Who We Are
The EMPOWERR Program is located at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC), a division of MUSC's Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. EMPOWERR is funded with a five year grant by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI). Our goal is to reduce the onset of substance use and prevent the transmission of HIV in minority teens in Charleston County.
Please see the complete list of faculty and staff below.
EMPOWERR Faculty and Staff
Carla Kmett Danielson, PhD
EMPOWERR Program Director
Dr. Danielson is a Professor and licensed Clinical Psychologist at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC). Her clinical and research activities are focused on reducing risk for substance abuse, risky secual behavior, and mental health problems among adolescents. She has been awarded a NIDA K23 grant, a Young Investigator NARSAD Award, and Early Career Investigator Awards from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and NIDA. She oversees all activities of the EMPOWERR Program
Alyssa Rheingold, PhD
Dr. Rheingold is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Professor at the NCVC. She is the Co-Director of the EMPOWERR Program’s latest SAMHSA funded grant. Dr. Rheingold has worked at the NCVC for the past 16 years and has been involved with the EMPOWERR Program since its inception in 2006. Her expertise includes treatment and prevention of health risk behaviors and interpersonal violence. She is the PI on several VOCA-funded and OVC funded service providing intensive case management and community based trauma focused mental health counseling to victims of crime with specialized services for survivors of homicide. Dr. Rheingold is responsible for overseeing the day to activities of the EMPOWERR Program along with Dr. Danielson.
Jenna McCauley, PhDDr. McCauley has worked with the EMPOWERR program since its inception in 2008. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and Assistant Professor in the Addiction Sciences Division of the MUSC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. McCauley’s general research interests focus on the dissemination and implementation of treatment and prevention interventions targeting substance abuse and associated conditions, like traumatic stress and depression.
Director of Environmental Strategies
Angelea Moreland, PhD
Director of Environmental Strategies
Dr. Moreland is an Assistant Professor at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center (NCVC) at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Purdue University in 2009 and completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship and post-doctoral research fellowship at the NCVC. Dr. Moreland’s research interests focus on primary and secondary prevention of child abuse and risk factors for maltreatment among high risk parents of young children (i.e., substance use, teen pregnancy); as well as dissemination and implementation of evidence-based practice for victims of interpersonal violence and their families. Dr. Moreland also examines the link between early victimization and high-risk behaviors, such as substance use and delinquency, among children and adolescents. Currently, her primary projects focus on prevention of maltreatment, as well as other negative consequences, among substance-using parents; as well as several other projects focused on dissemination and implementation of evidence-based trauma-focused treatments.
Tatiana M. Davidson, Phd
Culutral Adaptation Co-Director
Dr. Davidson is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Davidson received her BS from the University of Washington and her MA and PhD from Clark University. She completed her internship and NIMH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Dr. Davidson’s research has focused on addressing mental health care disparities by maximizing reach and receipt of evidence-based treatments among traumatic stress and other vulnerable populations through the development, evaluation, and dissemination of innovative, technology-based resources. Dr. Davidson has been involved in a number of federally and internally funded projects focusing on reducing mental health care disparities among vulnerable and underserved populations through the development and evaluation of mobile resources to enhance quality of care in health and mental health care.
April L. Borkman, M. A.
Director of Operations
Ms. Borkman is the Director of Operations for the EMPOWERR Program. April has worked for the past 9 years as a health educator and program coordinator on multiple teen pregnancy prevention programs focusing on minority youth in both Charleston and Beaufort Counties. She served as co-chair of the Charleston County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Council for several years. She is currently the co-chair of the Charleston Health Advisory Committee and member of the Board of Directors for the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. April is also a trained facilitator of several evidence-based interventions. She is responsible for the oversight and management of EMPOWERR's day-to-day-functions.
Isha Metzger, PhD
Dr. Isha Metzger is currently serving as a NIMH T-32 Postdoctoral Fellow in Traumatic Stress at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center where she has been privileged to work with the EMPOWERR Program since 2014. In addition, Dr. Metzger’s research is also supported by funding from the South Carolina Clinical & Translational Research Center for Community Health Partnerships (SCTR/CCHP) at MUSC, and by funding from the Research Education Institute for Diverse Scholars (REIDS) Program at Yale University. Overall, Dr. Metzger’s mental health disparities research interests center on understanding risk behaviors (i.e., sexual activity, alcohol use) as well as risk and resilience factors (e.g., peer relationships, racial socialization and discrimination,) that impact youth outcomes (e.g., HIV contraction, unintended pregnancies, sexual assault) and inform engagement in and outcomes of culturally sensitive prevention and treatment programs.
Nick Mercer, CFLE
Lead Health Educator
Nick Mercer recently graduated from Towson University in Baltimore, MD with a degree in Family & Human Services and a minor in LGBT Studies. He is in charge of leading the EMPOWERR Program's evidence-based health education classes and manages the EMPOWERR Program's various social media platforms. Nick serves on the Board of the Charleston Area World AIDS Day Committee and the Charleston County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Council.