Col. Ann McCulliss Johnson, MSW. (Ret., US Army)
COL Ann Johnson was born and raised in Philadelphia and currently resides in St. Augustine, FL.
After serving on active duty in the US Army as Behavioral Science Specialist, Ann graduated from LaSalle University with She completed her Masters in Social Work at the University of Kansas in 1983 and accepted a commission in the Army Reserve as a Social Work Officer in 1984. In between pursuing a career in Social Work and a career as an Army Officer, Ann has raised three children, been mobilized and deployed for service in Operation Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, and supported her husband during his military career. Ann has over 34 years of military service.
In her last assignment, she served as Reserve Social Work Consultant to the Army Surgeon General with duty at Fort Sam Houston, TX. Ms Johnson is currently consulting with the UCF Psychology Anxiety and Trauma department. She also works as a Behavioral Health Provider for a DOD Occupational Health Company as well as a trainer and presenter for several companies.
Col. Dave Casmus (Ret., US Army)
Dave Casmus served over 24 years in the United States Army and retired as a Colonel in 2001. He served in Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), Operation Southern Watch (Saudi Arabia), and Operation Noble Safeguard (Israel). His varied assignments include duties as Chief of Staff, 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Fort Bliss, TX, Commander, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (Fort Bliss, TX) and 94th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (Darmstadt, Germany), ACofS G5 and Commander, 2d Battalion 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.
He was the Military Aide to Vice Presidents Dan Quayle & Al Gore from January 1991 to June 1993, as a Major he was a Brigade and Battalion Operations Officer and Battalion Executive Officer in Germany. As a Company Grade Officer, was the Aide de Camp to the Commanding General, an instructor and a Doctrine Writer at the US Army Air Defense School; led ADA Platoons and commanded an ADA Battery in the 82d Airborne Division (Fort Bragg, NC).
He currently serves as the Honorary Colonel of the 94th Air Defense Regiment. After retirement from the US Army he was a Business Development Senior Manager for the Raytheon Company for 10 years, and now is President of a successful consulting company in El Paso, Texas. Dave earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Canisius College (Buffalo, NY) and a Master Degree in Management from Webster University (St. Louis, MO).
Christina Alecse, MIDA
Christina Alecse joined UCF RESTORES in March 2018 as Project Manager. She volunteers at Seminole County Sheriff’s Office on the Search and Rescue Team and as a Citizen on Patrol at Sanford Police Department and Seminole Sheriff’s Office. She graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in German and International and Comparative Political Science. Following her undergraduate studies, she went on to receive her Master’s of International Development Administration. Christina also graduated from the Peace Corps Master’s International program, which gave her the unique opportunity to pair her studies with volunteer service in Romania as a non-profit advisor. Before joining the UCF RESTORES team, Christina managed and developed programs at several non-profit organizations in the United States and Europe. Given her dedication to global service and human welfare, Christina has extensively traveled to over 50 countries on four continents and has lived in three countries. At UCF RESTORES, Christina will be providing vital support to maintain streamlined organizational operations.
Monica Friedman, MSW
Monica Friedman joined UCF RESTORES as Coordinator of Clinical Programs in July 2017. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and minor in Sociology, with a concentration in Behavioral Forensics. In 2015, Monica continued her studies at UCF, earning her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work. Before joining the UCF RESTORES team, Monica held the position of Administrative Coordinator for Referral and Psychiatric Services at UCF Student Health Services for several years. Her past clinical and case management experience also includes assisting patients in the correctional, outpatient addiction, domestic violence, and inpatient psychiatric sectors. At UCF RESTORES Monica uses her experience to enhance our clinical services by providing patient advocacy, psychoeducational services, individual treatment, care coordination, and discharge management.
Yemanja Vidal Krasnow, LCSW
Yemanja Vidal Krasnow joined UCF RESTORES as a full-time clinician during the fall of 2017. Mrs. Krasnow received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in May 1994 and her Master's of Clinical Social Work from the University of Southern California in December 2012 with a sub-concentration in military social work and veteran services. Mrs. Krasnow has twenty years of direct experience designing, managing, implementing, and evaluating programs that address sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, parenting education, and life coping skills. She has extensive knowledge and first-hand experience working with children, at risk youth, families, veterans and the military community. As a result of being a military spouse and having several years of experience providing clinical services to military personnel, Mrs. Krasnow is passionate about working with our veterans. Mrs. Krasnow is fluent in Spanish and is available to provide services in Spanish, when necessary.
