Speakers

Deborah Antich, CFP, LDOE, RSPS
Curriculum Writer, Facilitator, Trainer
Deborah Antich Consulting
Deborah Antich is a curriculum writer, a Certified Family Partner and a Licensed Drug Offender Educator in the state of Texas who is trained in Trauma Informed Care. Deborah is the creator of Unstitching, a process utilized by persons in recovery and families affected by substance use disorder and other mental health related issues, including ACES, Autism, Anxiety and Depression. Deb herself is diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. She often partners with community-based organizations on mental health and substance related issues. Deb is also a Naloxone and Narcan Opioid Overdose Medication Administration trainer and a Certified MAT (Medically Assisted Treatment) and MARS trainer with the University of Texas, and writes and facilitates her own work with the University of Texas at San Antonio School of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences.

Catherine Bialick, MPA
Health and Human Services Commission
Catherine Bialick, MPAff, is the Senior Advisor to the Office of the State Forensic Director at Health and Human Services Commission. Ms. Bialick supports the State Forensic Director by leading innovative statewide strategic planning, policy, and technical assistance initiatives focused on improving forensic services and reducing justice involvement for people with mental illness, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Prior to joining HHSC, Ms. Bialick was a Criminal Justice Manager for Arnold Ventures (AV), a national philanthropy dedicated to maximizing opportunity and minimizing injustice. At AV MS. Bialick developed  and executed a $37MM investment strategy focused on improving crisis response and pre-arrest diversion for people with complex behavioral health and housing needs. Prior to joining AV’s  Criminal Justice Initiative, she served as Chief of Staff for the philanthropy’s Results-Driven  Government team and worked as a research analyst for the Community Advancement Network, a partnership of government, nonprofit, and faith-based organizations in Central Texas.

Libby Burleson-Porras, LCSW-S, MSSW
Health and Human Services Commission
Libby Burleson-Porras, LCSW-S is the Adult Mental Health Manager at Health and Human Services Commission. Libby oversees Adult Mental Health programs and initiatives for the state of Texas. Prior to joining HHSC, Libby was the Program Manager over the LOC (level of care) 3 south community based and Preadmission Screening & Resident Review (PASSR) teams, who provided mental health skills training to clients in the community and in nursing facilities. She also worked at the Local Mental Health Authority in both a community-based role and in the psychiatric emergency clinic. Previous work history also included working as a therapist at Sage Recovery and Wellness, providing individual, group and Acudetox therapy to those in recovery. Ms. Burleson-Porras also has previous state history working as a Disability Determination Specialist adjudicating disability claims for the state of Texas. Ms. Burleson-Porras received her Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Darius Campinha-Bacote, PsyD
Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center and
Campinha-Bacote Psychological Services, PLLC
Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center, where he is a functional family therapist and program supervisor for the Functional Family Therapy (FFT) program. In this role, he works with youth and their families who come from underprivileged backgrounds. Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote also has a private practice located in Ft. Worth, where he focuses on individual, couples, and family therapies, in addition to conducting evaluations for veterans. He received his BA in Psychology, double minoring in Social Work and Women’s Studies from the University of Dayton, and both his master’s (PsyM) and doctorate (PsyD) from Wright State University School of Professional Psychology (SOPP). Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote completed an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited Internship at La Frontera Center in Tucson, Arizona, where he counseled historically underserved youth who were transitioning to adulthood. In addition, he completed a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center, where he co-facilitated groups and provided individual therapy. Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote has served as the Cultural and Linguistic Competency Coordinator for a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant in which he partnered with youth and adults to coordinate culturally competent policies designed to ensure culturally-specific interventions for transitional-aged youth from diverse ethnic and cultural background. He is credentialed as a Health Service Psychologist (HSP). As a certified trauma therapist in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), he views his clients through a nonpathological lens. Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote is the author of several publications, including the chapter, “The Impact of Religious/Spiritual Beliefs on Survivors of Traumatic Events” in the textbook Spirituality and Psychotherapy.

Darius Campinha-Bacote, PsyD
Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center and
Campinha-Bacote Psychological Services, PLLC
Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center, where he is a functional family therapist and program supervisor for the Functional Family Therapy (FFT) program. In this role, he works with youth and their families who come from underprivileged backgrounds. Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote also has a private practice located in Ft. Worth, where he focuses on individual, couples, and family therapies, in addition to conducting evaluations for veterans. He received his BA in Psychology, double minoring in Social Work and Women’s Studies from the University of Dayton, and both his master’s (PsyM) and doctorate (PsyD) from Wright State University School of Professional Psychology (SOPP). Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote completed an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited Internship at La Frontera Center in Tucson, Arizona, where he counseled historically underserved youth who were transitioning to adulthood. In addition, he completed a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Dallas County Juvenile Detention Center, where he co-facilitated groups and provided individual therapy. Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote has served as the Cultural and Linguistic Competency Coordinator for a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant in which he partnered with youth and adults to coordinate culturally competent policies designed to ensure culturally-specific interventions for transitional-aged youth from diverse ethnic and cultural background. He is credentialed as a Health Service Psychologist (HSP). As a certified trauma therapist in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), he views his clients through a nonpathological lens. Dr. Darius Campinha-Bacote is the author of several publications, including the chapter, “The Impact of Religious/Spiritual Beliefs on Survivors of Traumatic Events” in the textbook Spirituality and Psychotherapy.

