Dr. Barry Steiner Ball
Barry Steiner Ball graduated from The Citadel with a B.A. in Psychology and then from Duke University with a Master of Divinity. Dr. Ball was then ordained as a United Methodist Minister. Dr. Ball served three different charges on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in Talbot County. In 1998 Dr. Ball was offered a position with the Maryland Natural Resources Police (game wardens and marine police), working Talbot and Caroline counties and serving as the NRP’s chaplain when needed. In 2008 Dr. Ball was moved into the investigative unit for NRP and worked boating and hunting accidents and larger commercial fishing cases. During this time Dr. Ball also served in the Air Force Reserves as a chaplain at Dover Air Force Base, supporting the work of the Port Mortuary. Dr. Ball began a Doctor of Ministry program at Wesley Seminary in Washington DC focusing on Military Chaplaincy. In 2012 Dr. Ball’s wife, Sandra, also a United Methodist Minister, was elected into the office of Bishop and moved to West Virginia where she oversees all the United Methodist Churches in West Virginia and Garrett County MD. With the move west, Dr. Ball was offered by the NRP a position on a Drug Enforcement Administration’s Task Force in Hagerstown Maryland. In this position Dr. Ball worked larger drug cases in Western Maryland and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. During this assignment Dr. Ball was exposed to the plight of Drug Endangered Children and changed his doctoral project and began working with local United Methodist Churches helping them discover how they can support these children. Dr. Ball earned his doctoral degree finally in 2017! Dr. Ball retired from the Maryland Natural Resources Police on Oct. 1, 2017 to work full time with local churches in helping them find their ministry in response to the opioid epidemic. Dr. Ball and Sandra have two grown daughters, Sarah a high school math teacher in Talbot County Maryland and Becky, an aspiring princess at Walt Disney World.
Laura Sperry-Barno is a licensed social worker who began her career with the Bureau for Children and Families in 1991. She has held a variety of positions during these 27 years, from Child Protective Services Worker to her current position as the Director for the Division of Children and Adult Services. Ms. Sperry-Barno holds a bachelor of science degree in Communications from WV State University and a Master of Social Work degree from West Virginia University. She lives in Charleston with her husband, Chris, and various pets.
Johanna Bossé is the Epidemiologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Child Fatality Review Panel and Domestic Violence Fatality Review Panel. She has held this position since 2016. Prior to her current position, she was a case manager for River Valley Child Development Services. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and received her Master of Science in Biotechnology from WV State University in 2015. Ms. Bossé is a member of the Emergency Medical Services for Children advisory panel and sits on several committees across the state that works directly to prevent child and domestic violence fatalities.
Amanda Bridgette is a vocalist, actor, songwriter, director, and educator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Asbury University. After earning her degree, Ms. Bridgette embarked upon her musical journey, first as a vocalist for theme parks and later branching out into the world of musical theater. Adding to her professional career, Ms. Bridgette appeared as a spotlight vocalist for Silversea, Norwegian and Orient cruise lines; performed a long running cabaret show in Cozumel, Mexico; and worked nationally as a guest artist for resorts, casinos, and luxury hotel lines. She continues to enjoy a professional career in both theatre and music, playing roles and playing concerts on stages throughout the U.S. Despite the busy performing schedule, Amanda continues to work throughout the country as an industry-experienced educator, creating and conducting a vocal improvisation workshop; coaching for voice and acting; and most recently, music directing for regional theatres. She wrote the book, lyrics and music for Sins of a Savior and recently workshopped pieces from the musical in Charleston, WV, and Atlanta, GA. www.amandabridgette.com
Kristine Buffington, MSW, LISW, specializes in clinical treatment of traumatized children involved in the public health, child protection, and juvenile justice systems. A particular focus of her work has been training professionals in best practices in trauma treatment and trauma-informed care. Over the course of her career, she has played a leading role in developing and managing initiatives to promote systemic change. Ms. Buffington served as the Chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and is currently Co-Chair of the Ohio Trauma Task Force Training subcommittee.
Rebecah Carson is the Director of WV DHHR's Centralized Intake (CI) Unit. She oversees both call centers and up to 57 workers and 11 supervisors. Centralized Intake uses an internet based call center to take abuse/neglect referrals involving children and incapacitated adults for all 55 counties. Ms. Carson is a licensed social worker with a wide range of child welfare experience within WV DHHR. She began her career in 1994 as a field worker and has held various positions, including Health and Human Resource Specialist, Senior in the Division of Planning and Quality Improvement, a Child Welfare Consultant for Region 3, and has been the Director of CI since November 2015.
Cammie Chapman graduated from WVU College of Law in 2000. She is the Associate General Counsel for the Department of Health and Human Resources assigned to Bureau of Children and Families. Previously, she was the Director of Children’s Services for the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia. Prior to moving to Charleston in 2016, she was a member of the law firm of Davis & Chapman located in Summersville. This practice included child welfare law, primarily as a Guardian ad litem, real estate and corporate law.
