The CTAC team, left to right: Amy Mack, Dr. Yvette Hyter, Frank Vidimos, Marianne Giles, Dr. Mark Sloane, Denise Wheatley, Dr. Jim Henry, Connie Black-Pond, Dr. Ben Atchison, Love Kiracofe, Margaret Richardson.
James Henry, Ph.D. - Project Director
Dr. Henry is a CTAC co-founder and project director has a professional history that includes over 17 years as a child welfare/protective services worker. He is a professor at Western Michigan University's School of Social Work for 15 years with a focus on developing and providing trauma-informed instruction in the Social Work curriculum. Dr. Henry has received several awards including the 2012 Western Michigan University Health and Human Services Scholar Award, 2003 Michigan Child Advocate of the Year, (Ray Helfer Award) Michigan Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (MiPSAC), 1991 Child Advocate of the Year, Kalamazoo Child Abuse and Neglect Council, and the 1990 Exemplary Child Welfare Worker of the Year, Michigan Chapter National Association of Social Workers. He has published over 20 articles in professional journals and presents at national and international conferences on the traumatic impact of child maltreatment. He is the principal investigator in three SAMHSA National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative grants, an ACF Administration for Children and Families grant and the principal investigator in two federal SAFE START Initiatives for children exposed to violence. He has served on two national committees of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) that developed trauma informed curricula for child welfare workers and resource parents. He is co-chair of the NCTSN Child Welfare Committee and on the Steering Committee for the NCTSN. He is a coauthor of a book, Seeking Justice, which explores best models of system intervention in child sexual abuse. He has trained over 50,000 professionals, caregivers, and community members on child maltreatment and trauma-informed practices. He recently has developed a secondary trauma training focusing on understanding the impact of secondary trauma, grief, and building resiliency.
Connie Black-Pond, MA, LMSW, LPC is a co-founder and the Clinical Director of the Southwest Michigan Children's Trauma Assessment Center (CTAC). Ms. Black-Pond has provided over 25 years of assessment and treatment services to children and adults who have histories of trauma, and has been directly involved in the planning, development, implementation and direction of trauma assessments at CTAC. Ms. Black-Pond has also provided training/consultation for trauma informed and evidenced based practices, including the comprehensive trauma assessments conducted at CTAC, and the developer approved supervision/consultation of Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). She is a co- principal investigator on the CTAC grants focusing on trauma informed systems and interventions, including the Safe Start Initiative, Samhsa and ACF Child Welfare Systems grants. Connie has presented locally, statewide and nationally on the impact of trauma on children, trauma informed screening and assessment, trauma informed practices, complex trauma as well as trauma informed parent visitation and coaching. She has over 25 years of clinical experience and is a recognized expert in the assessment and treatment of traumatized children. She is trained in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), EMDR, TF- CBT and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Level I and level II).
Dr. Mark A. Sloane, DO - CTAC Pediatrician
Dr. Sloan is a board certified pediatrician with specialized advanced (fellowship) training in adolescent behavioral medicine who has over 30 years clinical pediatric experience and is owner and medical director of the Center for Behavioral Pediatrics in Kalamazoo. Dr. Sloane is considered an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of learning, attention, and behavioral disorders in children and adolescents. He is a founding member of CTAC's transdisciplinary team and has clinical experience in the medication management of more than 1200 traumatized, drug and alcohol-exposed children and adolescents assessed at CTAC.
