Meet Our Team

The Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services and Interventions (CCTASI) is based out of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. We are housed within the Mental Health Services and Policy Program on the 12th floor of Abbott Hall (710 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611). Our Center is made up of a team of talented and passionate faculty and staff with experience and training in a variety of fields including trauma-informed interventions, trauma informed systems including child welfare, mental health and juvenile justice, and policy related initiatives. Our staff includes the following leadership, staff, and volunteers:


Cassandra Kisiel, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator & Director

Dr. Cassandra Kisiel is a clinical psychologist and a research associate professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Dr. Kisiel also serves as a primary trauma consultant for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Dr. Kisiel has almost 20 years of experience specializing in complex, developmental trauma, dissociation, and child trauma assessment and evaluation and has written and lectured extensively on the assessment and treatment of children exposed to complex trauma across child-serving settings. She is the primary developer of Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS)-Trauma which has applications in numerous child welfare and other child-serving settings across the country.

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Tracy Fehrenbach, Ph.D.


Dr. Tracy Fehrenbach is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor with the Mental Health Services and Policy Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the Co-Director of the Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services and Interventions. Dr. Fehrenbach leads the Center’s activities within the areas of juvenile justice and health disparities. She has dedicated her career to clinical work and research that promote healing for people impacted by trauma. She is currently the principal investigator of one national and one international intervention program for justice-involved youth. She is also a co-developer of the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS)-Trauma version and is passionate about the culturally sensitive and meaningful application of both trauma-informed assessment and intervention. Dr. Fehrenbach also enjoys teaching and training on these topics and is always eager to learn from others in the field.

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Nicole St. Jean, Psy.D.

Clinical Director

Dr. Nicole St. Jean is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Research Associate at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She has specialized in providing on trauma-informed therapeutic services and developing and delivering training and resources to support youth and families who have experienced complex trauma, the majority of whom are from historically underserved communities. At Northwestern University, she serves as the Clinical Director for the Center for Child Trauma Assessment, Services, and Interventions where she provides clinical oversight and leadership to the Center’s activities in the areas of Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and culturally responsive practice. She also offers clinical consultation and training to the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services. Additionally, Dr. St. Jean the Director of the Kovler Child Trauma Center (a Category III NCTSN Center), which provides therapeutic and social support services to immigrant and refugee youth and families who have experienced trauma as a result of war, torture, forced migration, family separation, and/or resettlement, and she has her own private practice.

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Tracey Riley, B.S.

Project Coordinator

Tracey analyzes and reports project evaluation data, manages CCTASI public relations (including website and social media), and plays a role in many of the deliverables and activities of the center – including a primary role on the Remembering Trauma public awareness video campaign. Tracey’s background includes research experience in psychosocial adjustment and coping in emerging adults, and work experience in the child welfare system as an Intact Family Case Manager. Tracey is currently pursuing a Masters in Information Design and Strategy from Northwestern University with an interest in the intersection of human services and human-centered design/user experience.

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Tawny Spinelli, B.A.

Graduate Research Assistant

Tawny is in the Mental Health Services and Policy Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine pursuing her JD/PhD in clinical psychology. As part of the CCTASI team, Tawny supports transition-age youth initiatives, as well as projects related to developing and adapting trauma-informed resources. Tawny is interested in researching ways to mitigate the effects of trauma in child welfare and juvenile justice populations through prevention, intervention, and policy.

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Allie Morford, M.S.

Graduate Research Assistant

Allie is currently a doctoral student in the Mental Health Services and Policy Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Allie’s research interests include familial roles in the treatment of complex trauma, the role of emotion regulation as a predictor of child abuse, and how to translate this knowledge into effective trauma-informed prevention and intervention programs.

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Rachel Sax, M.A. worked as a part-time project coordinator for CCTASI wrapping up our second cycle of funding. Rachel oversaw resource dissemination and finalizing Center products including the CANS-Application videos, C.A.R.E. Calendar, and Remembering Trauma public awareness campaign. Rachel has an interest in social emotional learning in schools and trauma-informed juvenile justice settings.
Lindsey Weil, M.A. worked as a graduate research assistant with our Center. As part of the team, Lindsey supported the early education initiative, as well as projects related to dissociation education and research. Lindsey’s research interests include: childhood trauma and chronic illness, placement stability and permanency, and protective factors among youth in the child welfare system.
Faith Summersett Ringgold, M.S., worked as a graduate research assistant on the CCTASI team. She is currently a clinical psychology doctoral student in the Mental Health Services and Policy Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Her research interests include placement outcomes, complex traumatic experiences and symptoms, and protective factors among racial minority youth in the Illinois child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Domenico Carli, LCPC is a Behavioral Health & CANS Quality Manager and a Certified TARGET Trainer, Fidelity Monitor and Coach. His responsibilities include curriculum development, training, consultation, credentialing, remediation and coaching of child welfare professionals regarding clinical assessment (CANS) and treatment best practices. In addition to TARGET (Trauma Affect Regulation Guide for Education and Therapy), Domenico has been trained in several trauma focused evidence based clinical treatments: ARC, TF-CBT, SPARCS, and EMDR. He received his Masters Degree of Counseling in 1999 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Gary McClelland, Ph.D., Project Analyst.  Dr. Gary McClelland was a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Northwestern University Medical School where he worked as a methodologist, epidemiologist and policy analyst. He served as the Director of Data Operations at the Mental Health Services and Policy Program and his work focused on child trauma in the Illinois child welfare system. As part of the CCTASI, he was responsible for oversight of all data analytic activities with an expertise in working with large scale systems data. He contributed to the development and implementation of data-driven of trauma informed practice in conjunction with this project and throughout the Illinois State child welfare system.
Nicole Maj, M.S., Project Coordinator. Nicole was responsible for overseeing, organizing, and implementing the evaluation, clinical research and training activities for the Center. Nicole assisted the team in planning and coordinating activities related to the project including communication with partnering organizations and coordinating day-to-day project activities. She is currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
Liz Torgersen, M.S., Graduate Research Assistant. Liz was a doctoral candidate in the Mental Health Services and Policy Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Liz supported the national Breakthrough Series Collaborative regarding the meaningful use of the CANS-Trauma/FANS-trauma assessments; worked at the interface of the CANS-Trauma and evidence-based trauma-informed practices; and supported data analysis and clinical report design efforts. Clinically, Liz has worked in settings including community mental health, university counseling center, academic medical center, and VA medical center settings.
Andrea Ocampo, B.S., Volunteer.  Andrea is a volunteer research assistant who helps to coordinate and implement a range of CCTASI project activities. She has experience in direct clinical service, program design, intervention and treatment. As a director of psychology services for a Clinic of the government of Costa Rica in a marginal, urban community, she developed the psychology program while treating child and adolescents under stressful situations.
Christopher Villa, M.A., helped to collect, manage, and analyze project data, manages website development activities, participates in a variety of other coordination capacities. His interests are health care research, policy and management.
Jennifer Marett, LCSW, provided training and consultation to child welfare agencies in Illinois to support the local application of trauma-informed practice for both caseworkers and therapists. She has extensive experience in the areas of quality improvement and has clinical experience with individuals experiencing substance abuse, trauma, mental illness, domestic violence in numerous settings.
Gene Griffin, J.D., Ph.D., Project Co-Director, is a clinical psychologist and attorney who worked in the fields of child trauma, child welfare, children’s mental health, and juvenile justice. He served as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School and Co-director of CCTASP. He was a Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas and a lead trainer and developer of the MacArthur Foundation Models for Change Action Network on Mental Health and Juvenile Justice’s curriculum on juvenile justice, mental health and child trauma.