Andrew Cogar is an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuting federal crimes in the Northern District of West Virginia. He earned degrees in communication studies and mathematics from West Virginia University, graduating summa cum laude, and studied mathematics and philosophy at the University of Glamorgan in Wales as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. After graduating with highest honors from the WVU College of Law, Mr. Cogar completed a clerkship with United States District Court Judge Irene M. Keeley, and worked as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He co-founded and co-chairs the West Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force.
Mary Aldred-Crouch holds both a master’s degree in clinical social work and a master’s degree in Public Health from West Virginia University. She is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a master addiction counselor. She has spent 20 years in the field of substance abuse treatment, working primarily in primary care. Ms. Aldred-Crouch also spent 3 plus years working for the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities as the Director of Programs; overseeing all state and federally funded mental health, substance abuse and intellectual and developmental disabilities services state-wide. During that time, she served as the federally designated West Virginia State Opioid Treatment Authority. She now works part-time for the Bureau as a clinical consultant and is the Manager of Substance Abuse Treatment Services at Cabin Creek Health Systems at the Kanawha City Health Clinic. Ms. Aldred-Crouch currently works in a Federally-Qualified Health Center as the Manager of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. Ms. Aldred-Crouch is the current president of the West Virginia Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (WVAADC) and is the co-chair of the public policy committee. She and her husband and 2 Siamese cats live in Milton, WV.
Andrea Darr is the director of the West Virginia Center for Children’s Justice which promotes and supports a statewide trauma informed response to child maltreatment and children’s exposure to violence. The Center, housed in the Crimes Against Children Unit at the WV State Police, streamlines resources and minimizes duplicative efforts to address challenges, barriers, gaps and needed improvements in working child maltreatment cases. The Center includes the WV Children’s Justice Task Force and the WV Handle with Care Initiative. Before devoting her work full time on children’s initiatives, Andrea served as the Coordinator of Victim Witness Services for the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Institute from 2005-2015. In that capacity she coordinated with prosecution based victim witness assistance programs as well as community based programs to improve their collective knowledge concerning available resources and information and to establish a bridge between local, state and federal agencies regarding victim issues. Andrea has also worked in direct services with victims of crime, violence and abuse while serving as the Victim Liaison at the Kanawha County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Dr. Todd Davies
Dr. Todd Davies directs and manages the Marshall Clinical Research Center, a newly developed hub for clinical trial activity at Marshall University. The Marshall Clinical Research Center is dedicated to bringing cutting-edge clinical research and advanced care to Marshall and throughout rural West Virginia. Dr. Davies assists with building translational protocols for research at Marshall and developing a rural research network throughout Central Appalachia. This research network brings together advanced care, community outreach and healthcare informatics. His background is diverse and includes a time in the military and assisting in the creation and development of 22 medical technology (predominantly pharmaceutical and healthcare IT) start-up companies before running a start-up, ADS Biotechnology, as its CEO. Dr. Davies specializes in program planning, trial development, data collection and trial operations.
Sgt. Talia Divita
Sgt. Talia Divita has been a member of the West Virginia State Police for over 15 years and spent the majority of that time on the West Virginia State Police’s Crimes Against Children Unit as an investigator. During these 15 years, she has investigated several hundred criminal offenses. These offenses have included the trafficking of child pornography, use of minors in the production of child pornography, sexual solicitation of children via the Internet, child sexual exploitation, child sexual abuse, child sexual assault and criminal use of the Internet and computers. Sgt. Divita has completed the West Virginia State Police Cadet Training Program. She has attended specialized training courses and received education through colleges and universities including Fairmont State College (Bachelor in Criminal Justice) and Marshall University (Associate in Police Science). Sgt. Divita was assigned to the WV ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force through the West Virginia State Police from 2009 to 2017. This Task Force is responsible for investigating cases involving the sexual exploitation of children via the internet. She is presently assigned to the turnpike and is a member of the WV Human Trafficking Task Force
Bonnie Dunn was born, raised and educated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Ms. Dunn received a BS in Education Comprehensive Vocational Home Economics from West Virginia State (College) University and an MS in Vocational Education /Minor Adult Education from Marshall University. Her career spans 55 years in the field of education and her life-long passion has been teaching. She has worked as a middle-school teacher, an entrepreneur, teacher-educator, vocational evaluator, single parent, an Extension Agent, statewide coordinator for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, and finally returning to her roots at West Virginia State University where she now serves as an Extension Specialist for Family and Consumer Sciences. Her passion for the last five years has been helping people navigate the health care system. She has been involved in the area of behavioral health issues particularly substance abuse and recovery. Her most recent initiative, funded through a three-year capacity building grant, has been working with Grandparents who are raising grandchildren.
Tim Elliott is the owner of Elliott Enterprise, a small business he started 21 years ago in Blountville, TN. After completing high school in Kingsport, TN, he joined the Air Force and served for four years before being honorably discharged. He then completed an apprentice program for journeyman lineman, an associate degree in business management at Northeast State Community College, and a bachelor degree in organizational management at Milligan College. He worked for Bristol TN Electric for 15 years before starting his own successful enterprise.
