J. Stuart Ablon, Ph.D., is the Director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. He is also Associate Professor and the Thomas G. Stemberg Endowed Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ablon is author of the books Changeable: The Surprising Science Behind Helping Anyone Change, Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach, and The School Discipline Fix.
Dr. Ablon received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and completed his training at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. A dynamic and engaging speaker, Dr. Ablon was ranked #5 on the list of the world’s top-rated keynote speakers in the academic arena. Dr. Ablon trains parents, educators, and clinicians, and helps organizations throughout the world implement the Collaborative Problem Solving approach.
Elizabeth Buchholz, MSN has worked with children and families for the past 15 years in various settings including treatment foster care, alternative education, and residential treatment. Elizabeth is currently the associate director of residential services at UMFS in Virginia and has previously served as an organizational learning manager training and coaching employees and parents on Collaborative Problem Solving. Elizabeth has been a trainer in Collaborative Problem Solving since 2014.
Elizabeth received her masters in Nonprofit Studies from the University of Richmond with a focus on implementation science as it relates to trauma informed care in organizations and treatment facilities.
Hallie Carpenter, EdS, NCSP is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. She provides training and coaching to individuals and organizations seeking to learn and implement Collaborative Problem Solving within their systems. Hallie has worked for over a decade in educational settings as a behavior specialist, school psychologist, consultant, and adjunct instructor. She has had the opportunity to collaborate with individuals serving in various roles in schools and other agencies to work towards the common goal of improving outcomes for youth and families.
Hallie received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Linfield College and an Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology from Lewis and Clark College. She has been using CPS in her professional work and personal life for the past 10 years. In this time, she has observed firsthand the transformative power that comes from teaching others about the CPS approach. Specifically, how it encourages a more compassionate view of behavioral challenges and gives youth voice and ownership in their personal growth.
Veronica Coleman is a rising 3rd-year student at Northeastern University and the research assistant intern at Think:Kids. Veronica manages research study subject data, coordinates the subject recruitment processes with our partner Youth Villages, and administers surveys and tests to study participants.
Randi Cooper, M.Ed., is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. In her role she provides coaching/consultation and training in the Collaborative Problem Solving model in a diverse range of settings and systems of care. She is passionate about supporting parents and professionals in shifting their mindset in how they view individuals with challenging behavior by viewing it through the CPS lens.
In addition to her work at Think:Kids, Randi is a Behavior Specialist and Special Educator with 16 years experience working with students who display challenging behavior. More than seven years ago, she fully implemented CPS in her self-contained behavior class with excellent results: a significant reduction in chronic challenging behavior and the development of healthy relationships with students and parents.
Randi has also worked as a Behavior Specialist and Think:Kids Certified Professional Trainer for NW Regional Education Service District in Hillsboro, OR and in a special behavior school for developmentally delayed students who lived in residential group home.
Jennifer Cormier is the Project Manager, Certification & Curriculum Development for Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Jen earned her BA in Corporate Communications at Framingham State University.
Prior to joining Think:Kids, Jen worked as a Service Coordinator in-home care where she managed a team of over 100 home health aides in the Boston area. Jen has an eagerness to help others and is excited for the opportunity to work with children and their families.
Milo Dorfman, MS, is the Research and Evaluation Project Manager at Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Milo received a BS in Psychology from Tufts University and an MS in Clinical Psychology from Syracuse University.
Prior to joining the Think:Kids’ team, Milo worked in academic and nonprofit settings coordinating research and evaluation projects. Most recently, Milo’s work has centered on managing projects measuring key agency outcomes, increasing data literacy among staff of all levels, and presenting data in multiple formats to engage diverse audiences.
Milo is passionate about making data accessible, understandable, and actionable.
Sara Hepburn, MA is a Project Manager for Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Sara received her BA in East Asian Studies from Brown University and her MA in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate School (formerly the School for International Training).
Prior to joining Think:Kids, Sara managed several complex domestic and international projects. Projects included designing and managing a gleaning project for low-income families in northern Vermont; a USAID project at Tufts University Medical and Veterinary Schools that installed a technology in several east African countries and the D.R.C. to help health workers study, communicate, and respond to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases; and a research project studying multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis at Harvard Medical School. Most recently, Sara was at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, working on an IMLS-funded project that created and assessed the viability of an application for blind and low-vision museum visitors.
