Members of the consortium represent a wide array of disciplines such as education, psychology, philosophy, public health, sociology and nursing. We have joined for the common purpose of promoting human flourishing. One of the main goals of the consortium is to engage and disseminate scholarship on flourishing that will positively impact the comprehensive well-being of individuals and communities.
Meet the Team
Amrita Chaturvedi, Ph.D.
Amrita Chaturvedi, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School of Education at Saint Louis University.
Her area of interest includes flourishing/overall well-being in the context of education
at both Pre-K-12 and higher education levels. Chaturvedi received her Ph.D. in Curriculum
and Instruction, with a specialization in special education from the University of
How she connects to flourishing: "Schools and universities provide a natural context to promote students’ flourishing. I am interested in investigating practices and policies that can enable schools and universities to actively foster the flourishing of their students and that of the communities at large. More specially, I am interested in designing school and university curricula to promote flourishing — both at the individual and community level."
Joanne Kraenzle Schneider, Ph.D., R.N.
Joanne Kraenzle Schneider, Ph.D., R.N., has expertise in health psychology. She originally started her program of research with National Institute of Health funding for exercise in older adults. Realizing that dietary behaviors are also very important, she incorporated dietary interventions into her research activities. Most recently, she combined her personal journey with a holistic view of health to include human flourishing. She also brings to her research expertise in psychometric analysis and meta-analysis as well as biomedical ethics.
Kristine Larson, Ed.D.
Kristine Larson, Ed.D., is an assistant professor of special education at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. Her work focuses on supporting teachers in culturally responsive classroom management practices, bullying prevention strategies, and using multi-tiered systems to support safe and affirming school climates (see: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4930-9810). In addition to her work in the U.S., Larson has spent time in India supporting education projects through her work with the Kashi Initiative for Global Citizenship and Education. She took classes at the Govardhan School of Yoga in the Wada Taluka District and received a certificate in teaching yoga in 2018. More recently, Larson worked as a visiting assistant professor at Saint Louis University, where she used the knowledge and skills gained from these experiences to support teachers and students in their desire to live balanced and healthy lives. In her current position as an assistant professor at Notre Dame of Maryland University, she teaches courses in special education and conducts research in contemplative practices to support pre- and in-service teachers.
How she connects to flourishing: "Teachers have the power to improve the climate in their classrooms, in their schools, and ultimately in our society. This ripple effect, however, is contingent upon teachers’ comprehensive well-being or flourishing. As such, I am interested in supporting teachers in their desire to be effective with their students, while also providing them with strategies to live balanced and happy lives. It is my belief that the more emotionally balanced teachers are, the more positive impact they will have on their students. This idea inspires me daily, both personally and professionally, and unequivocally drives my interest in human flourishing. Specifically, I am interested in examining how we measure components of teacher flourishing and how we can intervene to improve this complex and dynamic quality, philosophy, and way of life. I am also interested in understanding the association between a teacher’s level of flourishing and the behaviors of the students he/she teaches. Lastly, I want to examine whether helping to promote teacher flourishing will improve teacher retention and create more stability in our schools."
Whitney Linsenmeyer, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.
Whitney Linsenmeyer, Ph.D., R.D., L.D., is an assistant professor and the DPD Director in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Saint Louis University. She is a three-time alumna of Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Culinary Arts, a Master of Science in Nutrition and Culinary Entrepreneurship, and a doctoral degree in higher education administration. Her research and clinical practice centers on nutrition care for the transgender population. She is passionate about the unique role that nutrition care play in the health and wellbeing of transgender and non-binary individuals.
How she connects to flourishing: Food is both nourishment and a daily pleasure. My own interest in nutrition and cooking came from the realization that it simply feels good to eat well, both in mind and body. For those that love food, the whole body benefits of a healthy diet and the enjoyment of food is requisite to flourishing.
Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D.
Molly A. Schaller, Ph.D., is the associate dean of the School of Education and a professor of higher education administration at Saint Louis University.
William Rehg, S.J.
William Rehg, S.J. is a professor of philosophy and completing his last year as the
dean of the College of Philosophy and Letters at Saint Louis University. He received
his Ph.D. from Northwestern University and has written in the areas of ethical-political
theory, argumentation theory, science and technology studies, computer ethics, and
How he connects to flourishing: "My interest in flourishing arises out of its connection with ethics and the good society. In the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition, the idea of the common good refers to a just society whose institutions provide the means and opportunities for each person to flourish as a free and unique individual in relationships of mutual respect. Much of my research has focused on spelling out the concrete implications of that ideal in today’s technological society."
Dan Haybron, Ph.D.
Dan Haybron, Ph.D., is the Theodore R. Vitali C.P. Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy at Rutgers University. His research focuses on ethics and the philosophy of psychology, with an emphasis on well-being, as well as related issues in political philosophy. He has published numerous articles in these areas. In 2015, he was awarded a $5.1 million grant for a three-year project, Happiness and Well-Being: Integrating Research Across the Disciplines, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Saint Louis University. He is the author of The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being (Oxford University Press, 2008), and Happiness: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2013).
