Staff & Associates


Olga Acosta Price, Ph.D


Olga is also an associate professor at the Milken Institute of Public Health at the George Washington University. Her faculty appointment is in the Department of Prevention and Community Health.She comes to the Center with experience in managing school-based mental health programs in Washington, D.C. where she was Director of the School Mental Health Program at the D.C. Department of Mental Health, an award-winning community-based program.

Dr. Acosta Price managed the development, implementation, and evaluation of this program in 30 public schools for over five years. Before coming to Washington, Dr. Acosta Price was associate director at the Center for School Mental Health Assistance and assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. She has presented at local and national meetings on school-based mental health, program evaluation, and violence prevention and has written several articles and book chapters on these topics. Dr. Acosta Price graduated from Vassar College and received her master’s degree and doctorate from the State University of New York at Buffalo. 

Mariola Rosser, Ed.D.

Project Director  

She brings 20 years of experience in social learning, system convening and building communities of practice in education and school behavioral health. Currently, she coordinates the DC School Behavioral Health Community of Practice (DC CoP) focused on improving provider and school readiness in implementing a multi-tiered model of school based mental health prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. 

Previously, Dr. Rosser worked at the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE) supporting several projects, the National Center for Systemic Improvement (NCSI) and the IDEA Partnership. She provided Technical Assistance to states on improving the social and emotional outcomes for young children and their families and the graduation rates for students with disabilities. She was also involved in building cross-system capacity in states and co-facilitating national communities of practice (CoPs) around school behavioral health and transition from school to college and career. Dr. Rosser holds a Master Degree in Therapeutic Pedagogy (Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland) and Doctorate in Special Education (George Washington University, Washington, DC). 

Margaret Marcotte

Research Program Manager  

As Program Manager for Research, Margaret provides financial and grants administration support to the Center and its operations. She has been involved in building educational success and economic mobility of underserved communities at local, national and global levels through donor-funded programming for over 15 years. Margaret has earned a Master’s in International Business Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at ASU, a Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature from University of Rhode Island, and Diplome d’Etudes Universitaires Generales (DEUG) from the Universite d’Orleans, France.

Before joining the CHHCS team, Margaret was the Director of Educational Outreach at Yale, where she managed the programming and administration of a U.S. Department of Education Title VI NRC grant, as well as those from private donors. The objective of these awards was to strengthen the academic competitiveness in strategic regional studies for K-16 students, with programming strategically developed for minority and non-traditional students. Her experience in financial administration includes managing the lending operations and portfolio disbursements in the World Bank Africa Region. Margaret has also contributed to USAID-funded efforts to increase children’s literacy through the Global Book Alliance, where she was instrumental in initiating the inclusion of Indigenous languages (US and Latin American) into a digital reading platform.

She spends her free time traveling and honing her skills in Petanque, as a member of the National Capital Club de Petanque, and in viticulture. She also loves hanging out with her adult children and 2 cats.


Kaila Craw​

Program Associate  

Kaila has previous experience in developing, lobbying, and implementing education and children’s health policy at the federal, state, and local level. She has worked to convene stakeholders around issues such as suicide prevention in schools, mental health supports in crisis response policies, and the Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) bill. Prior to her policy role, she worked in the emergency management field in South Florida responding to disasters by providing logistical support around in-kind donations and shelter staffing. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and is currently enrolled at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at George Washington University to receive her Master’s in Public Health Policy.

Alexandra Vann

Center Specialist

Alexandra Vann graduated from Rowan University with a specialization in Psychology: Child Behavior Services, and graduate studies in Special Education from George Mason University. She has been a leader and expert in the field of human behavior focusing on school based mental health for over 10 years, delivering positive intervention services and strategies to elementary and secondary students within public and private settings around the DC Metro area. While helping to support the success of students, Alex has consulted and coached leaders, educators, and caregivers in mental and behavioral health strategies. Alex is the founder and principal consultant for Building Capacity, Behavior Intervention Services and has been able to consult and collaborate with DC organizations as an approved DC vendor since 2019.

