Aileen Aldalur

Research Mentee Intervention Development Team, Deaf-MET

Aileen is a Deaf clinical psychology researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). Her research interests include Deaf mental health and developing evidence-based psychosocial treatments for Deaf individuals. She joined the DeafYES team to learn from some of the leaders in Deaf clinical treatment research and collaborate with the Deaf community as she develops her career.

Melissa Anderson


Melissa is a Gallaudet-trained psychologist and clinical researcher who strives to provide accessible behavioral healthcare to members of the U.S. Deaf community. She founded DeafYES at UMass Chan Medical School in 2014, where she has continually provided outpatient therapy and conducted research on Deaf mental health. 

Image Description: Naima is sitting with her hair down and wearing brown glasses along with pear earrings that are dangling in her hair. She is sitting in a tan dress with her hands touching each other and her nails are done with French tips. In the background, there are different sizes of trees along with blue sky & clouds. She is sitting on a stone pathway. 

Naima Boudreaux

Naima Boudreaux, a dedicated Pre-Licensed Therapist is passionately committed to providing culturally sensitive therapy for the Deaf community. With a Bachelor’s in psychology and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling, Naima thrives on understanding and addressing the diverse experiences of intersectional deaf individuals especially when it comes to one’s mental health and wellbeing. Excited to be part of DEAF YES, she serves as a Deaf Community Advisor, supporting initiatives like the Signs of Safety clinical trial in collaboration with National Deaf Therapy. Her work ensures that therapy sessions not only cater to linguistic nuances but also embrace the intersectional experiences of the clients, fostering understanding and empowerment at every turn.

Jessica Carter​

Research Liaison

Jessica joined DeafYES as a Research Liaison to assist team members on a variety of research projects and serves as a bridge between research teams, Deaf research participants, and the hearing systems in which we conduct our work. In addition to her commitment to research, she is also a certified sign language interpreter with a background in applied linguistics. She is passionate about expanding the concept of accessibility through translational science and resources for the Deaf community by supporting DeafYES’s innovative research and clinical work.
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Gabby Humlicek​

Gabby Humlicek is a deaf woman with diverse personal and professional experiences in trauma and alcohol use disorder. Holding a master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation and mental health counseling, she is committed to breaking down systemic barriers and promoting equity. With a background in working with deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf blind (DHHDB) youth, adults, seniors, and developmentally disabled individuals in public health and vocational rehabilitation, Gabby brings a wealth of expertise and passion to her endeavors. She looks forward to collaborating with DEAFYes to further empower the DHHDB community.

Image description: a Deaf Asian and Pacific Islander woman with long straight dark brown hair, stands in the desert of Phoenix, Arizona. She wears a flowing baby blue dress that contrasts with the sandy landscape behind her. A tall cactus towers over her shoulder, adding to the desert scene.

Courtnina Hocog​

Psychology Student | DeafYES! Intern

Courtnina Hocog is a senior studying Psychology with a passion for helping Deaf individuals, as well as those within the LGBTQ+ community, individuals with disabilities, and beyond. With experience helping diverse students as a peer mentor and psychology tutor, Courtnina is currently interning at DeafYES! Eager to learn about approaches and tools for empowerment tailored specifically for the Deaf community and other marginalized groups, her goal is to become a mental health counselor. She aspires to use her knowledge to support and advocate for Deaf individuals, LGBTQ+ individuals, those with disabilities, and others, fostering their well-being and empowerment.

Makoto Ikegami​

Intervention Development Team, Deaf- MET

Dr. Ikegami has been a licensed clinical social worker since 2012. He currently offers teletherapy in seven states through National Deaf Therapy and provides clinical supervision for interns and postgraduates to become licensed clinical therapists. He also teaches social work at a few universities, including Gallaudet University where he received his MSW in 2009. Additionally, he served as the President of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association from 2023 to 2025.

Erika Lohmiller​

Intervention Development Team, Deaf-MET

Erika is a Hard of Hearing Ph.D graduate from the International University for Graduate Studies (2005) in Addiction Studies and Mental Health Counseling. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, and a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in the state of Illinois. She has been in the field of rehabilitation and addiction counseling for the past twenty years with many different types of populations. She has been employed as a psychotherapist at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital’s Behavioral Health Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in Chicago, Illinois for 22 years. Erika is now an independent psychotherapist. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Northern Illinois University and has taught at Gallaudet University, and the Chicago School for Professional Psychology. Erika has a passion for continuing with direct services to consumers to foster healing for people who struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues. She works providing mental health, trauma and addiction psychotherapy services for people who are Hard of Hearing and Deaf, as well as for hearing populations.

Felicia McGinnis


Felicia is a Hard-of-Hearing graduate student studying Psychology with recent work experience in Deaf Education. She serves as the Clinical Research Coordinator II for DeafYES! after working as a Deaf Community Advisor on the Sign Here research project. She now supports the coordination of the Signs of Safety clinical trial in partnership with National Deaf Therapy. Her graduate study interests involve mental health and child development.

Image description: Rhys is a white genderqueer person with glasses, a brown goatee, and a long braid. They are wearing a blue sweater and smiling into the camera in front of a warm yellow wall.

Rhys McGovern

Deaf Community Advisor

Rhys is a hard of hearing speech-language pathologist who lives at the intersection of many communities. Rhys’s work focuses on reducing access barriers for individuals and communities and working toward communication equity for all, and he’s thrilled to be part of the DeafYES team.

Kayla Meza

Senior Clinical Research Coordinator, Signs of Safety

Kayla is a dedicated public health research professional and CODA with a passion for health equity. She joined the DeafYES! team in January 2024 to support the center’s innovative research projects and to learn from leaders within the Deaf community. 


