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2020 CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

Kristi Bierbaum

Kristi Bierbaum is a licensed professional counselor and a master’s level addiction counselor. She has been in the field of behavioral health and addiction for over 10 years and is also a board approved supervisor. She has operated as Clinical Director in many capacities including non-profit homeless street outreach programs, psychiatric hospital services including inpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient program, and recently, a residential addiction treatment facility. She is a SMART Recovery Certified Facilitator and has presented at both the local and state level conferences engaging new therapists into alternative and complimentary non 12-step addiction programs. She believes in the core power of choice, allowing clients engaged in services to identify which course of treatment is the most effective. Currently, she is working on completing her dissertation in health psychology with a specialization in post-bariatric alcohol use disorder.

Dr. Frank Campbell

Dr. Frank Campbell is the chair of the NSTC and the former Executive Director of the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center and the Crisis Center Foundation in Louisiana, USA. He is currently Senior Consultant for Campbell and Associates Consulting where he consults with communities and on Forensic Suicidology cases.  It was due to his more than twenty years of working with those bereaved by suicide that he introduced his Active Postvention Model (APM) most commonly known as the LOSS Team (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors). His work with survivors and victims of trauma has been featured in three Discovery channel documentaries. The APM concept involves a team of first responders who go to the scene of a suicide and provide support and referral for those bereaved by the suicide. The goal has been to shorten the elapsed time between the death and survivors finding the help they feel will help them cope with this devastating loss. The Active Postvention Model and has shown to have a positive impact on both the team members (most often bereaved individuals who have gotten help and now provide the installation of hope to the newly bereaved) as well as the newly bereaved. The model has now been replicated in countries as diverse as Australia, Singapore, Northern Ireland, Canada and America.

Dr. Bill Cassidy

Dr. Bill Cassidy is the United States Senator for Louisiana. Bill grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for undergraduate and medical school. In 1990, Bill joined LSU Medical School teaching medical students and residents at Earl K. Long Hospital, a hospital for the uninsured. During this time, he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, a clinic providing free dental and health care to the working uninsured. Bill also created a private-public partnership to vaccinate 36,000 greater Baton Rouge area children against Hepatitis B at no cost to the schools or parents. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bill led a group of health care volunteers to convert an abandoned K-Mart building into an emergency health care facility, providing basic health care to hurricane evacuees. In 2014, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He serves on the Finance Committee, the Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Veterans Affairs committees.

Kristen Cassidy

Kristen Cassidy earned a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from McNeese State University in 2010. Kristen has a private practice in Jennings, LA where she provides counseling to adults and children in both individual and family settings. She also works with juveniles and their families as the Families in Need of Services (FINS) Officer for the 31st Judicial District Court in Jefferson Davis Parish. She is a co-founder of B Curriculum, LLC and co-creator of the Truth, Facts, & Lies series.

Dr. Louis Cataldie

Dr. Louis Cataldie is aBoard Certified Addictionologist Certified Medical Review Officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He received his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans and has been in practice for more than 20 years. Louis Cataldie, M.D. is the Medical Director of the Woodlake Addiction Treatment Center in Ethel and the Cataldie Clinic. Dr. Cataldie served for over ten years as the Coroner for East Baton Rouge Parish and was the Medical Incident Commander and Examiner for the state of Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Dr. Pete Cooper

Dr. Pete Cooper has 20 years of clinical and academic experience in the mental health profession working and studying with a diverse clientele ranging from adults, adolescents, children, geriatrics, psychiatrics, addictions, developmental disabilities, music therapy, individual therapy, group therapy, couples therapy, cross cultural populations, anger management and men’s issues. He takes an eclectic approach to therapy, utilizing psychoanalysis, humanism and existentialism as core tenets. He adheres to what your needs, strengths and weaknesses are in order to assist you in achieving a more crystallized sense of self and actualization. Pete received a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling from Capella University, a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Capella University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor. He is an active member of the American Counseling Association, National Coalition for Men, Louisiana Counseling Association and SASH.

