Board of Directors
2015-2016 ACBS Board
Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D., Utah State University
President - Elect:
Daniel "D.J." Moran, Ph.D., MidAmerican Psychological Institute/ Pickslyde Consulting
Jason Luoma, Ph.D., Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center (US)
Andrew Gloster, Ph.D., University of Basel, Switzerland
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
Member at Large 3 (basic science):
Nic Hooper, Ph.D., University of the West of England
Member at Large 4:
Niloo Afari, Ph.D., University of CA, San Diego and Department of Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (US)
Jessica Borushok, Bowling Green State University
The Bios and Platform statements for the board members are below:
Michael P. Twohig, Ph.D.
Utah State University
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.
Daniel D.J. Moran, Ph.D.
MidAmerican Psychological Institute/ Pickslyde Consulting
Leadership and contextual behavioral science skills supported my career accomplishments, and I will use those skills to benefit ACBS members. As founder of the MidAmerican Psychological Institute and Pickslyde Consulting, I put ACT in practice while achieving prosocial goals. I’ve trained ACT on six continents and aim to continue disseminating CBS to a greater diversity of professionals. As Secretary-Treasurer of ACBS, my actions significantly improved our organization’s finances, leading to substantial benefits for all members. I worked to increase investments in research grants, travel grants, Journal of CBS advancements, staff hiring, and extraordinary conference programs. I review ACBS’s budget every month and know how to offer even more membership benefits. For 21 years, I’ve contributed to developing our community, and the important project I’m leading now is the Investment Committee, through which my personal interaction with financial specialists outside our organization will continue to safeguard ACBS’s long-term economic health.
Statement:I have a genuine vision for continuing to expand the reach of ACBS. During my five years serving on the Board, I’ve worked hard to generate broader diversity in our membership, and a wider range of environments for our scientific applications. I’m very aware of our Membership Survey results and understand what our community wants for the future. I will strengthen the Board’s focus on the Diversity Committee, local chapters, international Training Institutes, the Developing Nations Fund, and our Conference programs. I will continue making participation in ACBS affordable and beneficial for all members. My recent publications focus on ACT for organizations and leadership, and I will apply effective ACT principles while leading the Board. I hope I have earned your trust, not just based on my extensive volunteer service and successful track record on the membership’s behalf, but for the vision I have for our lovely organization.
Jason Luoma, Ph.D.
Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center (US)
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.
Andrew Gloster, Ph.D.
University of Basel, Switzerland
I am currently a research scientist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, where I research several aspects of CBS that include epidemiological/public health approaches, technology enhanced assessment and treatment, and randomized controlled trials. I offer regular workshops, seminars, and supervision in ACT and have been an active member of both ACBS and the German-speaking Chapter. Together with my lab and collaborators, I have published numerous publications as well as created and translated various instruments relevant for ACBS. I am a licensed psychotherapist and a passionate mentor.
Statement: ACBS is my intellectual and professional home. Born and trained in the U.S.A., I have worked at German and Swiss universities since 2006. My work concentrates on ACT/RFT in my research, training, supervision, and therapy. Proudly, I have trained hundreds of students and professionals in ACT, while supporting some of the first studies in German speaking countries. I have served on the 1st German Chapter board, ACBS program committees, and am the Program Chair for this year’s conference in Berlin. I want to continue giving back to an organization that has given me much personally and professionally. As secretary/ treasurer, I would capitalize on my experience of running multi-site studies – including their finances – and of already working closely with our executive director (Emily). If elected, I will contribute my international perspective and experiences to help deal with the challenges/ develop the opportunities that face ACBS.
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.
Louise McHugh, Ph.D.
University College Dublin
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.
Nic Hooper, Ph.D.
