George A. Bonanno is a Professor of Clinical Psychology, Director of the Loss, Trauma, and Emotion Lab, and Director of the Resilience Center for Veterans and Families at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1991. His research interests center on the question of how human beings cope with loss, trauma and other forms of extreme adversity, with an emphasis on resilience and the salutary role of flexible regulatory processes. He has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He recently authored The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Can Tell Us about Life after Loss (Basic Books), and was honored with the James McKeen Cattell award from the Association for Psychological Science “for a lifetime of intellectual achievements in applied psychological research and their impact on a critical problem in society at large.”
George Bonanno, Ph.D.
Professor of Clinical Psychology Chair, Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology Teachers College, Columbia University
Director - Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training
Eriks Gabliks is the Director of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST). He has served with DPSST since 1991 and has had the honor and privilege to serve as the Director since 2010 overseeing a staff of more than 450 employees. He is the first employee in DPSST’s history to have ascended to the position from the internal ranks. During his tenure at the agency he has served in a number of roles including 9-1-1 Program Coordinator, Regional Fire and Law Enforcement Services Manager, State Fire Training Director, Training Division Director and Deputy Director.
DPSST is the state’s centralized public safety training academy operating the 235-acre campus that serves more than 41,000 constituents around the state. On an annual basis DPSST provides training to more than 25,000 participants through programs offered at the Oregon Public Safety Academy and on a regional basis. Oregon’s basic training programs and certification standards are created in partnership with the 24-member, Governor appointed and senate confirmed, Board on Public Safety Standards and Training (BPSST).
Eriks began his public safety career in 1980 with the Monmouth County (NJ) Sheriff’s Department. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Service Administration from Western Oregon University and a Master’s with Honors in Public Policy and Administration from the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. He has also completed the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland and the Executive Development Program at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He is active in several state and national organizations and has served as President of the North American Fire Training Directors (NAFTD), representing state and provincial fire training organizations in the United States and Canada, from 2009-2013.
Richard Gist, Ph.D.
Deputy Director/Principal Assistant to the Fire Chief - Kansas City (Missouri) Fire Department
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.
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.
Lt. Drew Kane
Program Director, FDNY-CSU Addiction Treatment Program
Drew Kane is a 24-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department. For 12 years, Lieutenant Kane was assigned as a firefighter to Engine Company 37 in Harlem, and on September 11, 2001, Lt. Kane responded to the World Trade Center site and continued to participate in search and rescue efforts for many months following the event. His experience as a First Responder, especially his response to 9/11, provided him with the desire and passion to assist other fire fighters, as well as family members, who struggle with SUD and other mental health issues.
In 2004, Lt. Kane was assigned to the New York City Fire Department’s Counseling Service Unit (FDNY-CSU) as a peer/substance abuse counselor, and in 2009, he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work. He holds a License in Social Work from New York State as well a Credentialed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CASAC).
Lt. Kane was soon promoted to Program Director of the FDNY-CSU Addiction Treatment Program (ATP) and currently holds this position. As Program Director, Lt. Kane oversees the daily operations of this unit and supervises a staff of licensed mental health professionals. He is responsible for managing clinical interventions for firefighters and their families, as well as group and individual counseling. He has lectured not only to the first responder populations, but to the professional community at large, covering topics such as substance abuse within the first responder populations, PTSD, trauma, crisis intervention, family issues and more. As an educational instructor for LaGuardia Community College, Lt. Kane educates individuals who are pursuing careers as Certified Alcohol Substance Abuse Counselors (CASAC). He is also a Master Instructor for the International Association of Firefighters and was instrumental in the development of the IAFF Peer Training Curriculum.
Utilizing his skills as a clinician and experienced first responder, Lt. Kane continues to respond to line of duty deaths, fatal fires, multiple casualty incidents and natural disasters within the FDNY, across the country and abroad. In 2013, Lt. Kane was honored by the Caron Foundation with the Uniformed Public Service Award.
Lt. Kane has lectured on Motivational Interview, Cultural Competency and Acceptance Commitment Therapy, and has been trained as a provider for the’’ SMART” Stress Management and Resiliency Training Program from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in conjunction with Harvard Medical School.
