Warriors Research Institute Collaborators

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Claire Cammarata, PhD

Dr. Cammarata worked for the New York City Fire Department’s Counseling Services Unit from 1995-2016. In 2001, following September 11, Dr. Cammarata was promoted to Clinical Director of CSU. She now works as Deputy Director of the New York City, Office of Labor Relations Employee Assistance Program (EAP).


Dr. Cammarata received her M.S.W. from Fordham University in 1994. She acquired her Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work from New York University (NYU) in 2008. Her dissertation is titled: “September 11th, 2001 and The Fire Department City of New York (FDNY): A Search for Growth.” Based on her work, Dr. Cammarata was named a Fahs-Beck Scholar in 2006 and received the NYU Greenstein Award in 2007.

In addition to her position at CSU, Dr. Cammarata has a private practice that serves adults and adolescents. She is also an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Graduate School for Social Work teaching courses on human behavior and psychopathology. Dr. Cammarata also serves as a consultant for the New York City Suicide Prevention Task Force. Dr. Cammarata has provided professional presentations focused on mental health treatment for the emergency service population for the American Group Psychotherapy Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and the International Association of Fire Fighters.


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Grace Carpenter

Grace Stephanie J. Carpenter worked at the Warriors Research Institute for almost 2 years as a research assistant before moving to Portland, Oregon to pursue a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Portland State University.


Grace has specific interests in studying and treating depression, especially in women during and surrounding pregnancy. During her time at the WRI she contributed to a variety of research projects including Project RECRUIT and Project REACH OUT.


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Thomas P. Carpenter, PhD

Dr. Tom Carpenter is a psychologist, researcher, and quantitative consultant.  Dr. Carpenter currently works as a faculty member at Seattle Pacific University, where his research focuses on two primary lines: implicit cognition and preference, and the psychology of moral transgression, reparation, and wellbeing.  His primary teaching areas include introductory and advanced quantitative classes and research methods coursework. 


Dr. Carpenter received his doctoral training at Baylor University in social / personality psychology and has a strong quantitative background.  In addition to his academic work, he serves as a quantitative consultant for a number of academic and private institutions.


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Sara Dolan, PhD

Dr. Dolan currently serves as an Associate Professor and Graduate Clinical Program Director in the Psychology and Neuroscience Department at Baylor University. Prior to her time at Baylor, Dr. Dolan worked as a National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-funded Postdoctoral Fellow and subsequently a National Cancer Institute-funded faculty member at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. While at Brown, she also served as a Research Scientist at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, as well as the Assessment Coordinator at Psychological Associates, in Warwick, RI.


Dr. Dolan earned her B.S. degree in psychology from Indiana University, followed by both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Iowa. She then completed her clinical internship at Yale University, in the Division of Substance Abuse.

In her spare time, she can be found at a Baylor football or basketball game, traveling or volunteering in the community.


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Lisa Flynn

After earning a Master’s degree in Theology, Lisa came to work at the Warriors Research Institute as a Research Associate. During the 3 years Lisa worked at the WRI, she contributed to Project RECRUIT, Project REACH OUT and Project RESPONDER before relocating to pursue new opportunities in Houston, TX with her husband, son, and beagles. We look forward to collaborating with Lisa as she has proven herself a gifted writer and vital contact.

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Nate Kimbrel, PhD

Dr. Nathan Kimbrel is a Clinical Research Psychologist at the Durham VAMC and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Duke University Medical Center. He was previously affiliated with the VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans and Texas A&M University Health Science Center.


Dr. Kimbrel received his Bachelor's degree in psychology from The Ohio State University in 2000 and his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2009.

His primary areas of interest include the etiology and treatment of PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicide, and deliberate self-harm among returning veterans and emergency responders.


Image of John Klocek, PhD

John Klocek, PhD

Dr. Klocek is the Director of Clinical Training of Baylor’s clinical psychology doctoral program as well as the Director of the Baylor Psychology Clinic (which offers clinical services to the citizens of Waco). A Chicago transplant to Texas at the age of 12, Dr. Klocek grew up in the Fort Worth area and began his academic journey at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. Dr. Klocek then moved on to complete his graduate education at Saint Louis University.