Dr. Beth Emrick
Dr. Beth Bloom Emrick received her M.D. from the West Virginia University School of Medicine. She is the only Board Certified Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician in WV. She has been on the faculty of West Virginia University – Charleston Division since 2013. Dr. Emrick is the Secretary/Treasurer of the WV Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the WV Early Intervention Interagency Coordination Council.
Barri Faucett, MA received her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Marshall University in 2003. Currently serving as the Director of Prevent Suicide WV, as well as West Virginia’s Adolescent Suicide Prevention and Intervention project, Mrs. Faucett oversees and implements directives designed to address suicide prevention and intervention for all West Virginians. Her work involves facilitation, monitoring and evaluation of suicide prevention efforts throughout the state. Specifically, managing and developing program objectives, activities, procedures and protocols for effective suicide prevention and intervention efforts; oversight and technical assistance in implementation of evidence-based practices and works towards capacity building initiatives for statewide suicide prevention efforts across systems and agencies. Her clinical experience includes direct service in intensive outpatient programs related to children and adolescents with mental health and substance abuse issues, covering a broad array of diagnoses. Mrs. Faucett is a Master Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR); safeTALK; Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST); suicide2Hope and Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer, providing trainings for over 10,000 professionals, consumers, and community members for increased awareness and efficient referral intervention procedures for at risk individuals.
Dr. Marianna Footo-Linz
Dr. Marianna Footo-Linz is a native of southern West Virginia. She received her bachelor’s and master's degrees in psychology from Marshall University (1981, 1986) and her doctoral degree in developmental psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1992). She completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship in pediatric psychology at the Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio (1991). She is a Professor of Psychology at Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, and is a licensed psychologist in West Virginia. Dr. Footo-Linz is the director of the American Psychological Association-accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology (PsyD) at Marshall University. She has been the director since the program’s inception in 2001 and has completed two successful accreditation reviews, the most recent being in 2011 when the program was awarded a full seven years' accreditation. Dr. Footo-Linz teaches graduate courses in developmental psychology and psychological assessment. She also teaches undergraduate courses in child development and research. Dr. Footo-Linz is a representative of the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology, a member of the Federal Education Advocacy Campus and a campus ambassador for the National Health Service Corps. She has provided and supervised mental health consultation services for both urban and rural Head Start programs for 12 years and presents frequently to local groups on topics related to child behavior and development. She has presented regularly at the Appalachian Studies Conference and most recently at the annual conference for the National Association for Rural Mental Health in the summer of 2010. She also wrote a successful Health Resources and Services Administration grant for the Graduate Psychology Education program in 2007 and received a mid-year award in 2014.
Ronald Frederick is the Director of Safety and Security for Service Access and Management, Inc. (SAM) for the past 3 years. He came to this position with over 20 years of law enforcement experience. In his current position, he developed a scenario-based training program for human services caseworkers throughout Pennsylvania. In addition, Mr. Frederick and his team have developed an Act of Violence Response training, Drug and Alcohol Awareness program, and assisted in developing SAM’S De-escalation and Safety Training (DST) program. Also, he oversees all of the company’s Crisis Response Teams. Mr. Frederick is the Co-chair of the Facilities Risk Management Team. During his law enforcement career, Mr. Frederick spent 7 years as a Detective/Sergeant, 8 years as Chief of Police, and 15 years as a use of force instructor. He served for 13 years on the Dauphin County Crisis Response Team (SWAT), including 5 years as a Specialty Teams Leader. Additionally, Mr. Frederick spent 7 years as a member of the Dauphin County Joint Investigative Team, working closely with Children and Youth Services and the District Attorney’s Office while investigating reports of child abuse. Mr. Frederick has been and remains as an adjunct instructor/trainer at the Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) Police Academy for 11 years, where he teaches courses on Patrol Vehicle Operations, Mechanics of Arrest, Tactical Firearms, Recognizing Special Needs, and Scenario Trainings. After a successful career in law enforcement, Mr. Frederick now coaches other people to achieve the same success.
Necia Freeman has been a full-time Realtor since 2003, she is presently with Old Colony Realtors. She started a ministry in 2010 called Backpack Kids through her church, Lewis Memorial Baptist Church. In 2011 the ministry grew into Backpacks & Brown Bags. They presently feed over 70 children weekly through the backpack program, providing enough food for the weekend to children who would otherwise not eat due to their living conditions. The Brown Bag ministry is an outreach to prostitutes, providing them with unconditional love and friendship, praying it leads to detox, rehab, and a life with Christ. Ms. Freeman has been a part of the Cabell County Drug Court since 2015.
