2014 Speakers


Keynote Speakers

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Jody Urquhart

Jody is passionate about spreading the message of the importance of fun at work. A motivational speaker for over 14 years, Jody is a motivational keynote speaker at over 60 organizations and associations every year, and is a top keynote speaker. Jody’s trademark is to deliver very funny motivational speeches; humor is a key part of her audience connection. Jody is author of the book All Work & No SAY. Her mission is to help motivate people to derive more meaning, fun and satisfaction from their work. Jody is a featured guest speaker for the GE Healthcare Tip-TV program, broadcast in over 2600 healthcare facilities. Her insights and expertise earned her the 2008 Bronze Award in the 29th Annual Telly Awards for excellence in programming this presentation.


Christopher White

Chris was raised in Odessa in the desert plains of West Texas, where “real” men played football or worked on oilrigs. Growing up as an effeminate, smart, gay boy and inspired by the determination of his teen parents, he has chosen a life-long career of activism, advocacy, and research with regards to LGBT rights and sexual/reproductive health and rights, particularly for young people. Chris earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) and went on to earn an MA from New York University in human sexuality education before returning to UT for his doctorate in health promotion. He was the cofounder of the Gay Youth Media Project, a collaboration between OutYouth Austin and the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, and his research has focused on preparing teachers and others who work with young people to meet the needs of LGBT youth. He was most recently the Director of Education and Training at the National Sexuality Resource Center at San Francisco State University and is adjunct faculty in the Human Sexuality Program at Widener University. When he’s not striving to promote the health and well being of young people, Chris can usually be found at a dance class, riding his bike, or exploring the Bay Area.




Breakout Sessions

Susan Acosta

Susan Acosta is the Nurse Consultant for the Medical Assistance Division (MAD) of the New Mexico Human Service Department (HSD), in the School Health Program Office.  A professional nurse for 30 years and involved in school health for the past 11, Ms. Acosta has extensive experience in management, clinical operations and program integrity. She works with the NM Department of Health in overseeing DOH-sponsored School Based Health Centers, and with the NM Public Education Department regarding Special Education Services and Medicaid School Based Services.

Damonica Alderette

Damonica Alderette is a junior at Mesa Vista High School.

Amanda López Askin, MS

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Amanda López Askin, MS, a native New Mexican, currently works as the School Mental Health Advocate (SMHA) for the Southwest Region, based out of Las Cruces. Amanda has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and prior to joining the Office of School and Adolescent Health 9 years ago, provided support and clinical services for youth and families in the private and non-profit sector.  As the SMHA for the Department Of Health, Amanda has worked to promote various school health issues, including suicide prevention, anti-stigma education, and bullying prevention in school and in the community.  Amanda also hosts a weekly local health and wellness-themed radio talk show and is pursuing a PhD at NMSU.

Jessica Aufrichtig, LMSW

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Jessica Aufrichtig is a social worker with more than 16 years of experience in serving children and families in New Mexico. She currently works with the NM PED as Teen Parent Support Coordinator, overseeing a project  focused on increasing support for expectant and parenting teens, and their children. Through collaborations with NMGRADS, school-based health centers, school and community partners and the NM Attorney General’s Office, Ms. Aufrichtig provides resources and access to health, education and social services for this special population.

Twila Becenti-Fundark, LISW

Twila Becenti-Fundark works with Bloomfield School District as a school social worker and is part of the school district crisis team.  She also has more than 15 years of clinical practice in school settings, private practice and community mental health, working with children, adolescents and families, and is certified as a trainer in PREPaRE crisis intervention and recovery.

Juliette A. Beck, MA

Juliette Beck is certified by the State of New Mexico as a Youth Development Practitioner. She leads the Theatre Department at PAPA, a non-profit public charter school in Albuquerque, for grades 6-12. Ms Beck is also Thespian Troupe Director, and teaches theatre and makeup design.

Maralyn Beck

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Maralyn Beck works at Albuquerque Public Schools in the communications department, where she works extensively with social and digital media. Ms. Beck has previously worked with leading Fortune 500 brands in the digital space including Honda, Acura, Kroger, Smith’s Grocery Store, and Simple Truth. Beck holds a bachelor’s degree from UNM, and a Master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations from GWU.

Amina Bilal

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Amina Bilal homeschooled her seven children for 14 years before going on to teach for five years at a private school.  Currently, she teaches 1st grade students in Taos.

