VTSC Trainers

Allen Boivin-Brown, MA

Allen Boivin-Brown, MA, has over 25 years experience as an educator, career counselor, presenter and trainer. In 1995 he earned the Vocational Counselor of the Year award by the Washington Vocational Education Association. Since 1990 Allen has been a member of the Dependable Strengths Project at the University of Washington and for the past 20 years a Master Trainer of the Dependable Strengths Articulation Process. He has facilitated Dependable Strength workshops for groups including the U.S. Forest Service, Boeing Company, corporate managers, at-risk high school students, Veterans, teachers, counselors, social service professionals and clients. In 2001 he led a team of Dependable Strengths professionals to South Africa to assist in alleviating massive unemployment after the end of apartheid.  Allen is committed to uncovering the excellence in individuals and empowering them through identifying and building on their unique strengths.  He is presently President of the Board of Directors of the Washington Occupational Information System (WOIS) and the Center for Dependable Strengths.

Alycia Zink, PhD

Alycia (Barlow) Zink, PhD is currently a staff psychologist in the Outpatient PTSD Clinic of VA Puget Sound Health Care System, American Lake Division.  Dr. Zink has a strong interest in Evidence Based Psychotherapies, particularly Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  She has been serving as a national consultant for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Depression (ACT-D) in the VA since 2012 and became one of the first Regional Trainers for the VA in 2017.  Dr. Zink provides trainings, consultation,  and supervision for clinical staff and psychology trainees on the effective implementation of ACT with Veterans presenting with a wide range of mental health concerns. Dr. Zink completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2007 from California School or Professional Psychology, completed internship at the John Dingell VAMC, and a two-year postdoctoral residency in neuropsychology at Northern California HCS, Martinez before joining the VA as a staff psychologist in 2010.

Andre Loranc

Andre Loranc began his career in the US Navy in 2009 and is currently a Master at Arms (E5) in the Naval Reserve.  He is the Training Lead for his Naval Unit; instructing multiple courses in General Military Training as well as rate specific training and coordinates the annual training evolution for the unit.

Andre began his Law Enforcement Career in 2012 with the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office before lateraling as a Deputy to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.  He has operational training and experience in Crisis Intervention as well as an operational SWAT member.   

Ann Marie Roepke, PhD

Ann Marie Roepke, PhD, works in the areas of positive psychology, well-being, resilience, and stress-related growth.  Her research and practice focus on developing innovative ways to help people not only survive, but thrive, in challenging circumstances.  She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center under the mentorship of Martin Seligman, a founder of the field of positive psychology, and Angela Duckworth, a leading expert in grit.  Dr. Roepke has designed and tested multiple programs that use positive psychology concepts and strategies to help people overcome adversity and build meaningful lives. Dr. Roepke now works as a postdoctoral fellow in the Veterans Administration Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle Division), doing research and clinical care focused on integrating positive psychology interventions into practice with Veterans.  She has provided talks, workshops, and consultation about positive psychology, well-being, resilience, positive education, motivational interviewing, and stress-related growth to diverse audiences including educators, businesspeople, clinicians, and non-profit workers.  She is passionate about using experiential learning approaches to assist providers in deepening their understanding of resilience, growth, and well-being.

Brett Parmenter, Ph.D.

Brett Parmenter received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas after completing her predoctoral internship at Yale School of Medicine. She then went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. She is board-certified in Clinical Neuropsychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology/American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Washington and is currently a staff neuropsychologist at the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, American Lake Division.

Cal Crow, Ph.D.

Cal Crow is a veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served as a counterintelligence analyst. He is a co-founder and lead trainer at the Center for Learning Connections (CLC), a consulting, training and program development center located at Edmonds Community College. CLC manages the Veterans Training Support Center. In 2010, Cal helped launch the Center for Efficacy and Resiliency, and is particularly interested in bringing efficacy and resiliency research into organizations that assist veterans who have trauma-related experiences.

Cal has designed training, developed curriculum, and implemented programs for service providers in many parts of the world. He strongly believes that the growing body of knowledge in positive psychology can be used to assist veterans, and has incorporated this into his current work. Cal has a long-time interest in helping individuals plan meaningful careers. He co-authored the revision of the Washington State Job Hunter curriculum, and was one of three individuals selected to revise the National Career Development Guidelines, a project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. He has been a counselor in private practice and taught in Seattle University’s graduate level counselor preparation program for nearly three decades.

Cal has presented and consulted in forty-six states and territories, the District of Columbia, Australia, Jamaica and Canada, on a variety of topics. He holds a Ph.D. from Arizona State University, and has received numerous awards for his work in education and workforce development.

Candace Hammer Chaney RN-CHPN, PhD

Candace Hammer Chaney RN-CHPN, PhD is the Director of Clinical, Social Work, and Volunteer services for a national hospice provider. She’s a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse and has served as Hospice Administrator, Nurse Educator, Hospice and Palliative Nursing Core Curriculum Trainer, Nurse Liaison, and Comfort Therapy Program Director for Hospice agencies in WA State for the past 19 years. She serves on the WA State Hospice and Palliative Care Committee and provides education to providers across the country on Hospice and Palliative Care. For the past 15 years she has participated in NIH funded research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Hospice and Palliative Care, the impact of CAM on Caregiver Stress, and she has consulted on a number of articles and books on the application of CAM on health and on quality of life at the end of life. Candace loves empowering individuals to reach their own goals and joyful co-creation.