Jessica Cance, MPH, PhD
RTI International
Jessica Cance is a research public health analyst in the Substance Use Prevention, Evaluation, and Research Program of RTI International’s Behavioral Health Research Division. Although her 20 years of research and practice experience has focused on the epidemiology, etiology, and prevention of substance use and misuse, she also has experience in suicidality, sexual health, and violence prevention. Dr. Cance has led and contributed to epidemiological research, program implementation and evaluation projects, and coalition building supported by state, federal, and foundation funding. Her qualitative analysis skills include individual interview, focus group, and site visit analysis; her specialized quantitative analysis skills focus on person-centered methodologies (latent growth modeling, latent class analysis, and multilevel modeling).

Lisa Cleveland, PhD, APRN, CPNP, IBCLC, FAAN
UTHSC – San Antonio
Dr. Lisa Cleveland is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and a tenured Associate Professor at UT Health San Antonio, School of Nursing. Her innovative research with mother-infant dyads impacted by opioid use has contributed to changes in clinical practice and improved outcomes. Her recovery residence, Casa Mia, is a collaborative partnership between the School of Nursing and the nonprofit, Crosspoint, Inc. Casa Mia provides safe and supportive housing for pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorder where they can recover with their children. In addition, the findings of Dr. Cleveland’s Maternal Opioid Morbidity Study are providing insight into the contextual factors surrounding maternal opioid use relapse and overdose deaths; the leading cause of maternal mortality in TX and a growing cause nationwide. Dr. Cleveland is now developing and psychometrically analyzing a brief screening instrument to help identify women at-risk for overdose death so they may be referred to life-saving resources. Further, Dr. Cleveland is leading the Texas Targeted Opioid Response to ensure access to Narcan, and opioid overdose identification and reversal education: moreNARCANplease.com. She is also leading a statewide community paramedicine program (TTOR Bexar County) to prevent overdose, increase the use of peer recovery services, and improve access to treatment.

Brandon Del Pozo, PhD, MPA, MA
Rhode Island Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Brandon del Pozo served 19 years in the NYPD and four as the chief of police of Burlington, Vermont. While at the NYPD, he commanded the 6th and 50th Precincts, as well as units in Internal Affairs, project management, and strategic initiatives, and served on the staff of the police commissioner and chief of department. From 2005 to 2007, he was deployed as the NYPD’s intelligence liaison to the Arab Middle East and India, based out of Jordan’s capital city of Amman. In Burlington, his work included leading the city’s response to the opioid overdose crisis, and helping develop and drive national innovations in the use of force. His present research interests include systems-level responses to the nation’s overdose crisis, especially through the use of agonist medications, and the intersection between policing and public health. Dr. Del Pozo  was born in Brooklyn, New York, and  began his police career in 1997 on patrol in the 67th Precinct, in East Flatbush. He was the Police Executive Research Forum’s 2016 recipient of its Gary Hayes Memorial Award for Police Leadership. 

Brandon Del Pozo, PhD, MPA, MA
Rhode Island Hospital and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Brandon del Pozo served 19 years in the NYPD and four as the chief of police of Burlington, Vermont. While at the NYPD, he commanded the 6th and 50th Precincts, as well as units in Internal Affairs, project management, and strategic initiatives, and served on the staff of the police commissioner and chief of department. From 2005 to 2007, he was deployed as the NYPD’s intelligence liaison to the Arab Middle East and India, based out of Jordan’s capital city of Amman. In Burlington, his work included leading the city’s response to the opioid overdose crisis, and helping develop and drive national innovations in the use of force. His present research interests include systems-level responses to the nation’s overdose crisis, especially through the use of agonist medications, and the intersection between policing and public health. Dr. Del Pozo  was born in Brooklyn, New York, and  began his police career in 1997 on patrol in the 67th Precinct, in East Flatbush. He was the Police Executive Research Forum’s 2016 recipient of its Gary Hayes Memorial Award for Police Leadership. 