Nancy Rosado, MSW
Nancy Rosado, a retired NYPD sergeant and Clinical Social Worker, serves as the Outreach Consultant for UCF RESTORES. Ms. Rosado has an extensive history in law enforcement, including being among the first police officers to respond to the attack on 9/11. While Nancy was born and raised in Bronx, NY, she has been living in Orlando for the past 10 years. Since her time in Orlando, Ms. Rosado has served as an advocate for many underrepresented populations, including the Latino, LGBTQ+ and first responder communities. Some of her focuses have been on providing culturally competent training for local officials following the Pulse shooting and assisting with the transitioning of Puerto Rican refugees after Hurricane Maria. As our Outreach Consultant, she is on the front lines finding out what our community needs are and how we can most effectively deliver the required services.
Chloe Findley, LMHC
Chloe Findley is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, receiving her B.S. degree in Psychology with a certificate in Behavioral Forensics. She went on to graduate from the University of Florida earning her M.Ed./Ed.S. degrees in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has experience providing individual, family, and group counseling to adults, teenagers and youth in the criminal justice system. Chloe is dedicated to specializing in the treatment of trauma, dual-diagnosis, and substance use disorders. Chloe’s additional interests include traveling, spending time with her therapy dog-in training, and being outdoors. Chloe is invested in helping UCF RESTORES expand this necessary treatment to Brevard county.
Michelle Rehbein, MCAP/RMHCI
Michelle joined our clinical team in 2018 to serve as an ambassador and treatment provider for our Brevard location. Michelle brings a well-rounded perspective to patient care, having several years of experience serving various populations. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings offering treatment for mental health and substance use related difficulties within the child and adult sectors. In recent years, Michelle has focused her clinical efforts on treating individuals struggling with compounded issues, including trauma, anxiety, substance use, and other mood disturbances. Michelle is passionate about extending our services to the first responder and Veteran population and continues to use her talents to provide high-quality trauma treatment to our community members in need.
Kim Neisler, RN
Kimberly Neisler joined UCF RESTORES in 2019 after retiring as the Fire Chief of the Maitland Fire Rescue Department where she served nearly 37 years beginning her career as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Kimberly has been involved in programs relating to First Responder stress management throughout her career. During her tenure as Fire Chief, Kimberly was tasked with establishing the Central Florida Regional Fire Rescue Behavioral Health Collaborative in order to provide a means for sharing in resources for Peer Support. She serves as the Fire/EMS Outreach Coordinator for UCF RESTORES. Her goal is to help members of the First Responder community become educated on the issues surrounding serving the community during crisis. She will work with members of the Fire Service to help develop Peer Support members through education on REACT. Kimberly holds degrees in EMS, Nursing, and Fire Science. She previously served as an RN/Clinical Educator for Valencia State College’s Paramedic program. She is married to a Law Enforcement Officer and has three daughters, all of which are in the First Responder and/or medical field.
Keith Smith, LCSW
After completing a tour of duty in the US Army, Keith completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology and his graduate degree in Social Work at UNLV in Las Vegas, NV, where he worked at as primary responder for over 25 years in some of Las Vegas’ famous casinos. After completing clinical internships in community mental health centers, Keith worked for the Department of Children and Family Services and in correctional institutions. Keith has a special affinity for first responders and is proud to have been able to join the UCF RESTORES team. When not working, Keith enjoys spending time with his family and watching the latest action and sci-fi movies on the big screen.
Carmen Guzman, MS
Carmen Guzman received her Masters of Science Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University in 2016. Prior to joining UCF RESTORES in the Summer of 2019, she worked as a Victim Advocate with the Orange County Sheriff's office as a first responder to all crisis related scenes including Homicides, Suicides, Natural /Accidental Deaths, Overdoses, Infant/ Child Deaths, Drownings and Mass Casualties. Ms. Guzman was a first responder in the PULSE incident where she was recognized by the FBI for working with Law Enforcement, FBI and FDLE to deliver Death Notifications and Crisis Intervention. She is fully bilingual in English/Spanish and is a passionate advocate for Human Rights.
