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Welcome new PHS staff

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PHS welcomes the newest additions to our team: Philip Jai Johnson, PhD, Rebecca Stinson, PhD, Brenna Wernersbach, PhD

Phillip-Johnson-BP.jpgPhilip Jai Johnson, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow. He received his BA in Psychology and MA in Humanities from York University in Toronto, his MSc in Clinical Psychology from the University of Calgary, and his PhD in Clinical Psychology from McGill University in Montreal. His previous research experiences include examining the effects of idealized media images on self-esteem and body image in men, as well as ways to improve ethnic attitudes in young children. More recently, with a team of international collaborators, Johnson is examining the impact of minority stress and coming out in relation to physiological stress reactivity and psychological well-being in gay men and lesbians. He has obtained clinical training in hospitals and private practice settings in the areas of LGBT mental health, sexual dysfunction, couples therapy, mood and anxiety disorders, adult ADD, binge eating disorder, and chronic stress. His clinical interests include gender and sexual identity concerns, compulsive sexual behavior, relationship intimacy issues, group psychotherapy, and body dissatisfaction/eating disorders.

Rebecca-Stinson-BP.jpgRebecca Stinson, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow. She received her MEd in counseling psychology at the University of Missouri - Columbia and PhD in counseling psychology at the University of Iowa. Her clinical training has included experience in VA hospitals, medical centers, and counseling centers. She is trained in individual, group, couple, and family therapy. Stinson's doctoral research examined the psychological impact of treatment-related sexual side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications. Her clinical interests include sexual dysfunctions, gender and sexual identity development, relationship and sex therapy, LGBT sexual health, sexual trauma/abuse recovery, and compulsive sexual behavior.

Brenna-Wernersbach-BP.jpgBrenna Wernersbach, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow. She received her MS in Counseling Psychology and PhD in combined Clinical/Counseling/School Psychology at Utah State University, and completed internship at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Her clinical training has included experience in community clinics, counseling centers, and inpatient settings. Wernersbach's doctoral research examined the impact of psychoeducational group targeting Healthy Sexuality among college students, addressing sexual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Her clinical interests include sexual health and functioning, gender and sexual identity development, education and advocacy, and intersections of professional psychology and social justice.

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Congratulations PHS fellowship graduates

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Flaget-Greener-Rullo-Nabar-BP.jpgThe Program in Human Sexuality graduated three postdoctoral fellows at the Family Medicine and Community Health commencement this spring. On June 4, 2013, Margaret Flaget-Greener, PsyD, Krista Nabar, PsyD, and Jordan Rullo, PhD, were recognized for completing two years of intensive clinical and research training at PHS.

Flaget-Greener will be joining the Associated Clinic of Psychology based out of Minneapolis. She will be part of their long term care/nursing home services team. Her role will be to go to facilities to work with the residents and their families, the professional caregivers, physicians, and other professionals, to provide integrated clinical services to each referred resident. Flaget-Greener will present her research on August 14, 2013, at PHS "Mental healthcare providers' attitudes toward older adults' sexuality and their implications for psychological assessment and treatment: A randomized vignette study."

Nabar is taking a few months off to enjoy her recent journey into motherhood. She is looking to return to the field and is seeking a position that allows her to use her knowledge gained at PHS, particularly working with individuals who have committed sexual offenses and/or doing some relationship and sex therapy.

Rullo will be completing her fellowship at the end of September, and starting a position at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, as a Sexual Health Specialist and Assistant Professor in their Department of Psychiatry and Psychology and Women's Health Clinic. Rullo will present her research on September 11, 2013, at PHS "Sexual Health Consultation within a Multidisciplinary Health Care Team."

Photo: Margaret Flaget-Greener, PsyD, Jordan Rullo, PhD, Krista Nabar, PsyD
Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff Photography

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Coleman-&-Bowbeer-BP.jpgWe are excited to announce the new Michael E. Metz Fellowship in Couples' Sexual Health that will help prepare postdoctoral fellows for a career that will combine clinical and scholarly endeavors in the area of couples' sexual health.