Behavioral Health Specialist, IAFF
Prior to joining the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) as a Behavioral Health Specialist, Ms. Kosc worked as licensed psychotherapist for 10 years in variety of outpatient, inpatient, and hospital based psychiatric and substance abuse treatment settings. Ms. Kosc started her career as a substance abuse clinician with John Hopkins Medicine, prior to transitioning to MedStar Health, where she worked as group psychotherapist in PHP and IOP levels of behavioral health care. Ms. Kosc has also worked as Clinical Interviewer for Center of the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD. Since joining the IAFF, Ms. Kosc is responsible for clinical oversight, ongoing consultation, and treatment outcome monitoring for the IAFF Center for Excellence in Treatment and Behavioral Health. Ms. Kosc oversees the IAFF Peer Support Training and the IAFF Resiliency Training, while providing daily behavioral health technical assistance to member affiliates. Ms. Kosc has led critical revisions to emerging behavioral health standards in NFPA 1500 and 1582. In addition to her role at the IAFF, Ms. Kosc continues to work as Crisis Intervention Therapist at Medstar Health, where she conducts diagnostic assessments and psychiatric consults.
Captain Frank Leto
Deputy Director FDNY Counseling Service Unit
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. 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.
Critical Incident Response Risk Management Program Specialist - US Forest Service
The South Canyon Fire on Storm King Mountain claimed the lives of fourteen wildland firefighters in Glenwood Springs, Colorado in 1994. Kimberly Lightley is a surviving crewmember of the US Forest Service, Prineville Interagency Hotshot Crew, from the July 6th, 1994 tragedy. A future dedicated to advocacy for firefighter safety and behavioral health ensued. As an educator, Kimberly has spoken in venues across the nation and internationally, delivering mechanisms of coping and mental health well-being in preparation and mitigation of the stress associated with the firefighting occupation. She has acquired training with the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation, International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, Duke University of Integrative Medicine and the Mind Fitness Training Institute. As a fire peer, she has responded to numerous critical incidents, providing on-site peer counseling.
Kimberly is employed as a Risk Management Program Specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, Fire and Aviation Management, Washington Office.
Chief Ernest Mitchell, Jr.
Chairman of the Board, FIrst Respoonder Center for Excellence
Ernest Mitchell, Jr. was the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s United States Fire Administrator for the United States Fire Administration. He began his tenure on December 5, 2011 and was responsible for managing the United States Fire Administration, the programs and training activities at the National Emergency Training Center.
Chief Mitchell retired as the Fire Chief and Assistant Director of Disaster Emergency Services for the City of Pasadena, California Fire Department after 33 years in the fire service. Chief Mitchell is an active member and former officer of the IAFC. During his last year in Pasadena he was also President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), where he continued until the completion of his term. He served in Pasadena from 1998 until 2004. Prior to becoming Fire Chief in Pasadena, Chief Mitchell served as Fire Chief and Deputy City Manager in the City of Monrovia, California for seven years. He began his career as a fire fighter with the City of Compton, California. He served there for twenty years in various ranks until leaving to become Fire Chief in the City of Monrovia.
His most recent professional affiliations include serving as a member of the International Fire Service Training Association Executive Board, the International Association of Firefighters Hazardous Materials Advisory Board, the IAFC President’s Council, the IAFC Foundation Board, and the IAFC/IAFF Labor/Management Initiative Facilitator Team.
In previous years he has served as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Advisory Committee; on numerous committees and task forces of the IAFC; and presided over several fire service organizations, including: the Los Angeles Area Fire Chiefs Association; the League of California Cities Fire Chiefs and the Foothill Fire Chiefs. He has also been an Advocate for the National Fallen Firefighters’ Everyone Goes Home ® Program, an adjunct instructor for the National Fire Academy and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Fire Chief Magazine.
Chief Mitchell has an Associate of Science Degree in Fire Science from Long Beach City College; a Bachelor Degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco; and a Master of Public Administration Degree from California State University at Northridge.
During his career Chief Mitchell has either chaired or been a member of many working committees that contributed to the progress and development of communities as well as local, state and national fire and emergency services. He is a past recipient of the IAFC President’s Award for Service and has received several community awards for service.
He is a past recipient of numerous community and organizational honors, including: the IAFC President’s Award for Service, designation as a City of Compton Hometown Hero, and selection to the Long Beach City College Alumni Hall of Fame.
