5th Annual IDMH Conference > Speaker Bios


Friday April 11, 2008




Pam Atkins, Ph.D., is currently a Board Member with the Institute for
Disaster Mental Health, Associate Dean for Student Development and Director of the Psychological Counseling Center at SUNY New Paltz. Dr. Atkins' workshop will be based on her 30 some years of experience working with suicidal presentations among college students. Dr. Atkins developed and then implemented a 14-point suicide risk reduction program for the New Paltz college community, is an adjunct professor in the Graduate Psychology Program at SUNY New Paltz, and provides training for faculty and staff regarding the issues of college student mental health.

Chaplain (Lt.Col.) Lyn Brown, Ph.D., is both a library director at Bethel Seminary of the East and an Army Reserve chaplain.  An ordained Baptist minister, he served two tours in Iraq and traveled with the Army to Egypt, Germany, Honduras, and Kuwait.  Dr. Brown received the Combat Action Badge in 2004 and the Bronze Star in 2006.  His degrees include a Ph.D. in Church Administration, and an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration.  Dr Brown oversees four seminary libraries in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York City, and Worcester, Massachusetts.

Frederick Bush, LMSW, is the Clinical Point of Contact for returning Veterans of Upstate NY VA Health Care Network.  The VA Health Care Network Upstate NY is comprised of Syracuse, Albany, Buffalo, Canandaigua, and Bath VA Medical Centers. In his present role, Fred works with Network leadership, as well as VA Central Office in Washington DC to ensure that Veterans returning to the Upstate NY region have timely access and a smooth transition into the VA Health Care System. Fred also works as the Behavioral Health Outreach Coordinator for Returning Veterans at the Syracuse VA Medical Center. He provides outreach and education to servicemen and community agencies about mental health concerns of returning Veterans. He is a US Army Veteran who enlisted in 1983, and served until discharge in 1992. Fred served as an Infantry Section Sergeant, and was deployed to Iraq in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. Fred is a 1997 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been cited in several local and national publications concerning the mental health care of returning veterans.

Kai Chitaphong, LMSW, is the OIF/OEF Program Manager for the VISN 2 in Canandaigua, NY.  A Captain in the United States Army Reserves, he was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (Dec. 2004 to Dec. 2005) and served as the Officer in Charge of a combat stress control team in Baqubah and in Baghdad Iraq. During his one-year deployment, his team had over 8,000 contact hours with U.S. service members.

Paul Greene, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Iona College, was a firehouse clinician for the Counseling Center Services Unit of the FDNY and is co-author of FDNY Crisis Counseling: Innovative Responses to 9/11 Firefighters, Families, and Communities. He has participated in the New York State Psychological Association Disaster Response Network since 1991.

Michael Hogan, Ph.D., was confirmed in March 2007 as Commissioner of Mental Health in New York. He served as Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health from 1991to 2007 and led Ohio to the top ranking in the 2006 rating of state mental health systems by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  He was previously Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health from 1987-1991. Dr. Hogan chaired the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in 2002-2003, and was appointed in 2007 to serve on the Board of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, representing the behavioral health field. He served from 1994-1998 on the National Advisory Mental Health Council, and as President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors from 2003-2005.  He has co-authored a book and several national reports, and written over 50 journal articles or book chapters.

Dianne Kane, D.S.W., has been involved in the development and delivery of Employee Assistance Program and trauma related services to uniform personnel in NYC since 1994. She is currently the Assistant Director of the Counseling Services Unit of the Fire Department of New York and in that capacity has been instrumental in the post 9/11 recovery effort for a workforce of over 13,000 personnel and their immediate family members.  With a prior background in staff development and training she has served as a consultant to numerous for profit and not for profit organizations following critical incidents and during periods of reorganization. Dr. Kane is a Certified Group Psychotherapist and serves on the Community Outreach task force of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. She has been on the faculty of Hunter School of Social Work since 1988.  Dr. Kane co-authored FDNY Crisis Counseling: Innovative Response to Firefighters, Families and Communities. 

Laura Payack, M.A., Director of the Community Outreach and Public Education Office for the NYS Office of Mental Health. Ms. Payack has held a variety of evaluation and management positions in psychiatric rehabilitation, juvenile justice and mental health, children’s mental health, and public education. Ms. Payack currently directs public mental health promotion and early intervention initiatives that target depression and suicide across the lifespan, the mental health of families in the military, and early identification of potential mental health concerns in children.

Colonel (Retired) James D. McDonough, Jr., is the Director of the New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs, a much decorated Korean and Iraq war veteran and a graduate of the Army's Airborne School at Fort Benning, GA and the US Army War College. He has served in various posts as a battalion commander and executive officer including in Germany, Korea, and stateside.  Before his recent appointment, Col. McDonough was Director of Veterans Employment and Training Service in the US Department of Labor and Inspector General for the New York National Guard. Col. McDonough earned an M.A. in Communications and was Professor of  Outreach at the U S Military Academy at West Point .

