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2014-2015 Board of Directors

2014-2015 ACBS Board

Jason Luoma, Ph.D., Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center (USA)

President - Elect:
Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D., Utah State University (USA)

Past President:
Sonja V. Batten, Ph.D., United States Department of Veterans Affairs and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USA)

Secretary Treasurer:
Daniel "D.J." Moran, Ph.D., Pickslyde Consulting (USA)

Member at Large 1:
Giovambattista (Nanni) Presti, M.D., Ph.D., University Kore, Enna (Italy)

Member at Large 2 (basic science):
Louise McHugh, Ph.D., University College Dublin (Ireland)

Member at Large 3 (basic science):
Ian Stewart, Ph.D., NUI Galway (Ireland)

Member at Large 4:
Louise Hayes, Ph.D., University of Melbourne (Australia)

Student Representative:
Rosaura E. Orengo-Aguayo, University of Iowa (USA)

The Bios and Platform statements for the board members are below:


Jason Luoma, Ph.D.
Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center (USA)

Jason Luoma is a clinical psychologist, entrepreneur-scientist, and director of the Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center in Portland, Oregon, USA. His career has taken an unconventional path. After discovering ACT and behavior analysis toward the end of graduate school, he took a leap of faith in moving to Reno to become a member of Steve Hayes’ lab. He remained in Reno for four years as an intern and grant funded early-career psychologist. When he saw that federal funding possibilities for psychosocial research in the United States were drying up, he decided to use his entrepreneurial, business, marketing, and organizational skills to establish a stable line of research funding based on business revenue. The result was Portland Psychotherapy, a research and training clinic that uses an innovative business model to fund substantial clinical research and an ongoing postdoctoral research fellowship.

In terms of research, Jason’s interests focus on contextual behavioral science approaches to stigma, shame, self-compassion, and the training of evidence-based practices. This research has resulted in over two dozen articles and chapters related to ACT, a book on ACT (Learning ACT), and two successful co-authored NIH grants on stigma. He also is an internationally recognized ACT trainer and has traveled around the globe providing trainings, including Europe, Asia, and Australia, in addition to North America.

Jason has actively served ACBS since the organization began. He served as director (and instigator) of the first ACT Summer Training Institute, program director of the eighth ACBS World Conference, a founding member of the ACBS Training Committee, and past chair of the ACBS Training Committee. He currently serves as a member-at-large on the ACBS board, a member of the conference strategy committee, and president of the stigma SIG. Most importantly, he is a very active contributor to the ACBS follies where he most enjoys showing video and audio creations that he develops with other staff at Portland Psychotherapy.

Statement: We are at a very important time in the development of ACBS. As ACBS president, I will work to support ACBS in rising to the challenge of burgeoning public and professional interest in contextual behavioral science while maintaining the values that have allowed us to progress so far -- values of openness, scientific rigor, and collegiality.

As someone who has been intimately involved in ACBS operations for many years, I understand the organization from the inside and believe I have a good sense for where the organization needs further development. As both a researcher and clinician, I have the skills to support ongoing collaboration and conversation between basic researchers and applied professionals who use these principles in their work every day. As a small business owner, I have the financial and organizational skills to help guide the growth of the ACBS central office and help our organization be effective and efficient with the use of our growing budget. As an entrepreneur, I have the skills in marketing needed to develop effective and reliable campaigns that can increase the reach of contextual behavior science and bring more people into ACBS. And as a human being, I am persistently working to foster a sense of community where all have the opportunity to contribute to something larger than themselves. I will bring all these skills to bear if I am elected ACBS president.

I thought long and hard about whether I would be willing to set aside the substantial time it would take to be the kind of ACBS president I want to be. I only decided to run after I concluded that I am ready and willing to make the kind of time investment that matches the responsibility of the position. I am ready to serve and would be honored to be president of the organization that I see as my professional home.

President- Elect

Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D.
Utah State University (USA)

Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D. received his B.A. in Psychology and M.S. in Behavior Analysis from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno, and completed his CBT-focused internship at the University of British Columbia Hospital. He is a licensed psychologist and an Associate Professor of Psychology. Mike runs a research laboratory and a clinic focusing on ACT for anxiety disorders and the translation of basic behavioral principles into clinical psychology. His research is funded through the NIMH and the International OCD Foundation. He has published over 80 works including two books. Mike successfully facilitates links with other organizations in psychology. In 2012 he edited an issue on ACT in Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, in 2014 co-edited an issue of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior on RFT, and he is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS).

