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Board of Advisors

  • Dr. Kristen Wheldon (Psychologist-President and Founder of the Fire Service Psychology Association)
  • Dr. Burton Clark (Fire Service Leader)
  • Dr. Sam J Buser (Staff Psychologist-Houston Fire Department)
  • Dr. Gordon Wolf (Psychologist- Specialist in Pre-Employment/Fitness for Duty Evaluations)
  • Dr. Chuck Allen (Psychologist)
  • Dr. Thomas Joiner (Psychologist)
  • Dr. Anne Bisek (Psychologist)

Dr. Kristen Wheldon

President/Founder
Dr. Wheldon is a licensed clinical psychologist (CA License#27027) who has a passion for the behavioral health of firefighters and their families. She currently serves as the President and Founder of the Fire Service Psychology Association (FSPA), a nonprofit which was created to bridge the gap between professional psychology and the fire service through providing continuing education courses to mental health providers, behavioral health trainings to departments, and collaborating on research to better understand the specific needs of firefighters and their families. She sat on the Health and Safety Curriculum Review Committee for the National Fire Academy (NFA) and proposed the inclusion of behavioral health courses. Furthermore, she provided guest lectures to students in the NFA on the topic of, “Demystifying Psychology for the Fire Service.” She currently serves as a NFA contract instructor for Health and Safety Program Operations courses. Dr. Wheldon previously worked for the Los Angeles Fire Department as their Director of Behavioral Health. In that role, she provided direct psychological services to firefighters and their families, managed and supervised the peer support and CISM teams, provided trainings on behavioral health topics, and supervised two doctoral psychology students. As one of a few fire psychologists in the country, she recognized that firefighters do not have access to behavioral health care tailored to their specific needs and founded FSPA.

Dr. Burton Clark

Dr. Burton A. Clark, EFODr. Burton A. Clark, EFO has been in the fire service for 48 years, he was a firefighter in Washington, DC, Prince George’s and Carroll Counties, MD, Assistant Fire Chief in Laurel, Maryland, the Management Science Program Chair and Executive Fire Officer Research Advisor at the National Fire Academy, an Operations Chief during national disasters and emergencies for the DHS/FEMA, an Instructor Trainer for the University of Maryland Fire Rescue Institute, an Expert Technical Reviewer for the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Fire Fighter Fatality Investigation and Prevention Program, and a visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University Center for Injury Research and Policy. He serves on the doctoral research faculty at Oklahoma State, Benedictine, Northern Illinois, Grand Canyon, and Fielding Universities. In addition, he conducts lectures, workshops, and strategic planning for various educational and governmental organizations. Burt has a BS is in Business Administration from Strayer University, MA in Curriculum & Instruction from Catholic University, and Ed.D. in Adult Education from Nova Southeastern University. He has served on 17 doctoral dissertation committees. He studied fire science at Montgomery College with Professor Frank Brannigan, Emergency Management at the Emergency Management Institute, National Security at the National Defense University, and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. He is a nationally certified Fire Officer Four, Chief Fire Officer Designee for nine years, and Eagle Scout Mentor. Burt writes, lectures, and teaches fire service research, safety, culture, and professional development worldwide. He is married to Carolyn Smith-Clark a National Fire Academy instructor. They have six children, 14 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. His first book is titled, “I Can’t Save You, but I’ll Die Trying: The American Fire Culture.” Premium Press America, Nashville, TN 2015.

Dr Sam J Buser

Dr. Sam J. Buser is the senior staff psychologist for the Houston Fire Department where he is responsible for crisis situations affecting first responders in the nation’s third largest fire service. An Army veteran and former VA psychologist Dr. Buser is the co-author of “The Guys-Only Guide to Getting Over Divorce”. His most recent publications have concerned suicide prevention in the fire service. He has been featured on the nationally syndicated Montell Williams Show and has been an advisor to Newsweek magazine and the Oprah Winfrey Show. He is a former president of the Texas and Houston Psychological Associations. Dr. Buser has received numerous awards for his work and was recognized for Outstanding Public Service by the Texas Psychological Association in 2017.

Dr Gordon D Wolf, Ph.D

Dr. Gordon D. Wolf is a subject matter expert in the practice of public safety psychology. He currently provides pre-employment psychological screenings, fitness for duty evaluations, critical incident debriefings, and organizational development services. He has served over one hundred public safety organizations. He created criterion based methodology for selecting Public Safety Officers, which was published in Police Chief Magazine and subsequently built on by POST to develop POST-10 Traits. He developed concrete criteria for Fitness For Duty in CA and has served as an expert witness to determine fitness in Sager v County of Yuba landmark case. Developed suitability and fitness criteria for firefighters, in the 1980’s, and used subsequently with departments and districts in selection and fitness evaluations. He has worked with several Fire Departments and Fire Protection Districts including: Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, Marin County Fire Protection District, City of Oakland Fire Department, City of Fairfield Fire Department, City of Vacaville Fire Department, City of Napa Fire Department, City of Tracy Fire Department, City of Redding Fire Department, East Diablo Fire Protection District, Galt Fire Protection District, Manteca-Lathrop Fire District Riverview Fire District, Tracy Rural Fire Protection District, Windsor Fire District, and City of Eureka Fire Department.

Dr. Charles Allen, Ph.D

(Dr. Chuck) is a Licensed Psychologist and has been in the mental health field since 1972. He has spent over 30 years working with hospital-based programs. He retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 2006. He served as the Director of the Chronic Pain Clinic, Director of the PTSD Clinical Team and member of the Dual Diagnosis program. Dr. Chuck is a consultant to South Metro Fire Rescue. He taught in the Command and Lieutenant’s Academy and was a member of the Peer Support Team. He is an EAP consultant to Firefighters and family members. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Denver. A Master of Arts from Chapman College and a Bachelor of Arts, from the University of Nebraska. His interest in Mental Health began as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam.

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