Hear From Our Staff
Neena McConnico, Ph.D, LMHC holds a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology and is a licensed mental health counselor. In addition, Dr. McConnico has a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and has extensive experience working with under-served populations as a mental health provider and teacher in early childhood, elementary and college settings. Dr. McConnico currently serves as the Program Director for the Child Witness to Violence Project and serves as faculty and clinical consultant on the Boston Defending Childhood Initiative. Dr. McConnico’s professional interests include the impact of a NICU stay on child-parent attachment as well as how the impacts of trauma interface with children’s academic and social development. Dr. McConnico is also interested in training early childhood educators about the impact of mental health factors on children’s academic performance and helping schools identify interventions to address these issues in the classroom. Dr. McConnico has trained extensively in the art of dance and is also interested in using dance and movement as a therapeutic outlet for children who have been impacted by trauma.
Jenifer Goldman Fraser, PhD, MPH, brings an array of research and programmatic experience in early childhood mental health to CWVP. She considers herself a "boundary spanner," bridging developmental science and public health to think innovatively about how services and systems can best promote well-being in vulnerable young children and their families. For the past several years, Dr. Goldman Fraser has been engaged in a translational research project focused on the application of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) in the context of a court improvement model. Through this study - which centered on systems integration across the court, child welfare, and child mental health to improve outcomes for young children in foster care - she intensively studied implementation processes and drivers, and dissemination strategies, that supported effective uptake of a complex systems change effort. She is looking forward to applying the lessons learned from this exciting initiative to building a similar court improvement project in Massachusetts, expanded to include a pediatric medical home component. Dr. Goldman Fraser also brings a deep understanding of the scientific literature on interventions for children exposed to maltreatment, having recently led a comparative effectiveness review on the topic for the AHRQ/Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (under the AHRQ Effective Health Care Program). At CWVP, she is currently engaged in the two flagship projects in Massachusetts that involve dissemination of CPP and other evidence-based trauma treatments: the Boston Defending Childhood Initiative, funded by the Department of Justice, and the Massachusetts Child Trauma Project (Integrating Trauma-Informed Practice in Child Protective Service Delivery), funded by the Administration for Children and Families Children's Bureau.
Megan Bair-Merritt, MD, attended Tufts University and then received her medical degree from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She did both residency and Academic General Pediatrics fellowship training at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Subsequent to fellowship, she joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins, where she worked for seven years. Her research focuses on three inter-related areas: screening for intimate partner violence (IPV) and other adverse childhood experiences in the pediatric setting; the impact of intimate partner violence on children’s physical health and health care use; and developing innovative models of primary care to enhance integration of medical and behavioral health care. Dr. Bair-Merritt has published extensively in the peer reviewed literature, with the majority of her articles focused on IPV and child maltreatment. Dr. Bair-Merritt’s published work has been cited in critical policy pieces and clinical guidelines including the Institute of Medicine’s recent consensus report “Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps,” the upcoming World Health Organization’s “Guidelines for Prevention and Clinical Intervention for Female Survivors of IPV”, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAPs) guidelines on IPV screening in the pediatric setting. Dr. Bair-Merritt has been invited, based on her expertise, to present across the country and to have leadership roles in select national violence-related committees and organizations.
Carmen Rosa Noroña, LCSW, Ms.Ed., CEIS, is from Quito, Ecuador where she completed her licensure in clinical psychology at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador in addition to a three-year training program in psychoanalysis. Subsequently, she received a Fulbright scholarship to earn a Master’s degree in Early Intervention from Wheelock College. She is certified in the administration of the Newborn Behavioral Observations System (NBO) and trained as a Fussy Baby specialist. Her practice and research interests are on the impact of trauma on infant mental health and attachment, adapting mental health services to new immigrants in the Latino community, the intersection of immigration and trauma, multicultural supervision and consultation, and developmental assessment and intervention with children at risk for developmental delays. Ms. Noroña wrote a series of articles regarding the effects of institutionalization in young children and alternative systems of care in Ecuador that were published by UNICEF. At CWVP, Ms. Noroña serves as the clinical coordinator for the program; she provides clinical services and supervises graduate students. In addition, she is the associate director of the CWVP site of the Early Trauma Treatment Network (ETTN), a research, development and treatment site of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). She provides Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) consultation to mental health agencies and training to Spanish and English-speaking multidisciplinary audiences, nationally and abroad, on topics related to the impact and treatment of early trauma. Ms. Noroña is a member of the Culture Consortium of the NCTSN, and has adapted and translated child assessment protocols for use with Spanish-speaking children and families. Ms. Noroña co-developed the Birth to Three Clinic, a specialty clinic in Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center that provided short-term clinical intervention to children birth to thirty-six-months and their caregivers with the goal of addressing attachment difficulties. In 2003, Ms. Noroña was the recipient of the Children’s Trust Fund Emerging Leader Award.