A former Peace Corps volunteer (Bangladesh) and avid traveler, you can most often find Sara during her downtime relaxing at the beach with her husband and young son.
Erin Hill, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a full-time staff clinician at Think:Kids. Dr. Hill has worked with youth and families in a variety of settings including inpatient, outpatient, residential treatment, and therapeutic schools and summer camps. The primary focus of Dr. Hill’s training has been on providing evidence-based treatment to children and adolescents experiencing acute emotional distress and/or behavioral challenges.
Dr. Hill received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Suffolk University and her master’s in child development from Tufts University. Dr. Hill completed her internship training at Astor Services for Children and Families, in Rhinebeck, NY. She also completed postdoctoral fellowship training at the University of Minnesota.
Beth Holliman, MA, LPC, has worked with children and families in a variety of different settings over the past 20 years including residential treatment, foster care, and outpatient services.
Beth has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Oregon. She is passionate about Collaborative Problem Solving and teaching the CPS model not only to agency staff and providers but also to parents and caregivers. Beth served as the Director of Crisis Psychiatric Services for over a decade at a community non-profit before stepping into her current role at Oregon Health & Science University. She is the Child and Family Acute Care Coordinator for the Child and Family Behavioral Health Unit with the Oregon Health Authority and presently oversees the Collaborative Problem Solving Project at Oregon Health & Science University which is tasked with managing state-wide implementation of CPS across the children’s system of care.
Michael Hone, MA, has worked in child and adolescent services since 1988 in a variety of settings including child welfare, youth justice, education and child and youth mental health. He began his career as a child & youth worker, then following receipt of a Masters in Education degree in 1998 became a therapist. Currently he is the Executive Director of a Children’s Mental Health Centre in Ottawa, Canada.
Michael has been committed to implementing the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach across Ontario, and to date has trained approximately 8,000 people in Ontario. This includes the police, fire departments, children’s aid societies, parent organizations, other mental health organizations, and learning institutions (schools, colleges and universities). All of which are working together towards the common goal of improving outcomes for the ever increasing number of children and youth requiring mental health services. He is one of 2 Master trainers in Canada for Collaborative Problem Solving. Michael also is involved with the Advisory Council of Think:Kids at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Heather Johnson, LCSW, is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. Heather provides coaching and training to various individuals and organizations seeking to learn CPS and integrate the model within their professional practice and organizations. Heather has an outpatient therapy practice specializing in serving families who are struggling with their children’s behavior. Additionally, Heather has extensive experience as a school-based Behavior Specialist providing interventions for youth who struggle with the most challenging behavior related to emotional and behavioral disabilities, coaching and consultation to school and community service teams, and guiding best practice within the school district’s behavior management, discipline, and Special Education systems and policies. Heather earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Wheelock College in Boston, MA, and her Masters in Social Work from the University of New Hampshire.
Margaret Johnson, LMSW, is a Clinical Trainer, Consultant and CPS Certification Program Instructor. She also teaches Think:Kids’ online CPS classes for caregivers. Margaret specializes in the use of CPS within residential, in-home, and child welfare settings. She studied Psychology and Creative Writing at San Francisco State University and completed her Social Work degree at the University of Southern California. Margaret has completed in-depth study and application of trauma-informed care under the tutelage of the National Council on Behavioral Health and has participated in child trauma assessment and case management training with Dr. Bruce Perry.
Margaret has been working with at-risk families and children since 2000 in a variety of roles. She has served as the clinical director of various child welfare-based programs and recently served as the director of the CPS Project at Oregon Health & Science University which has helped guide the implementation of CPS across the children’s system of care in Oregon. Margaret has helped many programs, families, and individuals implement CPS and has successfully adapted her approach to meet individualized needs. Margaret is dedicated to increasing the accessibility, inclusivity, and cultural responsiveness of Collaborative Problem Solving and seeks to bring the model to a broader community of underserved populations.
Naomi Kesher, MA is the Director of Operations for Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Naomi received her BA and MA in Economics and Finance from Brandeis University.
Prior to joining Think:Kids, Naomi served in a variety of other roles at Mass General including Practice Manager for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program and Project Manager for the MGH Substance Use Disorders Strategic Initiative. Naomi has a passion for supporting innovation and quality improvement in the way we care for marginalized and vulnerable populations.