Carmen Honaker, MNM
Carmen Honaker joined UCF RESTORES in November 2019 as a Contracts and Grants Specialist. Throughout the past 10 years, Carmen has remained heavily involved with UCF in an academic and professional capacity. Carmen obtained a Bachelor of Public Administration and a Master’s of Nonprofit Management from UCF and has held numerous positons within the university. Her professional experience in accounting, program management, and student advising has made Carmen a versatile and dynamic addition to the UCF RESTORES team. In her current role, she will provide financial management support to all areas of clinic operation, while also serving as a research administrator. Due to Carmen’s vast professional experience, educational achievements, and eagerness to learn, she will serve as a tremendous asset to UCF RESTORES. While Carmen is not crunching numbers or managing budgets, she enjoys reading, attending festivals, and spending quality time with her daughter while teaching her about their Romanian heritage.
Brandon Matsumiya graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Sociology from Boston University (BU) in 2014. He is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. Brandon is a member of UCF RESTORES. He is interested in integrating technology into clinical research and practice pertaining to depressed and anxious youth. His prior research has involved investigating technology tied to alcohol use and suicidality as well as technology-based healthcare screeners. Brandon is originally from Washington. While he will not miss the rain in Washington he will miss the more temperate environment. In his free time, he enjoys reading, cooking and playing board games.
Krystal received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Notre Dame. Krystal’s primary interests lie in the research and treatment of PTSD as well as other anxiety disorders. While at Notre Dame, Krystal conducted research in the Development & Psychopathology Lab examining the effects of adverse childhood experiences on development with a focus on parent-child interactions. During that time she completed an honors thesis on the effects of maternal PTSD on maternal sensitivity, and also served as in intern at the Child Abuse Investigation and Education Center in South Bend, Indiana. Krystal also worked as a research assistant in Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns and was engaged in the research and assessment of moral education and civic engagement with a focus on motivations for service-learning involvement. Krystal works as a Graduate Research Assistant and Student Clinician under the tutelage of Dr. Deborah Beidel in the UCF RESTORES Lab. She is interested in pursuing a multidisciplinary research approach to better understand the etiology and neuropsychological correlates of PTSD and anxiety disorders, as well as the development of effective treatment approaches.
Maddie Marks graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Sports Psychology and a minor in Psychology from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) in 2012 and was designated a University Honors Scholar as well as a Babbidge Scholar. She is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. Maddie is interested in integrating technology into clinical research and practice pertaining to current and former military service men and women, athletes, and healthcare providers. She has a special interest in first responders, as she is also an EMT. Her prior research has involved investigating stress, anxiety, and performance, including mental health issues, for returning OEF / OIF Veterans.
Michael Gramlich earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012 and then worked as a full-time research assistant for two years on a clinical trial funded by the Department of Defense. This study utilized real-time functional brain imagining and cognitive brain-training software to enhance recovery among active-duty soldiers at Fort Hood who sustained a mild traumatic brain injury with and without PTSD. In the fall of 2014, Mike joined UCF RESTORES as a Clinical Psychology doctoral student, mentored by Drs. Sandra Neer and Deborah Beidel. His primary research focus involves veterans with PTSD. Specifically, he is interested in examining the relationship between trauma-related stimuli and PTSD in an effort towards better understanding the neurological markers and improving the clinical assessment of PTSD.
Annelise Cunningham, graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois with a B.S. in Psychology. At DePaul, Annelise was a McNair Scholar and worked on various research projects throughout the city’s community. Her undergraduate work focused on neurocognitive and developmental psychology. Annelise is honored to be involved with the UCF RESTORES program in aiding individuals impacted by trauma. More recently, Annelise began working with UCF RESTORES on training initiatives including REACT, which assists various communities impacted by trauma in providing peer support. Annelise is a Chicago Cubs fan and loves watching baseball games with her family. She enjoys traveling, working out and spending time with her dog Otter.
Jessica Ruiz, a clinical psychology doctoral student, is an honored member of the UCF RESTORES team. A California native, Jessica was born and raised in San Jose and studied psychology and sociology at the University of San Diego. Jessica is a McNair Scholar and participated in a number of research projects. Previously, her research included areas of social psychology and clinical psychology. Jessica volunteered with research at the San Diego VA where she helped conduct a retrospective exploratory study assessing the mental health outcomes of veterans who screen positive for Military Sexual Trauma. After graduating with her BA in Psychology in 2017, Jessica moved to Orlando, Florida where she began studying as a doctoral student under the mentorship of Dr. Clint Bowers. Since joining her colleagues, Jessica has helped with REACT training aiding various communities in peer support. Her interests include PTSD, preventative research and reducing stigma and barriers to care among marginalized populations. She enjoys hiking, food festivals, traveling and being active.
