Our Team

Housed within the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at Wheaton College, HDI is supported by a community of scholars and advisors from across the campus disciplines. Core faculty and staff, faculty fellows, faculty affiliates, and students advance HDI's mission and interdisciplinary programming through their teaching, research, and writing.


Jamie Aten, Ph.D.

Dr. Jamie Aten

Founder and Co-Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute 

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

Dr. Aten (Ph.D., Indiana State University) is the Rech Endowed Chair & Associate Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College. Previously he was an Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, and Assistant Director-Health and Mental Health, Katrina Research Center, University of Southern Mississippi. He is the co-editor of 3 books and 4 forthcoming books. Dr. Aten’s research focuses on the psychology of religion and disasters, with an emphasis on equipping faith-based groups to prepare and respond to disasters. His research has been supported by numerous grants from federal, state, and foundation sources. For his faith-based and disaster work, he has received the Mutual of America Merit Finalist Award and American Psychological Association’s Division 36 (Psychology of Religion) Margaret Gorman Early Career Award. Read how he got involved in disaster research.

View Dr. Aten's faculty profile >

David Boan, Ph.D.

David BoanCo-Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute

Associate Professor of Psychology

Dr. Boan (Ph.D., Biola University’s Rosemead School of Psychology) He has extensive experience in healthcare quality and safety, public health, and capacity building as the vice president for research and development for the Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care (Maryland) and Executive Director for Innovation, Joint Commission Resources and Joint Commission International. Dr. Boan’s research focuses on culture and its relationship to performance, knowledge transfer, and sustaining change in healthcare. His recent projects include strategic planning for a health network in the earthquake area of Sichuan Province, China; building improvement capacity in international hospitals; and creating standards for healthcare quality and safety for developing countries. Dr. Boan leads HDI initiatives related to capacity building, measurement, and development of standards and guidelines.

View Dr. Boan's faculty profile >

Jenn Ranter M.A. ’11

Jenn Ranter, Humanitarian Disaster InstituteAssociate Researcher

Jenn Ranter M. A. ’11 is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner and the ministry leader for Replanted: Adoption/Foster Care/Safe Families ministry at Church of the Resurrection. She has worked as a therapist at Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley for children in foster care, specializing in expressive therapy modalities to promote healing from trauma. She was the principal investigator for a needs evaluation project examining evidence-based practices for mental health rehabilitation programs, and as a graduate student, she served as Dr. Aten’s lab coordinator. She has been published in the Journal of Adolescence and has been a speaker on topics such as foster care and forgiveness as a coping response in children.

Jenny Hwang

Jenny Hwang Project Manager

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.

Joy Lobatos

Joy LobatosAdministrative Coordinator

Joy Lobatos earned her bachelor’s in Educational Ministries from The Moody Bible Institute. She has worked for Wheaton College for over 10 years in several different departments. Most recently, Joy was hired to be the office coordinator for the Undergraduate Psychology Department at Wheaton College as well as the HDI Coordinator.

Katherine Halberstadt Anderson

Katherine AndersonCommunications Director

Katherine Halberstadt Anderson earned a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. The author of numerous articles, she has served as an editor for a variety of publications, and specializes in editorial development and writing. Additional fields of expertise include marketing, internal and external communications, social media, and production.

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
  • George Kalantzis
  • Nathaniel J. Thom

Faculty Affiliates

Faculty affiliates are a diverse group of faculty partners who participate in the institute’s education and research initiatives and help in carrying out HDI’s mission.


Both undergraduate and graduate students play an integral role in HDI projects, where they receive not only first-hand experience, but also mentoring to help equip them to support the work of the global church, helping those in need. More about student opportunities > 

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