training in a combined program from 1986-1990. Board certification for adult psychiatry occurred in 1993 and child/adolescent psychiatry in 1994.


Megan Cowan, Co-founder, Mindful Schools.  The Mindful Schools program teaches focus, self awareness, emotional regulation and empathy. Megan has been practicing mindfulness since 1996, and teaching mindfulness to children since 2001. Through the Mindful Schools program she has taught thousands of students and educators.Megan is the primary author of the Mindful Schools Elementary School Curriculum, and created their first Adolescent Curriculum. She has taught more than 3500 youth via Mindful Schools’ in-class direct-service program, trained more than 2000 educators, mental health professionals, and parents in mindfulness practices and applications for youth, and has been leading the Curriculum Training domestically and internationally since its inception in 2010. She has been the sole trainer for the dozens of instructors who have taught for Mindful Schools. In 2012, Megan was featured in “Room To Breathe,” the first feature-length film documentary on the effort to integrate mindfulness training into U.S. public schools.


Nikki Preece, LCSW, (Currently) Executive Director, Fulshear Treatment to Transition. Previously, Nikki was Clinical Director at Alpine Academy, a large residential treatment center for adolescent girls. Additionally she has maintained a private practice for many years. Nikki is a gifted clinician who is passionate about helping others. She has received training in a variety of mental health techniques including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Mindfulness, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), healing attachment, working with eating disorders, and family system approaches.


Pamela J. Birrell, Ph.D., Psychology Department, University of Oregon Pamela is Senior Instructor in the psychology department at the University of Oregon, and a psychologist in private practice. She completed the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute Practitioner Program in 2006.  She has been in community mental health practice for 25 years.


Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D., Associate, DuBois Institute, Harvard University. Paula is a clinical and research psychologist, author of books and plays, playwright, actor, and director. She is currently an Associate at Harvard University’s DuBois Institute, working on the Voices of Diversity project, and did a two-year stint as Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. She has given hundreds of invited addresses and invited workshops and has done more than 1,000 media interviews as part of her work in public education and activism.  She is former Full Professor of Applied Psychology and Head of the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, and former Lecturer in Women’s Studies and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She is the author of 11 books and editor of another, and she has won three national nonfiction awards. paulajcaplan.netlisten2veterans.org.


Randye J. Semple, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, University of Southern California. Professor Semple received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University and is licensed to practice in New York and California. Her research and clinical interests are in the application of mindfulness to psychological health and well-being, particularly the development and assessment of mindfulness-based interventions for children and adolescents in clinic and school settings. Dr. Semple is co-author of the book Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Anxious Children; Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Mindfulness; Consulting Editor for Spirituality in Clinical Practice; and past-President of the Mindfulness and Acceptance special interest group of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. She serves as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute. Dr. Semple is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC), where she teaches and provides clinical training and supervision to psychiatry residents and graduate students. Her current research projects include the development and evaluation of a mindfulness-based intervention for adolescents with bipolar disorder and prodromal psychosis; evaluation of an early intervention to prevent PTSD in patients hospitalized with severe burn injuries; and a collaborative study with the Pasadena Unified School District and ABC Unified School District to cultivate mindfulness in elementary school classrooms. Her work in the area of mindfulness with youth has been at the forefront of growing international interest in mindfulness-based therapies in mental health for the past decade. The popular media has followed her work in radio and newspaper interviews. She also has presented this topic at local, national, and international professional conferences; in numerous published scientific papers and book chapters; and through consulting, invited lectures, and workshops.


Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and New York Times best-selling author. His books include Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence (in 4 languages), Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (in 25 languages), Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time (in 12 languages), and Mother Nurture: A Mother’s Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships. Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom and on the Advisory Board of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide.  An authority on self-directed neuroplasticity, Dr. Hanson’s work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, CBC, FoxBusiness, Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and O Magazine, and his articles have appeared in Tricycle Magazine, Insight Journal, and Inquiring Mind. He has several  with Sounds True, he edits the Wise Brain Bulletin, and his weekly e-newsletter – Just One Thing – has over 100,000 subscribers, and also appears on Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other major websites. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, Dr. Hanson has been a trustee of Saybrook University, and he served on the board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center for nine years, and was President of the Board of FamilyWorks, a community agency. He began meditating in 1974, trained in several traditions, and leads a weekly meditation gathering in San Rafael, California. He enjoys rock-climbing and taking a break from emails. He and his wife have two adult children.For more information, please see his full profile at www.RickHanson.net.