Dr. Caroline Bonham

Dr. Caroline Bonham is a psychiatrist with an interest in addressing stigma in mental health through education. As Director for the Center for Rural and Community Behavioral Health, she oversees an interdisciplinary team focused on addressing health disparities in New Mexico through community engaged research, education, and clinical initiatives.

Lindsay Branine, MA

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Lindsay Branine has been assessing and providing care for behavioral health crises in the field, on the phone and in the Emergency Room for more than 13 years. The NMCAL is answered by professional counselors 24/7/365 for the benefit of any New Mexican experiencing a behavioral health issue of any kind.

Debra Bryant

Debra Bryant is the coordinator for the bullying prevention community initiative Stand Up for Kindness. Her work with staff and students in the Santa Fe Public Schools has been focused on this issue for seven years.

Denicia Cadena, BA

Denicia Cadena works on issues of justice – whether related to race, gender or sexual orientation. As a cultural organizer she engages the knowledge of communities, seeking to reveal their experiences in ways that support creative expression, leading to meaningful policy and structural change. Young Women United is a community organizing project by and for young women of color in Albuquerque.

Micaela Cadena, MA

Micaela Cadena worked to pass HB 300 in the 2013 Legislative Session, which created an excused absence policy for expectant and parenting students.  Young Women United, a reproductive justice organizing and policy project, was a lead organization in that effort.

José Canaca, MD

Dr. Canaca has conducted research with children, youth and families in Albuquerque since 2008. His work involves issues relating to maintaining healthy body weight, effective health communication with Spanish-speakers, and positive youth development. Dr. Canaca currently coordinates the New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (NM-YRRS) and the Risk/Resiliency Assessment Project for Students (RAPS) at UNM.

Janyce Cardenas

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Janyce Cardenas facilitates health literacy and advocacy work at Wilson, which is a YDI-Elev8 New Mexico community school. Ms. Cardenas uses Wilson’s school-based health center to spark students’ interest in pursuing health careers. To combat childhood obesity she supports the expansion of Wilson’s gardening program and youth-led service learning initiatives. She tried to  ensure that all endeavors respect families’ cultural diversity. Last year the school showcased the work of the local School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) with a SHAC-a-thon, focused on physical activities and and wellness workshops.

Laura Case, MSN

Laura Case’s education was centered in Community Health, and she has extensive experience in school nursing, previously serving as Nursing Coordinator for the Rio Rancho Public Schools. Ms. Case curently participates on the State Vision Advisory Committee, which is working to develop state standards for school vision screening.

Susan Casias, MSW

Susan Casias, an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation from northern New Mexico, has 30 years of experience as a professional social worker.  She is engaged in suicide prevention and intervention with Native peoples and communities.

Jasmine Ceja

Jasmine Ceja graduated from California State University, Los Angeles in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a Certificate in Youth Agency Administration. A strong advocate for healthy relationships and the well-being of children and adolescents, Jasmine engages diverse youth populations in public and private schools, juvenile justice and parenting teen programs as well as afterschool groups. In addition, she provides direct training to school districts and educators to improve their response to incidents of abuse. Jasmine joined Break the Cycle in 2010 as Youth Programs Coordinator, moved up the ranks to Sr. Education Coordinator and now serves as National Youth Organizing Manager.  She also serves as the supervisor of the Loveisrespect National Youth Advisory Board, working with young people across the country to raise awareness and promote help services through loveisrespect.org. As National Youth Organizing Manager, Jasmine manages Break the Cycle’s youth education and outreach programs, with the sole responsibility of ensuring that all young people reached nationally are inspired and supported to create cultures free from abuse.

Alicia Chavez

Alicia Sofia Chavez is a Xicana reigning from Pecos, New Mexico. Alicia is Young Women United’s Youth and Community Organizer. In this role she organizes with young people to get them the knowledge, resources, and tools to make the changes they want to see in their communities. Through our sister circles she builds trust and relationships with our communities. She leads: Circle of Strength for young women 13-19 , Circle of Fire for young women 19-35, and Panocha Platicas, conversations on sex and the regulations of our lives and bodies. Her life’s work has been dedicated to educating and empowering marginalized youth to succeed. Alicia attended the University of New Mexico studying Mass Communication with and emphasis in advertising and a minor in psychology.

Lance Chilton, MD

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Dr. Chilton works on immunization issues throughout the state and lectures frequently on immunization-related topics throughout the West.  A former member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Dr. Chilton is a member of all major New Mexico immunization groups.

