Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Social Justice Committee
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Committee: Advances pedagogy, advocacy, and research related to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, understanding, empathy, social justice, and human rights as they intersect with traumatic stress and resilience. Examines relevant material to be included in counselor education; how terms related to diversity, equity, inclusion, understanding, empathy, social justice, and human rights are being taught and written about as they intersect with traumatic stress and resilience in the Counseling Profession. Reviews research on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, understanding, empathy, social justice, and human rights in the Counseling Profession; Organizes events focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, understanding, empathy, social justice, and human rights at the IARTC Conference. Develops and submits to IARTC Board proposed training modules for IARTC members to be housed in a members-only area of the IARTC website.
Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu, Ed.D., NCC, NCCC, NCSC, LPCC
IARTC Founding Chair, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Committee
Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu, Ed.D., NCC, NCCC, NCSC, LPCC has been serving as the Director of Research and Professor in the doctoral program of Counselor Education and Supervision at the Lindsey Wilson College, Columbia, Kentucky since August 2014. He was formerly a distinguished professor of research and chairman of the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology at the University of Louisville. Dr. Sandhu holds six graduate degrees including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Teaching (B.T.), and M.A. (English) from the Punjab University, Chandigarh, India. In addition, he earned M.Ed., Specialist in English, and Doctor's Degree in Counselor Education and Supervision from the United States.
Dr. Sandhu has served the profession of counselor education and supervision and counseling psychology with distinction for more than 25 years. In addition to more than 50 refereed journal articles and 70 book chapters, Dr. Sandhu has authored or edited thirteen textbooks. Some of Dr. Sandhu's notable textbooks which significantly impacted and contributed to the field of professional counseling and psychotherapy literature include:
Numerical problems in physics (Published in India by Royal Publishers, Punjab)
Satranghi Pingh, a collection of Punjabi poems. Punjabi Book Publishers, Jalandhar
Counseling for prejudice prevention and reduction
Empowering women for equity: A counseling approach
Multicultural competencies: A guidebook of practices
Counseling employees: A multifaceted approach
Faces of violence: Psychological correlates, concepts, and intervention strategies
Elementary school counseling in the new millennium
Asian and Pacific Islander Americans: Issues and concerns for counseling and psychotherapy
A practical guide to classroom observations: A multidimensional approach
Violence in American schools: A practical guide for counselors
Multicultural counseling: Context, theory and practice and competence
Appalachian Americans: Issues and Concerns for Counseling and Psychotherapy (2020)
Sat Guru Nanak Pargatya: The Divine Light of Universal Truth and Love (2020)
Throughout his professional career, Dr. Sandhu has received several highly prestigious and distinguished awards including: Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Award (2002); Fulbright Senior Research Award (2010); and Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Award (2017); AMCD Research Awards (twice); Multicultural Teaching Award; Chi Sigma Iota Research Award, President's Distinguished Faculty Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research and Creativity; Mississippi State University Alumnus of the Year Award, and the Kentucky Counselor Educator of the Year Award twice (2001 & 2012). In 2001 Sage published Dr. Sandhu's autobiographical account of 15 pages in the Handbook of Multiculural Counseling (2001) to recognize him as one of the pioneers of multicultural counseling and development.
On March 21, 2012, Dr. Sandhu was honored as a Fellow of the American Counseling Association at ACA Convention in San Francisco. He was also honored as the Diplomate, by the American Mental Health Counselors Association on July 20, 2012, in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Sandhu also received one of the most coveted awards, the Arthur A. Hitchcock Distinguished Professional Service Award from the American Counseling Association on March 23 in Cincinnati. He was the sole recipient of this award from more than 58,000 professional members. He also received the Samuel H. Johnson Professional Service Award from the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development on March 23 at the ACA annual convention in Cincinnati. On April 22, 2013, Dr. Sandhu was also honored with Kentucky Counseling Ambassador Award by the Kentucky Mental Health Counseling Association.
The university-wide selection committee at the University of Louisville selected Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu to receive the 2013 President's Distinguished Career Achievement Faculty Award in Service. The Distinguished Faculty Service Awards are given annually to faculty who have made exceptional service contributions to the University of Louisville, their profession, the community or region, national or international service, and career of service. Dr. Sandhu received this prestigious, Lifetime Career Achievement Award on September 9, 2013, at the Celebration of Faculty Excellence. On August 23, 2013, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) has awarded Dr. Sandhu, Fulbright Senior Specialist Award. Most recently, Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu received Senior Fulbright-Nehru Research Award for India on August 8, 2017. This Fulbright Research Award is called the core or classic award and is considered the most prestigious award.