How he connects to flourishing: "My work touches on a wide range of topics, both philosophical and scientific, relating to flourishing. This includes, more narrowly, the psychological condition of happiness or emotional well-being, and more broadly, the good life, of which flourishing is one aspect. It also includes questions about the measurement of well-being and its pursuit and promotion. I have suggested that human psychology is ill-suited to the individualized pursuit of happiness; for the most part, flourishing is a social question, and our present means of answering it are failing. The central task facing humanity, in my view, is to build a civilization that serves the flourishing of human beings and the natural environment alike."
Challis Kinnucan, Ph.D.
Challis Kinnucan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Saint Louis University. Her work and service focus on parents’ cognitions, children’s socialization, and the roles that parents, teachers, and mentors play in promoting effective problem-solving, critical thinking, and civic engagement throughout childhood and with college-age students. Kinnucan earned her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, with a focus on developmental psychology, from Saint Louis University.
How she connects to flourishing: "Caregivers play an essential role in children’s flourishing. Supporting children
to flourish now, and to develop the skills that enable them to flourish throughout
their lives, is a goal for parents, teachers, and mentors. However, it is not always
clear how best to promote this development. In light of the diverse challenges faced
by families today, I am driven to learn more about the complex nature of interactions
with children and ways to socialize children to flourish in our society."
Sarah L. Coffin, Ph.D.
Sarah L. Coffin, Ph.D., is an associate professor and the director of the Master of Science in Urban Planning and Development program at Saint Louis University. Her work focuses on economic and community development with an emphasis on the challenges facing distressed communities. Coffin holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
How she connects to flourishing: "Human flourishing happens when people feel connected to place. I think about this
in the context of people finding meaningful employment that affords them the opportunity
to thrive. In this thriving, people are also able to afford a home in a community
that provides a rich quality of life. These communities are engaging places where
residents have access to amenities like walkable/bikeable neighborhoods, parks and
inviting greenspaces, and quality educational opportunities. When humans flourish,
they have more than what they need to survive and it is in this abundance where they
Christopher Grabau, Ph.D.
Christopher Grabau, Ph.D., is an educational developer with over 20 years of working in higher education. As an instructional developer at the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning at Saint Louis University, his role is to support graduate students, faculty, and academic departments on course design, effective and accessible course design, research-supported teaching practices, best uses for educational technology, and how to create positive student learning experiences. Grabau holds a Ph.D. in Education Foundations from Saint Louis University and has taught courses in educational psychology and development.
How he connects to flourishing: "I believe human flourishing can be found within educational experiences that prioritize authentic relationships between learners and educators. As an educational developer, I often investigate and consult on how to create learning experiences that help students find meaning and purpose within their chosen professional field. Hopefully, these experiences empower learners to discover meaningful work that not only transforms individuals and communities but the world at large."
Christina Tisher, Ph.D.
Christina Tisher, Ph.D., is the coordinator of clinical research, graduate student wellness, and disability outreach at the Saint Louis University Counseling Center. She has worked in higher education for over 12 years and is passionate about helping students become empowered to reach their personal and academic goals. Tisher earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Saint Louis University.
How she connects to flourishing: "My interest in flourishing arises from the interconnectivity of life. Higher education has traditionally placed emphasis on the “mind” element of a whole person consisting of mind, body, and spirit. Flourishing addresses all three elements, and human flourishing research could inform and influence higher education policy, practice, and student retention. In addition, my dissertation research used the Polyvagal Theory (see Porges, 1995) as a framework to categorize responses in reported anxiety-related situations. It was this research (as well as the research that preceded it) that impacted my perspective on the role of the ventral vagal component of the parasympathetic nervous system in the human experience. Future research interests include investigating the intersection of the domains of flourishing and the human autonomic nervous system."
Erick Messias, M.D., Ph.D.
Erick Messias was born and raised in Brazil, where he completed medical school and practiced family medicine in rural areas before moving to Baltimore for residency training. He completed a psychiatry residency at the University of Maryland, in 2001, and preventive medicine training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in 2003. While at Hopkins he also received a master's in public health and a Ph.D. in Psychiatric Epidemiology. Since graduation he has held academic positions at his alma mater in Brazil, and later in Georgia and Arkansas, where he was medical director of the Walker Family Clinic and responsible for the House Staff Mental Health Service at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) in Little Rock. Dr. Messias served as VP and medical director for Beacon Health Options, overseeing the mental health care received by Arkansas Medicaid recipients. At UAMS he also served as associate dean for faculty affairs and was the inaugural program director for the Baptist-UAMS psychiatry residency program. Dr. Messias has over 45 publications in scientific journals, has published several book chapters, and edited a volume on schizophrenia for psychiatrists and a textbook on Positive Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychotherapy. He also launched and was editor-in-chief of the medical literary journal Medicine and Meaning. Dr. Messias has been the recipient of many research and teaching awards. He is currently the chair of psychiatry at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
How he connects to flourishing: "After many years caring for persons with mental disorders, it is clear that they want more than symptom relief — they want, like us all, to flourish. As such, my work as a psychiatrist is now more than diagnosis and treatment of mental disorder also including conversations about happiness, flourishing, and meaning."