Trauma Research Foundation

Board of Directors

Bessel van der Kolk, MD Co-founder & Chair​

spends his career studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences, and has translated emerging findings from neuroscience and attachment research to develop and study a range of treatments for traumatic stress in children and adults.

In 1984, he set up one of the first clinical/research centers in the US dedicated to study and treatment of traumatic stress in civilian populations, which has trained numerous researchers and clinicians specializing in the study and treatment of traumatic stress, and which has been continually funded to research the impact of traumatic stress and effective treatment interventions. He did the first studies on the effects of SSRIs on PTSD; was a member of the first neuroimaging team to investigate how trauma changes brain processes, and did the first research linking BPD and deliberate self-injury to trauma and neglect in early childhood.

Much of his research has focused on how trauma has a different impact at different stages of development, and that disruptions in care-giving systems have additional deleterious effects that need to be addressed for effective intervention. In order to promote a deeper understanding of the impact of childhood trauma and to foster the development and execution of effective treatment interventions, he initiated the process that led to the establishment of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), a Congressionally mandated initiative that now funds approximately 150 centers specializing in developing effective treatment interventions, and implementing them in a wide array of settings, from juvenile detention centers to tribal agencies, nationwide.

He has focused on studying treatments that stabilize physiology, increase executive functioning and help traumatized individuals to feel fully alert to the present. This has included an NIMH funded study on EMDR and NCCAM funded study of yoga, and, in recent years, the study of neurofeedback to investigate whether attentional and perceptual systems (and the neural tracks responsible for them) can be altered by changing EEG patterns.

​His efforts resulted in the establishment of Trauma Center (now the Trauma Research Foundation) that consisted of a well-trained clinical team specializing in the treatment of children and adults with histories of child maltreatment, that applied treatment models that are widely taught and implemented nationwide, a research lab that studied the effects of neurofeedback and MDMA on behavior, mood, and executive functioning, and numerous trainings nationwide to a variety of mental health professional, educators, parent groups, policy makers, and law enforcement personnel.

He is author of the New York Times best seller The Body Keeps the Score, which has been translated into 35 languages, and of well over 150 peer reviewed scientific articles.

View Bessel van der Kolk's Full Bio
View Bessel van der Kolk's Curriculum Vitae

Licia Sky, ​Co-founder

is a Boston based artist, singer-songwriter, and bodyworker who works with traumatized individuals and trains mental health professionals to use Embodied Self Experience in movement, theater exercises, writing and voice as tools for attunement, healing and connection.

Martin Teicher, ​MD, Ph.D.

has been director of the Developmental Biopsychiatry Research Program at McLean Hospital since 1988. He was director of the former Developmental Psychopharmacology Laboratory (now the Laboratory of Developmental Neuropharmacology), and is currently an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Teicher is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Current Pediatric Reviews, and Current Psychosomatic Medicine. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation, and has been part of Harvard University's Brain Development Working Group. He has served on or chaired numerous review committees for the National Institutes of Health, published more than 150 articles, and has received numerous honors.

Mariah Rooney, MSW, LCSW, Strategic Planning & Development

 (she/her/hers)  is a psychotherapist who has practiced in outpatient, community, hospital and specialty care settings; a faculty member in the graduate School of Social Work at Winona State University; a consultant for the NCTSN’s Center for the Treatment of Developmental Trauma Disorders; and was previously a fellow at the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute. 

She has extensive experience in clinical work with children and adults treating the complex challenges that arise as a result of traumatic stress, attachment trauma, intergenerational trauma, and dissociation. Additionally, her research, consultation, and writing has focused on areas such as gender-related violence, military trauma, trauma-informed embodiment practices, developmental trauma, and systems-level interventions to prevent and address the impacts of trauma. Additionally, Mariah is a senior consultant at the American Institutes for Research. Her primary responsibilities include supporting capacity-building to prevent and address the effects of violence and trauma within individual agencies and schools, national and state agencies, state-wide coalitions, and multi-agency collaboratives. Mariah is also the Co-Founder of Trauma Informed Weight Lifting, a program of the Center for Trauma and Embodiment.

Benjamin Fry & Treasurer

is the Founder of NeuralSolution, Khiron Clinics and Get Stable. He is an accredited psychotherapist, author and entrepreneur.

He has had a rich and varied career, combining his interests in psychology, the media and business. In his twenties he founded two small businesses before starting a family, training as a psychotherapist and writing his first book which led to presenting a television series for the BBC.

