The Equity-Grounded Leadership Fellow Program cohort participants are beginning this journey with the courageous inquiry of personal and professional biases, impacting how they view themself and others. They will explore how to collectively influence others to create communities rooted in resilience and healing. We are grateful for this inaugural cohort, who will collaboratively help to shape and refine the fellow program to ensure leaders are empowered to mobilize themselves and others to create positive change.
At the first cohort meeting, the Fellows developed a shared vision for their time together:
The Equity-Grounded Leadership Program Fellows envision a behavioral health system where all individuals attain wellness, where everyone has a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible and that no one is left out from achieving this potential.
Through the EGL Fellow Program, we will do this by: Supporting and growing one another through shared time/space/stories and histories. We will empower each other and our communities to be change agents for equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging; allowing our actions to speak louder than our words and be socially just. We make an intentional commitment to breaking down systems of oppression and behavioral health disparities.
Meet the Cohort
Aimee Wade is the Executive Director for the County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADM) Board. Aimee has been with the ADM Board for over 11 years, also serving as the Associate Director of Clinical Services and Compliance, Prevention and Training Coordinator during this time. Aimee was an Associate Lecturer for the University of Akron School of Social Work and worked for the Summit County Domestic Relations and Summit County Juvenile Courts prior to her time at the ADM Board. Aimee has also held other social service and criminal justice positions in the Akron and Columbus, Ohio, area over the past 20 years. Aimee attended The Ohio State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Criminology. She also attended the University of Akron, earning a Master of Social Work degree. Aimee is a Licensed Independent Social Worker with Supervisory Designation, an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant and an Intercultural Development Inventory Administrator. Currently, Aimee is the Board Chair for the Ohio Prevention Professionals Association; a member of the Summit County Opiate Abatement Advisory Committee; a past Board Member for Child Guidance and Family Solutions and a graduate of Leadership Akron Signature Class 35.
Alex Hulst, PhD, LMFT works for Rocky Mountain Health Plans as a Clinical Program Manager specializing in integrated behavioral health, where she has coached over 40 practices across Western Colorado in best practices to support integrated care. Since 2012, she has provided therapy for individuals, couples, and families in various primary and specialty care settings, including a pediatric intensive care unit and an adult neuromuscular clinic. Dr. Hulst’s background includes training resident physicians and mental health clinicians in integrated behavioral health practices, leading multidisciplinary consultation groups in care management, and assisting with grant management supporting integrated behavioral health in rural practices in western Colorado. She co-chaired the 2019 annual conference for the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association and has published a book titled Contextual Therapy for Family Health: Clinical Applications.
Amanda David, MSW, LSW is the Single County Authority Administrator (SCA) for Philadelphia County, under the Behavioral Health Division at the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) for the City of Philadelphia. As the SCA, Amanda has the responsibility to plan, coordinate, manage (programmatically and fiscally) and implement the delivery of drug and alcohol prevention, intervention, and treatment services in Philadelphia. In this role, Amanda is the point of contact for the disbursement of federal and state monies for individuals who are uninsured or underinsured and would like to receive substance use treatment. Amanda has been with DBHIDS since 2007 and is a Licensed Social Worker. Amanda received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Evangel University and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Temple University.
B.J. Wagner, MS, joined the Meadows Institute in the fall of 2015. In her current role, B.J. works to expand the Institute’s efforts in health and public safety, managing multifaceted law enforcement and first responder projects focused on mental health emergency response, first responder health and wellness, and more. B.J. possesses a unique blend of first-hand law enforcement experience and deep knowledge of police policy and operating procedures, program evaluation, and technical advising. She has developed curriculum for disciplines across the criminal justice system on mental health awareness, symptom recognition, and verbal de-escalation techniques. Her work has lead to the creation of national and international award winning programs. B.J. has worked across projects focused on the intersection of behavioral health and justice systems with a specific focus on emergency response models. Since 2019 B.J. has served as the Executive Director of the Caruth Police Institute at the University of North Texas at Dallas (CPI) through a unique collaboration with the Meadows Institute and UNTD and has transformed CPI from a Dallas area police training institute to a nationally recognized leader in police policy, training, and consultation.