Dr. Kiti Freier-Randall
Dr. Kiti Freier-Randall is a Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Psychologist with extensive experience, spanning over 26 years, with infant, child, and adolescent populations. She has specialized expertise in the area pediatric psychology, trauma, and pre and postnatal substance exposure. Currently, she works as a consultant expert on high risk 0-5 year olds, for Children’s Network and First Five of San Bernardino County’ California. Dr. Freier-Randall is also consultant for the six San Bernardino County SART centers (transdisciplinary 0-5 high risk clinics), as well as to Desert Mountain SELPA (education) and Inland Empire Health Plan (managed behavioral health care). She is author/director of the Trauma, Loss & Compassion (TLC) bereavement support group for preschoolers which has been implemented in San Bernardino County Preschools for over 5 years. Dr Freier-Randall is Director of Psychological Services, Department of Pediatrics, Loma Linda University Health Care. She is a Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Public Health at Loma Linda University. Dr. Freier-Randall has a considerable academic career with professorship positions at University of Miami, Brown University, Andrews University and Loma Linda University. Dr. Freier-Randall was awarded the GC Health Ministries Medal of Distinction (2014), Shine a Light Award (2013) from San Bernardino County and the Distinguished Service Award (2007) and the Centennial Vanguard Award for her service in ‘Wholeness’ (2006) from Loma Linda University. Dr. Freier-Randall is a Board Member for the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children, Making A Difference Association and the International Commission for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency. She is a member of the DEC Canada Steering Committee. Through her work Dr. Kiti has facilitated moving from understanding risk to promoting resiliency via training in over 40 countries and throughout the United States. Dr. Freier-Randall has dedicated her career to providing direct service and/or training to children, families, professionals, organizations and communities to enhance the physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual lives of children and their families in order to promote optimal and healthy living.
With passion and contagious enthusiasm, Becky Haas has spent over thirty five years of her career by developing, communicating and implementing programs to help improve the quality of life for others. Currently she develops and implements Community Crime Prevention Programs for the Johnson City Police Department. Hired in 2012 as Targeted Community Crime Reduction Project (TCCRP) Director to oversee an $800,000 grant award of the Johnson City Police Department she developed a collaborative group of thirty five partnering agencies that provided nineteen programs in two historically high crime neighborhoods of Johnson City, winning national recognition twice and is listed by the U.S. Department of Justice as a “Success Story.” Among these programs was the creation of the Day Reporting Center (DRC) which was the first probation program aimed at reducing recidivism of its kind in the state of Tennessee. Typically recidivism rates in Tennessee are 48-50%; however those attending the DRC experience a much lower rate of 16-22%. Upon completion of the TCCRP grant, the TN Department of Corrections assumed responsibility for the DRC and is replicating it across the state. In the summer of 2015, Ms. Haas partnered with the East Tennessee State University Psychology Department to create a community wide Trauma-Informed System of Care. Since that time, this initiative has provided training on trauma-informed care and adverse childhood experiences to over 3,000 professionals across a wide cross-sector. In June of 2016, she began holding bi-monthly Trauma-Informed System of Care meetings which now has 29 affiliate organizations. SAMHSA’s National Center for Trauma Informed Care has now distinguished Johnson City as a leader in creating community-wide systems of care. Prior to coming to the Police Department, Ms. Haas worked at East Tennessee State University where she served as the Institutional Review Board Medical Coordinator and later held the position as CARS Coordinator funded by the Governors Highway Safety Office where her responsibilities included developing and implementing Child Passenger Safety Educational Training Programs within thirty-three counties of East Tennessee for agencies. For over 40 years she has been involved in faith based settings working with married couples, youth, and families, as well as often a keynote speaker for both churches and professional groups. In August of 2017, Ms. Haas became a published author with the release of her first book, “Your City is Waiting on You.” Ms. Haas has been married to Jonathan for 33 years and their greatest joys in life are their two sons David, his wife Katie, and Christopher, along with his wife Stacy and their grandchildren Paisley and Cayden.
Detective Matthew Hagan
Detective Matt Hagan is an 18 year veteran of law enforcement and works for the Marion County (Oregon) Sheriff's Office. He is currently assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit as a persons crimes detective, investigating sex crimes and homicides. He is also the Terrorism Liaison Officer for Marion County. On top of his regular duties, he has been a member of the MCSO Domestic Violence Team since 2011 and has completed the Department of Homeland Security Domestic Violence Investigations Instructor Course. He is also a member of the MCSO Peer Support Team. He is a Stress First Aid Train-The-Trainer Instructor. He has presented classes around Oregon, as well as nationally on Domestic Violence Investigations and Emotional Survival. Detective Hagan is also an adjunct instructor at Chemeketa Community College in the Law Enforcement program. Matt is also the Co-founder/Instructor of 1932 Training Concepts LLC.
Dr. Jim Harris
Dr. Jim Harris is the Associate Director of Training at the West Virginia Autism Training Center (ATC) at Marshall University. Dr. Harris’s focus at the ATC is the improvement and expansion of services ranging for in-home programs to national partnerships. Dr. Harris has presented at a variety of conferences from the local to the international levels on such topics as behavioral intervention, parenting, positive behavior support, trauma-informed care, organizational change, and many more. He has worked with children and families throughout his career as an early interventionist, parent educator, educational consultant, and behavioral health therapist. He has worked with a variety of public and private entities including the Fred Rogers Company, United States Department of Education, the United States Department of Justice, and many more. For more information about the ATC please visit http://www.marshall.edu/atc/.