More recently he has combined his business experience, clinical training and media skills to set up Khiron House, a residential mental-health clinic, to lobby for more effective treatment in the public sector through his non-profit Get Stable and to found NeuralSolution which delivers nervous system informed technology for a variety of behavioural health problems.

J. W. Freiberg, Ph.D.; J.D.

was formerly Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Sociology at Boston University, and simultaneously Instructeur at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris.  At both institutions he taught Social Psychology.  More recently he has published three prize winning books on the topic of chronic loneliness.

Subsequently, Freiberg practiced law at Hale & Dorr, leaving to become Chairman of Weston Patrick. He is the author of five books: Surrounded By Others and Yet So Alone; Growing Up Lonely; Four Seasons of Loneliness; The French Press: Class, State and Ideology; and Critical Sociology: European Perspectives, as well as over thirty-five articles, book introductions, and other scholarly works on social psychological, and legal issues. His recent work has concentrated on the public health ramifications of chronic loneliness, and his story-based writing style has led to him having been described as "The Oliver Sacks of Law."

Susan Lagos CFO

has extensive experience in non-profit organizations with human resources, strategic planning, budgeting, streamlining financial systems, and financial management, including financial reporting, forecasting, analysis and accounting.  Susan was the Director of Finance & Human Resources for the Striar Hebrew Academy in Sharon, MA.

John H. Fisher

manages the Fair Housing Information Program, which provides education and consultation on fair housing law and other housing-related issues at Way Finders, a regional nonprofit that serves much of Western Massachusetts. 

John is also Managing Director for the Foundation for Neurofeedback and Applied Neuroscience, which encourages research into neurofeedback and related areas. He is the former CEO of the neurofeedback company EEG Spectrum International, and he has held leadership positions at various nonprofit organizations over the years. John also serves as a private consultant and regularly trains in areas as varied as neurofeedback technology and rental property management. A former science editor, he has written on a wide range of topics, both technical and non-technical, and is the author of the Property Management Manual for Massachusetts Rental Owners, which is now in its sixth edition.

Keith Reams, Ph.D.

is the leader of Deloitte’s Washington National Tax Practice for Transfer Pricing and the US and Global Leader for Controversy in the international economic consulting practice of Deloitte’s Global Transfer Pricing Group and Deloitte’s International Tax Global Strategy Group. In this capacity, he works extensively with large multinational companies in a wide variety of industries on major business enterprise restructurings and global tax optimization projects.

Mr. Reams has served in various governance capacities over the past three decades, including as one of the founding board members of Big Picture Schools of California, a public school charter organization dedicated to the delivery of innovation in teaching at the K-12 level. He also has worked with Big Picture Learning Australia, and he also sits on the board of trustees for Rudolf Steiner College.

Wynne Morgan, MD

is a board-certified Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist who trained locally at UMass Medical School. She has an interest in early childhood trauma and working within a systems of care approach to support vulnerable families. 

Along with her work at FaCES S&S, Dr. Morgan is also the attending child psychiatrist for a preschool age clinic at CANDO, UMass Medical School Worcester and the Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist to the Office of the Medical Director, Department of Children and Families, Boston. At a national level, Dr. Morgan has been a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) Adoption and Foster Care Committee since 2012 and is the current co-chair for this committee. Dr. Morgan was also the inaugural recipient of the 2018 Marylin Benoit Child Maltreatment Mentorship Award for her work in child welfare.

Janina Fisher, Ph.D.

is the Assistant Educational Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and a former instructor, Harvard Medical School.  

An international expert on the treatment of trauma, is co-author with Pat Ogden of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Attachment and Trauma (2015) and author of Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Self-Alienation (2017) and Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma: a Workbook for Survivors and Therapists (2021).  She is best known for her work on integrating newer neurobiologically-informed interventions into traditional psychotherapy approaches.   More information can be found on her website:   Picture Learning Australia, and he also sits on the board of trustees for Rudolf Steiner College.

Carrie Steffensen

is Vice President of The Meadows Institute. She has held numerous leadership positions in the behavioral healthcare field, including managing national and international conferences. She is inspired by the opportunity to bring together industry thought leaders and clinicians to grow the collective impact of Trauma Research Foundation.

Joan Tiffany

has had a career in college undergraduate international education with the International Honors Program (IHP), an issue based comparative global study abroad program of SIT/World Learning.  Joan has varied non-profit board experience over many years of care and service.

