COBE Connect

The first Tuesday of each month COBE hosts the COBE Connect lunch lecture series in the VCU Student Commons. Each lecture features a different faculty researcher discussing their work as well as a free lunch and opportunity to connect with faculty and students interested in mental health research at VCU.

2018 Events

February 27 -Tom Bannard, CADC, MBA, Program Coordinator for Rams in Recovery at Virginia Commonwealth University shares his expertise in “Creating a Recovery-Ready Campus.” Tom’s talk is from 12 – 1 pm in the Forum Room of the VCU Student Commons (lunch provided).

Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs) are inspired by the core belief that students should not have to choose between their ongoing recovery and their education. As such, CRPs create structured supports for students in recovery so they can experience success in college – an environment often hostile to recovery efforts.  VCU’s Rams in Recovery Program has become the second largest Collegiate Recovery Program on the East Coast in just 5 years.  Situated within the public health mission of VCU’s Wellness Resource Center, the Rams in Recovery Program strives not only to create a small haven within the larger college environment, but also to transform our campus culture to one that supports recovery and embraces prevention, harm reduction, and mental health supports as crucial elements of a healthy campus.

Please join us to learn more about this highly successful program and engage in a discussion about how VCU can become a national flagship university in addressing, treating, researching, teaching, and engaging the community in the larger discourse surrounding substance use and successful recovery.

Tom is a Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor and has spent most of his career working in homeless services at CARITAS.  A person in long-term recovery, Tom is an advocate for people in recovery or who are struggling with a substance use disorder.

April 3 – Dr. Abigail Conley, Assistant Professor in VCU’s School of Education’s Counseling and Special Education Department. Topic:Re-victimization and Resiliency: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Working with All Students; 12 – 1 pm in the Forum Room of the VCU Student Commons (lunch provided).

Previous victims of sexual assault (SA) experience a two to three fold increased risk of being re-victimized compared to those without a history of SA.  Findings from Spit for Science, as well as VCU’s Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Violence and Bystander Behavior, confirm high rates of pre-college SA and revictimization while enrolled in college.  This talk will explore trauma-informed practices for working with all students, and highlight the unique needs of students who come to college already having experienced SA. Current bystander models are focused on educating and empowering students to recognize behaviors that endorse rape culture and safely intervene in situations that encourage sexual violence. In addition to focusing on this cultural shift, ways that bystander intervention programs can focus on strengthening the assets found to be protective factors against SA (i.e., resiliency and social support) within the campus community will be explored.

May 1 – COBE and the Institute for Contemporary Art Mindfulness Kick-Off Event!12 – 1 pm at the new ICA! 

Please join us on May 1st from 12 – 1 (doors open at 11:45), for our inaugural session of the series: Tuesday lunchtime Mindfulness Meditation @ ICA. These guided sessions will be offered on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month, beginning May 1 and continuing through early September. The sessions are free and open to the public. Pre-registration for the 5/1 COBE Connect event is requested, and can be completed here. For subsequent events, pre-registration can be made in person at the ICA, or through their website (this registration will be live soon!)

For more information, contact COBE Administrative Director Marcie Walsh at

Past Presentations

October 3rd – Join Dept. of Psychiatry associate professor Dr. Nathan Gillespie for “Modeling the Direction of Causation between Cannabis Use and Misuse with Annual Income Across the Lifetime,” a discussion using twin data to examine the genetic and environmental risk factors in cannabis use, misuse and annual income, and how they are related. The lecture begins at 12pm in the Forum Room of the VCU Student Commons.

November 7th – Dr. Chris Reina, Dr. Patricia Kinser, Dr. Jo Robins and Dr. Abigail Conley present “Contemplative Science Research at VCU: Highlights from Four Faculty Members’ Recent Studies.” The lecture begins at 12pm in the Forum Room of the VCU Student Commons.

December 5th – Dr. Jinni Su presents on “Genes, Cultural Experiences and Alcohol Use.” The lecture begins at 12pm in the Common Ground Room of the VCU Student Commons.

To find out more, contact COBE Administrative Director Marcie Walsh at

September 12, 2017
COBE Research in Action
Marcie Walsh, Administrative Director, COBE

May 2nd, 2017
Multidimensional Perfectionism and Well-Being
Dr. Philip Gnilka, Assistant Professor of Counselor Education, Virginia Commonwealth University

April 4, 2017
Service Utilization and Mental Health at VCU
Jessica Bourdon, PhD candidate in Clinical and Translational Sciences, VCU, founder, Translational Partnership for Mental Health

February 28, 2017
Uncovering the Science Behind E-Cigarettes
Tory Spindle, PhD candidate, VCU Health Psychology, researcher, VCU Center for the Study of Tobacco Products

February 7, 2017
Seven Years of Spit: An Update and Overview of the Spit for Science Study
Dr. Danielle Dick, Director, COBE, Primary Investigator, Spit for Science and Professor, VCU Psychology

December 7, 2016
The Contemplative Science Research Core
Dr. Kirk Warren Brown, Associate Professor, Psychology

November 1, 2016
Mindfulness 101
Dr. Amanda McGann, Assistant Director for Public Health Research and Education, The Wellness Resource Center at VCU
Elizabeth Bambacus, Student Engagement and Summer Studies Administrator, VCU Strategic Enrollment Management

Active Minds at VCU
Andrea Nguyen, President, Active Minds at VCU (Student Organization)

October 4, 2016
VCU Students Mental Health
Sydney Brodeur-McDonald, Assistant Director, University Counseling Services

September 7, 2016
7 Cups of Tea and Disruptive Innovation in our Mental Health System
Glen Moriarty, CEO, 7 Cups of Tea

May 3, 2016
Drunk in Love
Dr. Jessica Salvatore, Assistant Professor, Psychology

April 5, 2016
Through a Tilted Lens: #Alcohol and Instagram
Dr. Jeanine Guidry, Candidate, Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture

March 1, 2016
Political Humility
Dr. Everett Worthington, Commonwealth Professor, Psychology

February 2, 2016
Free Ice Water
John Freyer, Assistant Professor, VCU Arts
Molly Ransone, Assistant Director of Learning Media Innovation, Alt Lab