J. Egler, LMSW
HHSC Adult Mental Health Services
J. Egler is an experienced LMSW with four years of experience working in analysis, collaboration, program management and advocacy. She is skilled in nonprofit organizations, stakeholder engagement, community outreach, grant management, DE&I facilitation, and program development. Egler is considerExpert understanding of mental health service delivery with seven years of mental health program delivery, management and evaluation

Donna Fagan, MLCFP
UT Austin – Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health
Donna Fagan is the mother of four adult children, grandmother of 10 and adoptive grandmother of two teenage grandchildren.  Ms. Fagan works to model leadership and break down stigma to create spaces of mental health acceptance.  She has lived experience raising children and youth who have experienced trauma and mental health concerns.  She shares her unique values, opinions, and perspectives to provide insight, thoughts, and feedback on various issues and programs to inform policy and practices. Ms. Fagan is a family leader in Texas and is a Master Level Certified Family Partner with eight years experience working in community mental health agencies in Texas.  She teaches Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid and is currently working on various programs and initiatives providing family voice input at UT Austin’s Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health. Donna serves on the Board of Directors for Texas Family Voice Network, serves as a family representative and co-chair on the Behavioral Health Advisory Committee’s, BHAC Child and Youth Behavior Health Subcommittee, and co-chairs the BHAC Peer and Family Partner Subcommittee.   Ms. Fagan encourages the family/provider partnership in system of care and advocates for solid collaboration making families full partners at a system level. She believes in having strong family leaders in the driver’s seat, governance boards, community collaboratives, and every child-serving system that touches the lives of children, youth, and families in Texas. She works to raise awareness around integrating family voice and family peer support in all child serving systems. 

Chelsea Fieldeer-Jenks, MA, LPC-S, CEDS-S
Healgood Holistic Counseling Center
Chelsea Fielder-Jenks is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and Certified Eating Disorders Specialist-Supervisor (CEDS-S) in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups, primarily utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy frameworks. In addition to her clinical work, she provides supervision, consultation, and training services. She is a member of The International Association Of Eating Disorders Professionals where she has earned the designation of CEDS-S due to her extensive experience with eating disorders. She has served as the Education Chair for two non-profit organizations, Central Texas Eating Disorder Specialists and the Association for Size Diversity and Health. She is an expert contributor for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope. She has vast experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders and has presented at regional, state, and national conferences. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at HealgoodCounseling.com.

Quiana Fisher, MSW
Ending Community Homelessness Coalition – ECHO
Quiana Fischer is theCoC Performance Coordinator at the Texas Homeless Network. She is a core member of first-ever Austin Racial Equity Demonstration Project organized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also serves as a co-chair of the Racial Equity Task Group formed by ECHO’s Membership Council.

Chance Freeman
Director of Disaster Behavioral Health Services
Health and Human Services Commission
Bio to Come

Sonja Gaines, MBA
Deputy Executive Commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services
Health and Human Services Commission
Sonja Gaines came to HHSC in 2014 as the first associate commissioner for Mental Health Coordination and spearheaded the development of the first Texas statewide behavioral health strategic plan across 23 state agencies. In 2016, she assumed leadership responsibility for the policy and delivery of community based services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health conditions. Ms. Gaines has more than 20 years of community mental health experience. She previously served as chief of mental health services with My Health My Resources of Tarrant County. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from Texas Women’s University and bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from the University of Maryland and William Paterson University, respectively.

Laura Gold, LCSW-S
Health and Human Services Commission
Laura Gold came to Texas HHSC in 2019 and is currently assisting in the co-coordination of TEA’s Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grant as well as continuing to aid in state suicide safer care. She previously oversaw the Suicide Care Initiative (SCI) to enhance and expand suicide safer care throughout all of Texas’ community mental health centers. Prior to coming to HHSC, Laura worked for Integral Care, the community mental health center for Travis County, where she oversaw Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), Suicide Prevention, and Disaster Preparedness and Response. Laura spearheaded the Zero Suicide in Texas (ZEST) Initiative at Integral Care. Laura also worked for over 10 years in Austin ISD as a school social worker, providing crisis intervention support across the district and direct case management and clinical support across eleven campuses. She is a certified Instructor in Youth and Adult MHFA, ASK About Suicide to Save a Life, Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM), and is a Master Trainer in Hope Squads. Laura has been a guest lecturer for graduate students at the University of Texas’ Steven Hick’s School of Social Work, as well as presenting at multiple state conferences.