Jessica Collins, BA

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Jessica Collins has trained thousands of youth, educators and community leaders on media literacy topics including gender, race, nutrition, body image, reality television and digital storytelling. She runs the MLP’s Girl Tech program for young women of color, who learn about women’s health issues, video production, and storytelling for community change. Ms. Collins is also a filmmaker, has developed several multimedia educational resources, and designs customized curricula for schools and organizations.

Rita Condon

Rita Condon leads a population-based Body Mass Index monitoring effort in elementary schools throughout the state. She has trained school nurses and health staff, nursing students, PE teachers and others to use the DOH standard measurement protocol, and has measured over 18,000 elementary school children.  A nutritionist with 20 years of experience in educating communities about healthy eating and active living, Ms. Condon works on childhood obesity prevention initiatives where children live, learn and play.

Janine Corinne, MPH

Janine Corinne’s areas of focus are qualitative research, substance abuse prevention, tobacco use prevention, and control and personal development. She has 22 years of experience in planning, implementing and evaluating community health projects.

David Covington, LPC, MBA

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David Covington serves on several national boards, including the National Council for Behavioral Health, the SAMHSA National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Steering Committee, and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Formerly CEO of Behavioral Health Link, Mr. Covington also worked as Director of Public Sector Quality Management at APS Healthcare. He has led innovative projects dealing with suicide care, performance management, integrated care, peer supports, and data analytics/software solutions.

Anna Marie Curtis, MA

Anna Marie Curtis has worked extensively with offender populations, juveniles and community mental health. She coordinates with and provides support to school counselors, nurses and social workers within her region. Her special interests are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, suicide prevention, and the integration of mental health with physical health.

Maxine Daggett, MSW

Maxine Daggett has mentored youth in the Northern Rio Arriba Communities Health Coalition for seven years. Her passion is working with young people to help them achieve their highest potential.

Michele DeLese, MA

Michele DeLese’s law enforcement career with the FPD spans 12 years. She served in the Patrol Division and as a School Resource Officer (SRO) before becoming Supervisor of SRO Division. Ms. DeLese’s prior experience includes eight years of teaching seventh and eighth grade students in the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the Navajo Reservation.

Patricia Dobson, PhD

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Dr. Dobson presents internationally on her research into the topic of bullying. Chair of the Department of Communication and an assistant professor of communication at ENMU, she teaches in journalism and public relations disciplines, as well as interpersonal/group/family communication.

Cheri Dotson, RN, BSN, MA

Cheri Dotson, RN, BSN, MA has been a school nurse for 31 years.  While school nursing in Texas, she was a certified trainer in vision and hearing screening.  She has been the Lead Nurse in Santa Fe Public schools for 14 years and brings a wealth of knowledge to school nursing.  As a presenter for NM School Nurse Orientation and NM Health Assistant Training, she covers many areas pertinent to school nursing and coordinated school health.  She is an active member of National Association of School Nurses and NM School Nurses Association.

Isaac Duran, BA, MA

Isaac Duran provides domestic violence, dating violence and sexual assault programs to regional schools spanning three Texas counties. His department specializes in bi-lingual intervention and prevention programs, and also works with the El Paso county juvenile probation department and Fort Bliss US Army Base. Mr. Duran assists TAASA (Texas Association Against Sexual Assault) to prepare local underprivileged teens to be advocates for their communities.

Amilya N. Ellis, MPH, LMSW

Amilya Ellis is responsible for managing school mental health systems, including coordination with school nurses, school and community mental health professionals and school-based health care providers. Her areas of expertise include youth engagement, grief and loss, and coordination of care.

Courtney FitzGerald

Courtney FitzGerald, a researcher at UNM’s Prevention Research Center, has worked with youth for over a decade. She is currently a coordinator of the New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (NM-YRRS) and the Risk/Resiliency Assessment Project for Students (RAPS) at UNM. Ms. FitzGerald also has experience with youth in treatment foster care and residential treatment settings.

Anthony Fleg, MD

Dr. Fleg is a family physician working in Native American communities. For the past 10 years he has performed clinical and community health work in his position as a coordinator for the Native Health Initiative.

Shannon Fleg

Shannon Fleg is a Dine’ (Navajo) health educator, with almost 15 years of experience working in Native American communities to improve the health of Tribal members. Her work includes serving the Navajo Nation and acting as a consultant for Tribal programs.

Cynthia Gallegos, MA

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Cynthia Gallegos has worked in public school systems at the elementary, middle school, high school and college levels for 15 years. Her graduate degree is in Rehabilitation and Professional Counseling. Ms. Gallegos also has family members that have been diagnosed with mental illness.