Dr. Sandhu was honored as the Outstanding Counselor Educator from all the nationwide tenured counselor educators at the annual convention of the Association for Counselor Educators and Supervision held from October 16-20, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. On October 25, 2013, Kentucky Counseling Association honored Dr. Sandhu with its most prestigious, Kearny Campbell Memorial Award.
Dr. Daya Sandhu received one of India's highly prestigious Hind Rattan Award on January 25, 2014, in New Delhi. The Hind Rattan (Hindi phrase translated to English as "Jewel of India") is one of the highest Indian diasporic awards granted annually to non-resident Indian citizens (NRIs) by the NRI Welfare Society of India, an organization under the umbrella of the Government of India. The award ceremony is attended by senior members of the Government of India and of the Supreme Court of India.
American Counseling Association honored Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu with the most prestigious, 2014 ACA Presidential Award, at the Annual Convention of ACA held in Honolulu, Hawaii from March 27-30, 2014. Dr. Sandhu's outstanding counseling career as a scholar, educator, and mentor was highlighted with much praise and adoration. The Kentucky Counseling Association initiated a new, “Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu Research and Creative Innovations in Counseling Award” on June 22, 2015, in recognition of Dr. Sandhu’s national and international contributions to the profession of counseling. Briefly, this award is designed to recognize and honor counselors within Kentucky Counseling Association who have conducted high-quality research or developed innovative programs. The results of these elite professionals’ work are of significance and interest to counselors as well as contribute to the expansion of the counseling profession and/or lead to new methods or services for clients.
Dr. Sandhu was honored as the Outstanding Counselor Educator from all the nationwide tenured counselor educators at the annual convention of the Association for Counselor Educators and Supervision held from October 16-20, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. On October 25, 2013, Kentucky Counseling Association honored Dr. Sandhu with its most prestigious, Kearny Campbell Memorial Award. American Counseling Association honored Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu with the most prestigious, 2014 ACA Presidential Award, at the Annual Convention of ACA held in Honolulu, Hawaii from March 27-30, 2014. Dr. Sandhu's outstanding career as a scholar, educator, and mentor was highlighted with much praise and adoration.
The Kentucky Counseling Association initiated a new, “Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu Research and Creative Innovations in Counseling Award” on June 22, 2015, in recognition of Dr. Sandhu’s national and international contributions to the profession of counseling. Briefly, this award is designed to recognize and honor counselors within Kentucky’s organizations that have conducted high-quality research or developed innovative programs.
On May 13, 2015, Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu was honored with a medal and Pravasi Rattan Award by the NRI Welfare Society of India at the Global Achievers Conclave held at Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. It was truly a great occasion to be honored with other distinguished NRI’s from all around the world who made significant and lasting contributions in numerous fields such as academia, medicine, business, law, and politics. Dr. Sandhu was one of the twenty global achievers honored by 23 million persons of Indian origin living abroad. This award is bestowed upon a very few selected professionals for their efforts to build closer links among nations; promote social and humanitarian causes; devote their time and energies to initiatives meant for the welfare of the local communities and for their eminent or outstanding work in their chosen profession.
Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu, Professor and Director of Research, at the Lindsey Wilson College received the Global Achievers Award on October 25, 2018, at the Annual Conclave of Global Achievers held at the House of Commons, British Parliament, London, England. The NRI Welfare Society of India conferred this award on Dr. Sandhu for his eminence and outstanding work in his professional field; philanthropic and charitable work in Punjab, India, and the welfare of the Sikh community in the United States. Dr. Sandhu was one of the 30 recipients selected from 31.5 million Non-Resident Indians living all around the world. Dr. Sandhu also addressed the participants at the House of Commons, the British Parliament, London on the significance and challenges of globalization.
During his lengthy professional career of 35 years, Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu has made more than 250 professional presentations at the local, state, regional, national, and international levels. International presentations have taken Dr. Sandhu to almost 27 countries including, Canada, China, India, France, Greece, Jamaica, Philippines, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, to name a few.
