New MFRI Executive Director & Project Harmony Project Director
It is our honor to welcome Dr. Sejal Barden, PhD, NCC, LPC, ACS, as the Principal Investigator and Senior Project Administrator for Project Harmony and, Executive Director of the Marriage and Family Research Institute. Dr. Barden is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida, College of Education and Human Performance, Department of Child, Family, and Community Sciences. Her contributions include (a) empirical research that investigates the associations between relationship education and positive relationship qualities; (b) research focused on tailored approaches to working with individuals and couples from diverse backgrounds; and (c) research focused on mental health and well-being for individuals and couples.
We also are honored to welcome Dr. Dalena Dillman Taylor, PhD, LPC, LMHC, RPT as a Co-principal Investigator for Project Harmony. Dr. Dillman Taylor is also an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida, College of Education and Human Performance, Department of Child, Family, and Community Sciences. Her broad background is in Counseling with specific training in child therapy and research methodology. She is active in the training and certification of graduate level mental health clinicians focused on positive outcomes for children and adolescents. Her contributions to science include (a) implementation of quality research design methodology, (b) knowledge and experience of actively engaging parents to support the healthy development of their children, and (c) knowledge of child related mental health needs to inform healthy family systems and work with caregivers. It is our privilege to have Dr. Dillman Taylor as part of the leadership team at the MFRI.
We are also excited to welcome back Mrs. Bridgette Toussaint, MS as the new Project Director for Project Harmony. Mrs. Toussaint brings over 10 years of diverse professional experience in public and non-profit management. As the former Training and Workshop Coordinator for the Marriage and Family Research Institute under Project TOGETHER, she played a vital role in managing dual-site operations to meet annual program benchmarks. In addition, Mrs. Toussaint successfully launched the first set of offsite workshops for the Institute and expanded referral partnerships through Community Connection – A workshop series designed to increase staff and community engagement through the sharing of resources and ideas. Her time as a Research Administrator (2014 – 2015) at the UCF Office of Research & Commercialization was a complementary role and contributes to her expanded knowledge of grants management. Mrs. Toussaint is passionate about serving others through leadership and values the power of effective communication as a tool to strengthen healthy relationships.
Please join us in congratulating both Dr. Barden and Dr. Dillman Taylor in their new roles as Principal Investigators of Project Harmony.