Courtney Harvey, PhD                                                                                                               
HHSC Office of Mental Health Coordination
Mental Health Statewide Coordinator & Associate Commissioner
Dr. Courtney Harvey serves as the Associate Commissioner for the Office of Mental Health Coordination within the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). She also serves as the Mental Health Statewide Coordinator and Chair of the Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council. Dr. Harvey partners with more than 20 entities representing executive and judicial branches of government that receive General Revenue for behavioral health training and services to ensure a coordinated and strategic approach to care. Her office at HHSC liaisons to several behavioral health advisory committees, coordinates mental health services for veterans, develops forensic and jail diversion policy, coordinates the state’s response to the opioid epidemic, implements suicide prevention policy and services initiatives, coordinates Mental Health First Aid, leads the agency’s trauma informed care initiatives, and implements children, youth, and adult collaboratives. Prior to serving in these roles, she was the HHSC Forensic Director and Manager of the legacy Crisis Services and Clients Rights office.

Haner Hernandez, PhD, CPS, CADCII, LADCI
FXB Center for Health and Human Rights / Harvard University
Dr. Haner Hernández is originally from Puerto Rico, is bilingual and has worked for 33 years in the health and human service field developing, implementing, and evaluating culturally and linguistically intelligent youth and adult health prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery support programs.  He is a master trainer and facilitator and provides individualized technical assistance and support to organizations that provide Substance Use Disorder and gambling prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery supports. Also, Dr. Hernández has over 25 years of experience in delivering addiction counseling and clinical supervision to professionals in the field.  Dr. Hernandez is a person in long-term recovery from addiction and is committed to eliminating health disparities by participating in processes the build equity. He has served as a consultant to a number of local and state health departments with a focus on disparities, building health equity, addiction treatment, and recovery supports. He also consults with and teaches a number of courses at the New England Addiction Technology Transfer Center at Brown University and the National Latino and Hispanic Prevention, Treatment Addiction Technology Transfer Centers funded by CSAT. Currently he serves on the Peer-Led Advisory Board of the National Addiction Peer Recovery Center of Excellence.

Nicole Holt
Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth (TxSDY)
Nicole Holt serves as CEO of Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth (TxSDY)—a statewide non-profit dedicated to creating healthier and safer communities where alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use have no place in the lives of youth. During Ms. Holt’s more than 15 years in this role, TxSDY has greatly expanded its capacity to train and support coalitions across Texas and honed its ability to advocate for policy change at the state and local levels. She began her career working for National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Program. At 24, she built a national program for faith-based college students to address environmental issues, including an annual “Rescue God’s Creation” lobby day in D.C. – the first of its kind. Ms. Holt has also worked on presidential campaigns. She is former Chair, and a founding member, of the U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance, a graduate of Leadership Women Texas and Leadership Women America. She serves on the State Impaired Driving Taskforce and is a member of the Legislative and Drug-Impaired Driving committees. The first in her family to graduate from college and a 6th generation Texan, Holt was a Presidential Scholar at Grayson County Community College, graduating with an Associates of Science. Ms. Holt went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis on poverty and environmental policy from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Trina Ita, MA, LPC
Associate Commissioner for Behavioral Health Services
Health and Human Services Commission
Prior to her role as Associate Commissioner for Behavioral Health Services and SSA for Texas, Trina Ita served as the Deputy Associate Commissioner for the Office of Mental Health Coordination where her primary role was to chair the Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council whose primary role is the implementation of the Texas Statewide Behavioral Health Strategic Plan. Ms. Ita was also the Director of Program Services with the Health and Human Services Commission, Behavioral Health Services Section. In role of Director, Ms. Ita had purview over a wide range of adult mental health programming to include crisis services, jail diversion programs, forensic services, veteran’s initiatives, Medicaid waiver programs and implementation of evidence-based practices. In her current role, Ms. Ita has purview over the full behavioral health services continuum which includes both mental health and substance use services. Ms. Ita holds a Master’s of Arts Degree in Community Agency Counseling, and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology. She has over 22 years of experience working with diverse populations in the provision of mental health and substance use services. She has provided addictions counseling as well as mental health counseling services in private practice and with entities in both the public and private sectors.

Adam Kindred, MPH
Health and Human Services Commission
Adam Kindred currently serves as the Strategic Growth Specialist for Texas Health and Human Service Commission’s Prevention and Behavioral Health Promotion Unit.  Before joining HHSC in 2020, he served in the non-profit sector as Director of Prevention Programming for Elevate, Inc., where he worked to empower youth to be future leaders and remain drug-free.  He obtained a Master’s of Public Health degree from Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health with an emphasis in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion.  He has spent the past decade promoting equity through the implementation of comprehensive prevention strategies in order to ensure the health and wellbeing of all people.

