Elise” Van Winkle ’89

Dr. Elizabeth “Elise” Van Winkle ’89, a psychologist, published author, and until recently a senior official in the Department of Defense (DOD), has worked extensively on areas of sexual assault prevention, suicide prevention and workplace climate around diversity, within the military.
The DOD is the largest employer in the world, with over 1.4 million active-duty service members (soldiers, marines, sailors, airmen, and guardians), over 700,000 civilian employees, and over 800,000 service members in the National Guard and reserve. 
“It is vital that the environment be diverse and inclusive for all who serve,” says Elise. 
Elise began her career doing direct service work at crisis and domestic violence centers. She later joined a specialized trauma services team in Washington, D.C., where she provided support to individuals with co-occurring psychiatric disorders and PTSD as a result of psychological, physical, and sexual trauma.
In 2008, while working on her Ph.D. in applied experimental psychology, Elise accepted a research-focused role at the DOD, overseeing surveys on health and well-being of military personnel. From there, she rose to Principal Deputy Director of the Office of Force Resiliency, where she worked with counterparts from across the entire Department of Defense to develop preventive and response policies to prevent and respond to sexual assault, harassment, suicide, and bullying.
At the Office of Force Resiliency, Elise developed a Violence Prevention Cell that is still in place today. In 2017, she was named the temporary Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness and, in that role, created the Readiness Recovery Framework, the Department’s first-ever management tool for force readiness. In 2018, Elise was named Executive Director of the Office of Force Resiliency and held that position until 2021. She has since left the DOD for the private sector.
Elise believes Shady Hill enhanced her critical thinking skills through experiential learning, which she says, “has carried with me in all areas of my career.” #ShadyHillSchool #Changemaker
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