Center for Education in Targeted Violence and Suicide

Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach, Ph.D. - Center Director

Lisa Pescara Kovach

Researcher, Content Specialist and Trainer in School, Campus, and Workplace Violence & Suicide Prevention, Intervention, Response, Postvention

Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach is an associate professor with tenure of educational psychology at The University of Toledo where she serves as the Director for the Center for Education in Targeted Violence and Suicide. In addition, she is an advisory board member for the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA). Dr. Pescara-Kovach’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Psychology with a Minor in Clinical Psychology. All of these degrees were earned at The University of Toledo.

She is a Researcher, Content Specialist and Trainer in School, Campus, and Workplace Violence & Suicide Prevention, Intervention, Response, Postvention. She is a member of the Faculty Senate, the University Safety Committee, the University Academic Programs Committee, and the Judith Herb College of Education Scholarship Committee at the University of Toledo.

She has conducted post-incident analyses on dozens of school, campus, and workplace shootings. She has served as northwest Ohio’s Crisis Intervention Team ‘Fundamentals of Mental Illness” trainer since 2014 and recently co-created the Northwest Ohio Critical Incident Stress Management team to assist survivors of, and first responders to, critical incidents toward preventing stress- and trauma-related outcomes. She is also involved in many other threat assessment and response initiatives throughout Northwest Ohio.

Awards And Recognition

  • 2018 – 2019     Selected for The University of Toledo Provost Office Leadership Institute
  • 2017                 The University of Toledo Edith Rathbun Outreach and Engagement Award
  • 2015                 National Exchange Club Champion for Children Award

Professional Expertise-Based Appointments

  • 2019 – present             Chair, The University of Toledo Mass Violence Collaborative
  • 2016-present               Director, The University of Toledo Center for Education in Targeted Violence and Suicide
  • 2016-present               Founder and Certified Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team Member for Northwest Ohio, Certified in Individual and Group Response through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation
  • 2016-present               National ACE Awards Selection Committee, National Exchange Club.
  • 2015-present               Advisory Board Member, Lucas County Suicide Prevention Coalition

Courses Created

  • School Violence: Theories, Prevention and Intervention.                                          EDP-6120/8120
  • Prevention Through Postvention in Targeted Violence, Terrorism, and Suicide.      EDP-6380/8380
  • Case Management in Suicide and Targeted Violence – New Course – Distance Learning Format, Master/Doctoral Level/6190/8190-009

Professional Activity

A.  Articles Published in Peer-Reviewed Journals:

  • Dagenhard, P., Thompson, A., Dake, J., Pescara-Kovach, L., & Rega, P.(accepted with revisions). Active Shooter Events in Schools: A Review of Reports & Related Materials. Health Behavior and Policy Review.
  • Van Brunt, B., Murphy, A., Pescara-Kovach, L. (2018). Early Identification of Grooming and Targeting in Predatory Sexual Behavior on College Campuses.
  • Van Brunt, B. & Pescara-Kovach, L. (2018). Debunking the Myths: Mental Illness and Mass Shootings. Violence and Gender.
  • Pescara-Kovach, L. & Raleigh, M.J. (2017). The Contagion Effect as it Relates to Public Mass Shootings and Suicides. Journal of Behavioral Intervention Teams, 5, 35 – 45.
  • Rega, P., Sattler, K., Fink, B., & Pescara-Kovach, L. (2017). Gaming: A Unique Way to Teach Active Shooter Preparedness and Response in Healthcare Settings.
  • Janak, E. & Pescara-Kovach, L. (2017). Four Decades, Three Songs, Too Much Violence: Using Popular Culture Media Analysis to Prepare Pre-service Teachers for Dealing with School Violence. Dialogue: The International Journal of Popular Culture and Pedagogy
  • Pescara-Kovach, L. (2015).  It’s Time We Work Harder to Prevent School Shootings Before They Start. Newsletter for the International Bullying Prevention Association, Winter, 1

B.  Published Tips of the Week, National Behavioral Intervention Teams Association Weekly Newsletter:

  • 2019    Why Students, Faculty, and Staff Deserve Response Options
  • 2018    Social Media: The Latest Tool in Public Mass Shootings and Targeted Violence – in press
  • 2018    The Many Faces of Terrorism
  • 2017    Rationale and Informed Consent for Behavioral Intervention Teams
  • 2017    Why Thirteen Reasons Why Should Have Never Happened

Peer-Reviewed Conference Presentations

A.  International (Peer-Reviewed):

  • Rega, P., Fink, B., Sattler, K., & Pescara-Kovach, L. (2017, April). Gaming: A Unique Way to Teach Active Shooter Preparedness and Response in Healthcare. Tabletop/Training Exercise presented at the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine Congress. Toronto, Canada.
  • Pescara-Kovach, L. (2016, June).  Beyond Threat Assessment: Targeted Violence Prevention, Intervention, Active Response and Recovery for K-12, Colleges and Workplaces. Workshop presented at the International  Conference on Conflict Resolution Education. Columbus, OH.