Sherrard Crespo

Sherrard Crespo is an LMSW currently under BACS supervision to obtain her LCSW licensure. Sherrard graduated with her masterâs degree from the LSU School of Social Work in May of 2017. Sherrard is currently employed by VIALINK in the position of Outreach and Traumatic Loss Coordinator. Her duties include: Developing policies and procedures for Vialink contact center on the subjects of suicide risk assessment and active rescue. Assisting to train volunteers and employees to answer Vialink’s crisis phone, chat, and text lines. Acting as outreach representative and coordinator for Vialink. Facilitating a Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Support Group. Providing postvention work for traumatic loss in the community. Developing and providing educational trainings in the community on suicide education and awareness

Wendy Q. Durant

Wendy Q. Durant, an award-winning businesswoman, proven leader, therapist, consultant, speaker, and educator. She is the Founder and CEO of DuraCARE Counseling & Consulting Services, an outpatient behavioral health facility with locations in Metairie & LaPlace, LA DuraCARE; licensed by the LA Department of Health & Hospitals, nationally accredited by CARF and recognized by SAMHSA as an outpatient provider. Wendy holds a Masters Degree in Counselor Education, a Masters degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, and has a host of certifications including play therapy, telemental health, child/adolescent trauma treatment, and sex offender provider. Wendy is a Licensed Professional Counselor, licensed in Louisiana and Texas, and a Board Approved Supervisor registered in Louisiana. Wendy is currently pursing a degree in Nursing with aspirations of one day also practicing as a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Asha Gibson

Asha Gibson is a native of Morgan City, LA. She is credentialed as a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional. She currently serves as a Collegiate Counselor at Xavier University. She was previously a clinician at an behavioral health inpatient facility and a clinical supervisor for a mental health rehabilitation agency where she provided clinical direction for unlicensed staff members. Sagan Allen-Williams is a native of Eunice, La and currently resides in Gonzales, La. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor with an extensive background in case management, community-based psychotherapy, Behavioral/Substance Abuse inpatient rehab, clinical site supervision, program consultation, utilization management, and regulatory quality assurance. Sagan has most recently solidified what she believes is her true calling as a philanthropist of her Nonprofit community organization.

Connie Goodson

State CSoC Director, Connie Goodson, LMSW is responsible for the leadership and oversight of the Louisiana Coordinated System of Care and is responsible for the development and ongoing operations of the statewide effort to advance system of care values and practices across child-serving systems to support an innovative multi-agency initiative to address the needs of youth with the most complex behavioral health challenges and their families. Her work centers on development and promotion of System of Care Values and Wraparound practice throughout the state.

Cecile Guin

Cecile Guin, PhD, LCSW, has served as the Director of the LSU Social Research and Evaluation Center, from 1996 to 2018. She began working for LSU in 1995 as a funding consultant and Associate Professor of Research. Cecile develops programs and seeks funding aimed at interrupting the pathway to delinquency and crime.

Kari Hankins

Kari Hankins is one of the cofounders of B Curriculum, LLC and Truth, Facts & Lies education program. She regularly facilitates sessions for teens and parents to help them navigate the unique challenges of the 21st century. She graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science of Nursing from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and received a Masters of Science in Nursing from University of Alabama at Birmingham. Kari is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner.

Ben Harrington

Ben Harrington is the CEO of the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee. Ben has held this position since 1994. Mr. Harrington has a long history of being actively involved in local, state and national advocacy. Some specific advocacy efforts have included the TennCare formulary, creation of the Behavior Health Safety Net, creation of the original 6 Crisis Stabilization Units, establishment of Pre-Arrest Diversion Treatment facilities and the 100% reinvestment of funds in the community when Lakeshore Regional Mental Health Institute closed in 2012. He has been honored by the United Way of Greater Knoxville with the Wayne Murdoch CEO of the Year Award, the Greater Knoxville Business Journal with the Health Care Hero Award for Community Service, and by the American Psychiatric Association with their “Psychiatric Achievement Award” for Mental Health 101.

Ben Harrington

Ben Harrington is the CEO of the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee. Ben has held this position since 1994. Mr. Harrington has a long history of being actively involved in local, state and national advocacy. Some specific advocacy efforts have included the TennCare formulary, creation of the Behavior Health Safety Net, creation of the original 6 Crisis Stabilization Units, establishment of Pre-Arrest Diversion Treatment facilities and the 100% reinvestment of funds in the community when Lakeshore Regional Mental Health Institute closed in 2012. He has been honored by the United Way of Greater Knoxville with the Wayne Murdoch CEO of the Year Award, the Greater Knoxville Business Journal with the Health Care Hero Award for Community Service, and by the American Psychiatric Association with their “Psychiatric Achievement Award” for Mental Health 101.