Matthew Cook graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2014. He is a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Central Florida. Mentored by Dr. Amie R. Newins, Matt’s primary research focus involved veterans with PTSD and other anxiety disorders, as well as substance use difficulties. Matt is a member of the Stress, Health, and Anxiety Research Lab (SHARE Lab) and UCF RESTORES. Matt is originally from several places across the United States, having grown up in a military household, but likes to call Florida home after graduating from high school in Daytona Beach. Not minding the weather in most places much, Matt enjoys getting outside to go hiking or kayaking, and also finding time at home with a good book, video games, and music.
Rebekah Kanefsky graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in psychology and a certificate in victim advocacy. Following graduation, she spent two years at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland conducting research on blood-based biomarkers of Traumatic Brain Injury. At UCF RESTORES, Rebekah works under the mentorship of Dr. Newins and is interested in PTSD following sexual assault. Rebekah loves spending time with her dog Bao and enjoying the food scene in Orlando.
Jeremy Stout is a Ph.D graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Central Florida, mentored by Dr. Beidel. His primary clinical and research focus is on veterans with PTSD and/or substance abuse. Mr. Stout served 4 years as an active duty Marine Corps Infantryman and went on two Iraqi, combat deployments. He deployed once as a member of a quick reaction force in Haditha, Iraq, and was part of a Sniper Team on his second deployment in Fallujah, Iraq. Jeremy Stout has worked for one year as an undergraduate intern at the Richmond McGuire Veterans Hospital. Mr. Stout is from Richmond, Virginia, but misses the beaches where he was stationed at near Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, Hawaii. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in May 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology and got married one week later. He enjoys running, the outdoors, and is happy to be close to the beach once again at his new home at the University of Central Florida.
Benson Munyan is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Central Florida, mentored by Sandra Neer, Ph.D., and Deborah Beidel, PhD., ABPP. His primary clinical and research focus currently resides on veterans with combat-related PTSD and related treatment outcomes. Benson has served over 8 years in the US Army, with tours to Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Benson is from Logan, Utah. He received his Bachelors of Science with Departmental Honors in Psychology from Utah State University in 2012. He enjoys Long-Range marksmanship, spear-fishing, and spending time with his family
Brian received his BA in Psychology from Arizona State University in 2010, his MS in Clinical Psychology from UCF in 2013, and his Ph.D. His interest is in developmental psychopathology, with an emphasis on anxiety disorders, selective mutism and stress. Brian is interested in the development of advanced assessment and treatment protocols that are efficacious, easily distributable to community clinicians and economically feasible for low-income communities. His recent research examined the use of technology (e.g., computer and tablet computer applications) to improve treatment for patients with social phobia and selective mutism. Additionally, he worked with Dr. Deborah Beidel on a study funded by the Department of Defense, which aims to assess stress and resiliency in the families of deployed military service members. Results from this investigation will assist in the development of technology-based intervention/prevention protocols to combat risk-factors associated with military deployment. Brian is now a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph Johnson VA in Charleston, S.C.
Born and raised in Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C., Frank graduated in 2009 with a B.S. in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was also a McNair Scholar. Frank’s research interests include the deficits and difficulties experienced by adolescents with social anxiety and the psychopathology and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly in military veterans. He is also interested in exploring cultural influences in these areas. Frank hopes to remain involved in both clinical research and practice in his future endeavors. Frank is now a graduate psychologist at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center.
Katie Ragsdale, Ph.D. graduated Magna cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at the Florida State University in 2009. She immediately began doctoral training in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at the University of Central Florida, receiving her M.S. and Ph.D. She completed her internship at the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her master’s thesis investigated the effect of various psychological traits and symptoms on physiological reactivity to emotional stimuli, and she earned her Master of Science degree in 2012. Her primary clinical and research focus concerns the assessment and treatment of veterans suffering from combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although she is originally from Tennessee, Katie also lived in Arkansas and Georgia before settling in Florida. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, country music, and college football. Dr. Ragsdale is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University.