Dr. Rachael Hatfield
Dr. Rachael Hatfield earned her Doctor of Psychology degree from Marshall University. For her dissertation, she developed a broad-based mental health training program for law enforcement agencies and examined the effects of the program on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards persons exhibiting a mental disturbance. She is a WV Licensed Clinical Psychologist and is employed by the Huntington VA Medical Center. Her primary responsibilities at the VA Medical Center include consultation and liaison services for the emergency departments and inpatient medical floors, de-escalation techniques and crisis intervention skills with patients exhibiting mental disturbances, and facilitating transfers to psychiatric units and mental hygiene commitments. Dr. Hatfield has completed training and is assigned to complete VAMC police officer candidacy evaluations and fitness for duty evaluations. Since 2013, she has worked with various state, county, and city law enforcement agencies to provide annual in-service in mental disturbance identification, de-escalation of crisis, and police officer self-care. Dr. Hatfield was born and raised in West Virginia; she enjoys engaging in many of the outdoor activities WV has to offer.
Judge Patricia Keller
Patricia Keller is a Family Court Judge in the Sixth Family Court Circuit (Cabell County), where she presides over domestic relations hearings, including divorce, child custody, visitation, guardianship, domestic violence and support, as well as modification and contempt matters. In addition to her Family Court duties, Judge Keller has been actively involved in the implementation of both juvenile and adult drug courts in the Sixth Judicial Circuit.
Dr. Patrick Kerr
Patrick L. Kerr, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry at West Virginia University School of Medicine- Charleston, where he directs the WVU Dialectical Behavior Therapy Services Program for chronically suicidal adolescents and adults. Dr. Kerr serves as a member of the West Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, including as a member of the Steering Committee, and chair of the Human Trafficking Activity Monitoring Committee. He has published multiple book chapters and peer-reviewed publications on human trafficking.
Maggie Kuhl graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Political Science, and then WVU Law School. She now practices in the Putnam County region in Family and Juvenile law. She is a frequent GAL in Family Court and Circuit Court in multiple counties.
Cyndi Leahy is the coordinator of the Forensic Nurse Examiner Program of Winchester Medical Center, in Winchester Virginia, and has worked exclusively as a forensic nurse for the past 18 years. She received a Master’s degree in Nursing in 2012. She is published in the Core Curriculum of Forensic Nursing. Cyndi co-wrote and taught the IAFN’s SANE-A certification prep course, and is actively involved in educating nurses and multidisciplinary teams on topics related to sexual assault (as well as child maltreatment). She has 30 years of nursing experience and 15 years of forensic nursing expertise in identifying learning needs and providing education (academic, clinical, community settings) on medico-legal topics related to forensic nursing practice, concepts, principles, and standards. She is knowledgeable about clinical and legal interventions and multidisciplinary investigative teamwork and collaboration, as well as topics related to violent crime, abuse and neglect, and implications for safe, effective, and quality healthcare. Ms. Leahy has expertise in vulnerable patient populations and disparities faced by marginalized groups in accessing services, healthcare, and in achieving positive health outcomes. She has interest in pediatric maltreatment, and research related to interpreting physical findings, and standardization of medical/nursing practice in forensic evaluations. She is a consultant and qualified expert witness in Virginia, West Virginia courts, as well as federal court in Maryland.
Dr. Conrae Lucas-Adkins
Dr. Conrae Lucas-Adkins is an Assistant Professor of school psychology in the College of Education and Professional Development at Marshall University. She earned her undergraduate, graduate and specialist degrees from Marshall University. Dr. Lucas worked as an outpatient and school-based therapist for a local community mental health agency for four years and as a full-time school psychologist in West Virginia for 14 years, prior to joining the faculty at Marshall University. Dr. Lucas is licensed as a school psychologist by the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychologists and continues to practice school psychology on a contractual basis in West Virginia public schools. Her current research interests include examining the long-term effects of neonatal abstinence syndrome on the cognitive, behavioral and emotional development of children and building supports within the schools to support this population.
Jan Riley McMurray
Jan McMurray is a retired educator who continues to use her skills, knowledge, and experience to promote the welfare of people, especially children. She has a BS degree in chemistry/pre-med and Master’s Degree in education. She combines her life experience as a teacher, professor, conference speaker, and CASA volunteer with her knowledge of science and counseling to continue her efforts to inform, equip, and encourage those in the helping professions.
Dr. Lyn Moore O’Connell
Dr. Lyn O’Connell is the Clinical Coordinator of the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) grant at Marshall University. The SBIRT grant trains Marshall faculty and students along with community members on universal screening, motivational interviewing techniques, and evidence-based interventions to improve referrals to effective treatment. She received her doctorate from Virginia Tech in marriage and family therapy and her research focuses on barriers to accessing mental health treatment, stigma, motivation to change and substance use disorders in families.
