Coburn Place Expands Team to Better Serve Survivors of Interpersonal Abuse

Photos of Sudha and DenaCoburn Place is making organizational changes to strengthen its infrastructure in order to handle an increased need for housing and support services for survivors. Coburn Place is prioritizing innovational programming leadership by incorporating a chief impact and innovation officer, growing the direct services team and solidifying Coburn Place’s service delivery model as a best practice at the local, state and national levels.

Initially joining the team as a consultant, Sudha Sankar, Ph.D., is responsible for the strategic design, planning, organization and product generation for the newly formed Impact and Innovation Division of Coburn Place. Dena Simpson is the DV Housing First coordinator and is focusing on ensuring the model of “Domestic Violence Housing First” is integrated into Coburn Place’s housing services.

“Adding Sudha and Dena is a continuation of our story of intentionally building an evidenced-based best practice at the intersection of interpersonal abuse and housing stability within a trauma-informed and well-being focused model,” says Coburn Place CEO Julia Kathary.

Sudha is a human development and systems professional with expertise in leading the design, development and evaluation of programs in health, mental health and community agency settings. She has coordinated several community development and evaluation projects serving women, children and families. She previously served as the coordinator for the Interpersonal Conflict and Violence Initiative housed in the Couple and Family Therapy Clinic at Michigan State University and as an evaluation specialist for the Research Consortium of Gender-Based Violence.

Sudha has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology and received her Ph.D. in human development and family studies from Michigan State University. She is also a family therapist by training and has spent the last 10 years understanding the relationships between people and the systems they are embedded in or interact with.

Dena has a great deal of previous experience in survivor services, along with federal and state service grants administration. She led women’s shelter and domestic violence programs as assistant divisional social services director at the Salvation Army for 16 years. She most recently served as director of the Fresh Start Recovery Centers at Volunteers of America in Indiana.

Dena has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in psychology and another from Indiana Wesleyan University in criminal justice and corrections. She has two master’s degrees from Indiana Wesleyan University in organizational leadership and public administration.