Dr. Sandhu has served on several editorial boards including the Journal of Counseling & Development (the flagship Journal of the American Counseling Association), the Journal of Counseling and Values, Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, Professional School Counseling, International Journal of the Accelerating Learning and Teaching, Journal of Counseling Research and Practice, Psychological Reports, School Counselor, Journal of Adult Development and Aging, etc. He also edited special issues of various national and international journals. Some of these special issues included, School Violence for the Professional School Counseling; Asian and Pacific Islander Americans for the Journal of the Multicultural Counseling and Development; Suggestopedia and Neurolinguistic Programming and Learning Styles and Suggestopedia, these both special issues were published in the Journal for Accelerative Learning and Teaching
Since January 1986, when Dr. Sandhu joined the American Counseling Association (ACA), he has actively participated in the professional and leadership activities of this world renowned association of more than 58,000 professional members. He has served on ACA's Ethics Committee, Human Rights Committee, Research and Knowledge Committee, and International Committee several times. He also chaired ACA's Research and Knowledge Committee and International Committee twice.
It is worth noting that Dr. Sandhu served on CACREP Executive Board of Directors for five years (1996-2001). While on this board, he also participated actively in developing and revising standards for CACREP accreditation in general and Social and Cultural Diversity in particular. Presently, he is serving on CACREP's visitation team to evaluate interested universities' programs for much desired national recognition through CACREP accreditation.
Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu served as the national president of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (2009-2010), a national division of ACA, and started Association of Mental Health Counselors in India, AMHC (India). Since May 4, 2010, Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu has been serving Founding Executive Director of AMHC.
As the Chair of the International Committee of ACA, he has started ACA International Counseling Interest Network which is poised to become the newest and the 21st division of ACA. Currently, there are members of 487 ICIN and 1221 ICIN members are on Facebook. The International Counseling Interest Network (ICIN), proposed and launched by Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu is one of his major lifetime professional accomplishments to validate counseling as a major profession to address mental health challenges worldwide.
The internationalization of professional counseling is truly Dr. Sandhu's signature contribution to ameliorate psychological afflictions of humans throughout the world. Through his publications and cutting-edge research, Dr. Sandhu has become the cynosure of his colleagues and students. The sharp focus of Sandhu's research on the most current issues of social justice, human rights, diversity, equity, and empowerment of marginalized populations have made Dr. Sandhu a popular researcher and scholar. Dr. Sandhu's selection as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in 2002, second time again as a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Research Scholar in 2010, and Senior Fulbright-Nehru Research Scholarship Award third time is a clear testimony of Dr. Sandhu's brilliant and illustrious career. While receiving Senior Fulbright Research Scholarship Award even once is considered a matter of great pride, receiving it three times is amazing and rare among the scholars. It is like winning the Triple Crown Trophy in Research and Scholarship.
Dr. Sandhu's contributions to the field of counseling are solid and substantial. Not only in the United States but throughout the world, Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu has established himself as a leader, educator, researcher, and a scholar of a very high caliber. As evidenced through numerous awards, honors, prizes, and accolades, Dr. Sandhu's professional contributions are at par excellence.
Here are some observations made by eminent scholars from the fields of professional counseling and counseling psychology about Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu as a person and as a scholar. Dr. Charles Ridley, Dean for Research and the University Graduate School, Indiana University wrote about Dr. Sandhu: "Reading Dr. Sandhu's autobiographical account, "An eco-cultural analysis of agonies and ecstasies of my life in the Handbook of Multicultural Counseling brings to mind the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., "Never judge a man by the heights he has ascended, but by the depths from which he has come from."
Dr. Joseph G. Ponterotto, a worldwide leading authority in the area of multiculturalism and the senior editor of the Handbook of Multicultural Counseling (2001): "Impressively, despite challenges and traumas experienced throughout his life, we note in Dr. Sandhu's story a deep sustaining spiritual connection that has assisted him in maintaining a love of life and work. He appears to have found deep meaning in his life experiences that inform and guide his ground-breaking professional work, which includes classic books and journal articles on fighting racial prejudice, gender inequity, and youth violence. He is clearly a renaissance person, a multicultural person (p. 157).