David Garcia

David Garcia has been appointed Co-Chair of the Generation Rx Patient Care Initiative, and has presented the Generation Rx program throughout New Mexico and the United States. Mr. Garcia is a third-year student in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the UNM College of Pharmacy.

Todd Goldblum, MD

Dr. Goldblum practices pediatric ophthalmology in Albuquerque.  He is active in the community, involved with issues related to children’s eye care. His accomplishments include Principal Investigator for PEDIG (Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group); Volunteer Faculty at the UNM Department of Surgery; service on the NM Department of Health Vision Screen Advisory Committee, and medical advisor for the NM Lions’ Operation Kidsight. In 2007 Dr. Goldblum submitted a bill, signed into law, establishing state-wide vision screening (Save Our Children’s Eyesight Fund).

RuthAnn Goradia, MSN, MPH, RN

RuthAnn Goradia assists in providing resources, including case management and education, to the Albuquerque Public Schools district in the field of managing chronic health conditions, including asthma.

Laura Harrison

Laura Harrison is a suicide survivor.  After losing a friend to suicide, she began volunteering for the NMSPC, to help people learn the warning signs and risk factors.   Ms. Harrison eventually became a Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) trainer, and currently provides training throughout the state of New Mexico.

Wayne Keith Head, LISW

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Wayne Keith Head’s career in social work spans more than three decades. He has served as a child protective services social worker, a program planner for foster parents, a trainer for new social workers in New Mexico, and a consultant for social services in the Clovis Municipal Schools.

Michele Herling

Michele Herling founded the Compassionate Touch Network, a Santa Fe-based non-profit organization that promotes community mental health through education, healing and the arts.  In 2007, she conceived a performance piece, Minds Interrupted: Stories of Lives Affected by Mental Illness, to erase stigma through monologues written and presented on stage by individuals impacted by mental illness.  She has co-produced and directed this production in New Mexico, Maryland, Texas and Minnesota.  Ms. Herling is a consultant for Breaking the Silence, facilitating its stigma-busting lessons in high schools around New Mexico.

Lydia Herrera

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Lydia Herrera is a former teacher and school administrator. Having raised an ADHD son who also has learning disabilities, she is acutely aware of the challenges parents and professionals face as they endeavor to forge partnerships that provide special services to help students succeed. Ms. Herrera is an author and certified Learning Success Coach, working with parents of children with ADHD and learning disabilities.

Dean Hopper, MA Ed

Dean Hopper has held various positions within the NMPED for almost two decades. He received national recognition from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the expansion of HIV education programs in New Mexico. Mr. Hopper also taught middle and high school students, and worked for the New Mexico Department of Health.

Stephanie Jackson

Stephanie Jackson has been working on research and policy through multiple projects since 2008, to improve educational attainment for expectant and parenting students. The Public Health Program is in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

Jenn Jevertson, MS

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Jenn Jevertson develops and designs programs and curricula at SFMC that focus on building clients’ resiliency and mental health. For the past decade her work has also focused on reducing and preventing bullying, oppression, suicide, violence and homophobia for elementary through high-school students. Well-versed in a range of mental health issues, and experienced in the field of Adventure Education, Ms. Jevertson also provides experiential programs to LGBTQ and at-risk youth.

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson is the Executive Director of A New Day Youth and Family Services, a social profit agency that has been serving at-risk youth and their families for 35 years. Steve is also the Associate Director of the Wraparound Institute which provides training and technical assistance for agencies across the state serving young people.  Previously Steve has worked for 26 years at both the local and state level to develop and transform the state’s behavioral health system. Steve is a Licensed Clinical Counselor and a Licensed Social Worker. Steve’s professional focus has been on the holistic issues facing troubled youth and their families, including both clinical and systemic issues. He is a strong advocate for keeping young people safe while surrounding them with healthy families and supportive communities.  He believes in working collaboratively with other agencies to create an integrated system that is effective and meaningful.

Kirk Kanesta

Kirk Kanesta is an advocate for the mental health and well-being of Native youth. He is a senior at NACA, and he is working with other students there to create a supportive environment. Mr. Kanesta plans to attend college and study music; he plays guitar, bass and drums.