Justin McClenny, LCDC
Health and Human Services Commission
Justin McClenny LCDC is currently the SME of the HHSC Intervention programs. These programs focus on working in the community to reduce harms related to substance use. In the past he has worked at HIV programs as a substance use counselor and street outreach director. He was also the director of the HHSC funded training program for the HIV programs where he traveled all over the state providing training on counseling, outreach, HIV and harm reduction. He is  proud to be a person in recovery and advocate for harm reduction

Mitchell Moore, LCDC, ACPS, SAP, ADC, BAT5
MBM Enterprises
Mitchell Moore is a dynamic advanced certified prevention specialist and licensed chemical dependency counselor who has a passion for reducing substance use disorders. He has been developing and delivering training to a wide range of audiences for over 30 years and is currently involved with state and national issues improving behavioral health and substance use disorder prevention. Recently he facilitated the planning sessions for the PDO (Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose) & STR (State Targeted Response) for the Opioid Crisis Grants in Arkansas. Mr. Moore has experience as an Executive Director of a charitable organization, managing programs and staff, overseeing statewide initiatives, writing grants, managing performance based contracts and working with a team of professionals. He has extensive experience working with youth and training staff utilizing experiential learning and providing common analogies that people can relate to.

Quevarra Moten, EdD
The Moten Way LLC/ Quevarra Speaks
Dr. Quevarra Moten originally from Houston, Texas is an international mental health advocate, and Higher education consultant. After relocating back to America from the United Kingdom, she formerly served as the Deputy Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance of Mental illness) Central Texas. Dr. Moten currently serves as the CEO of The Moten Way LLC and Quevarra Speaks. Dr. Moten received her doctorate of Education in Transformational Leadership at Concordia University, Portland, Oregon.  Dr. Quevarra believes that transformation first begins with a thought that inspires actions of change. She has traveled the world sharing her journey gracefully navigating the hurdles of maintaining personal mental health, while supporting a loved one’s mental illness. Her journey encourages others to obtain support and resources to help them through their personal journey. Dr. Quevarra Speaks mission is to ignite and inspire our global community to use their imprint to impact our society and motivate the development of change.

Traci M. Murray, PhD, MPH, RN, NHDP-BC, CPH
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR), USPHS
Assistant Regional Administrator, SAMHSA Region VI
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Traci M. Murray has been a registered nurse for over 10 years with experience in clinical research, epidemiology, and nursing education. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with honors from Texas Christian University. Soon after, she became the first BSN-to-PhD graduate at University of Texas at Tyler. LCDR Murray recently completed her Master’s in Public Health with a global health emphasis at University of North Texas Health Science Center. In 2017, LCDR Murray became a Commissioned Nurse Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and began her service with the Indian Health Service. She currently serves as the Region 6 Assistant Regional Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Dallas. As a Commissioned Officer, LCDR Murray is active in the Black Commissioned Officers Advisory Group and Commissioned Officers Association.

Valerie Murrieta, MSW
Health and Human Services Commission
Valerie Murrieta has over eight years of experience in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is currently the special projects coordinator for the IDD-BH Operations Team. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in advanced placement social work from Texas State University.

Atalie Nitibhon, MPAff, MAHS 
Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth (TxSDY)
Atalie has been a member of the Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth (TxSDY) team since 2015. She currently serves as the organization’s Director of Programs & Strategy. As a part of organizational leadership, she helps bring TxSDY’s mission to life by supporting strategic planning, policy, and communication efforts. She also helps conduct research, analysis, and evaluation to support TxSDY’s environmental prevention strategies. Having joined the organization with several years of experience working in the nonprofit sector on a variety of health policy issues, Atalie believes strongly in creating healthy and safe communities in which all children can grow and thrive. A native Texan, Atalie graduated with a BS in Human Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master of Public Affairs from the University’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. She also holds a Master of Arts in Human Services with a focus on Conflict Resolution from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.

Atalie Nitibhon, MPAff, MAHS 
Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth (TxSDY)
Atalie has been a member of the Texans for Safe and Drug-Free Youth (TxSDY) team since 2015. She currently serves as the organization’s Director of Programs & Strategy. As a part of organizational leadership, she helps bring TxSDY’s mission to life by supporting strategic planning, policy, and communication efforts. She also helps conduct research, analysis, and evaluation to support TxSDY’s environmental prevention strategies. Having joined the organization with several years of experience working in the nonprofit sector on a variety of health policy issues, Atalie believes strongly in creating healthy and safe communities in which all children can grow and thrive. A native Texan, Atalie graduated with a BS in Human Biology from the University of Texas at Austin, as well as a Master of Public Affairs from the University’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. She also holds a Master of Arts in Human Services with a focus on Conflict Resolution from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX.

Lillian Nguyen
Health and Human Services Commission
Lillian Nguyen, MA, is the Director of Policy, Systems Coordination, and Programming in the Office of Mental Health Coordination at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).  She has been a leader in children’s behavioral health services for 18 years and currently has oversight of several initiatives, including the Texas System of Care, Community Resource Coordination Groups, Mental Health First Aid, trauma-informed care, school mental health, and suicide prevention that improve the behavioral health service system in Texas through collaboration among multiple agencies, youth, families, and other stakeholders. 

