The Healthy Relationships Initiative involves a partnership between Phillips Foundation and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). Our interdisciplinary team members from UNCG bring together a diverse set of knowledge and skills to work toward HRI’s mission to promote happy, healthy, and safe relationships in Guilford County. Read more about our UNCG team members below, and please visit our Meet Our Partners page for more information about other organizations involved in this community-wide initiative.
Christine Murray, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, is the Healthy Relationships Initiative Director. Christine believes that safe, healthy relationships are a fundamental human right for all members of society. This belief shapes her research, teaching, and service through her work as a Professor in the UNCG Department of Counseling and Educational Development, where she is the Coordinator for the Couple and Family Counseling Track. Most of her recent work has centered on strengthening community responses to intimate partner violence and other forms of abusive relationships. For example, she is the Co-Founder of the See the Triumph Campaign, which is a research-based social media campaign that highlights the stories of hundreds of survivors of past abuse. Locally, she serves on the Executive Committee for the Guilford County Family Justice Center and is a frequent writer and speaker on the subject of domestic violence.
Christine’s publications include over 60 published or in-press peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as four books: (a) Just Engaged: Prepare for Your Marriage before You Say “I Do”, published in 2008 by Adams Media, (b) Responding to Family Violence: A Research-Based Guide for Mental Health Professionals, with co-author Dr. Kelly Graves, which was released in September 2012 by Routledge Mental Health, (c) Sexuality Counseling: Theory, Research, and Practice, with co-authors Drs. Amber Pope and Benjamin Willis, published by Sage Publications in January 2016, and (d) Overcoming the Stigma Surrounding Intimate Partner Violence, with co-author, Dr. Allison Crowe, which was released by Routledge Mental Health in November 2016.
Outside of work, Christine enjoys coaching youth sports, volunteering in the community, and running. Most importantly, she treasures spending time with her family.
Camila Dos Santos is the Program Coordinator for the Healthy Relationships Initiative. Camila believes that safe and healthy relationships serve as the foundation for living a happy and fulfilling life. Camila studied Criminology at the College of New Jersey and then obtained a master’s degree in School Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She joins the initiative with experience as a Professional School Counselor in Guilford County Schools at the high school and elementary level. In previous roles, Camila witnessed firsthand how unhealthy relationships can impede the success of youth and lead to a cycle of negative outcomes in adulthood. For this reason, she is especially passionate about connecting parents and youth with resources in the community and fervently believes in getting rid of the stigma of asking for help. Outside of work, Camila enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with her three dogs, and “disconnecting” through time spent outdoors in nature.
Erica Curtis is the Administrative Specialist for the Healthy Relationships Initiative. Erica obtained her degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She joins the initiative with over 10 years of experience in grant management, specifically grants looking at various aspects of child development. Erica feels that healthy relationships are vital in teaching children to model healthy behaviors. As a mother of young children, she sees everyday how the relationship between parents and siblings can affect a child’s development in both positive and negative manners. In her spare time, Erica enjoys traveling, and spending time with family and friends, especially her three children.
Eleanor Beeslaar, CFLE-P, is one of HRI’s Graduate Assistants. She is a Graduate Student in the Couple and Family track of the Counseling Program in the UNCG Department of Counseling and Educational Development. Eleanor earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Science from The University of Georgia. She is also a Provisional Certified Family Life Educator and is passionate about helping individuals and families connect to resources and information that will help them develop skills to foster healthy relationships.
Taylor Gabbey is a Graduate Assistant for HRI and a student at the UNCG School of Counseling and Educational Development. She is currently studying to receive her Master’s in Couple and Family Counseling, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Salem College. She is passionate about working with families and children and believes that healthy behavior begins and ends with healthy relationships, which is why HRI’s work is so important to her.