Catherine Caska Wallace, Ph.D.

Catherine Caska Wallace received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Utah, where she focused her program of research on military couples and PTSD. Dr. Wallace then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Family and Couples Mental Health at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System - Seattle Division. She has conducted multiple investigations examining the psychological, relational, and cardiovascular consequences of PTSD and deployment stress on Veterans and their partners. Dr. Wallace has received specialized training in Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy and also clinically specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders and integrating family into mental health care. Dr. Wallace is currently a clinical psychologist at the Seattle VA, working within the Family Therapy Program and Mental Health Clinic.

Conference Speakers & Presenters

Experts in the field of veteran services.

Dan Overton, MA LMHC

Dan Overton is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist who also holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling, is currently licensed in the State of Washington (LHMC), has been an adjunct professor for over a decade with Western International University and has been working with veterans since the beginning of his professional career at the Seattle VA Medical Center in the mid-1980s. Since that time, he has helped develop programs for inpatient and outpatient substance abuse and mental health programs in the public and private sector as a clinician, a clinical supervisor and a program manager. He has worked in the areas of court ordered treatment, crisis intervention and program development with social and health agencies, law enforcement, the courts, corrections and community corrections in Arizona, Wyoming and Washington. He has been formally recognized for his work by the Arizona Governor’s office and Washington States’ - State Innovation Award. He has presented professionally to groups of 400 or more and “brown bag” meeting with local professionals.

Dani Blythe Dutro, MC, NCC, LMHC

Dani Blythe Dutro graduated from Arizona State University in 2009 with a Master’s in Counseling, and has been treating veterans and their families since that time. She has experience and specialized training working with people suffering from combat trauma, readjustment, military sexual trauma, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress. She works with people ages 12 and up in individual, couples, family, and group therapy settings.

Before becoming a therapist, Dani was an educator and guidance counselor working with adolescents and young adults. She taught in a number of different settings including large corporations, public high school, universities, and community college. When not in the classroom or working directly with clients, Dani can be found training or volunteering with her Therapy Dog, Neko.

Dave Callies, Psy.D.

Dr. Callies served as a staff Pediatric Psychologist and Chief of Child & Family Services at Madigan Army Medical Center from 2005 to 2008. As the Chief of Child & Family Services her provided school-based services, outreach support, and resiliency training for teachers, counselors, school leaders, and military commands throughout the country. Dr. Callies was considered the subject matter expert on fostering resiliency in children and teens in the Western Regional Command and was awarded the Pete Taylor Partnership of Excellence award through the Military Education Coalition in 2006. In addition to his work with school-based educational programming, Dr. Callies is the owner of Gyro Psychology Services; a private practice that services the needs of kids and teens throughout Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties which includes military families.

David D. Luxton, Ph.D., M.S.

David D. Luxton, Ph.D., M.S., is a nationally recognized expert and trainer in suicide prevention, telehealth, and innovative technologies in behavioral health care. David D. Luxton, Ph.D. is Founder and CEO of Luxton Labs, LLC and Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He is also Chief Science Officer at the suicide prevention not-for-profit NowMattersNow.org in Seattle. Dr. Luxton previously served as a Research Health Scientist at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego CA, and Research Psychologist and Program Manager at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (Defense Health Agency), Joint-Base Lewis McChord. A seasoned researcher, he has authored more than 80 scientific articles and book chapters and published two books: Artificial Intelligence in Behavioral and Mental Health Care (2015) and A Practitioner’s Guide to Telemental Health (2016). He has also helped to develop national guidelines for telemental health and clinical best practices in the use of technology in behavioral healthcare. In 2015 he was awarded the American Psychological Association Division 19 (Military Psychology) Arthur W. Melton Award for Early Career Achievement. He is a licensed clinical psychologist and served in the U.S. Air Force.

Deborah Robertson, Ph.D.

Dr. Debbie Robertson, PhD is a social worker who has spent the last 12 years treating veterans and active duty military personnel.  Prior to this she worked with children and families who had been impacted by trauma.  She has tremendous compassion for those she works with and feels inspired by the resiliency and strength they show.  Trained in the top tier trauma therapies, and experienced in treating complex trauma disorders as well, she brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table.  She is a mother of three and enjoys reading, nature and yoga in her free time.

Diana L. Hunter, MA, LMHC

Diana Hunter graduated from Chapman University with a Master’s Degree in Psychology in 2008. She worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs Federal Way Vet Center as the Military Sexual Trauma Counselor and Readjustment Therapist until February 2013. Diana is currently serving Veterans in private practice as a contracted provider with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs PTSD Counseling Program. She served in the Air Force and Washington Air National Guard as an enlisted member, completed a tour to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom in 2007, and retired with 24 years of honorable service in 2010.