Liz Pearson
Health and Human Services Commission
Liz Pearson is the Manager for Children’s Mental Health with Health and Human Services Commission. She has nine years of direct care experience working with at-risk youth and families and was previously employed at Integral Care for five years as a team lead in the YES Waiver/Intensive Case Management Unit.  She currently has her Bachelor’s of Art in Criminology and is graduating from Boston University with her Masters in Social Work in August of 2022. Her passion is working with children and families to connect to appropriate community resources for their mental health needs as well as collaborate with all stakeholders. She is from Minnesota and moved to Austin in 2008.

Arlene Perez, LMSW
Veterans Mental Health Department, Texas Veterans Commission
Arlene Perez is a proud U.S. Army Veteran and Founder of Veteran Females United, a local 501(c)(3) Non-profit Organization in the Rio Grande Valley. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker who employs her knowledge in the community to better serve trauma-affected veterans and their families. Mrs. Perez’s personal mission is to seek ways to assist her peers and their families live their post-military lives to their utmost potential. Mrs. Perez is now the Peer Service Manager for the Military Veteran Peer Network with Texas Veterans Commission and is eager and motivated to continue to serve our fellow Texas Veterans and their families.

Arlene Perez, LMSW
Veterans Mental Health Department, Texas Veterans Commission
Arlene Perez is a proud U.S. Army Veteran and Founder of Veteran Females United, a local 501(c)(3) Non-profit Organization in the Rio Grande Valley. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker who employs her knowledge in the community to better serve trauma-affected veterans and their families. Mrs. Perez’s personal mission is to seek ways to assist her peers and their families live their post-military lives to their utmost potential. Mrs. Perez is now the Peer Service Manager for the Military Veteran Peer Network with Texas Veterans Commission and is eager and motivated to continue to serve our fellow Texas Veterans and their families.  

Bonzo Reddick, MD
Mercer University School of Medicine
Dr. Bonzo Reddick’s research focuses on promotion of health equity, particularly in historically marginalized populations. His research interests include: use of multidisciplinary approaches in the early diagnosis and management of HIV/HCV in primary care and emergency care settings, prevention of HIV/HCV in communities using harm reduction methods such as PrEP and needle exchange programs, healthcare for the homeless, application and teaching of social determinants of health approach to healthcare, and the use of test-enhanced learning to improve academic performance and medical knowledge.

Tanya Rollins, MSW
Inspiring Voices – Equity and Inclusion Consulting, LLC
Tanya Rollins is employed in the fields of child welfare and higher education. She has worked in the Texas child welfare system for 30  years in roles as an investigator, intake specialist, intake supervisor, training specialist, and training manager before retiring in 2021.  Ms. Rollins retired as the Child Protective Services Disproportionality Manager for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. In this role, she was charged with examining the racial and ethnic disparities in the child welfare system while working with internal and external partners to eliminate the disparities. She has been instrumental in the implementation of the Knowing Who You Are project in Texas. She has had the pleasure of providing consulting services to other states interested in implementing Knowing Who You Are.  Ms. Rollins had the pleasure of serving on Mayor Steve Adler’s Taskforce on Institutional Racism.

Sherry Rumsey, LPC
Health and Human Services Commission
Sherry Rumsey, LPC, is the the Texas System of Care Project Director. She began her career as a children’s therapist with the local mental health authority in Travis county. Since then, she has served in a variety of progressively responsible roles in community mental health and child welfare. Her professional experience includes work at Austin Travis County Integral Care, UT Health San Antonio Child Abuse Division and recently at the Department of Family and Protective Services where she spent six years as Division Administrator for CPS Medical Services. She is excited to be working in the Office of Mental Health Coordination at Texas Health and Human Services where she has been the opportunity to return to children’s behavioral health and pull from her professional experiences to support System of Care work in Texas.

Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC
On the Mark
Mark Sanders, LCSW, CADC is an international speaker in the Behavioral Health Field whose presentations have reached thousands throughout the world. He is the author of five books. Recent writings include, “Slipping Through the Cracks: Intervention Strategies for Clients with Multiple Addictions and Disorders” and Relationship Detox: Helping Clients Develop Healthy Relationships in Recovery .” He has had two stories published in the New York Times best Selling Book Series, Chicken Soup for The Soul. He is Co- founder of Serenity Academy, a recovery high school in Chicago. Mr. Sanders has received numerous awards including the addictions professional of the year in the state of Illinois.

