Rachel A. Cohen, Ph.D.
Founder and Executive Director
Rachel is a clinical psychologist who has been in practice for over 30 years. She founded Common Threads in Geneva Switzerland in 2012. Now based in New York, she is a consultant specializing in psychosocial support for survivors of trauma. She has designed recovery projects in the developing world, training local staff and implementing interventions in post conflict areas including Bosnia, South Sudan, Uganda, Ecuador and Nepal. She earned her doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1986, and a certificate in global mental health from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma in 2010.
N. Lynn Hiestand
President, US Executive Board
Lynn is a corporate lawyer and former partner of the law firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP resident in Chicago and London. Lynn previously served as Iraqi Country Director for Heartland Alliance International, a human rights organization providing legal, social and mental health services to vulnerable populations, including survivors of GBC and SGBV, and continues to consult on human rights issues. She serves on the Board of Visitors of Georgetown University Law Center and on the Executive Board of JUSTICE, a law reform and human rights organization working to strengthen the justice system in the United Kingdom. She is also a trustee for Wellbeing of Women, a UK charitable organization investing in pioneering medical research to keep women well at each stage of life, and for Literature for All of Us, which helps disadvantaged individuals realize the transformative strength of their voices in by growing communities of readers and writers.
Mary Briese Matheron
Secretary, US Executive Board
Mary is the Associate Dean of Development at Yale Law School, where she leads the team responsible for securing private support for core operations, campus expansion, transformational programs, and endowment. Prior to joining the YLS staff in March 2013, she was a consultant on leadership giving to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). From 1996 to 2011, she held a number of positions in the Development Office at Georgetown University Law Center, including Executive Director from 2003-2011. Her career in Development began at the Academy of Holy Names in Silver Spring, Maryland, where she was the Director of Development from 1985-1987. Mary also worked in Georgetown University’s Athletics Department from 1978-1983, serving as Head Women’s Basketball Coach from 1981 to 1983. She holds a B.S. in Kinesiological Sciences from the University of Maryland.
Treasurer, US Executive Board
Ann Blume is a community leader living in Seattle, Washington. She currently serves on Seattle University’s Board of Trustees and the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Council. Ann also was on the SightLife Board, the University of Washington’s Center for Infant Mental Health and Development Council and Teens in Public Service Board. After graduating from Cornell University with a Biology and Nutrition degree in 1978, Ann moved to Washington D.C. where she helped implement the first generation of personal computers as a staff assistant to Senator Bob Packwood of Oregon. Ann met her husband, Bruce, while working in the U.S. Senate. In 1982, Bruce and Ann founded the Blume Company, a Seattle real estate development business which has helped transform Seattle’s South Lake Union, University, Eastlake and Fremont neighborhoods. The parents of five children, they share a passion for family, public policy, and philanthropy.
Catherine Butterly, MA
Catherine has trained in Family therapy, Play therapy and adult psycho therapy. She lives in the Geneva area and works as a psychotherapist, University teach and Clinical Internship Co-ordinator on the Master’s in Counseling at Webster University Geneva. Prior to this post, she lived and worked in Zimbabwe for 8 years. She has worked in a variety of contexts with people challenged by traumatic experiences and is very interested in how people process these experiences and how creative and artistic methods can be used in conjunction with other trauma treatments to promote healing. Catherine is also an avid quilter.
Lisa Raye Garlock
Art Therapy Consultant
Lisa is a full-time faculty member in the graduate Art Therapy program at George Washington University. She has presented workshops and given lectures on art therapy topics in the U.S. and abroad. She is a credentialed art therapy supervisor (ATCS) and is a Licensed Clinical Professional Art Therapist (LCPAT). She has worked with adults, adolescents and children in hospitals, schools, community-based organizations and shelters. In addition Lisa is an accomplished artist, exhibiting work in a variety of media, with a current focus on arpilleras. She studied printmaking and textiles at Rochester Institute of Technology and earned a Masters degree in Art Therapy from Nazareth College of Rochester.
Cynthia Uccello, MA
Treasurer, Geneva Executive Board
Bosnia Project Manager
Cynthia is a Counselor and life coach with a private practice in Geneva, Switzerland working with adolescents and adults. She received an M.A. in Counseling from Webster University Geneva and holds the ACC-level accreditation from the International Coach Federation. She previously worked in sales/marketing roles in a multinational corporation, leaving the field in 2005 to pursue a path of purpose in the healing profession. She is the co-Chair of Project HOPE, a Geneva-based organization dedicated to supporting survivors of sexual violence, and the Treasurer of the Geneva-based Common Threads Association.
Dr. Komproe is a leading scholar and researcher in the field of global mental health. Since 1996 he has been the director of research and development at HealthNet TPO in Amsterdam. He is Chair of Collective Trauma at Utrecht University, associate Editor at BMC Psychiatry, and been Research Coordinator at the Psychotrauma Centre, South Netherlands. Dr. Komproe’s core areas of expertise are research (quantitative) methods, research designs, analyses of multi-site, large and complex data sets (e.g. longitudinal data, nested data) and the implementation of research findings in the development, adaptation and implementation of mental health and psychosocial care systems within low-income and conflict-affected settings. He has authored more than a hundred journal articles on these topics.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mirsada coordinates all our activities in Bosnia and is our liaison to four partner organizations in 3 Bosnian cities. She oversees M&E planning, data collection and entry, and interviewing of facilitators, as well as providing translation of materials, and interpretation for all meetings. In her prior work, Mirsada has served as a project assistant for the AIRE Centre and the Gender Centre in Bosnia, providing organizational support for research, financial oversight, conference planning, evaluation, media management and report writing. Mirsada holds a BA in Journalism and Communications and is working on her Masters degree in business communications and public relations.
President, Geneva Executive Board
Sarah received her BSc (Hons) in Physiology and Zoology from the University of London. On graduating, she worked for the Australian Freedom From Hunger Campaign, and NGO focusing on community-based development in the Asia and the Pacific. During a field visit to Bihar, India, she was inspired to research the role of agribusiness in development. Her book, The Foodmakers, was published by Penguin in 1985 and serialized by the Australian Financial Review, which hired her as a staff writer. Sarah was subsequently posted to the Parliamentary press corps in Canberra and then to Bangkok where she covered politics, economics and business in South and Southeast Asia. From Thailand, she was recruited by a UK-based financial publisher as an editor in Hong Kong. After the Asian financial crisis in 1997, she co-founded an independent financial research and publishing company in Asia. Since 2009, Sarah has been researching trauma and trauma therapies. Sarah was a founding member of the Geneva Board of Common Threads.
Nguyen-Toan Tran, MD, MSc, DrMed
Geneva Executive Board
Toan is a family physician with a passion for community and international health with more than twenty years of experience. He has worked in Asia, Africa and Latin America in collaboration with ministries, United Nations agencies, local and international NGOs, and academic institutions focusing on improving access to sexual and reproductive health and rights through advocacy, capacity development, program implementation and research.
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