Lisa Kasman-Schlosser, LISW

Lisa Kasman-Schlosser is responsible for assisting the eight schools within the district to utilize effective Positive Behavior Supports across the intervention continuum to maximize student learning. Previously, she served as a K-12 School Social Worker, providing direct services for students, families and staff. Ms. Kasman-Schlosser is a certified trainer for the Crisis Prevention Institute, providing training in Non Violent Crisis Intervention to MESD staff.


Donnie Kee, Sergeant

Sgt. Kee works in the Training Division and serves as a Team Leader on the SWAT Team. He has been with the FPD for 14 years, gaining experience in the Patrol Division. Sgt. Kee’s tactical skills and knowledge of critical incident management are valuable to the FPD’s School Resource Officer Division in their commitment to school safety. Prior to becoming a police officer, Sgt. Kee served eight years in the United States Marine Corps.

Sally Kosnick

Sally Kosnick is active in all aspects of teen parent issues throughout New Mexico. A classroom teacher for three decades, she has been involved with school, community and state activities. These included mentorship for NM GRADS teachers, serving on the Curriculum Review Board for NM FACS and NM GRADS, the Maternal Child Health Council, and the Las Cruces Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. She helped her students develop leadership and presentation skills on topics ranging from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome /Fetal Alcohol Exposure disorders to STD/HIV awareness through Peer Education training.

Avron (Avi) Kriechman, MD

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Dr. Kriechman serves on the faculty at the Center for Rural and Community Behavioral Health in the UNM Department of Psychiatry, and on the faculty of New Mexico Highlands University School of Social Work. He has more than 30 years of experience working on mental health issues in schools.

Rachel Lacey

Rachel Lacey serves as Co-Chair of the Generation Rx Patient Care Initiative, and has presented the Generation Rx program throughout New Mexico and the U.S. She is a third-year student in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the UNM College of Pharmacy.

Adrien Lawyer

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Adrien Lawyer has a long history of activism in the LGBTQ community, and participates on many task forces. These include groups that are suggesting policy to Albuquerque Public Schools regarding transgender students and staff, and the ACLU’s All Families Matter. He is a transgender man, Mr. Lawyer has provided hundreds of transgender cultural competency trainings. He is a spouse and a father, working toward equality and accessible resources for the transgender community.

Michelle Linn-Gust, PhD

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Michelle Linn-Gust educates people worldwide about coping with loss and change. Following the suicide of her younger sister, her first book, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling, inspired siblings around the world in their survival after a loved one’s suicide. Ms. Linn-Gust’s eighth book, Conversations with the Water: A Memoir of Cultivating Hope, chronicles her journey as she moves beyond the field of suicide, grief and loss. Currently, she helps people accomplish their goals through her life coaching practice.

Phil Lucero

Phil Lucero comes from a background in experiential education with an emphasis on youth engagement. His Student Wellness Action Team Program has grown in size over the years, and currently there are more than 200 students engaged in the city of Santa Fe. Mr. Lucero also collaborates on bullying prevention projects with the Santa Fe Public Schools’ Office of Student Wellness.

Shelley Mann-Lev, MPH

Shelley Mann-Lev coordinates programs about alcohol, tobacco, drug prevention and other student safety issues. She tracks and advises the SFPS District on all substance abuse policies. Ms. Mann-Lev has worked in public schools for more than two decades.

Dominic Martinez

Dominic Martinez hosts a weekly radio show on KXMT-FM, and Fatherhood is the main topic of conversation. A retired a police officer with the Law Enforcement Agencies in Taos County, Mr. Martinez served as a domestic violence/child abuse investigator with the Taos District Attorney’s Office and helped start Taos County’s child abuse forensic interviewing program.

John Martinez

John Martinez is a School Based Health Center Quality Improvement (QI) Program Manager.  He brings more than 30 years of business and management experience to his work as a QI coach. Mr. Martinez has presented at the National School Based Alliance Conference in Washington, DC, the Best Practices in Diabetes Conference in New Mexico, and the Arizona National Improvement Partnership Network, QI Coach Training.

Cathy McDonald, RN, BSN

Cathy McDonald’s nursing experience includes public health, hospital admissions administration and school nursing. In addition to her work with the FMS District, she also works as a relief nurse at the San Juan County Juvenile Services Center. Ms. McDonald is a member of the National Association of School Nurses, the NM School Nurse Association and the NM School Nurse Action Committee.  She currently serves on the board of the San Juan College School of Nursing Advisory Council, chairs the School Health Advisory Committee and is involved in Full Engagement Training through San Juan Regional Medical Center.

