Helping Children Develop: Innovative Interventions for the Cradle, the Classroom and the Clinic

Presenter Biographies

Andria Amador, CAGS, NCSP

Andria Amador, CAGS, NCSP, is the Senior Director of Behavioral Health Services for the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Andria has dedicated her career to urban school psychology and began her career as a school psychologist before becoming an administrator. Andria, along with her staff and partners, have developed the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model (CBHM). CBHM is a multi-tiered system of supports designed to support the behavioral health needs of students across a continuum of prevention, early-intervention and intensive services. Implementation of CBHM requires BPS school psychologists to expand their scope of service delivery to include all NASP Domains of Practice. Andria had the pleasure of serving as the Past President of the Massachusetts School Psychology Association. She is also the coordinator of the NASP Supervision Interest Group and is the Chair of the NASP Practice Model Committee.

Marc Brackett, PhD

Marc Brackett, Ph.D., is founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, professor in the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine and a distinguished scientist on the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. His grant-funded research focuses on: (1) the role of emotions and emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, creativity, relationship quality, and mental health; (2) the measurement of emotional intelligence; and (3) the influences of emotional intelligence training on children’s and adults’ health, performance, and workplace performance and climate. Dr. Brackett is the author of more than 100 scholarly publications and several books. His newest book, Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive contains his prescription for healthy children, parents, teachers, and schools. Dr. Bracket’s system, called RULER, is a high-impact and fast-effect approach to understanding and mastering emotions that has been proven to reduce stress and burnout, improve school climate, and enhance academic achievement. He serves on numerous research advisory boards, including CASEL, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, and the Greater Good Science Center.

Nicholas A. Covino, PsyD

Nicholas A. Covino, PsyD, has been the President of William James College, since July 2002. For twenty years, Dr Covino was a psychologist at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor at the Harvard Medical School, serving for most of this period as Director of Training, then Director of the Psychology Division. Trained in psychoanalysis and behavioural medicine, Dr Covino’s clinical work has been both in long-term psychotherapy and symptom focused interventions with medical patients. Dr Covino received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Denver and completed a fellowship at the Harvard Health Plan. He is a psychologist, behavioral medicine practitioner, psychoanalyst, a member of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and the past president of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. Under his direction, William James College has evolved from a small school of professional psychology to a college of psychology with academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level with a commitment to and specialty training for professionals who wish to lead and to serve a multicultural population.

Bruce Ecker, PhD

Bruce Ecker, Ph.D., is associate professor in Clinical Psychology, co-director of the colleges Youth and Family Psychotherapy Service, and past director of the William James College concentration on Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR). He is currently co-director of the Youth and Family Psychotherapy Service at William James. Dr. Ecker is a successful recipient of HRSA grants to support his leadership on behavioral health workforce development. A trained clinical psychologist and school psychologist, Dr. Ecker has assessed and treated hundreds of children, adolescents, and their families, many of whom have experienced psychosocial trauma, chronic psychiatric illness, and developmental and medical difficulties.

Robert Franks, PhD

Robert Franks, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of the Judge Baker Guidance Center. He is faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and previously served on the faculties of the Yale University Child Study Center, University of Connecticut Health Center and Duke University Medical Center. A clinical child psychologist, Dr. Franks is a national leader in the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practices in children’s mental health and works at the policy, systems and practice levels to ensure that children and families have access to the highest quality of behavioral healthcare.

Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD

Ronald F. Ferguson, Ph.D., is faculty director of the Harvard University Achievement Gap program. An MIT-trained economist who focuses on economic, social, and educational challenges to child development. During the 1980s and ‘90s Dr. Ferguson focused on economic and community development, publishing the synthetic social policy work: Urban Problems and Community Development. His interest in youth development and education led him to pay close attention to the achievement gap in America. His writings have appeared in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, and various journals as well as his books, Toward Excellence with Equity: An emerging vision for closing the achievement gap, and his recent work: The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children. A February 2011 profile in The New York Times stated, “There is no one in America who knows more about the gap than Ronald Ferguson.” Dr. Ferguson will present a social-ecological saturation approach to surround families with information and supports using five clusters of parenting practices called “The Basics.” 

Margaret Hannah, MEd, GCEC

Margaret Hannah, MEd, GCEC, is executive director of the Richard I. and Joan L. Freedman Center for Child and Family Development at William James College. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the School Psychology Department and co-director of the College’s Certificate in School Climate and Social Emotional Learning. Ms. Hannah has worked in schools and agencies for over 25 years, designing and developing programs and facilitating teacher and parent education programs and support groups. She has served as a project director for three federal grants for the delivery of mental health services within schools, and a grant to integrate mental health services between schools and community agencies. She serves or has served on many committees and task forces including the Massachusetts Academy of Pediatrics Mental Health Task Force, the commission on Behavioral Health and Upstream Prevention, Stakeholder group for the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative, and the City of Newton City-wide Emergency Response Team (CERT). She is a commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Post-Partum Depression.