B.  National (Peer-Reviewed):

  • Pescara-Kovach, L. (2019, October). Identifying and Preventing Domestic and Foreign Terrorist Organizations’ Youth Recruitment Tactics,.Presentation for the annual national conference of the ALICE Training Institute.
  •  Pescara-Kovach, L. (2019, October). Female Rampage Shooters: They’re Not as Rare as We are Led to Believe. Presentation for the annual national conference of the ALICE Training Institute.
  • Pescara-Kovach, L. (2018 November).What Motivates the Female Lone Wolf? Concurrent session proposal for the annual conference of the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association.
  • Sattler, K., Fink, B., Rega, P., Pescara-Kovach, L., & Wishner, C. (2017, November). Teaching Through Gaming: How to Educate Healthcare Students and Professionals in Active Shooter Preparedness and Response in Healthcare. Paper presented at the American Public Health Association Conference. Atlanta, GA.
  • Pescara-Kovach, L. & Denino, D. (2017, November). Burnout and Stress. Roundtable Discussion presented at the 9th annual National Behavioral Intervention Team Association Conference). San Antonio, TX.
  • Pescara-Kovach, L. & Dagostino-Kalniz, V. (2017, November). Recognizing Similarities Between Domestic School Shooters and Extremist Lone Wolves Toward Preventing Tragedy in the U.S. and Abroad. San Antonio, TX. Concurrent Session presented at the 9th Annual National Behavioral Intervention Team Association Conference. San Antonio, TX.
  • Pescara-Kovach, L. & Denino, D. (2017, November). Preventing Stress, Trauma, and Suicide in Survivors and First Responders in Critical Incidents. Faculty Institute presented at the 9th Annual National Behavioral Intervention Team Association Conference. San Antonio, TX.
  • Pescara-Kovach, L. & Shaw S. (2016, November). Critical  Incident Stress Management: How Behavior Intervention Teams Assist Emergency Response Providers and Critical Incident Survivors with Recovery Program presented at the National Association of Behavioral Threat Assessment Conference. San Antonio, Texas.

Invited Presentations based on Professional Expertise - Outreach and Engagement

A.  20th Annual Northwestern Ohio Dream Child Conference – April 13, 2018

  •      Topic: The Interaction between Cyberbullying, Brain Development, and Suicide
  •      Audience: Law enforcement, social workers, mental health counselors, law enforcement officers
  •      Contact: Andrea Kirgis, Social Worker and Dream Child Conference Coordinator

B.  The University of Toledo Division of Athletics – February 15, 2018

  •       Topic: Mental Health Issues Impacting Student-Athletes
  •       Audience: Select University of Toledo Student-Athletes
  •       Contact: Ericka Lavender, Assistant Athletic Director/Director of Student-Athlete Services

C.  Owens Community College Law Enforcement Training Site – February 12, 2018

  •        Topic: Fundamentals of Mental Illness
  •        Audience: Officers, deputies, counselors seeking Crisis Intervention Team certification
  •        Contact: Rob Kasprczak, Manager of Training and Development, Mental Health Services and Recovery                               Board of Lucas County

* For Details Please See View Curriculum Vitae

Relevant Experience Related to the Center of Targeted Violence and Suicide

  • Campus Violence Prevention and Protection Trainer (trained through Department of Justice Services Grant 2011-DG-BX-K013) Member, Rhodes ECAIPP (Education, Communication, Assessment, Intervention and Protection Plan) Advisory Board
  • K – 12 Behavioral Intervention Team Trainer (trained through Department of Justice Services Grant 2011-DB-BX-K013)
  • Conducted Threat Assessment trainings for ProMedica Toledo and ProMedica Flower Hospitals
  • Created Online Curriculum for Rhodes State Center for Critical Incident Response and Prevention
  • Threat Assessment Team Founder and Supervisor – Oregon City School District
  • Threat Assessment Case Specialist
  • Advisory Board Member – Lucas County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Content Creator and Presenter – Lucas County Suicide Prevention Coalition
  • Fundamentals of Mental Health Content Creator and Presenter – Northwest Ohio area
  • Crisis Intervention Team training *Chair, Community BRAVE (Bullying Resources And Violence Education) Initiative

She has created and teaches master and doctoral level seminars on

  •  School violence: theories, causes, prevention, and intervention
  •  Threat assessment and case management of rampage shootings and suicides
  •  Applied child and adolescent development
  •  Prevention through recovery for K-12, campus, and workplace interpersonal and intrapersonal violence

Recent publications include “The Contagion Effect as it Relates to Public Mass Shootings and Suicides” in the Journal of Behavioral Intervention Teams as well as a co-authored publication with Dr. Brian Van Brunt, titled, “Debunking the Myths: Mental Illness and Mass Shootings” in Violence and Gender.

This year, she was an invited featured speaker at the NaBITA annual conference, where she presented Clearing Up the Confusion: Mental Health and Mass Shootings. She also conducted a presentation on the reality of female mass shooters.

Some of the peer-reviewed conference presentations she has given include a history of female rampage shooters, conducting a behavioral threat assessment, mental illness and mass shooters, bullying and its link to suicides and homicides, mental health and the student-athlete, recognizing at-risk students, de-escalation with mentally ill students and patients, and PTSD in emergency response personnel. She has designed and currently teaches graduate level seminars on the causes, consequences, and prevention of school and workplace violence, case management in suicide and mass shootings as well as prevention, intervention, active response, and recovery in public mass shootings, terrorist recruitment, and suicides.

Degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Experimental Psychology w/Minor in Clinical Psychology

*All degrees earned in the Department of Psychology, The University of Toledo

Last Updated: 7/17/19