Brad Barfield (he/him) is a Program Manager with Envision:You, and as a queer biracial person in recovery himself, is passionate about creating culturally responsive and affirming resources for the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community focused on mental health and substance use. At Envision:You, he oversees programming for queer and questioning youth, LGBTQ+ folks living in rural Colorado, DEI initiatives, and all grantwriting efforts. He also recently participated in the LGBT Executive Leadership Institute hosted by Community Shares of Colorado. Prior to his role at Envision:You, Brad worked at the Office of eHealth Innovation under Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera’s portfolio, and also at Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics, a pediatric integrated care practice serving primarily Medicaid and uninsured youth. Before moving to Denver in 2013, he spent a decade in Washington, DC working with the Washington AIDS Partnership, Food & Friends, and The Advisory Board Company. Brad holds a Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University, and a Bachelors of Engineering from Vanderbilt University.
Deanna Vietze is the Executive Director for the Brown County Board of Mental Health and Addiction Services. She began working for the Board in 2005 as a project coordinator for a school-based grant. Deanna has held the positions of Project Coordinator, Business Manager, Director of Fiscal Services & Contract Compliance, and Associate Director during her 17 years of employment. Deanna is a licensed professional counselor and she obtained her Master of Science Degree in mental health counseling from Wright State University and her Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from Ohio University. Prior to working for the Brown County Board of MHAS, Deanna was the Coordinator of School Based Services for Child Focus, Inc. Deanna is passionate about ensuring the citizens of Brown County receive the treatment they need for both mental health and SUD services. She believes that treatment should be client centered and individualized. Deanna believes that all people are unique in their needs but that they can achieve recovery and that Recovery is Beautiful.
Elijah Jones, MSW is the Director of Health Equity & Clinical Resources for the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities. He is a licensed independent social worker with supervisory designation (LISW-S), a licensed independent chemical dependency counselor (LICDC), a certified diversity professional (CDP), and a member of the academy of certified social workers (ACSW). His experience ranges from direct practice in psychiatric crisis services, integrated behavioral care, and substance use disorder treatment to mezzo and macro practice the Manager of Treatment Services with the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, and an adjunct instructor in social work at the University of Toledo and St. Louis University.
Enrique Mata is the Executive Director of the Paso del Norte Center at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. The Center’s Mission is to provide trusted policy and program support to cultivate collaboration and create lasting improvements so that mental health and emotional well-being* services and support are available where and when they are needed. Prior to joining the Meadows Institute, Enrique was a Senior Program Officer with Paso del Norte Health Foundation in El Paso, Texas. He has more than 20 years of experience in health philanthropy including designing, implementing, and evaluating multi-million-dollar initiatives. He worked on both sides of the U.S. Mexico Border to address topics such as healthy eating and active living, tobacco prevention and alcohol control, healthy sexuality, older adult health, coordinated school health, and mental health. Enrique thrives on serving others, leveraging resources, and building collaboration for improved community health and quality of life. Enrique holds a Master of Science degree in public health from Walden University and a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from The University of Texas at El Paso. He also has board certifications from the American Nurses Credentialing Center as an advanced public health nurse and advanced nurse executive.
Erika Clark Jones is Chief Executive Officer of the Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH), a government agency that partners with more than 30 non-profits to plan, fund and evaluate community based mental health and substance use disorder treatment, recovery, crisis and prevention programs to individuals and families in Franklin County, Ohio. A Columbus native, Erika’s experience spans across public health, public affairs, public policy, constituent relations and engagement, strategy development and management. Erika’s career includes 19 years in the Office of the Mayor for the City of Columbus including time as Deputy Director of the Community Relations Commission, Policy Director and Director of the Office of Homeless Advocacy. Additionally, Erika led the Southern Gateway Initiative to improve neighborhood conditions on Columbus’ South Side. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a track record of success through collaboration and coalition building among public, private, non-profit and community stakeholders to achieve community goals.
