Keith W. L. Rafal, MD, MPH

Keith W. L. Rafal, MD, MPH

President & Founder

Keith W. L. Rafal, MD, MPH is the former Medical Director of the Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island and former Chief of Rehabilitation and Restorative Care at Memorial Hospital of RI. 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.

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.

Julie Langan, BFA

Julie Langan, BFA

Volunteer Social Media and Outreach Ambassador

Julie Langan is pursuing her masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Northeastern Illinois University where she is also a teaching assistant in program’s counseling skills courses and peer mentor in the Counselor Education Student Association (CESA). Julie is also a student member of the Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling in Illinois, where her article “The Unique Stresses Children of Law Enforcement Officers” was published in the Fall 2020 issue.

Julie has been working for the past six years as an Applied Behavior Analysis therapist providing evidence-based practices to individuals with the diagnosis of autism or related disorders. She currently works at Steinberg Behavior Solutions in Chicago.

Julie also has a background in the performing arts, and lived in Hollywood for many years where she pursued a career in film and entertainment. Julie recognizes the power expressive arts hold in contributing to a person’s well-being, as well as providing healing.

Julie is passionate in providing support, guidance, and advocacy for individuals with disabilities and chronic illnesses and the diverse stresses they face. Julie is continuously inspired by the purpose and meaning Our Heart Speaks community members live their lives by, and finds her volunteer work to be deeply enriching.

Joan Baranow, PHD

Joan Baranow, PHD

Advisory Board Member

Joan Baranow is Professor of English at Dominican University of CA. She founded and teaches in the Narrative/Poetic Medicine track of Dominican’s Low-Residency MFA program in Creative Writing. Her poetry collections include In the Next Life, Living Apart, and two poetry chapbooks. In 2020 she edited Still You: Poems of Illness and Healing, an anthology of poetry published through Wolf Ridge Press, an independent poetry press she formed with her husband Dr. David Watts. Together, they produced the PBS documentary Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine. Her feature-length documentary, The Time We Have, presents an intimate portrait of a teenager facing terminal illness.

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.

Harriet Cabelly, LCSW

Harriet Cabelly, LCSW

Advisory Board Member

Harriet Cabelly is a clinical social worker and positive psychology coach specializing in grief, adversity and resiliency.  She is a speaker and workshop facilitator who has appeared on ABC News as a parenting coach and is a guest coaching expert on the WOR NY radio show, Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life.  Harriet journeys with her clients as they cope with and grow beyond their painful circumstances.  She is currently enrolled in the Viktor Frankl Institutue Of Logotherapy Distance Learning Program.

She has just published her first book, Living Well Despite Adversity – Inspiration for Finding Renewed Meaning and Joy in Your Life.  It is a compilation of interviews of people who have ‘successfully’ transcended their personal challenges and losses and gone on to rebuild their lives with purpose and renewal.  Harriet is thrilled to be getting the voices of these inspirational people out there so that everyone can benefit from their wisdom and authenticity.

Chris Downey, AIA

Chris Downey, AIA

Advisory Board Member

Chris Downey, AIA is an architect with over 30 years of practice – continuing without sight since 2008. Forty-five years old at the time, Chris had surgery to remove a brain tumor. Though the tumor was successfully removed and found to be benign, the surgery left him completely blind. Convinced his doctors had done all they could do to restore his sight, Chris quickly turned his attention to healing, getting the training that he would need and went back to work at his architectural office exactly one month after the surgery to start exploring how he could rebuild his career as an architect without sight.

Chris soon was asked to join an architectural team that was designing a new Polytrauma and Blind Rehabilitation Center for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs in Palo Alto, California. In less than a year since losing his sight, his new disability was turned into a distinct advantage and asset providing unique and valuable insights – designing from within the non-visual experience for the benefit of others that were experiencing sight loss.

Building off the strength of that experience, Chris now specializes in universal design for projects specifically for the blind and visually impaired including blind rehabilitation centers, eye clinics and schools for the blind. Chris also consults on projects including museums, cultural centers and transit projects critical yet typically challenging to the blind and visually impaired where they represent an often-forgotten minority user group. He has been featured in numerous media stories including CBS’ “60 Minutes” and speaks internationally about architecture and disability including his TED Talk, “Design for the Blind in Mind” which has been viewed over a million times. He is also a guest lecturer for the UC Berkeley Department of Architecture, serves on the California commission on disability Access, is the chairman of the Board of Directors for the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco.

Ashley P. Duggan, Ph.D

Ashley P. Duggan, Ph.D

Advisory 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.

General Michael V. Hayden

General Michael V. Hayden

Advisory Board Member

General Michael V. Hayden, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.  Before becoming Director of CIA, General Hayden served as the country’s first Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence –and was the highest-ranking intelligence officer in the armed forces. Earlier, he served as Director of the National Security Agency. Currently, he serves as a principal at The Chertoff Group, a security and risk management advisory firm, and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at George Mason University. He is also founder of the Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy and International Security at George Mason.  In 2014 he was the inaugural Humanitas Visiting Professor in Intelligence Studies at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. His book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror, was a New York Times best-seller and was selected as one of the 100 most notable books of 2016.  His most recent work, The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies, was also a New York Times best seller and addresses the impact of a post-truth world on the intelligence enterprise. He is a stroke survivor living with aphasia and on the Board of the National Aphasia Association.

Gail Snow Moraski

Gail Snow Moraski

Advisory Board Member

Gail Snow Moraski, Principal of Results Communications and Research, is a marketing consultant with more than 25 years of marketing and communications and market research experience from corporate marketing and consulting roles. While she can assist clients of all sizes, industries, and profit statuses with both traditional and digital marketing activities, she most enjoys helping non-profit organizations with digital communications challenges and opportunities, such as developing and maintaining effective web sites and social media presences, and online advertising. Much of Gail’s corporate marketing career was in roles at healthcare organizations. Because of her healthcare background, as well as the fact that Gail is an 11-year survivor of abdominal area/trunk sarcoma, Gail brings both work-related and relevant personal experience to her volunteer social media position at Our Heart Speaks. Gail’s numerous surgeries and other treatment that have left her with chronic illness, so she well understands the challenges that individuals living with sudden and ongoing illness face and what resonates with them. She is passionate about supporting Our Heart Speaks in our mission to provide the means for individuals living with chronic illness to share their health stories, have a voice, and most importantly, heal.

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.