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From the Dean's Desk: January 2020

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GSPP Communications Team

News  •
Redefining Mental Health

At the Graduate School of Professional Psychology, we believe that healthy individuals create healthy communities. We believe that the positive impact of one person starts a profound ripple effect, and that psychology is a powerful tool that should be put to work to better our society. That is the vision behind this year's Redefining Mental Health initiative, A Force for Self and Society. In 2020, we plan to push the boundaries in research, elevate our community resources, further refine our academic excellence, and champion meaningful outreach. We have countless ways for you to get involved, including our signature Redefining Mental Health event in April, Abby Wambach: Championing Transformation. We hope to see you there, and we are looking forward to a successful 2020.


Abby Wambach

Mark your calendars for our 2020 signature Redefining Mental Health event! We hope you’ll join us for Abby Wambach: Championing Transformation on Thursday, April 23 at the Ritchie Center. The free event, made possible through our partnership with Optum, will begin at 6 p.m. and will be followed by a public reception at 7:30 p.m. We have no doubt this will be an empowering evening, which will transform the way we view mental health and wellness. Invitations and registration information will be hitting your inboxes soon.

Abby Wambach is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA World Cup Champion. She was the United States’ leading scorer in the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cup tournaments and the 2004 and 2012 Olympics. An activist for equality and inclusion, Abby is the author of the New York Times bestsellers; Forward: A Memoir and WOLFPACK, released in April 2019.  She is co-founder of Wolfpack Endeavor, which is revolutionizing leadership development for women in the workplace and beyond through her champion mindset, individualized coaching, and team-bound focus.


DU Podcast Features GSPP's Dr. Kim Gorgens

RadioED Banner

Listen Now 

At the beginning of the year, DU launched its very own podcast, RadioEd. The show taps into our university's deep pool of expertise to explore new takes on today’s top stories.

Episode three, which was posted just before the Super Bowl, discusses the harsh reality facing football players when they are just one tackle away from a traumatic brain injury. Clinical psychology professor Dr. Kim Gorgens shares the truth about the devastating impacts of brain injuries, what this research means for youth football, and the surprising connection between brain injuries and the criminal justice system.

Additional episodes are scheduled for every other Tuesday. Find them at or wherever you download your podcasts.


GSPP at 2020 NCSPP Mid-Winter Conference

dean smith acuna and ncspp president
Ashley Marsh

In January GSPP faculty, students and alumni headed to San Diego for the 2020 National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) Mid-Winter Conference and had an incredibly successful week. At the conference, Dean Shelly Smith-Acuña was recognized as this year's NCSPP Presidential Recognition recipient, and presented "Professionalism Needs Advocacy" with GSPP Associate Dean Lavita Nadkarni. GSPP Student Ashley Marsh also attended as a student delegate.

“It was a unique opportunity to peek behind the administrative curtains and get a sense of the decision-making process that students do not necessarily get to see on a day-to-day basis," Ashley said. "It was also nice to be able to compare and contrast GSPP with other doctorate programs and recognize our strengths as well as areas for growth.”

GSPP group at NCSPP

Ashley also presented a poster on "A Space for Everyone," which reviewed GSPP's student-led clubs and how they empower people to remove barriers and create dynamic exchanges.

For more than four decades, the NCSPP has been a leading organization for the field of psychology. Dr. Lavita Nadkarni served as the NCSPP President in 2016 to 2017 and Dr. Terri Davis is a current NCSPP delegate

Save the Date: Couples Assessment Workshop

couples assessment workshop

What: Prepare/Enrich Facilitator Training

Where: Family Center, 2244 Vine St, Denver, CO 80205

When: Saturday, February 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cost: $195 *Please note: Seven CE credits are available for $25 extra

Dr. Hannah Koch Aragoni will be hosting a Prepare/Enrich Certified Facilitator Workshop at the end of this month. Proven by years of research and used by more than four million couples, the PREPARE/ENRICH Assessment provides an accurate snapshot of a couple’s relationship. Prepare/Enrich’s training, support, and resources will help you gain confidence to support couples wherever they’re at in their journey. Please feel free to contact Dr. Aragoni at for more information, including possible student/early career discounts, or click below for more information.

More Info


Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

We are thrilled to announce two faculty and staff accomplishments this month. Please join us in congratulating:

Neil Gowensmith

Dr. Neil Gowensmith Dr. Gowensmith's recent work with RAND Corporation, addressing mental health needs in LA County Jail, was released in January. It has since gained press coverage from several media outlets including the Santa Monica Daily Press, The Lookout News and Newswise.

Dr. Gowensmith was also involved with an important and exciting project in the Denver Metro Area. Fusion Studios had their grand opening, with $3.5 million used to purchase 26 units specifically set aside for individuals in the competency service system. Click here to read more.

Apryl Alexander


Dr. Apryl Alexander - Dr. Alexander was named an Emerging Scholar by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. DU recognized Dr. Alexander in the magazine as well for her, "advocacy for treatment, research, and policy involving children and adolescents."

On February 5, Dr. Alexander also went to the Capitol to testify on HB20-1048 (the Race Trait Hairstyle Anti-discrimination bill, which is also known as the The CROWN Act) to end hair discrimination. The bill passed through the House Labor and Business Affairs Committee in a 6-4 vote. Several GSPP students attended as well and were able to talk with Rep. Johnathan Singer who is a social worker and mental health advocate.

Join Us in Redefining Mental Health

Explore the many areas to give to at GSPP and see if one of our funds align with your passion. Giving a gift, of any size, to one of the many GSPP programs or scholarships will directly impact the community you live in or the project that is most passionate to you. Investing in our students is investing in the mental health wellbeing of the community members we help every day. Your gift matters and is a meaningful contribution to our students and programming.

Give Now

March 5 ............... DU Reception at APLS Conference in New Orleans

April 3–4 .............. DU Sport and Performance Conference

April 23 ............... Abby Wambach: Championing Transformation

May 9 .................. PsyD Intern Party

May 16 ................. MA Forensic Psychology 20th Anniversary Celebration

For more information, contact Claire Carroll at


Stay in Touch

Follow all our social media channels to connect with us and other people in your network! Email Cassie Heykoop at if you have any questions or feedback for us.