Christina Mullins is the Title V Director for West Virginia. She is also the Director of the Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. In this role, she is responsible for the management and oversight of 26 programs and projects that help to improve the health and well-being of West Virginia’s women, children and families. In her nearly 20-year tenure with the Bureau for Public Health, she has worked to establish West Virginia’s youth anti-tobacco campaign, facilitated the achievement of all data benchmarks for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program and worked with a multitude of partners to launch a surveillance system for neonatal abstinence syndrome. Ms. Mullins graduated from Marshall University with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology.
Chad Napier is the Prevention Coordination for Appalachia HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) for West Virginia and Virginia. He started this position November 1, 2015. Prior to this, he spent twenty years in law enforcement and retired on October 30, 2015. He began his career in 1995 with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. He moved to the Charleston Police Department (CPD) in 1997 and from then until 2000, he was assigned to the CPD Street Crimes Unit with the primary duties of investigation, arrest and prosecution of street level drug dealers. From November of 2000 to September of 2002, he was assigned as a detective with the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) with the primary duties of investigation and prosecution of state and federal drug violations. In 2002 he was assigned as a Task Force Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Charleston, WV and remained until 2005. From 2005 to January of 2006, he was assigned to MDENT as a supervisor. His primary duty with MDENT was the supervision of drug unit investigators and investigations. In January of 2006, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant and was assigned to the CPD Patrol Division as a shift commander. After graduating the FBI National Academy in September of 2007, he was transferred to the Housing Division as the commander. On March 2, 2009 he was appointed as the Commander of the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT). Mr. Napier has worked on hundreds of drug related arrests and drug violations. He has also been declared as an expert witness in illegal drug possession and distribution in many state and federal courts.
Ms. Newson has been with Office of Maternal Child and Family Health (OMCFH) for 23 years. She worked with the Family Planning Program for 14 years and transitioned to the Director of the West Virginia Home Visitation Program in 2010. She also provides oversight over the Project LAUNCH grant with a focus on providing support to families including increased screenings and awareness of toxic stress and social emotional development. She currently serves on the Governor’s appointed Early Childhood Advisory Council and Co-chairs the Early Childhood Advisory Council Health and Project LAUNCH committees. She also serves as the Parents as Teachers State Office Director and on the West Virginia Infant/Toddler Mental Health Association.
Tiffany Pace has a MA in Education and is an elementary teacher in Kanawha County. She has been on the faculty of the Governor’s School for Math and Science and is a member of the South Charleston Community Advisory Panel, a program advisor for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, and a DonorsChoose Ambassador. By authoring over $350,000 in grants, Mrs. Pace has provided programs and materials to schools to bolster learning engagement and understanding, as well as to cultivate parent and community involvement.
Mark Parsons-Justice has served in Christian ministry for nearly 20 years and is particularly interested in the intersections of faith, personhood, and mental health. He serves in music and worship arts at Bream Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charleston and teaches as an adjunct faculty member at West Virginia State University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from West Virginia University, a Master of Divinity from Methodist Theological School in Ohio and is a doctoral student at Wesley Theological Seminary. He also has studied at Louisiana State University, Augsburg College, Drew University, Dubuque University, and McMaster Divinity College.
Dana L. Petroff is the Director of Addiction Services for Prestera Center for Mental Health Services. Prestera Center is the largest Comprehensive Mental Health Center in the state of West Virginia. Ms. Petroff is a WV Licensed Professional Counselor and a WV Licensed Social Worker. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and her Master’s Degree in Counseling and Rehabilitation from Marshall University. Ms. Petroff is a Nationally Certified Counselor and has held the credentials of a Clinically Certified Criminal Justice Specialist, Clinically Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist and a Master Addictions Counselor certification through the National Association of Forensic Counselors Board. She also holds West Virginia’s highest addiction credential as an Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Ms. Petroff has more than twenty years of experience in the mental health/behavioral health care fields. During the past twelve years, she has specifically focused on providing and developing substance abuse treatment services. Ms. Petroff has worked with the Federal Bureau of Prison’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Re-entry Program and the implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Act. She has collaborated with the Charleston Police Department and other local law enforcement on the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (L.E.A.D.) Program and the Drug Market Intervention Initiative. Ms. Petroff provides consultation to the Kanawha County Drug Court, Adult Probation Department, Parole Office, and the Kanawha County Day Report Center. She collaborates with the Kanawha County Public Defender’s Sentencing Advocate Director to increase diversion programming. Ms. Petroff and her team strive to meet the needs of the community by providing all levels of substance abuse services including detox, inpatient, short and long term residential services, outpatient services and intensive co-occurring services with the addition of recovery coach support.
