Our Trauma Informed Care Team

Connect with our team and learn more about the National Council!

Linda Henderson-Smith, PhD, LPC, Director of Children and Trauma Informed-Services

Areas of expertise: Children & Trauma Trauma Informed Care Implementation, Historical, Intergenerational & Racial Trauma


Linda has over 14 years of clinical and administrative experience in community-based mental health.  She joined the National Council in May 2016 after working at the Georgetown University National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health as the Director of Mental Health Planning and Policy.  While at Georgetown she helped develop training regarding Trauma-Informed Systems, especially for people with co-occurring developmental and behavioral health disorders.  Prior to working at Georgetown, Linda worked at the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities in numerous roles, the most recent being the Director of the Office of Children, Young Adults and Families, where she spearheaded the implementation of high fidelity wraparound, care management services, and mobile crisis services throughout the state, and worked with other state agencies to strengthen the service systems for vulnerable populations.  As a trauma-survivor herself,   Linda brings a distinct perspective and knowledge base to mental health and addiction disorders services and is passionate about helping organizations and systems move towards becoming trauma-informed.

Elizabeth Guroff, MA, LCMFT Director, Trauma-Informed Services

Elizabeth is a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist with over 20 years of experience in the Behavioral Health field as both a clinician and administrator.  Elizabeth has worked in a range of clinical settings from Treatment Foster Care and In-Home Treatment programs to Outpatient Mental Health, Private practice and Community-based adult services to a variety of residential settings for children and adults.  In all of those settings, Elizabeth has provided direct clinical services and provided clinical supervision and direction in all of those areas Most recently, Elizabeth was the COO of a large MH provider in Montgomery County, Maryland where she oversaw and directed the implementation of TIC practices across the entire Agency as well as was the clinical supervisor at behavioral health clinic in Columbia, Maryland.

Karen Johnson, MSW, LCSW, Exclusive Consultant for Trauma-informed Services

Areas of expertise: Trauma-informed organizational change, Trauma & children/ family services- including Child Welfare, Impact of trauma on children


Karen brings to the National Council over 19 years of clinical and administrative experience in child welfare and community-based mental health.  Karen is also the parent of an adult child with severe and chronic mental illness.  She recently relocated to Washington, DC from Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she worked at SaintA as the Division Director of Community Services.  While at SaintA Karen became certified in the Child Trauma Academy’s Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and was integrally involved in SaintA’s journey to become a more trauma-informed organization.  Karen spearheaded the development and implementation of housing and supportive services for former foster youth and worked to strengthen systems serving this vulnerable population.  With her joined professional and lived experiences, Karen brings a distinct perspective to mental health and addiction disorders work.  She intimately understands the inherent challenges providers and organizations face and the significance of ensuring those affected by mental health challenges and addiction disorders, and their families, have access to and receive high-quality, trauma-informed services.

Cheryl Sharp, MSW, ALWF, Exclusive Consultant for Trauma-informed Services

Areas of expertise: Trauma-informed organizational change management, workforce development & integration of peers into the workforce, creating safe & secure environment, impact of trauma across the lifespan

Cheryl holds the unique perspective of a person who has recovered from significant mental health challenges, a trauma survivor, a family member of a loved one who died as a result of mental health challenges, and a provider of substance abuse and mental health services. Sharp has worked with adult trauma survivors for over 30 years and trains and speaks internationally on trauma-informed care and suicide prevention. She has worked as a hospice/medical social worker and as a director of social services for a skilled nursing facility and is an ordained minister. She received a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) Voice Award in 2015 for her work and personal stories educating the public about behavioral health and the Lou Ann Townsend Courage Award for her contributions to persons with psychiatric disabilities. As an exclusive consultant to the National Council’s Trauma-Informed Care Learning Communities, Sharp has led over 700 organizations in the implementation of trauma-informed care.

Sharday Lewis, MPH, Project Manager of Trauma-Informed Services 

sl-picSharday serves as a Project Manager of Practice Improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health where she manages multiple National Council initiatives, including Trauma Informed Care Learning Communities and SBIRT. Prior to her work at the National Council, Sharday worked with the Miami Coalition as a Senior Program Specialist and SBIRT Coordinator where she oversaw programmatic operation of a two-year SBIRT project targeting adolescents. She has experience in other areas of health practice improvement, specifically HIV/AIDS, through her work as Senior Training Manager of the High Impact Prevention (HIP) Project at Danya International, Inc. where she provided technical assistance and overall training management for newer and more complex HIP Project interventions [ARTAS, MIP, Nia, and SHIELD] and contributed to national diffusion through the successful execution of over 40 HIV prevention intervention trainings annually. She also served as Senior Program Associate for the Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions (DEBI) Project at AED-Center on AIDS and Community Health, where she provided administrative, programmatic, operational, and technical support for eight HIV prevention interventions that make up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded DEBI Project. She holds a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management from the University at Albany, School of Public Health and a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Management from Howard University. She is passionate about social justice and advocating for vulnerable populations, most specifically adolescent wellness and the elimination of health disparities resulting from racism, classism and other systems of inter-connected oppression.

Sarah Flinspach, Project Coordinator of Trauma-Informed Services 

Sarah Flinspach serves as a Project Coordinator of Practice Improvement at the National Council for Behavioral Health. In this role, she coordinates and delivers trauma-informed services trainings and technical assistance. Additionally, she supports several of the National Council’s addiction and recovery technical assistance services, including the Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) training program and BRSS TACS. Prior to joining the National Council, Sarah graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. In addition to her studies, Sarah served as a sexual assault crisis counselor and coordinated the University’s bystander intervention and sexual violence education program, training more than 1500 students, staff, and faculty in the topics of sexual assault, relationship violence, and consent. She is dedicated to understanding the intersection of health and social justice and to changing the health care system to increase access to and improve quality of care and promote justice in health care.