Anthony Chow, Ph.D., is HRI’s On-Line Learning Instructional Design Consultant. Anthony is an Associate Professor in the Department of Library and Information Studies at UNCG. Anthony holds a doctorate in instructional systems design and a Master’s degree in educational psychology from Florida State University. His areas of expertise include web design and usability, instructional design and technology, online learning, informatics and analytics, organizational leadership and management, and social media and virtual communities.
Anthony was invited to develop one of UNCG’s only two MOOCs (massive online open courses) as a teaching excellence award recipient and leading expert in the area of online learning and computer-based instruction. His passion for serving the community is also reflected in his work as the Co-Chair of Advocacy for the North Carolina Library Association and through his successful consulting company that has helped to create strategic plans for library systems across North Carolina, including Charlotte Mecklenburg, Gaston County, Catawba County, and Orange County, along with many others.
OTHER AFFILIATED UNC GREENSBORO FACULTY
Julie Mendez, Ph.D., is the Parent-Child Relationship Consultant for HRI’s on-line educational programs. Julie is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at UNCG. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and received her doctoral degree in School, Community and Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research expertise includes parent-child interaction, socioemotional development during early childhood, and family well-being. Over the past 15 years, Julie has conducted a number of community-based research projects looking at risk and resilience among children growing up in poverty, and how families with limited resources support their children’s development. She works closely with local preschool programs and the Guilford County Schools and Asheboro City Schools to disseminate information to parents and parent groups about the importance of parenting and family engagement in learning opportunities for children.
Julie is presently a core investigator for the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families (2013-2018) and has additional expertise in working with Latino families, in particular immigrants in emerging communities, such as those found throughout our region and state. She is an active member of the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program at UNCG, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in child psychopathology and behavior, as well as mentors students to study and conduct parent interventions. She is also a clinical supervisor in the UNCG Psychology Clinic, where children and families can access diagnostic and intervention services on a sliding scale fee for a variety of difficulties, including learning or behavioral issues. Julie has received training in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, an evidence-based therapeutic approach to helping parents of children ages 3-8 be more attuned and responsive to their children’s needs.
Rick Bunch, Ph.D., is the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Consultant for HRI. Rick is a Professor of Geography and the founding Director of the Center for Geographic Information Science at UNCG. Rick has over 20 years of experience in research involving GIS and the conceptualization, modeling and analysis of geographically referenced data. He specializes in the science of GIS and spatial cognition. He has been the project leader on over 50 projects over the past decade, and has published 25 academic articles, reports, and manuals. He currently serves on the editorial board for the journals, Cartography and Geographic Information Science and the International Journal of Applied Geospatial Research.
Rick has conducted research that examines patterns in human behavior through cognitive maps, geographic space, and the processes associated with how people learn and synthesize geographic information. He is also a member of the North Carolina Defense Applications Group (DAG). In addition to his academic research, Dr. Bunch has a long history of collaborating with community partners to use GIS analyses to inform practices and interventions. Most recently, he collaborated with the Greensboro Police Department, the Guilford County Family Justice Center, and Family Service of the Piedmont in order to map the geographic landscape of domestic violence in Greensboro. Rick is a highly collaborative partner with a gift for translating complex GIS analyses into practical language that is easily applicable to community practice settings.
Former UNC Greensboro Graduate Assistants who have contributed to Healthy Relationships Initiative include the following:
Teta Johnson, Department of Counseling and Educational Development (Fall 2017)
Emily McIlvaine, Department of Counseling and Educational Development (Fall 2017)
Hannah Mould, Department of Counseling and Educational Development (Spring and Summer 2016)
LaQuanda Onyemeh, Department of Library and Information Studies (Fall 2017)
Aviry Reich, Department of Counseling and Educational Development (2016-2017 academic year)
Lindsey Sprague, Department of Library and Information Studies (Spring, Summer, and Fall 2017)
Finley Trent, Department of Library and Information Studies (Fall 2017)
Lindsey Welch Vega, Department of Counseling and Educational Development (Spring and Summer 2016)