Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC, is Associate Professor and Research Director in the Graduate Art Therapy Program at the George Washington University. She is Immediate Past President of the American Art Therapy Association, and formerly served on the Board of Directors for the AATA as well as the Art Therapy Credentials Board. Dr. Betts holds a Master of Arts in Art Therapy degree from GW, and a PhD in Art Education and Art Therapy from Florida State University (FSU). Her clinical experience includes work with children, adolescents and adults. She is an award-winning researcher and author, and has presented internationally on a variety of topics, including adoption and foster care, assessment, autism, eating disorders, and research. Most recently, Dr. Betts was recipient of the 2014 Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association Best Paper Award for her article A Review of the Principles for Culturally-Appropriate Art Therapy Assessment Tools.
In 2005, Dr. Betts completed her doctoral dissertation, entitled A Systematic Analysis of Art Therapy Assessment and Rating Instrument Literature, funded by an FSU Office of Graduate Studies dissertation grant, as well as the 2004 Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Daisy Parker Flory Graduate Scholar Award. Her doctoral research resulted in the publication of the seminal article, Art Therapy Assessments and Rating Instruments: Do They Measure Up? (Betts, 2006).
During the summer of 2011, Dr. Betts led a study entitled An Art Therapy Study of Visitor Reactions to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Experience, for which she and co-investigator Jordan Potash were granted the 2012 AATA Research Award. Her interest in art-based methods extended into an ongoing collaborative study based in Nova Scotia, Canada, Ìle ga Bruidhinn: Community-Based Gaelic Language Revitalization. In addition, Dr. Betts was co-investigator for an autism study funded by a GW Medical Faculty Associates (MFA) Collaborative Research Program grant, Assessing Medication Responsiveness in Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), which incorporates the Face Stimulus Assessment (FSA) (Betts, 2003). She is also the GW Art Therapy Project Lead for a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) SBIR-funded study that is exploring the use of a computer-based tool to help military service members express combat-related experiences through personal narratives in a graphic novel/sequential art format.