Joseph Schonfeld, MD, FAAP
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
David J Schonfeld, MD, FAAP established and directs the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (www.schoolcrisiscenter.org), located at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  He is Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine.  For over 30 years, he has provided consultation and training to schools on supporting students and staff at times of crisis and loss in the aftermath of numerous school crisis events and disasters within the United States and abroad, including the COVID-19 pandemic (2020); terrorist attacks of the World Trade Center (2001); school and community shootings and stabbings in Santa Clarita, CA (2019); Parkland, FL (2018); Newtown, CT (2012); Benton, KY (2018); Las Vegas, NV (2017); Thousand Oaks, CA (2018); Floresville, TX (Sutherland Springs church) (2017); Marysville, WA (2014); Osaka, Japan (2001); Corning, CA (2017); Aurora, CO (2012); Platte Canyon, CO (2006); Chardon, OH (2012); and Townville, South Carolina (2016); flooding from hurricanes Maria in San Juan (2017), Sandy in NY and NJ (2012), Katrina in New Orleans (2005), and Ike in Galveston, Texas (2008); tornadoes in Joplin, MO (2011) and AL (2011); wildfires in Butte County, CA (2018); Sonoma County, CA (2017) and in the Great Smoky Mountains in Sevierville, TN (2016); and the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan, China (2008). Dr. Schonfeld frequently speaks (with over 1,000 presentations) on the topics of crisis and loss and has authored more than 150 scholarly articles, book chapters, and books (including the Grieving Student: A Guide for Schools (2nd edition)).  He has conducted school-based research (funded by NICHD, NIMH, NIDA, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, William T Grant Foundation, and other foundations) involving children’s understanding of and adjustment to serious illness and death and school-based interventions to promote adjustment and risk prevention.  Dr. Schonfeld is Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disasters and a member of the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Children and Disasters.  He served as a Commissioner for both the National Commission on Children and Disasters and the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission in CT and was a member of the National Biodefense Science Board. 

Jennifer Sharpe Potter, PhD, MPH
University of Texas Health Science Center/San Antonio
Jennifer Sharpe Potter, PhD, MPH. is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Anesthesiology and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Potter is also on the graduate faculty with the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio and an Associate Professor with the University of Texas School of Public Health, in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences.  Her primary research interest is substance use disorders. Her current research focuses on the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders and chronic pain utilizing combined behavioral and medication-based approaches. Her current studies underway include testing the efficacy of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for individuals with co-occurring chronic pain and opioid dependence. Dr. Potter is the San Antonio Site Principal Investigator and a Co-investigator with the Texas Node of the NIDA National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN). The CTN conducts Phase 3 clinical trials of pharmacological and behavioral treatments for substance use disorders in community settings. Dr. Potter served as the National Project Director for the CTN Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment Study (POATS), the largest multisite clinical trial ever conducted to examine treatment of prescription opioid dependence in individuals with and without co-occurring chronic pain. A three-year follow-up study of POATS participants is currently underway. 

Jenna Sheldon Certified MAT Advocate Trainer, Inactive LCDC
UT Austin School of Social Work
Jenna Sheldon has been consulting with Opioid Response Network since 2018, and the Lead Opioid Response Trainer for the Addiction Research Institute at UT Austin since 2020. Jenna focuses on harm reduction and medications for opioid use disorder in the context of recovery-oriented care. She relies on her lived experience as a woman in long-term recovery, along with expertise in systems, policy, programmatic implementation, workforce development, and training to help connect those we serve with life-saving care.

Tina Elaine Simpson
Spindletop
Tina Simpson has been a Peer Specialist Supervisor for 7yrs for Spindletop center in Beaumont Texas. She’s long term recovery from mental health and substance challenges and uses her experience strength and hope to help her peers in their journey to recovery. She’s an Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator who has certified more than 20 peers as WRAP facilitators. Certified Christian Counselor and was nominated The National Council on Wellbeing Peer Specialist of the year for 2022.

Jonathan Singer, PhD
Loyola University, Chicago

Jonathan B. Singer’s experience includes working on a mobile crisis intervention unit for suicidal, homicidal and actively psychotic youth; providing home-based individual and family therapy; facilitating experiential outdoor therapy groups for youth with externalizing disorders; running process-oriented parenting groups for parents trying to reunify with their child(ren) after removal for abuse and/or neglect; and being the founding director of an early childhood development center where parents and children ages 0 – 3 could participate in unstructured play, socializing, networking, and obtain training in infant/community CPR, baby massage, and baby sign language. The tragedies on 9/11/2001 inspired Jonathan and a colleague to develop a graduate-level crisis intervention elective. In 2004, after a two-year stint as an adjunct instructor at the UT-Austin school of social work, Jonathan entered the doctoral program at the University of Pittsburgh’s school of social work.

