Who We Are

A community of faculty, fellows, scholars, and students advance the Humanitarian Disaster Institute’s mission and M.A. in Humanitarian & Disaster Leadership program through their teaching, research and writing.

Jamie Aten, Ph.D.  

Founder and Executive Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute  

Arthur P. Rech and Mrs. Jean May Rech Associate Professor of Psychology

Jamie Aten (Ph.D., Indiana State University) is the Founder and Executive Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute and holds the Rech Endowed Chair. His research focuses on the psychology of religion/spirituality and disasters, which has been supported by over $6 million in grant funding. He is the co-author or co-editor of 7 academic books, including the Disaster Ministry Handbook (InterVarsity Press) and Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy for Trauma (APA Books). In 2016, he received the FEMA Community Preparedness Champion Award at the White House. He was also awarded the 2010 American Psychological Association Division 36 (Society for the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality) Early Career Award. 

View Dr. Aten's faculty profile > 

Kent Annan

Senior Fellow

Kent Annan is author of Slow Kingdom Coming (May 2016), After Shock (2011) and of Following Jesus through the Eye of the Needle (2009). As Senior Fellow, he work with Dr. Aten to provide leadership and vision-casting for existing HDI initiatives. He will also support, mentor, and train students enrolled in HDI’s newly launched M.A. in Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership. He is co-director of Haiti Partners, a nonprofit focused on education in Haiti. He’s on the board of directors of Equitas Group, a philanthropic foundation focused on ending child exploitation in Haiti and Southeast Asia. He’s a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Palm Beach Atlantic University (B.A.). He teaches adult education at his local church. He speaks regularly to groups around the country. He is married to Shelly, and they live in Florida with their daughter (2005) and son (2009). 

Jenny Hwang 

Managing Director 

Jenny Hwang earned a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from Boston College, and her master’s in international disaster psychology from the University of Denver before joining HDI. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a research assistant in a developmental psychology lab at Boston College, and in a cognitive psychology lab in South Korea. She received a grant from Boston College to work in Cambodia with local faith-based organizations aimed at preventing trafficking. While working on her master’s degree, she worked with refugees on a domestic level and worked internationally in Malawi at a psychiatric hospital. 

Laura Leonard  

Communications Specialist 

Laura Leonard manages all communications for HDI, including social media, newsletter, publicity, editorial development, and managing writing and media opportunities. She previously worked as an editor at Christianity Today, overseeing various publications and websites during her time there. She has a degree in English with an emphasis in Writing from Wheaton College, and she specializes in editorial development and writing. 

Juana Trujillo   

Office Coordinator 

Juana Trujillo earned her Master's degree in Public Health/Nutrition and Wellness from Benedictine University. Before joing HDI, she worked at Feeding America, the nationwide network of 200 food banks, as a Program Associate specializing in Feeding America’s child hunger strategy and interventions to serve families during out-of-school time periods, particularly addressing summer hunger and federal child nutrition programs. 

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D.

Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism & Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism

HDI Senior Fellow

Ed has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. He is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the Executive Editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than one million individuals each week. He is also Executive Editor of Facts & Trends Magazine, a Christian leadership magazine with a circulation of more than 70,000 readers. 

Affiliated Faculty

George Kalantzis, Ph.D.  

Professor of Theology

Director, The Wheaton Center for Early Christian Studies 

George Kalantzis (Ph.D., Northwestern University) focuses his research and writing interests on the dynamic relationship between the written documents and their interpretation in early Christianity. He pays particular attention to the development of Christological and Trinitarian thought, as well as the interplay of classical Greco-Roman and early Christian philosophical understandings of anthropology and biblical hermeneutics. 

View Dr. Kalantzis' faculty profile > 

Scott Moreau, D.Miss. 

Associate Academic Dean of Wheaton College Graduate School

Professor of Intercultural Studies

Dr. Moreau's professional interests include contextualization of the Christian faith, issues related to phenomenology (folk religions, spiritual warfare), and technology in missions (especially information technology and the use of the Internet). His personal interests include reading novels and working around the house.