Currently, she is the Center Specialist and supports the coordination for Youth Mental Health First Aid Training under the SAMHSA MHAT grant. She builds and maintains partnerships with stakeholders to continue advancing school based mental health support for youth, clinicians, and educators in DC.In addition, Alexandra consults for the DC School Behavioral Health Community of Practice (DC CoP) and Mary’s Center. For the DC CoP, she supports members with crisis response & intervention, suicide prevention, and teacher wellness. For Mary’s Center, she assists with the development of the School Based Mental Health Post Graduate Fellowship Program.

Simone Sawyer, MSPH, Ph.D. (c)

Graduate Research Assistant

Simone’s work and experiences thus far have been dedicated to youth/young adult health and well-being, community engagement, implementation/dissemination science and the evaluation of community and school-based programs. Simone has over five years of public health program coordination and implementation experience working on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded grants. Simone has also served as a case manager and program coordinator for two youth development programs where she organized both direct and preventative mental health, educational and occupational services for youth ages 14-24, in Baltimore City. Simone worked closely with community-based organizations, schools and families to ensure the youth enrolled in the programs had the tools and resources they needed to achieve their greatest potential.  

 In her roles, she works closely with key stakeholders to ensure successful design, implementation, and evaluation of health interventions and programs. She regularly presents her work at local, regional and national conferences. Simone is a PhD student of Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health, in the department of Prevention and Community Health. She graduated from Spelman College receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and the Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she received her Master’s in Health Education and Health Communication. Advocate. She is an MPH student of Health Promotion in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health and Psychology from Muhlenberg College. 

Kennedy Hinnant​

Graduate Assistant

Kennedy’s previous experience is in community engagement and strengthening her surrounding community. Before working at the center, Kennedy worked as a volunteer to support local food pantry efforts in Washington, DC. Kennedy has worked as a AmeriCorps VISTA member at a local high school in Washington, DC. and is a certified Peer Health Advocate. She is an MPH student of Health Promotion in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health and Psychology from Muhlenberg College. 

Sarah Christenbury

Graduate Assistant

Sarah is a Student Project Assistant for Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. Sarah attended the University of South Carolina (USC) and graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and a minor in Health Promotion, Education, & Behavior. While at USC, Sarah assisted with reproductive health research and workshops and completed a thesis titled Evaluation of a Reproductive Health Literacy Workshop in Group Homes in Columbia, SC. She spent the last year working as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Zufall Health Center, a FQHC in New Jersey. There, she worked with the Dental department to virtually educate children on dental health and helped organize Continuing Education courses, and worked with the Outreach team to support COVID testing and vaccination mobile clinics. She is currently attending George Washington University to earn her Masters of Public Health in Humanitarian Health. 

Belen Espinoza

Graduate Assistant

Belen’s previous experience has involved engaging with communities to improve access to healthcare services and higher education. She has previous experience working in FQHCs as a health educator and care coordinator in Los Angeles, CA where most of her work involved improving access to COVID-19 services. She has worked alongside street medicine and outreach teams to bring medical and social services to community members in Skid Row. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Global Health from University of Southern California. She is currently working on her Masters of Public Health with a focus on Community Oriented Primary Care at George Washington University, Milken Institute of Public Health. 

Julia Graham Lear, Ph.D.​

Senior Advisor and Founder

For 20 years she has worked to develop school-based health programs and services as a means of promoting the well-being of children and adolescents. During this period she has worked with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, directing a number of grant programs focused on improving health service delivery. for children and teens. She is professor emeritus at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, writes and speaks frequently on the organization of health care for children and adolescents, and serves on advisory boards of a number of organizations dedicated to improving child health. She graduated from Brown University and received her master’s degree and doctorate from Tufts University.


Michael Long, Sc.D.


Assistant Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health. Dr. Long conducts research at the intersection of epidemiology and quantitative policy analysis with the goal of identifying cost-effective and politically feasible policy solutions to reduce the chronic disease burden in the United States. Much of his research has focused on preventing childhood obesity through improvements to the food and physical activity environments for children in schools and other community settings. Prior to joining the faculty at GW in 2015, Dr. Long was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health focused on obesity epidemiology and cost-effectiveness analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center. He earned his Doctor of Science degree in 2013 from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a Master of Public Health degree from the Yale School of Public Health, where he worked at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Princeton University.

