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Research

Meta-analysis shows that using the 5 Core Competencies as outlined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning can positively impact students’ lives as much as 18 years later on:

Academics
(11 percentile points)
Conduct problems
Emotional distress
Drug use
The Heroic Journey
is based on these Core Competencies. 
We use evidence-based psychology + engaging tools that children find relatable.
Content Creation Team 
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CARRIE GOLDMAN
Founding Partner / The Heroic Journey Curriculum Director and Creator
With by-lines on childhood development for The NY Times, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other notable publications, Carrie Goldman is the author of Harper Collins’ acclaimed Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, winner of the National Parenting Publication Award and Mom’s Choice Award.

Bullied has ranked #1 on Amazon in 2 categories: “School Safety & Violence” and "Parent Participation in Education.”

She has garnered acclaim for her work on bullying and social conflict, appearing on NPR, MSNBC, CNN, The NY Times, ABC Radio, and others. She gives keynote addresses to companies, universities, and schools about bullying prevention, intervention, and reconciliation; digital citizenship; the academic effects of gender inequality; restorative justice and resolving social conflict.

In Bullied, Goldman brings together leading authorities with accounts of peer victimization to present proven strategies and tools for teaching children how to speak up and carry themselves with confidence; call each other out on cruelty; resolve conflict; and cope with teasing, taunting, physical abuse, and cyberbullying. Goldman received her B.S. from Northwestern and her M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management. In addition to her roles as Founding Partner and Curriculum Director, Carrie also serves as Treasurer of Pop Culture Hero Coalition. She lives in Evanston, IL, with her husband and three children.

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DR. RHEEDA WALKER
Author

As seen on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, and BET and in Ebony, Washington Post, Vogue, the Los Angeles Times, and more, Rheeda Walker, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist whose program of research emphasizes two understudied areas—suicide science and African American adult mental health. Communities throughout the United States are chronically underserved, in part due to social and cultural barriers. This is perhaps especially true of mental health initiatives.

Much of Walker’s scholarly work has focused on developing emotional fortitude, as well as suicide prevention, and it correlates toward the primary goal of developing culturally-relevant models of mental health and well-being.

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DR. JANINA SCARLET
Chief Psychologist / The Heroic Journey Curriculum Co- Creator / Consultant: DC Entertainment, Disney +

A Ukrainian-born refugee, Dr. Janina Scarlet survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution, immigrated to the U.S. as a child, and earned Doctorates in both Psychology and Neuroscience.

Inspired by the X-Men, she developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Dr. Scarlet is the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award by the United Nations Association for her work on Superhero Therapy.

Dr. Scarlet’s work has been featured on Yahoo, BBC, NPR, Sunday Times, CNN, CW, ABC, The New York Times, Forbes, and many other outlets. She regularly consults on books and television shows, including HBO’s The Young Justice. In addition to her work with the Pop Culture Hero Coalition. Scarlet currently works at the Center for Stress and Anxiety Management in San Diego.

 

She authored ten books and has written chapters for fourteen others. Her books include Superhero Therapy, Harry Potter Therapy, Therapy Quest, Dark Agents, Super-Women, and It Shouldn’t Be This Way. Superhero Therapy has ranked #1 on Amazon in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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DR. ANDREA LETAMENDI
The Heroic Journey Curriculum Co-Creator / Consultant: MARVEL and DC Entertainment

As seen on the cover of the American Psychological Association flagship magazine, The Monitor on Psychology, Dr. Andrea Letamendi is a psychologist, consultant, and TEDx Speaker.

Dr. Letamendi is UCLA’s Associate Director of Residential Life for Mental Health Training, Intervention and Response, as well as the Interim Director of the UCLA Resilience Center, where she develops, innovates, and oversees projects aimed at bettering mental health and providing well-being practices for a community of 45,000. Dr. Drea developed and disseminated UCLA's suicide prevention and response program to improve detection of suicide-related risk among young people 18-25.

Her areas of expertise include multicultural diversity, treatment for trauma and stressor-related disorders, interventions for bullying and cyber-bullying, and psychological resiliency. Dr. Letamendi has led seminars and lectures at universities, mental health agencies, and pop culture conventions nationwide. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCSD and trained at UCLA and the West Los Angeles VA Hospital, along with receiving her Bachelor’s degree at Cornell. She is a Fellow at the Institute of Coaching, McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Affiliate.

Dr. Letamendi’s work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The AP, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, CNN.com, BBC News, Psychology Today, Marvel, Psychology Today, and Wired. She has written articles for The Guardian and The Hollywood Reporter.

She is the co-host and creator of The Arkham Sessions, a podcast that gives listeners worldwide insight into psychological science through deep exploration of superheroes and their stories. Her TED Talk about Resiliency and Superheroes is available online.

