Saliha Bava, Ph.D.

Mercy College, NY 
International Trauma Studies Program, NYC 
Houston Galveston Institute Faculty 

Phone: (832) 860-8390 

Saliha Bava, PhD has 30 years of experience in human and organizational development, diversity, and dialogic collaboration. As a social “actor” (“scientist”) she combines interdisciplinary ideas and methodologies to design and facilitate transformational socio-relational processes. She has a relational consultancy practice in NYC. She is the first Indian to receive the AFTA Distinguished Contribution to Family Therapy Theory and Practice Award (2023).

Saliha is a tenured Professor at the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Mercy College, NY, where she runs the Relational Play Lab. As a Taos Institute Associate and advisory board member, she facilitated the development of the MS Relational Leading Program, and served as a Taos Institute PhD Program advisor. She was elected to the American Family Therapy Academy‘s (AFTA) Board of Directors (2012-2018). She is the Director of Research and consultant to the International Trauma Studies Program, NYC. In 2009, co-sponsored by the Taos Institute and HGI, she co-founded the International Certificate in Collaborative-Dialogic Practices and served on its board until 2022.

Currently, she consults on relational intelligence, ADEI, and disaster preparedness and response to organizations in profit, non-profit and governmental sectors. At Mercy College, as the Chair of Learning Environments, she leads the design of closing the equity gap via data-informed practices. Along with Mercy’s Center for Teaching and Learning, she is leading the development of an Inclusive Pedagogy Course—The Mercy Model, informed by a ground up action inquiry.

Additionally, from riot relief to refugee resettlement and hurricane response, she has designed several community projects to foster collective resiliency and inclusivity across diverse communities. In addition to directing and coordinating the mental health at the largest shelter in Houston in response to Hurricane Katrina, she was the program director for Community Partnership for Resiliency helping the Houston community to connect and create an organized response to disasters (Katrina, Rita & Ike). She was a facilitator for the Healer’s Art program at Baylor College of Medicine. She also designed and implemented a community engagement training program for NYC’s Mental Health Service Corp. She facilitated the development of a human rights defender’s story-making kit as an initiative of community resiliency. She is the co-founder of the Resilience-Collective, a web-based resource site, in response to COVID-19.

Her scholarship is focused on relational practices for inclusion and belonging in families, communities, and organizations. She co-authored The Relational Workplace and The Relational Book for Parenting. She writes and presents internationally on relational practices in DEI, couples therapy, research, teaching/learning, trauma, OD, and leadership. She is the co-founding editor of the International Journal of Collaborative-Dialogic Practices.

In 2023, the American Family Therapy Academy honored her with the Distinguished Contribution to Family Therapy Award. She is the recipient of the first John Shotter Award, in recognition and promotion of the humanizing aspect of everyday life, presented by the International Network of Collaborative-Dialogic Practices. She received a leadership award from the City of Houston’s Disaster Mental Health Crises Response Team for directing the Mental Health Services at the George R. Brown Katrina Shelter in 2005. She was one of the first US trainers of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Psychological First Aid Trainers Program.  Saliha received her PhD in Human Development with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy from Virginia Tech. She has completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders from Stanford Graduate School of Business. As the former associate director of Houston Galveston Institute (2002-2009), she focused on organization development, community engagement, and leadership in addition to therapy, training, and research. Originally from India, Saliha now resides in New York City with her husband and bonus son. She embraces living as a process of improvised inquiry.