Stuart Ablon, Ph.D., is Founder and Director of Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. An award-winning psychologist, Dr. Ablon is Associate Professor and the Thomas G. Stemberg Endowed Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is the author of three books, Changeable, hand-picked by Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Dan Pink, and Susan Cain for their Next Big Idea Club, The School Discipline Fix, and Treating Explosive Kids: The Collaborative Problem Solving Approach.
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. One of the world’s top-rated thought-leaders and keynote speakers, Dr. Ablon teaches educators, parents, clinicians, managers, and leaders a very different approach to understanding and addressing challenging behavior of all types and in all people. Dr. Ablon has helped hundreds of organizations throughout the world implement the Collaborative Problem Solving approach.
I’m Stuart (he/him/his), and I’m the father of three kids who make me feel very proud to be their dad. I was born and raised in Boston and have spent most of my life here, except for a few wonderful years in California for graduate school. I’m an athlete and a big Boston sports fan. Both my parents are mental health professionals, so becoming a psychologist was not a big stretch in my family! I spent the early part of my career helping kids with behavioral challenges and researching why different forms of therapy are effective. I learned that a lot of it comes down to how well we create helping relationships.
For more than 30 years now, since my first job as a direct care staff member on a psychiatric inpatient unit for children and adolescents, I’ve tried to teach people how to create helping relationships with kids in situations when it’s especially hard to do so. I’ve had the amazing opportunity to travel around the world working with hundreds of different organizations of various kinds to implement Collaborative Problem Solving. I especially enjoy helping people see the relevance of the shift in mindset and the process we teach to all relationships in their lives. I’m fortunate to have met so many wonderful people along the way, and I take great pride in the team we’ve built together here. My colleagues at Think:Kids are some of the most kind, empathic, collaborative, and talented folks I know.
As Manager of Program Evaluation, Sanya manages all aspects of evaluation across the organization. She is responsible for designing data collection tools and procedures to assess the quality and effectiveness of all programs and implementing those procedures. She reports results to internal and external stakeholders to support program improvement decisions and communicate the program’s impact on families.
Before joining Think:Kids, Sanya worked at Jumpstart for Young Children, where she oversaw child and volunteer data collection and management across 70+ sites to ensure the Evaluation department had meaningful information about Jumpstart’s impact and reach. Before that, she worked at UTEC, where she was responsible for developing and promoting program monitoring tools to strengthen the organization’s data culture. Sanya has 5+ years of experience in program evaluation and data operations and management, with a passion for supporting social change organizations in having maximum impact.
Sanya holds a Master of Public Administration from NYU Wagner School of Public Service, a Bachelor, and a Master in History from the University of Delhi, India.
Hello! My name is Sanya (she/her/hers). I was born and raised in India and came to the US in 2015 to pursue graduate studies. I live with my husband and son in Woburn, Massachusetts. Besides my love for data, performance measurement, and technology, the perspective of a parent of a child with hearing loss is near and dear to my heart. It is gratifying to contribute to the deaf/hard of hearing community as a member of the Early Intervention Parent Leadership Project, a program under the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. My son Rishi has broadened my mindset in so many ways. All children develop skills differently, so the teaching approach should also be tailored to their unique needs. Along those lines, at Think:Kids, I am eager to gain an in-depth understanding of Collaborative Problem Solving to be able to support program improvement efforts and support families effectively.
Lindsey Baughman-Dalton, MSW is a Project Manager at Think:Kids in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Lindsey received her BS in Psychology and BS in Rehabilitation Services from Pennsylvania State University and her MSW from Boston College.
Lindsey’s work spans from direct practice with children and families to teaching and advising MSW students. Lindsey worked as a social worker providing intensive in-home services to a diverse group of kids and families in the City of Boston and embraces working from a strength-based, collaborative approach. She has served as a field instructor, supervisor, and field liaison for MSW students and recent graduates since 2010. Prior to joining the Think:Kids team, Lindsey was an Assistant Director of Field Education at Simmons University where she supported the learning and development of MSW students and managed the complex operations of a large field education department.
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 the Manager of Implementation and a Certified 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.
Randi Cooper, M.Ed., is a Certified 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 Manager of Certification 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.
Sarsha Hall is a Program Coordinator for Think:Kids, where she assists the Collaborative Problem Solving Certification Program. Previously, Sarsha worked for the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital for over ten years in various roles. She graduated from Fisher College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and is currently working on her Masters in Business Administration and Leadership.