Statement: After serving on ACBS’s board for the past two years, serving on many additional committees within ACBS, and being part of JCBS, I feel as though I have a good grasp of how ACBS is growing as an organization. Serving as president would allow me the opportunity to continue to help ACBS grow while staying consistent with the values of the organization.
ACBS serves people throughout the world and across disciplines and professions. We need to continue to find ways to increase our availability of resources to our membership. This includes increasing materials and resources offered on our website, continuing to make conferences and training available across the globe, supporting scientific development, and working to make ACBS accessible to all members regardless of financial status or where they live. If elected president, I will work to offer new, useful materials via the website, increase the number of events that ACBS organizes, support contextual behavioral sciences by bolstering our grant program as well as our journal, and disseminate research and clinical resources to all members. An additional goal is to bring people into ACBS who share contextual behavioral values but work in applied or research fields that are underrepresented at ACBS such as education, social work, and the biological and neurosciences. As ACBS grows, I will strive to keep any changes consistent with our values of openness, support, humor, and compassion. Finally, I am fully aware of the time and effort this position takes and I am excited for the possible opportunity to represent ACBS in this essential position. I am happy to offer my personal time to ACBS and am pleased Utah State University has also offered support by releasing me from some University duties so I can best serve ACBS.

Past President

Sonja V. Batten, Ph.D.
United States Department of Veterans Affairs and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USA)

I began my Contextual Behavioral Science studies in Reno in 1994 and have served ACBS as a board member for the past 6 years. I hold a leadership position in an ACBS Chapter, serve on multiple committees and was the Director for the 2005 Conference. As an original board Member-at-Large, I participated in the creation of the founding policies and procedures for ACBS; as Secretary-Treasurer since 2009, I have worked extremely closely with our Executive Director and board to ensure financial stability, analyzing when to be fiscally conservative and when to take calculated risks for our society’s growth. In my day job, I lead national mental health policy development for the largest integrated health care system in the U.S. and have learned how to balance strategic thinking with ensuring accountability and successful execution of immediate plans. Based on my ACBS experience and my professional career, I believe that I am uniquely experienced to be able to move the organization forward. Now that our society has over 5,000 members, we must learn to foster expansion without losing what is special about ACBS – our values, community, and international connections. If elected, I will promote organizational development that provides ACBS with the structures to be successful in the long-term while encouraging processes that increase personal connections, commitment, and collaboration. I feel that I have more of myself to give to our community, and I would be honored to be chosen as President to serve the brilliant, creative members of ACBS who inspire me.

Secretary Treasurer

Daniel "D.J." Moran, Ph.D.
Pickslyde Consulting (USA)

Since 1994, I have dedicated the heart of my work toward the Contextual Behavioral Sciences. I served in volunteer and appointed positions aimed at our organization’s mission, including elected Member-At-Large for the ACBS Board. Other highlights include serving on the inaugural Recognized ACTrainer committee, co-directing the 2008 ACT Summer Institute, and currently serving on our Continuing Education Board. I’ve held leadership positions in related organizations, including President of the Behavior Analysis Society of Illinois. My career prepared me to significantly contribute to ACBS as Secretary-Treasurer. Because I value helping people, I founded the MidAmerican Psychological Institute and Pickslyde Consulting. I also directed a non-profit community center for five years and staffed it with ACT practitioners. These enterprises provided services for thousands of people, and income and opportunities for ACBS members. These ventures succeed because I commit time to accounting, balancing books, paying therapists and the various financial concerns of these ACT-based businesses. I actually enjoy quarterly meetings with my accountant, read Harvard Business Review as avidly as Behavior Therapy, and get a geeky rush of excitement when QuickBooks tells me that my company ledgers reconciled! If elected, I’ll blend my ACT skills and business acumen to optimize ACBS’s financial status so we can actively broaden our mission to more fully address the challenges of the human condition. I will investigate the feasibility of getting Developing Nations Fund donations to be tax-deductible, oversee the growth of student scholarships, and contribute my ideas for reducing operating costs to preserve our organization’s future.

Member at Large 1

Giovambattista (Nanni) Presti
University Kore, Enna (Italy)

Someone once said that the term “renaissance man” describes me. Maybe he was referring to my Italian origins, my background as a Medical Doctor, Clinical Psychologist or Behavior Analyst. I was introduced to contextualism at 22 by Sidney Bijou. Further on I deepened my research interests in BA and ABA focusing on the early equivalence studies and then RFT. Alternating clinical and basic science interests, I met ACT at the turning of the millennium, after knowing its first steps as “comprehensive distancing”. I have a broad experience of teaching and living outside Italy and helped establishing the European Association for Behavior Analysis and served as Treasurer for two years. I founded and co-managed a non-profit Italian association, IESCUM, which has fostered the expansion of a Contextual Behavioral Science in Italy. I co-chaired the ACBS meeting in Parma. I’m Associate Professor and coordinator of the undergrad program in Psychology in Enna.

Statement: I believe I can bring my national and international experience as an instructor, researcher, manager and Treasurer in an International organization at the service of the members of ACBS. I will be humbled and honored to serve in the Board, and if elected I will commit to foster the International breadth of this Organization. I share the value of ACBS and I think they are helpful pillars to help the expansion of this rapidly growing community and embed excellent science in good quality of life. I will also bring my training in understanding the point of view of different people in different cultures to expand the activities of the Association.