Ponterotto, J.G., Casas, J.M., Suzuki, L.A., & Alexander, C.M. (2001). Handbook of Multicultural Counseling (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
On May 11, 2019, Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu was appointed as the Senior Editor of an international journal called, Journal of the Underrepresented & Minority Progress (JUMP). The Society of Transnational Academic Research Scholars also honored Daya Singh Sandhu as the Fellow of the STAR Scholars Network
In addition to his scholarly activities as a Professor in the field of Counselor Education and Supervision, Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu has played a leading role in his community both in the United States and India. For instance, he is the Founding President of the Sikh Society of Kentucky since 2011. With help from the Sikh community, he established the Sikh Gurudwara (Temple) in Louisville which opened its door on April 14, 2012, for religious services. It was the very first Gurdwara ever opened in the State of Kentucky.
At his native village Gandhran, Punjab, India, Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu and his wife, Usha Sandhu were invited on March 17, 2018 as Chief Guests to perform the opening ceremony of a village library and a small hospital called, Guru Nanak Dev Hospital for the free medical help for the people of their village. All the people of the village enjoyed the refreshments on this occasion as they honored Dr. Sandhu with a memento calling him the most respected son of the village. The whole village and its panchayat, a governing body, thanked Dr. Daya Sandhu and his wife Usha Sandhu for their generosity and congratulated them for the completion of a much- needed library and the hospital.
On September 1, 2021, Dr. Sandhu is appointed to serve on the Binational Board for Fulbright Award to review and recommend applicants for the Senior Fulbright Research Award. Dr. Sandhu has been a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar three times (2002, 2010, 2018) to visit India and Nepal to complete his research projects.
Most recently, the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision has selected Dr. Daya Singh Sandhu as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for his solid and substantial contributions to the field of professional counseling. Dr. Sandhu will be honored on October 9, 2021, in Atlanta at the annual convention of the Association of Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES).
Dr. Isak Kim, Vice-Chair
"Isak Kim, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at the University of Nebraska – Omaha. His research focuses on interpersonal violence and trauma, youth mental health, and counselor education. He was the recipient of several research grants from academic organizations, such as the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), American Educational Research Association (AERA), and Korean Counseling Association – International Chapter (KCA-IC), to support his research on various trauma. His clinical background focuses on working with individuals with a history of trauma, internalizing problems, or in crisis. Dr. Kim has worked in a number of counseling settings ranging from university counseling clinics to in-patient psychiatric rehabilitation clinics. Dr. Kim is also committed to multicultural and social justice counseling and expanding educational, cultural, and personal opportunities for marginalized individuals."
Jayna Elizabeth Bonfini, Ph.D.
Dr. Jayna Bonfini has significant research and clinical experience with individuals struggling with various mental health issues, trauma histories, and substance abuse problems. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Master Addictions Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor, and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Dr. Bonfini has worked in community mental health, a college counseling center, psychiatric hospital programs, justice-involved organizations, and private practice. She also provides consultation to non-profit organizations on program evaluation and outcomes research. Dr. Bonfini is currently an Associate Professor of Counseling at the University of the Cumberlands where she teaches in their CACREP-accredited graduate programs and recently co-edited the second edition of the Casebook for DSM-5: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning. She lives in the Atlanta area with her spouse, two kids, and a Yorkshire Terrier, Leo.
Lisa López Levers, PhD, LPCC-S, LPC, CRC, NCC
IARTC Founding Trustee, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Committee--Board Liaison
Dr. Levers is Professor Emeritus of Counselor Education and Human Development at Duquesne University in Pennsylvania. She was the Rev. Francis Philben, C. S. Sp. Endowed Chair in African Studies (2012-2017) and a Fulbright Scholar (University of Botswana, 2003-2004). She has 47 years of counseling treatment experience and 32 years as a Counselor Educator. She is editor of Trauma Counseling: Theories and Interventions, and has just completed its second edition. She has been involved in urban and rural outreach in Spain, Australia, Russia, and a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Levers emphasizes trauma recovery, the effect of violence on child development, psychiatric rehabilitation, and substance abuse. She has developed numerous programs and systems-of-care for adults with severe psychiatric disabilities and for children with severe emotional disorders. She has chaired 48 dissertations, and has served as committee member on another 30 dissertations. She has 17 refereed articles, 8 books, and 48 book chapters, 50 national presentations, 81 international presentations.