Beth Tuckwiller, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor of Special Education and Disability Studies at the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University. She earned her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Virginia, and holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.S. in Counseling Psychology. Dr. Tuckwiller was trained in the field of mental health counseling, and focused her clinical work on children and adolescents. She also taught high school students identified with emotional, behavioral and/or learning disabilities and co-coordinated school-based social, emotional and behavioral programming to improve educational experiences and outcomes for students. 

Dr. Tuckwiller’s current research investigates the nonacademic variables associated with teaching and learning in special education and community settings. She investigates positive psychology constructs and skills including optimism, mindset, hope, mindfulness, self-determination, strengths building, self-efficacy, and life satisfaction to better understand their roles in the holistic development and post-secondary transition experiences of students with disabilities. She also investigates the relationships of these variables to the professional preparation, experiences, and retention of special education teachers. 

Broadly, her work functions to promote increased knowledge of the malleable dispositions, personal constructs, and psychological orientations associated with optimal functioning for children and adolescents identified with disabilities and the educational professionals who serve them. She is a Faculty Affiliate with the GW Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute and a Center Associate at GW’s Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at the Milken Institute School of Public Health. She serves as an advisory board member for both the GW Center for Applied Developmental Science and Neuroeducation and GW’s service learning ISCOPES initiative.

Kathleen M. Roche, Ph.D., MSW


Associate Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. Trained in fields of public health and social work, Professor Kathleen Roche’s research program examines socially modifiable factors shaping the health and well-being of adolescents, particularly those living in low-income urban areas. Her research expertise is in adolescent health and well-being, parenting, neighborhood-by-parenting interaction effects, and immigrant Latino families. She applies a “development-in-context” approach to understanding how families in challenging environments successfully raise their adolescent youth.

Dr. Roche integrates developmental and ecological theories with the social epidemiology of adolescent health in order to better understand social influences on youth behaviors, success in school, and mental health. She uses longitudinal structural equation modeling methods in many of her studies. Her current research focuses on a school-based sample of adolescent children of immigrant Latino parents in Atlanta, GA, an important new immigrant destination area. In this research, she is exploring issues of language brokering and acculturation as each influences parent-child interactions around youth’s behavioral autonomy and, in turn, adolescent adjustment.

Tamara Henry, Ed.D.


Serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Prevention and Community Health. She currently teaches Social and Behavioral Approaches to Health to graduate students and Introduction to Public Health, and Principles of Health Education and Health Promotion to undergraduates. She also serves as the Practicum Director for Health Promotion students. Dr. Tamara A. Henry provides health care consultation services to a number of community based organizations that address health disparities as it relates to HIV/AIDS and Diabetes in the African American community. Previously, she was a Special projects coordinator for the District of Columbia Department of Health where she worked on special initiatives in the Director’s office. Additionally, Dr. Henry has worked for local/state government in New Jersey as well as abroad in both South Africa and her native country of Jamaica, W.I. teaching HIV/AIDS education.

Wendy Ellis, DrPH, MPH


Wendy Ellis is the Project Director of the Building Community Resilience collaborative at the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. The Building Community Resilience (BCR) collaborative is testing and implementing a model based on Ms. Ellis’ research in designing a strategic process for child health systems and cross-sector partners to align resources, programs and initiatives with community based partners to address childhood adversity and reduce the effects of social determinants that culminate in toxic stress. The strengths based approach is aimed at building the infrastructure to promote resilience in vulnerable communities. The BCR model is being tested in five major U.S. cities. Prior to joining The George Washington University, she served as Manager of Child Health Policy in Nemours’ National Office of Child Health Policy and Practice in Washington, DC. In this role, she led policy research and development efforts in the area of population health, prevention, child behavioral health, toxic stress, and adverse childhood experiences. Ms. Ellis also managed Policy and Communications for the Kresge-funded Moving Health Care Upstream initiative. Previously, she served as Manager of Health Services Research and Health Policy at CSR, Incorporated, a research and technical services firm in Arlington, VA. At the University of Washington, she led a study investigating factors associated with disparities in access to mental health care among children in Washington State which was published in Health Affairs. Ms. Ellis is a Milken Scholar at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University where she is completing dissertation research toward a DrPH in Health Policy. Ms. Ellis holds an MPH from the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and a BS from Seattle University.