Originally from New Jersey, Lindsay received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland in 2005, Go Terps! Lindsay is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at UCF under the mentorship of Deborah C. Beidel, Ph.D., ABPP. She received her Master of Arts degree in 2009 and her Ph.D. in 2013. Her research and examined the specific social skills deficits and vocal characteristics of children with social phobia and children with Asperger’s Disorder for her master’s thesis. Her primary clinical research interests include elucidating the specific deficits associated with various childhood anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, selective mutism, obsessive compulsive disorder, and separation anxiety disorder with a particular emphasis of study on individuals suffering from anxiety and impairment in social skill. A thorough exploration of each disorder is necessary to develop targeted and comprehensive interventions. Dr. Scharfstein is on staff at the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change in Rockville, MD
Nina Wong Sarver
Dr. Nina Wong Sarver received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida, and completed her NIMH-sponsored T32 predoctoral internship at the Charleston Consortium (Medical University of South Carolina). She joined the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University as a postdoctoral research fellow in August 2013. She was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical School. Her broad academic and clinical research interests include: 1) the assessment and psychopathology of anxiety and related disorders, and 2) the development and dissemination of theoretically-driven efficacious cognitive-behavioral treatments for children and adults with emotional disorders. More specifically, her ongoing research interests focus on the use of technology to enhance clinical practice, research, and dissemination. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph Johnson VA Medical Center.
Maryann Owens received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with honors from the University of Georgia. As an undergraduate, Maryann assisted in the research of pathological gambling and social anxiety. She also served as a volunteer crisis counselor and victim’s advocate for the Sexual Assault Center for Northeast Georgia. Following graduation, she worked as a research coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders. While there, she managed a federally funded study to assess the efficacy and neurohormonal correlates of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In addition, she managed studies examining levels of oxytocin and immune system functioning in adults with social anxiety and adults with and without meditation experience. Maryann completed her M.S. and Ph.D. She is studying the behavioral and physiological responses of adults with social anxiety disorder. She is especially interested in computerized interventions for anxiety, in particular, virtual reality. She is also interested in understanding factors that contribute to and maintain anxiety and in developing treatments that are more easily disseminable to the community. Dr. Owens is a clinical psychologist at the VA Pittsburg Healthcare Systems.
Dr. Scott received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with honors from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. As an undergraduate, Dr. Scott focused her research and clinical work on examining early disruptive behavior problems and academic difficulties for high-risk youth. She went on to complete her graduate training under the supervision of Dr. Deborah C. Beidel, at the University of Central Florida where she continued to study and treat children and adolescents. She also obtained extensive training in offering comprehensive psychological, neuropsychological, and educational assessments. Her research efforts focused on emotion regulation as well as the behavioral and physiological responses of children with selective mutism to various social situations. In 2012, Dr. Scott completed an APA-accredited internship at the West Virginia University School of Medicine under the supervision of Dr. John C. Linton where she was able to implement and win awards for her school-based bullying prevention program. Upon graduating in August 2012, Dr. Scott returned to her hometown of Salisbury Maryland where she joined the Child & Family Center with Dr. Adeline C. Tryon. Currently, Dr. Scott is practicing full time in both Salisbury and Easton, MD offering assessment and therapeutic services to children, teens, adults, and families.
Ben received his BA in Psychology from the University of Montana in 2008, his Masters in Educational Psychology from Columbia University in 2013, and his Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida. He is interested in the development of efficient and efficacious psychological interventions for PTSD with an emphasis on using interdisciplinary approaches to develop empirically-based methods for matching patients to the appropriate treatments. Ben is also interested in the intersection of telehealth, organizational training, and treatment research with the goal of improving the implementation and dissemination of psychological treatments. Dr. Trachik is a PTSD/SUD psychologist at the Sheridan VA Medical Center, Sheridan, Wyoming.
B. Christopher Frueh, Ph.D.
B. Christopher Frueh, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, and Executive Director of the Trauma and Resilience Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences for McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston, Texas. Through his experience with federally funded research (Principal Investigator on 15 federally-funded research grants; Co-I, Mentor, or Consultant on > 25 others) and contributions to the scientific literature (over 200 professional publications), he has extensive experience with clinical trials, health services, epidemiological, and qualitative research relevant to innovative treatments and mental health service improvements. He also is the author of a series of historical crime novels, writing as Christopher Bartley.