Dr. Chalon Ervin

Chalon L. Ervin, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist based in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Ervin earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Spelman College. She earned her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology, and her Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Georgia School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Ervin was trained as a generalist and has treated an assortment of disorders, but specialize in trauma and transition. Her therapeutic approach is to provide symptom relief and support to help clients successfully address personal life changes. Dr. Ervin has worked with Veterans at that Atlanta VAMC, Huntington West Virginia VAMC, and Puget Sound VAMC. She currently works as a clinical psychologist with the King County Superior Court, and recently opened her private practice Renewal of the Mind LLC. Passionate about mental health and community, Dr. Ervin has shared her expertise at various venues including, seminars, nonprofits, churches, and conferences. She enjoys community work and hopes to enhance the quality of life for others, through a passionate commitment to the art of healing and self-actualization.

Eric Ström, JD, MA. LMHC

Eric Ström is an attorney and Licensed Mental Health Counselor. As an attorney, Eric provides legal counsel, consultation, and guidance to mental health professionals. Eric’s counselling practice is focused on providing counseling services to combat veterans as well as providing supervision and consultation to other clinicians. Eric currently serves on the American Mental Health Counselors Association Ethics Committee, is the ethics advisor for the Washington Mental Health Counselors Association, and is a co-founder of counselchat.com.

Eric spent eight years on active duty in the US Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and continues to serve in the Navy Reserve. Eric teaches a range of courses in counseling and professional ethics at a variety of graduate and undergraduate programs, including Prescott College and Seattle University.

Eric earned a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling Psychology from the Northwest School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University Seattle, graduated cum laude from Wayne State University School of Law in Detroit Michigan, attended the Hague Academy of International Law in the Hague Netherlands, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Linguistics from the University of Michigan, and is currently working towards his PhD is Counselor Education and Supervision at Oregon State University.

Gloria Burgess, Ph.D.

Gloria Burgess has a heart for veterans and those who serve them. She’s proud of her father-in-law Dale, a WWII vet who still actively serves his community as a Red Cross volunteer. For 20+ years, Gloria has led workshops for women and men who work with marginalized and traumatized populations. She enjoys teaching self-care, stress management, and personal sustainability, encouraging us to remember that taking good care of ourselves is essential to provide the best possible care to others. A sought-after speaker and trainer, she also presents keynotes and facilitates workshops in corporate, health care, civic, finance, education, and philanthropic settings to support frazzled, burned out leaders.

Gloria received her PhD and MBA from the University of Southern California. After that, she earned a specialized graduate degree in applied behavioral science, so she could better equip service men and women and others in service and helping professions. She’s currently consulting on and developing a special training program for veterans to properly equip them to transition back into family and community life, as well as to serve and lead well as civilians.

Hang Ruan

Hang Ruan, LICSW, received his Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and Bachelors in Psychology from University of Illinois. He completed a post-graduate fellowship in the VA National Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education in 2010. As Program Manager at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Mr. Ruan manages the Co-occurring Disorders Program in the Addiction Treatment Center (ATC), as well as coordinates the Contingency Management program across both Seattle and American Lake Divisions. As Contingency Management Coordinator for Puget Sound ATC, he pioneered a number of innovative initiatives, including development of the CM training video and the Point-of-Care-Testing Authorized Trainer model, both of which were disseminated nationally. He serves as consultant on CM implementation, and has published peer-reviewed articles and presented nationally. A Zen practitioner for 20 years, Mr. Ruan serves as Senior Dharma Teacher in the Kwan Um School of Zen, an international network of Zen Centers. As part of his direct clinical work, Mr. Ruan teaches two weekly mindfulness classes at the VA Puget Sound.

Jack Ringel, LICSW

Jack is an educator and consultant, but is first and foremost an individual and group psychotherapist.  He views psychotherapy as an evolving craft of great depth and possibility, and as a practice that is clearly both an art and a science.  His work history is diverse, including working in a hospital setting at the VA Puget Sound, community mental health in the Edgewood neighborhood of Chicago, various positions in non-profits serving vulnerable and disenfranchised groups, and currently running a solo private practice in Seattle that also contracts with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs.  An area of special interest for Jack is working with clients/patients with complex trauma histories, including how to nurture deep and sustainable change that goes beyond short-term symptom reduction.  His practice is diverse, both in terms of clinical presentations and demographics, including serving many veterans of multiple eras over the years. 

Jack received his Master’s Degree in clinical social work from the University Of Chicago, and took part in a full-time post-graduate fellowship through the VA Puget Sound.  He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in philosophy and sociology from the University Of Colorado.  Currently, he is a full analytic candidate at the Northwest Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (NPSI), which is a deeply immersive and multi-year training experience for fully licensed clinicians.  He previously served on the board for the Puget Sound Group Psychotherapy Network (PSGPN), and provides trainings in a variety of both clinical and non-clinical settings.


