The AAKOMA Project Board comprises community leaders and members who volunteer their time to educate our research team on issues that are important to our community and who are dedicated to supporting children and youth of color in achieving optimal mental health.
A list of our partners (recent and former) includes: Lincoln Memorial Baptist Church (Durham, NC), First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville (MD), Community United Methodist Church (DC), Orange Grove Missionary Baptist Church (Durham, NC), Mt. Zion Baptist Church (VA), Mt. Olive Baptist Church (VA), St. Johns’ Baptist Church (NC), Peace Missionary Baptist Church (NC), Mind Right, PEN DMV, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Name and title of persons who approve the AAKOMA Project, Inc. budget:
Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble is AAKOMA Founder and Board President She is a recognized media personality, researcher, clinician, and consultant (for K-12, higher education institutions and non-profit organizations) expert in the mental health needs of racially diverse adolescents, youth, young adults and families. With expertise built over 20 years in academic medicine and community spaces, Dr. Alfiee’s track record of external and federal research funding is stellar (especially given the disparities faced by researchers of color). She was trained at competitive institutions including Howard University, New York University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Duke University School of Medicine. Her research in The AAKOMA Project and Lab helps to build a culturally relevant evidence-base, relevant for behavioral interventions to improve mental health treatment by African American adolescents and their families. Dr. Alfiee is engaged in projects at the local, regional, national and international spheres.
Mrs. H. Kathy Williams, B.A., M.A. is a retired educator where she worked 31 years in the Durham Public Schools. She taught elementary school and served as a high school guidance counselor. She received a BA from Winston-Salem State University, a MA Degree in Elementary Education and a second MA Degree in School Guidance and Counseling from NC Central University. She serves as a Community Partner with Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble, Founder and CEO of the AAKOMA Project and also serves as a Member of the Advisory Board for the AAKOMA Project. In 1996, Mrs. Williams started an affiliate chapter of the Yellow Ribbon Program (National Youth Suicide Prevention Program) in Durham and an Awareness Presentation “Breaking the Silence”. She has received numerous trainings in mental health awareness and suicide prevention workshops for schools, religious/community groups, and conferences. She has worked to help local communities understand depression and come to grips with the tragedy of suicide. She plans to continue her passion and purpose to research, study, recruit, train, and do whatever it takes to eliminate the stigmas and myths associated with mental health which will allow people to embrace the help that’s needed.
Dr. Richard Noble, III is a mathematics professor at NOVA-Annandale in the DC area. He earned a bachelor's in Mathematics at Jackson State University, a masters in curriculum and instruction from UW-Madison and a PhD in Culture Curriculum and Change from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Shauna M. Cooper is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Director of the Strengths, Assets, & Resilience (StAR) Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Developmental Psychology. Her expertise includes examining how culture and context (family; school; community) impact the development of African American children, adolescents, and families. Her work spans multiple areas (e.g., positive youth development; parental involvement; father engagement; gender-related processes; youth community involvement) and has been published in a variety of scientific journals, including the Journal of Adolescence; Journal of Research on Adolescence; Journal of Youth and Adolescence; Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology; Family Relations; Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review. In support of this work, Dr. Cooper has received funding from a number of agencies, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In her spare time, Shauna enjoys genealogy, photography, and spending time with family.
Mrs. Kathy Springfield-Cobb is a retired School Counselor where she worked for thirty-one
years in the Durham Public School System. She graduated from North Carolina Central
University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and received a Master of
Arts in School Counseling from North Carolina Central University. She is a National Board
Professionally she participated in one of AAKOMA PCORI funded projects to help address depression and other
mental health needs of African American Youth.
Kathy served as the secretary for the NC School Counselor Association, was a School Counselor
Supervisor to university counseling interns and mentored new counselors to the profession.
She participated in numerous doctoral research projects with doctoral students at North
Carolina State University and Duke University. Nationally, she has served as a conference
presenter for the Association of Curriculum and Instruction.
The following list comprises the many generous donors and organizations who keep AAKOMA running (via their gifts of time and resources):