Meet Our Advisory Committee Members

Behaviorial Health

Dr. Richard Gist

Dr. Richard Gist is Principal Assistant to the Director of the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department. His responsibilities include strategic planning, organizational development, and serving as liaison between the Fire Department and a wide range of agencies with whom we interact in the provision of our services. He is widely recognized in emergency services venues for development and execution of innovative projects, programs, and service initiatives to enhance the impact of fire and rescue services for communities and their citizens in both daily missions and catastrophic events.

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Dr. Gist is a public health educator trained in behavioral epidemiology, community education, and analysis/evaluation of service delivery systems. He has held teaching and research appointments at a number of colleges and universities worldwide, and has been an invited lecturer in a wide range of settings here and abroad. He has provided consultation and assistance to disaster response agencies, service organizations, and major corporations in preparing for and responding to disaster and emergency. Widely known author and speaker, he has published a wide range of refereed articles, text chapters, and edited books. He has also created a number of innovative, award winning community partnership programs to improve the health and safety of our community.

Chief John Oates

Chief John Oates was appointed in October 2008 to lead the East Hartford Fire Department. He is responsible for overall strategic leadership to ensure the department is well positioned to provide the best service to the citizens and visitors of the community. To accomplish this the Chief leads 130 members providing a broad range of fire and emergency services to the community.

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Prior to East Hartford, Chief Oates attained a broad base of experience while working as a Battalion Chief in West Hartford, Connecticut, as the Fire Marshal in Granby, Connecticut, and as an Adjunct Instructor for the Connecticut Fire Academy. He is currently one of two Commanders for the Capital Region Incident Management. Chief Oates has spent a considerable portion of his career focused on improving health, wellness, and safety within the fire service community. Through his work with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) and First Responder Center for Excellence (FRCE), he has brought an increased focus on wellness, fitness, behavioral health, and overall safety to the department. His participation in these areas lead to the overhaul of the department’s wellness effort and the creation of a behavioral health program that includes the Peer Support Team. Chief Oates has a BS from Franklin Pierce University, a MS from Oklahoma State University, is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program and holds numerous professional certifications.

Captain Frank Leto

Captain Frank Leto is a 35-year veteran of the FDNY and the Deputy Director of its Counseling Service Unit (CSU). His association with the CSU began over 20 years ago as a Crisis Counselor for incidents such as line of duty deaths and mass casualty events. On September 11th, 2001 he responded to the World Trade Center as an officer in charge of a rescue team. Since 9/11, Captain Leto has developed innovative outreach, counseling and education programs for firefighters and their families who have experienced potentially traumatic events.

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In addition to his work as Deputy Director of the CSU and its staff of ninety, he has worked closely with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) to develop behavioral health protocols and to aid departments nationwide after major incidents. Captain Leto has also traveled internationally to share his experiences with fire departments in Northern Ireland, the Netherlands and to Okinawa Japan to aid Military Fire Fighters. He has assisted the London Fire Brigade after the transit bombings in 2005, and the Urban Search and Rescue Teams following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Through his work with the IAFF and NFFF, he has supported numerous departments including those on the Gulf Coast after Katrina, Charleston, SC and Aurora, Colorado after the theater shooting and more recently Boston following the Marathon Bombing. Frank was one the first graduates of the West Point – FDNY Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program and also is a Certified Employees Assistance Professional.

Vickie Taylor, LCSW

Vickie Taylor, LCSW, has provided behavioral health consultation to Prince William County public safety agencies since 1985.  She worked in community behavioral health from 1980 to mid-2016. She is currently the Director of the Prince William Public Safety Resilience Center, a full-service counseling and training center dedicated to public safety personnel who are employed in Prince William County.

In addition, she has served the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation since its inception as a trainer, behavioral health consultant and coordinator of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend Family Day activities.  She served as a key developer and trainer for the Foundation’s Taking Care of Our Own program. In addition, she served as the co-facilitator of the Everyone Goes Home® Firefighter Life Safety Initiative 13 project on behavioral health for firefighters. She is a Stress First Aid instructor and trainer of trainers for Stress First Aid for Fire and EMS professionals and Law Enforcement Professionals.