The Metz Fellowship was created with a generous gift from Hildy Bowbeer to honor the life and work of her husband, Michael E. Metz, PhD. Metz was a nationally respected psychologist and couples therapist, who for 12 years served on the faculty of PHS and directed the relationship and sex therapy program. Metz passed away in March 2012.

Bowbeer said, "Mike was not only committed to couples' sexual health in his own clinical and research work, but was also passionate about training the next generation of scholars and therapists in this field. I'm thrilled to be able to help PHS carry on his legacy in this way."

The Metz Fellowship is a two-year program that will follow the training model of our postdoctoral fellowship, but the Metz Fellow will focus her or his clinical work on couples' sexual health. Bowbeer's gift will enable the Metz fellow to dedicate thirty percent of their time to research in the area of couples' sexual health. "This is a great opportunity for a postdoctoral fellow to have more time to focus on research and scholarly work," said Eli Coleman, PhD, director.

As a clinician Metz worked with more than 6,000 couples, addressing and resolving relationship and sexual problems, improving their quality of life. He authored 4 books and more than 60 professional articles and book chapters in the areas of couple intimacy, relationship conflict styles, sexual health, sexual medicine, and cognitive-behavioral features of satisfying relationships. He conceptualized the "Good Enough Sex Model" which was greeted with great appreciation. Throughout his career, Metz received many awards and honors.

Now accepting applications for fall 2013
http://z.umn.edu/metz

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Congratulations fellowship graduates

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Grad-2012-BP.jpgThe Program in Human Sexuality graduated two postdoctoral fellows at the Family Medicine and Community Health commencement this spring. On June 7, 2012, Brad Nederostek, PsyD, and Aimee Tubbs, PsyD, were recognized for completing two years of intensive clinical and research training at PHS.

Nederostek will be completing his fellowship at the end of August and has plans on integrating his knowledge in the areas acceptance-based therapeutic models and human sexuality within the Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VA). He hopes on pursuing these endeavors within the VA System.

Tubbs completed her fellowship at the end of May. She has been enjoying some time off while pursuing a full-time clinical psychologist position. Clinical interests include continuing emphasis on sexual health issues, with a specific interest in addressing compulsive sexual behavior.

PHOTO: credit Libby Frost

 

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Dianne-Berg-BP-7.jpgThe PHS postdoctoral fellows honored Dianne Berg, PhD, with the 2012 Faculty Mentor Award. Graduating fellows Aimee Tubbs, PsyD, and Brad Nederostek, PsyD, presented the award on June 13.

The fellows selected Berg because she is "someone who has gone above and beyond the call of duty, is an outstanding leader, teacher, and mentor, and is supportive of our learning and development as professionals." Tubbs added that her, "clinical skills are top notch, her enthusiasm is contagious, she has the very important ability to instill hope, she seizes opportunities for teachable moments, she is compassionate, kind, approachable, down to earth, and she is ALWAYS open to the 'random door knock' to field fellow's questions. Berg provides balanced feedback, she gives constructive criticism and celebrates successes. She includes the fellows as colleagues and helps us see ourselves as part of the profession."

Berg herself is a graduate of the PHS postdoctoral fellowship. She has mentored postdoctoral fellows since 2000.

Dianne Berg, PhD, is an assistant professor involved in providing clinical services to adults, adolescents and children with sexuality concerns. Her areas of interest are compulsive sexual behavior, transgender issues (including gender identity disorder and intersex issues in children), women's sexual dysfunction including relationship and sex therapy, abuse recovery, and the treatment of sex offenders (including children with sexual behavior problems). She recently developed a time-limited psychoeducational/support group for partners of people with compulsive sexual behavior and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of a new community health seminar for the GLBT community called Our Sexual Health. While at the University of Illinois, Berg helped to develop, implement, and research the impact of a campus-wide acquaintance rape education program. She also was active in the establishment of lesbian support groups. For several years prior to coming to PHS, Berg focused on the psychological assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and families in a variety of settings including residential treatment and a community mental health outpatient clinic. She continues to be a community faculty member of Metropolitan State University, where she teaches a course on the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child abuse and neglect.

 

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Cesar Gonzalez, PhD, and Katie Spencer, PhD, have been promoted to Assistant Professors at the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Minnesota Medical School.
 