Jana Karp, MEd

Jana Karp, M.Ed., the founder and executive director of the Boston Youth Sanctuary, has over two decades of commitment to urban children. Following an early career as elementary school teacher in Boston, she became a home-based mental health Case Manager in Dorchester. In 2011 she founded the Boston Youth Sanctuary to provide children with a supportive community in which to form health identities, develop life skills and maximize their potential.

Robert Kinscherff, PhD, JD

Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., J.D., is professor of Psychology and associate vice president for Community Engagement at William James College. Dr. Kinscherff has held numerous administrative, teaching, professional service, and policy advisory/development positions, reflecting interests in clinical and forensic practice with juvenile and adult offenders, risk assessment and management, ideologically-motivated violence, and the developmental impact of childhood exposures to adversity and trauma. He is author of many articles and book chapters and is a co-author of APA Ethics Code: Commentary and Case Illustrations.

Nadja Reilly, PhD

Nadja Reilly, Ph.D., is associate director of the Richard I. and Joan L. Freedman Center for Child and Family Development and adjunct faculty in School Psychology at William James College. Dr. Reilly has developed educational materials for teachers on Social Emotional Learning and is co-director of a Certificate in School Climate and SEL. She is an author of several articles and chapters as well as several resource books: Anxiety and Depression in the Classroom: A Teacher’s Guide to Fostering Self-Regulation in Young Students and Break Free from Depression.

Kerry J. Ressler, MD, PhD

Kerry J. Ressler, M.D., Ph.D., is chief scientific officer and James and Patricia Poitras Chair in Psychiatry at McLean Hospital. He is also a professor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who has published over 350 manuscripts ranging from basic molecular mechanisms of fear processing to understanding how emotion is encoded. The principal or co-principal investigator on many grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as multiple foundation grants, Dr. Ressler and his team completed landmark research in the genetic, neurodevelopmental, and environmental aspects of risk and resilience among children exposed to adversities including child maltreatment. By understanding how fear works in the laboratory, he hopes to improve treatments and possibly prevention for fear-based disorders, such as PTSD, phobic disorders and panic disorder. Dr. Ressler is also a practicing psychiatrist with an interest in translational and clinical research on fear-based psychiatric disorders. His clinical psychiatry research focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is a leader in the area of genetic underpinnings of fear and anxiety disorders.

Julie L. Ryan, PhD

Julie L. Ryan, Ph.D., is the director of the Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience Program and an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at William James College. In addition to her academic work, she is a licensed psychologist with extensive training and experience in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Parent Management Training (PMT) who specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents.

Barry Sarvet, MD

Barry Sarvet, M.D., is professor and chair of Psychiatry at University of Massachusetts-Baystate and has served as statewide medical director for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP) since the program’s inception in 2004. His career has focused on the integration of mental health care within primary care services, improving access to mental health care, and promoting the dissemination of evidence-based mental health practices. He was awarded the Simon Wile Award for Consultation Psychiatry by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) as well as the Outstanding Psychiatrist Award for Public Sector Psychiatry by the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society for his work in development, implementation, and dissemination of collaborative models in child psychiatry practice. Dr. Sarvet has published numerous papers and lectured widely across the United States on the topics of integrated care, trauma-informed mental health practices, and the application of health information technology in mental health service delivery.

Arlene Silva, PhD, NCSP

Arlene Silva, Ph.D., NCSP, is an associate professor and chair of the School Psychology department at William James College. She is also director of the School Psychology Master of Arts and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (MA/CAGS) program. Dr. Silva has extensive experience working with children and adolescents, education professionals and parents in school-based settings. She is co-editor and a chapter author of the book Lessons from School Psychology: Practical Strategies and Evidence-Based Practice for Professionals and Parents.

Gemima St. Louis, PhD

Gemima St. Louis, Ph.D., is associate professor in the Clinical Psychology Department. co-director of the Center for Multicultural & Global Mental Health, director of the concentration in African & Caribbean Mental Health and faculty in the concentration in Children and Families of Adversity & Resilience at William James College. An innovative educator and activist, Dr. St. Louis began the PATHWAYS program, a unique collaboration that provides mental health services to urban students in the Boston Public School, to assist emotionally challenged high-school students to graduate. In addition to her teaching, program development, and clinical work, Dr. St. Louis is author of two recent works: Preparing Psychology Students as Global Citizens and Leaders: Why Service-Learning Matters and Building Mental Health Capacity in Haiti through Collaborative Partnerships.