Olga Acosta Price, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools and Associate Professor at the Milken Institute School 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.
Linda Sheriff, M.Ed.
Deputy Director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. Her 25 years of experience span school health, communications and promotion for nonprofits, and publishing. Prior to her work at the Center, she designed and advised on education programs for non-profit organizations and championed coordinated school health, asthma management, and family engagement in school health at the National School Boards Association. She has presented at national meetings and webinars, conducted analyses of school health policies, provided technical assistance and capacity building activities to health and education stakeholders, taught English in Slovakia, and managed the creation of published educational products for the Smithsonian Institution. She graduated from Colgate University and earned a Masters of Education in the Social Foundations of Education from the University of Virginia.
Julia Graham Lear, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor and Founder of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. 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.
Rachel Sadlon, MPH
Associate Director of Research and Evaluation of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. She brings 8 years of experience in convening stakeholders and building capacity around the prevention of children’s behavioral health issues and implementation of school climate improvement strategies. Prior to joining the Center, she managed the federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant and implemented a comprehensive school mental health program for a school district in Connecticut. She has provided training and technical assistance to schools and community coalitions, evaluated prevention programs, and coordinated youth development programs. She completed her undergraduate studies and earned her master’s degree in public health from the University of Connecticut.
Mariola Rosser, Ed.D.
Project Director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. 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).
Simone Sawyer, MSPH, Ph.D. (c)
Graduate Research Assistant at the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. 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.
Program Associate at the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. 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.
Michael Long, Sc.D.
Associate of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools and an 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.
Beth Tuckwiller is an 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.
Associate of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools 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.
Travis Wright, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His mission is to make the world a better place for children, especially those growing in the midst of challenging circumstances. Through his research and clinical practice, Dr. Wright seeks to better understand risk and resilience in the lives of young people navigating various forms of trauma and toxic stress. He is especially focused on how schools and student-teacher relationships influence their development. Dr. Wright’s current research projects focus on 1) documenting how homeless children experience schools and other educational settings; and 2) strengthening the capacity of schools, and especially teachers, to serve students with social-emotional and behavioral challenges; Dr. Wright completed his graduate work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he specialized in the areas of human development and psychology, risk and prevention, and mental health counseling. Previously, Dr. Wright worked as a school-based mental health counselor in Boston Public Schools and public school teacher in Washington, DC.
Susan M. Blake, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health. As an applied behavioral scientist, she has conducted extensive research in schools, worksites and communities to reduce behavioral risks, eliminate health disparities, and prevent adverse health and mental health outcomes. Much of her research has focused on health behavior issues such as HIV/STD’s and unintended pregnancy, smoking and tobacco smoke exposure, or obesity and physical activity, but has focused as well on mental health-related issues such as substance use, suicide, and dating violence among vulnerable populations (e.g., pregnant women or immigrant, LGBTQ youth). Since joining the faculty, Dr. Blake has conducted multiple school-based or youth-focused descriptive studies, for example, to identify psychosocial correlates and other determinants of risk behavior, and formative or qualitative studies to inform state and local education agency policy decisions or improve staff training and youth programs. In addition, she has designed and tested interventions in pilot-test, efficacy, and effectiveness studies to assess the impact of school-based health and mental health programs and services. An expert on program development and evaluation, Dr. Blake consults regularly with local, national and international agencies. Dr. Blake received her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Arizona, specialty training in Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, and an NHLBI post-doctoral fellowship in the Behavioral Aspects of Cardiovascular Disease from the University of Minnesota.
Jennifer Frey, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Associate of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools and Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Disability Studies in the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Dr. Frey’s research focuses on child and environmental factors affecting language acquisition, partner-mediated approaches to social communication intervention, and response to early intervention for young children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and children classified as at risk due to poverty. She works with parents, teachers, and children across home, school, and clinic settings to improve academic and psychosocial outcomes for children most at risk for school challenges. Dr. Frey is the coordinator of the early childhood special education graduate program at GW and the principal investigator of projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education to support the preparation and training of educators and leaders in the field of special education. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree in education and human development in 2012 from Vanderbilt University, where she was a Dunn Family Scholar of Educational and Psychological Assessment. She also holds a Master of Education degree in early childhood special education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, where she worked on multiple federally funded research projects investigating the effectiveness of school-based interventions for students with disabilities, and a Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude, in cognitive studies and child development from Vanderbilt University.