Our Team

We have been providing services and conducting research for over 30 years. Both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches inform our work, which draws on perspectives from psychology, social work, psychiatry, public health, education, family systems, organizational and systems development, and counseling.

Jacob Kraemer Tebes, PhD

Center Director

The Consultation Center at Yale's Director is Jacob Kraemer Tebes, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), in the Child Study Center, and in Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, and Director of the Division of Prevention and Community Research. Dr. Tebes is also Chief Psychologist for the Connecticut Mental Health Center. His professional activities include research, service, teaching, and administration. He consults to public agencies and community-based organizations on the development, implementation, and evaluation of community-based programs and services, and on the use of evaluation data to inform practice and policy.

Joy S. Kaufman, PhD

Deputy Director of Operations

The Consultation Center at Yale’s Deputy Director of Operations is Joy S. Kaufman, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Yale School of Medicine, and she is the Director of Program and Service System Evaluation and the Director of Evaluation Research at the Center. Trained as a clinical and community psychologist, Dr. Kaufman has 20 years experience conducting program evaluations, needs assessments, and evaluations of service delivery systems. She has provided consultation and technical assistance to state departments on issues such as the development of performance indicators, training and technical assistance plans to enable community-based organizations to implement mandated reporting requirements, and utilizing data to inform program and policy development.

Nadia L. Ward, PhD

Deputy Director of Public Affairs

The Consultation Center at Yale’s Deputy Director of Public Affairs is Nadia L. Ward, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Yale School of Medicine, and she is the Director of Urban Education, Prevention, and Policy Research at the Center. Dr. Ward’s work in the area of academic achievement for African American and Latino youth has spanned 15 years and has included training and consultation to universities, public schools systems, and foundations. She has worked extensively with high-risk, as well as high achieving, urban youth and their families in a variety of capacities and has evaluated academic enrichment and competence enhancing substance abuse and violence prevention programs in school and community settings.

Area Directors (listed below), provide leadership for each of our programs and research areas. Brief biographies are provided below for each program or research director.

Christian M. Connell, PhD

Director of Child Development and Epidemiological Research

Christian M. Connell, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Yale School of Medicine, is the Director of Child Development and Epidemiological Research at The Consultation Center at Yale. Dr. Connell’s research interests address contextual risk and protective processes that influence developmental and related outcomes for child and adolescent populations exposed to adversity. He has a particular focus on populations in contact with the child welfare and children’s mental health systems, including the intersection between parental substance use and child welfare (e.g., maltreatment and foster placement) outcomes.

Cindy A. Crusto, PhD

Director of Program and Service System Evaluation

Cindy A. Crusto, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Yale School of Medicine, is the Director of Program and Service System Evaluation at The Consultation Center at Yale. Dr. Crusto has more than 15 years of experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating preventive interventions in schools and community agencies. She also has extensive experience providing training and technical assistance to schools and to community-based organizations on the evaluation of prevention programs.

Derrick M. Gordon, PhD

Director of the Program on Male Development

Derrick M. Gordon, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), and the Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, is the Director of the Program on Male Development at The Consultation Center at Yale, and on the faculty in the Community Research Core of The Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS (CIRA). Dr. Gordon has considerable experience in intervention and prevention development having served as an investigator on several federal, NIH, and state funded projects and studies focused on those factors that either support or undermine men transitioning from prison back to the community; the engagement of low-income, non-custodial fathers; the identification and service of adolescent fathers committed to child protection services; and men mandated to batterer intervention groups in the community.

Michael J. Strambler, PhD

Director of Child Wellbeing and Education Research

Michael J. Strambler, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from University of California at Berkeley. One general area of Dr. Strambler’s work concerns understanding the role of social environments in the academic, psychological, social, and behavioral well-being of children and youth in urban contexts. His main focus in this area is on the ways in which home and school settings shape how youth perceive themselves academically and how self-perception affects academic performance and behavior. Another primary area of work focuses on the assessment of school-based programs and practices for the purpose of improving the academic performance and health of children. He is particularly interested in the design and implementation of rigorous and practical approaches to using data for informing practice and policy.

Tami P. Sullivan, PhD

Director of Family Violence Programs and Research

Tami P. Sullivan, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), Yale School of Medicine, is the Director of Family Violence Programs and Research at The Consultation Center at Yale. Dr. Sullivan’s program of research centers on individual- and system-level factors that affect the mental and physical health of women victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). At the individual level, she conducts risk and protective factor research and is particularly interested in applying micro-longitudinal designs such as experience sampling methods and conducting research that informs the development of interventions to be implemented in community settings.