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Vickie Taylor, LCSW, has provided behavioral health consultation to Prince William County public safety agencies since 1985.  She worked in community behavioral health from 1980 to mid-2016. She is currently the Director of the Prince William Public Safety Resilience Center, a full-service counseling and training center dedicated to public safety personnel who are employed in Prince William County.

In addition, she has served the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation since its inception as a trainer, behavioral health consultant and coordinator of the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend Family Day activities.  She served as a key developer and trainer for the Foundation’s Taking Care of Our Own program. In addition, she served as the co-facilitator of the Everyone Goes Home® Firefighter Life Safety Initiative 13 project on behavioral health for firefighters. She is a Stress First Aid instructor and trainer of trainers for Stress First Aid for Fire and EMS professionals and Law Enforcement Professionals.

Dr. Patricia Watson, PhD

Dr. Patricia Watson, PhD has been a senior educational specialist for the National Center for PTSD since 1998.  Prior to joining the National Center for PTSD in 1998, Dr. Watson was an active duty Navy psychologist for eight years, working with adults for four years, and children and families for four years.  Her education includes a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Catholic University, and a postgraduate fellowship in pediatric psychology at Harvard Medical School.

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In the course of her work at NCPTSD, Dr. Watson has:

  • Collaborated with federal working groups to create publications for public and mental health interventions following terrorism, disaster, and pandemic flu. In collaboration with authors from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and National Center for PTSD, she has co-authored the Psychological First Aid (PFA) Field Guide and the Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) Manual, designed to intervene in the immediate and intermediate phases after disasters and terrorism.  She participated on a recent multi-national collaboration to create InterPar, a disaster recovery intervention, as well as a methodology to trial its effectiveness.
  • Co-edited three books on disaster behavioral health interventions, and numerous articles, guidance documents, courses, and chapters on disaster mental health, combat and operational stress, military culture, early intervention, and resilience.
  • Collaborated with authors from the Department of Defense and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, to co-author of the Combat Operational Stress First Aid (COSFA) peer support intervention, and Stress First Aid for Firefighters and Emergency Services Personnel and Curbside Manner (a public facing version of Stress First Aid), as well as creating versions of Stress First Aid for law enforcement professionals, forest firefighters, nurses, and rail workers.
  • Served as project manager and co-author of toolkits and courses related to burnout and secondary traumatic stress, provider resilience, disaster mental health, police, chaplains, assessment of PTSD, military culture, anger management, and sleep management courses.

Dr. Watson serves as Vice President and Secretary of Mobility Without Barriers Foundation (MBWF).  She is co-chair of the Early Intervention special interest group of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.  She served as assistant director of terrorism and disaster programs for the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress from 2007 to 2010, and as an assistant professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School from 1999 to 2010.

Cancer

Dr. Alberto Juan Caban-Martinez, DO, PhD, MPH, CPH

Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami (UM), Miller School of Medicine, Deputy Director of the Firefighter Cancer Initiative at the UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Co-Principal Investigator of the national Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study.

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He is an osteopathic physician (DO) board certified in public Health and occupational epidemiologist (PhD/MPH). Following graduation from medical and graduate school, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in occupational health and safety at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2014. His research primarily examines cancer burden and risk factors in the first responder workforce. He services as Co-Director of the Miami Occupational Research Group, a NIOSH Total Worker Health affiliate group. He has active program of research in the epidemiologic surveillance of cancer burden in firefighters, as well as he co-leads the Florida environmental sampling program to measure exposure and risk in carcinogen exposure. He has articles published in the American Journal of Public Health, Preventive Medicine, the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Neuropharmacology. He has published over 106 peer reviewed publications and presented over 168 scientific presentations on a wide range of occupational health and safety topics. He is a standing member of the NIOSH National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector and Mining Sector Council, the secretary of the International Commission on Occupational Health as well as a member of the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Item Writing Committee.  When not in the research office, Dr. Caban-Martinez is an avid outdoor runner, exploring the South Florida running paths.

