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.
Dr. Jim Henry, CTAC co-founder and project director has a professional history that includes over 17 years as a child welfare/protective services worker, and over 10 years developing and providing trauma-informed instruction in the Social Work curriculum at Western Michigan University and as director of CTAC.. Dr. Henry has received several awards including the 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, and National Association of Social Workers. He has published several articles in professional journals and presents at national and international conferences on child maltreatment including physical abuse, domestic violence, and child sexual abuse. He is the principal investigator in two SAMHSA National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative grants 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 that developed trauma informed curricula for child welfare workers and resource parents. He is a coauthor of a book, Seeking Justice, which explores best models of system intervention in child sexual abuse. He has trained over 30,000 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 of, and the Clinical Director of the Southwest Michigan Children’s Trauma Assessment Center (CTAC). Ms Black-Pond has been directly involved in the planning, development and implementation of trauma informed and evidenced based practices, including the comprehensive trauma assessments conducted at CTAC and the developer approved supervision/consultation of Trauma Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). She is also a co- principal investigator on the Safe Start Initiative and Child Welfare Systems grants. Connie has presented locally, statewide and nationally on the impact of trauma on children and trauma informed practices. She also has over 25 years of clinical experience and is an expert in the assessment and treatment of traumatized children. She is, in addition to other CTAC clinical staff, trained in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), TF- CBT and (Level I) Sensory Motor Psychotherapy.
Mark A. Sloane, DO is a board certified pediatrician with specialized advanced (fellowship) training in adolescent behavioral medicine who has over 29 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
Dr. Ben Atchison is a co-founder of the CTAC and professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at WMU, with 35 years 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 is a co- principal investigator on the Child Welfare Systems grant and curriculum coordinator for the Level I and II Trauma Assessment Certification in collaboration with the Trauma and Loss Institute for Children (TLC).
Dr. Yvette Hyter, associate 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 skills of children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and those 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 Child Language Committee of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics, serves as a member of the International Special Interest Group through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is a co- principal investigator on the Child Welfare Systems grant.
Amy B. Mack 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 10 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 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.
Dr. Margaret Richardson provides evaluation for CTAC grant and contracted projects, practicing utilization-focused, participatory, and consumer oriented evaluation methodology. Dr. Richardson oversees the evaluation of the SAMHSA-funded Trauma Informed Child Welfare Systems Project, and has participated in the development of tools and instruments to identify, measure, and evaluate change in child welfare systems, including the development and evaluation of the Trauma Informed System Change Instrument for use in measuring change across agencies in the child welfare system. Dr. Richardson also directs the evaluation of the Department of Community Health Trauma Informed Systems Initiative and the Parsons Child and Family Services HEROES initiative. She is a licensed clinical social worker trained in Trauma Informed Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Psychological First Aid, participates in CTAC neurodevelopmental assessments, and has presented on development of trauma informed systems and school specific trauma informed practice. Additionally, she is co-designing a training and consultation study on Secondary Traumatic Stress for child welfare workers, has published on trauma and the evaluation of trauma system intervention, and is an adjunct instructor in research and evaluation for Western Michigan University.
Denise Wheatley, MA, FLE, has a master of arts degree in Family Life Education. She is a training coordinator for CTAC. Denise has presented locally and statewide on Complex Trauma, Resource Parent Curriculum, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, suicide prevention, and domestic violence. She is a certified University of Wisconsin FASD trainer She is also a support specialist on CTAC’s OJJDP Safe Start grant, Project PERK (Partnering to Effectively Reduce the Impact of Violence in Kalamazoo); coordinating, developing, and implementing the Project’s curriculum and professional training
Mark Scheffers is a limited licensed social worker with CTAC, participating in Assessments and other CTAC projects.
Frank Vidimos is a limited 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.
Cara Weiler is a limited licensed social worker with CTAC, participating in Assessments and other CTAC projects.
Betsy Bennett is an MSW working with CTAC, participating in Assessments and other CTAC projects.
Other staff: Marianne Giles, Grants and Contracts Manager Charmelle Abdullah, CTAC Office Coordinator