Elizabeth McGrath, JD

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Elizabeth McGrath advocates on behalf of individual children and youth, and sponsors legislative and policy changes that benefit them and their caregivers. She developed Pegasus Legal Services programs to serve grandparents raising grandchildren, young parents, and homeless and runaway youth. Ms. McGrath was instrumental in the passage of the 2001 Kinship Guardianship Act.  She taught at UNM School of Law, and makes presentations around the state to youth, their caregivers, and others who work in their best interests.

Courtney McKinney, BA

Courtney McKinney works on Quality Improvement initiatives with School Based Health Centers  throughout New Mexico, and with QI initiatives in other content areas as well. She has more than 17 years of experience in athletic training and clinical healthcare experience, and presented last year at the National School Based Alliance Conference in Washington, DC.

Debbie Medina

Debbie Medina specializes in working with students who struggle with substance abuse. She is the adult coordinator of the Risk/Resiliency Assessment Project for Students (RAPS) project at Rio Grande High School.

Kari Meredith

Kari Meredith leads a statewide program offering training and technical assistance to law enforcement, social service providers, school staff, community members and students concerned with issues surrounding teen dating violence. Passionately involved as an advocate with local crisis centers and shelters, Ms. Meredith also worked on the legal team that secured the first two human trafficking indictments in New Mexico.

Yolanda Montoya Cordova, MSW

Yolanda Montoya Cordova oversees the development and implementation of school health activities statewide, focused in four primary areas: school nursing, school-based health care, youth suicide prevention and positive youth engagement. Ms. Montoya Cordova’s extensive experience as a social worker includes clinical practice in children’s mental health, developmental disabilities, child welfare, and program and policy administration at state and national levels.

Kathy Moseley, RN, MS

Kathy Moseley manages the Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma project in New Mexico, Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas. Enhancing Care coaches groups of clinics in a collaborative process to improve adherence to national asthma guidelines. The project is jointly sponsored by the American Lung Association and Health Care Services Corporation regional operating division of Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Laurie Mueller

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Laurie A. Mueller, currently serves as the Chair for the New Mexico Afterschool Alliance and provides consulting for various entities on topics of school health and afterschool programming through her business, Dragon Star Consulting.  Ms. Mueller provided 34 years of service in both the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) and the Public Education Department (PED) before her retirement in 2012.  During her years of service, Ms. Mueller served as the State Coordinator for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers; oversaw the PED communication on school health policies; and was one of two National Professional Development Coordinators for the Centers for Disease Control / Division of Adolescent and School Health.  In addition, Ms. Mueller served as the School Health Director at the DOH, monitoring school based health centers and promoted the development of Coordinated School Health Programs in New Mexico.  Earlier at DOH, she was instrumental in establishing the largest school-based dental sealant program in the world, serving over 19,000 students statewide in a single year.

Marlene Muñoz

Marlene Muñoz works with counselors at her school to address sadness, depression and suicide ideation, especially among girls. Now in her senior year, she is actively involved in athletics and the RGHS student senate, where she currently serves as vice president.

Traci Neff, BA

Traci Neff manages activities and operations at the Juvenile Services Facility.  Under her leadership, the Facility received a National Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties for the innovative development of a One-Stop Multi-Disciplinary Facility. They were also recognized with a National Achievement Award for the Kids for Canines Program, which is beneficial for incarcerated youth.  Ms. Neff represents the County on the Juvenile Drug Court Advisory Committee, Juvenile Stakeholder Committee, Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Issues Committee and the San Juan County Mental Health Task Force.

Sandy Orne-Adams, MA, LPCC, NCC

Sandy Orne-Adams is a K-12 Level II School Counselor, and a district trainer for non-violent crisis intervention through the Crisis Prevention Institute.  She works with the district bus drivers to help maintain consistency between the school day and the bus ride experience. Ms. Orne-Adams also maintains a private therapy practice, and has served as a case worker and advocate for adults with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities.

Renee Ornelas, MD


Dr. Ornelas is a pediatrician specializing in the examination of children with concerns of child sexual abuse and teens who have been sexually assaulted.  Para Los Niños is a program within the Department of Pediatrics at the UNM School of Medicine. Dr. Ornelas teaches professionals about this area of medical practice and testifies as an expert in legal settings in New Mexico.

Monika Peterson, PhD

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Dr. Peterson is a Clinical Psychologist, Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, and Director of Adolescent Programs of the Eating Disorders Institute of New Mexico.  She also owns a part-time private practice in which she treats patients with eating disorders.