Deputy Fire Chief Tim Cowan

Timothy S. Cowan joined the FRCE in 2018 as a committee member on the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance.  Timothy is a 25-year veteran of the fire service currently serving as Deputy Fire Chief with the City of Oneida Fire Department in New York.  Cowan also serves as the City’s Fire Marshal.  He began his career as a volunteer fire fighter in Central New York where he is still a member today.  Through-out his time in the fire service, he has worked for the United States Air Force as a fire fighter / EMT and currently works part-time in a combination fire district as a fire fighter / EMT.

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Timothy has an extensive background in Code Enforcement and Fire Marshal work.  He is a committee member on the NFPA 1035 Technical Committee – Fire and Life Safety Educator, PIO, Youth Fire Setter Intervention Specialist, and Youth Fire Setter Program Manager Professional Qualifications.  He currently serves as a Code Enforcement Officer / Fire Marshal for three different municipalities in Central New York.  Timothy is also a Deputy Fire Coordinator and Fire Instructor for Madison County in New York.

Timothy is very active with the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF).  He currently serves as a New York State Advocate for the Everyone Goes Home (EGH) program.  He also serves as a Family Escort during the NFFF Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, MD.

Mr. Cowan is credentialed as a Fire Officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE).  He is also a resident student in the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program.

Mr. Cowan holds an Associate Degree in Fire and Emergency Services and a Bachelor Degree in Fire and Emergency Management both from State University of New York – Empire State.

Timothy resides in Central New York with is wife, daughter, and son.

Chief Ed Mann

Ed Mann became active as a volunteer with the FRCE in 2017 and has agreed to assist with projects as requested. Ed is currently The Director of Training and Education for Provident who has graciously given Ed the approval to volunteer for the FRCE.

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Ed served as the Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner having been originally appointed in June of 2000 by Governor Tom Ridge. He served Governor’s Schweiker, Rendell and Corbett until January of 2015.  Under Ed’s leadership the Office of State Fire Commissioner received national awards from the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, The International Association of Fire Chief’s and the Congressional Fire Service Institute for their efforts to reduce line of duty deaths.

Ed began his career in the fire service as a member of the Logan Fire Company, Bellefonte, Pa. in 1977 and then pursued a career in the United States Air Force as a Fire Protection Specialist serving until his retirement in 1994.  He is currently certified as an Airport Firefighter, Fire Inspector 2, Fire Instructor 3, Fire Investigator 2, and Fire Officer 3 through the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. He has worked as a Local Level and Adjunct Instructor for the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy and was awarded Instructor Emeritus status in 2016.

Ed currently serves as the Fire Chief and Financial Secretary of the East Derry Volunteer Fire Company, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. In addition to his volunteer work for his fire company he also serves as a volunteer for the Responder Safety Network, Pennsylvania State Advocate for the NFFF Everyone Goes Home Program, the Advisory Committee for the Firefighter Injury and Safety Trends Project at Drexel University and on the Board of Directors for the Lehigh Valley Burn Prevention Foundation.

Ed is a member of the IAFC Eastern Division, Safety-Health and Survival Section and the Volunteer Combination Officers Section. He is also a member of The Fire Department Safety Officers Association, International Society of Fire Service Instructors and numerous local and regional organizations throughout Pennsylvania.

He currently lives in Lewistown, Pa. with his wife and two adult children.

Chief Brian McQueen

Brian F. McQueen is a retired volunteer Fire Chief of the Whitesboro Fire Department, Whitesboro, NY. He is a forty-year member of the volunteer service. McQueen is a retired public school educator spending most of his time as a Principal and a District Level School Administrator. Brian’s fire service history allowed him to become training in fire service leadership as well as becoming a Fire Instructor 1, Interior Firefighter, Apparatus Driver, Safety Officer and Public Fire Educator. McQueen served Oneida County as a Deputy Fire Coordinator (Car 271) whose position allowed him to develop and carry out the training of the fire service in Oneida County.