Jackie DeLaCruz, MIT

Jackie is an Education & Training Consultant, Certified Mediator and Circle Keeper. As an educator and advocate she creates training that lifts barriers between people and opens fresh possibilities for connection, collaboration, and understanding.  This approach allows participants to communicate in honest and authentic ways establishing trust and building positive relationships.  As a wellness coach, she helps people make positive and lasting changes to their health by integrating mind, body, spirit practices.

Jackie is a veteran of the United States Air Force.  She started her military career as an electrician with the 60th Civil Engineering Squadron.  She later earned a special assignment as an instructor at the Non-commissioned Officer Leadership School.  Her last years in the Air Force was as a C5 Crew Chief. She is a recipient of the Commandant’s Award and Airman of the Year for Travis AFB, CA.

Jaime Yslas, MA

Jaime Yslas is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance, which acknowledges the completion of a yoga teacher training with a Registered Yoga School (RYS). He teaches Mindful Resilience with the Veterans Yoga Project (VYP) at locations in the Puget Sound. Practice includes wheelchair yoga and yoga for survivors of trauma, Veterans, their families, and their caregivers. 

Jaime is a Veteran, serving for 32 years with the United States Navy.

Janelle Painter, PhD

Janelle Painter, PhD is a clinical psychologist in the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center at the VA Puget Sound, Seattle with expertise in evidence-based practices for the treatment of serious mental illness. She earned her doctoral degree at the University of California, Berkeley, where she received specialized training in the treatment of people with psychotic and bipolar disorders. Her research and practice focus on identifying barriers to treatment and improving access to care among Veterans with chronic and complex mental health conditions. Dr. Painter is passionate about helping people with mental illness lead meaningful and fulfilling lives. She authored the self-help book, Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed.

Jennifer Olley, LICSW

Jennifer Olley is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Certified Mental Health Supervisor working with Individuals, Groups and Families for over 17 years.  With a trauma-focused research history at both Columbia and UW, and as a practicing clinician in the Psychiatric Emergency Department at the Puget Sound Health Care System, Ms. Olley delivers a seasoned approach to client-centered crisis intervention without forfeiting crucial safety standards. Ms. Olley has served on numerous specialty committees focused on suicide, disruptive behavior in a clinical setting, and mental health disaster relief, with a decade of clinical and administrative instruction to graduate students, interns, and training residents. Ms. Olley remains committed to mental health emergency interventions that are guided by principles consistent with recovery and resilience.

Jeremy Grisham

Jeremy Grisham is a community advocate.  Combined with his military experience, in which he served as a US Navy Hospital Corpsman, Jeremy has dedicated twenty-five years to the helping professions.  Jeremy helped define ecotherapy as it relates to veterans and the community in Washington State through his work with the Veterans Conservation Corps of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and continues to incorporate his knowledge and expertise in his therapeutic practice.  Jeremy is a human-being who is also a father, husband, combat veteran, survivor of trauma and an ally of the isolated, marginalized and oppressed.  Jeremy currently works as a clinician for a community mental health organization and occasionally speaks on topics of ecotherapy and concepts related to ecopsychology.  Having earned a BA in Liberal Arts, with a focus on Psychology and Ecopsychology from Antioch University, Jeremy transitioned into a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, in which he will complete the degree in December 2019, after which , Jeremy will pursue a PhD in Psychology of Counselor Education and Supervision.

John Phillips, M.A.Ed.

John is the Veterans Training Support Center’s Training Manager. He has instructional experience working with diverse learning populations to include United States Marines, English language learners, college students, and new teen drivers. After serving seven years in the Marine Corps Reserve as an infantryman with two deployments, John transitioned to the Army Reserve where he continues to serve as a Civil Affairs Team Sergeant.

Josie Tracy, Ph.D.

Josie Tracy, Ph.D. received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Mississippi in 2008, with a research focus on nicotine addiction. In 2009 she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education (CESATE) at the Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Medical Center (PSVAMC), Seattle Division. Since this time, she has worked as a psychologist in VHA outpatient addictions treatment settings (Portland, OR; Vancouver, WA; Seattle, WA). In her current role as Supervisory Psychologist in the Addictions Treatment Center (ATC) at the PSVAMC, Seattle Division, she manages a large program of outpatient treatment services for veterans with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions (e.g. PTSD, depression). Her professional interests include harm reduction psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and mindfulness-based interventions.

Karla C. Hawley, MT-BC, M.Ed.

Karla C. O’Hagen-Hawley is a neurologic, nationally board certified music therapist and Director of music therapy services for the Snohomish County Music Project, a non-profit community based organization in Snohomish County Washington. Specializing in the treatment of: 1) trauma within youth, veterans and at-risk communities; 2) building community within assisted living and memory care facilities; and 3) neurologic disorders and injuries . Karla has provided numerous trainings on music therapy, including a TEDx Talk.

Karyn Brownson

Karyn Brownson is the Community Safety Manager in the Violence and Injury Prevention unit at Public Health – Seattle and King County. Previously, she led the creation of Washington’s State Suicide Prevention Plan at the Washington State Department of Health. Karyn’s background is in social work. In her work and her life, Karyn has seen firsthand the toll that trauma, violence and firearm tragedy take on families and communities, as well communities’ resilience in the face of adversity and loss. She is dedicated to partnering with those most affected by firearm tragedy to build a safer and more just King County. Public Health’s firearm violence prevention page, where you can learn about their work promoting safe firearm storage, is at www.lokitup.org.