University of the West of England
Nic completed his Ph.D. at Swansea University under the supervision of Dr. Louise McHugh. Following this, Nic lectured at a number of Universities before accepting his current position at UWE. Most of Nic’s research falls under the rubric of Contextual Behavioural Science, and can be divided into two areas; firstly, he uses Derived Stimulus Relations to explain how thought suppression attempts may narrow our behavioural repertoire. Secondly, he compares avoidance against components of ACT in the management of unwanted thoughts. Thus far, his research has displayed that acceptance-based techniques are useful in managing spider fear, learned helplessness, eating behaviour, stereotype threat and the fundamental attribution error. Nic also contributes to CBS in other ways; he writes a popular blog (http://nichooper.com/blog/), he will soon publish a book detailing the “Research Journey of ACT” and he has talked about ACT/RFT in many contexts; CBS relevant conferences, invited University talks and local radio.
Statement: At the end of every CBS conference an event happens in which people from the audience get up on stage and provide some sort of entertainment. This event is called ‘The Follies’. I love the follies. Not because it is thoroughly entertaining, but because it encapsulates what I like to call ‘The ACBS Spirit’. The idea that all of us are connected by our humanity, that no one person at our conferences is more important than anyone else, and that our small group of people, for better or for worse, and in unison, will continue to search for an adequate way to help people manage psychological struggles. I breathe the ACBS spirit, and although I would use my position on the board to promote and encourage basic and applied research activities in the community, it is this spirit that would shape my contribution across the range of topics discussed.
Niloo Afari, Ph.D.
University of CA, San Diego and Department of Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System (US)
I received my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of Nevada, Reno in 1996, under the mentorship of Steve Hayes. I am an associate professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego and hold leadership roles at VA San Diego Healthcare System and the VA Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health. My work involves clinical and research administration, funded research, and mentorship of doctoral graduate students. Since 1996, I’ve had continuous research funding for interdisciplinary research to examine the mechanisms of health conditions like pain and obesity; ACT-based interventions; and implementation of eHealth technology for monitoring of physical and mental health symptoms. I’ve been a member of ACBS since its beginning, have served as the founding Chair of the ACBS Diversity Committee for the last 3 years, and work closely with the Farsi-speaking Chapter to make sure individuals from Iran have access to ACBS resources.
Statement: I would be honored to serve on the ACBS Board and believe that my skills and strengths in administration, research, and mentorship could be useful to the Board and ACBS as we move our ever-growing multinational and multidisciplinary organization forward. The ACBS Diversity Committee has made a lot of progress in the past several years to highlight our organizational value of inclusion, from developing the diversity mission to establishing the Diversity Committee conference scholarships, and increasing the number and scope of diversity-related presentations at conferences. Having been immersed in that work, my goal in joining the ACBS Board is to continue advocating for inclusivity in all activities of our organization.
Bowling Green State University
I am currently a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Bowling Green State University in the behavioral medicine track. My research examines healthy living and ACT-based workshops/interventions in a variety of populations. Currently, my dissertation focuses on conducting a RCT with sedentary workers examining the effect of a brief ACT versus educational control workshop on physical activity, sedentary behaviors, occupational stress, and overall wellbeing. Additionally, I have also co-facilitated multiple ACT therapy groups for anxiety and depression with both college students and community members, implemented a mindfulness group for individuals with developmental disabilities, and attended multiple ACT workshop as well as last year’s ACBS Conference. One of my favorite experiences within ACBS has been serving as the Co-Chair for the Student SIG in ACBS alongside the Student Representative for the past year. As Co-Chair I helped create the first free ACBS student webinar series, which has been a rewarding experience.
Statement: This community has transformed the way I interact with the world in both my personal and professional life and profoundly influenced my career goals. I have loved the opportunity to serve as ACBS Student SIG Co-Chair this past year and hope to continue and build upon the work we have begun as Student Representative. This includes working to offer more free resources for students, ensuring that students all over the world have access to support and information from the ACBS community, and bridging the gap between students and professionals. The ACBS community is filled with a diverse array of people excited about the future of contextual behavioral science and how this approach can be applied to different populations, communities, and levels to move the world in a more values driven direction. I believe serving as Student Representative is my opportunity to work towards that.
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.