Yvette D. Hyter, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology Chair, CHHS Committee on Diversity and Inclusion Chair, IALP Child Language Committee
Dr. Yvette Hyter, professor in the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at WMU, has expertise in transdisciplinary processes, and in the assessment and intervention of social communication of children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and children and adolescents affected by abuse, neglect and prenatal alcohol exposure. Dr. Hyter has developed clinical tools for assessing preschool and school age children's pragmatic language and social communication skills. She is Chair of the WMU College of Health and Human Services Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, Chair of the Child Language Committee of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, serves on the WMU Faculty Senate International Education Council, and as a member of the Special Interest Group on Global Issues in Communication and Related Disorders of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Ben J Atchison, Ph.D, OTR, FAOTA
Professor and Interim Chair
Department of Occupational Therapy
Dr. Ben Atchison is a co-founder of CTAC and Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Occupational Therapy at WMU, with 35 years of teaching as well as clinical experience with children with both physical and psychosocial dysfunction in community-based settings with a focus on a family- centered, transdisciplinary approach to assessment and intervention. He also has expertise in sensory processing disorders (SPD) and occupational therapy using a sensory integration approach (OT-SI) and has published several chapters on this topic as well as numerous local, state, national and international professional presentations and workshops on the relationship between trauma and sensory processing disorders. He has served as co- principal investigator on many CTAC-related federal and state grants. He is a co-founder of the Brain Research and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Lab (BRAIN) at WMU where he is focused on translational research such as the development of protocols to measure psychophysiologic factors that exist among children with a history of complex trauma and validating changes as a result of intervention. Dr. Atchison is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association as well as the Michigan Occupational Therapy Association.
Amy Mack, LMSW
FAS, Target and Project Perks Grants
Resource Parent & Trauma 101 Trainings
(269) 387-7269 ext. 2
Amy is a licensed master's social worker with CTAC. She has worked as CTAC's Training Coordinator and has assisted in provision of trainings over the last 12 years. She has assisted in coordination and development of the Head Start School Intervention Project curriculum, and professional development. She implemented the curriculum and provided classroom consultation for six classrooms during the duration of the Head Start grant. She has been the Training Manager for the SAMHSA grant, participating in community trainings and specializing in supporting trauma infusion in school districts. Currently, she is working on implementation of Project PERK, a Safe Start grant funded through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The focus of this grant is to identify children in Kalamazoo exposed to violence and then implement trauma informed services to help reduce the impact of that violence exposure. In addition, she is a certified University of Wisconsin FASD trainer and has completed the level II EMDR training and level I Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute training, training for the treatment of trauma.
Denise Wheatley, MA, FLE
CTAC, OJJDP Safe Start Project PERK grant, Trainer: Trauma 101, Parent Resource Training, Certified Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder trainer.
(269) 387-7269 ext. 1
Denise has a Masters of Arts degree in Family Life Education. She is a family life educator with provisional certification. In the past she has held the position of CTAC's training coordinator, working on many different grants. Currently, she is coordinating, developing, and implementing Project PERK (Partnering to Effectively Reduce the Impact of Violence in Kalamazoo), a Safe Start grant funded through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on which she is a co-principal investigator. The focus of this grant is to identify children in Kalamazoo exposed to violence and then implement services to help reduce the impact of that violence exposure. She is a certified University of Wisconsin Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder trainer. Denise has presented locally and statewide on complex trauma, Resource Parent Curriculum, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, suicide prevention and domestic violence. Denise has had training in T.A.R.G.E.T., Psychological First Aid and keepin' it REAL (a substance abuse prevention program intended for middle school students). She is a member of the national committee on Community violence via the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. She is a member of Kalamazoo's Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition.
Cara Weiler, LMSW
CTAC, SAMHA Grant, Trainings Coordinator
Trauma 101 and Parent Resource Trainings
(269) 387-7008 ext.
Cara is a licensed social worker with CTAC, participating in Assessments and other CTAC projects. Presenting locally and statewide on Trauma, Resource Parent Curriculum.
Frank Vidimos, LMSW
CTAC, Target, Outlook Academy and ACF Flint Grants
Frank is a licensed social worker participating in Assessments and other CTAC projects. He also works at an alternative school, infusing trauma informed practices with the teachers, staff and students.
Elizabeth Bennett, LLMSW
CTAC, OJJDP, Safe Start Grant, Project PERK (Partnering to Effectively Reduce the Impact of Violence in Kalamazoo)
Betsy is a limited licensed social worker participating in Assessments and other CTAC projects.
Amy Perricone, LLMSW
Amy is a limited licensed social worker with CTAC, participating in Assessments and other CTAC projects.
Sarah Cohen, LLMSW
ACF Grant Coordinator
Rachel Grover, MPA
Grants and Contracts Manager
M. Elizabeth (Eli) Hoffman, M.A.
Research Coordinator & Child Developmentalist
ACF & SAMSHA Grants
Data Coordinator: Project Perk and CMH TFCBT Grants
Data Entry: CTAC/FAS Grant