Member at Large 2 (basic science)

Louise McHugh, Ph.D.
University College Dublin (Ireland)

I’m a faculty member at University College Dublin. Over the past 13 years my research and teaching have centered around the experimental analysis of language and cognition and Relational Frame Theory, including especially the development of complex cognitive skills such as perspective-taking and the process-level investigation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. I have published widely and regularly provide training workshops on these topics. I have also been an active member in the ACBS community.

Statement: Currently I am a member of the conference steering and ACT trainer committees. Given my research focus and long standing commitment to the ACBS community I think I would have a lot to offer the community as a member of the official ACBS board. My goal in joining the board would be to encourage the ongoing development of RFT research and bridging the gap between basic work and its application to educational and clinical contexts.

Member at Large 3 (basic science)

Ian Stewart, Ph.D.
NUI Galway (Ireland)

I've been a member of faculty at NUI Galway since August, 2002. A core area of my research has involved developing and evaluating behavior analytic and especially Relational Frame Theory based procedures for training and assessing derived relational responding in children and adults and in both typically developing as well as developmentally delayed populations. I'm a member of several behavioral science associations (e.g., Association for Behavior Analysis International and the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group) in addition to the ACBS.

I share the values of ACBS and I've gotten a lot from membership down through the years and hope I've contributed too. If given the opportunity to contribute in terms of decision making I'd push for more promotion of RFT and empirical work in ACBS meaning more RFT research at ACBS conferences and more emphasis on supporting international collaboration in terms of both research and teaching of RFT.

Member at Large 4

Louise Hayes, Ph.D.
University of Melbourne (Australia)

My involvement in ACBS has been life changing. I love that we have this incredible model for helping humans find their way -- one that it is based on science. I am an academic at Orygen Youth Health Research Centre at the University of Melbourne, an ACT peer reviewed trainer, private practitioner, and co-author of an ACT book for teens. I am committed to our future generations and supporting our young people to achieve their potential. I was introduced to ACT in 2003, and became a member of ACBS shortly after its inception. Within ACBS, I am the President Elect of the Australian and New Zealand Chapter, a member of the Training Committee, the Conference Strategy Committee, the Developing Nations Committee, and Program Chair for the Sydney World Conference.

Statement: I would be humbled and honoured to serve on the ACBS board, and would focus on developing our community within our scientific framework. ACBS has seen wonderful growth in membership and I see this as a major challenge for the board. Our rapid growth can bring disconnection, and yet I know we value our community connection so much. It seems timely to me that evolution science has become an important influence within ACBS, I would seek to use our knowledge of group behaviours to focus on how we can stay connected as a community, while we grow SIGs and Chapters, while we grow our scientific interests, and while we expand our training and networking.

Student Representative

Rosaura E. Orengo-Aguayo
The University of Iowa (USA)

Rosaura is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at the University of Iowa. She was born in Puerto Rico where she completed her undergraduate studies. Rosaura was awarded two national fellowships to conduct research on relationship dynamics and intimate partner violence among low-income populations. She has been actively involved in developing an ACT based intervention aiming to reduce violent behaviors among men convicted of domestic assault. For her dissertation, she is conducting an RCT with incarcerated domestic violence offenders examining the effect of ACT versus treatment-as-usual on externalizing behaviors. She has co-authored four different treatment and training manuals that focus on the delivery of ACT with high-risk externalizing populations, and helped train over 100 Department of Correction employees to facilitate ACT in forensic settings. Rosaura hopes to continue translating empirically supported therapeutic processes rooted in contextual behavioral science into interventions that can improve the quality of life of underserved populations.

Statement: The ACBS community has been instrumental in my professional and personal development. I remember going into my first ACT seminar and feeling inspired to live a life that is in the here-and-now and consistent with my values; every step of this journey has been priceless. This community has informed my research, practice, and personal life, as well as it has transformed the way that I conceptualize mental health. As a student representative, I would like to come up with innovative ways to bring ACT training to more graduate programs across the nation, promote more active dialogue amongst current ACBS student members and professionals, and serve as a liaison to the future generation of clinical scientist and practitioners informed by a contextual behavioral science approach. As Mahatma Ghandi said, we should strive to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” This is one step towards honoring that value.

The ACBS bylaws say:

The officers of the Association shall consist of a President, President-Elect, Past-President, Secretary-Treasurer, a student representative, and four Members-at-Large of the Board of Directors. Each shall perform the usual duties of the respective office and specific duties provided elsewhere in these Bylaws or as assigned by the Board of Directors. Elections for officers shall be held every year. The President, President-Elect, Past-President, and student representative shall each serve a one-year term and may not hold any other offices within the Association. The Members-at-Large shall be elected every two years. In each two-year cycle one of the Members-at-Large shall have a strong background and interest in basic science relevant to the purposes of the Association. The Secretary-Treasurer shall serve a three year term.

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