Cesar-Gonzalez-BP-7.jpgGonzalez completed his postdoctoral fellowship at PHS in 2010, and joined PHS as a clinical psychologist and researcher on the All Gender Health Online research project where he helped develop an interactive web-based intervention for sexual health. Since then he has been promoted to a Research Associate and now to Assistant Professor (research-track).
 
In June 2012, Gonzalez completed his board certification in clinical psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He is currently receiving his Advanced Certification in Schema Therapy (by the International Society of Schema Therapy through the Cognitive Therapy Center of NY/NJ), an innovative and evidence-based approach for treating complex psychological conditions and personality disorders. Gonzalez received his BA in psychology from the University of Arizona and received his PhD in clinical psychology from Alliant International University, Los Angeles. His clinical training includes behavioral medicine, severe mental illness, child and family therapy, and the assessment of learning differences. He served as director of evaluation and research at Bienestar Human Services, Inc., a non-profit organization serving Latino, HIV-infected/affected, GLBT individuals, where he evaluated HIV prevention programs and conducted community research on HIV/AIDS. Gonzalez is an editorial board member of the International Journal of Transgenderism and is a fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology. He is also recipient of National Institute of Health's Loan Repayment Program award. His research interests include: gender dysphoria; gender non-conformity; depression and suicidality; resilience; early maladaptive cognitive schemas; and multicultural community psychology. Gonzalez is bicultural, and is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Katie-Spencer-BP-7.jpgSpencer completed her postdoctoral fellowship at PHS in 2009, and joined PHS as a clinical psychologist. She has now been promoted to Assistant Professor (clinical scholar track).

In addition to her clinical work, Spencer works with multiple community organizations working to educate about LGBT healthcare issues and primarily transgender healthcare. She works with the Minnesota Trans Youth Support Network on the Community Hormone Access Project, partnering with community advocates and trans youth to develop community based hormone protocols for transgender care, in hopes to increase access to competent care and hormone provision for trans youth. She recently participated in the development of a theatre educational project for high schools on transgender youth issues. Spencer provides training education, and consultation on sexual health and transgender issues, and has worked with the Family Tree Clinic, Face to Face Health and Counseling Services, Fairview Clinics, the University of North Dakota, and the Veterans Administration. Spencer often speaks about the intersections of LGBT rights and impact on well-being, and will be presenting a First Friday Forum for the Minnesota Psychological Association on the psychological research on same sex marriage in October 2012.

Spencer received her MA and PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She received her BA in women's studies and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her internship was completed at the University of Illinois-Chicago Counseling Center. She has a strong interest in education and training of therapists and medical providers in sexual health and transgender health care competency. Her primary clinical practice is working with transgender and gender non-conforming children, adolescents, and adults, women's sexual health, and LGBT sexual health and well-being. She co-facilitates several groups, including the gender exploration group for youth and their families, the women's sexual health group, and transgender adult interpersonal groups. She has experience working with compulsive sexual behavior and general sexual dysfunction concerns. Her research and clinical interests focus on cultural competency in working with LGB and transgender populations, LGBT sexual health, sex therapy with LGBT couples, trans youth, and feminist embodied approaches to sexual health. 

 

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Welcome new PHS staff

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PHS welcomes the newest additions to our team:  Jordan Rullo, PhD, and Cathy Strobel

J-Rullo-BP.jpgJordan Rullo, PhD, received her BA in psychology from Indiana University-Bloomington and her MS and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her training has included completion of a psychology Honors Thesis at the Kinsey Institute for Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, as well as completing an APA-accredited internship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Ontario, with a specialization in the sexual behaviors and forensic track. She received an APA Division 44 Scholarship Award to conduct her dissertation research on the subjective and objective sexual arousal/interest of bisexually-identified men and women. Rullo's clinical interests include: compulsive sexual behavior/hypersexuality, gender identity and sexual orientation development, relationships and sexual functioning, and paraphilias. She employs interpersonal reconstructive and cognitive-behavioral treatment modalities in her clinical work in order to help clients learn to recognize their patterns and where they came from, as well as make a decision about which patterns to change and how to develop new and more adaptive patterns.