John R. Aller is the Executive Director of Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR), which is the county behavioral health board for Stark County, Ohio. In this role, he is responsible for the planning, funding, and oversight of community behavioral health services, as well as advocacy efforts around collaboration, efficiency, workforce development, and more. Under his leadership, StarkMHAR has been involved in local youth suicide cluster response; innovative harm reduction strategies involving opioids; the creation and implantation of a county-wide Mobile Response program; and innovative partnership such as with the local parks system that resulted in an award-winning 1-mile Mindfulness Walk. Mr. Aller has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in Community Counseling, and is currently completing his doctorate in Health Policy and Management at Kent State University. An active member on various local and state boards and committees, John is currently the Chair of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Authorities’ (OACBHA) Data Committee, in addition to being a federal behavioral health reviewer. He has/continues to lead and participate in numerous committees on behalf of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS). John resides in Green, Ohio with his wife, Loretta, and children, Kelsey and Sean.
Juliet C. Dorris-Williams is the Executive Director of The P.E.E.R. Center in Columbus, Ohio. The P.E.E.R. Center is a nonprofit drop-in, wellness, recovery, and support center, operating in two locations, including a daily WarmLine for phone support, with a staff of 30. Like each of the staff members and most of the agency’s board of directors, she is a person living in long term recovery. Juliet has been honored with multiple awards. She spent more than two decades working in state government (TN, IN, and OH) providing administrative oversight for HIV/STD prevention, Minority Health, Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Prevention programs, as well as direct client services in multiple social service settings. Juliet is the current Board treasurer of OhioPRO – Ohio Peer Recovery Organizations, a statewide organization dedicated to advocating for peer recovery organizations and those they serve. She has a BS in Psychology from Indiana State University, an MSW from the Indiana University School of Social Work at Indianapolis, is an independently licensed social worker supervisor, and an Ohio Peer Supporter. Juliet is a published author and a podcast host. She is happily married to Tim, and their blended family includes four adult children, 16 grands, and two greats!
Lesley Brooks, MD serves as the Chief of Addiction Medicine for SummitStone Health Partners and as theAssistant Medical Director for the North Colorado Health Alliance in northern Colorado. As the Chief of Addiction Medicine and BHS Medical Director/Interim Executive Director, Dr. Brooks leads SummitStone’s partnership in the design, development and implementation of Larimer County’s new Behavioral Health Services facility, which is set to open in 2023. Dr. Brooks, a board-certified family medicine and addiction medicine physician, practiced full scope family medicine including prenatal care, chronic pain, and substance use disorder/addiction in northern Colorado for 12+ years. Since her transition to SummitStone Health Partners in 2020, she specializes in substance use and mental health. Dr. Brooks has also served on the Colorado Medical Board, the Substance Abuse Trends and Response Task Force, the Colorado Consortium’s Provider Education Work Group, the Behavioral Health Transformational Task Force, and the Northern Colorado Medical Society. She earned her undergraduate degree from Kenyon College in Ohio and her medical degree from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Her residency training was completed at North Colorado Family Medicine in Greeley, Colorado. She and her husband live in Greeley with their 2 children.
Marco Antillon is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who brings lived experience in the intersections of culture/race/privilege/education to his work. He was born in Mexico, raised in Utah, and has lived in various states across the western United states. Mr. Antillon has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Colorado Mesa University and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Regis University. His training as a systems-based therapist guides both his professional and personal life when considering systems change from the micro, meso, and macro perspectives. Mr. Antillon currently oversees the areas of Human Resources, Marketing and Communication strategy, Community Relations and Business Development, and Compliance for Diversus Health, the largest provider of mental health services across El Paso, Park, and Teller counties. Prior to working for a Community Mental Health Center, Mr. Antillon was the Director of Behavioral Health for two Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in Colorado. One in the heart of Denver, La Clinica Tepeyac, and the other in a rural setting in the San Luis Valley, Valley-Wide Health Systems.
Marcy Melvin, MA, LPC, Deputy Director of The Hackett Center and Health Equity Strategy Lead at the Meadows Institute, is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas with over 25 years of experience in providing direct clinical and supervisory services to children, youth, parents, and young adults in various clinical settings including residential, in-home, outpatient, private practice, primary, secondary, and post-secondary locations. Marcy is extremely passionate about advancing health equity and reducing disparities and disproportionality this has been a culmination of her life’s work in various clinical, organizational and systems settings. Marcy Melvin has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Fisk University.
