I grew up as the daughter of a Marine Corps Veteran in Duluth, MN. From an early age, I knew that I wanted to study psychology to work with populations for whom seeking therapy was stigmatized.
In 2001, I attended Brown University where I studied Psychology and competed as a Division I athlete. After graduation, I worked at McLean Hospital in Boston, MA. At McLean, I was a research assistant in a lab that examined the impact of drugs and alcohol on functioning and worked part-time on an inpatient psychiatric unit for adolescents.
In 2005, I began my doctorate in Clinical Psychology at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In five years, I completed a joint doctorate and internship before being hired into a one-year post-doctoral training fellowship focused on the treatment of trauma, depression, and anxiety. During this time, I began publishing results of my dissertation, which focused on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in female victims of partner violence. I was also fortunate to work with Dr. Nnamdi Pole on a project examining predictors of PTSD in retired police officers and co-author a paper on gender differences in PTSD among law enforcement officers.
In 2009, I began as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at Northern Illinois University (NIU) where I continued to conceptualize, conduct, and publish findings on predictors of PTSD, depression, and physical health concerns among trauma survivors. It was during this time that I began to explore the mental and physical health of 9-1-1 telecommunicators, and in 2012, co-authored the first paper on the prevalence of PTSD in 9-1-1. After recognizing the impact of this work on the 9-1-1 field, I conducted a number of follow-up projects to extend study findings.
Over time, I have worked with a diversity of trauma-exposed populations with interests that span cognitive, metacognitive, and emotional processing factors that predict post-trauma functioning. To date, I have over 50 empirical articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals that explore predictors of post-trauma mental and physical health, as well as book chapters in The Resilient 9-1-1 Professional, Cultural Issues in Intervention with Women and Children Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence, and Mental Health Intervention and Treatment of First Responders and Emergency Workers.
In addition to my role as a professor at NIU, I am a licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of Illinois. In 2018, I started an telebehavioral health practice called 9-1-1 Recovers, which provides evidence-based treatment for public safety personnel and their families. In 2019, I started Lilly Consulting, a firm that provides organizational assessment and intervention for public safety agencies.
Over the past five years, I have led and co-led trainings on mental health, wellness, stress management, resilience, and peer support to public safety audiences across all regions of the country. In collaboration with IPPFA in 2019, my lab at NIU was awarded a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) to develop and disseminate the Saving Blues Lives training. The training provides education and skill development in the areas of PTSD recognition, risk signals for suicide, resilience, and peer support for law enforcement officers across the state of Illinois. Pending state funding, the grant will continue into 2022.