Robert Whitaker, Journalist, Author of the award-winning “Anatomy of an Epidemic.”  Robert Whitaker has won numerous awards as a journalist covering medicine and science, including the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and a National Association for Science Writers’ Award for best magazine article. In 1998, he co-wrote a series on psychiatric research for the Boston Globe that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Anatomy of an Epidemic won the 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editors book award for best investigative journalism.

Scott Shannon, M.D., University of Colorado, Department of Psychiatry.  Scott is an integrative child and adolescence psychiatrist and currently Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Colorado, Department of Psychiatry Children’s Hospital, Denver, Colorado. His my current focus involves supporting young people to find wholeness and recover their full health in body, mind and spirit. Although Dr. Shannon uses prescription medication at times, he much prefers to employ natural methods like nutrition, supplements, mind-body skills, acupuncture and a shift in awareness to support the healing process. This approach represents the new field of Integrative Psychiatry. He employs a holistic philosophy to understand people and their struggles. The single most important thing that he has learned in his professional life is to listen well: deeply and intuitively. After this listening, much of his work involves teaching people what he has heard. He founded Wholeness Center to work in collaboration with a team of gifted healers to help you better understand your story.


Stefan Malecek, Ph.D. Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor:  Stefan received his Ph.D. in Psychology on November 2nd, 2006 from the Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in San Francisco. His dissertation was entitled “Dissociation in Recovering Addicts: A Multiple Case Study.” On September 1, 2007, he took over as Clinical Director at Awakenings by the Sea, a 15-bed Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Seaside, Oregon.


Stefanie Goldstein, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist. Stefanie is a licensed Clinical Psychologist whose passion is working with adolescents, adults, couples, and families struggling with daily life, helping to support them on their path towards healing and growth. She is the co-creator of CALM – Connecting Adolescents to Learning Mindfulness, an 8-week mindfulness and emotional intelligence class for tweens and teens. She is trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), and Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD). Stefanie has also provided training and clinical supervision to pre-doctoral and Marriage and Family Therapy (MFTI) interns and has spoken at USC, UCLA, Kansas University, & the University of Washington. She is the co-author of a popular Audio CD, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and Relapse Prevention. Stefanie lives in Los Angeles with her family where she has a private practice and teaches mindfulness.


Steve Alper, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Teacher:  Steve has over twenty-five years of experience as a group facilitator, trainer, program developer, counselor and consultant, and has practiced mindfulness meditation for over twenty years. He is the founder and director of the highly successful Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program of the Scripps Health Care System in San Diego, California, and educates corporate executives in stress management and mind/body practices at the Scripps Center for Executive Health. Steve also teaches mindfulness to corporate executives, professionals, managers and staff in a diverse range of corporate and professional settings that have included Pacific Bell, Northern Trust Bank, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the California Bar Association, the San Diego Field Office of the FBI, the University of California, San Diego, Scripps Clinic Physicians Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente, Linkage, Inc., and the Linkage Global Institute for Leadership Development.  Steve consistently receives high marks for the energy, enthusiasm, warmth, creativity, and clarity that he brings to teaching and working with groups.


Steven D. Hickman, Psy.D., University of California, San Diego Department of Psychiatry.  Dr. Steven Hickman is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and has a joint appointment as an Associate Clinical Professor in the UCSD Departments of Psychiatry and Family and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Hickman is the Founder and Executive Director of the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness, a program of community building, clinical care, professional training and research. Since founding the Center in 2000, he has taught over 70 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses, and more recently has become a teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) and a teacher trainer for that program as well. He also teaches Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and has co-led several MBCT teacher trainings with program developer Dr. Zindel Segal over the years. Having taught mindfulness via these programs (and adaptations of them for nurses, medical students and others) he brings a unique perspective to the teaching of mindfulness and compassion, based on several years of experience, personal reflection and dialogue with the primary developers of these interventions, and has spoken internationally on the topic. Steve is leading the Center’s effort in evolving a global Mindfulness-Based Professional Training Institute dedicated to providing professional training and certification in the full spectrum of mindfulness-based interventions.  Dr. Hickman is also a member of the Executive Committee of the UC San Diego Center for Integrative Medicine. He is married and has three teenage children, affording him ample opportunities to practice what he teaches.