C-Strobel-BP.jpgCathy Strobel is the new project coordinator for the Compulsive Sexual Behavior and HIV risk study. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Winona State University and has taken MBA coursework including completion of the Mini MBA for Nonprofit Organizations from St. Thomas University. Strobel worked for the Minnesota AIDS Project for the past 10 years as the program manager for the agency's three HIV prevention programs that targeted gay and bisexual men and injecting drug users. Her programs routinely referred program participants to PHS counseling services and the Man2Man program. She also served on a community advisory committee for the Community PROMISE project where she met Bean Robinson, PhD. Before entering the HIV field, Strobel worked for nine years at the Minnesota State Legislature and was a steering committee member of the It's Time Minnesota, the statewide grassroots coalition that organized to add sexual orientation to the state Human Rights Act in 1993.

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Rosemary Munns, PsyD, honored with Faculty Mentor Award

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Munns-award.jpgRosemary Munns, PsyD, was honored with the 2011 Faculty Mentor Award presented by the PHS postdoctoral fellows. Graduating fellows Eric Sprankle, PsyD, and Sheena Hoffman, PhD, presented the award.

Sprankle said of Munns, "I learned more about cognitive therapy from her in the first six months of my fellowship than in the five years of previous clinical training combined. She provided invaluable support and advice for job searching and studying for the EPPP. And most importantly, I am truly fortunate to have had her empathy and warmth when I was experiencing personal distress."

Hoffman added, "Rose has always followed through for me, and she was thorough and attentive every step of the way. Being lucky enough to have her as a supervisor my first semester/rotation here, I felt very safe. She serves as a body guard for the postdocs as needed, since she was a postdoc here herself. I have always appreciated that she is organized, on top of things, attentive, and makes sure that she has answered every question before we move forward. I have a lot of respect for her, and feel honored to have worked with her. She has served as a strong mentor to me."

Munns thanked Sprankle and Hoffman and said, "I am truly honored. Training the postdocs is a very important part of my job that I take very seriously. Thank you."

Munns herself is a graduate of the PHS postdoctoral fellowship. She has mentored postdoctoral fellows since 2001.

Munns received her MA in clinical psychology in 1995 and her PsyD in 1998 from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology. She had 12 years of experience in the mental health field prior to graduate school. She has extensive clinical experience in assessment and treatment of substance abuse, working in correctional settings with juvenile delinquents and adults, as well as inpatient and outpatient psychiatry. Her primary interest is in providing clinical services to adults with sexuality issues. Her areas of interest are sexual dysfunctions, relationship and sex therapy, transgender issues, assessment and treatment of sex offenders, abuse recovery, compulsive sexual behavior, sexual orientation, and HIV counseling.

PHOTO: Rosemary Munns, PsyD, Eric Sprankle, PsyD, and Sheena Hoffmann, PsyD

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Congratulations PHS Fellowship Graduates

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2011-graduation-group-BP.jpgOn June 8, 2011, the Program in Human Sexuality graduated three postdoctoral fellows at the Family Medicine and Community Health commencement. Sheena Hoffman, PsyD, Ashley Mercer, PsyD, and Eric Sprankle, PsyD, were recognized for completing two years of intensive clinical and research training at PHS.

Hoffman will be finishing her fellowship at the end of September and has plans to continue sexual health work either in a women's center or college counseling setting in Chicago, IL. Her clinical interests include sexual dysfunction, intimacy, sexual trauma, and sexual education with all types of genders and sexual orientations.

Mercer continues to work in sexual health as a staff psychologist at the mental health clinic at Park Nicollet- St. Louis Park.

Sprankle has started work as an assistant professor of psychology at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He will be leading a research team of graduate students and undergrads, examining sexual arousal and sexual perceptions of sexually explicit instructional videos.

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Bean's-award-BP.jpgBean Robinson, PhD, was honored with the Faculty Mentor Award presented by the PHS postdoctoral fellows at the Family Medicine and Community Health Commencement on June 9, 2010. Graduating fellow G Zachariah White, PsyD, presented the award. He said of Robinson, "Bean is extremely genuine and is emotionally available and supportive. She creates a culture of feedback and thereby treats postdocs as colleagues. Her personality is lovely, and she brings fun, enthusiastic, and sex-positive energy to her work! She is multiculturally aware, competent, and responsible. She is an experienced and committed supervisor. She is passionate about sex and relationship therapy!"

