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Bridge to Belong Consultants


Dr. Bruce St.Thomas

For forty years, as a child and family psychotherapist, Bruce is a specialist in complex loss and collective trauma frameworks. He has published articles and books including Empowering Children Through Art and Expression: Culturally Sensitive Ways of Healing Trauma and Grief (2007) and shortly, Collective Trauma and Human Suffering: Energizing systemic change through collective healing action (2023). A Co-founder of Bridge to Belong consulting, Bruce believes that together we can make a difference.


Marie Sheffield, L.C.P.C.

Marie is a clinical counselor, art therapist, co-author and interculturalist, working in the field of mass trauma and collective healing. In addition to being an adjunct professor at University of Southern Maine, she has spent two decades implementing a collective healing model with those experiencing war, persecution and terrorism. She established an Intercultural Advisory Council producing documentary films and community conversations across differences. As co-founder of Bridge to Belong Consulting, her training and consultations are focused on bringing skills of collective healing into the healthcare, education and community systems.


Maurice B Namwira, MA

Maurice is a pastor, human rights advocate, and project manager originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Prior to resettlement in the U.S., he was the Executive Director of a non-profit for Human Rights and Peace Building. Maurice holds a BA in Systematic Theology and a MA in Human Rights. He has training in stress management, collective healing, resilience, and reconciliation.


Tatyana Fertelmeyster,  MA, LCPC  

Born in Russia, Tatyana came to the U.S. as a journalist and refugee. After receiving her professional clinical counselor license, she established Connecting Differences, inc. Her company offers consulting, training, and coaching in the areas of intercultural communication, and diversity equity and inclusion. With organizations, teams, and individuals, she helps to develop effectiveness and resilience. Her current focus is bringing together mental health, DEI and intercultural work in service of collective healing.


Carl Toney, PA

Carl Toney has had a multifaceted career as a physician assistant in clinical medicine, primary care systems development and public health. He served as the Founding Director of the University of New England Center for Transcultural Health, and now works as a Health Care Planning Consultant, focusing on medically underserved communities.


Dr. Lacey Gale, LCSW, PhD

Lacey is a licensed clinical social worker and holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology. At the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, she conducted research with refugees in West Africa and Maine. Lacey has training in inter-cultural trauma healing, hospice, and program management and development for an intercultural non-profit. Currently, she is building bridges between establishing appropriate mental health access to recently arrived Asylum Seekers. She is the Program Director for our upcoming research and collective healing project with Tigray-American Diaspora.

Affiliates from the Tigray American Diaspora project:


Azeb Abrha, MBA,MA

Program Coordinator

Azeb holds an MBA & MA in Economics having lived internationally. She worked in corporate America as a financial analyst for over 25 years, most recently for a renewable energy company. Since then, Azeb has been giving back to her birth country, Tigray, Ethiopia through resource development and philanthropy.  She is a founding member of the Tigray Community and St.Mary’s Church in Boston.


Such cultural and social innovators create opportunities for intercultural collective healing by:

  • Recognizing contexts of trauma history, culture, diversity and humanity in each other

  • Reconnecting the individual within the strength of the collective

  • Promoting shared action-oriented experiences that reinforce the mind-body connection

  • Creating safe and predictable leadership

  • Believing and tapping into the inner resilience of the individual and community

  • Activating the community for social justice, resilience building and the restoration of humanity

  • Supporting change in social norms towards growth and development

  • Employing guiding principles for leadership and training

Solomon Mezgebu, MA

Program Advisor

Solomon holds a MA and doctoral studies from Tufts University in Nutrition and Public Health. He is a cultural leader,mediator and advocate for governance and human rights. He established culturally specific news community radio programs and is President of the Tigray Human Rights Council.


Sendaye Gebru

Program Community Facilitator & Storyteller

Sendaye is a Housekeeping Manager with W Hotels, Boston. She is a passionate advocate and cultural leader for the Tigray community, master storyteller, and community facilitator.

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