As leader of the International Honors Program (IHP), Joan has worked with a remarkable international and US based team, outstanding students and alumni.  Recognized for academic rigor and the study of timely topics relating to the environment, social justice, health, human rights, and urban issues, IHP merged with SIT/World Learning in 2010.  Historically IHP has had one and two semester programs that also included the study of film, religion, utopian society, globalization, the impact of tourism on a culture and other timely topics. 

Joan’s diverse experience serving on a variety of boards include the Marion Institute sponsor of the Connecting for Change Conferences, support for emerging non-profits and biomedical health initiatives; United South End Settlements, where she was co-chair of their capital campaign; Childrens’ Museum (Boston); a founding member of the Museum of Fine Arts Council; Director Emeritus and former Chair of First Night (Boston’s arts celebration of the new year that has spawned 190 other First Night celebrations nationally and internationally).  She has also co-chaired several national sailing regattas and served as president of a small boat sailing association.  In addition she has co-chaired the parents associations two colleges  Joan  has also worked in state government and business and as a consultant for a number of small capitol campaigns and feasibility studies.  

Joan and her husband, Ed, live in the South End of Boston where they raised their two children    


Laura Babala, MSW, LCSW, CYT

has worked in the health care industry for over 25 years spanning work in health care policy, public health, disease management, quality improvement, strategic planning and marketing, and direct care. She has experience in a range of venues including community mental health, urban public health, managed care, start-up entrepreneurial ventures, and the pharmaceutical industry. She has always been called to be a healer and left management to work directly with people who have suffered from trauma.

Currently, she serves in the role of trauma and attachment therapist, trauma-sensitive yoga teacher, and educator.  She frequently speaks about trauma and trauma-informed care to the legal industry, schools and communities as well as hosting training and retreats on healing trauma through embodiment for professionals as well as individuals who have experienced trauma. 

Gwendolyn VanSant

is a trainer & facilitator in diversity leadership, cultural competence and coalition building for justice and equity. She is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founding Director of Multicultural BRIDGE and contributes to several teams across the region to promote safety, equity and trust in communities and workplaces. Gwendolyn has worked with corporations, schools, colleges and universities, law enforcement, hospitals, teaching and leadership institutes, and more.  In addition to designing cultural competence trainings, Gwendolyn is a frequent speaker and long-time activist deeply rooted in racial justice, gender equity and positive psychology. 


Most recently her work in honoring Dr. W.E. B. Du Bois has taken centerfold as co-curator and co-designer of the Du Bois 150th birthday festival commissioned by the Town of Great Barrington. In spring 2017, Gwendolyn spearheaded the county-wide campaign and coalition "Not in the Berkshires" and, in partnership, stewarded the crafting and passing of her town’s Trust Policya step towards a statewide Safe Community Act. In 2016, Gwendolyn served as the Founding Director of Equity and Inclusion at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, her alma mater. In 2015/2016 she was recognized as a “Berkshire Trendsetter” finalist and was named one of her county’s most dedicated and creative social entrepreneurs by Berkshire Magazine. In 2018 she is recognized as an Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. in 2020, Gwendolyn received an award on behalf of BRIDGE from MCLA winning the Presidents Medallion and in 2019 she was recognized as the Woman of Year in Achievement by Berkshire Business and Professional Women. She also  is a reactivation and annual member of the Berkshire County Branch of the NAACP. and has served on the African American Heritage Trail.


Bruce Dixon, CEO

stands as an award-winning innovator, social entrepreneur, adventurer, storyteller, and a true aficionado of human performance. Born with an insatiable curiosity and an unyielding zest for life, Bruce's remarkable journey has taken him across the globe, weaving a tapestry of diverse experiences and vocations.

From the football field to the intricacies of financial services management, Bruce has fearlessly ventured into uncharted territories. His portfolio extends to leadership development, organizational behavior, coaching, and nonprofit innovation, showcasing a multifaceted career that mirrors his desire to support the thriving and well-being of all.

A seasoned storyteller, Bruce Dixon encapsulates his life experiences in narratives that captivate and inspire. His adventures have not only shaped his worldview but have also allowed him to amass a wealth of knowledge and insights. As a social entrepreneur, he brings a unique perspective to problem-solving, always seeking innovative solutions that create a positive impact on society.

Bruce's passions are deeply rooted in pushing the boundaries of mental, spiritual, and physical performance. His commitment to unlocking human potential is evident in every facet of his career, where he seamlessly blends his diverse skills and experiences. Whether navigating the complexities of professional football or spearheading nonprofit initiatives, Bruce is driven by a genuine desire to elevate individuals and organizations to new heights.