After serving as an associate professor at the University of Montana, Dr. Klocek joined the VA as a staff psychologist at the Temple VAMC. He later served as the Supervisory Psychologist at the WacoVAMC. Dr. Klocek then joined the VISN 17 Center of Excellence (on the Waco VAMC campus) as the Director of the Treatment Development and Treatment Outcomes Core. During his time working for VA, Dr. Klocek also served as an IRB member and IRB Chair. Working in VA engendered passion for serving veterans . In an effort to continue serving the veteran community, Dr. Klocek entered into collaboration with the WRI, particularly through our recent project, Testing Family Interventions to Motivate Veterans to Seek Treatment, a study focused on helping veterans and their families.


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Marc I. Kruse, PhD

Dr. Marc Kruse is the staff psychologist for the Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services. He is a licensed clinical psychologist who earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and completed his clinical internship at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies at Brown Medical School and the Providence, Rhode Island Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


He is an Adjunct Assistant Professor (Research) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the College of Medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center. Prior to joining the City of Austin, Marc was an investigator on multiple federally-funded research projects and directed the data management division of the Central Texas VA and VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans. In addition to his work with military veterans, Dr. Kruse has been involved in clinical research with firefighters and first-responders from Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Fairfax, New York, Providence, and Toronto.

The majority of Dr. Kruse’s clinical and research efforts are focused on working with trauma-exposed populations (firefighters, first-responders, military veterans) with particular emphasis on the assessment and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders. His clinical practice emphasizes the use of empirically-supported treatments.

On a personal note, Marc lives in Georgetown, Texas (a suburb approximately 35 miles north of downtown Austin) with his wife and family.


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Capt. Frank Leto

Capt. Frank Leto is a 30-year veteran of the FDNY and the Deputy Director of its Counseling Service Unit (CSU). His association with the CSU began over 20 years ago as a Crisis Counselor for incidents such as line of duty deaths and mass casualty events. On September 11th, 2001 he responded to the World Trade Center as an officer in charge of a rescue team. Since 9/11, Capt. Leto has developed innovative outreach, counseling and education programs for firefighters and their families who have experienced potentially traumatic events.


In addition to his work as Deputy Director of the CSU and its staff of ninety, he has worked closely with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) to develop behavioral health protocols and to aid departments nationwide after major incidents. Captain Leto has also traveled internationally to share his experiences with fire departments in Northern Ireland, the Netherlands and to Okinawa Japan to aid Military Fire Fighters. He has assisted the London Fire Brigade after the transit bombings in 2005, and the Urban Search and Rescue Teams following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Through his work with the IAFF and NFFF, he has supported numerous departments including those on the Gulf Coast after Katrina, Charleston, SC and Aurora, Colorado after the theater shooting and more recently Boston following the Marathon Bombing.

Frank was one the first graduates of the West Point - FDNY Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program and also is a Certified Employees Assistance Professional.


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Sandra Morissette, PhD

Dr. Morissette received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Boston University. She is a professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Morissette’s expertise is in studying co-occurring anxiety and addictive behaviors, having published numerous articles and book chapters in this area.


Her research interests are in studying the impact of traumatic stress and co-occurring mental health disorders on functional recovery processes. She has served as principal investigator (PI) for a series of longitudinal studies that comprise a program of research called, Project SERVE. These studies evaluate modifiable predictors of functional recovery trajectories. Through this research she aims to develop empirically-supported prevention and interventions to improve functional recovery in returning veterans.


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Lt. William Ostiguy

Lt. William Ostiguy retired from Boston Fire Department with 40 years of service, many of which were spent developing Behavioral Health systems for the fire department. He has been a standing member of the IAFF’s Behavioral Health Committee for 23 years, and brought Recovery High Schools to the Boston Metropolitan Area.


Lt. Ostiguy has collaborated with Dr. Gulliver since 2001, beginning with the RAPID grant. Since then he has also contributed to the ASD grant, Project PREVENT, Project REACH OUT, Project RESPONDER, and Project RECRUIT.


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Keith Sanford, PhD

Dr. Sanford joined the WRI Team in 2014 as an investigator on the First Responder Couples Resilience Project. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Michigan State University, and he earned his B.A. in psychology, with a second major in religion, from Seattle Pacific University.


From 2007 to 2009, Dr. Sanford served as associate editor for the Journal of Family Psychology. He enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, composing and recording music and woodworking.


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Samantha Synett

Samantha Synett worked at the Warriors Research Institute for a year before pursuing a Master’s of Science in Social Work at University of Texas in Austin. During her undergraduate studies at Baylor University, she was a volunteer research assistant for two years at the VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans in Waco.