Larry Lam, LCSW, LISW-CP, MPH is a Certified Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. He provides intensive training and coaching to individuals and organizations that are dedicated to learning and implementing the CPS approach in their lives. Along with his work at Think:Kids, Larry is the Director of Clinical Services for Lutheran Services Carolinas (LSC). Based in the Raleigh, NC area, Larry provides clinical support to LSC’s foster care programs across North and South Carolina. For the past several years, he has been leading the CPS implementation efforts for LSC. Much of his career work has been with youth in foster care or aging out of foster care. Larry received his BS in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and his MSW and MPH from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. He has been using CPS in his work since first learning the model in 2013. He has been dedicated to spreading the philosophy in his professional life and grounding himself in the philosophy at home as he raises children of his own.
Ted Layman, LCSW, is a Clinical Trainer and Certification Instructor for Think:Kids who provides training, coaching, and certification instruction to a wide range of organizations seeking to learn the CPS model and integrate it into their programs.
Ted has been working with at-risk youth and families since 2002 in Ohio and Oregon in a variety of rural and urban clinical settings including juvenile justice, substance abuse, outpatient mental health, schools, violence prevention outreach, foster care, residential, home-based services, clinical supervision, and private practice. He has been using the CPS approach with children, parents, and colleagues since 2011 and was certified by Think:Kids as a CPS trainer in 2014. In addition to his work at Think:Kids, Ted works as a family therapist at Restore Therapy, LLC, a group practice in Portland, OR specializing in helping children and families heal from trauma. Ted earned his MSW from Ohio University in Athens, OH.
Ed Morales, MPP, MSW, LICSW, is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant at Think:Kids.
Based in Minneapolis, Ed is a husband, an adoptive parent, and a step parent with more than a decade of experience as a clinician and educator. He began his journey with CPS in 2014 as a school social worker, and was certified as a trainer in 2017. He received his Master of Social Work from the University of Minnesota and his Master of Public Policy from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
In addition to his work with Think:Kids, Ed is a staff trainer with the Minnesota Child Welfare Training Academy, a social worker with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, serves as Community Faculty with the University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work, sits on the Minnesota Children’s Subcommittee on Children’s Mental Health, and provides training and consultation on a wide array of issues facing families and the systems that serve them through Socorro Consulting.
Lindsay O’Connell is the Director of Outreach & Communications for Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Lindsay is responsible for guiding the Think:Kids outreach and communications strategy and coordination with the MGH greater communications efforts.
Prior to joining Think:Kids, Lindsay served as Director, Engagement & Marketing at The Bridgespan Group, a nonprofit that provides management consulting to nonprofits and philanthropists. She also served as Senior Director of Marketing and Communications for an executive search firm serving nonprofits and mission-driven companies. Lindsay has a passion for the mission-driven sector, community engagement, and promoting programs that make lives better. Lindsay received her BA in Communications from Wake Forest University and holds a certificate in Advanced Study in Management from Northeastern University.
Amefika Paige is Think:Kids’ Administrative Specialist and is often the first person the general public talks to when they find Think:Kids. Amefika coordinates the full slate of New England trainings, overseeing registrations, confirmations, and operations, handles general inquiries and information requests and serves as a welcoming presence to all who work with us.
Amefika joined Think:Kids in 2015 after training in the Partners Career & Workforce Development program. She was previously employed in the Campaign Department of the Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), and she is currently completing a bachelor’s degree in Communications.
Alisha R. Pollastri, Ph.D., is Director of Research and Evaluation at Think:Kids. For the last decade, Dr. Pollastri’s research has focused on the identification of neurobiological, social, and environmental factors that contribute to disruptive behaviors, particularly in children. At Think:Kids, Dr. Pollastri is responsible for evaluating how, and for whom, Collaborative Problem Solving works best. Through the analysis of data collected in our clinic and in our partner schools and agencies, Dr. Pollastri strives to promote a clearer understanding of challenging kids and to improve child outcomes.
Dr. Pollastri earned her doctorate in clinical psychology at Clark University and completed a clinical internship in community and school-based mental health at South Shore Mental Health Inc. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Ben Stich, LICSW, M.Ed is the Director of Training & Curriculum Development for Think:Kids. Ben provides strategic and administrative leadership to the Think:Kids certification team. Together, the team uses a mixture of training, group supervision, recording reviews, and individual coaching to create experts in applying the Collaborative Problem Solving model, as well as certified trainers of the model.
