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Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D.

Founder, Board of Directors

Suniya S. Luthar is Founder AC Groups, Co-Founder Emerita of Authentic Connections Co., and Professor Emerita at Columbia University's Teachers College. She received her Ph.D. from Yale University and served on the faculty of the Yale Department of Psychiatry and the Child Study Center (1990 – 1998), Columbia University's Teachers College (1999- 2014), and Arizona State University as Foundation Professor (2014-2019). She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Association for Psychological Science (APS), and her awards include the Boyd McCandless Young Scientist Award from APA, a Research Scientist Development (K) Award from NIH, an American Mensa Foundation Award, an award for Integrity and Mentorship from the SRCD’s Asian Caucus, and SRA’s 2021 Hill Award for distinguished contributions to research on adolescents.

For more details, please see www.SuniyaLuthar.org.

Suniya S. Luthar, Ph.D.

Founder, Executive Director Emeritus

Tracy R Juliao, Ph.D.

Chief Operations Officer

Dr. Juliao is a fully licensed health psychologist who owns an integrative mental healthcare practice with multiple locations in southeast Michigan. Professionally, Dr. Juliao has spent over 20 years working as a clinician, a business owner/leader, and an instructor at several universities, including Columbia University, Oakland University, and the University of Michigan. Dr. Juliao's early research interests included women's multiple roles via a lens of health and wellbeing. Growing out of her research, all aspects of her clinical work and teaching have continued to focus on integrative health, trauma, vulnerability, shame, energy psychology, and a whole person perspective, which has resulted in a lifetime of advanced education and certification in healing modalities inclusive of those speciality areas.

 

Tracy R Juliao, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Group Facilitator

Jordan Juliao

Project Director

Jordan is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan with her Bachelor of Science in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience with a specialization in Adolescence. Her research area of interest is in enhancing neuropsychological interventions for the treatment of adolescent traumatic brain injuries, and she has worked in both a Cognitive Psychology Parkinson's research lab and a Wayfinding In Older Adults study. Jordan is a volunteer crisis counselor, alumni mentor at the University of Michigan, and she currently works with student groups at the University of Michigan to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), especially for women of color in STEM, LGBTQ+ populations, and transfer, non-traditional, and international student groups.

Jordan Juliao

Project Director

Kimber Bogard, Ph.D.

Chair, Board of Directors

Kimber Bogard, Ph.D., is the Deputy Executive Officer for Programs at the National Academy of Medicine. In this role, Dr. Bogard aligns programmatic priorities with strategic impact. She oversees several national and international programs with a mission to improve health for all by advancing science, accelerating health equity, and catalyzing innovation. Previously, Dr. Bogard was the Sr. Vice President for Programs and Strategy at the New York Academy of Medicine. She oversaw three centers that worked to achieve health equity through building integrative community partnerships and policy solutions, participatory evaluation and applied research, and centering older adults in program and policy development. Dr. Bogard is a developmental psychologist by training who brings a life course perspective and social and emotional lens to her work.

Kimber Bogard, Ph.D.

Chair, Board of Directors

Nik Kumar, MA

Board of Directors and Steering Committee

Nik Kumar is an investment analyst at Meritage Group where he focuses on public and private equity investments in business services and technology. Prior to Meritage, he worked in private equity investing at Advent International and as a consultant at Bain and Company, where his client work focused on employee engagement and organizational design. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an MA in Math, an MS in Physics, and a BA in Philosophy, summa cum laude. A Founding Board Member of the nonprofit in 2015, Nik actively supports AC Groups financial and strategic planning. Nik is based in New York.

Nik Kumar, MA

Board of Directors & Steering Committee

Steve Lee, Ph.D.

Board of Directors and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. Steve Lee is Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology Training at UCLA’s Department of Psychology. He is also Associate Editor of the journal Clinical Psychological Science, and Past-President, Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (SCCAP). Dr. Lee obtained his BA from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UC Berkeley, and his post-doctoral fellowship in Psychiatric Genetics was done at the University of Chicago. Dr. Lee's ares of expertise include attention deficit and behavioral problems in children, with special attention to how these develop in families, and implications for treatment. Among Dr. Lee's honors is the American Psychological Association's Division 7 2021 Mavis Hetherington Award for Excellence in Applied Developmental Science.

Steve Lee, Ph.D.

Board of Directors & Chief Scientific Officer

Anna Moore, Ph.D.

Board of Directors and Steering Committee

Anna Moore is Head of the Howard School in Atlanta, Georgia. Previously, she was Director of Student Support at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where she had also served as Director of Summer School, Grade Level Dean, Academic Lead of Concussion team, and Science teacher. Prior to her work in schools, Anna was on the faculty of the Emory University School of Medicine. Anna holds a BA in Psychology and Human Development from Duke University and a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from the University of California, San Diego. She is committed to a holistic approach to students and community well-being, guided by rigorous data and evidence-based practices.

Anna Moore, Ph.D.

Board of Directors & Steering Committee

Jennifer Reese, MD

Board of Directors and Steering Committee

Dr. Jennifer Reese is the Section Head of Pediatric Hospital Medicine, and Associate Vice Chair for Faculty Well-being, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine. In addition to her clinical work as a hospitalist, she is also the Medical Director for Provider Well-being, Children's Hospital Colorado, leading work promoting well-being for health care providers at Children's Hospital Colorado, and Department of Pediatrics. This work focuses on understanding and mitigating burnout and promoting resilience for health care providers, including research interests in quality improvement. She enjoys facilitating workshops and public speaking on these topics.

