Geiger Institute Team

Leadership

Suzanne Dubus

Suzanne Dubus is the Chief Executive Officer of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center and has led the organization since 1997. Suzanne believes in a strengths-based and survivor-led approach and is dedicated to fostering an environment where people from all backgrounds and lived experiences thrive and feel they belong. Her commitment to centering social justice and equity is a guidepost for the organization’s work across its four program areas: Survivor Services, Youth Empowerment Services, Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention, and Intimate Partner Abuse Education.

Suzanne was named a Champion of Change by the White House in October 2011 and the 2016 Woman of the Year by Delamano, Inc. Under her leadership, the work of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center has been featured in numerous publications including The New Yorker, NBC Boston, U.S. News & World Report, The Harvard Gazette, Huffington Post, CNN, Cosmopolitan, and in the books No Visible Bruises, Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen, and A Call to Action. Suzanne has been featured on numerous podcasts and radio shows, including NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and Weekend Edition.

Articles authored by Suzanne have been published in the Domestic Violence Report and Women You Should Know; recently, she co-authored a research article in the Journal of Social Work Research, titled Development and Testing of the Danger Assessment for Law Enforcement (DA-LE): An intimate partner violence risk assessment for use with Domestic Violence High Risk Teams.

Kelly Dunne

Kelly is the Chief of Operations at the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center and leads the national training and technical assistance work of the Geiger Institute. Kelly has over 25 years of experience in the field and focuses her efforts on working collaboratively with communities to implement intimate partner homicide prevention strategies.

Kelly is responsible for the conceptualization and creation of the nationally acclaimed Domestic Violence High Risk Team Model in 2003 following the murder of one of her clients. The DVHRT Model has received the Mary Byron Celebrating Solutions Award, the National Network to End Domestic Violence Spirit of Advocacy Award and was recognized as a leading promising practice in homicide prevention by President Biden.

In 2006, Kelly was named a Community Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. She has published articles for the Domestic Violence Report and Social Work Research and her work has been featured in numerous publications. 

Board of Directors

  • Scott Blackman, Treasurer
    CFO
    Roca Inc 
  • Tina Benik
    Corporate Attorney 
  • Annalisa Campanile
    Executive Director
    Boys and Girls Club of Assabet Valley 
  • Suzanne Dubus
    CEO
    Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Inc. 
  • Kathy Egmont
    Academic Leader 
  • Sally Gisel Green
    Retired
    Federal Reserve System 
  • Kathleen Held
    Retired
    Media Professional 
  • Katie Kozin
    Director of Institutional Advancement
    Shore Country Day School
  • Kathryn Nielsen
    Executive
    Higher Education
  • Shaiana Nunez
    Assistant Director
    Enrichment Programs at The Community Group 
  • Barbara O’Connor, Vice President
    Retired CFO and Partner
    The Baupost Group, LLC 
  • Dr. Jefferson Prince
    Child and Adult Psychiatrist
    MGH 
  • Jennifer Rocco-Runnion, President
    Community Advocate
  • Phil Schwartz
    Retired
    Senior Technology Professional
  • Dawne Studzinski, Secretary
    Vice President
    Credit Analyst at Institution for Savings 

Our Team

Heather is a Project Specialist at the Geiger Institute where she works with communities across the country to assess their existing response systems and implement homicide reduction strategies.

She has provided training and technical assistance to communities of all sizes, working directly with advocates, law enforcement, prosecutors and other criminal justice stakeholders.  She has extensive experience identifying community strengths that can be leveraged and challenges to be addressed in order to maximize homicide reduction efforts. She has trained at national conferences on a variety of issues regarding intimate partner violence and homicide.  

Before joining the Institute, Heather worked for Casa Myrna where she coordinated the day to day operations of SafeLink, the Massachusetts statewide domestic violence crisis hotline. Heather began her career as an attorney and she practiced law as a civil litigator for eleven years. 

Heather holds a B.A. from Bucknell University and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law.

Sarah is a Project Specialist for the Geiger Institute and supports communities’ efforts to implement homicide reduction strategies and evaluate their effectiveness. 

Before joining the Institute, Sarah provided customized technical assistance to jurisdictions throughout the country to help them improve justice system outcomes for victims and defendants, reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the justice system, and increase community engagement with justice initiatives.  

She has managed a variety of projects, including the implementation of justice reform legislation, program implementation, and model fidelity, institutionalizing the use of data and reporting on programmatic outcomes, and reducing the unnecessary use of incarceration.  

Sarah has B.A.’s from the University of Iowa and received her Master of Science degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.   

Kate is the Program Manager for the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center and Coordinator of the Greater Newburyport Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT), the first-ever DVHRT. She oversees the day to day operations of the Center which serves over 1,300 clients annually providing advocacy, clinical and legal services. 

Kate is a Project Specialist for the Geiger Institute where she uses her nearly twenty years of experience to help support communities implementing homicide reduction strategies. Kate provides training to law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, probation officers and victim services providers nationally.

Lindsey is Program Support for the Geiger Institute. She has ten years of experience in the field and supports the Institute in implementing homicide reduction strategies, developing innovative approaches, and evaluating program effectiveness. 

Join the team! We are currently hiring for:

Why the Geiger Institute? Why Now? 

New solutions are needed. Intimate partner violence and intimate partner homicide disproportionately impact certain communities. While rates of women killed by intimate partners declined in the U.S. between 1980 and 1995, this trend reversed and, as of 2008, there has been a 5% increase in the proportion of women killed by an intimate partner since 1980. Further, Black women are murdered by men at a rate more than 2.5 times higher than white women and 61% of all homicides of Hispanic women were IPV-related, a higher proportion than any other ethnic group. Now, there is even more urgency as the risk and severity of domestic violence has increased due to the environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to again work to identify and close systemic gaps, closely examine the effectiveness of approaches in groups experiencing higher rates of intimate partner violence and customize our work in Black and brown communities to make sure they have pathways to safety. There is an unprecedented opportunity to look at how we can better partner with communities and bring together effective practices, the latest research and strong partnerships with sharpened focus and attention in order to affect change and have greater impact in reducing domestic violence homicide. 

Origin of the DVHRT Model

In 2002, while advocates at the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center were trying to help a woman named Dorothy find safety from her abusive husband, she was killed in her home as her daughter was on the phone with the police. Her husband was released by the court four days before on low-cash bail. After Dorothy was killed, the advocates set out to understand where the system had failed her and how to prevent this from happening again.

From this event, the Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) was born. The model is based on the research of Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell from Johns Hopkins University that identified the risk factors present when a woman is killed by their intimate partner. The team-based model looks to identify and close systemic gaps and bring together community partners that previously operated in silos.

The first DVHRT in Newburyport, Massachusetts is still in place today. In the ten years prior to its implementation, there were eight domestic violence-related deaths in the greater Newburyport community; since starting in 2005, the team has accepted 200 high-risk cases resulting in zero homicides.

Working in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, advocates and community leaders, the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center has now trained communities in over 200 jurisdictions across the U.S. in the DVHRT model as well as the Danger Assessment for Law Enforcement Tool (DA-LE). The Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) recognized the DVHRT Model as a “leading promising practice” in intimate partner homicide prevention.