Charmaine High-McMillan, Ph.D.
Dr. Charmaine Higa-McMillan is an Associate Professor of Psychology and an Affiliate Faculty Member in the Center for Rural Health Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Dr. Higa-McMillan is also the Director of the BEST (Bridging Evidence and Services Together) for Keiki Program, which examines ways to build better bridges between science and practice in youth mental health. She received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1999 and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Tulsa in 2004. Dr. Higa-McMillan is licensed to practice as a psychologist in the State of Hawaii. Dr. Higa-McMillan has 40 peer-reviewed scientific reports, book chapters, and technical reports. She also has close to 20 empirical papers under review or in progress and has presented more than 60 times at national and international conferences. In addition to having a very active research lab, Dr. Higa-McMillan is dedicated to mentoring student research – nearly half of her presentations and a third of her peer-reviewed publications have included students as first or co-authors.
Candice A. Alfano, Ph.D.
Dr. Alfano is a licensed clinical psychologist and Director of the Sleep and Anxiety Center for Kids (SACK) at UH. She received her M.S. in Developmental Psychology from Florida International University in 2000 and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2005. Dr. Alfano’s research program integrates two overlapping fields of study; the development and treatment of sleep and anxiety disorders, and the role of early sleep-wake processes in emotion dysregulation and the pathogenesis of affective illness. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Department of Defense (DoD). Dr. Alfano serves on the scientific council of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), the board of directors for the Society for Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM), and as Associate Editor for the Journal of Anxiety Disorders. She is co-author of the book, Child Anxiety Disorders: A Guide to Research and Treatment (2nd ed.),and co-editor of the book,Social Anxiety Disorder in Adolescents and Young Adults: Translating Developmental Science into Practice.
Bryan Batien, Ph.D.
Bryan Batien, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist at the Orlando VA Medical Center and the VITAL (Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership) Coordinator. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Camaraderie Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps provide financial assistance for Veterans seeking counseling services. His professional interests include readjustment issues of OEF/OIF Veterans, Veterans’ mental health issues and their impact on higher education, and outreach to Veterans in the community. Dr. Batien also served eight years in the Army and Army National Guard, which included a 14-month deployment to Iraq in 2003-2004.
John Spitalnick, Ph.D.
Dr. Spitalnick is a Clinical Psychologist who serves as the Director of Research and Clinical Services at Virtually Better, Inc. (VBI), in Decatur, Georgia. Dr. Spitalnick is the recipient of numerous clinical, research, and technology awards, including the Kirschstein National Research Service Award from NIMH, and in 2009 was awarded a DoD contract that, to date, represents the largest deployment of virtual reality technology within the Department of Defense, tasked to address the psychological needs of Wounded Warriors.
His research interests focus on developing, validating, and commercializing various technologies to enhance treatment, education, and training in the areas of behavioral, medical, and public health. Dr. Spitalnick serves as a Principal Investigator (PI) on a variety of technology-focused research and development grants, with subject matter including HIV-risk reduction, substance abuse, pediatric anxiety, social phobia, and chronic disease management (such as obesity, allergies, and asthma). Under these programs, Dr. Spitalnick manages teams of internationally recognized psychologists, software engineers, and technology experts.
Finally, Dr. Spitalnick serves as a Program Manager for the CDC, US Army, and US Air Force, working to develop and disseminate various technologies to address PTSD, stress and resiliency, and the psychological health of soldiers, veterans, and their families. In this capacity, he serves as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) to the USAF as it pertains to technology-driven solution targeting the treatment of various health conditions.
Janan Smither, Ph.D.
Dr. Smither is Professor of Psychology and Associate Director of the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology doctoral program at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Dr. Smither received her PhD (1985) and M.A. (1980) degrees in Experimental Psychology from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Before joining the faculty at UCF in 1990, she was a senior research scientist at Computer Sciences Corporation in Silver Spring, Maryland where she served as the lead human factors psychologist on the Multi-Satellite Operations Control Center Operations Interface Analysis project for NASA. In 1998, Dr. Smither established an assistive technology information and referral center at UCF that served the elderly and disabled community in Orlando and the surrounding four counties. Dr. Smither served as director of the FAAST center for five years.