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His local fire service tenure lead him to become active on the county and state level with the Oneida County Fire Chiefs Association, Oneida County Volunteer Firemen’s Association and the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) where he served 10 years as a Director. In November 2017, Brian was awarded the prestigious FASNY Golden Trumpet Award for his diligent work on occupational cancer in the fire service and his ability to work with state government officials in the passing of the state’s Volunteer Firefighter Cancer Law.

McQueen also is a member of the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) where he currently sits on the Executive Committee and is Co-Chairman of the Cancer Task Force for the NVFC. Brian represents the NVFC on the National Firefighter’s Cancer Alliance. Brian was instrumental in developing a working relationship with the IAFC-VCOS Cancer Committee in assisting in the development of the Lavender Ribbon Report that was introduced in FRI this past August.

What Brian is proud of is his battle with occupational cancer. In 2014, he was diagnosed with B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma which his oncologist says was attributed to his work as a volunteer firefighter. It was then that he went back to his community, worked with other volunteer leadership, and created the Believe 271 Foundation Inc., a not for profit Foundation developed to assist volunteer firefighters and their families who are battling cancer and life-threatening illnesses.

Mr. McQueen holds two degrees from the Daemen College and the State University of Cortland in Elementary Education and School District Leadership.

He currently resides in Whitesboro, NY with his wife Sarah. He has one son, Ryan, and his wife Erin.

Chief Mario Trevino

Mario H. Trevino is a forty-three year veteran of the fire service.  He rose through the ranks in the Seattle Fire Department to Deputy Fire Chief over 24-years, holding such assignments as EMS Chief, Arson Squad Commander, Marine Fire Response Commander, and various fire suppression posts.

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  He went on to serve as Fire Chief in Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Bellevue, Washington.  He co-founded Washington USAR Task Force 1, serving as Task Force Leader at the Northridge Earthquake in Los Angeles and later as Program Manager for Nevada US&R Task Force 1.  His consultancy assignments include executive search in the U.S.A. and airport fire protection in the United Arab Emirates.  He has served on dozens of boards and commissions, including being elected President of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs and serving as a member of the NFPA Urban Fire Forum.  He has testified before U.S. Congressional Committees on four separate occasions, and has spoken at fire service conferences across the United States, Vancouver, B.C., Hong Kong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, London, and the United Arab Emirates.  He holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Washington, a Bachelor of Public Administration degree (summa cum laude) from Seattle University, and participated in a Harvard University fellowship on State and Local Government in 1998.  He served as a guest lecturer at the University of Washington’s Master of Public Administration Program for three years, and as an Executive Fire Officer Instructor at the National Fire Academy.  He is happily married and a proud father, and lives with his family in Las Vegas.  He is also a line-of-duty cancer survivor, and is committed to helping educate fellow firefighters about cancer prevention.

Firefighter Physicals

Dr. Alisa Koval, MD, MPH/MHSA

Alisa Koval MD, MPH/MHSA is the Medical Director for the Center for Occupational Safety and Health at Denver Health & Hospital Authority. She is a Past President of the Rocky Mountain Academy of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, and currently a member of the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine House of Delegates. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for Building Warriors, a non-profit organization dedicated to the mental health of first responders. She is a graduate of the Occupational & Environmental Medicine Residency program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She began her education at the University of Michigan, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with Honors, followed by a Master of Health Service Administration. After spending a year as an Administrative Fellow at The Children’s Hospital of Denver, she went on to earn her MD from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2003. Prior to beginning her residency training, she worked as an internal consultant at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital as a Six Sigma Black Belt. She stayed there to complete her training in General Preventive Medicine & Public Health, where she received the Distinguished Housestaff Award in 2009 and during which she earned a Master of Public Health from Columbia University in 2010. Her interests include Public Safety Medicine, teaching OEM residents, and developing worksite wellness programs for employers based on the principles of lifestyle medicine.