Carolyn E. Sartor, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry

Program of Research: Etiology of Alcohol and Other Substance Use Disorders, Gender and Racial/Ethnic Differences, Trauma Related Psychopathology, Gene-Environment Interplay. Dr. Sartor’s program of research centers around the development of etiological models of substance use disorders that reflect variability by gender and race/ethnicity in the relative contributions of risk and protective factors. I conduct genetically informative investigations within a developmental psychopathology framework, drawing primarily from twin, family-based, and high-risk design studies with repeated assessments covering the adolescent to young adult years. Characterization of the role of childhood trauma in the development of early and problem substance use, including identification of distinctions by gender, race/ethnicity, substance, developmental period, genetic vulnerability, and stage of substance use, is a core aim of my research program. My work primarily focuses on the longitudinal course of substance use but also includes the examination of short-term patterns of substance use and their relation to contextual factors, as assessed through web-based diary methodology.

Distinctions between Black and White young women in the course of alcohol use (NIAAA R01AA023549): Building on the documented differences between African American and White young females in the prevalence of alcohol use, alcohol use disorders (AUDs), and risk factors associated with AUDs, this secondary data analysis project is designed to address three key aims: (1) Identify distinctions between African American and White young women in the timing of transitions between stages of alcohol use and of initiation of alcohol relative to marijuana use. (2) Examine differences by race in factors that contribute to early trauma and parental monitoring as well as the subsequent influence of these early environmental factors on alcohol outcomes. (3) Explore sources of variability in the contribution of early trauma and parental monitoring to the progression of alcohol use (e.g., interaction of early trauma with genetic liability to AUDs). Data are drawn from three large-scale studies of alcohol use and related psychopathology in young African American and White women, with a total of 6,828 participants, 33% self-identified as African American. The three samples were ascertained through distinct study designs: community-based with oversampling of low income neighborhoods, twin, and high-risk family, each informative for considering the contribution of socioeconomic factors in the examination of racial/ethnic differences and for identifying familial influences on drinking behaviors and co-occurring conditions.

Stress, Personality, and Health Outcomes (Virginia Commonwealth University): This pilot project was developed with investigators at Virginia Commonwealth University with the goal of identifying psychosocial factors that may account in part for observed differences in substance use between African American and White young adults. The study makes use of a construct that to date has been limited to PTSD studies, perceived susceptibility to negative events. In addition to assessing for possible distinctions by race/ethnicity and gender in this construct, we examine its association with exposure to traumatic events, discrimination, childhood neighborhood characteristics, substance use, and trauma related psychopathology, using a racially/ethnically diverse college sample of women and men.

Patricia Simon, PhD

Associate Research Scientist

Project Theme (s): Vulnerable Populations and Community, Training, Consultation and Capacity Building, Community Engaged Research, Substance Use and Mental Health

Research Description: Dr. Simon’s research aims to 1) identify of risk and protective factors for substance use and academic problems and 2) develop interventions to prevent substance use and high school dropout. Guided by an ecological framework, Dr. Simon’s work examines the differential effects of individual characteristics, as well as family, peer, school, neighborhood, policy and social/cultural contexts on substance use and academic achievement among low-income and racial/ethnic minorities. With regard to intervention development, Dr. Simon is currently developing a comprehensive academic advising curriculum that is guided by motivational interviewing.

Exploring the Link between Socioeconomic Status and Polytobacco Use: This study uses longitudinal data (waves 1-3) from of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study, a nationally representative survey, to: 1) Replicate the associations between SES and polytobacco use latent classes observed in Connecticut; 2) Examine transitions across polytobacco use latent classes over time and SES’s contribution to changes in class membership over time; 3) Examine whether individual, family and marketing variables mediate the relationship between SES and polytobacco latent classes; and 4) Examine race/ethnicity (and other variables) as moderators of: a) the effect of SES on polytobacco and b) the intervening effects of individual, family and marketing variables on polytobacco latent classes. Identifying polytobacco use latent classes associated with SES and mediators and moderators of this relationship will allow the FDA to target distinct user groups with tailored counter-marketing messages and establish advertising bans to reduce tobacco use disparities between high and low income youth.

Motivational Interviewing-based Academic Advising (MIAA) for Urban Youth: Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a client-centered counseling method that has effectively promoted positive behavior change (e.g., abstinence from substance use, weight loss and medication adherence). There has been increasing interest in adapting MI to promote academic achievement. This project aims to develop and evaluate an MI-based academic advising (MIAA) program to promote academic achievement among low income, urban high school students. We will also examine intervention effects on potential mediators of intervention effects such as academic engagement, academic competence, perceived connectedness, perceived autonomy, discipline referrals. Results will indicate whether MI is a viable intervention to promote academic achievement among low-income minority youth and point to mechanisms that may enhance intervention effects.

Michelle Abraczinskas, Doctoral Candidate, Predoctoral Fellow (2017-2018)

Robey Champine, PhD, MS, MPH, Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018): Dr. Champine received her PhD in Child Study and Human Development from Tufts University. Her research integrates her backgrounds in psychology, criminology, public health, and developmental science by examining how to promote positive development and prevent problematic trajectories among youth and families in challenging contexts (e.g., the juvenile justice system and lower-resource communities). More specifically, she investigates how ecological developmental assets or resources (e.g., youth development programs, community-based trauma-informed initiatives, systems of care) may operate in prevention and promotion capacities. Dr. Champine is also interested in bridging this research with intervention and prevention policies and practices. She is a former behavioral analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Radcliffe/Rappaport Doctoral Policy Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is an active early career representative on the Communications and Policy Committee of the Society for Research in Child Development.

