AATH Board of Directors

new nila  


Nila Nielsen, Ed.D
Heartfelt Humor
19729 Archer Avenue
Omaha, NE 68135 United States

Nila embraces Heartfelt Humor! As the former elementary principal in a school that was referred to by the community as the 'School with Heart', Nila loved to laugh with the kids and staff. Now, her laughter is shared with anyone who will listen, as she motivates and promotes an intentional infusion of humor within daily life.

Retirement has given Nila the freedom to choose and do only those things about which she feels passionate. Thus, she spends as many hours as she can volunteering for AATH. Dr. Nielsen currently serves on the Board of Directors, facilitator of the membership committee and as a co-director of the AATH Humor Academy.

beth slazak  


Beth Slazak
HaHa Moment
1373 Burrough Road
Cowlesville, NY 10437 United States

Beth exudes a humor mindset. One of the proudest moments of her life was the day she was called violently perky, and she puts that reputation to use in her daily and professional life. As a member of the creative science world, she sees the value and power of humor in problem solving and creative thinking. She uses it in her job as a Conference Manager for the Creative Education Foundation, and as an adjunct professor at Genesee Community College and Buffalo State.

As a member of the improv organization ComedySportz Buffalo, she gets to call on the improv skills of 'Yes, and...' by listening and building on others ideas as a member of AATH where she is on the Board of Directors and a co-director of the Humor Academy. 

deb price  


Deb Price, RN, MSN
428 Spring Cove Way
Six Mile, SC 29682 United States

Deb Price is an oncology nurse and geriatric clinical specialist and palliative care nurse, currently working in the field of cancer clinical trials. Her passion for helping individuals and families achieve optimal wellness as they age and live their best life drew her to AATH and therapeutic clowning as “Hug-a-Bunch.” Her mission is using gentle humor to help educate, enrich, and empower people to achieve optimal wellness.



Laurie Young
Laughter Works
4205 Lake Terrace
Kalamazoo, MI, United States

Laurie Young is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a certified Holistic Health Specialist and an Associate Adjunct Professor for Western Michigan University's Integrative and Holistic Health and Wellness Department where she teaches Health and Humor and Fun...The Brain's Best Learning Strategy.

Laurie and speaking partner Kay Caskey founded Laughter Works from their world headquarters in Decatur, Michigan and have given over 1,000 presentations to hundreds of organizations on the healthy benefits of humor and laughter. They are best known for teaching people how to juggle, a skill that tickles the spirit, grows brain cells, reduces stress and brings smiles to all.

Karyn Buxman  


Karyn Buxman, RN, MSN, CSP, CPAE, CHP
Journal of Nursing Jocularity
1465 C Street, #3318
San Diego, CA  92101 United States
(858) 603-3133


Karyn Buxman is an international speaker, nurse and author of the What’s So Funny About...? series. Clients range from the Mayo Clinic to the Million Dollar Round Table and they hire Karyn again and again to educate, inspire and entertain. Her mission: To improve global health through laughter and to heal the humor impaired!

Debbie Derflinger  


Debbie Derflinger, RN, BSN, CLL-E
Laughter Missions
7640 Depot St.
Rogers, OH  44455 United States
(330) 429-2924


Through her 30-year career as a nurse, Debbie has learned an important life lesson that self-care is critical to a nurse’s survival and ability to care for others. Becoming a Certified Laughter Leader rekindled hope and laughter in her life and became a tool for self-care that was so comforting and healing to the soul that words cannot describe. One of her Laughter Missions is to touch as many lives with laughter as she can. Another is to bring the “humerus” back to healthcare as a self-care tool for staff, patients, and families. Debbie is married, has two grown children, and resides with her husband in Ohio.



Fr. Paul Moore, M.S., LPC, LMFT

Client Focused Counseling
1845 Green Acres Road 
Fayetteville, AR 72703 United States

Fr. Paul Moore is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a National Certified Counselor, as well as an Anglican priest. His psychotherapy practice, Client Focused Counseling, provides counseling and marriage & family therapy to the NW Arkansas region. ​Fr. Moore’s therapeutic approach is a blend of Humanistic, Psychodynamic, Family Systems, Thomistic, and Liberation.

It is Fr. Moore’s hope to assist those experiencing dehumanizing and oppressive stressors find liberation. This can be done through therapy and or advocacy. He accepts persons where they are and walk with them on a therapeutic journey using affirmation and helping persons recognize their intrinsic value and worth.



Harald Ellingsen  


Harald Eide Ellingsen
Positive Humor
Steinaldervegen 4
Bryne, 4345 NORWAY
47 905 72 102

Harald Eide Ellingsen is our Norwegian board member. Harald is a standup comedian and public speaker about humor. 

His dayjob is within politics, but his heart is in humor.  



Jae Pierce-Baba, CHP
LipShtick Productions
12206 Ridgepoint
Wichita, KS 67235 United States

Jae Pierce-Baba, OTR, Humorologist, is CEO of her own seminar company, LipShtick Productions and a nationally recognized professional speaker, writer and comedienne. As an Occupational Therapist, Jae has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of settings with patients ranging in age from newborns to the elderly.

Her mission in life is to spread the word of the power of therapeutic humor in both our professional and private lives.

megan werner  


Megan Werner
Youth Bridge Inc.
1445 Spritz Drive
Fayetteville, AR 72703 United States

Megan is a Psychotherapist in private practice at Brain Training, LLC. She has been using humor and laughter with her current population, in addition to various other populations including acute psychosis, adolescent outpatient, substance abuse clients, actively disengaged staff, and every day "Joes." Megan has experience researching and applying positive psychology based interventions, and she is a currently in the Humor Academy Level II class.



Mary Kay Morrison, CHP
Founder and Director Humor Quest
Author, Educator, Speaker
322 Canary Drive
Caledonia, IL, 61011-9770 United States

Mary Kay Morrison is an educator who has taught at virtually every level of the educational spectrum, facilitating keynote presentations and workshop sessions for the past 30 years.  She is president of the AATH (Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor) and founded the AATH Humor Academy graduate studies program. She is the 2016 AATH Lifetime Achievement award recipient. Her book, “Using Humor to Maximize Living” is the text for numerous college courses. 

Additional information can be so found on her website.



Kathy Velasco
V2 Marketing Communications
220 East State St., Floor G
Rockford, IL 61104 United States

Prior to founding V2 Marketing in 1995, Kathy held executive marketing and editorial positions at the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association in Rockford, IL. Since 1995, she has served as the Managing Director of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, in addition to running the advertising agency.

V2 has been honored with the 2013 Community Volunteer Award by the United Way of Rock River Valley, for our commitment to volunteerism. In 2014, V2 was recognized as the Small Business of the Year by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce and the 2014 Outstanding Corporation by Association of Fundraising Professionals.