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2022-2023 Board of Directors

2022-2023 ACBS Board

Maria Karekla, Ph.D., University of Cyprus (Cyprus)

President - Elect:
Andrew Gloster, Ph.D., University of Basel (Switzerland)

Past President:
Miranda Morris, Ph.D., Founder, True North Therapy and Training (USA)

Secretary Treasurer:
Jill Stoddard, Ph.D., The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management (USA)

Member at Large 1:
Valerie Kiel, MSc, ACT-Akademie, (Germany)

Member at Large 2 (basic science):
Staci Martin, Ph.D., National Cancer Institute (USA)

Member at Large 3 (basic science):
Rhonda Merwin, Ph.D., Duke University Medical Center (USA)

Member at Large 4:
Sindhu BS, MS, Private Practice (India)

Student Representative:
Melissa Miller, Wichita State University (USA)


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


Maria Karekla, Ph.D.
University of Cyprus 

Maria Karekla, Ph.D.,Licensed clinical psychologist, peer-reviewed ACT trainer, ACBS fellow, and Associate Professor, University of Cyprus, is heading the “ACTHealthy” laboratory. Her doctorate is from the University at Albany, SUNY with residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center & VA Hospital. Her research received numerous local, European and international grants, and awards by (among others) the European Council and Pompidou’s group, Society of Behavioral Medicine, and Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy. She is the convenor of the European Federation of Psychology Associations’ Psychology and Health committee and member of the e-health task force. Recently, she was appointed to the National Psychological Aid for COVID committee. Notable past positions: chair, the Cyprus Bioethics Committee and member, Psychologists Licensing Board. In 2018 she was nominated as Cyprus “Woman of the Year: Academic/Researcher.” Her first ACT psychotherapeutic childrens’ book was nominated for the National Literary Awards (2017) in the category Children/Adolescents.

Statement: “When Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: «Human». That simple word destroyed the monster” (Seferis)- homage to our common humanity. Growing up in the Greek culture, ancient myths and allegories shaped my values in life. Values, I have encountered within ACBS, the work, the organization and its people. My experiences, drive and love for this association and its members, will enable me to continue to serve from the post of President, with continued fervor towards our values, disseminating the science, expanding our reach and service so as to achieve alleviation of human suffering globally. Numerous life areas have been impacted by the pandemic and our science is needed more than ever. Having being intimately involved in ACBS strategic planning, I would aid in our visions materializing and moving ACBS to its next level of development in research, training, education, practical applications, inclusiveness, diversity, impact and reach.

President- Elect

Andrew Gloster, Ph.D.
University of Basel 

Andrew Gloster, ACBS Fellow and professor at the University of Basel, Switzerland, heads the Division of Clinical Psychology and Intervention Science and is Director of Clinical Training in Process-based Psychotherapy. Trained in the U.S.A., he has worked in Europe since 2006. Andrew is international in his outlook and sensitivities. He has published over 150 scientific papers, books and treatment manuals. His contextual behavioral science research program has empirically tested numerous aspects of the CBS model including clinical trials, public health, biological & genetic variables, pro-social behaviors in groups, and technological interventions. He is a licensed psychotherapist and a passionate mentor and trainer. Andrew actively works to disseminate and communicate science across professional lines and to the general public. Andrew has served ACBS in numerous capacities including secretary/treasurer of the Board, ACBS Foundation president, program chair (2015 Berlin), and is an Associate Editor of JCBS.

Statement: ACBS is a special organization. It is the only organization I know of that seriously cares about the hearts and minds of its members, while simultaneously supporting activities to increase well-being across the world. The breadth of professions and geographical regions at home in ACBS is a testament to the mission, spirit, and values of its members. This is simultaneously a strength and challenge.
In my previous roles within ACBS, I gained a detailed understanding of the issues ACBS and its members face. If elected, I will utilize this knowledge and contribute with my international, scientist-practitioner perspective. I will work with the board and membership to continue identifying additional ways that ACBS can serve its members. Additionally, I will work to preserve the core values of ACBS while we continue the important work of expanding the science and refining our interventions. It would be my honor to serve as president.

Past President

Miranda Morris, Ph.D.
Founder, True North Therapy and Training 

I am a psychologist in private practice just outside Washington, D.C. In 2010, after a few years of trying to build a private practice, I stumbled on my local ACBS community. Finding my tribe changed everything. Within a year, we had founded the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of ACBS. Committed to disseminating ACT, our chapter holds multiple workshops each year, provides free training to students, and has grown to well over 250 members. In 2016, I found the courage to step up and serve at the next level of ACBS and have since had the honor of serving on the Chapter & SIG and DEI Committees as well as the Women’s SIG Board. In 2018, I was honored to join our community of peer-reviewed ACT trainers, and I began service as Member at Large on the ACBS Board. My passion is building the ACBS community locally and globally.