Maureen Patterson, LICSW, is a licensed clinical social worker providing trauma-informed mental health services at the Child Witness to Violence Project. Ms. Patterson received her undergraduate degrees in Human Development and Psychology. She brings many years of working with survivors of trauma to her practice at CWVP. Ms. Patterson has worked in direct service capacities with families across various settings, including: a trauma-informed daycare, domestic violence shelters, children’s advocacy centers, and a residential family treatment program. At CWVP, she provides individual and dyadic clinical services. Ms. Patterson is interested in understanding how the experience of chronic, complex trauma affects parenting as well as the intergenerational transmission of trauma.
Courtney Bailey, LICSW, graduated from Simmons College and holds a Master’s degree in Social Work. She has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient, residential and community based programs providing psychotherapy for children and their families. Ms. Bailey has presented at the Director Conference Committee for the Boston Association for the Education of Young Children on the impact of children whose caregiver is struggling with mental illness or substance abuse, and has provided a variety of trainings to mental health providers on the impact of trauma to children’s sensory systems. Ms. Bailey has a particular interest helping parents learn ways to incorporate sensory materials to help their children develop regulation skills.
Laura Burnham, LCSW, graduated with a Master’s in Clinical Social Work from Smith College School for Social Work. She has provided mental health services in a variety of settings including day treatment, community based in-home, and at a school mental health clinic. At CWVP, she provides dyadic, trauma informed and culturally sensitive therapy to survivors of trauma in both Spanish and English. Ms. Burnham studied studio art and Spanish in college and has particular interest in the use of artistic creativity and expression in both individual and collective healing. Ms. Burnham is also interested in the impact of trauma within attachment relationships as well as the power of resilience. Trained in psychodynamic therapy, she plans to deepen her study of psychoanalysis in conjunction with a training in Child Parent Psychotherapy.
Ashley Schiffmiller, is the Senior Administrative and Intake Coordinator for the Child Witness to Violence Project. Ms. Schiffmiller performs all administrative tasks and handles all incoming referrals to CWVP. She started at Boston Medical Center as a Northeastern co-op student in the Grow Clinic for Children and Children’s HealthWatch in 2005. She performed various roles for these programs including Research Assistant for the Children’s HealthWatch Boston site, and ultimately, Program Coordinator for the Center site. Prior to joining BMC, Ms. Schiffmiller was an assistant teacher at a daycare and after-school program in Connecticut and a residential counselor at a group home in Brookline, MA. Ms. Schiffmiller received her BS in Psychology from Northeastern University and plans to get her Master's and PhD in child psychology.
Maxine L. Weinreb, Ed.D., is a licensed educational psychologist with degrees in counseling and human development. She is also licensed as a marriage and family therapist and mental health counselor. She is currently a consultant for the Child Witness to Violence Project. She is a faculty member in The Counseling and School Psychology Department at The University of Massachusetts and taught for ten years in the Social Work Department at Wheelock College in Boston. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Weinreb has provided consultation and assistance to early childhood programs, Head Start programs, public and private schools, the courts, law enforcement, and mental health and health professionals. She provided assistance and training to early childhood professionals and mental health clinicians in Oklahoma City following the bombing in April, 1995 and in New York after the terrorist attacks of September 11. She has published in Young Children and is the co-author of a curriculum for child care professionals serving children in court-based child care centers. She and her colleagues have published Shelter from the Storm, a manual for mental health providers on the assessment and treatment of children who have witnessed violence. She has presented locally, regionally, and nationally about issues of childhood stressors, especially those related to exposure to violence.
Betsy McAlister Groves, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and the Founder of the Child Witness to Violence Project. Her practice and research interests are on the impact of community and family violence on young children, and on engaging community systems in identifying and responding to children who are affected by violence in their environments. In addition, she served as Co-Director of the Child Protection Team at Boston Medical Center. Ms. Groves holds appointments as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and Lecturer at Harvard University. She serves on the Governor’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault of Massachusetts and has served in various advisory and consultative capacities for the US Department of Justice, the National Council of Juvenile, and Family Court Judges and the Family Violence Prevention Fund. She is the author of a book, Children who See Too Much: Lessons from the Child Witness to Violence Project (2002), and has published extensively on topics related to childhood trauma and intervention.