Craig Pierce, PhD, LMFT, LPCC, NCC

Dr. Pierce has over 30 years of experience in the mental health field, with expertise in child and family therapy, domestic abuse treatment, childhood disorders, trauma, Interpersonal Neurobiology and clinical supervision. He has worked extensively in public schools as a school counselor and school psychologist. Dr. Pierce is a Fellow with The American Psychotherapy Association and a Clinical Fellow with The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. A former president of the New Mexico School Counselors Association, he is the author of Parenting Without Distraction: The Attunetion Approach.

Luis C. Polo, BA

Luis Polo facilitates intervention and prevention programs for youth and adults for the Center Against Family Violence’s Youth Service Department in El Paso, TX. He provides regional schools and community agencies with awareness and prevention education, and addressed about 20,000 teens in the past year alone. Mr. Polo evaluates program relevancy and translates and interprets for a bi-lingual community.

Abby Redway, RRT-NPS

Abby Redway has 13 years of clinical experence in the use, teaching,  and skill verification of inhalation therapies, and is certificated as a Neonatal-Pediatric Specialist with the American Association of Respiratory Care.

Bridgette Ruiz

Bridgette has a bachelor of arts from the University of New Mexico and is currently working for the Department of Health in the Office of School and Adolescent Health. She provides ongoing support to behavioral health consultant. Formulation of school mental health research and development of guidance document. Areas of expertise include mental illness, crisis intervention and care coordination.

Craig Sadberry, MA

Craig Sadberry develops and delivers trainings focused on effective bus management plans, and other positive behavior interventions and supports for bus drivers. Prior to his work with principals, counselors, social workers and other administrators in the schools, Mr. Sadberry served for many years in the Albuquerque Fire Department, retiring as Deputy Chief.

JoAnn Sartorius, LISW

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JoAnn Sartorius, LISW, applies “fun with a purpose” and believes in action, interaction and laughter are the best methods of learning. Having assisted youth leadership groups throughout New Mexico to implement “Talk About It.” campaigns for the last several years for NMDOH Office of School and Adolescent Health, she will bring examples of youth projects, as well as campaign promotional items groups can take home to help them get started. Back–up support after Head to Toe will aid each group in achieving a successful campaign. Youth leaders from Santa Fe will co-present.

Alena Schaim

Alena Schaim has addressed issues of gender and violence for a decade, including work with the Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families in Santa Fe. She is particularly interested in exploring the ways in which pop culture and systems of oppression interact with individuals’ personal safety choices, and the interaction between different cultural approaches to safety and larger social goals. Ms. Schaim has presented for the NM Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Colorado Advocacy in Action and the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. She serves as Vice President of IMPACT International.

Patricia Serna, LISW

Patricia Serna has implemented suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, youth violence prevention and family violence prevention programs for more than thirty years.  For much of that time, she has also been active in the Northern Rio Arriba Communities Health Coalition.

Hillary Sheckler

Hillary Sheckler serves as Chair of the Generation Rx Patient Care Initiative, and has presented the Generation Rx program throughout New Mexico and the United States. She is a third-year student in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the UNM College of Pharmacy.

Shawn Sidhu, MD

Dr. Sidhu is an Attending Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at the Children’s Psychiatric Center in the UNM Department of Psychiatry.

Grace Spulak, JD

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Grace Spulak acts as guardian ad litem and attorney to children and youth in foster care, represents youth in emancipation cases, and works with homeless and runaway youth on a variety of issues. She is active in policy work related to children and youth throughout the state, and presents on legal rights for children and youth in a variety of settings.  Ms. Spulak served as the 2012 Chair of the New Mexico Bar’s Children’s Law Section. During the 2009 New Mexico legislative session, she helped draft legislation allowing youth 14 and older who are parents or living apart from their legal guardians to consent to their own medical treatment.

Sabrina Strong, MPH

Sabrina Strong uses her experiences as a suicide attempt survivor to bring real life examples to trainings she provides throughout New Mexico. She has served  as a Health Educator for the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition and a Health Promotion Specialist for the NM Department of Health, teaching teens about unintended pregnancy and sexuality transmitted diseases. Her experience includes case management for individuals with severe mental illness and developmental disability, and program coordinator for a youth substance abuse prevention program.

Ashley Swanson, LISW

Ashley Swanson works in Special Education, specializing in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), providing intensive interventions and strategies in three of Roswell’s ASD classrooms.  Her experience working with children in grades K-12 on social, behavioral and emotional concerns includes serving as a Behavioral Health Provider, providing one-on-one counseling to at-risk youth for the Roswell School-Based Health Center. In this position she was active in suicide awareness, prevention and intervention. Ms. Swanson serves on the District’s ASD and Crisis Intervention Teams, consulting with and educating parents, staff, teachers and the community.

