Shelita Birchett Benash (www.radicalsocialwork.com) received her Certificate in Meditation and Psychotherapy from the Institute in 2023. Shelita is a social work practitioner, interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and group worker with a professional theatre background. She is training in Mindfulness at the Oxford Mindfulness Foundation and is a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) teacher trainee at Brown University. Shelita is passionate about narrative power, health justice, and community-engaged social work. Her research integrates Bell Hook’s love as a practice ethic, Paulo Freire’s critical consciousness, and Mindfulness and self-compassion grounded in Buddhist ethics in a way that speaks to storytelling the Black experience of spirituality and collective accountability of “Ubuntu: I am because we are.” Shelita is excited to make meaningful contributions to BIPOC health literacy and well-being research by pursuing Mindfulness and loving-kindness leadership studies as part of the historically social justice-oriented Antioch University Graduate School of Leadership & Change, Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program, Summer 2024 Cohort 24. Shelita is also a member of the International Association of Social Work for Groups (IASWG.org), a Board-Member-at-Large, and a Marketing Committee Co-Chair for the 2024 International Symposium in Madrid, Spain.
Sean Witty (www.seanwitty.com) has been the Program Manager at the Institute since June of 2022. With a special interest in adolescence, Sean works as a psychotherapist in private practice and as an ordained pastor (UCC/ABCUSA) focusing on the intersection of science and spirituality. He also sits on the Board of the Mental Health Network of the United Church of Christ. Sean earned a Master of Theological Studies from Drew Theological School, a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from UMass Boston, and a Certificate in Youth and Theology from Princeton Seminary.