Currently, Dr. Smither is the director of the Technology and Aging Lab at UCF. Dr. Smither has over 25 years of experience in the teaching, practice, research and development of complex human-machine systems. Her research interests include human-computer interaction, simulation technologies, training systems; technology and aging; technology and functional independence; and aging and driving. Dr. Smither has over 110 journal articles, book chapters, proceedings, technical reports and scientific presentations, and her research has been funded by a variety of agencies including NSF, NASA, the National Highway Transportation Agency, the Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation, and the National Institute on Aging.
Mark Neider Ph.D.
Mark Neider is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Associate Director of the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology Ph.D. program. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Hofstra University. He also holds a M.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Cognitive/Experimental Psychology from Stony Brook University. After completing his doctorate, Neider spent five years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the interdisciplinary Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focuses on understanding human perception and cognition in realistic contexts and then using that understanding to develop training interventions and technological innovations for improving human performance in real-world tasks and environments. Neider’s Applied Cognition and Aging Lab studies behavior across the age spectrum, from pre-adolescent children to the elderly. To examine behavior in the most realistic contexts possible, his lab utilizes a number of research methodologies including traditional behavioral paradigms, advanced eye-tracking methods, driving simulation, and virtual reality.
Corey Bohil, Ph.D.
Dr. Corey Bohil is an associate professor in the Psychology Department’s Applied Experimental and Human Factors Program. He received his M.A. in cognitive psychology from Arizona State University, and his Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Bohil completed a postdoctoral fellowship in quantitative psychology at the University of Illinois, and was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies & Media at Michigan State University. Dr. Bohil’s research focuses on the cognitive processes that underlie categorization and decision making. Recent topics of research include the contributions of separate learning systems in the brain to category rule learning, and the influence of base-rate (relative prevalence) and reward information on decision criterion learning. His research makes use of computational modeling techniques, as well as functional near-infrared spectroscopy for neuroimaging of cortical activity.
Victoria Follette, Ph.D.
Dr. Follette is a clinical psychologist with a long career in working with trauma survivors. She is currently the Program Chair and Director of Clinical Training at the Psy.D. program at the Florida Institute of Technology. She specializes in work with women who have experience interpersonal trauma. She also works with combat veterans and completed an internship at the Memphis VAMC. In addition, Dr. Follette has worked in the area of vicarious traumatization or secondary traumatic stress. She is a peer reviewed Acceptance and Commitment Therapy trainer.
Frank G. Straub, Ph.D
Dr. Straub is the Director of the National Police Foundation’s Center for Mass Violence Response Studies. Dr. Straub has led in-depth studies of the San Bernardino terrorist attack, the Kalamazoo mass shooting, the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The Center was recently engaged to conduct a review of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte shooting.
Dr. Straub leads the Averted School Violence database, a national project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which studies averted and completed mass violence incidents in schools, colleges and universities. He has also led a U.S. Department of Homeland Security funded countering violence and extremism project in Boston.
Dr. Straub is a 30-year veteran of federal and local law enforcement, having served as the Police Chief in Spokane, Washington; the Public Safety Director in Indianapolis; the Public Safety Commissioner in White Plains, New York; and the New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner of Training and Assistant Commissioner for Counterterrorism. He also served as a member of the FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force during his tenure with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
Dr. Straub holds a BA in Psychology, a MA in Forensic Psychology and a PhD in Criminal Justice. He is a member of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Working Group on Behavior Analysis and Behavioral Threat Assessment and the COPS’ School Safety Working Group.
Dr. Straub has authored articles and reports on mass violence, critical incident response, youth violence, and homeland security. He has testified before Congress, participated in White House briefings, and spoken at national and international conferences regarding the prevention, response and recovery from public mass violence attacks, averting school violence, and youth violence prevention.
Shawn Richichi is a Coordinator with the UCF Center for Law and Policy which is housed within the UCF Department of Legal Studies. He is a veteran U.S. Marine and a veteran Law Enforcement Officer serving as a Field Training Officer, Crisis Intervention Specialist, and Mounted Deputy. A native of Central Florida, Shawn is an alumnus of UCF where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Legal Studies and is currently seeking his Master’s in Social Work. Shawn’s area of focus is the creation and implementation of legislation and agency policy related to the awareness, mitigation, and treatment of Traumatic Stress among First Responders and their families.