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Meet the Presenters

Arts and the Brain

Marian Brown

Marian Brown devotes her life to working on the question of how to build and support inclusive learning communities through the arts, looking at learning and leadership styles to catalyze social change while striving to achieve social equity. As the Executive Director and Founder of Arts Connect International, Marian seeks to unearth opportunities for burgeoning and established artists to address aspects of cultural inclusion through entrepreneurial, arts-based, artist residencies. She believes in the inherent power of artists to be effective change agents within their respective communities, as well as in a global context.

Nancy Jo Cardillo

Nancy Jo Cardillo is an Instructor in Creative Arts Therapy at Lesley University. Her areas of expertise and academic focus include: expressive arts therapy and dance movement therapy theory, application, and supervision with populations across the lifespan. At Lesley she teaches, expressive arts therapy studio, arts-based research and performance in expressive therapies, art therapy and expressive therapies internship and seminar I & II, principles of expressive arts therapy arts, healing and community in South Africa, and theories and practice of dance movement therapy.

Carolyn Crotty

Carolyn Crotty is an artist, art therapist, certified yoga instructor and founder of Whirled Tree Arts, a therapeutic arts organization dedicated to promoting personal and community wellness through art therapy informed creative experiences for children, teens, adults and families. Located in Burlington, Vermont, Carolyn works with individuals, families, organizations and schools to provide strengths based and community centered art therapy sessions and workshops that integrate the principles of counseling with visual arts, mindfulness and yoga in order to promote health, wellness, and joy through engagement in the creative process.

Emile Doucette

Emile Doucette is an editor, director, animator, filmmaker, drummer, gardener, skeptic, beach-lover, cat-wrangler, bearded long-haired went-to-LA-but-had-a-baby-so-came-home-to-Boston type of guy.

Elaine Fallon

Elaine Fallon is an experienced professional educator, teaching college level humanity courses at a community college with a specialization in remedial and developmental courses, psychology and sociology.  She has advanced training in-group process and counseling, and has been a consultant for multiple service agencies in the community for at risk or impoverished populations.

Ami Feldman

Ami Feldman immigrated to New York City as a child from the Philippines. She started her career as a dancer, getting a B.F.A. in Dance from Brooklyn College. Not fitting the white stereotype of the American Broadway dancer, Ami landed a job wearing a full body costume of a Muppet and danced on a National Tour of Sesame Street Live. Using her Broadway theater skills and making her ethnic background work for her, Ami later founded a Hawaiian dance company, The Hawaiian Vibe, and toured the Northeast US.

Esther Ruth Friedman

Esther Ruth Friedman is a performing songwriter, expressive art therapist and creator of Gentle Souls Revolution Healing Arts — a therapeutic arts practice dedicated to empowering ex-cult members and trauma survivors to reclaim voice and identity through artistic expression. Esther provides expressive art therapy to individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury through Advocates, Inc. and both individual therapy and music therapy groups for Developmentally Challenged Adults, through Harbor Counseling.

Priscilla Harmel

Priscilla Harmel has been involved in the field of Arts Integrated Education and Expressive Arts Therapy aligned through the lens of multicultural education and diversity awareness and focus throughout her professional life.  Her work with VSA Massachusetts as an artist in residence, and as a consultant for the Young Audiences therapeutic program residency and training for teachers and therapists has informed her work at Lesley University in the Creative Arts and Learning Graduate Master’s Ed.M. Program. 

Brian Harris

Brian Harris is a passionate and motivated leader and entrepreneur who strives to make the world a better place through helping others. As Co-Founder and CEO of MedRhythms, he is driven to make high quality healthcare accessible to all who need it around the globe. Brian enjoys meeting challenges head on and thinking critically to fulfill the vision of high quality healthcare for all.  

Ronald E. Hirschberg

Ronald E. Hirschberg, MD  Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, acute care physiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, and staff physician at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. His research interests are in traumatic brain injury (TBI), Arts/Music and Neuroscience (Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis), and early mobilization in the intensive care unit.

Mitchell Kossak

Mitchell Kossak is an associate professor in the Expressive Therapies department at Lesley University. Dr. Kossak has trained in a variety of mind body modalities including Polarity Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue Massage and Bioenergetics.  In Expressive Arts Therapies he has training in, music therapy, experimental theater, psychodrama, and authentic movement.

Martha Barry McKenna

Martha Barry McKenna is University Professor and director of Lesley University's Creativity Commons, where she provides creative leadership in the arts and innovation in teaching and learning across the university. She also oversees the Cambridge Creativity Commons for teachers and students of the Cambridge Public Schools.

Joseph Riccardi

Joseph Riccardi is Chief Clinical Officer at Seven Hills Foundation.  He is a clinical psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He has held clinical leadership positions in ABA-based programs serving individuals with severe behavior disorders. He has experience in psychiatric and medical settings, working collaboratively with psychiatrists and other medical specialists, and leading the integration of behavioral and psychiatric approaches.

Jon Sarkin

Jon Sarkin (born 1953) is a self-taught contemporary American artist. Jon is a prolific artist who creates elaborate drawings and paintings filled with words and images, among other artistic endeavors. He has been painting for over 20 years. His work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, ABC Primetime, This American Life, GQ, ARTNews, and galleries in New York City, Los Angeles, and around the world. He lives and works in Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

Vivien Marcow Speiser

Vivien Marcow Speiser is a Professor and Director of the Institute for Arts and Health in The Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, Lesley University. Dr Speiser is a licensed mental health counselor, a dance therapist and an expressive arts therapist and educator. She has developed and implemented numerous arts based programs throughout the U.S and Israel.

Lisa Wong MD

Dr. Lisa Wong is a pediatrician, musician, and author dedicated to the healing arts of music and medicine.  She is a violinist, violist and pianist who has worked at Milton Pediatric Associates since 1986 and is also an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard Medical School. In April 2012, she published her first book, Scales to Scalpels: Doctors who practice the healing arts of Music and Medicine, in collaboration with writer Robert Viagas.

True Story Theater

True Story Theater is a nonprofit theater company that offers 50-75 improvisational performances and workshops a year for community groups, businesses, and individuals mostly in the greater Boston area.  We work with hospitals, universities, corporations, religious communities… with teen leaders, cancer survivors, activists, philanthropists, business leaders to build empathy and respect in community through honoring all of our true stories.

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