Kate L. Stewart, MA

Kate Stewart is a counselor and sex therapist in private practice in Seattle. She specializes in working with sexual and relationship minorities and dating coaching. She has taught Flirting 101 and Everything You Need to Know about Sex for six years at the Experimental College of the University of Washington. Kate holds local trainings on working with the Sex Positive community.

Keith Meyer, MS, LMHC; Trainer and PTG Advisory Committee Member

Keith Meyer, M.S., LMHC, has been a counselor for over 28 years, 15 of those years working with veterans & their families. His practice emphasizes serving people who have experienced trauma event(s), how to assist them in understanding how those experiences affect their lives, and how trauma can provide an opportunity for Posttraumatic Growth. He has worked with veterans (and their family members) who served in the military from World War II through the current conflicts, and with individuals who experienced or witnessed trauma from combat, sexual assault, attempted murder, natural disasters, domestic violence, and terrorism.  He has had contracts with the Federal VA, the Federal Veterans Center, and the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. During 2018, Keith presented over 20 posttraumatic growth workshops to mental health professionals, veterans, staff members, families and others impacted by trauma. In addition, he provides consultation on trauma issues to a variety of agencies, organization, mental health providers, and medical health providers

Kendall Browne, Ph.D.

Dr. Kendall Browne is the Associate Director for Training & Education within the VA Puget Sound, Center of Excellence in Substance Addiction Treatment and Education (CESATE). She is also an Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences within the University of Washington School of Medicine. Over the past decade, Dr. Browne has developed research and clinical expertise in the assessment and treatment of PTSD and co-occurring substance use disorders in Veteran populations. Dr. Browne’s current research and clinical interests include the development and evaluation of evidence-based practices for PTSD and concomitant substance use disorders across the spectrum of VA mental health care settings
with a focus on cannabis use and PTSD.

Kimberly Hardy, LMHC

Kimberly has been in the military for over 10 years; first on active duty in the United States Navy and is a currently serving reservist. While on active duty, Kimberly served in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She began her post-military career in the field of human services, ultimately becoming a counselor specializing in trauma and veterans issues. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from Washington State University and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Northwest University. Additionally, Kimberly has received advanced training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Kimberly provides trainings on veteran best practices, invisible wounds, military sexual trauma & suicide risk (or prevention). She can tailor trainings and presentations to your organization’s needs.

Kira Mountjoy-Pepka

Kira Mountjoy-Pepka is a management consultant specializing in system development and training and facilitation. She has more than 10 years experience performing comprehensive issue analysis and designing workforce development systems for the United States’ veteran and military communities, and for other underserved groups. She has a particular passion for projects that work to correct systemic oppression.

A United States Air Force veteran and Navy-trained private pilot, Kira worked for nearly a decade as a national advocate for veterans and active duty service members with Military Sexual Trauma (MST). She has worked one-on-one with U.S. senators as an issue coordinator for MST and assisted the $200 million DoD implementation of the Agenda for Change. She has appeared, among others, on The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and participated in the Academy Award-nominated film The Invisible War.

Kori Blitstein

Kori Blitstein joined the VA Puget Sound Outpatient Clinic in 2009. Her clinical work has focused on providing veterans individual, group and couples therapy. As a practicum instructor in the social work internship program, she works with students from the University of Washington providing supervision to social work interns. In 2012 she was awarded an honor from the University of Washington for her commitment to social work education. She has served as a consultant and supervisor on a National Veterans’ Administration project providing high quality, evidence based couples therapy to veterans and their partners. Prior to this, Ms. Blitstein received a Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment Fellowship and worked at Harborview Medical Center in the Madison Clinic. Ms. Blitstein is a member of the Washington State Chapter of the Society for Social Work Leadership in Healthcare.

Lori Daniels, Ph.D., LCSW

Dr. Lori Daniels is currently an Associate Professor of Social Work for Hawaii Pacific University (HPU).  Her clinical practice treating traumatic stress among veterans spans over 20 years.  She earned her MSW from the University of Chicago (1987) and her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Hawaii – Manoa (2002).  An LCSW for both Oregon and Hawaii, her clinical background includes working for inpatient and outpatient VA hospital-based PTSD programs, as the Director of the Traumatic Stress Recovery Program for the Honolulu VA, being a VA/Hartford Geriatric Social Work Scholar, and working as the military sexual trauma psychotherapist for the Portland Vet Center for almost 7 years.
Dr. Daniels has provided workshops at international conferences, been a Consultant with the National Center for PTSD, and co-chaired for 6 years a PTSD community conference in Honolulu. Her publications include research articles: one in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work and the second in Traumatology.  She’s also contributed as clinical book chapters in The Handbook of Post-Traumatic Therapy, and Healing War Trauma: Using Creative Approaches.
Dr. Daniels has presented about nightmare therapy (Dreamwork) at several International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies Annual Meetings, as well as the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.