Angela D. Moreland, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor - Medical University of South Carolina
Angela Moreland, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Purdue University in 2009 and completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship and post-doctoral research fellowship at the NCVC. Dr. Moreland’s research interests focus on primary and secondary prevention of child abuse and risk factors for maltreatment among high risk parents of young children (i.e., substance use, teen pregnancy); as well as dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practice for victims of interpersonal violence and their families. Dr. Moreland also examines the link between victimization and high-risk behaviors, such as substance use and delinquency, among children and adolescents. Currently, her primary projects focus on prevention of maltreatment, as well as other negative consequences, among substance-using parents; as well as several other projects focused on dissemination and implementation of evidence-based trauma-focused treatments.
Dr. Moreland has served as Evaluator of several large-scale longitudinal projects funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Office on Violence Against Women, SAHMSA, FEMA, the Duke Endowment, and the National Institutes of Health. Importantly, Dr. Moreland currently serves as the Evaluator of a Category II center through the National Child Traumatic Stress Network; the EMPOWERR Expansion Project, which targets prevention of HIV among high-risk adolescents; and Charleston HEART, which is a homicide early intervention and advocacy response team. Dr. Moreland serves as the Director of the Mass Violence and Victimization Resource Center, an OVC-funded initiate to evaluate previous response to mass violence incidences, as well as develop effective response for future mass violence events. Finally, Dr. Moreland serves as the Director of the Center for Firefighter Behavioral Health, which provides resources and support to address behavioral health needs of firefighters.
Assistant to the General President for Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine - IAFF
Patrick Morrison is the assistant to the general president for occupational health, safety and medicine at the International Association of Fire Fighters. Morrison’s expertise is in the design and implementation of health, safety and wellness programs to improve firefighters’ overall physical and mental health, address their medical needs and increase protections from the hazardous elements of firefighting. Prior to joining the IAFF, Morrison was a career firefighter for 21 years with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Fairfax, VA.
Chief John Oates
East Hartford (Connecticut) Fire Department
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. 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.
Fire Chief Eric Tade
Denver (Colorado) Fire Department
Fire Chief Eric C. Tade is a second-generation fire fighter who is currently in his 20th year of service with the Denver Fire Department. Fire Chief Tade was first appointed to position of Fire Chief by Mayor Hickenlooper in 2010 and was most recently reappointed by Mayor Michael Hancock in 2011.
Fire Chief Tade has risen through the ranks of the Denver Fire Department, serving in a variety of assignments which include the Operations Division, Dispatch, DIA/ARFF, and the Administration Division. Fire Chief Tade has previously served for ten years as the Director of Governmental Affairs for Local 858, helping to improve communications between the Union, the Department Administration, and elected officials. Fire Chief Tade also serves as a member of the National League of Cities’ Public Safety and Crime Prevention Steering Committee.
Fire Chief Tade has a degree in Fire Science and has served as an instructor at various fire leadership conferences. Fire Chief Tade is a graduate of the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ Officers Leadership Program. Fire Chief Tade has become a recognized leader in regionalism and intergovernmental agreements relating to fire protection services.
Vickie Taylor, LCSW
Director - Prince William Public Safety Resilience Center
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.
Liz Walker, BS, CAS
Marketing and Business Development, Geisinger-Marworth Treatment Center
For more than 3 decades, Elizabeth Walker has managed the business development for notable alcohol and drug treatment providers including national chains. Since her career began in 1985, she has dedicated her life to working with addicts and their families in helping to restore lives. Over the years, she has established solid relationships within the referral community and has built her career on her honesty and integrity. She is passionate about Ethics in our industry and has coordinated numerous successful educational seminars. In addition, she has served on various committee boards including Employee Assistance Professional Association, National Council on Alcoholism, and currently serves on the Board as Secretary for the Connecticut Alliance of Recovery Residences. Liz received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from Springfield College and is a Certified Addictions Specialist. For the past 17 years, Liz has successfully managed the marketing/business development in the Northeast Region for Geisinger-Marworth, a well-known treatment provider in Northeastern Pennsylvania. As the daughter of a life-long law enforcement professional, she has always had a passion for helping the first responder communities who struggle with substance use disorders and is proud to represent an institution that has treated this population for many years. She continues to speak candidly and openly about Ethics in our industry and preserving the integrity of our profession. In 2018, Liz was the recipient of Caron Foundation’s Community Leadership Award.
Patricia Watson, Ph.D.
National Center for PTSD
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.
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.