Ben has extensive experience in working with young people with challenging behavior, and currently provides CPS family counseling and Family and Divorce Mediation in his private practice in Natick, MA. Previously, Ben worked for eight years as a Program Director at Germaine Lawrence, a residential treatment program for adolescent girls, and six years as an Adjustment Counselor at a Massachusetts high school where he introduced and helped the district adopt CPS. He earned an MSW from the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work and an M.Ed in Organizational Development from Endicott College.
Lu Wang, Ph.D., is a Research Associate at Think:Kids. Dr. Wang has worked on social cognition development in preschoolers, investigating how children understand people’s thoughts and actions, and factors that contribute to the development of children’s social skills. Dr. Wang also earned a master’s in Statistics, with a specialty in educational statistics and measurement.
At Think:Kids, Dr. Wang applies her knowledge in research design and statistical modeling to evaluate how Collaborative Problem Solving works and to better understand factors impacting CPS treatment effects. Dr. Wang earned her doctorate in cognitive psychology and her master’s in Statistics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Before coming to the U.S. for education, Dr. Wang earned her BS from Peking University in China.
Averi Schaubman, LCSW, BCD is a Certified Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. She provides intensive training and coaching support in the CPS approach to schools and community organizations committed to improving lives for kids and families.
Averi worked as a clinical social worker in Cherry Creek Schools in Denver, CO for 27 years with an emphasis on working with adolescents with behavioral challenges. During her time in Cherry Creek, she helped to develop and implement the district’s intensive treatment program for kids and adolescents with severe behavioral challenges, and she served as the program’s director for two years. Averi also helped form the Cherry Creek’s CPS team, providing behavioral consultation and staff training in the schools using the CPS approach. Currently, she has a private practice and works with youth and families to implement CPS.
Averi received her BA in Child Psychology from Clark University in Worcester, MA and her MSW from the University of Denver GSSW. She has been using CPS in her professional work for the past 13 years and is committed to the philosophy and approach in working with all youth.
Jordan Spikes is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant at Think:Kids, providing training and coaching for individuals and organizations interested in implementing CPS in their systems. He earned a BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and has worked in the mental health and special education arenas as a front-line staff, coach and administrator for more than 12 years.
With a goal of shifting mindsets away from conventional “people choosing to misbehave” to a neurobiologically-guided mindset of viewing behavioral challenges as a form of learning disorder, Jordan joins with educators, parents, and caregivers in the responsibility of teaching individuals the necessary skills to meet daily, real-world expectations.
Natasha Tatartcheff-Quesnel, MSW is a Certified Master Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. She provides Tier 1 and Tier 2 trainings as well as site-specific consultations in English and in French.
Natasha completed her fellowship for her Master’s in Social Work at Think:Kids in the department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is committed to implementing the Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) approach in Canada and the United States and, to date, she has trained and provided implementation support to numerous sites including police and fire departments, children’s aid societies, parent organizations, mental health agencies and learning institutions (schools, colleges and universities. These coaching and training efforts are aimed at providing compassionate care and ultimately improving outcomes for children and youth with complex needs and their families.
Natasha has worked in child and adolescent services since 1991 in a variety of settings including residential services, secure treatment, youth justice, education, substance abuse, child and youth mental health, as well as in the private sector. She has also reviewed child and youth mental health systems internationally using the SOCPR and presented on the topic at numerous conferences with a specific focus on bridging the gap between System Care concepts by utilizing CPS to actualize those concepts at the level of practice.
Whitney Vail, Psy.D., is a Clinical Trainer and Consultant for Think:Kids. Dr. Vail is a licensed psychologist in Oregon, where she has been a leader in using, teaching, supervising and implementing CPS with children, adolescents, families and adults in a variety of institutional settings including day treatment, children’s psychiatric residential care, children’s state hospital level of care, juvenile corrections (ages 12-24), and the adult psychiatric state hospital. Dr. Vail has been a Think:Kids Certified Trainer since 2011 and is a member of the Oregon CPS Advisory Board.
Dr. Vail earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Pacific University, completing her internship and residency at Trillium Family Services in Portland, Oregon. She earned her Master’s in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University.