Meet the HEART Members

headshot of Laura A. Voith

Laura A. Voith, MSW, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Social Work and a center affiliate of the Center on Trauma and Adversity at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. She has published over 25 peer-review articles, garnered over $1 million in federal funding, and established the Healing, Empowerment Antiviolence Research Team (HEART) that actively conducts applied and translational social work research to empower families and communities to live free of violence and shift the tide towards healthy relationships. The HEART focuses on how the risk of violent victimization and perpetration in adolescence and adulthood stems from physiological, psychological, sociological and cultural adaptations resulting from experiences of trauma, adversity and resilience in childhood. Dr. Voith believes that research is only useful if it can break out of the academy and is only relevant if it centers the lived experience of the people being researched. To that end, she serves as a Leadership Team Member of the the DELTA AHEAD Impact grant with the State of Ohio that supports the prevention of violence against women through program and policy; the Principal Investigator of a 5-year randomized control trial aiming to enhance relational health among low-income fathers funded by the Administration for Children and Families; the Co-Prinipcal Investigator of a 14-university partnership that trains social work students to implement evidence-based domestic violence intervention and support healthy relationships funded through AmeriCorp and the Center for Disease Control; and her team developed the Trauma-Informed Socially Just Research Framework that aims to humanize the act of research. A few things that feed her soul include being a mom, reading, hiking, playing volleyball, inspirational women, and a strong cup of tea.

Darrell Coleman headshot

Darrell Coleman (Coleman), a veteran, earned his Master of Arts in English from Cleveland State University and a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Coleman works for Ohioguidestone as an outpatient community-based services licensed social worker in the Cleveland urban school district. Based on this work, Coleman became more curious about a trauma-informed approach. Coleman’s research interest includes understanding the impact of the connection between intergenerational trauma, stress regulation, and forms of resiliency in underserved minority communities.

Sherise McKinney headshot

Sherise McKinney, MSSA, is a Joint PhD student in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Michigan. She is broadly interested in exploring how trauma may impact long term social mobility, particularly within historically marginalized communities. She also aims to further understanding of how community, neighborhood, and systemic factors may promote resilience or conversely exacerbate the impact of trauma.

Previously, Sherise worked as a Research Associate at the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities at Case Western Reserve University where she contributed to research on social dynamics within racially and economically diverse urban communities. 

Carina Montoya headshot

Carina Montoya (she/they) received a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Arizona State University in 2017 and completed her Master of Social Work with a specialization in Public Child Welfare from Arizona State University in 2019. Carina worked for three years in public child welfare, in their final role providing specialized case management to identified survivors of child sexual exploitation. As a licensed social worker in Arizona, Carina provided trauma-informed care as an adolescent trauma and equine therapist in a community-based agency, providing specialized care to identified trafficking survivors or adolescents at-risk of exploitation. Currently as a licensed social worker in Ohio, Carina works as a therapist providing services primarily to trauma survivors and to queer and neurodivergent individuals. Carina's research interests include sexual abuse intervention and prevention; effective trauma treatments regarding sexual violence; expansion of trauma-informed services to gender-expansive and LGBTQIA+ identities; gender and sexuality identity and development; and adolescent well-being.

Katie Russell

Katie Russell is a PhD candidate at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. She earned her BA in Psychology at Wayne State University and her MSSA from Case Western Reserve University. As an intern in her master’s program, Katie worked with child and adolescent victims of trauma and maltreatment, as well as military service members who suffered a traumatic brain injury in combat. As a PhD student, Katie’s primary research and academic interests focus on the impact of childhood trauma, as well as prevention and intervention programming focused on those potential outcomes. Katie is also a licensed social worker and applies trauma-informed practices to her work with foster youth and families.

Ashley Withrow headshot

Ashley Withrow earned her Bachelor in Psychology from Miami University and a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University. Ashley has been practicing in social work for over a decade with a focus in trauma-informed victim advocacy for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. She is an independently licensed social worker and a registered advocate with senior standing. Ashley's research interests include effectiveness of victim advocacy in minimizing secondary victimization, exploring the role of healthcare in responding to domestic violence as a social determinant of health and workplace violence.

Tian Xia headshot

Tian Xia obtained her BA in Communication and Master of Management Sciences in Social Security from Beijing Normal University in China. Before beginning her Ph.D. program, Tian was a co-facilitator of a 24- hour helpline for battered women and worked for a nonprofit legal aid agency in China, with over seven years of policy advocacy, practitioners training, and research experience in the field of gender-based violence prevention and intervention. She has spent most of her career researching how judicial practice responds to violence in intimate relationships, the development of anti-domestic violence social organizations in China, and the help-seeking behaviors of battered women in different generations. With her partners, she has completed a series of monitoring reports on implementing the Chinese Anti-Domestic Violence Law. In the future, she hopes to grasp quantitative research methods better, learn more about the causes of abusive behavior in intimate relationships,and develop more effective batterer intervention programs.

HEART Alumni

Jasine King headshot

Jasmine King completed her BA in Chemistry and a MA in Bioethics and Medical Humanities with concentrations in research ethics and medicine, society, and culture at Case Western Reserve University. During that time, Jasmine served as a research assistant on the HEART, and participated in several research projects in the Liang Lab of the Department of Chemistry and under Dr. Insoo Hyun in the Department of Bioethics. Currently, Jasmine is a medical student at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Her future plans entail pursuing a fulfilling career in medicine (specialty pending) that centers around elevating the interests of underserved populations. She continues to support the research activities of the HEART when possible. 

Hyunjune Lee headshot

Hyunjune Lee is a PhD graduate from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama School of Social Work. His primary academic interests cover understanding the impact of childhood violence exposure on the youth's violent and aggressive behaviors such as bullying. Taking an intersectional perspective, he is also interested in examining the roles that race, socioeconomic status, and stereotypical gender ideologies such as hegemonic masculinity have in the relationship between childhood violence exposure and youth violence perpetration.

Carmen Vernon headshot

Carmen Vernon graduated from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences in 2022 with a Masters of Social Work. As a student, Carmen was selected to become a Mandel Leadership Fellow. She also participated in the HRSA Opioid Workforce Expansion Training Program. She served as a Graduate Assistant on the Healing, Empowerment, & Antiviolence Research Team as well as a Student Ambassador for the admissions department.

Prior to Carmen's introduction to social work, she graduated from Indiana University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Gender Studies as well as a Certificate in Political and Civic Engagement (PACE). On campus, she trained students in democratic deliberation and organized rallies against gender-based violence. Carmen started her career at Global Impact, a nonprofit philanthropic consulting firm in Washington, DC, where she worked with over 20 nonprofit organizations. Concurrently, she became the Chief Editor of The Niche Movement.

Now, Carmen is a clinical social worker at the Nord Center in Lorain, Ohio. With a background in nonprofit work, Carmen prefers to spend her time in community mental health spaces. Carmen's role at the Nord Center includes providing outpatient therapy services as well as home-based hoarding disorder treatment.