James Leckman is the Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology at Yale University. For more than 20 years, he served as the Director of Research for the Yale Child Study Center. His peers have regularly selected him as one of the Best Doctors in America. Dr. Leckman is the author or co-author of over 450 original scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals.
He has a longstanding interest in Tourette syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). His research on these disorders is multifaceted from phenomenology and natural history to neurobiology to genetics, to risk factor research and treatment studies. A major focus has been on parenting and the role of the biobehavioral systems that closely interconnect our affiliative and stress response bio-behavioral systems. His research has included studies of oxytocin – the love hormone - in new parents as well as brain imaging studies of how new fathers and mothers respond to hearing their babies cry as well as how their brains respond when they are looking a pictures of their child. Currently he is also working with Dr. Ghassan Issa as part of project to assess the impact of a parenting program in the Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut, Lebanon and well as similar parenting project in a poor district of São Paul, Brazil.
In October 2013, he chaired with Rima Salah and Catherine Panter-Brick the 15th Ernst Strüngmann Forum in Frankfurt, Germany. More than 40 international scholars across diverse fields—from child development to neuroscience and cultural anthropology explored the relevance of early child development to the pursuit of peace. Their deliberations highlighting directions for future research, and proposing novel approaches to translate knowledge into concrete action are summarized in volume entitled, “Formative Childhoods: The Transformative Power of Children and Families”, published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press in 2014. He currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC). The mission of the ECPC is to create a legacy of sustained peace by drawing on the transformative power of early childhood development by building a global movement that values the role of young children and families as agents of change in peace building.
Dr Leckman has a B.A. from the College of Wooster, an M.D. from the University of New Mexico and a Ph.D. in Clinical Science from the University of São Paulo.
Lynne Jones is a child psychiatrist, relief worker, and writer. She has spent much of the last 20 years establishing and running mental health programs in areas of conflict or natural disaster including the Balkans, East and West Africa, South East Asia, the Middle East, Central America, Haiti and the Philippines. For the last year, she has been involved in the migrant crisis in Europe, working in Greece, France and Italy. Her field diaries have been published in the London Review of Books and O, The Oprah Magazine, and her audio diaries broadcast on the “BBC World Service”. Her most recent book is “Then They Started Shooting: Children of the Bosnian War and the adults they become” (Bellevue Literary Press, 2012).
In 2001, she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her work in child psychiatry in conflict-affected areas of Central Europe. She regularly consults for UNICEF and WHO. She is an honorary consultant at the Maudsley Hospital in London, and a visiting scientist at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Centre for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. She is currently a part time Consultant in child and adolescent mental health for the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation trust.
Jones has an M.A. in human sciences from the University of Oxford. She qualified in medicine before specializing in psychiatry, and has a Ph.D. in social psychology and political science.
Michael Wessells is a professor at Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health. A long time psychosocial and child protection practitioner, he is former Co-Chair of the IASC Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. This group developed the first global, consensus guidelines on mental health and psychosocial support for people in emergency settings. Among other things, these guidelines call for a holistic approach that does not regard all war-affected children as traumatized.
He has conducted extensive research on the holistic impacts of war and political violence on children, and he is author of “Child soldiers: From violence to protection” (Harvard University Press, 2006). Currently, he is lead researcher on inter-agency, multi-country research on community driven interventions for strengthening linkages of community-based child protection mechanisms with government led aspects of national child protection systems. This work has included learning from girls and boys directly about their lived experiences of violence and their coping and resilience amidst adversity. He regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of child protection and psychosocial support, including in communities and schools. Throughout Africa and Asia he helps to develop community-based, culturally grounded programs that assist people affected by armed conflict and natural disasters.
He has a B.A from Roanoke College, an M.A. from the University of Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. from the same institution.