Samantha's main research interests include trauma-related disorders and the factors contributing to individual differences in risk and resilience outcomes. She is on her way to becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and providing mental health services and advocacy support to trauma-exposed populations, such as veterans, first responders, and/or survivors of intimate partner violence.

Samantha is originally from northern Michigan and considered a Yooper up on the Canadian border. Although she misses Lake Superior and snowmobiling, she is happy to call Texas her home. In her spare time, she enjoys getting outdoors, going to concerts and traveling.


Victoria Torres

Victoria Torres worked at Warriors Research Institute for two years before pursuing graduate education. During her time at WRI, Victoria contributed to a number of projects including: Project Stamp Out Stigma (SOS), First Responder Couples Resilience Project, Testing Family Interventions to Motivate Veterans to Seek Treatment, Firefighter Risk and Resilience and the creation of WRI’s website.


Additionally, she successfully received her first mentored grant award, and she served as principal investigator on the Identifying Frequency of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) in Firefighters project.

As a doctoral student in the University of Mississippi’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, Victoria works under the supervision of Dr. Lee M. Cohen, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.


Research Therapists

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Katie L’Esperance

Katie is a third-year student in the Psy.D. program at Baylor University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. Katie’s clinical experience includes therapy and assessment services for adolescents at the Bill Logue Juvenile Justice Center, adults at the McLennan County DWI/Drug Court Program, and adults at the Baylor Psychology Clinic.


Katie is also engaged in clinical research in the area of substance use disorders under the direction of Dr. Sara Dolan. Katie hopes to work as a treatment provider within the juvenile justice system after earning her doctoral degree.

Katie is originally from Millbury, Massachusetts. She plans to return to the autumn foliage and winter snow of New England after graduating.


Image of Hyeji Na

Hyeji Na

Hyeji Na emigrated from Seoul, S. Korea and grew up in Killeen, TX with her parents and two younger sisters. Hyeji then took her "Texan roots" to Atlanta, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Emory University. After she graduated, she moved to Chicago to work at Northwestern University as a Research Coordinator, looking at interventions for Peripheral Arterial Disease.


Currently, she is enjoying her third year in the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program at Baylor. She is studying the clinical applications of hypnosis, such as smoking cessation and improving sleep quality, in Dr. Gary Elkins' Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory. Hyeji also enjoys working as a Psychology intern at the Bill Logue Juvenile Justice Center in Waco.

When she’s not busy with PsyD-related activities, you may catch her crocheting, painting (very badly) or feeding her pet fish.


Image of Kelsi A. Umekubo

Kelsi A. Umekubo

Kelsi joined the Warriors Research Institute Team in September 2014 and is currently in her third year of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Baylor University. Her research interests focus on the interplay between substance use, schizotypal personality traits, and neuropsychological functioning. She is presently conducting a study investigating the impact of impulsivity on the relationship between schizotypy and measures of executive functioning.


Kelsi is also working part-time with Baylor undergraduates as a Graduate Assistant Counselor at the Baylor University Counseling Center. She loves getting to know Baylor students and teaming up with the BUCC psychologists for outreach and education programs on campus.

After earning her doctorate, Kelsi plans to pursue a career within the VA Health Care System working with veterans affected by severe mental illness and traumatic brain injury.

During her free time, she likes to chat with friends over coffee, plan trips to Austin, try new foods, and snuggle with her cat. Kelsi is a Los Angeles girl at heart and enjoys making trips home whenever she can.


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Nancy E. Wheless

Nancy is a third-year clinical psychology doctoral student at Baylor University. She is a member of Dr. Thomas Fergus’ Anxiety and Related Disorders Research Laboratory. Her research interests are related to broad correlates of health anxiety, including intolerance of uncertainty, rumination, and anxiety sensitivity. She sees clients for psychotherapy through the Baylor Psychology Clinic and the Anxiety and Related Disorders Sub-clinic.


She is a practicum student at the Hillcrest Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility and enjoys working with patients with stroke, chronic pain, traumatic brain injury, and amputation. She is currently being supervised by Dr. Thomas Fergus and Dr. Gary Elkins. She also enjoys cognitive, achievement, personality, and emotional assessment.

In her spare time, Nancy enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, volunteering in animal rescue efforts, cooking, and reading. She is a native Texan, living in Houston, Austin, and now Waco, TX.


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