Angela Haeny, Doctoral Candidate, Predoctoral Fellow (2017-2018)

Sara Lichenstein, Doctoral Candidate, Predoctoral Fellow (2017-2018)

Kelly E. Moore, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018): Dr. Moore received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at George Mason University. She is a NIDA T32 postdoctoral fellow at The Consultation Center in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Moore’s research focuses on mechanisms through which individuals become involved in the criminal justice system, with an emphasis on stigma-related factors. In addition, her research centers around identifying points of intervention and disseminating evidence-based treatments in the criminal justice system. Currently, she works with Drs. Sherry McKee and Derrick Gordon to examine the intersection of addiction and illicit behavior as well as treatment of addiction in the criminal justice system.

Samantha Pittenger, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-2018): Dr. Pittenger received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her BS in Psychology from the College of Charleston. Her program of research is centered on the prevention of childhood victimization and its social, behavioral, and emotional sequelae. Dr. Pittenger’s research employs a socio-ecological perspective, emphasizing the important of families, communities, and service systems in promoting healthy child development following adversity. Additionally, she has interests in reducing the burden of sexual victimization throughout the lifespan and preventing engagement in health risk behaviors following trauma and victimization. She is currently working with Drs. Christian Connell and Cindy Crusto to explore pathways from victimization to psychopathology and impairment and evaluate the dissemination of evidence-based interventions that target child victims.

Jessica Schleider, Doctoral Candidate, Predoctoral Fellow (2017-2018)

Alayna Schreier, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019)

Leigh H. Taylor, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019): Dr. Taylor received her PhD in Social Welfare from Case Western Reserve University, her MSW from the University of Denver, and her BSW from the Metropolitan State College of Denver. Rooted in her clinical work with women managing comorbid mental health and substance use diagnoses, Dr. Taylor’s research has a dual focus: 1) to explore the intersection of multiple vulnerabilities, such as poverty, race and exposure to trauma on the development and treatment of substance use disorders among women; and 2) to investigate mechanisms, such a personal support networks, that encourage positive trajectories and outcomes in early sobriety. She currently works with Dr. Megan Smith conducting community-based participatory research and the co-creation of interventions to address depressive anxiety and addictive disorders among low-income, racial and ethnic minority women and their children; as well as with Dr. Jacob Tebes examining resilience and well-being in vulnerable populations, including adults in recovery from addiction or mental illness, and the impact of multi-level interventions on individual and community-level health outcomes.

Cesar Villarreal, Doctoral Candidate, Predoctoral Fellow (2017-2018)

Jacqueline Woerner, PhD, Postoctoral Fellow (2017-2019): Dr. Woerner received her PhD in Social Psychology from Wayne State University, and her BS in Psychology and BA in Global Studies from Appalachian State University. The overarching goal of her research is to understand why people engage in behavior that may be detrimental to themselves or to others, such as risk-taking and aggression. In one line of research, she investigates the extent to which interpersonal violence victimization disrupts social functioning and predicts various health outcomes and behaviors. She is specifically interested in the self-regulatory (e.g., regulatory focus) and social (e.g., need to belong, attachment) processes that underlie the associations between women’s experience of victimization and subsequent engagement in risky sex and substance use. Additionally, she is interested in the etiology of violence perpetration, and the ways in which alcohol intoxication and normative influences facilitate aggression. She currently works with Dr. Tami Sullivan and Dr. Carolyn Sartor to identify applications of these ideas that influence prevention and policy.

Janan Wyatt, Doctoral Candidate, Predoctoral Fellow (2017-2018)

We employ or sponsor approximately 75 staff and students, full-time and part-time positions, to carry out program and research activities for The Consultation Center at Yale.

Janis Celone, Senior Administrative Assistant

Christina Civitello, Receptionist

Kathryn EY Clark, MS, Research Associate, Data Manager

Ingrid Colon, BA, Program Coordinator

Susan Florio, Administrative Associate to the Directors

Doreen Fulara, MSW, Research Associate

Maegan Genovese, MS, Research Associate

Amy Griffin, MA, Senior Evaluation Consultant

Elizabeth Grim, MPH, MSW, Evaluation Consultant

Gail Hammell, Administration of The Consultation Center, Inc., Programs

Erin Hoffman, BS, Research Assistant

Carrie Johnson, Administration of the Yale/CMHC Programs

Aliza Lipman, BA, Research Assistant

Cindy Medina, BS, Research Assistant

Jessenia Medina, BS, Research Assistant

Barb Nangle, MA, Program Coordinator, Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership

Paige Nelson, MAR, Project Coordinator, Drug Free Communities

Joanne Richardson, BS, Program/Partnership Coordinator

Katerina Vlahos, BS, Research Assistant, Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership

Devon White, LCSW, Community Program Coordinator, Riverside Education Academy