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DR. FRANCES HURLEY
Early Childhood Education Curriculum Creator / Trainer

Dr. Hurley earned a Harvard Doctorate in Human Development and Psychology, along with a Harvard Masters in Cognitive and Symbolic Development, Dr. Frances Hurley is an early childhood specialist whose consultancy clients include the World Bank and UNICEF.

Having grown up in an interracial family in the 1950s, Dr. Hurley finished first in her undergraduate studies class in education and was awarded the University medal for this accomplishment. Her first master’s thesis (an ethnographic study of language and literacy in early childhood) won the College Reading Association best thesis award in a North America-wide competition. As a promising scholar, she was invited to present the results of this study to an audience of early childhood experts in Washington, D.C. She then attended both Oxford and Harvard Universities.

Dr. Hurley is now a teacher of teachers, a curriculum developer, an evaluator of early childhood programs, and an early childhood consultant. As a consultant for UNICEF and the World Bank, she works on meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of (1) good health and well being, (2) quality education, and (3) gender equality.

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DR. LA ADAH DEMUS
Curriculum Co-Creator and Trainer

Dr. LaAdah Demus has a wealth of cultural experience from teaching within both Title I schools and private schools, as well as teaching overseas. She has a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, as well as a Bachelors and Masters degree in Elementary Education. Over the course of her career, she has written curriculum, lead district professional developments, written and been awarded educational grants, been recognized as a highly effective educator, created and led educational research, and published a scholarly article titled “Virtual Coaching in Elementary Schools.”

As the Diversity Content Creator for the Pop Culture Hero Coalition, she is dedicated to ensuring Black and Brown children are represented with fidelity.

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DR. KIERE EICHELBERGER
Curriculum Creator / Trainer / Psychologist

A Navy Veteran, Dr. Eichelberger is the supervising behavioral health provider for Marin Community Clinics. She completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology (health psychology track) at Alliant International University San Diego, CA campus.

Her predoctoral internship and postdoctoral residency were completed at Naval Medical Center San Diego where she also served four years as an active duty clinical psychologist and Lieutenant. Dr. Eichelberger has had the opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings including community clinics, veterans affairs, and universities. Her therapeutic philosophy includes incorporating patient-centered multicultural perspectives into treatment in addition to viewing her patients through the lens of whole health/ integrative medicine and wellness.

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DR. ALI MATTU
Curriculum Co-Creator

Ali Mattu is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety. He aspires to bring psychology to everyone, everywhere, by hosting THE PSYCH SHOW, writing about the psychology of science fiction at Brain Knows Better, presenting to the public, and advocating for the brain and behavior sciences through the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Mattu is an assistant professor at the Columbia University

Medical Center. He received his B.A. from the UCLA where he majored in psychology and minored in Asian American studies. Dr. Mattu received his Ph.D. in clinical

psychology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He completed a doctoral internship at Bellevue Hospital Center and a post-doctoral fellowship at NYU Langone Medical Center's Child Study Center.

Dr. Mattu has been extensively featured in media, including Netflix’s The Mind, Explained: Anxiety, CBS 48 Hours, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, MTV: Teen Mom, HBO: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and in the NY Times, Mashable, NPR, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, Discovery News, Comics Alliance, The British Psychological Society, and Forbes.

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DR. BILLY SAN JUAN
Curriculum Co-Creator / Psychologist

Dr. Billy obtained a PsyD from Alliant International University in 2014. He is a San Diego based therapist working in the community mental health field, a graduate-level adjunct professor, convention panelist, and writer. His professional interests include masculinity as a culture, the psychology of the horror genre, and the dichotomies of human nature.

He has contributed to Doctor Who Psychology, Star Wars Psychology, Star Trek Psychology, Captain America vs Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology; Supernatural Psychology, and more.

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VANÉE MATSALIA
Curriculum Co-Creator / Teacher of the Year

Vanée Matsalia was named Teacher of the Year for San Bernardino City Unified School District
in 2020-2021. A GATE certified Demonstration teacher, she is an integral member of the district’s Rigorous Curriculum Design team; she also serves on the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment committee for the Secondary Education department.

Vanée also works as a freelance journalist for organizations such as BlackGirlNerds.com and is the west coast coordinator for Women in Comics International. She is a frequent speaker at both educational and pop culture conferences alike.

Creators
"Turning fantasy into the real world, with justice and heroism."
CBS NEWS

"Unprecedented Coalition is providing free tools to combat depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, suicide, and bullying...  as well as offering in-depth mental health and social emotional learning support."

Thrive Global
Contact Us
The Heroic Journey Mental Health is a project of Pop Culture Hero Coalition, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2013.
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