Statement: In Improv, players start each show by patting each others’ backs and promising "I've got your back!” In this way, we let each person know that we'll be there to support them and make them shine. It’s not about the individual - it’s about the team and our collective power to lift each other up. On a larger scale, it is this promise, this commitment to one another that we need in order to realize the four pillars of our ACBS Strategic Plan: nurturing community, centering science, enhancing competency, and expanding our presence. The pillars are designed to grow ACBS and disseminate our science in the service of alleviating human suffering. To do this, we’ll need to have each others’ backs - all of them - the powerful, the published, the underrepresented, the disconnected, the disadvantaged. All of us. Let’s keep building an ACBS in which we all have each others’ backs.

Secretary Treasurer

Jill Stoddard, Ph.D.
The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management 

Dr. Jill Stoddard is a clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, an outpatient clinic specializing in ACT and CBT for anxiety and related problems. Her life mission is to disseminate ACT to the public in accessible ways. As such, she has authored two ACT books, The Big Book of ACT Metaphors: A Practitioner’s Guide to Experiential Exercises and Metaphors in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Be Mighty: A Woman's Guide to Liberation from Anxiety, Worry, and Stress Using Mindfulness and Acceptance. Dr. Stoddard is an award-winning teacher, TEDx speaker, peer-reviewed ACT trainer, and co-host of the popular Psychologists Off The Clock podcast. She writes the ACT-based Be Mighty Blog for Psychology Today and her other writing has appeared in Thrive Global, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, and Mindful Return. She makes frequent media appearances as a podcast guest and expert news source. She received her PhD from Boston University in 2007.

Statement: World Conference 2014 opened my eyes to the way a professional organization can and should be—welcoming, egalitarian, science based but open to all types of practitioners, cutting edge, and fun. Since then, I have dedicated much of my free time to being an active member of the community. I have loved watching the community grow and the pillars take shape. I have been honored to be part of a strong board who works tirelessly to make ACBS thrive. I believe CBS can change the world. With a global pandemic, climate change, social injustice, and deep divisions across the world, we are at a historical crossroads. I would like to tap the resources of our vastly talented and caring community to expand our reach in new and creative ways. I would be honored to continue on the Board, giving back to the organization that has given so much to me.

Member at Large 1

Valerie Kiel, MSc

My career began twenty years ago as a social psychologist with the United Nations in Kenya, where I became interested in community building, continuing education, online learning, and helping others create fulfilling and dignified lives. After moving to the Netherlands in 2010 and transitioning into clinical work, I became deeply involved with ACT, BA, RFT, FC, FAP. Within ACBS I am passionate about creating initiatives that bring people together to work collaboratively: I am a founding member of the German-speaking chapter in 2012 (on whose board I served twice; 2014-1015, 2017-2018), I co-founded the online drop-in peer supervision meetings (2013-2016, now ACBS Affiliate), and I sat on the Dutch-speaking training committee (2018-2019). I love continuing professional development and regularly attend and present at ACBS conferences. One topic that is very close to my heart is the ACBS-wide dissemination of the Portland Model. Since last year, I have been a co-host of the CBS Trainers Lunch 'n Learn session.

Statement: When I began my clinical training in my early thirties, I sometimes felt ashamed of my nonlinear career path when dealing with other members of the community. Over the years -and to my great surprise!-, I found that my "otherness" proved to be a great advantage in some situations. From this, I've learned that it becomes easier to authentically support others when we ask ourselves, "What does this person bring to ACBS that is unique and could fill a gap in our community or in a particular context?" This helps me to actively seek out and promote diversity in our community. At the same time, given the steady growth of ACBS, it seems important to me to keep reinforcing our commonalities (especially our community values) so that, for all our differences, there is always a steady social cohesion and connection. As a MAL, I want to help our community maintain our shared values AND create space for the recognition of personal differences. Because both are, in my opinion, necessary conditions for the advancement of ACBS.