Jarrod Hegwood

Jarrod Hegwood, LPC – Mr. Hegwood has been working in the mental health field in the Baton Rouge area for the last 5 years.  A 1995 graduate of Walker High School, he went on to receive his Bachelors of Fine Arts in Theatre from William Carey College, and then his Masters of Divinity in Psychology and Counseling from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  He has worked with adolescents for more than two decades in a variety of capacities. He is an adjunct professor of psychology in a local prison undergraduate program. 

Shantelle R. Jacobs

Shantelle R. Jacobs is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 16 years of experience in the behavioral health field. Her experience consists of program development and management; clinical supervision, clinical training and development; natural disaster crisis management, case management, Special Education, Coordinated System of Care (CSoC), and Medicaid Managed Care. Mrs. Jacobs is a Clinical Provider Trainer with Louisiana Healthcare Connections and a Psychology Adjunct Instructor.

Gordon Levine

Since 2017, Gordon Levine has managed the Louisiana Balance of State Continuum of Care (LA BOSCOC), Louisiana’s largest coalition to end homelessness, which includes more than 100 member-organizations and serves more than 20 parishes, including East Baton Rouge, Calcasieu, and Houma. Before moving to Louisiana, Gordon managed a variety of funding sources for the State of Wisconsin, including the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), HOME Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), Projects for Assistance in the Transition from Homelessness (PATH), and SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) programs, the latter two of which were funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Gordon’s educational background is in English literature with concentrations in rhetoric and grant writing. He lives in Baton Rouge with his family, two small puppies, and dozens of bonsai trees.

Vanessa Courtney Ladnier

Vanessa Courtney Ladnier is a provisional licensed therapist with Grief Recovery Center of Baton Rouge where she serves as a psychotherapist for individuals, families, and couples. In addition, she facilitates grief groups for adults and a grief group for children called Courageous Kids. Vanessa has over 15 years experience as a trauma specialist serving diverse populations while providing psychoeducation, community support, and counseling in a multitude of settings including the office, homes, and school settings. She is an advocate for human trafficking and has a heart for bringing hope to those who have endured extreme loss and trauma. In her spare time she writes a blog called “The Shame Game” based upon her own personal experiences of the shame and taboo associated with being mentally ill. In addition, she leads and coordinates events for the “Lipstick Jungle” a woman’s empowerment group for ladies in their 20s and 30s and loves coordinating group travel to Europe for EFT tours.

Sareda McPhee

Sareda McPhee, MA, a member of the State CSoC team, is responsible for delivering high fidelity wraparound training and technical assistance to the Wraparound Agencies to ensure the development and sustainability of wraparound best practice, which is linked to successful outcomes for children, youth and their families.

Foley L. Nash

Foley L. Nash, LPC-S, LMFT-BAS | Director, Clinical Services – Behavioral Health for Aetna

Bill O'Quin

Bill O’Quin is the managing partner of the Virtual Assistant as sales platform for financial services. He has served in numerous volunteer capacities in Behavioral Health organizations ince the death of his son David O’Quin. Mr. O’Quin is the force behind the development and approval of the BRidge Center.

Gina Rossi

Gina Rossi, LCSW-BACS,MHSA is a well known social worker in the Baton Rouge community. After her years as a clinician working with persons who have mental illness she proceeded to creating and developing programs in hospitals and outpatient programs.She has worked as a social work manager and director in various agencies including Our Lady of the Lake and Summit Hospital. She recently transitioned from the Office of Aging and Adult Services (LDH) and now serves as a faculty liaison and supervisor for the LSU School of Social Work. Her awards include 2017 LSU Hall of Distinction; 2018 Rosemary Award (Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area); 2018 Public Servant of the Year (Governors Office of Leadership and Disabilities).

Amna Salameh

Amna Salameh celebrates human diversity and is passionate about uplifting minority voices and bringing social justice to the communities she serves. With her background in education, she serves on both the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) Committee and the Office of Educational Equity (OEE) Committee at the Elk Grove Unified School District. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Louisiana State University, and finished her Master of Arts in Education, with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction, from California State University of Sacramento. Her Master’s project was titled, “Professional Development on Islamophobia: A Multicultural Framework for Secondary Public School Educators”. Amna is a frequent presenter and lecturer on topics surrounding Islam and Islamophobia in the College of Education at California State University of Sacramento, where she was a part-time professor in the Humanities and Education Departments. She is currently a research assistant for IRDP (Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project) at U.C. Berkeley, and she just moved back to Louisiana where she hopes to serve her hometown by educating the public on the different spheres Islamophobia plays out in (education, public health, international affairs). Amna’s hope is to bridge the understanding between Muslim and non-Muslim communities to create a peaceful and democratic society.

