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  • The Narrative Project

Integrated Wellness Group Taps Longtime Community Advocate, Stephanie Barnes, for Directorship

Updated: Mar 22, 2021


September 17, 2020 Mercy A. Quaye

New Haven, CT- Integrated Wellness Group (IWG), Connecticut’s premier race-based trauma and treatment therapy center and the Connecticut SBA's 2020 Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year, today announced the hire of longtime community advocate Stephanie Barnes who joins the team as Director of Practice Management and Community Development. This move, along with a number of other organizational developments comes on the heels of solidifying a partnership with Kentucky-based Psychologist Dr. Steven Kniffley to create the Urban Trauma Collective Care Center of New England (UT-CCC). Barnes, who is best known for her work as former Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club, will play a pivotal role in cementing the organization’s work to further the Urban Trauma Framework created by Dr. Maysa Akbar, Integrated Wellness Group’s Chief Executive Officer. The Urban Trauma Collective Care Center (UTCCC) of New England will provide evidence and race-based trauma treatment to individuals who have suffered from systemic racism and oppression for little to no cost. The Center will serve as a healing clinic, providing culturally competent services with a diverse clinical team, specifically trained in these models. As a trusted community organization committed to supporting people of color with therapy and wellness counseling, the addition of Barnes to IWG’s team re-affirms its mission to provide culturally sensitive care with a focus on Urban (racial) Trauma and holistic treatment. “We’re thrilled to welcome Stephanie to our team as we progress our strategic plans to expand our work to better serve people of color and train working professionals throughout the state,” Dr. Akbar said. “We have and will always be a dedicated community partner with an understanding that communities of color have been underserved for generations. With Stephanie’s leadership, we will be better poised and more equipped to do just that and take the UT-CCC in the right direction. I have full confidence that Stephanie’s experience and passion for community will propel the vision of advancing the fulfillment of emotional wellness for all people who need it the most.” After a tumultuous summer of civil unrest, IWG saw an uptick in telehealth requests related to racial trauma as a result of the current national and statewide events. As health providers throughout the state are adjusting to the demands of becoming more racial just, anti-racist, and trauma-focused, IWG has always anchored its services to the needs of its clientele by training it’s clinicians and offering ongoing professional development for staff more broadly in Urban Trauma. As the Director of Practice Management and Community Development, Barnes' role will focus on the administrative and business development functions of Integrated Wellness Group and the successful implementation of UT-CCC and it’s a critical role within the community. “I’ve been committed to serving New Haven for nearly 20 years with humility, relentless advocacy, and a commitment to innovative thinking and I’m excited to bring all I’ve learned to the justice-rooted work of Integrated Wellness Group,” Barnes said. “Now more than ever, racial trauma and treatment must be ingrained into everything we do and I’m eager to support the organization with propelling its vision forward.” Barnes will support UT-CCC’s of igniting passion and commitment in professionals in the mental health field, providing highly specific training and supervision to the clinical team, to further advance the accessibility and quality of care for people of color. "My organization and Integrated Wellness Group couldn't be better suited to combine our efforts and expand our reach than we are now," said Dr. Steven Kniffley, Associate Director of the Collective Care Center at the Spalding University Center for Behavioral Health. “Through this partnership, we will be able to better serve our community, influence more clinicians to adopt best practices in culturally responsive treatment, and lead the field of psychology in a more just and equitable direction. I'm excited to continue my work with Dr. Akbar and I know that Stephanie Barnes will add immeasurable value to our community endeavors." Visit for more information.

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About Integrated Wellness Group

The vision of Integrated Wellness Group is to advance the fulfillment of emotional wellness for all people. IWG is a unique, holistic mental health and wellness practice committed to providing an array of wellness services and culturally sensitive care to diverse clientele with a focus on Urban Trauma and holistic treatment.

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