Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D.

Founder & President, Give an Hour

Barbara Van Dahlen, Ph.D., named to TIME's 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, is the president and founder of Give an Hour™. A licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing in the Washington, D.C., area for over 20 years, she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in 1991, her M.A. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in 1987, and her B.A., summa cum laude, in psychology from California State College in 1982. Concerned about the mental health implications of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr. Van Dahlen founded Give an Hour in 2005. The organization has created a national network of mental health professionals who provide free services to U.S. troops, veterans, their loved ones, and their communities. Currently, the network has nearly 7,000 providers, who have collectively given more than 210,000 hours of care, valued at over $21 million. Working with other nonprofit leaders, Dr. Van Dahlen developed the Community Blueprint, a national initiative and online tool to assist communities in more effectively and strategically supporting veterans and military families. Give an Hour has implemented this approach in two demonstration sites and continues to lead community collaboration projects. The organization now also leads the Campaign to Change Direction™, a collective impact effort to change the culture of mental health in America. In just one year, the campaign has gained tremendous momentum and surpassed its initial goal of creating 30 million media impressions five times over. Dr. Van Dahlen has become a notable source and expert on the psychological impact of war on troops and families and a thought leader in mobilizing civilian constituencies to create large system change. She has received numerous awards, including the American Psychological Association’s Presidential Citation and the Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship of the Manhattan Institute in 2013. In 2014 she was honored by the Chief of Staff of the United States Army as an outstanding civilian who has made significant voluntary contributions to our military and the United States Army. She also received the 2016 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Lifesavers Gala Public Service Award and was appointed in January 2017 to serve on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition.