The UnLoneliness Project Advisors & Contributors
Thanks to our team of experts and friends interested in this signature initiative for the Foundation.
John Cacioppo, Director, Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, University of Chicago
John Cacioppo is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor and Director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. The author of more than 500 scientific articles and 20 books, including Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, Cacioppo is a pioneer in the field of social neuroscience and an expert on the science of loneliness. His research in social neuroscience is devoted to understanding the neural, hormonal, cellular, and molecular mechanisms underlying the social structures and processes that define us as a social species, with an emphasis on the state and trait of loneliness.
Cacioppo has served as the Chair of the Board of Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences at the National Research Council; a Member of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate; a Member of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science; a Member of the National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review (CSR) Advisory Council; a Member of the Expert Panel on Program to Reduce Social Isolation, Mary Foundation, Copenhagen, Denmark; a Member of the Board of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Foundation; Chair of the International Board of the Cluster of Excellence “Languages and Emotion” at Free University Berlin; and a Member of the External Advisory Committee for the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois. Among the awards he has received are the Troland Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Scientific Impact Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions from the Society for Psychophysiological Research, the Campbell Award and the Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Society for Social and Affective Neuroscience, the Career Achievement Award from the Chicago Society for Neuroscience, and the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. He has also served a Past Chair of the Psychology Section of American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Past-President of several scientific societies, including the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Social Neuroscience, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Society for Psychophysiological Research.
Stephanie Cacioppo, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
Named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science, Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo (née Ortigue) is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience and Director of the High-Performance Electrical Neuroimaging (HPEN) Laboratory at the University of Chicago Medicine and Biological Sciences. Her research program intersects the areas of medical neuroscience, social neuroscience, and cognitive psychology. Combining different high-performance brain imaging techniques with psychophysics, Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo focuses on elucidating how and when the mirror neuron system (a network that is activated when you move and also when you watch someone performing a similar action) contributes to successful interpersonal relationships and creativity.
Understanding how and when the deeply rooted brain dynamics vary as a function of how one feels toward (and thinks about) themselves and others may provide critical insights on one’s mental health, creativity and life satisfaction, and may promote the development of interventions for neuropsychiatric and neurologic patients. Dr. Cacioppo served on several boards and committees, including the Society for Social Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience Society, the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, and NeuroImage. She co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific publications and one book on the neuropsychology of painting and the impact of brain lesions on creativity and artistic styles. Using testimonials, clinical documents and graphics productions gathered around painters or creative minds affected by brain injuries (e.g., Lovis Corinth, Pierre Ambrogiani, Anton Räderscheidt, or even Federico Fellini) and analysis of their works before and after accident, the book unfold the map of the cognitive mechanisms involved in the practice of painting, and more broadly, in the perception and representation of the world around us.
Kathleen Harris, Vice President, Benefits, Time Warner Inc.
Kathleen Harris is Vice President of Benefits for Time Warner Inc. She was elevated to this role in 2011 and is responsible for defining the Company’s benefits strategy, maximizing the return on the Company’s rewards programs, and creating and executing innovative campaigns to inform employees about the benefit programs.
In her role, Harris has streamlined health and welfare and retirement benefits globally across every business of the Company. In addition to being responsible for the Time Warner’s benefit plans, Harris is also responsible for managing leading edge wellness and care management programs that provide support to Time Warner employees with complex, acute and chronic conditions. In addition, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast Business Group on Health.
Prior to joining Time Warner in 2006, Harris spent four years as a Senior Consultant and Client Delivery Lead of the Group and Healthcare Practice at benefits consulting firm Watson Wyatt where she was responsible for identifying consulting opportunities for Fortune 500 clients and building strategic HR solutions that met both their business and human capital needs. Previously, Harris did similar work as a Health and Welfare Consultant at Towers Perrin.
Harris holds a B.S degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington and an M.P.H. from Yale University’s School of Public Health.
Edward Hirsch, President, Guggenheim Foundation
Edward Hirsch was born in Chicago in 1950, and has had a lifelong devotion to poetry. Hirsch has published eight collections of poems since 1981, as well as five books of prose. He has also edited numerous poetry anthologies. For his work, Hirsch has received such distinguished awards as a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a Pablo Neruda Presidential Medal of Honor, the Prix de Rome, and an Academy of Arts and Letters Award.
Hirsch is the President of the Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches in the English Department at Wayne State University, and Creative Writing at the University of Houston.
Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Associate Professor, Brigham Young University
Dr. Holt-Lunstad’s program of research takes an interdisciplinary and multi-level approach to understanding the associations between social relationships and long-term health outcomes, factors that may moderate the association, and the biological (autonomic, neuroendocrine, gene) pathways by which these associations occur. She has also recently begun work that examines how social relationships may be utilized in interventions to potentially reduce risk. She has been awarded the George A. Miller Award from the American Psychological Association, the Citation Award for Excellence in Research by the Society of Behavioral Medicine in 2006, 2008, and 2010, and has received considerable international media attention for her research. She is a member of the American Psychosomatic Society, European Health Psychology Society, Society of Personality and Social Psychology, the Association for Psychological Science, American Psychological Association (div 1, 8, 38), and is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.
Tali Lennox, artist, model, actress
Tali Lennox is a British model, artist, and actress, who used to has worked for retailers Topshop and Burberry. In 2014, she reduced attention on her modeling career to focus more on her work as a portrait painter. She is the daughter of singer Annie Lennox.
Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO, Americans for the Arts
With more than 40 years of experience in the arts industry, he is motivated by his personal mission to empower communities and leaders to advance the arts in society, and in the lives of citizens.
In 1996, Mr. Lynch managed the successful merger of the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, where he had spent 12 years as executive director, with the American Council for the Arts to form Americans for the Arts. Under his 30 years of leadership, the services and membership of Americans for the Arts have grown to more than 50 times their original size. He has personally reached audiences in over 2000 locations spanning all 50 states and more than a dozen nations, with diverse constituencies ranging from Native American tribal gatherings to the U.S. Armed Forces in Europe to the President of the United States.
During his tenure at Americans for the Arts, Mr. Lynch has overseen six mergers including the Arts and Business Council, Inc. and the Business Committee for the Arts into Americans for the Arts. He has also created the Americans for the Arts Action Fund and its connected political action committee to establish arts-friendly public policy through engaging citizens to advocate for the arts and arts education.
Under his direction, Americans for the Arts has become a leader in documenting and articulating the key role played by the nonprofit arts and culture industry, and their audiences, in strengthening our nation’s economy. This has been done through its signature study of the economic impact of the nonprofit arts community, Arts and Economic Prosperity IV, and the latest study measuring the arts in communities, The National Arts Index. He has also been instrumental in creating a strong portfolio of projects and information about the transformative value of the arts in non-arts areas such as civic dialogue, social problem solving and work with the Pentagon, West Point, and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the arts and military.
Mr. Lynch currently serves on the boards of the Independent Sector, the Arts Extension Institute, and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Humanities and Fine Arts Dean’s Council. He is currently serving a second term on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, a position appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. In 2014, he was awarded the Sidney R. Yates Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Behalf of the Performing Arts, and he was selected as one of the most influential executives in the nonprofit sector for the NonProfit Times Power & Influence Top 50 for the third consecutive year.
Mr. Lynch earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and plays the piano, mandolin, and guitar. He lives in Washington, DC.
Charles Marmar, Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, NYU Langone Medical Center
A leading expert on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Charles Marmar, MD, is the chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical center. He previously served as the vice chair of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he was associate chief of staff for mental health and director of the center’s Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Research Program. Dr. Marmar’s wide-ranging research on PTSD has included investigations into the link between the disorder and changes in brain function and anatomy, identification of risk factors, and studies of prevalence in different populations, including combat veterans, law enforcement officers, rape survivors, political refugees, and earthquake victims. He was one of the principal investigators for the National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study, the first systematic exploration of PTSD among Vietnam veterans. He is currently principal investigator on over a half-dozen PTSD-related research projects, including a recent $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to develop biomarkers of PTSD for use in diagnosing and treating troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to his many academic publications, Dr. Marmar has contributed to numerous textbooks on the psychiatric effects of traumatic stress and also maintains a clinical practice focused on trauma and grief counseling. After receiving his bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, Dr. Marmar completed his residency training in psychiatry and neuropharmacology at the University of Toronto, and in traumatic stress and grief at UCSF, where he joined the faculty in 1978. He is past president of both the Society for Psychotherapy Research and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
Maya Pattison, public relations professional
Maya is a dedicated and passionate public relations professional who has earned a reputation for being a PR MacGyver. She has helped countless brands elevate their media exposure and drive brand recognition and sales initiatives through creative campaigns, targeted messaging and a deep understanding of today’s complex media landscape. Weaving together local, national and vertical coverage, Maya creates campaigns that break through the clutter and resonate with core audiences, ultimately driving forward companies’ objectives and increasing ROI.
