Drawn from Valor is a non-profit animation studio striving to reduce barriers to timely and accurate medical diagnosis and care. We create freely accessible original animations in partnership with medical and mental health professionals designed to enable children and families to discover important new knowledge in an engaging environment at their own pace. Our goal is to improve patient education and thereby enable those impacted by physical or mental health conditions to live longer, healthier, happier lives.

Drawn from Valor is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization consisting of writers, artists, producers, and subject matter experts who have joined together to improve the lives of children and families impacted by physical or mental health conditions.



Our process is simple. We partner with subject matter experts (SMEs) from the medical and mental health fields to create animated stories that are designed to entertain, empower, and inform. The SMEs provide expert guidance on content creation in a multi-stage iterative process. We then create the animations, testing at multiple points to ensure they are engaging as well as impactful.
Our work is not meant to supplant medical and mental health educators, but to support them. It is meant to provide children and their families with the knowledge and ability to make informed decisions and review important medical information at their own pace in the environment of their choosing. 

 © 2016, Drawn From Valor. All Rights Reserved.

© 2016, Drawn From Valor. All Rights Reserved.

Project #1: The Tales of the Golden Acorn


The Tales of the Golden Acorn are an animated series of short films, 7 to 10 minutes apiece. The Tales focuses upon the effects, issues, and strategies for dealing with trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a family setting. Though intended for young people who are impacted by trauma, the Tales can be helpful to anyone of any age who is contending with the effects of trauma.

 © 2016, University of Florida Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

© 2016, University of Florida Research Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Project #2: Kara & the Dire Beastie

Focus: Type 1 Diabetes

Kara & the Dire Beastie is a medical education animation and eBook project designed to help families with children recently diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. The goal of the project is to empower children and their families, demystify the disease, increase timeliness of care in remote locations, and increase retention of important facts for the purpose of improved self-management and health outcomes.




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Board Member / Producer

Steve Force is a U.S. military veteran and business entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience supporting multiple public and private security-related projects before joining the Board of Directors for Drawn from Valor (DFV). 


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Board Member / Subject Matter Expert

Dr. Merlo Greene is a licensed clinical psychologist with postdoctoral training in child/adolescent and pediatric psychology. She is a dedicated clinician, as well as an active researcher and educator. 

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Founder / Executive Director

Todd Silverstein serves as Executive Director of Drawn from Valor. His work experience includes private business, non-profit organizations, and government. He has graduate degrees in both Business and Public Policy. 



Associate Executive Director

Susie Dicker is the Associate Executive Director of Drawn from Valor (DfV). With over two decades of career experience working in and around the entertainment industry in Public Relations, Talent Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, and more, Susie first began work with DfV as a contractor supporting our Community Engagement Department before joining the executive team. Susie has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh and lives in New York City.

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Creative Director

Dr. James Acken began life as a professional artist before moving into a career as a professor of Medieval Studies. Wishing to return to his previous career, he left academia to work in the private sector developing goods and narratives in continuity with early medieval poetic tradition; he sees his creative work at Drawn from Valor as an extension of this.  

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Creative Director, Client-led Partnerships

Alan Caudel is an accomplished artist who has come to animation after developing a full career with more than 10 years of experience in structural design and drawing, web design, and video editing. He is currently pursuing a Master of Art degree in animation while assisting in the development of Drawn from Valor’s creative content and management of the creative team.

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Deputy Creative Diretor

Dave Szilagyi is a self-taught artist who worked his way up from Contractor to his present position as Deputy Creative Director. An incredibly talented illustrator and animator, he has demonstrated an ability and willingness to lead project groups and mentor developing artists. Dave graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Marketing.



Jody Brown, MD (MAJ, USAF [sep.]): Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist.

Daryl Chonka: Music Composer & Producer.

Richard D'Alli, MD, MEd, ScM: Child Psychiatrist.  

Matthew Daley: Audio Producer.

Amy Dicker: Fundraising and Strategic Partnership Development.

Stacy Dove: Social Media & Engagement.

Nick Gianforti (CPT, USA [sep.]): Production.

Antonio Gradanti: Music Composer.

Jamie Henry, MD (MAJ, USA): Military Physician.

Michael Mann: Production.

Mariam Rahmani, MD: Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist. 

Michael Roy, MD, MPH (COL, USA [ret.]): Trauma and Exposure Therapy.

Michael Shapiro, MD: Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist. 

Brian Short: Technology. 

Jill Sutton, PhD: Licensed Clinical Psychologist. 

David Szilagyi: Background Artist. 

Ellen Thomas, MSW, LCSW: Trauma Therapist.

John Thomas, MSW, LCSW: Adolescent Therapist.

Alisha Wray, PhD: Licensed Clinical Psychologist.