Dr. Lawrence “Larry” Simon

Dr. Lawrence “Larry” Simon is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State University, and after graduating from LSU, he completed medical school and a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, followed by a fellowship in Pediatric Otolaryngology at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California. After his training, Larry worked in academic medicine for the LSU Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery for four years, serving as Director of Pediatric Otolaryngology at Children’s Hospital of New Orleans for two of those years. He then worked in private practice for 4 years before assuming the role of Medical Director for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana in September 2017. Also, while no longer in full-time academics, Larry remains a stalwart supporter of resident education, and he continues to teach residents as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the LSU Department of Otolaryngology.

McKayla Smith

McKayla Smith has been a staff attorney with SLLS for almost three years focused solely on providing civil legal services to homeless people with disabilities in the Capital Area.

Laura Tuggle

Laura Tuggle has been the Executive Director at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS), the largest nonprofit civil legal aid provider in Louisiana, for the past five year. She was a Managing Attorney of SLLS’ Housing Law Unit and a staff attorney there for twenty years prior to becoming the Director. She is a recognized leader at the local, state, and national level for developing award winning innovative projects in collaboration with community partners.

Roberta Vicari, M.D.

Roberta Vicari, M.D., received her doctoral degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine. Prior to joining the residency program, she served as Medical Director for the Pediatric Department and Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. She currently serves on several community boards and is very active in the Baton Rouge community. She completed her residency in Pediatrics at Earl K. Long Hospital and is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. Vicari is an Associate Director for the Pediatric Residency Program and the OLOL Director for Medical Student Clerkships through the Tulane School of Medicine.

Sharae Vicknair

Sharae Vicknair has a Master’s Degree in psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. While at UL Lafayette she completed research regarding the labels associated with the LGBTQ+ population. She has given several talks regarding LGBTQ+ issues in hopes of starting a conversation and creating educational spaces for everyone to become more confident in their language around LGBTQ+ issues. She is currently working as the Supervising Counselor at the Women’s Community Rehabilitation Center and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Louisiana State University.

Jennifer Webre

Jennifer Webre is the Managing Attorney of SLLS’ Veterans & Innovative Projects Unit. She has been a civil legal aid attorney for over five years. Jennifer has a strong background in supervising and implementing civil legal services to vulnerable populations including people living with disabilities, veterans, and domestic violence survivors.

Jamee K. Williams

Jamee K. Williams is a Licensed Master Social Worker. Jamee is the owner and CEO of Behavioral Essentials. Behavioral Essentials provides clinical and customer service training. Jamee is also currently serving as a corporate trainer with an international managed care organization. She is a native of Baton Rouge La. She attended Southern University A&M College and in 2001 obtained her undergraduate degree in social work. Jamee went on to pursue her master’s degree in social work from Southern University in New Orleans. When Jamee isn’t traveling the nation to train others she enjoys writing fiction and spending time with family.

TaLisia Williams

TaLisia Williams is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor. She obtained a dual B.A. degree while at Northwestern State University in Psychology and Addiction Studies . TaLisia went on to receive her an M.A in Clinical Mental Health at Northwestern State university. She has 7 years experience working in mental health and substance abuse. TaLisia has experience working in hospitals, mental health agencies, as well as in the school system. TaLisia currently works as a supervisor for mental health professionals. She is currently in the process of receiving her license for addiction counseling.

Erin York

Graduating from Northwestern with a double major in psychology and Addiction Studies, Erin York knew she wanted to help others. She obtained her Masterâs degree from Louisiana Tech University and received her Licensed Professional Counselor license along with her License for Addiction Counseling.Through her career, Erin has worked with adolescents and adults who strive to live a sober lifestyle. She has experience in both individual and group counseling, and understands the importance of therapy in each recovering individual. She uses customized approaches to assist others in reaching their goals. In 2015, Erin was the recipient for the Counselor in Training award given at the LASACT Conference. She traveled to Minnesota to obtain her Crisis Interventionist certification and enjoys teaching others how to respond in these situations. She has served on the LASACT board, SACO board in Shreveport, and currently is the program director for Forever Wellness and Recovery.

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