Maya’s passion for storytelling extends beyond the PR landscape into the creative realm. When not working, you can often find her exploring her creative side through cooking, abstract art and photography.
Eileen Rockefeller, author, public speaker, and venture philanthropist
In 1983, Rockefeller founded the Institute for the Advancement of Health, which she founded in order to bring awareness and credibility to mind/body health at a time when it was not widely accepted by medical professionals. Through that work she discovered that, regardless of illness or condition, “community is essential.”
In 2013, she published her memoirs, Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself, in which she reflects upon how her intuitive understanding as a child that mood and social situation impacted her physical health fed her drive to better understand that connection later in life. Eileen Rockefeller is widely credited with bringing social and emotional health to national and medical attention, and remains an active advocate for its utilization.
Joshua M. Smyth, Distinguished Professor of Biobehavioral Health and of Medicine, Penn State
Dr. Joshua Smyth is a Distinguished Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University and Hershey Medical Center. He also serves as Associate Director of Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). He is a researcher, teacher, writer and mentor.
Most broadly, Dr. Smyth’s research reflects the application of the biopsychosocial model to meaningful health-related processes, contexts, and outcomes. Three primary areas and the integration between them comprise the bulk of his research program. These include: (1) What are the effects of experiencing stress or trauma on psychological and physical well-being and how can such effects be observed? (2) Can stress, affect, and health be assessed in a manner that permits the understanding of biopsychosocial processes in real time and in context? And (3) Can psychological interventions improve health and well-being, both in healthy individuals and individuals with existing physical or psychiatric illness?
Having published over 200 articles and chapters in both medical and psychological journals and books, Dr. Smyth has made important contributions to the understanding of stress and coping, mind-body medicine, emotions, psychological interventions, pain, immune disorders, chronic illness, eating behaviors, and ambulatory naturalistic monitoring. His recent book with James Pennebaker, Opening Up by Writing It Down: How Expressive Writing Improves Health and Eases Emotional Pain (2016, Guildford), explores how creative and emotional expression through writing can improve health. He has served as an editorial referee for more than three dozen journals and is an active member of the American Psychosomatic Society, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the Society for Ambulatory Assessment. Dr. Smyth has shared his research in interviews with ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, PBS, Newsweek, Time and the New York Times, among many others. Finally, he is an active and engaged teacher, and has received numerous accolades and awards for teaching and mentoring of students and trainees.
Dr. Smyth received his Ph.D. in Health and Social Psychology from Stony Brook University and his B.A. in Cognitive Science from Vassar College.
Social Media Ambassadors for The UnLoneliness Project
Angelique Henderson graduated from Harvard College in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Economics, a Secondary Field in Dramatic Arts, and a Citation in Spanish. She is pursuing a career in acting between New York and LA. She hopes to use her experiences with depression and anxiety to raise awareness about mental health issues and effective strategies to combat them. You can learn more about her at www.AngeliqueHenderson.com
Kasley Killam is passionate about human connection. To that end, she has studied the science of compassion as a fellow with Stanford University, written about the health benefits of social support in Scientific American, launched an iOS and Android app aimed at deepening relationships, researched empathy at Harvard University, and blogged about doing an act of kindness every day for four months. In 2013, Kasley received an award at Stanford University for her pitch to use technology to promote social connectedness. As well, she has worked in healthcare innovation at Harvard Medical School, done psychology research at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted mental health assessments at Queen’s University, served as the student board member for the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, been a visiting scholar with the Mind and Life Institute, mentored start-up teams at MIT Hacking Medicine, and earned a degree in psychology from Queen’s University. Visit her website to learn more and connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.