Robinson said,

I am all too aware that I am getting older and entering the later stages of my career. I guess I'm in the developmental stage that Erik Erikson would call "Middle Adulthood" with a focus on generativity (vs. self absorption or stagnation). Erikson says that the significant task of this stage is to perpetuate culture, care of others, and production of something that contributes to the betterment of society. Thus, I'm all too aware of the importance of replacing me and other sexuality professionals by training the next generation of sex therapists and researchers. We have a rigorous two year fellowship, and it is rewarding to see the fellows develop their skills. Each fellow we graduate helps to strengthen the field of sexual science, and I take great comfort in that.

Robinson has mentored postdoctoral fellows since 1991.  She received her BA in sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and her MA in counseling psychology and her PhD in family social science from the University of Minnesota. She received NIMH funding to complete a postdoctoral training in Asian-American mental health and research methods at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Robinson is currently a Minnesota licensed psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, and an associate professor at the PHS. Prior to coming to PHS in September, 1991, she was the senior researcher at the Wilder Research Center (1984-1991) and, concurrently, was the consulting psychologist for the White Bear Lake Area Community Counseling Center (1980-1991). She has served as the executive director of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) since 1996.

The focus of Robinson's professional activities has been in the psychology of human sexuality and sexual health, treatment outcome research/effectiveness, and obesity and body image. Her current area of emphasis within human sexuality is exploring and developing sexual health via HIV prevention in minority communities, most notably the African American, African-born, Hmong, men who have sex with men, bisexual, and transgender communities. She is a researcher-clinician who investigates healthy behavioral and psychological change and tries to develop new methods, techniques and programs to promote sexual and psychological health. Her current research project, titled "Opening Pandora's Box: Somali Women, Sexuality, and HIV/STD Prevention," will be the first to examine HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of Somali women of all sexual orientations with the ultimate goal of meeting the critical need to reduce HIV and STD transmission among African-born Americans in Minnesota (and the US) as African-born Americans have the highest HIV/AIDS rates of any ethnic group.

Robinson has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed and other journals and books, has been the principal or co-investigator on research grants, and is on the editorial boards of 11 scientific journals. She has been a practicing clinician for her entire career. She is an active teacher, providing for the clinical training of psychologists, marriage and family therapists, and medical students and residents, has developed HIV/STD prevention curricula, and has given numerous presentations at professional meetings.

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Katie-Spencer-BP.jpgKatherine Spencer, PhD, has always had a natural inclination toward talking about sex, and she hopes to do so throughout her career.  In June we celebrated her graduation, and on December, 31, 2009, she will complete her postdoctoral study at PHS.

Spencer knew as a young graduate student that she wanted to study at PHS.  And now after two years of hard work, her enthusiasm still shines through.  Spencer believes, "Sexuality is core to who we are as individuals and it is this vulnerable center that we share with others.  Sex and gender are fascinating, wonderful parts of ourselves and can be powerful entry points for growth and change.  I am honored that people trust me with this vulnerable aspect of self and allow me to be part of their lives through the therapeutic relationship."

Starting in college, Spencer has been an activist for GLBT communities, women, and social justice.  Throughout her postdoctoral fellowship she has worked to maintain congruency between her community perspective and her therapy.  Her training at PHS has helped her to strengthen her voice and have confidence in her perspective.  She has also gained skills through the breadth of her training, stating, "I am a better therapist from my experience here working with a range of families, individuals, couples, and youth."  

Spencer advises future postdoctoral fellows to apply early, to remember that change is always possible, and to be open to personal growth.  She also suggests to be prepared to work hard and try to find balance: "The hours are long and the work is emotionally intense, but if you are passionate about human sexuality the hard work is worth it."    

After her training is complete, Spencer will remain in the Twin Cities and continue her therapy work in gender and sexuality issues.  Spencer received her MA and PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and her BA in women's studies and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her internship was completed at the University of Illinois-Chicago Counseling Center. 

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