VKC TRIAD welcomes Holly Gover as Behavior Analyst and Researcher

Holly Gover smiling

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Treatment & Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (VKC TRIAD) announces the hiring of Holly Gover, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, as Behavior Analyst and Researcher.

As an instructor in Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Gover joins the TRIAD faculty as a member of the Behavior Analysis leadership and research teams. She will provide key direction on trauma-informed and compassionate service delivery within TRIAD’s community-assessed practice models.

“I could not be more excited to join the team at TRIAD,” said Gover. “My professional career is coming full circle, as I first discovered the field of behavior analysis and my love for working with children in Tennessee over a decade ago. It is clear TRIAD is committed to bettering the lives of autistic individuals and their communities through collaboration, community informed practice, and compassionate care, all of which align with my personal and professional interests. I genuinely look forward to continuing to grow as a professional working with the team at TRIAD and aiding in their mission.”

“Dr. Gover brings a unique skill set to our team as a bona fide practitioner scientist,” said John Staubitz, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, TRIAD associate director for Behavior Analysis Services. “Her achievements as a researcher are complemented by her extensive history of working clinically with children and adolescents who present with severe and complex behavior. Dr. Gover has devoted significant time to school- and community-based professional development and consultation for care providers, which affords her an understanding of the challenges and needs that we encounter. She brings the skills and knowledge to lead TRIAD in developing and executing innovative solutions that will benefit all we serve, as well as our organization. Moreover, her ability to design and analyze experimental work for the sake of research will set TRIAD up to evaluate our own work accurately, while at the same time capitalizing on opportunities for dissemination.”

TRIAD co-director Pablo Juárez, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, recruited Dr. Gover from her previous position as an applied research and university relations director for a private school serving autistic students. Juárez was recently appointed A director of Behavior Analysis for Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Department of Developmental Medicine at VUMC.

“It’s been extremely clear from our earliest conversations that we really needed to have her here at TRIAD,” said Juárez. “We anticipate equipping her with the time and resources to lead us in more fully developing our own skill sets as practitioners, meaningfully contributing to our new behavior analysis research program, and supporting the development of programming focused on self-determined outcomes for those we serve. Dr. Gover is among the very best in our field and TRIAD is significantly better having her here to teach us and learn with us.”

Dr. Gover started her career working in special education classrooms in Montgomery County, Tennessee, and has served children and adolescents with developmental disabilities in homes, clinics, in the community, and via telehealth for over a decade. She received her Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis under Dr. Greg Hanley’s advisement at Western New England University. Dr. Gover has provided training and intensive consultation in compassionate behavior analytic assessments and treatments for organizations around the world, including Nicaragua, Israel, and Canada. She has conducted applied research in homes, residential centers, clinics, and schools across themes such as the assessment and treatment of food selectivity and challenging behavior.

Her interests include evaluating intervention strategies to promote autonomy within therapeutic contexts, working with children and their families on healthy eating and mealtime skills, and increasing client participation and input in the development of their own healthy eating interventions. Dr. Gover trained practitioners how to address challenging behavior with compassion and empathy, how to conduct systematic applied research, and how to disseminate research through presenting and publishing to caregivers and families, as well as the larger professional community.

“I believe that TRIAD is paving the way for the future of behavior analysis and care for autistic individuals and their communities,” said Gover. “I am thrilled to be a part of that future.”

Selected publications include:

  • Gover, H.C., & Hanley, G.P. (2021). On the generality of preference for contingent reinforcement. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.https://doi.org/10.1002/jaba.892
  • Gover, H.C., Fahmie, T.A., & McKeown (2019). A review of environmental enrichment as treatment for automatically maintained problem behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaba.508
  • Rajaraman, A., Austin, J. L., Gover, H. C.,Cammilleri, A. P., Donnelly, D. R., & Hanley, G. P. (2021). Toward trauma‐informed applications of behavior analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysishttps://doi.org/10.1002/jaba.881
  • Rajaraman, A., Hanley, G. P., Gover, H. C.,Staubitz, J. L., Staubitz, J. E., Simcoe, K. M., & Metras, R. (2021). Minimizing Escalation by Treating Dangerous Problem Behavior Within an Enhanced Choice Model. Behavior Analysis in Practice, 1-24. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-020-00548-2

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