Patricia A. Resick, Ph.D. is the Director of the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System.  She is also a Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at Boston University. Dr. Resick received her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. Over her career, she also served on the faculties of the University of South Dakota, the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of Missouri-St. Louis.  Dr. Resick has received numerous grants to provide services and conduct research on the effects of traumatic events, particularly on women, and to develop and test therapeutic interventions for PTSD. In particular, she developed and tested cognitive processing therapy, an effective short-term treatment for PTSD and corollary symptoms. She has published three books and over 150 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Resick has served on the editorial boards of eight scientific journals; was on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies for six years including terms as Secretary and Vice-President and is now President-Elect. She has been a Board Member for the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy (AABT) for two terms and served as President during 2003-2004. Dr. Resick has received numerous awards for her research, including the Robert S. Laufer Memorial Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in the Field of PTSD, from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Currently she is leading a national VA initiative to disseminate cognitive processing therapy throughout Veterans Health Administration.

David S. Riggs, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Center for Deployment Psychology and Research Associate Professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Dr. Riggs earned his Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and completed a clinical psychology internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Before joining USUHS, had clinical research positions at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety and the National Center for PTSD, served as a staff psychologist at the Boston VA Medical Center and held academic appointments at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, Boston University and the University of Pennsylvania. Much of Dr. Riggs’ work has focused on trauma, violence, and anxiety with a particular interest in the impact of PTSD and other anxiety disorders on the families of those directly affected. He has published over 60 articles and book chapters and has presented over 100 papers and workshops.  As the Director of the Center for Deployment Psychology, Dr. Riggs oversees the development and delivery of training seminars to better prepare mental health professionals to provide for the needs of Service members and their families.

Edward Tick, Ph.D., . is a holistic psychotherapist, writer, educator, journey guide, activist and veterans’ advocate.  He has been working with veterans and survivors of war, violence and trauma since the late 1970s.  He specializes in using psycho-spiritual, cross-cultural, and international reconciliation practices to help veterans, communities and nations heal.  He is founder and Director of Sanctuary: A Center for Mentoring the Soul, and of Soldier’s Heart: Veterans’ Safe Return Programs.  Both are programs of national and international scope with home offices in Troy, NY.  He leads international educational, healing and reconciliation journeys to Greece, Viet Nam and other countries.  Dr. Tick has published 4 books (2 with Quest Books): Sacred Mountain, Encounters with the Vietnam Beast (1989), The Practice of Dream Healing (2001), The Golden Tortoise: Vietnam Journeys (2005), and most recently War and the Soul, winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Best Psychology Book of 2005.  He is also a poet and is the author of almost 100 articles in psychology, holistic health, mythology and spirituality, literature, philosophy, culture and travel. Ed is a frequent guest lecturer at numerous institutions around the country and world, most recently including Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

The Rev. Frank E. Wismer III is an ordained Priest in the Episcopal Church having served congregations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Vermont for thirty years. He also recently retired as Army Reserve Chaplain with the rank of Colonel after over twenty-five years of military service. He was deployed for Operation Desert Storm, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Joint Task Force (JTF) Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Operation Joint Forge, Bosnia; Operation Iraqi Freedom, Baghdad, Iraq; and Operation Iraqi Freedom, Camp Arfijan, Kuwait.

Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry, is the Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies Division at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine which includes the PTSD clinical research program and the Neurochemistry and Neuroendocrinology laboratory at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Yehuda is a recognized leader in the field of traumatic stress studies. She has authored more than 250 published papers, chapters, and books in the field of traumatic stress and the neurobiology of PTSD.  Her current interests include the study of risk and resilience factors, psychological and biological predictors of treatment response in PTSD, genetic and epigenetic studies of PTSD and the intergenerational transmission of trauma and PTSD. She has an active federally-funded clinical and research program that welcomes local and international students and clinicians. Dr. Yehuda received her PhD in Psychology and Neurochemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and completed her postdoctoral training in Biological Psychiatry in the Psychiatry Department at Yale Medical School.

Larry Winters, LMHC, entered the United States Marine Corps after high school and served in Vietnam 1969-1970. Twenty-five years later, by then a licensed mental health counselor at Four Winds Hospital in Katonah, NY, the veteran returned to Vietnam with other heath care professionals to study PTSD in the Vietnamese people and to make peace with his past. Larry is a widely published poet, men's group leader and group psychotherapist.  He has recently published his book titled The Making and Un-making of a Marine.



Phyllis R. Freeman, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at SUNY New Paltz. Dr. Freeman is the Chair of the IDMH Advisory Board and a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health in the School of Public Health at New York Medical College.

James Halpern, Ph.D., IDMH Director and Professor of Psychology at SUNY New Paltz.  Dr. Halpern is Chair of Disaster Mental Health Services for the Ulster County Chapter of the American Red Cross and has responded to both local and large-scale national disasters. He is coauthor of the textbook Disaster Mental Health: Theory and Practice.