Sandra Smith, PhD, PRSS, RPS
Mental Health Resource of Texas (dba Via Hope)
Dr. Sandra Smith comes to Via Hope from a Recovery Community Center in Dallas, Texas where she served as the Associate Director. She is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor Intern, a Certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist, and most recently became a SAMHSA GAINS Center trainer for “How Being Trauma-Informed Improves the Criminal Justice System Responses.” She holds a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Ph.D. in Human Services from Capella University. She is a published author of a book on her true life story titled “Choices.” Her dissertation on support services was chosen for republication by Scholars Press (international dissertation clearing house), in 2014, due to its relevance in societal need for support services. She is a Reentry Advocate based on her own lived experience. Dr. Smith’s most recent endeavor was the creation and co-author of the curriculum for the first Reentry Peer Specialist certification and training in the state of Texas at Via Hope. She trademarked the term Thrauma® which is a concept used in the curriculum. She also independently wrote a curriculum for Thrauma. Thrauma is the before, during, and aftereffects of trauma that culminates in one event; such as, incarceration.

Victor Strasburger, MD
University of New Mexico School of Medicine
Dr. Victor Strasburger is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, author of 14 books and nearly 200 journal articles and book chapters on the subjects of Children & Media and Adolescent Medicine.  He has authored or co-authored many of the AAP’s policy statements on children and media and has appeared frequently in the national media, including “Oprah,” the “Today” show, and on NPR.  His new book is entitled, The Death of Childhood: Reinventing the Joy of Growing Up (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2020). Dr. Strasburger founded the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and practiced general pediatrics and adolescent medicine there for 28 years. He is a Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus. Dr. Strasburger has lectured all over the world (e.g., China, Japan, Australia, Europe). He has authored 13 books and more than 200 journal articles and book chapters. His textbook, CHILDREN, ADOLESCENT, AND THE MEDIA is used in Communications courses around the country.

Laura Terry, PhD, MSSW
UTA School of Social Work
Laura Terry, PhD has been a part of the field of social work for more than 10 years. As the research associate at CARS, my duties involve evaluating program fidelity and achievement as it relates to several state social service delivery grants, as well as organizing, collecting, and analyzing data as it relates to internal research goals and initiatives. Areas of research for Dr. Terry include: program evaluation, substance misuse and addiction, mental health, child welfare, and suicide.

Rodney Wambeam, PhD
Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center
Rodney Wambeam, PhD is a Senior Research Scientist at the Wyoming Survey & Analysis Center of the University of Wyoming. Dr. Wambeam is principle investigator of the State Incentive Grant, Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, and Partnerships for Success evaluations in multiple states, as well as numerous other state and local level research projects. He is author of “The Community Needs Assessment Workbook” from Oxford University Press and a popular presenter across America. Dr. Wambeam is best known for his plenary presentation titled “Boomers, Xers, and Millennials: How New Research on Generations can inform the Future of Prevention,” which he delivered more than thirty times around the country.

Tammy Weppelman, LPC-S
Health and Human Services Commission
Tammy came to HHSC in 2019 and is currently the State Suicide Prevention Coordinator and Team Lead for the suicide prevention team at HHSC. Prior to coming to HHSC, Tammy worked for Denton County MHMR Center for 18 years. During her time at Denton County MHMR, Tammy had several roles, but spent the most years working in crisis services including Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams, crisis walk-in services, crisis residential, Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS Team), and continuity of care. Tammy served as the suicide prevention coordinator and oversaw the implementation of zero suicide at the agency. Tammy is a certified trainer in ASK, Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (CALM), Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and Safety Planning Intervention. Tammy has over 20 years of experience with conducting trainings, lectures, and workshops on topics related to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention to a wide-variety of audiences.

Johnny Wilkerson, Jr., PhD, MCHES, MPH, MSEd
UTHSC-Houston Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Wilkerson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health. As part of his academic appointment at the School of Public Health, he serves as a faculty co-coordinator for the health disparities certificate program. His academic training includes a doctoral degree in adult, professional, and community education, a master’s degree in health education, and a master’s degree in epidemiology. His research focuses on the identification of individual and structural determinants that contribute to health disparities among marginalized populations and the development and evaluation of health promotion programs. He is particularly concerned about disparities in substance use recovery and HIV/STI prevention. He has been working as a practitioner and researcher in community health education for over twenty years. Currently, he is funded to evaluate recovery residences and a re-entry program for persons participating in medication assisted recovery, a certification  program for peer recovery support specialists, and curricula for persons enrolled in an intensive outpatient program. Dr. Wilkerson teaches graduate courses in health promotion theory and methods, health disparities, and adult and community education. He has received funding from NIH, CDC, health departments, and foundations.