Keith W. L. Rafal, MD, MPH

Keith W. L. Rafal, MD, MPH

President & Founder

Keith W. L. Rafal, MD, MPH is the Chief of Rehabilitation and Restorative Care at Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, full time clinical faculty/Clinical Assistant Professor at Brown University and adjunct Assistant Professor at Tufts University in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is the founder and director of Healing Choices, P.C. an integrative medicine private practice who specializes in drug free treatment in collaboration with other practitioners for patients living with chronic pain, fibromyalgia and other chronic medical conditions.

He has been passionate throughout his career on the importance of how the Mind, Body and Spirit shape our health and wellbeing and the special role that the arts and humanities offer. He is the founder of the nonprofit Our Heart Speaks, Inc, which supports the patient stories project, where the power of the human spirit is revealed.

Hear an interview with Dr. Rafal about the Our Heart Speaks project on the Hand to Hand Show.

Ashley P. Duggan, Ph.D

Ashley P. Duggan, Ph.D

Board Member

Ashley P. Duggan (Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara 2003) is Associate Professor in the Communication Department and in the Medical Humanities program at Boston College.  Her research addresses the intersections of nonverbal and verbal communication processes, health, and relationships.  She holds an additional appointment at Tufts University School of Medicine, and her interdisciplinary research involves integrating reflective practice in medicine, communication processes, and health outcomes. Her work addresses theoretical explanations for health as unique context for interpersonal and relational processes.  Examining communication behaviors in naturalistic interactions, she focuses on the mutual influence process of communication about health and illness and the ways health outcomes are shaped by individual and contextual behaviors.

Aithan Shapira, MFA, PhD

Aithan Shapira, MFA, PhD

Board Member

Aithan Shapira, MFA, PhD   brings a nontraditional background to the fiber of corporate innovation, branding, marketing, and culture-shaping strategy with a PhD in creative processes, two Masters’ in Art, and 10+ years of experience challenging assumptions with graduates in art and design programs across three continents. His work and research has been implemented in an upcoming manuscript Making to Think and invited his thought leadership from a TEDx Talk  to launching MIT’s Hacking Arts Fest to work with Summit Series. Furthermore, he has pioneered progressive programs in the innovation sphere at MIT Sloan School of Management, the Royal College of Art and Design, Museum School of Fine Arts, Boston, and Berklee College of Music Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, and was awarded a research grant to live and work with an Aboriginal Australian community over three years in order to study innovation in cultures of survival.

Michael McWilliams

Michael McWilliams

Board Member

Michael McWilliams is a veteran public affairs strategist, executive, and communicator with experience across diverse fields. He now works on building organizational capacity in key facets of nonprofit fundraising, communication, and advocacy. Michael repatriated to the US from Stockholm, Sweden in 2010 upon finishing work with an international NGO focused on the growing global water crisis. He had earlier worked in the American public policy and nonprofit arenas after a career in the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds. He is the Excutive Director of The Global Institute for the Arts and Leadership.

Joan Baranow, PHD

Joan Baranow, PHD

Advisory Board Member

Joan Baranow, Phd, is Director of Graduate Humanities and Associate Professor of English at Dominican University of California. Her poetry has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Paris Review, JAMA, The Antioch Review, Feminist Studies, and other magazines.  Her poetry book, Living Apart, was published by Plain View Press. With her husband, physician and poet David Watts, she produced the PBS documentary Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine. Her second documentary, The Time We Have, is currently in post-production.

Alexander Batthyany, Ph.D

Alexander Batthyany, Ph.D

Advisory Board Member

Alexander Batthyany holds the Viktor Frankl Chair for Philosophy and Psychology at the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein. He teaches theory of Cognitive Science at Vienna University’s Cognitive Science Program and Logotherapy and Existential Analysis at the Department of Psychiatry at Vienna Medical School. Since 2012, Batthyany is Visiting Professor for Existential Psychotherapy at the Moscow University Institute of Psychoanalysis. He is director of the Viktor Frankl Institute and the Viktor Frankl Archives in Vienna and first editor of the 14-volume Edition of the Collected Works of Viktor Frankl. Batthyany has published several books and articles and lectures widely on logotherapy, existential issues in psychology, and the philosophy of psychology.

Matthew Bronson, Ph.D

Matthew Bronson, Ph.D

Advisory Board Member

Matthew C. Bronson, Ph.D. is Director of Assessment at Dominican University of California. He is an educational linguist and researcher by training, interested in the intersections of education, language, culture, and consciousness. He has embodied a commitment to trans-disciplinary, problem-centered inquiry at eight universities and colleges as instructor and administrator. Matthew worked at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco as a professor for three decades where he was a pioneer in teaching online classes, starting in 1998. He was a founder of the anthropology department and the Center for Writing and Scholarship. He also served as Director of Academic Assessment from 2003 – 2013, overseeing the creation of a culture of evidence focused on improving teaching and learning. His work as a teacher educator at UC Davis (1999-2014) has centered on preparing high school science and math teachers to create high-impact learning and literacy experiences for linguistic and cultural minority students. A recent article encapsulates a decade of work in dialogue between scientists and indigenous elders. His numerous publications include a 2012 entry in the Oxford Handbook of Sociolinguistics, an extensive review chapter in the Encyclopedia of Language and Education, and the edited volume So What? Now What? The Anthropology of Consciousness Responds to a World in Crisis in 2009 (Cambridge Scholar’s Press). He has presented dozens of workshops and scholarly presentations nationally and internationally.

Alison Bonds Shapiro, MBA

Alison Bonds Shapiro, MBA

Advisory Board Member

Alison Bonds Shapiro, MBA, is a stroke recovery teacher, artist, author, and business consultant. In 2002 she suffered two brain stem strokes twenty-four hours apart and was profoundly disabled. Three years later after a remarkable recovery, Alison began teaching narrative re-creation and recovery skills to survivors of neurological illness and injury and to their caregivers and care professionals. Her work has positively affected the lives of thousands of people.

She is the author of Healing into Possibility: The Transformational Lessons of a Stroke, the illustrator of Just for Today, the co-producer of What Now? Sharing Brain Recovery Lessons, the creator of the Mindful Stroke Recovery Course and the co-founder of Wohaula.net a social media, education and training platform designed for survivors, their caregivers and care professionals.

David Watts, MD

David Watts, MD

Advisory Board Member

Watts is a published poet (7 Books and counting), an accomplished Television and Radio Host (PBS, Lifetime Network, NPR commentary on All Things Considered), an inventor of medical devices (The Third Eye Retroscope), and the recipient of 35 awards for excellence in media production and in writing. He is a classically trained musician and composer and has released two CD’s of jazz and poetry. His short stories have been published by Random House and his essays by the New England Journal of Medicine.

He is a medical doctor with a practice in internal medicine and gastroenterology that has been ranked by three separate organizations as one of the best in the country. He doubles as a distinguished teacher of literature at the Fromm Institute where he is a revered professor of twenty years. He is married to the poet, Joan Baranow. He lectures in medical schools on the subject of humanism in medicine.