Staff

University of Maryland School of Medicine:

Laurel Kiser, Ph.D., M.B.A, Principal Investigator and Strengthening Families Coping Resource Team Leader, is an Associate Professor in Psychiatry at UMSOM. Her career focus has been on the provision and evaluation of treatment of families living in poverty, victims of domestic violence, neglect, physical and sexual abuse, with high rates of intergenerational trauma. She served as the FITT Center Co-Principal Investigator from 2007 to present. She led the FITT team in the development of a conceptual model of complex trauma in families and in construction of the FANS-Trauma. She participated in many NCTSN Committees including the Steering Committee. She developed and piloted SFCR with support from an NIMH K-Award. Dr. Kiser provides SFCR training locally, nationally, and internationally and consults with multiple child services systems implementing SFCR. She is working with a dedicated group of SFCR Stewards to assure its sustainability. She co-directs the UMMC Child Trauma Clinic. She provides trauma education to community and national audiences. She has published articles on childhood trauma, family stress and trauma, family rituals/routines, and outcomes evaluation. She is co-author with Charles Figley of the second edition of Helping Traumatized Families. Contact Laurel Kiser

Kay Connors, LCSW-C, Project Director, is an Instructor of Psychiatry at UMSOM, Program Director of the Taghi Modarressi Center for Infant Study (CIS) and Project Director for the FITT Center since 2007. She has 37 years of experience as a clinical social worker working with families experiencing trauma and loss in a variety of settings, including primary care, hospital, emergency departments, residential, private practice, clinic, home, and early childhood and school-based programs. She trains psychiatry fellows, medical students, nursing, psychology and social work interns. She directs post graduate training programs in trauma focused, family therapies and early childhood mental health interventions. She leads Mid-Atlantic Child Parent Psychotherapy Learning Collaboratives and the University of Maryland’s Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program. She has extensive expertise in collaborating with community, legal and social service agencies. She has contributed to the scientific literature and dialogue through publications and trainings in child maltreatment, early childhood mental health and family informed trauma treatment, and is an investigator on several trauma treatment and pediatric mental health research projects. She is an active member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and is a national trainer for Child Parent Psychotherapy. Contact Kay Connors

 

University of Maryland School of School Work:

Kathryn Collins, MSW, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Evaluator and Trauma Adapted Family Connections Co-Leader, is an Associate Professor at UMSSW. The focus of her academic career centers on social justice, disparities in access to trauma based mental health services, and developing trauma focused family based social work interventions for vulnerable and oppressed populations such as minority children, women, and families surviving poverty and chronic violence. Her commitment to the field is long standing with over 15 years of community based clinical social work practice with children and families who have been diagnosed with PTSD and other disorders. She has numerous publications and has been the PI or Co-PI on state and nationally funded research. She earned an extramural research award in the NIH, National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Loan Repayment Program for her research focusing on children from minority communities. Recently, she implemented Trauma Education Connections Initiative (TECI) in the UMSSW and earned the Dean's Teaching Award for its implementation. She served as FITT Center Co-Principal Investigator from the UMSSW; participated as an active member of the FITT Steering, Administrative, Intervention and Evaluation Teams. She was responsible for the coordination, development and piloting of TA-FC, including developing the family and youth partnership group of TA-FC. She trained child welfare workers in Maryland on the NCTSN Trauma Informed Child Welfare Toolkit. Further, she brings her research scholarship, practice and life experience to the classroom where she has received several teaching awards. Contact Kathryn Collins

 

Family Center at Kennedy Krieger Institute:

Sarah A. Gardner, LCSW-C, FamilyLive Developer and Trainer, is the Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at Kennedy Krieger Institute.  Ms. Gardner has 30 years of experience with management, administration, training, consultation and supervision related to mental health services for traumatized children and families.  Ms. Gardner’s primary area of expertise is engaging families affected by intergenerational trauma exposures and marginalized through racism, poverty and other negative social conditions.  Ms. Gardner developed FamilyLive, an innovative family therapy model, to help caregivers with unresolved trauma histories develop parenting skills. Ms. Gardner, an emeritus chair of NCTSN’s Partnering With Youth and Families Committee, has led national efforts and developed multiple resources to reduce cultural barriers to accessing mental health services through consumer partnerships. Ms. Gardner has delivered dozens of professional presentations and co-authored articles on family trauma in peer-reviewed journals. Contact Ms. Gardner