Jennifer Reese, MD

Board of Directors & Steering Committee

Pam Roy

Board of Directors

Pam Roy is a philanthropist, investor, businesswoman, and community leader with a mission to provide transformational community-based mental health support for families and youth. She is co-founder of Straight Up Impact, a film company inspiring social change and B-Unbound, a community platform that connects 14-24-year-olds to supportive adults and peers around shared interests. Recognizing the key role meaning plays in mental health, she co-founded the Viktor Frankl Institute of America, providing resources related to the search for meaning. She is also an advisor to the CEO of Friendship Bench, Dr. Dixon Chibanda. Pam writes a blog, PamRoyBlog, that inspires parents to look at systemic issues affecting youth mental health and well-being.

Pam Roy

Board of Directors & Steering Committee

Helen Burke, LMHCA

Group Facilitator

Helen Burke completed her academic and clinical mental health training at Antioch University in Seattle. She is currently a mental health counselor doing individual and group work with youth and parents through a non profit organization (Bainbridge Youth Services) dedicated since 1962 to promoting the social and emotional wellbeing of adolescents and young adults. Helen also does community outreach and education about youth wellness and the importance of supporting caregivers in the hard work of parenting. Counseling is a mid-life career change for Helen who practiced law before having kids. She has facilitated in person and online support groups in and around Seattle for several years and is regularly inspired by the power of group work.

Helen Burke, LMHCA

Group Facilitator

Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., RN

Steering Committee and Group Facilitator

Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., R.N., is a Nurse Scientist in the Department of Nursing, Division of Nursing Research at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Her program of research is centered on care for the caregiver, primarily focused on mindfulness-based interventions to enhance resilience among both professional and family caregivers of patients with complex health needs. She received a Master’s degree in Nursing Education from Winona State University and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She has attended multiple trainings for teaching resilience principles and mindfulness practices and is certified by the Global Resilience and Inner Transformation Institute as a Resilience Trainer.

Sherry Chesak, Ph.D., RN

Steering Committee & Group Facilitator

Vanessa Elias, Certified Parent Coach

Steering Committee and Group Facilitator

Vanessa Elias is the founder of Thrive with a Guide, LLC, a certified parent coach, and a mental health activist. She earned my bachelor's degree in psychology from Boston University. During her time as the president of the Wilton Youth Council (2015-2019), she was honored to be named a “Wilton 25” in 2017, celebrating 25 extraordinary Wilton residents for their talent, entrepreneurial spirit, generosity, expertise, and philanthropy. Currently, Vanessa serves as a lead voice in her community connecting parents to professionals, resources, and thought leaders. She specializes in considering siblings when creating a personalized support plan for parents and remains passionate about learning new evidence-based practices in mental health. She has led parent support groups since 2015 and is also a facilitator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Child & Adolescent Network (NAMI-CAN) and AC Groups.

Vanessa Elias

Steering Committee & Group Facilitator

Alex Koenig, Ph.D.

Group Facilitator

Alex Koenig, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist living in Albuquerque, NM. She earned her PhD from Seattle Pacific University and completed her internship in Interprofessional Mental Health at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the North Texas VA Health Care System in Primary Care-Mental Health Integration. She worked in integrated primary care for several years in rural Oregon before starting her current private practice which specializes in perinatal and maternal mental health for Oregon and Washington State residents. She has been facilitating both in person and virtual AC groups since 2019.

Alex Koenig

Group Facilitator

Alex Kreinces

Steering Committee

Alex has extensive experience across business, research, and communication. Having worked for some of the largest holding companies in the advertising industry, is able to truly understand and interpret consumer behavior. Combining his time and experience in the advertising industry with his passion for research and human development, Alex brings a unique point of view to AC Groups' steering committee, supporting the team on strategic partnerships and outreach. 

Alex Kreinces

Steering Committee

Jeremiah Neal, LMHC

Group Facilitator

Jeremiah Neal is a licensed mental health counselor, an AC Groups facilitator, and the current Upper School Counselor at The Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA. He received his bachelor's degree in Sociology from Georgia State University in 2009 and his master's degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University in 2014. In addition to providing direct services to students, Jeremiah provides consultation and education to school staff and faculty on adolescent mental health issues.

Jeremiah Neal, LMHC

Group Facilitator

Janae Peters

Steering Committee and Group Facilitator

Janae Peters completed her clinical social work training at the Smith College School for Social Work. She is an educator who actively integrates clinical social work into all aspects of the educational environment. She spends most of her time working with high school students at the Mastery School of Hawken, and with graduate students at Smith College School for Social Work. Additionally, she is actively engaged in the pilot stages of founding Prolific Shifts, a cohort space for Black educators and leaders to engage in personal and professional development. In every realm, she has engaged a relational and process oriented approach to learning with and supporting others, and has a highest goal of understanding how different social, political, historical, and environmental contexts influence our capacities for learning, growth, and transformation.

Janae Peters

Steering Committee & Group Facilitator

Erika A. Thomas-Collins, PsyD, DLLP, LPC

Group Facilitator

Dr. Erika A. Thomas-Collins is a Doctoral Limited License Psychologist and Licensed Professional Counselor. She received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Michigan School of Psychology and her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Phoenix. She is also a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and Approved Clinical Supervisor. Dr. Erika has been working in mental health since 2008, obtaining experience in case management, home-based therapy, individual, couples, family, and group therapy, psychiatric hospital intake, and supervision/ management. In 2013 Dr. Erika established her own private practice in New Haven, Michigan. Dr. Erika’s area of interest and dissertation research was focused on racial identity development for Multiracial individuals. Her areas of clinical specialty include mood disorders, borderline personality disorder, and PTSD/trauma.

Erika A. Thomas-Collins, PsyD, DLLP, LPC

Group Facilitator