M.J. Mariano, Ph.D

M.J. Mariano, Ph.D. is a Staff Psychologist at the Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Health Care System and a Clinical Associate Professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  She has over 30 years of experience working with veterans in a broad array of clinical programs and has focused interests in trauma treatment, mind-body integration and health psychology with a special emphasis on caring for women.  Dr. Mariano has provided clinical services in the Seattle Women’s Health Clinic for close to 20 years and served women in a program for treatment of military sexual trauma for many years.  In addition to direct patient care, Dr. Mariano develops and consults on treatment programs, provides clinical supervision and has presented to local and national audiences on issues related to the needs of women veterans.

Mark Fischer, MS

Mark Fischer, M.S. was the manager and architect of the first-of-its-kind, nationally recognized Washington Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Conservation Corps and Vet Corps (AmeriCorps) program. Created in 2009, Vet Corps is a peer-to-peer mentoring program where veterans and spouses assist other veterans with resources and navigation of colleges and universities, Veterans Administration, veteran-related services, employment, and military bases. With over 30 year experience with veterans in a variety of settings, including 16 years as a licensed mental health PTSD counselor, he is currently a private trainer/consultant. Mark is currently working with transitioning soldiers and airmen through several federal and local grants, with a focus on career and individual adjustment to civilian culture and has offered trainings in a variety of agency and employment settings on topics that include: Veteran Cultural Issues, Peer-to-Peer Mentoring, Invisible Wounds, Attachment and Loss, Post-Traumatic Growth and Self-Care.

Mark Niezgoda, MSW

Mr. Niezgoda, a MSW graduate from New York University, specializes in developing and implementing trainings for professionals in the medical and social work fields. His past experience includes the professional development of Child Welfare workers in New York State.  He was also responsible for other training initiatives such as Developmental Disability’s in children, and HIV and AIDS in adolescents.

Currently, Mr. Niezgoda works for Crisis Connections in Seattle, Washington where he delivers training on suicide and crisis intervention. Mr. Niezgoda also is the group facilitator of the survivors of suicide loss group.


Mark R. Hoagland, MA, LMHC, CHT

Mark’s work experience includes working for over 8 years at the King County Crisis Clinic as Supervisor, Crisis Intervention Specialist, Trainer and Group Facilitator. He is current the team leader at the Everett Vet Center leading a team of therapists who work with Veterans who deal with war trauma and/or military sexual trauma. He earned BA degrees in both Psychology and International Economics from the University of Washington. After working in international trade for 10 years, he returned to school and earned his Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Seattle University. Mark’s experience as a therapist includes working with crisis management, trauma, PTSD, complicated grief, suicide, MST, veteran issues and couples counseling. For 7 years he was the facilitator of the King County Survivors of Suicide grief group working with people who have had a loved one complete suicide. Mark’s military service included tours in Japan and Korea in the U.S. Army.

Matthew Jakupcak, Ph.D.

Dr. Jakupcak is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed research articles on the topics of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), men’s emotional dysregulation and its association with acts of aggression and violence, and novel treatment approaches for addressing posttraumatic conditions. Dr. Jakupcak is also a consulting editor for the American Psychological Association journal, Psychology of Men and Masculinities (PMM) and he recently served as the lead Guest-Editor for a special issue of PMM entitled, “Health Implications of Masculinity within Military Populations.” From 2005 to 2014, Dr. Jakupcak was the lead psychologist at the Seattle Veteran Affairs (VA) Deployment Health Clinic for returning Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, an integrated primary care/mental health service that served as a model of best-practices for post-deployment care within the VA Health Care System. In addition, Dr. Jakupcak has recently worked with the Seattle Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington State, providing consultation, education, and return to work assessments for members of law enforcement impacted by traumatic events.

Melissa Layer, MA, LMHC-A

Melissa Layer, MA, LMHC-A is an integrative psychotherapist and interfaith spiritual director living and working in Olympia.  She holds graduate degrees in transpersonal psychology from the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology in California and counseling psychology from Saint Martin’s University. She has served for over 30 years in nonprofit, educational and healthcare settings.  Her work as a hospice bereavement coordinator with Assured Hospice, as well as faculty member/group facilitator for cancer retreats with Harmony Hill (Union) and Pink Lemonade (Portland), and facilitation of community grief support groups have taught her about the compelling opportunities for life review and meaning-making in these potent threshold experiences.  Utilizing expressive arts and a commitment to compassionate presence and deep listening, Melissa maintains a small private practice and enjoys workshop presentations, teaching, and group/retreat facilitation.