View Dr. Moreau's faculty profile > 

James Huff, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Anthropology and of HNGR

Associate Director of HNGR

James (Jamie) G. Huff Jr. received his Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from American University (Washington, DC) in 2004, and worked as Associate Professor of Anthropology at Vanguard University (2002-2014) prior to his faculty appointment to the Human Needs and Global Resources Program at Wheaton College. His scholarly interests focus on international and rural community development, religion in Latin America, faith-rooted social movements and non-government organizations (NGOs), and comprehensive community initiatives. As an applied anthropologist, Dr. Huff has worked with various NGOs and community-based organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of their programs to alleviate poverty and strengthen human well-being and community resiliency. Since 2008 he has worked collaboratively with the staff of a Christian non-profit organization (ENLACE) to implement evaluation studies that assess the impact of local development initiatives on the social, economic and physical well-being of rural communities across El Salvador.

View Dr. Huff's faculty profile >

Laura S. Meitzner Yoder, Ph.D. 

Director and John Stott Chair of Human Needs and Global Resources

Professor of Environmental Studies

Dr. Yoder has been the Director of the HNGR Program since 2013. Since 2008, Laura has taught North American students about sustainability and field research in rural and international development, in Thailand, Bhutan, Indiana, and elsewhere. She is keenly interested in the socio-political, legal, and faith dimensions of environmental issues worldwide. Her interests include languages, writing, tropical fruits, cooking and eating international foods, histories of botanical exploration and colonial governance, walking in forest shade, swimming, and asking questions.

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Susan Greener, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies

Susan has invested in work and research with children-at-risk for over two decades in universities and Christian non-governmental organizations. She has served in global development work as a programming leader for Mission of Mercy and Compassion International, working with children and youth living in extreme poverty in more than 30 nations. She has also served in the academy as a researcher in emotional intelligence and health behavior at Yale University, an Assistant Professor and Executive Director of an Early Head Start program while at Berry College, and a Dean of Students for Trinity Evangelical Divinity and Graduate Schools. She is passionate about resourcing the church to engage in transformational and holistic ministry, particularly with children and families in difficult circumstances.

View Dr. Greener's faculty profile >


Faculty Fellows

Integral members of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, Faculty Fellows are recognized leaders within their respective departments and disciplines. They serve as principals for HDI-related projects and help shape and carry out the institute’s initiatives. 

Ward Davis, Psy.D.  

Associate Professor of Psychology

Dr. Davis is a licensed clinical psychologist who joined the Wheaton College faculty in 2012. He is a core faculty member in the Wheaton PsyD Program, in which he mainly teaches psychological assessment and practicum seminar classes. Previously, Dr. Davis was an Assistant Professor in the Rosemead School of Psychology (Biola University), where he taught in the PsyD and PhD Programs and received the Sorenson Outstanding Faculty Award in 2012.

View Dr. Davis' faculty profile > 

Cynthia Neal Kimball, Ph.D. 

Professor of Psychology

My interests have included a wide range of research questions, specifically: high-risk families, attachment theory (particularly as it relates to our relationship with God), emerging adults, and gender issues.

I enjoy my extended family which includes 5 grandchildren. Additionally, when I'm not training for a marathon, you'll find me reading a wide variety of good books. I'm involved in a small congregation which is very concerned with social justice issues, e.g., feeding the poor and advocating for the marginalized.

View Dr. Kimball's faculty profile >

John McConnell, Ph.D. 

Assistant Professor of Psychology 

John M. McConnell, Ph.D., has six years of experience as a clinician in the Veterans Health Administration (VA). Dr. McConnell has additionally practiced in a community mental health center and a cancer hospital. As a licensed psychologist, he specializes in integrating cognitive/psychological assessments and interventions into medical settings with particular emphasis on the elderly, people with dementia, and individuals with physical illness. He was previously responsible for managing a VA outpatient mental health clinic during his postdoctoral residency. Dr. McConnell also is an expert in assisting individuals, couples, and groups accomplish forgiveness. He is passionate about teaching, clinical supervision, research advising, and student mentorship.

View Dr. McConnell's faculty profile >

Contributing Scholars

HDI Contributing Scholars are respected psychologists at institutions across the country working with HDI as co-investigators on research projects.   

  • Donnie Davis (Georgia State University) 
  • Cirleen DeBlaere (Georgia State University) 
  • Josh Hook (University of North Texas) 
  • Stacey McElroy (Georgia State University) 
  • Laura Shannonhouse (Georgia State University) 
  • Daryl Van Tongeren (Hope College)  
  • Laura Captari (University of North Texas) 
  • Kevin Schaller (Resiliency Partners)