Research Co-Investigator

Tim is a Senior Lecturer in American Sign Language at Brown University and Co-Investigator of the Sign Here 2.0 research team. He is a second-generation Deaf person who, through transformative justice, serves a diverse Deaf community using his experience in advocacy, education, research, and interpreting/translating. Tim’s father, who was denied access to interpreters and never given the chance to consent to his care, died in a hospital without fully understanding his own health. It is this experience that drives Tim’s lifelong mission to address structural violence that perpetuates inequality in health and well-being within the Deaf community.

Tamara Schmidt​

Tamara (Tam) is a certified adult peer support specialist and a certified meditation instructor. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in criminology at Gallaudet University and a masters degree in adult education at University of Phoenix. She has been in the teaching field for over two decades. Besides her passion for teaching, she enjoys yoga, gardening, hiking, camping and meditation. She is thrilled to be working with the DeafYES team by contributing her lived experience in recovery as a Deaf person. She strives to provide a top notch support system for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community by sharing available resources. 

Kendra Timko-Hochkeppel ​

Intervention Development Team, Deaf-MET

Kendra is a freelance Nationally Certified Deaf Interpreter working in many states and residing in MA. She is also part time staff Deaf Interpreter at Worcester Recovery Center & Hospital (WRCH). She received her B.S. in Education from Northeastern University and MSW from Salem State University. She has interpreted in various settings: DeafBlind, medical, Commonwealth’s press conferences, mental health, and some legal work. Kendra has completed a variety of training, some of which are: CALI (Center for Atypical Language), DBII (Deaf-Blind Interpreting Institutes) and Project CLIMB (Cultivating Legal Interpreters from Minority Backgrounds), RDI (Road to Deaf Interpreter), Deaf Foundations of Interpreting Seminar Series/ IMI (Integrated Model of Interpreting) trainings. She is from a 3rd generation Deaf family and is honored and excited to be part of the DeafYES! team. In her free time, she enjoys spending time camping with the family, reading a good book, and playing disc golf.



Alexander is a Deaf Assistant Professor in the UMass Chan Medical School Department of Psychiatry. He received his degree in clinical psychology from Gallaudet University, where he is involved with both research and clinical work. His research interests include improving the assessment process and adapting evidence based clinical treatments for the Deaf and hard of hearing community, especially regarding alcohol use disorder and addiction.


Elizabeth Adler

Team Interpreter

Beth is a nationally certified interpreter with a passion for mental health. She has been a grateful member of the DeafYES team since 2016. Beth obtained her Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies from Western Oregon University in December of 2022.

Carol-lee Aquiline

Study Interviewer

Carol-lee is a Certified Deaf Interpreter who specializes in mental health interpreting. She joined the Signs of Safety team from 2019 – 2022 to serve as a study interviewer, working individually with each study participant to help assess their current mental health, alcohol and drug use, and overall wellbeing.


Deaf Community Advisor

Being a Deaf Community Advisor for DeafYES allows Reena to use her knowledge in Biomedical Sciences to further support Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals in the healthcare capacity. Her long-term focus is in medical genetic counseling and providing accessibility, transparency, and better quality of care to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals who may be dealing with genetic conditions of their own or with their children.

Toni Donati Butland

Study Therapist

Toni is a former interpreter turned group practice owner with a clinical interest in trauma as well as adaptive and maladaptive strategies to cope with trauma.


Deaf Community Advisor

Nayo (she/they) identifies as a Deaf Queer gender-nonconforming Korean adoptee. She currently lives in the Boston area with her wife, two children, and two cats. Nayo joined DeafYES to help improve the physical health and mental health system for Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities by contributing her perspectives using her intersectional lens based on her lived experiences.

Tristen Hellewell

Team Interpreter

Tristen is a nationally certified interpreter joining the team from Maine! They joined DeafYES in 2020 and feel honored to be a part of an incredible team. Tristen graduated from St. Catherine University with their Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity in May 2022.


Study Therapist

While Neil is now semi-retired, he has been involved in Deaf mental health for nearly four decades. He worked in various Deaf mental health programs and contributed 6 books to the subject. He was proud to help the DeafYES team in some of the foundation work regarding Signs of Safety. DeafYES is a wonderful example of Deaf mental health at its best.


Deaf Community Advisor

Sheri is a Deaf person in recovery from alcohol use and a trauma survivor. She has worked as a Deaf Community Advisor on multiple DeafYES projects, including Signs of Safety 1.0, Signs of Safety 2.0, and a pilot project on perinatal depression among Deaf women. Her expertise as a Deaf person in recovery has been critical to the development of research and treatment interventions that are accessible and useful to members of the Deaf community.

Emma Pici-D’Ottavio

Research Coordinator

Emma has been a Research Coordinator at DeafYES for almost six years, assisting team members on a variety of research projects. She is also a graduate student studying art therapy at Lesley University and on track to become a licensed mental health counselor. Emma is passionate about expanding the accessibility of trauma-informed mental health treatment for the Deaf community by supporting DeafYES’s innovative research and clinical work.


Study Therapist

Karen has collaborated with the Deaf community since volunteering at DEAF Inc. in the 1980s. She currently works as a therapist at ServiceNet and at the VA in Central Western MA and recently contributed to DeafYES as a therapist for the Signs of Safety research study.


Study Therapist

Justine is a Deaf master-level clinical social worker. She exclusively devotes her clinical practice to the Deaf community, focusing on identifying and responding to the unique needs of Deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, and late-deafened individuals; members of the cochlear implant community; and their families.