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 CPS Certified Trainer & Consultant 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 nonprofit 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 Certified Trainer and Consultant and Director of Training with Think:Kids. Heather provides coaching and training to various individuals and organizations seeking to learn Collaborative Problem Solving 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, works with people across the entire Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) learning continuum. She hosts training coaching sessions, provides implementation consultation to organizations, and provides high-level instruction in our Certification Program. Margaret also oversees the organization’s efforts to address diversity, equity, and inclusion within our services, day-to-day operations, and community relations. She works with the Think:Kids team to continually evaluate and improve how we train, coach, instruct, support, and interact with our community of learners and partners.
Margaret spent many years working directly with youth, families, and staff in Oregon’s foster care and residential treatment settings. As part of a large-scale effort to implement CPS across Oregon’s systems of care, she created CPS-based pilot programs, facilitated community meetings, and built curricula supporting CPS growth resulting in overseeing the Oregon CPS Project at Oregon Health & Science University. Margaret is passionate about teaching CPS to programs that serve families and youth involved in the child welfare and justice systems. She loves teaching CPS directly to parents and initiated the first online CPS parent classes while working at OHSU.
Margaret holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s Degree in both Psychology and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University.
Hi, I’m Margaret (she/her/hers), and I live and work on the central coast of California. I am committed to working hard to make the CPS model inclusive, accessible, and relatable to people from all different backgrounds. I enjoy customizing my teaching approach to meet diverse needs. CPS has the power to transform lives and build hope! I’ve seen it happen countless times, and I love being part of that process. I am a queer writer, artist, and musician, and my Irish American and Mexican American roots are an ongoing source of inspiration for me in both my work and my art. I learned about empathy, social justice, hard work, resilience, humor, and creativity from my family, and these values carry over into my commitment to CPS and DEI. Every child, family, program, and group I’ve worked with is different, and I am always learning things from the people I teach. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
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 Certified Trainer and Certification Instructor for Think:Kids who provides training, coaching, and certification instruction to a wide range of organizations seeking to learn the Collaborative Problem Solving approach 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.
Molly supports the philanthropy program for several areas across the Massachusetts General Department of Psychiatry, including Think:Kids. She is dedicated to raising resources that enable programs like Think:Kids to bring the very best mental and behavioral health care to all in need, pursue cutting-edge research, and educate the next generation of clinician-scientists.
Prior to Mass General, Molly held fundraising positions at the University of California, San Diego, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, and the Phoenix Symphony. She began her development career 15 years ago as a student caller and supervisor at the Arizona State University Office of Annual Giving. In addition to her professional work, Molly currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, a board member for Palaver Strings, and has been a Big Sister with Big Sisters Boston since 2017. She lives in Boston with her husband, son, and two cats.
Molly has a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from Arizona State University.
Ed Morales, MPP, MSW, LICSW, is a Certified 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 Collaborative Problem Solving 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’ Training Coordinator and is often the first person the general public talks to when they find Think:Kids. Amefika coordinates the full slate of Think:Kids trainings and classes, 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.
I’m Alisha (uh-LEESH-uh; she/her/hers), and I live and work on the South Shore of Massachusetts in the USA. A clinical child psychologist by training, I always knew I wanted to do research, but love that I get to use my clinical understanding of childhood behavior disorders every day as I direct the research program at Think:Kids. My child psychology training has also come in handy while proudly parenting two fantastic kids who are currently busy launching themselves into young adulthood.I’m a third/fourth-generation American of mixed-European descent whose ancestors came to the United States in search of a better life, and then toiled on farms and as laborers to support their families, and eventually me. I carry their sacrifices with me as, like them, I try to leave things better than when I arrived. I also remain aware of their privileges, and mine. I’ve committed to using scientific inquiry to help ensure that Collaborative Problem Solving benefits as many types of people as possible, and can be accessed by all who will benefit from it.
Ben Stich, LICSW, M.Ed is a CPS Certified Trainer & Consultant for Think:Kids.
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 Scientist at Think:Kids. She uses research and data to understand kids with challenging behavior and the impact of Collaborative Problem Solving® (CPS) on families and youth. She also provides training for Chinese families and evaluates the needs and impact of cultural adaptations to make the service an even better fit for underserved populations.
Lu is passionate about teaching the CPS approach to parents and bringing CPS to Chinese families. Working with Think:Kids teams, Lu created the Chinese parent class curriculum and actively provides parent classes in Mandarin Chinese.
Lu’s previous research focused on how children understand people’s thoughts and actions and factors that contribute to children’s social skills development.
Dr. Wang earned her doctorate in cognitive psychology and her master’s in statistics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Before coming to the US for education, Dr. Wang earned her BS from Peking University in China.
Jordan Spikes is the Manager of Curriculum and a Certified Trainer and Consultant at Think:Kids, providing training and coaching for individuals and organizations interested in implementing Collaborative Problem Solving 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 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 Certified Trainer and Consultant with 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.