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Meet Our Team | Overview

Heidi Ellis, PhD Heidi Ellis, PhD

Dr. Ellis is the Director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Trauma and Community Resilience Center (TCRC) and Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ellis’ research and clinical work focus on how the social context — trauma, discrimination, culture, and social environmental stressors — affects the health and development of youth. Dr. Ellis co-developed Trauma Systems Therapy (TST), led the adaptation of the model for refugees, and is currently developing multidisciplinary approaches to prevent extremist targeted violence.


Colleen Barrett Bixby, MPH Colleen Barrett Bixby, MPH

Mrs. Bixby is the program coordinator at the TCRC. She has a background in cultural anthropology, as well as a master’s degree in public health with a concentration in international health. Bixby first came to the TCRC in 2009 as a public health intern to support the evaluation of Project SHIFA. She is interested in health disparities and how psychosocial research can be integrated with community-based work as part of the approach towards reducing them.


Emma Cardeli, PhD Emma Cardeli, PhD

Emma Cardeli, PhD, is a research associate and attending psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cardeli has over a decade of experience working with trauma-exposed children, adolescents, adults, and families from a variety of cultural backgrounds and in a myriad of clinical settings (outpatient and community-based clinics, inpatient psychiatry and inpatient medical settings, emergency services, court clinic, schools, and residential treatment centers). Dr. Cardeli provides training and consultation in trauma-informed, culturally responsive care to providers and agencies across the globe, building organizations’ capacity to provide specialized psychosocial services in a manner that’s congruent with community needs and norms. Her research focuses on identifying workforce development needs in trauma-informed care and distilling effective methodologies for strengthening healthcare systems to better meet the needs of underserved populations.


Enryka Christopher, MSc Enryka Christopher, MSc

Enryka Christopher, MSc, is a clinical research specialist at the TCRC. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Global Mental Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King's College London. She has a wide range of experience working on trauma and global mental health research, from bereavement studies with the U.S. military to population health studies in South Africa. Current research includes rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals repatriated from formerly Islamic State-controlled territories and using trauma-informed, community-based, multidisciplinary interventions to prevent and combat extremist violence. Her interests encompass mental health of those who experience severe childhood adversity, displacement, and acculturative stressors of cross-cultural resettlement, human trafficking, and radicalization to extremist violence.


Seetha Davis Seetha Davis

Seetha Davis is a research assistant at the Trauma and Community Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and an MD-PhD student at Harvard Medical School. Her work focuses on sources of stress and resilience for children and families, including language-concordant healthcare, educational resources for providers, community-based mental health interventions, and child health literacy. Through research and clinical practice, she aims to care for and collaborate with communities to promote mental and physical well-being and advocate for pediatric health equity. Seetha worked as a research assistant full-time at the TCRC from 2019-2021 and remains a collaborator on several projects.


Osob Issa, MSW Osob Issa, MSW

Osob Issa, MSW, is a clinical social worker and program coordinator at the TCRC. Ms. Issa has a master’s degree in social work from Boston University and an undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in women’s studies. She has first joined the team as a social work intern in 2008, and has since become increasingly involved in the research and clinical aspects of the work. Her passion is to make a difference in the mental health and well-being of immigrant and refugee families.


Jamie Kessler Jamie Kessler

Jamie Kessler is a clinical research assistant in the Multidisciplinary Violence Prevention Core at the Trauma and Community Resilience Center. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2021 with a B.S. in psychology, a B.S. in criminal justice/criminology, and a minor in neuroscience. She previously worked on a project examining students' perceptions of justice in schools. Jamie hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology to further her research interests in trauma, violence prevention, victimization, and strength and resilience factors, as well as to learn to provide trauma-informed, culturally responsive clinical care to a variety of populations.