Dr. Joan Phillips
Dr Joan Phillips is a Board Certified Child Abuse Pediatrician who has been serving the children of WV for nearly 30 years. Dr. Phillips practiced General Pediatric for 22 years with a special interest in Child Abuse. In 2009, she became the first WV pediatrician to be board certified in the subspecialty of Child Abuse and Neglect. Since 2005, she has served as the Co-Medical Director of the Child Advocacy Center at Women and Children’s Hospital. Her direct patient care involves medical evaluation and treatment of abused patients. She also is the Clinical Director of Children’s Services for CAMC. Dr. Phillips is a Clinical Associate Professor for WVU and teaches medical students and residents the art and science of the evaluation and advocacy of child abuse victims. In 2012, Dr. Phillips won national recognition when she was awarded the Ray E. Helfer MD Award. This award is presented by the National Academy of Pediatrics and the National Alliance of Children’s Trust to a pediatrician in recognition of his or her work on the prevention of child abuse.
Captain Derek Prestridge
Derek Prestridge has served with the Texas Department of Public Safety for 21 years. He started with the Department, assigned to the Highway Patrol Service, as a Trooper, until promoting to Sergeant in 2003. In 2007, he transferred to the Department's Education Training and Research until 2013. There, he worked to develop and implement the Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) program. In 2013, Derek promoted to Lieutenant and is currently assigned to the Texas Ranger Division as the Lieutenant of the Texas Crimes Against Children Center. During this time he was responsible for establishing the Department’s first formal crimes against children office. In 2017, Derek Promoted to Captain in the Department’s Education, Training and Research Division
Jodi Quas is Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. Her work focuses on children’s eyewitness capabilities and abuse disclosure; consequences of legal involvement on child victims, witnesses, and defendants; and children’s and adolescents’ coping with stress, maltreatment, and trauma. She teaches and conducts training for academic and professional audiences worldwide on these topics, and has written extensively on these topics for scientific journals and edited volumes. She has received numerous awards for her research and student training, including the Scientific Early Career Contributions in Developmental Psychology from the APA and the Outstanding Mentoring Award from the American Psychology and Law Society.
Chief Jan Rader
A native of Ironton, Ohio, Jan Rader joined the Huntington Fire Department in August of 1994. She holds an associate degree in fire science from Marshall University and an associate degree of science in nursing from Ohio University. Chief Rader holds many fire service certifications and is also a Fire and EMS Instructor in the State of West Virginia. Since November of 2014, Chief Rader has been serving as a member of the Mayor’s Office of Drug Control Policy. The purpose of this task force is to address drug addiction in Huntington and the surrounding communities and create a holistic approach involving prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.
Anastasia Riley received a B.A. in psychology with a minor is sociology in 2004 from WVU. Anastasia received her Master in Business Administration also from WVU. She has worked with people who have intellectual / developmental disabilities since 2002 in the Title XIX IDD waiver program. She also has experience providing counseling services for at risk youth and their families. After receiving her master’s degree in 2008, she became a behavior specialist and taught positive behavior support as well as provided therapeutic consulting services. She has taught at the collegiate level and has spoken at several conferences. She has worked for the Center for Excellence in Disabilities as a behavior specialist in the positive behavior support project since May of 2011. Anastasia is also a certified brain injury specialist and the mother of two young children.
Kim Runyon Wilds
Kim Runyon Wilds has a MS degree in Criminal Justice from Marshall University and an MSW from WVU. She is the Program Director of Western Regional CASA and has been with WRC for over 25 years.
Amy Saunders is the director of the MU Wellness Center at Marshall University, where she oversees health and wellness initiatives on campus and serves as Co-Chair for the Marshall University Substance Use Recovery Coalition. She received a master's degree in psychology from Marshall University and has over 20 years of experience working in the fields of mental health and public health. She is currently working on a doctorate degree in education at Marshall University. Saunders served as the supervisor for a school-based mental health program overseeing services to students in five middle schools. She has authored and received over 20 public health related grants. Saunders serves as the Principal Investigator (PI) for an interdisciplinary health professionals training grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for individuals with mental health and substance use concerns. She is serving as a Co-PI on a Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Saunders has assisted with strategic planning and coalition development on campus and within the local community and state. She is a founding member of the Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership and the West Virginia Collegiate Initiative to Address to Address High Risk Drinking and Substance Use, coalitions working to provide substance use education and prevention in West Virginia.
Rhonda Sciortino overcame abandonment, abuse, poverty, filth, and hunger, and build a life of affluence, order, fulfillment, and excellent relationships. Her desire is to help others mine the lessons from their pain, and apply those lessons to create their own successes. Rhonda is passionate about helping people create successful lives, not just despite, but specifically because of what they’ve been through.
Cydney Smith, LSW, works at the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence as the Protective Service Coordinator. After graduating from Concord University with her BSW in Social Work, Ms. Smith started in the field of Social Work in 2010 working for the Department of Health and Human Resources as a Child Protective Service Worker. Ms. Smith moved on to Branches Domestic Violence Shelter as a Domestic Violence Counselor in 2016 before continuing her career at the WVCADV in early 2017. Ms. Smith sets on several committees across the state that directly works to transform social, cultural, and political attitudes to promote domestic violence awareness and systems change.