Michael Lillie, LMFT, MHP

Michael Lillie is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Tacoma, WA. As a therapist Michael works with complex post traumatic stress and dissociation, depression, anxiety, adult attachment issues, hoarding and acquiring. In addition he has specialized training with the integration of faith and spirituality in psychotherapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

Michael earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications from Northwestern College, a Masters in Theology from Bethel Seminary, and a Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy from Pacific Lutheran University. He has worked in community mental health, homeless adult mental health and crisis outreach, psychiatric inpatient, and private practice. When not practicing therapy he is likely to be found fly fishing somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

Nerissa del Rosario

Nerissa del Rosario retired in 2015 after 36 years of service in the military. She served in the US Army, Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard with over 16 years of active duty time. She is currently a faculty member at a Washington State technical college and certified Dependable Strengths Instructor.

Peter Schmidt, Psy. D., LMHC

Dr. Peter Schmidt is Director of Behavioral Health for the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs. Peter has worked in the community and technical college system as a counselor, psychology instructor, director of counseling, and dean, and as a behavioral health subcontractor for the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs. Peter has provided numerous trainings on Veteran-related topics to include, for example, Military Culture, Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, Dependable Strengths, and Promising Best Practices in Education and Employment for a variety of organizations. As an Air Force Veteran who served on active duty as well as in the Washington National Guard Peter is proud to serve those who served and their family members.

Rafael Lozano, WDVA Outreach & Community Partnerships

Rafael A. Lozano retired from the United States Air Force in June of 1995 with the rank of Master Sergeant. After earning a Bachelor of Science at the Evergreen State College, he accepted a position at the college as the Assistant Director for Registration Programs. Under this role, he managed, reviewed and awarded veteran’s and dependent’s tuition waivers, GI Bill benefits, counseled, advised, provided guidance and interpreted policy to veterans and dependents who were considering pursuing a college degree. In 2012 after working at Evergreen for close to 15 years, and after earning the Master of Public Administration, was offered and accepted a position at the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs as a Manager of the central office service center, where he provided support to veterans, and dependents who were seeking assistance with state, county and federal veteran’s benefits. As of June 2019, he has accepted a position as WDVA’s Outreach and Community Partnerships Coordinator where he works on spreading information on benefits, entitlements, and resources available to veteran’s and family members, in the state of Washington; and expanding the agencies’ network with for profit and nonprofit organizations who support veterans and their families..

Randy Nelson, LMHC

Randy Nelson, MA, LMHC likes words and people. Ten years ago, he fortuitously stumbled upon Narrative Therapy in the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program at Seattle University. He is an active member of the Seattle Narrative Group, a long-running Narrative Therapy consultation and training collective. For the last eight years he has worked as an adult counselor in the community mental health setting of Harborview Mental Health Services.  He has conducted trainings on Narrative Therapy for the Department of Psychiatry at Harborview Medical Center.  In the consulting room and in life, Randy endeavors to position himself at the clunky and elusive intersection of skepticism, lightheartedness, and solidarity.

Roger Kluck

Roger Kluck is the Director for Project for a Civil Society, a nonprofit dedicated to nonviolence, compassion, empathy & trauma recovery.  This organization has been running an incarcerated veterans project in the Pierce County jail for five years and has served over 600 veterans. Roger served also as the President of the USA chapter of the Alternatives to Violence Project (“AVP”) and serves currently as the North American representative to AVP-International. He has been doing nonviolence and trauma recovery work in prisons, schools, and internationally for 15 years.

Samantha Powers, Ph.D.

Sam Powers is the Director of Student Veteran Life at the University of Washington. She provides oversight and management of hiring, development of new programs, and centralization of existing services and resources available to UW student veterans. She provides outreach and collaborates with internal and external constituents.

Sam is a combat veteran of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations where she served as an Aircraft Maintenance officer on the C-130 Gunship Spectres. Sam served in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom. She began her post-military career in the field of higher education working in Facilities/Physical Plant Operations as an administrative manager. She has additional experience in Continuing Education and Customized Training.

Most recently, Sam was the Director of the Washington State Veterans Training Support Center where she provided and delivered trainings to Washington State agencies on veteran-related topics in higher education, veteran best practices, and invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sam volunteers for a number of veterans organizations in Washington State as a member and officer, and is an adjunct professor at various higher education institutions across the state and nation. She holds a B.A. in Military History from Virginia Tech, an M.A. in International Relations from University of Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Old Dominion University.

Samantha Yard, Ph.D.

Dr. Yard received her clinical psychology doctorate from the University of Washington, where she obtained specialized training in third wave behavioral interventions, including a three-year practicum in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) with Marsha Linehan. Her prior research centers on the intersection between trauma, emotion regulation, intimate relationships, and health, which she explored in an NIMH-funded pre-doctoral fellowship, and further developed at the VA Puget Sound during a postdoctoral fellowship in PTSD at the Mental Illness Research, Education & Clinical Center. Now on staff as a clinical psychologist in the Intensive Outpatient Program and the DBT Program, Dr. Yard is primarily focused on program development, training and supervision, and the treatment of PTSD and suicidality. She advocated for and contributed to the recent formation of the VA Puget Sound’s comprehensive DBT Team, and she provides supervision, training and consultation in DBT both locally and nationally.

Sara Smucker Barnwell, Ph.D.

