Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart, PhD, LCSW (Hunkpapa/Oglala Lakota) is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of Native American and Disparities Research at the University of New Mexico in the Division of Community Behavioral Health. Dr. Brave Heart, a seasoned clinician, also provides psychotherapy through Indian Health Service Telebehavioral Health under a contract with UNM Department of Psychiatry. Previously, Dr. Brave Heart was Associate Professor at Columbia University and the University of Denver, and was a clinical provider and supervisor at outpatient mental health clinics in reservation and urban areas including South Dakota, Denver, Colorado, New Mexico, and New York. She is founding President/Director of the Takini Network/Institute, previously based in Rapid City, South Dakota, a Native collective devoted to community healing from intergenerational massive group trauma.
Currently, Dr. Brave Heart is Principal Investigator for a National Institute of Mental Health-funded R34 pilot study Iwankapiya-Healing: Historical Trauma Practice and Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy for American Indians, with Northern Plains reservation and Southwest urban locations. Dr. Brave Heart is Chair of the Special Interest Group on Intergenerational Trauma and Resilience for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. In 1992, Dr. Brave Heart developed and delivered the Historical Trauma and Unresolved Grief Intervention (HTUG), recognized as a Tribal Best Practice by the First Nations Behavioral Health Association, the Pacific Substance Abuse and Mental Health Collaborating Council, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Dr. Brave Heart also incorporated the HTUG components in reservation parenting interventions and developed the international Models for Healing Indigenous Survivors of Historical Trauma: A Multicultural Dialogue among Allies Conference from 2001-2004, supported by SAMHSA. Dr. Brave Heart is a graduate of Smith College School for Social Work (PhD in Clinical Social Work, 1995) and Columbia University (MS, 1976). In 1994, she was honored as a Lakota woman leader at Kyle Fair.