Mike Tattershall, LISW

Mike Tattershall works with children in programs designed to serve students with diagnosed emotional disturbances, as well as alternate school settings and life skills programs. He has more than a decade of experience working with children in grades K-12, and he has also served as an ancillary instructor, teaching clinically related classes for New Mexico Highlands University Social Work Department.

Megan Thompson, PhD

Dr. Thompson received a national award for developing a prescription drug abuse education and prevention program entitled Generation Rx, which has been presented locally, nationally and internationally.  Generation Rx consists of live, interactive presentations for all age groups with a focus on the science behind prescription drug misuse and abuse. Experienced in various pharmacy settings, Dr. Thompson has also served as the Associate Dean of Students and Chair of the College of Pharmacy Admissions Committee. Her academic courses include teaching first and second year pharmacy students in the area of Self-Care Therapeutics, and a professionalism course attended by all pharmacy students.

Christopher Drew Thornhill

Drew Thornhill is a Co-Chair of the Generation Rx Patient Care Initiative and has presented the Generation Rx program throughout New Mexico and the United States. He is a third-year student in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy.

Cecilia Trujillo

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Cecilia Trujillo taught kindergarten through University level classes in public and private schools. Currently, she is a Physical Education instructor at Enos Garcia Elementary School. Ms. Trujillo designs and develops athletic programs and physical education curricula for girls and women, and has served as a coach.

Jeanette Varela

Jeanette Varela is a senior at Mesa Vista High School, serving as Chair of the Parents Who Host Lose The Most subcommittee of the Northern Rio Arriba Communities Health Coalition. She has been a member of the coalition for four years.

Jennifer Lynn Perez

Jennifer Lynn Perez is member of the media/radio committee of the NRACHC and a voice on the “Coalition Live” radio show. She is a sophmore at Escalante High School.

Bianca Villani

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Bianca Villani believes community engagement and mobilization are the keys to addressing and transforming violence prevention. Passionate about social justice and working with underserved populations, including youth of color, Ms. Villani is a public speaker and trainer on sexual violence primary prevention issues. She trains participants to recognize the factors that contribute to the high rates of sexual violence in New Mexico.

Perdita Wexler, MA

Perdita Wexler was born and raised in New Mexico, but has enjoyed living everywhere from Anchorage, Alaska to Skopje, Macedonia. As Health Education Coordinator for the NMPED’s School and Family Support Bureau, she brings her expertise in public health, elementary education and community building to her work.

Benigno Vasquez

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Benigno Vasquez works with the School Health Advisory Council at Wilson Middle School, a YDI-Elev8 New Mexico community school, helping to develop student leaders involved in health issues. Seven students attended the 2013 Organizing Youth Engagement conference, and guided discussions at the school on diabetes, cancer, eating disorders, mental illness and health literacy. Mr. Vasquez leadse leads Wilson’s Youth Health Literacy Project’s work on increasing health literacy through social media, and he has been with YDI for more than 20 years, working with families and the community.

Brenda L. Wolfe, PhD

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Dr. Brenda L. Wolfe is a Clinical Psychologist, Certified Eating Disorders Specialist, and Clinical Director of the Eating Disorders Institute of New Mexico.  She also serves as adjunct/volunteer faculty to the UNM Department of Psychology and School of Medicine, and as the Continuing Education coordinator for the New Mexico Psychological Association.

Desiree Woodland

Desiree Woodland teaches at the 21st Century Public Academy and gives presentations on mental illness awareness to local schools and other organizations, using a NAMI curriculum called Breaking the Silence. After the suicide of her son Ryan, Ms. Woodland became passionate about educating students, staff and parents about diagnosing mental illness in an effort to save lives. She is a member of NAMI , serves on the board for ABQ Survivors of Suicide, and authored the book I Still Believe: Mental Illness and Suicide in Light of the Christian Faith.

Jo Anne Wright, MSN, CNS

Jo Anne Wright works with children with tracheotomies, some on ventilators, and she is a resource specialist for school professionals, nurses and teachers. In the hospital setting she assists other nurses when these children are admitted, and guides families in working with their children. A nurse for more than four decades, Ms. Wright also provides instruction for nursing students and young doctors learning to be pediatricians.