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About Us

About Us

Bill Ernst

William J. Ernst, Psy.D.

Founding Executive Director, Center for Concussion Education and Research
Program Director, Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology, William Paterson University

Email Me: ernstw@wpunj.edu

Dr. Ernst is the Founding Executive Director of the Center for Concussion Education and Research of Chestnut Hill College. Currently, he is also an associate professor of pscyhology and program director of the Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at William Paterson University. Dr. Ernst is a clinical neuropsychologist who led a team that was awarded funding from the NCAA-DoD Mind Matters Educational Programs Challenge to develop a novel peer concussion education program (PCEP). In addition, he was the co-principal investigator of a multi-site randomized controlled trial of the PCEP. Dr. Ernst’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of educational interventions designed to increase concussion knowledge and symptom reporting in athletes. His research interests also include sports-related concussion, neuropsychological consultation with school personnel and performance validity testing during neuropsychological assessment. Dr. Ernst completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/Cooper Hospital. He maintains an independent practice in clinical neuropsychology focusing on neuropsychological assessment of children and adults with various neurodevelopmental and neurological conditions including ADHD, learning disabilities and traumatic brain injury.


Meredith E. Kneavel, Ph.D.

Founding Director, Research and Assessment, Center for Concussion Education and Research
Associate Dean, School of Nursing and Health Sciences, LaSalle University

Email Me: kneavel@lasalle.edu

Dr. Kneavel is a biopsychologist whose scholarly interests began with the investigation of the physiological effects of stress on the structure and function of the brain and behavioral correlates of learning and memory. Many of these were investigated through transgenic and knockout gene technology with an emphasis on sex differences. Her stress research expanded to include long-term effects of stress on behavior and health. More recently, her research has focused on understanding concussions and reporting behavior through the development of a peer concussion education program. Dr. Kneavel’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at regional and national conferences. She currently serves as the Associate Dean in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and is a Professor in the Department of Urban Public Health and Nutrition at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA. She also serves as the Director of Assessment and Research for the Center for Concussion Education and Research at Chestnut Hill College in a consultatory role.

Lynn's photo

Lynn Ortale, Ph.D.

President, Maria College
Founding Director of Strategic Planning and Marketing, Center for Concussion Education and Research

Dr. Ortale is the President of Maria College in Albany, New York, and was formerly the Vice President for Student Life and the Founding Director of Strategic Planning and Marketing for the Center for Concussion Education and Research at Chestnut Hill College. Dr. Ortale’s commitment to student engagement combined with her experience at NCAA Division I, II and III institutions helped to support the development of the peer concussion education program. A strength of the peer education program is the interdisciplinary approach which combines research and theory with best practices and assessment. Dr. Ortale holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focused on entrepreneurial faculty. Dr. Ortale worked with a dynamic group of Student Life and Athletics professionals to nurture student success by providing resources and transformative experiences outside the classroom to promote students’ personal growth and academic success.

About Chestnut Hill College 

CHC is a liberal arts college located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and affiliated with the Sisters of Saint Joseph. In the tradition of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the mission of CHC encourages all to engage in caring for others. CHC is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and has 18 Division II intercollegiate teams. In addition, CHC is unique in that student-athletes make up a large portion (37%) of the student body and have earned an aggregate 3.05 G.P.A during the past two academic years making them one of the strongest groups with respect to academic performance at the college. In addition to being one of the recipients of the Mind Matters Educational Program Award, CHC has received grants from the NCAA including a CHOICES grant to enhance alcohol, drug and sexual assault education as well as a Strategic Alliance Matching Grant to create a staff position to provide access for women and minorities.