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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.