The Hackett Center for Mental Health

Trauma & Grief Center

The primary purpose of the Trauma and Grief (TAG) Center at The Hackett Center for Mental Health is to raise the standard of care and increase access to best-practice care among traumatized and bereaved children, adolescents, and their families.

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Trauma & Grief Center

Our Priorities

The TAG Center adheres to a scientist-practitioner model and has four primary aims:

  • Develop and disseminate evidence-based assessment and interventions for youth who have experienced traumas and/or losses
  • Conduct research on adaptive and maladaptive responses to childhood trauma and loss as well as treatment effectiveness
  • Provide training, professional education, and consultation in trauma- and bereavement-related topics and interventions
  • Translate trauma- and bereavement-informed best practices into policy

We know that not every bereaved child is in need of treatment and that some grief reactions are “healthy” and serve an important function after a loss. Our goal is to raise awareness about the adaptive side of grief, while also helping to identify bereaved youth who may need a higher level of support, including those who have experienced additional traumas and/or traumatic loss.

1. Treatment Development

Implement & disseminate

Child TherapyA major focus of The TAG Center involves the development of novel treatments for children, teens, and young adults who have been exposed to trauma and bereavement and ensuring that those treatments work for different populations of youth in the Greater Houston area, across Texas, and throughout the U.S.

Although the TAG Center is not a direct service provider, the Center does have an affiliation with a group practice, also led by Julie Kaplow, called the Lucine Center. These two entities work in partnership to ensure that treatments are supported by rigorous research, and that clinical services implemented at the Lucine Center help to further inform the overlapping fields of childhood trauma and grief.

For information about Lucine Center, visit

2. Sharing Knowledge

Training & professional education

TrainingSession iStockWe provide external trainings to community organizations, schools, residential treatment facilities, academic medical centers, and bereavement centers on topics related to childhood bereavement and trauma. Training topics include evidence-based risk screening and assessment, cultural considerations, becoming a trauma- and bereavement-informed organization or school, vicarious traumatization and self-care.

The TAG team includes problem-based learning facilitators for the Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma, a gold-standard training curriculum for adults working with youth exposed to trauma. Our Learning Collaboratives provide training in a number of different evidence-based interventions, including Trauma and Grief Component Therapy, an assessment-driven psychosocial treatment for youth exposed to trauma and/or loss.

Learn more about TAG Center trainings. For information on upcoming trainings, contact:

Marisa Nowitz
Assistant Director of School and Community Engagement

contact Marisa
3. Research

Discovering the best treatments

The TAG Research Lab conducts ongoing research critical to discovering the best treatments for children who have experienced trauma and grief. Our work focuses on treatment effectiveness and understanding the causes and consequences of adaptive and maladaptive responses to both trauma and loss in youth.

4. Lasting Impact

Translating practice into policy

MixedGirl NoSmile iStockThe TAG Center’s experience working with youth exposed to trauma and loss, including those who have faced Hurricane Harvey, the Santa Fe High School shooting, racial trauma, community violence, and most recently, deaths due to COVID-19, has taught us a great deal about “best practices” in the aftermath of traumatic events.

As part of The Hackett Center for Mental Health, the TAG Center’s goal is to translate these best practices into policy to ensure that all children across Texas, and ultimately across the nation, receive the most effective trauma- and grief-informed mental health care.

Trauma & Grief Center

Our Team

The work conducted through the TAG Center at The Hackett Center for Mental Health would not be possible without our collaborative, talented, and passionate team members, dedicated to relieving the suffering of youth exposed to trauma and loss.

Julie Kaplow

Executive Director


Marisa Nowitz

Director of School and Community Engagement

Donna Dozier

Clinical Implementation Specialist

Liz Schepel

Assistant Director of Cross-Cultural Programs

Jackie Garza

Clinical Implementation Specialist

Lauren Alvis

Research Psychologist

Tamara Johns, LMSW

Senior Clinical Implementation Specialist

Priscilla Mendez, PsyD

Senior Clinical Implementation Specialist

Arely Leal

Administrative Assistant

Nikki Adeleke

Clinical Implementation Specialist


For more information about the TAG Center, contact:

Julie Kaplow, PhD, ABPP
Executive Director

contact Julie
coming soon

Trauma & Grief Center Virtual Learning Library

Supported in part by the New York Life Foundation, our TAG Center’s Virtual Learning Library will provide free webinars and resources to various audiences, focusing on bereavement and grief in childhood. Audiences will include:

  • caregivers
  • teachers and school personnel
  • pediatricians
  • law enforcement
  • clinicians


The Virtual Learning Library will launch on this webpage in late 2021. In the meantime, please visit the TAG Center Resources page for more information.

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