Julie Spence received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington) in Fredericksburg, VA. She is a licensed Social Worker for the State of WV and has worked with Child Protective Services in Cabell County, WV for the past 18 years and functioned in a supervisory role for 14 years.
Katie Spriggs is a graduate of Shepherd University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Ms. Spriggs has worked in victim services for five years, with a focus on victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and stalking. She is a member of the WV human trafficking task force and has trained medical professionals, law enforcement, military members and community members about intervention and prevention of human trafficking. Katie has been with Shenandoah Women’s Center (SWC) for five years and currently works as the Executive Director. SWC is a dual program in the Eastern Panhandle of WV that serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. Ms. Spriggs facilitates the Jefferson County SART (sexual assault response team) team. Ms. Spriggs is a member of the Martinsburg Police Department Chief’s advisory panel and works closely with law enforcement and other first responders in the field.
Kathy F. Szafran, MA, LPC, is the President and CEO of Crittenton Services of West Virginia. She has over 25 years of behavioral health experience encompassing clinical practice, senior level management, and program and policy development. Under her leadership, Crittenton has integrated trauma-informed treatment into residential and rural, community-based behavioral health services. The agency has been a participant in national research studies on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and a partner in nation-wide initiatives to advance best practices in the assessment and treatment of trauma. Ms. Szafran is a nationally recognized speaker. She has presented at Congressional Briefings and the White House Council on Women and Girls, focusing on gender-responsive, trauma-focused treatment for marginalized girls. Recently, she was a member of the Appalachian ACEs Expert Working Group, formed by the Appalachian Regional Commission and the CDC. She is an active collaborator with the National Crittenton Foundation, which advocates for girls and young women impacted by chronic adversity. Ms. Szafran is the co-chair of the West Virginia ACEs Coalition and serves on the boards of WV Kids Count and the Upper Ohio Valley Sexual Assault Help Center. She earned her master’s degree from West Virginia University and Certification in Traumatic Stress Studies from the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute. She is a Multi-System Integration Certificate Fellow, Center for Juvenile Justice Reform, Georgetown University.
Diana Thaxton is a professional school counselor currently working as an elementary counselor in Kanawha County. She has worked in a school setting in Florida, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia since 1999. Prior to 1999, she worked in the mental health field as an at-risk therapist and supervisor for in home services, as well as a supervisor for Marshall University Graduate program. Ms. Thaxton participated on the committee that created Handle with Care. She is currently pursuing her certification in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She earned her undergraduate degree from WVU in Social Work, her MS from Virginia Commonwealth University, and her Pre-K through 12 School Counselor certification from Marshall University.
Lt. Steven Thomas
Lt. Steven Thomas has been in law enforcement since 1992 and he has spent the last 22 years with the Anne Arundel County Police Department. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Sociology from U.M.B.C and a Master’s Degree in Legal & Ethical Studies from the University of Baltimore. Until 2016 he spent his entire police career in patrol, where he was an avid practitioner of community policing. With his "hands on experience" in community policing he was tasked in January 2014 with starting police CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) and Peer Support Teams, which he is currently the coordinator of both. Additionally, Lt. Thomas is the I.C.I.S.F. (International Critical Incident Stress Foundation) CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) Anne Arundel County Team Coordinator. He is an approved I.C.I.S.F. Instructor and a Youth & Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor.
Judge William Thompson
Judge William Thompson was born in Charleston and raised on Lick Creek near Danville. He graduated Salutatorian from Scott High School in 1988. He has a 1992 degree in civil engineering from West Virginia University and graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 1995. He was an engineer for American Electric Power in Columbus, Ohio, in 1992; Vice President of Danville Lumber Company from 1992 to 2007; and President of Madison Health Care, Inc., from 1998-2007. He was an attorney for Cook and Cook in Madison from 1995 to 2007and a Mental Hygiene Commissioner for Boone County from 2003 to 2007. Then-Governor Joe Manchin III appointed him to the bench in the Twenty-Fifth Judicial Circuit (Boone and Lincoln Counties) in 2007. Judge Thompson was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2016. Judge Thompson has been appointed to be a temporary Justice on the Supreme Court to hear cases in which as Justice was recused. He serves as the presiding judge for the Boone County Adult Drug Court, the Lincoln County Adult Drug Court and the Boone County Adult Drug Court. He is a member of the Madison United Methodist Church and is actively involved in coaching youth sports for both boys and girls. He and his wife, Keri Dawn, have four children, Grace Madison, age 16, William Joseph Thompson, age 12, Claire Thompson, age 11 and Sophia MaKay Thompson, age 6.
Michelle Vaughan received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Marshall University in 2001. She has worked for Children’s Home Society for 17 years. Her jobs have included Youth Care Worker, Shelter Social Worker, Shelter Supervisor and now as the Director of Shelter Care Services.