Alisa Miller, PhD Alisa Miller, PhD

Alisa Miller, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and research associate at the Boston Children’s Hospital Trauma and Community Resilience Center (TCRC). Dr. Miller is an assistant in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Boston Children’s and an instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School. Her expertise is in promoting the mental health and well-being of youth from communities that have experienced high levels of trauma, adversity, and stress, specifically refugee and immigrant youth in the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Miller is interested in increasing health equity for all youth in our society. She strives to be antiracist in all aspects of her personal and professional lives.


Luna Mulder, PsyD Luna Mulder, PsyD

Dr. Luna Acharya Mulder is a psychologist at the Trauma and Community Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is an instructor of psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She has many years of experience providing trauma-informed, culturally responsive treatment to children suffering from mental illness and families who are victims of structural racism and poverty. She also has experience conducting psychological assessments to children with learning disabilities. Dr. Mulder is Bhutanese and brings intimate knowledge of Bhutanese culture, language, and the refugee experience to the TCRC. She joined the TCRC in 2012 as a consultant and is now a psychologist helping implement Trauma Systems Therapy for Refugees (TST-R) to resettled refugees and immigrants in the United States and Canada.


Vanja Pejic, PhD Vanja Pejic, PhD

Vanja Pejic is an attending psychologist at Boston Children's Hospital and an instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Pejic's clinical work, research, and advocacy has primarily focused on examining and reducing health inequities within immigrant and refugee populations. She has an extensive background and interest in development, delivery, and evaluation of culturally attuned and trauma-informed behavioral health programming for immigrant and refugee youth and families in schools and community health settings.


Amy Piepiora, LMHC Amy Piepiora, LMHC

Amy Piepiora is the program coordinator in the Refugee Trauma and Resilience core. Amy has spent her career working in community- and school-based mental health systems as a clinician, supervisor, consultant, and organizational manager in Boston and beyond. She comes with experience training and consulting with professionals about trauma-informed clinical practices, supporting trauma-exposed youth in schools, and the intersection between mental health and learning disabilities. Amy approaches her work grounded in cultural humility and a commitment to anti-racist practices. She comes to the TCRC with a passion for supporting systems and programs to develop culturally and linguistically appropriate services that are meaningful and easily accessible to immigrant and refugee youth and families.


Vanisa Senesathith Vanisa (Nita) Senesathith

Vanisa (Nita) Senesathith is a research assistant in the Refugee and Immigrant core at the Trauma and Community Resilience Center. She graduated from Macalester College in 2021 with a B.A. in psychology, and has previously worked in the Culture and Family Life Lab at the University of Minnesota, primarily on media-based interventions for Jamaican- and Somali-American adolescents. Nita hopes to pursue an MPH with a focus on global mental health. Her specific interests lie in developing digital and community-based mental health interventions for youth and families in Laos, her home country.


Jeffrey P. Winer, PhD Jeffrey P. Winer, PhD

Jeffrey P. Winer, PhD, is an attending psychologist within the Trauma and Community Resilience Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and an instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Winer’s work is primarily focused on developing, disseminating, and implementing culturally responsive and trauma-informed psychological interventions for youth and families of refugee and immigrant backgrounds. The values of equity, anti-racism, and structural systems change are at the center of this work. He is the recipient of a Thrasher Research Fund Early Career Award and is co-author of Mental Health Practice with Immigrant and Refugee Youth, published by the American Psychological Association in 2019. Outside of his work at Boston Children’s Hospital, he continues to work at the McLean Hospital 3East Adolescent DBT Partial Hospital Program and maintains a private practice. For more information, visit


Sewit Yohannes Sewit Yohannes

Sewit Yohannes is a clinical research assistant working within all cores at the Trauma and Community Resilience Center. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Biology, Health, and Society and a BS in African and Afro-American studies. Along with extensive volunteer experience working with refugee communities, she worked to organize a Global Mental Health conference to connect those with lived experience around the world and galvanize individuals to make change in their own communities. Sewit hopes to pursue a medical degree with a focus in intercultural psychiatry and aims to collaborate with marginalized communities to co-create effective and culturally responsive interventions.