Rita Nakashima Brock, Rel. M., M.A., Ph.D., is Senior Vice President and Director of the Shay Moral Injury Center at Volunteers of America. She leads the organization’s efforts to deepen understanding about moral injury in the many populations who experience it. The center builds on Volunteers of America’s work, spanning more than a century, of helping veterans and others who live with this emotional trauma.
A noted theologian, Dr. Brock was the Founding Director of the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, where she also was a Research Professor of Theology and Culture. She is co-author of Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War, Beacon Press, 2012, and Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering and the Search for What Saves Us, Beacon Press, 2001. She is a leading national expert on moral injury in combat veterans and has offered trainings for VA mental health providers, for professional chaplains, and for veterans and their families.
In her first master’s degree, Dr. Brock studied youth development, psychology of religion, and pastoral counseling and was employed as a youth minister. From 1974 to 1988, Dr. Brock was Protestant chaplain for a high school level, human relations and justice, summer-school program in Los Angeles County called Brotherhood/Sisterhood USA, administered by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. In addition, from 1979-1981, she served as Assistant Chaplain and Instructor in Religion at Chapman University.
For 18 years, Dr. Brock was a Professor of World Religions, Philosophy of Religion, Spiritual Biography, Psychology of Religion, Theology and Women’s Studies, and she held the Endowed Chair in the Humanities at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, from 1990-1997. In 1997, she became the Director the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College, a research fellowship program for distinguished scientists, scholars, humanitarians, and artists. An experienced non-profit program and institution builder, she was a member of the strategic planning team for the 1999 Radcliffe-Harvard merger that led to the creation of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. From 2001-2002, she was a fellow at the Harvard Divinity School Center for Values in Public Life. She also served from 2006-2008 as senior editor in religion for The New Press in New York City. She has edited or contributed to three manuals for navigating careers in religion for the American Academy of Religion. In 2012, she received a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to create the Soul Repair Center, which is dedicated to research and education on moral injury and recovery.