Maria Arteaga, J.D. is the Cultural Competency/ Diversity/ Ethnic Services/Peer Empowerment Manager for Santa Barbara County. Maria joined Santa Barbara Behavioral Wellness in 2019. Prior to being contracted by Santa Barbara County, Maria worked in the mental health field for over 20 years performing various roles including direct services and management positions. Maria received her B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Northridge, and her law degree from Ventura College of Law. Through Maria’s current and past employments, she has advocated and made developments for peer support services, underrepresented communities of color and helped reduce mental health and drug service disparities. She has established strong collaborative partnerships with community-based organizations to assist with closing service gaps and reducing behavioral health disparities. Serving in a leadership role within the Cultural Competency, Equity, and Social Justice Committee has facilitated the ability to raise awareness of local issues that impact communities of color. Recently, Maria earned a position on the Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialist Certification Stakeholder Advisory Council being developed by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA). She will have an opportunity to provide feedback and insight into the development and implementation of the new Peer Support Specialist Certification (PSSC) program.
Michelle Colarelli, PsyD, has been working in the field of behavioral health for 25 years at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo (CMHIP). Starting out in an entry level position after earning her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Dr. Colarelli worked in a variety of positions through the years. Recognizing the inequities apparent in forensic behavioral health and a need for strong leadership, she earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology, graduating in 2007. Following her graduation, Dr. Colarelli has spent the past 15 years advocating for those individuals served by CMHIP, a population that is heavily marginalized and underserved. Her professional career has focused on working with individuals with a mental illness who have committed sexual offenses, a population that often has concurrent substance abuse and significant trauma histories. This role has significantly elevated her awareness of the need for providers who speak out about the injustices experienced by those individuals whom she serves. Within her role as leadership, Dr. Colarelli is passionate about educating providers on the topics of culturally responsible practice and cultural humility, as well as the need for strong voices and advocacy within the field of forensic behavioral health.
Misty Cromwell is the Executive Director of the Muskingum Area Mental Health & Recovery Services Board. She has been employed with the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board for 8 years, assuming the Executive Director’s position in August 2019. Misty leads the staff of 8 in creating and maintaining a system that provides mental health and substance abuse services to individuals and families in a six-county area. Misty has worked in the behavioral health arena since 1994. Misty earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Social Work from the Ohio State University. She has over 15 years of experience in community mental health working directly with diverse populations whose needs range from crisis management, inpatient psychiatric stabilization, trauma/loss, and chemical dependency.
Pamela D. McClenton, LCSW is Senior Director of Clinical Quality for the Management of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health & Intellectual disAbility Services, Division of Planning and Innovation. Pam’s social work career spans over 39-years. She has extensive experience in Child Welfare and Behavioral Health. Pam is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Pennsylvania and has been practicing as a mental health clinician for twenty-four years. She began her career with The City of Philadelphia at DBHIDS in 2004 and has served in numerous leadership capacities, including project manager for high-profile city initiatives The Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic (2017) and The Mayor’s Curfew Center Initiative (2005-07). She developed and managed the DBHIDS Opioid Overdose Prevention and Narcan Rescue Training (2016-19) and successfully implemented the Department’s Emergency Protocol Response to the Opioid Epidemic (2018). In addition, Pam has served as a Steward for Local 2186 and Chair of the Quality of Work-Life Steering Committee for years. As Senior Director of Clinical Quality Management for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Pam leads the department’s internal and external DEI strategies and agendas. Since 2019 the DBHIDS DEI team led by Pam has developed a robust DEI presence. Through collaboration with internal and external stakeholders, the DEI team works to create a DEI-infused workplace culture where everyone can thrive and be authentic and included, have a voice, and feel valued, and achieve health, well-being, and self-determination. Pam is the recipient of prestigious awards and honors in recognition of her dedication and commitment: Commissioner’s Award (2018); Triumph Missionary Women of Honor Award (2018); Outstanding Leadership Award (2012); ACE Leadership Award (2007). Pam is a proud, thriving dyslexic neurodivergent who advocates relentlessly for people with invisible challenges. Pam stays busy with her business “Pamella on a Dime Home Design,” enjoys family time, and “loving on” her two beautiful grandchildren in her spare time.