Member at Large 2 (basic science)

Staci Martin, Ph.D.
National Cancer Institute*

Staci Martin, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and Senior Associate Scientist at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and Clinical/Training Director of the Health Psychology and Neurobehavioral Research Program. She is President Emeritus of the ACBS Mid-Atlantic Chapter and Past President of the Pain SIG. She serves as associate editor of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS) and the current JCBS Guest Editor-in-Chief. In her NCI position, she co-chairs the Diversity Working Group.
Dr. Martin has published over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of studies examining ACT interventions for individuals with chronic pain and for children with high-risk cancers and their caregivers. She is developing two ACT protocols targeting sleep in individuals with sickle cell disease and stress in parents of children with genetic syndromes. She routinely conducts ACT with medical patients from children to adults and trains mental health and medical providers on the model. *Dr. Martin is serving in her personal capacity

Statement: I have been involved in ACBS in various capacities for over a decade, including having leadership roles in chapters and special interest groups. In line with my professional and personal values, I am ready to serve on the ACBS board as Member at Large (MAL) – basic science. As a clinical researcher at the National Institutes of Health, I am engaged in ACT-based research on a daily basis. If elected, I plan to focus on bringing together researchers and clinicians through conferences and committees. Specifically, I will encourage clinical workshops at ACBS World Conferences to present evidence-based techniques and to prioritize research symposiums that emphasize clinical implications. I am committed to furthering the quest to bridge the clinician-research gap. Other aims are to assess the need for a mentorship program for established ACBS researchers to support early career researchers and to foster awareness of systemic bias against underrepresented minorities in research.

Member at Large 3 (basic science)

Rhonda Merwin, Ph.D.
Duke University Medical Center

I am an Associate Professor at Duke University, a Peer-Reviewed ACT Trainer, and the Founder and Director of ACT at Duke, a clinical, research and training program in Duke University’s School of Medicine. I chair the ACBS Publications Committee, and have been part of this committee’s efforts to promote the quality and success of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS) for the past 5 years. I am Co-Chair of the CBS Research Task Force and the 2021 ACBS World Scientific Program Conference Committee. My research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and uses ecological momentary assessment and mobile technology to study factors that influence maladaptive eating and weight control, and deliver intervention in the moment. I also study related constructs (e.g., interoceptive awareness, self-regulation) using sensors and other technologies. I am the author of the book ACT for Anorexia Nervosa: A Guide for Clinicians.

Statement: "Toward a progressive science more adequate to the challenge of the human condition.

It is hard to think of a more meaningful and far-reaching call. I have been a member of this community since 2003 (before it was ACBS). I cherish it. And I believe that CBS can make a difference in the world. If I am elected to the board, I will work to facilitate greater impact of our work. I will focus on how we can enhance our research; form productive collaborations that bridge basic and applied work; invite new people in and outside the community to participate (and bring new ideas, talents and skills); leverage technology in our science; and create greater accessibility and visibility of our work. I started my research career studying stimulus equivalence/RFT. I have spent years thinking about what makes high quality CBS research, and my career creating and disseminating its products.

Member at Large 4

Sindhu BS, MS
Private Practice

Sindhu BS is a psychotherapist and an ACT practitioner working in Bangalore, India. Sindhu is hugely passionate about CBS and founded the India Chapter with an intention to disseminate ACT and RFT across her country. In her private practice, working majorly from the ACT approach, she strongly believes that ACT is remarkably effective for the Indian cultural context.

Statement: If elected I would like to facilitate integration of CBS framework to support cultural diversity across the world in different contexts. Furthermore, I would like to make the ACBS board more accessible, so that people from low-and-middle income countries (LAMIC) are more likely to reach out and voice their concerns. I would also like to assist in the understanding peer-reviewed trainer process and make it easier for people from Asian and African continents to apply.

Student Representative

Melissa Miller
Wichita State University

Melissa is a doctoral student in Wichita State University’s (WSU) Clinical and Community Psychology program. At WSU, she works with Dr. Robert Zettle in the Contextual Behavioral Science Lab and Dr. Jennifer Demers in The Social Action, Violence, & Inequities Research Group. She has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Mississippi and a M.S. in Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She currently serves as the student representative of the Women's SIG for ACBS and is the president of the Psychology Graduate Student Organization (PGSO) and the Sexual Health Advocacy, Resources, and Education (SHARE) organization at WSU. She also serves as the Editorial Coordinator for the podcast, Psychologists Off the Clock. Her research interests include CBS, grief and bereavement, language, and social justice. When she isn’t doing school and research work, she’s probably hanging out with her two cats, listening to podcasts, or watching Harry Potter.

Statement: In 2016, I was lucky enough to take Dr. Kelly Wilson’s Abnormal Psychology Class at the University of MS. Since then, I have continually sought out ways to learn about and contribute to CBS. This diverse community has modeled value-driven action and fostered a compassionate, cutting-edge way of approaching science, practice, and professionalism. This way of approaching the world has impacted me in innumerable ways, and I have been honored to serve as the student representative of the Women’s SIG, a group who tirelessly advocates for equity in ACBS. If granted the privilege of serving as the student representative for ACBS, I would strive to amplify voices of minority groups within our community, including those of ACBS’s incoming community of professionals, the students. ACBS has fostered so much of my professional and personal growth, and I would be truly honored to give back to this community as the student representative.

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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