Center for Education in Mass Violence and Suicide

Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach, Ph.D.

Lisa Pescara Kovach

Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach is a professor of educational psychology at The University of Toledo where she also serves as the Director of the Center for Education in Mass Violence and Suicide and Chair of the Mass Violence Collaborative.  Lisa has her B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Experimental Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with a minor in Child Clinical Psychology.  In addition to her work at the university, she serves on the advisory board of the National Association of Behavioral Intervention and Threat Assessment (NaBITA).

Dr. Pescara-Kovach’s international and national level peer-reviewed and invited presentations include, but are not limited to, the topics of suicides and homicides related to bullying victimization; behavioral threat assessment; and prevention through postvention in school, campus, and workplace shootings.  Lisa has a forthcoming book co-authored with Dr. Brian Van Brunt and Jeffrey Solomon titled, White Supremacist Violence: Understanding the Resurgence and Stopping the Spread. Her most recent publications address media contagion in connection to suicides and targeted shootings as well as the mental health and mass shooting myth.  She is also a web content creator for Navigate 360 (formerly the ALICE Training Institute)Within the regional community, Dr. Pescara-Kovach has served as the region’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)  Fundamentals of Mental Health trainer since 2014 and is the co-founder and director of the Northwestern Ohio Critical Incident Stress Management team.  Her work on media contagion, female shooters, threat assessment, and post-mass shooting mental health has been featured in Salon, The Hill, the Californian, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and the Colorado Sun.

Lisa served as an expert witness in the landmark case involving the estate of Gabriel Taye v. the Cincinnati School District.  She provided her expert opinion regarding the suicide death of 8-year-old Gabriel after he was physically bullied and assaulted in a restroom by a student in the district.  The case has the potential to lead to national level changes in bullying prevention in school districts. 



Relevant Experience Related to the Center of MASS 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.


  • 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: 6/27/22