Phebe Bell is the Director of Behavioral Health for Nevada County. In this role she oversees children’s services, adult services, crisis services and substance use disorder services. Prior to working for the county, Phebe spent over 20 years working in local non-profits serving children, youth, families and at risk adults in the Tahoe Truckee area. She is a long time Truckee resident and a big fan of the incredible outdoor playground offered by the Sierra Nevada mountains. Phebe has a Masters degree in Social Work from Portland State University and a BA from Yale University.
Rimmi Hundal has over 22 years of experience in the mental health field, serving as an administrator in both the private and public sectors. She has been with the Tri-City Mental Health Authority (TCMHA) since 2008 when she began as the Director of MHSA and worked alongside her Executive Team colleagues to implement the Mental Health Services Act within the region’s three cities. As the Director of MHSA and Ethnic Services for TCMHA, Rimmi is responsible to oversee all non-clinical MHSA programs and to insure TCMHA’s adherence to the Act including effective and sustained engagement of its community stakeholders, the development of culturally appropriate and community-endorsed programming, insuring the tracking and reporting of quality improvement data including performance measures and consumer satisfaction surveys and annual reporting to State agencies. Her experience includes working with under achieving youth, integrated behavioral health care, addressing mental health disparities and training others in cultural humility. Rimmi sits on the California Behavioral Health Directors’ Association Executive Committee on Social Justice and Equity. She is a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and received her Master’s degree from Pepperdine University.
Scott A. Sylak, Executive Director of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, was hired on December 20, 2010. Since coming to the Board, his efforts have focused on improving access to behavioral health treatment services, re-establishing quality emergency psychiatric services, reducing homelessness, developing reform strategies that reduce the penetration of individuals with behavioral health disorders into the criminal justice system, and since 2015 promoting strategies that improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. For the 18 years before this appointment, Mr. Sylak was the founding Executive Director of Lucas County Treatment Alternatives to Street Crimes (TASC), Inc. A Toledo native, Mr. Sylak received a Master of Public Administration in 1990 from the University of Toledo, and he is a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor. In addition to being a current member of many local workgroups and committees, Mr. Sylak is the President-Elect of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities, Secretary of the Toledo/Lucas County Homelessness Board, and past president of the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections and Lucas County Family and Children First Council.
Tammie Colon, MA, MS serves as the Executive Director for The Mental Health and Recovery Service Board of Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin Counties. In 2018 she transitioned to this position after providing both direct and administrative services for 29 years in community mental health and addiction services. Tammie has 3 boys; two grown who reside in Allen County and one in the third grade. Tammie has expanded housing for people with mental illness and addiction, instrumental in the opening of the We Care Regional Crisis Center where individuals can receive both mental health and sub-acute detoxification, creating open access and walk-in services, and adding primary care doctors as an integral part of the services for people with severe mental illness receive. Tammie developed a program to aid men who had been incarcerated, had mental health and addiction challenges, and were preparing for jail due to child support obligations. Over the past four years Tammie implemented a new family centered response team, and expanded mobile crisis services for youth. Tammie works closely with local school systems to identify effective and affordable services to educate all students, identify at-risk kids early, and to support both the youth and school district when managing acute behavioral health situation.
Vernick Smith is passionate about providing Trauma-Informed Care to diverse populations. She has been in the field of mental health for 16 years. In her current role as Team Lead for Family Based Services at the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center (CCTC), she provides clinical supervision and trainings for assigned treatment teams. She is also a member of CCTC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Additionally, Mrs. Smith is experienced in developing culturally-competent programs for vulnerable youth populations. In 2015, Mrs. Smith was awarded the “Community of Hope Award” from Devereux for her novel Expressive Arts Group Therapy program, which utilizes Spoken Word to guide youth in addressing Trauma and creating new narratives. Mrs. Smith is also a conference speaker that uses “Story Telling” to de-stigmatize marginalized groups and promote community healing. Her life motto is inspired by the late Dr. Maya Angelou, “When you learn teach. When you get give.”