Carla Kmett Danielson, Ph.D.
EMPOWERR Program Director
Dr. Carla Kmett Danielson is the Founding Director of the EMPOWERR Program, which is dedicated to reducing HIV infection and substance use among local at-risk young people. Broadly, Dr. Danielson's research interests and clinical work focus on treatment and prevention with high-risk adolescent and traditionally underserved populations, including basic and translational science studies that inform applied clinical research. Her particular areas of research and clinical expertise are in: 1) evaluating and disseminating integrated treatments for comorbid PTSD and substance use problems, as well as HIV sexual risk behaviors, among trauma-exposed adolescents, and 2) understanding the pathways from trauma and stress exposure to mental health problems. Dr. Danielson has been continuously extramurally funded (e.g., NIDA, NIMH, NIAAA, Brain & Behavior Foundation, SAMHSA) as an MUSC faculty member. Her studies include randomized controlled trials (RCTs), assessment and lab-based studies that focus on biomarkers and mechanisms underlying the etiology of PTSD, addiction, and other psychopathology among trauma-exposed young people (e.g., current NIMH R01 examining threat-related negative valence systems, child victimization, and anxiety), and mixed methods investigations related to m-Health intervention development and evaluation. Of note, Dr. Danielson is the developer of Risk Reduction through Family Therapy (RRFT), an exposure-based integrative treatment for comorbid PTSD symptoms and substance use problems among adolescents with published RCT support (Danielson et al., 2012). She is currently leading a NIDA R01-funded large scale RCT evaluation of RRFT. Dr. Danielson is PI on a NIDA K24 (Mentorship and Research in HIV and Addiction Prevention among Traumatized Youth) and an NIMH T32 (Basic and Translational Research Training on Traumatic Stress Across the Lifespan)--and serves as a dedicated mentor to early stage investigators, post-doctoral fellows, psychology interns, and medical residents, and students.
Alyssa Rheingold, Ph.D.
EMPOWERR Program Co-Director
Dr. Rheingold is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Professor at the NCVC. She is the Co-Director of the EMPOWERR Program’s latest SAMHSA funded grant. Dr. Rheingold has been involved with the EMPOWERR Program since its inception in 2008. Her expertise includes treatment and prevention of health risk behaviors and interpersonal violence. She is the PI on several Victim of Crime Act (VOCA) funded and Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) funded service providing intensive case management and community based trauma focused mental health counseling to victims of crime with specialized services for survivors of homicide. Dr. Rheingold is responsible for overseeing the day to day activities of the EMPOWERR Program along with Dr. Danielson.
April Borkman, MA
EMPOWERR Director of Operations
Ms. Borkman is the Director of Operations for the EMPOWERR Program. April has worked for the past 10 years as a health educator and program coordinator on multiple teen pregnancy prevention programs focusing on minority youth in both Charleston and Beaufort Counties. She has served as a member and co-chair of the Charleston County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Council, and is currently the co-chair of the Charleston Health Advisory Committee and member of the Board of Directors for the Fact Forward. April is also a trained facilitator of several evidence-based interventions. She is responsible for the oversight and management of EMPOWERR's day-to-day-functions.
Angela Dawn Moreland, Ph.D.
Director of Environmental Strategies
Dr. Moreland is an Assistant Professor at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Purdue University in 2009 and completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship and post-doctoral research fellowship at the NCVC. Dr. Moreland’s research interests focus on primary and secondary prevention of child abuse and risk factors for maltreatment among high risk parents of young children (i.e., substance use, teen pregnancy); as well as dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practice for victims of interpersonal violence and their families. Dr. Moreland also examines the link between early victimization and high-risk behaviors, such as substance use and delinquency, among children and adolescents. Currently, her primary projects focus on prevention of maltreatment, as well as other negative consequences, among substance-using parents; as well as several other projects focused on dissemination and implementation of evidence-based trauma-focused treatments.
Jenna L. McCauley, Ph.D.
Director of Environmental Strategies
Dr. McCauley has worked with the EMPOWERR program since its inception in 2008. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Addiction Sciences Division of the MUSC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. McCauley’s general research interests focus on the dissemination and implementation of treatment and prevention interventions targeting substance abuse and associated conditions, like traumatic stress and depression.
Cristina M. López, Ph.D.
Cultural Adaptation Co-Director
Dr. Lopez is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and the Mental Health Disparities and Diversity Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Florida State University. She completed her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston Consortium). She is a member of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the Society for Advancement of Chicanos, Latinos, and Native Americans in Science. Dr. López’s research interests include identification of barriers to treatment engagement in mental health services, the use of culturally tailored interventions as a means of engaging specific high-risk ethnic groups in prevention and behavioral health services (e.g., HIV prevention, prevention of child maltreatment). Dr. López also serves as an MUSC Diversity and Inclusion Officer and is involved in several community and faculty support organizations to enhance the recruitment, retention, and advancement of underrepresented minority students, faculty, and staff.