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Alisa Koval MD, MPH/MHSA is the Medical Director for the Center for Occupational Safety and Health at Denver Health & Hospital Authority. She is a Past President of the Rocky Mountain Academy of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, and currently a member of the American College of Occupational & Environmental Medicine House of Delegates. Additionally, she serves on the Board of Directors for Building Warriors, a non-profit organization dedicated to the mental health of first responders. She is a graduate of the Occupational & Environmental Medicine Residency program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. She began her education at the University of Michigan, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with Honors, followed by a Master of Health Service Administration. After spending a year as an Administrative Fellow at The Children’s Hospital of Denver, she went on to earn her MD from the Georgetown University School of Medicine in 2003. Prior to beginning her residency training, she worked as an internal consultant at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital as a Six Sigma Black Belt. She stayed there to complete her training in General Preventive Medicine & Public Health, where she received the Distinguished Housestaff Award in 2009 and during which she earned a Master of Public Health from Columbia University in 2010. Her interests include Public Safety Medicine, teaching OEM residents, and developing worksite wellness programs for employers based on the principles of lifestyle medicine.

Executive Assistant Fire Chief Todd LeDuc, MS, CFO, FIFirE

Todd J. LeDuc, MS, CFO, FIFirE is a twenty nine year veteran and currently Executive Assistant Fire Chief of the Broward County Fire Rescue service, an internationally accredited metro department of 750 members. He has served in numerous ranks and positions including Quality Manager, EMS Chief, Chief of Professional Standards, Technical Services and Operations Chief before assuming the Executive Assistant Chief role in the Office of Fire Chief. He has been an elected member of the International Association of Fire Chief’s Safety, Health & Survival Board of Directors the last 5 as Board Secretary.

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He has a master’s degree in executive fire service leadership, has been a five time conferred Chief Fire Officer by the Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) ,  past Certified Emergency Manager by the International Association of Emergency Manager’s, and is a Fellow in the Institute of Fire Engineers. Chief LeDuc serves as a peer reviewer for both agency accreditation and professional credentialing by CPSE.  He serves on numerous research advisory boards, industry journal board of advisors, frequent conference speaker and industry writer. Chief LeDuc has also served as a peer reviewer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighter, SAFER and Research and Development grants. He has received recognition as the CPSE 2013 Ambassador of the Year, 2015 IAFC Chairman’s Award, and the IAFF Local 4321 Excellence Award 2014. He served as a contributor to the IAFC Healthcare Provider’s Guide to Firefighter Physicals. He has conducted numerous department evaluations including internationally, master and strategic plans, consolidation feasibility studies and deployment analysis studies. Chief LeDuc also organized and founded the National Surviving the Fire Service conference held annually in South Florida. Chief LeDuc has also worked with communities to resolve labor contracts and facilitate labor-management working agreements. He can be reached by tjlbcems@aol.com

Chief John Sullivan

Chief John F. Sullivan of the Brookline (MA) Fire Department is a 31-year veteran of the fire service, including over three decades with the Worcester (MA) Fire Department.

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Chief Sullivan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Fire Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. He is a National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer graduate and holds the designation of Chief Fire Officer from the Center for Public Safety Excellence. He is also a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs; the United States Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers; the New England Association of Fire Chief’s and serves on two technical committees for the National Fire Protection Association. He has been an adjunct professor at Anna Maria College in the Fire Science division, and has served on the National Fire Academy’s Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education committee as well as the Training Resources and Data Exchange committee. In 2011, the United States Fire Administration awarded Chief Sullivan the J. Faherty Casey award for his impact in the area of leadership in training of the nation’s fire and emergency services.

Chief Sullivan has authored many professional articles and papers and lectures nationally and internationally on the subject of firefighter safety and survival. He is currently serving as a Vice Chairman of the IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival section and has collaborated on several projects with the National Fall Fighter Foundation. Chief Sullivan has previously served as a contributing editor on the Editorial Board of FireRescue magazine, and  is currently serving as a contributing editor for Firehouse magazine.

James Williams