Dr. Smucker Barnwell is a licensed clinical psychologist who provides evidence based psychotherapy, coaching, and consultation in the greater Seattle and Eastside areas.  Dr. Smucker Barnwell also delivers telehealth services to clients using a diversity of technologies, including videoconferencing, mobile applications, telephone and others.  She provides workshops and trainings on a variety of topics, including stress management, negotiation, and communication. 

Sara is a Clinical Professor at the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the former Director of Telehealth Training and Education for VA Puget Sound Health Care System.  She is the current Chair of the Washington State Psychological Foundation.  Dr. Smucker Barnwell served on the Joint APA/ASPPB/APAIT Telepsychology Taskforce, as well as other national committees regarding telehealth and technology in health care. 

Dr. Smucker Barnwell received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California.  She also holds degrees from Harvard University and Wellesley College. She completed her internship at the West Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, and later completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education at Seattle VA.  Dr. Smucker Barnwell has worked in the field of telemedicine as Associate Director of Evaluation at Free & Clear, Inc. and DatStat, Inc.  Her research and clinical interests center on the development and dissemination of empirically-based treatments in telehealth, technology assisted evidence-based PTSD care and substance abuse. 

Scott Michael, Ph.D.

Scott Michael received his clinical psychology doctorate from the University of Kansas. He obtained specialized PTSD training from the National Center for PTSD during internship at the VA Palo Alto Healthcare System. He obtained further specialized PTSD training during his postdoctoral fellowship in the Mental Illness Research, Education & Clinical Center at the VA Puget Sound. Dr. Michael was trained to consult with and train VA clinicians in Prolonged Exposure by Drs. Edna Foa and Elizabeth Hembree at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Since that time, he has conducted trainings in Prolonged Exposure to VA clinicians and consults to them on how to effectively implement this psychotherapy.

Shaida Hossein, OTD

Shaida Hossein began working for Give an Hour in May 2015, as the Assistant Project Coordinator for the Community Collaborative project in Tacoma and in 2017 became the lead coordinator. Currently, she is a Project Manager with Give an Hour. She served two years on the Board for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Seattle affiliate. In 2016, she became a Mental Health First Aid trainer for the adult curriculum and the Veterans and Families module, and in 2018 became a trainer for the youth curriculum. Additionally, in 2017, she became an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) trainer. Shaida received her Bachelor of Science in biology from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa and obtained her Doctorate in occupational therapy with a concentration in mental health and neuro-rehabilitation from Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska. Shaida completed clinicals at Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston; Utah State Hospital, Provo; and VA Puget Sound, Seattle. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the Pacific Northwest, traveling, and exploring the coffee and food scene in Seattle.

Susana McCune, PsyD, FT

Susana McCune earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at Antioch University Seattle, Washington, USA. She completed a concentration in health psychology and holds a master’s degree in counseling with art therapy, also from Antioch University. Dr. McCune’s experience with hospice and end-of-life care inspired her to co-edit a textbook for care-giving professionals titled Advance Care Planning: Communicating About Matters of Life And Death.

Susana’s work includes applying philosophy and critical theory to psychological research and clinical practice to embrace integrated and holistic, person-centered approaches in healthcare. As an art therapist, Susana also integrates artistic and aesthetic exploration to deepen theoretical, clinical, and personal understanding; reveal countertransference; and to foster communication and compassion in the patient-clinician relationship to facilitate healing. Susana’s work includes applying philosophy and critical theory to psychological research and clinical practice to embrace integrated and holistic, person-centered approaches in healthcare. As an art therapist, Susana also integrates artistic and aesthetic exploration to deepen theoretical, clinical, and personal understanding; reveal countertransference; and to foster communication and compassion in the patient-clinician relationship to facilitate healing.

Tom Hove, MSW

Tom Hove, MSW, is now the interim training manager for the Veterans Training Support Center and is familiar with the WDVA in his role as Vet Corps Regional Coordinator for King County and formerly as a Vet Corps member at Seattle University (SU). While at SU Tom created a curriculum on military culture which was delivered to faculty, staff, administration and students. He was involved in varying areas of student program development and was responsible for the creation of the Veteran Alumni Association. Tom was formerly a VASH case manager where he worked with homeless veterans and their families to coordinate and monitor successful community living. He served as a social work intern for VA Puget Sound Health Care System’s Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team to provide direct services to homeless adult and geriatric veterans. Tom served in the US Navy as a hospital corpsman and is originally from Montana and currently lives in SeaTac with his husband, and two toddlers

Tory Durham, PhD

Tory Durham, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in treating Veterans and adults with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use, mood, and anxiety disorders. She currently maintains a private practice in the community where she serves Veterans and community members in person and via telehealth. Dr. Durham has experience in providing evidenced based treatments including Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure for PTSD, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and Relapse Prevention skills.
Dr. Durham completed her predoctoral internship at the VA Puget Sound, American Lake and obtained her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Toledo in 2017 before completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education (CESATE) from VA Puget Sound, Seattle. She is passionate about serving Veterans and continues to provide therapy services to eligible Veterans in the community through the WDVA PTSD Program. Dr. Durham also has an interest in training and teaching and holds an adjunct professorship at Bastyr University.