PHOENIX – March 5, 2018 – PRLog — Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies (CGI) is thrilled to announce the graduation of five new Doctors of Behavioral Health. Steven Byrd, Janine Fonfara, Margaret Kristin Guadiano-Elliott, Carolyn Latham-Shiflett, and Jackson Williams completed the requirements for the Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) program in November 2017 and were conferred to graduate in December 2017. We are honored to have worked with them during their studies and look forward to seeing the improvements they will make to healthcare.

The Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies Convocation Ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at the Camby Hotel, in Phoenix, Arizona recognizing the achievements of each recent graduate. Graduates will attend and be celebrated by their families, CGI faculty, staff, and the Board of Directors.

About our Graduates:

Steven Byrd, DBH

Steven Byrd entered the Doctor of Behavioral Health program as as a curious lifelong learner in 2015, with a goal of expanding his clinical and professional knowledge in the area of integrated behavioral health. Prior to attending CGI, he earned his Masters degree in Social Work at Southern University in New Orleans. Through his Culminating Project research, he investigated the impact of universal screening school attendance and office discipline referrals and discovered that screening school-aged children can increase school attendance and reduce office discipline referrals.

Since completing the DBH degree program in November 2017, Dr. Byrd has received over ten (10) job offers in the fields of higher education, healthcare administration, and as a clinician. You can learn more about his work by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Janine Fonfara, DBH

Janine Fonfara began the Doctor of Behavioral Health program after completing her Masters in Social Work at University of Connecticut, School of Social Work. While working as a behavioral health clinician in two very busy primary care practices, she had the fortune of being introduced to Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies by another student. During her coursework at Cummings, she built pilot program into 12 locations with 10 providers, she now manages the program and is in the process of expanding into several more locations during 2018. Her Culminating Project investigated other Integrated Care Settings throughout the country, and she researched results of patients response to treatment as evidenced by depression and anxiety screenings, emergency department utilization, and all-cause inpatient stays. As a result of this research, there is compelling evidence that Integrated Care benefits the patients, the providers, the healthcare system as a whole, and the health of our population.

Having completed the DBH degree program, Dr. Fonfara plans to continue to grow the current work with Integrated Care within Hartford Healthcare, and to expand research and programs into other areas of Population Health. To learn more about her work visit:

Margaret Kristin Guadiano-Elliott, DBH

Margaret Kristin Guadiano-Elliott, a veteran of the US Marine Corps and graduate of Michigan State University, pursued the Doctor of Behavioral Health program with a vision to become an agent for change in how health care and mental health are administered. Her passion for the veteran population coupled with her research, resulted in a Culminating Project focused on finding alternative treatment for Traumatic Brain Injuries co-occurring with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder where she discovered/determined that Neurofeedback is an efficacious and viable alternative to assist veterans experiencing resistance to traditional treatment methods.

With her completion of the DBH program, Dr. Guadiano-Elliott plans to offer Neurofeedback coupled with Neurosound programs in a format that is easily accessible as well as affordable.

Carolyn Latham-Shiflett, DBH

Carolyn Latham-Shiflett, an alumni of Norfolk State University, Norfolk, Virginia, chose the Doctor of Behavioral Health program to develop a deeper knowledge base on integrated behavioral healthcare. During her studies, she was drawn to research prevalent co-morbid conditions in children with autism spectrum disorder and discovered that anxiety, gastrointestinal disorders and sleep disorders are common in this population and that there are few evidenced-based traditional therapies available to address these issues through her Culminating Project process.

Dr. Latham-Shiflett is employed by Aetna Better Health of Virginia as a Clinical Care Manager. She works with Medicaid members participating in the Long Term Services and Supports program and their families to make sure that members are receiving the needed services and supports in the hopes of improving health status and decreasing inpatient hospitalizations and emergency room visits. For more information about Aetna Better Health of Virginia, visit

Jackson Williams, DBH

Jackson Williams joined the Doctor of Behavioral Health program after completing his Master of Arts in Professional Counseling at Liberty University, while working as a Behavioral Health Therapist with the State of New Mexico with an interest in exploring behavioral health interventions to more effectively treat mental health disorders in juvenile justice populations. During his Culminating Project research and coursework, he develop a treatment methodology that utilized guided meditations to treat sleep disorders and determined that participants benefited from having an intervention available to them during sleeping hours, aiding them in experiencing more productive and healthful sleep.

With his DBH degree complete, Dr. Williams plans to further explore opportunities to utilize the training and education he received as a DBH to research and develop other programs to treat the underserved juvenile justice population.

For those interested in starting their own Doctor of Behavioral Health journey, they can apply by Friday, July 27, 2018 to begin a 100% online doctorate degree program in September 2018,

About the Founder

Dr. Nicholas A. Cummings is a visionary who, for half a century not only was able to foresee the future of professional psychology, but also helped create it. A former president of the American Psychological Association (APA) as well as its Divisions 12 (Clinical Psychology) and 29 (Psychotherapy), he formed a number of national organizations in response to trends. Since organized psychology resisted these inevitable changes, Dr. Cummings blazed the way, expecting others would follow. He launched the professional school movement by founding the four campuses of the California School of Professional Psychology that established clinicians as full-fledged members of the faculty. As chief of mental health for the Kaiser Permanente health system in the 1950s, he wrote and implemented the first prepaid psychotherapy contract in the era when psychotherapy was an exclusion rather than a covered benefit in health insurance. Presently, Dr. Cummings resides in Reno, Nevada with the one love of his life, Dorothy Mills Cummings. Together in 2015 they celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary. They maintain a winter home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He continues as Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno, and active president of the Cummings Foundation for Behavioral Health. He serves as the Vice Chair for the Board of Directors of Cummings Graduate Institute for Behavioral Health Studies.