Meet the Speakers

  • Lynn Bufka


    Lynn Bufka, PhD, is Senior Director, Practice Transformation and Quality, at the American Psychological Association. Dr. Bufka leads the development of policies and programs to support a strategic direction for the profession that is grounded in psychological science and practice. Dr. Bufka is an advocate for science to support practice and practice-based evidence to inform research and policy. Dr. Bufka frequently serves as a media spokesperson for APA on these topics as well as clinical topics, stress, telepsychology and other policy matters relevant to professional practice. Dr. Bufka received her PhD in psychology from Boston University and is licensed in Maryland. She is a Fellow of APA. 

  • Dr. Carl Clark

    As President & Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Center of Denver, Dr. Clark leads the organization by “focusing on what people can do, not what they can’t do.” He has dedicated his career to improving the well-being of the Denver community and beyond through a focus on health promotion, well-being, resilience, and recovery across the lifespan. 

    Under the leadership of Dr. Clark, the Mental Health Center of Denver is powering the pursuit of well-being, delivering strengths-based, person-centered, culturally responsive services. In 2018, the Mental Health Center of Denver was named a finalist for a World-Changing Idea Award from Fast Company Magazine and the same year won the Excellence in Behavioral Healthcare Management Award from the National Council for Behavioral Health. In 2021, the Mental Health Center of Denver was named a National Top Workplace and a Top Employer in Healthcare by and has been a Denver Post Top Workplace for nine years running. 

  • Dr. James H. Finigan

    James H. Finigan, MD, is a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health. Dr. Finigan serves as Director of The Respiratory Centers of Excellence and Medical Director of the Lung Cancer Screening Program. His research focuses on how cells of the lung adhere and how cell-cell junctions are altered during lung injury and repair. This process is relevant to numerous pulmonary diseases including acute lung injury as well as lung cancer initiation and progression.

  • Dr. Monica Gandhi

    Monica Gandhi MD, MPH is an Infectious Diseases doctor, Professor of Medicine and Associate Chief in the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She is also the Director of the UCSF Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the Medical Director of the HIV Clinic ("Ward 86") at San Francisco General Hospital. Her research focuses on HIV and women and adherence measurement in HIV treatment and prevention and most recently, on how to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Debashis Ghosh

    Debashis Ghosh is Professor and Chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics at the Colorado School of Public Health. He was previously at Penn State University and the University of Michigan. He has been funded as a principal investigator on grants by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Ghosh is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.  More recently, he has been involved with the COVID19 modeling efforts for the State of Colorado, led out of the Colorado School of Public Health.  

  • Kim Gorgens


    Dr. Kim Gorgens is the Deputy COVID Coordinator and a Professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver. She teaches Psychophysiology, Clinical Neuropsychology, and Psychology of Criminal Behavior, manages a portfolio of TBI-related research, and has lectured extensively on those issues (including a 2010 TED talk on youth sports concussion, a 2018 TED talk on brain injuries in jail, several NPR spots, and an interview on CNN with Anderson Cooper). She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology and is board certified in Rehabilitation Psychology. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association's Division 22, Rehabilitation Psychology. In addition to her work with medical patients in various settings, she also engages in advocacy and leadership around disability and TBI awareness and previously served as the Chair of Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund, President of the Colorado Neuropsychological Society and Chair of the American Psychology Association Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology. She is currently serving on the board of the American Board of Rehabilitation Psychology as Vice President and is a former elected Council Representative for the American Psychological Association.  

  • Dr. Ben Locke

    Dr. Ben Locke is a licensed psychologist and the Chief Clinical Officer for Togetherall, a clinically moderated peer-support platform available globally. Previously, Dr. Locke served for 18 years at Penn State University in practice, research, administration, and state-wide coordination of college and university mental health services. During this time, Dr. Locke also founded and directed the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH) for 17 years, a practice research network of more than 650 colleges and universities. Dr. Locke presents and consults widely about college student mental health, counseling center administration, and has published dozens of peer reviewed articles in the field. Dr. Locke has clinical experience in a wide variety of settings including wilderness therapy, psychiatric hospitals, group homes, community mental health, and college counseling centers.

  • Hilary A. Smith

    Hilary A. Smith is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Asian Studies Program at the University of Denver. She earned a Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania, and has published widely on the history of disease and medicine in China. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, among others. At DU, she teaches classes on disease in world history, the comparative history of medicine, and Chinese history.  

  • Jinny Tavee

    Dr. Jinny Tavee is a neuromuscular specialist and Chief of Neurology at National Jewish Health. She has a special interest in neurosarcoidosis and peripheral neuropathy and is currently involved in research in immune-mediated neuropathies. She is also involved in clinical trials evaluating the effects of integrative holistic therapies on chronic neurological diseases and has led meditation retreats for patients, physicians and U.S. Marines returning from the Gulf War through the Wounded Warriors program. Since the pandemic, she has been providing care for patients with post-COVID neurologic complications and is part of the Center for Post Covid Care and recovery at National Jewish Health.  

  • Philip Tedeschi

    Philip Tedeschi is the Director Emeritus and Founder of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection and a clinical professor at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. He is globally recognized for expertise in the clinical methods of animal-assisted Interventions and teaches in the school's Human- Animal-Environmental Interaction Certificate for Master of Social Work (MSW) students, as well as the animals and human health professional development certificate program. He received his MSSW degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his specialization was the bio-affiliative connection between people and animals.   

    He studies and teaches on the intricate relationship between people, domestic and wild animals, and the natural world. Tedeschi’s research, scholarship, presentations, training, and community practice work have focused on issues of social and interspecies justice, global perspectives of human-animal interactions, conservation social work, human ecology and causes of violence toward people and animals. He specializes in the therapeutic and health-promoting potential of human-animal and nature interaction, trauma-informed methods and intervention in interpersonal violence, including assessment and intervention with cruelty and animal abuse.  

  • Eve Valera

    Dr. Eve Valera, Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Research Scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital has worked in the domestic violence field for 25+ years using a range of methodologies to understand the neural, cognitive, and psychological consequences of brain injuries from intimate-partner violence, with her most recent focus being on transgender women.  She regularly lectures internationally (e.g., South Korea, Spain, France, Colombia, Canada, China, Japan) and has received national and international recognition (e.g., TV news, NYT Magazine, Forbes, CBC Canadian radio).  Just within the past 3 years, she has been the recipient of the prestigious Robert D. Voogt Founders Award, Rappaport Research Fellowship in Neurology, PINK Concussions Domestic Violence Award, and the Anne Klibanski Visiting Scholars Award.  

  • Sarah Watamura

    Sarah Watamura is the University of Denver COVID Coordinator and Professor of Psychology within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. She is part of the Developmental and Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Areas within the Psychology department. She joined the department in 2005 after receiving her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University. In 2014, she was instrumental in creating the Stress, Early Experiences and Development (SEED) Research Center and has served as co-Director since its creation. She is currently Chair of the Department of Psychology.  

  • Christina Weiland

    Christina Weiland is an associate professor at the University of Michigan, where she co-directs the Education Policy Initiative.  Her research focuses on the effects of early childhood interventions and public policies on children’s development, especially on children from families with low incomes. Her research is characterized by strong, long-standing research collaborations with policymakers and practitioners, particularly the Boston Public Schools Department of Early Childhood.  In recent years, she has engaged with multiple states on policy visions for improving early care and education options in their contexts.  She holds a doctorate in Quantitative Policy Analysis in Education from Harvard University.