Debra M Perez, PhD, LPCC, BCTP-II, SCPG
Dr. Debra Perez has been treating trauma in minority populations and rural communities in New Mexico as a licensed counselor for over 17 years. She began her career at a community mental health agency working with children through adults, utilizing community supports to assist clients on their path to wellness, self-acceptance, and healing. She then worked in a day treatment program with adolescents transitioning out of treatment foster care or residential treatment, and reintegrating back into their families and navigating probation and the juvenile judicial system. She then opened her own private practice, serving children, teens, adults, and seniors, providing individual, family, and couples therapy. She now provides telebehavioral health services online in a private practice serving rural New Mexico. Dr. Perez is a Board Certified Telebehavioral Health Provider, level two, and holds a special credential in problem gambling treatment and a certification in aromatherapy. She is a coeditor on a telebehavioral health book for counselors and has written chapters on working with children of same gendered parents and transitioning classrooms to the online platform. Dr. Perez is Core Faculty at Liberty University and serves on NM Counselors for Advocacy and Social Justice.
Aisha Warner, LMHC
Aisha Warner is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Qualified Supervisor in Florida. Aisha enjoys working with an ethnically diverse population, specializing in mood concerns, trauma work, women’s issues, and relational challenges. She practices an integrative approach to therapy which includes mindful awareness, trauma-informed yoga, and breath-work that help reintegrate the senses and physiology of the body.
As a holistic psychotherapist, her work is rooted in psychosomatic modalities such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Attachment Theory, and Polyvagal Theory. Aisha believes that transformation and healing should involve the complete self; emotional, physical, and spiritual.
Aisha is intentional about creating a safe space for all to heal by leveraging inclusive practices and thoughtful reflection. Her goal is to provide those with the tools to gain insight and self-awareness that will foster personal growth and positive change in their lives. She truly believes that everyone has the potential to live their best life and is committed to helping others discover the best version of themselves.
Aisha is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision at Auburn University. Her research agenda focuses on cultural competency and sensitivity of faculty and students in the field of counselor education, racial trauma and utilizing integrative modalities arts to foster critical consciousness.
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Dr. Lauren E. Downey, LPCC-S, ACS
As a strength-based counselor, I care a great deal about counseling individuals from a holistic approach and helping clients to foster and explore their own posttraumatic growth. From a professional standpoint, I am certain that without a doubt helping individuals overcome their trauma experiences is what I was always meant to do. For the past 10 years, I have built my counseling career around helping individuals from all walks of life process and make meaning of their trauma experiences. As a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Supervisor (LPCC-S) and a nationally certified trauma-focused cognitive behavioral counselor that has provided intensive in-home counseling to children I deeply understand how traumatizing life experiences can truly alter an individual’s quality of life and mental health. Over the years, I have counseled individuals in many settings, however, following the completion of my doctorate degree in counselor education and supervision, my passion for counseling individuals who have experienced trauma grew into the establishment that is known as the Trauma-Informed Counseling Center (TICC). My private practice opened in December of 2018. Upon beginning my private practice there were no other counselors working at TICC. Today, TICC is comprised of 17 clinical providers who are working every day to meet the varying and co-occurring mental health needs of individuals. The mission of TICC is to provide meaningful therapeutic services and treatments to individuals in an inclusive environment. As a member of the IARTC Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice committee, my hope is that I can do my part to help advance the pedagogy, advocacy, and research related to issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, understanding, empathy, social justice, and human rights. It is also my hope that IARTC can strive to provide meaningful and helpful educational information that meet the needs of all our wonderful members.
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Hazell Imbert (she/her/ella) is a bilingual mental health counselor. Hazell holds a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology from The College of Saint Rose and a Master’s degree in Forensic Mental Health Counseling from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Since 2017, she has worked with English and Spanish speaking survivors of interpersonal violence, including survivors of domestic violence, trafficking, and sexual assault. Hazell is interested in and is passionate about working with marginalized communities including undocumented immigrants, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community.
Hazell Imbert (she/her/ella) es una consejera bilingüe. Hazell tiene la licenciatura en Psicología Forense de The College of Saint Rose e hizo su Maestría en Consejería de la Salud Mental con un enfoque forense en John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Desde el 2017, ella ha trabajado con sobrevivientes de la violencia interpersonal, incluyendo sobrevivientes de la violencia domestica, el trafico humano, y la violencia sexual. A Hazell le interesa y se siente apasionada de trabajar con comunidades marginalizadas incluyendo a los inmigrantes indocumentados, personas de color, y la comunidad LGBTQ+.