Mass shootings and other traumatic events can leave children and adults with feelings of anxiety, fear and depression. FIU experts are available to discuss different aspects of these events, including how they affect children and adolescents, the impact of mass shootings on education and the teaching profession, and more.


Jonathan Comer, Ph.D. 
Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry
FIU Center for Children and Families

Professor Comer is available to discuss the impact of traumatic events on children and adolescents. He has conducted extensive research on the psychological impact of terrorism and other traumatic events or disasters on youth, including the Boston Marathon bombing and the September 11 attacks. As Director of the Mental Health Interventions and Technology Program his research focuses on expanding the quality, scope and accessibility of mental health care for youth. Much of his work examines children’s media-based exposure to traumatic events and how caregivers can best discuss frightening world events with their children. 

Twitter: @JonComerPhD

Laura Dinehart
Dean, FIU School of Education and Human Development

Dinehart is available to discuss the impacts of mass shootings on education and the teaching profession. She said about the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas: “It is no secret that the country is experiencing a significant teacher shortage. The reasons are challenging, complicated and systemic, but the events of May 24thin Uvalde, Texas remind us, once again, why young people are opting out of teaching.” Dinehart’s research has focused on early intervention practices and developmental outcome of children prenatally exposed to cocaine from birth to three years of age. More recently, her interests lie in the contextual variables that influence the school readiness and early academic outcome of children from high-risk environments, including children in the child welfare system. She has published numerous journal articles and presented at several national conferences.

Nicole M. Fava, Ph.D., MSW
Assistant Professor of Social Work
FIU Center for Children and Families

Professor Fava can address childhood adversity and trauma-informed care. Her research bridges the child maltreatment, trauma and sexuality fields from a developmental, trauma-informed, resilience-based framework via participant-centered and community-based research. Her work focuses on understanding multilevel factors impacting healthy development in order to inform effective interventions. Fava is available for phone interviews.

Twitter: @NicoleFavaPhD

Akira Gutiérrez Renzulli, M.A.
Ph.D. student and clinician
FIU Center for Children and Families

Akira Gutiérrez Renzulli researches the impact of adversity and trauma on youth and their families and has over 15 years of experience serving children, families, and educators in various capacities. Her professional experiences include working with children with disabilities, providing clinical services to families, and supporting educators nationally in implementing social-emotional learning in the classroom. Akira has also conducted research related to social-emotional learning and positive youth development at Tufts University. Her current research focuses on understanding the role of adversity and resilience among children and families of underserved communities, specifically as it relates to nourishing positive relationships with their caregivers and other important adults, building positive social-emotional skills, and preparing for academic success. Akira is a native of Nicaragua, grew up in Miami, Florida and is a proud graduate of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She is fluent in Spanish.

Twitter: akira_gtrz

Andy Pham, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Counseling, Recreation and School Psychology
FIU School of Education and Human Development

Andy V. Pham is a state and nationally certified school psychologist. His expertise includes culturally responsive practices and supporting children with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism and anxiety-related disorders in schools. Dr. Pham has also conducted workshops for teachers and parents on promoting children’s social skills, organizational and study skills, and social-emotional learning.


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