Susan Kaiser Greenland, Author & Founder of Inner Kids.  Susan is author of The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate (Free Press, 2010). She teaches children, parents and professionals around the world and consults with various organizations on teaching mindful awareness in an age-appropriate and secular manner. Susan describes herself as a “recovering lawyer” who developed the Inner Kids mindful awareness program for children, teens and their families, which brought mindful awareness to under-served schools and neighborhoods in Los Angeles between 2000-2009. Research on the Inner Kids elementary school program was conducted at the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA and is published in the Journal of Applied School Psychology. Susan lives in Los Angeles with her husband, and their two children. She can be found online at www.susankaisergreenland.com

Thomas McConkie, Co-founder, All of Life [see All of Life bio page]

Toby Tyler Watson, Psy.D.  Dr. Watson is a clinical depth psychologist and the clinical and doctoral training director at  Associated Psychological Health Services in Shebogan, WI. He is also the Executive Director of R.E.A.ch.-Sheboygan (Recovery of Emotionally Abused Children, a 501-c non-profit which works to ensure access to psychological services to vulnerable children). In addition, Dr. Watson has repeatedly served as a successful expert witness, overturning many ineffective forced medication commitments by highlighting the peer-reviewed research.


Vicki Overfelt, Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Teacher (MBSR).  Vicki received her Masters of Arts in Education with an emphasis in educational administration from Columbia University, Teachers College.  Vicki currently focuses her instruction specifically on the study of stress reduction through the practice of mindfulness. A practitioner of mind-body disciplines for more than 25 years, Vicki is dedicated to sharing the practice of mindfulness with others and guiding them in ways to consciously and systematically work with stress, pain, illness, and the challenges of everyday life.  She teaches adult classes offered quarterly through Red Butte Gardens and the University of Utah.  In addition, Vicki collaborates with University of Utah researchers on projects related to the effectiveness of mindfulness on various populations.  She is an instructor of MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) and continues to receive her training through the Center for Mindfulness, housed within the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  To reach Vicki about potentially taking one of her classes, you can find her at www.mindfulnessutah.com


Virgil Stucker, Executive Director of the CooperRiis Healing Communities and Founding Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.  Virgil Stucker, founding Executive Director of CooperRiis Healing Community in 2003, has integrated his life with therapeutic communities since 1975 when he first started at Gould Farm, founded in 1913 in Massachusetts and is America’s oldest therapeutic community for individuals recovering from mental illness. It’s one of the models CooperRiis has followed.  Most recently Virgil is also the founding, volunteer Board Chairman and President of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care (www.MentalHealthExcellence.org). Virgil felt destined to help create therapeutic communities; after 14 years at Gould Farm, he was the founding Executive Director of Rose Hill in Michigan, which opened in 1992 and of Gateway Homes of Richmond, Virginia that opened in 1986. In 1978 he was the founding Program Director of Gould Farm’s Boston Program. He also took some “sabbaticals” (as Virgil puts it) from the life of therapeutic community, each of which further explored his interest in community and the power of relationships. In Massachusetts, he is past founding president of the REACH Community Health Foundation, Vice President of Planning and Development for Northern Berkshire Health Systems, President of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Senior Vice President of Legacy Banks, a community banking system, and Adjunct Professor of Philanthropy for the Visionaries Institute of Suffolk University. His degrees include an MBA with a focus on non-profit creation and management and a BA in philosophy, having graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Ripon College in Wisconsin. In addition to their personal involvement with therapeutic communities, Virgil and his wife Lis share their lives with their four children, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and seven grandchildren.


Willa J. Casstevens, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, North Carolina State University.  Willa is a clinical social worker and professor with research interests in mental health disorder prevention and treatment, and gerontology. Her professional experiences include fifteen years in the community mental health arena.  Her primary area of interest is mental health, with a focus on alternative treatments, advocacy and prevention.  Many of her publications focus on mental health practice and symptoms framed around theoretical approaches that include cognitive, post-modern and critical perspectives.  Her current research involves suicide prevention on campus, and psychiatric clubhouse model programs. She has worked to develop campus suicide prevention programming for university students, and with ICCD Clubhouse Model centers in the United States to develop and evaluate health and wellness programming.  For more information refer to socialwork.chass.ncsu.edu/faculty_staff/wjcasste