Staff

Management Team

Lucy Gillespie

  • Management Team
Director of Operations
2014
lgillespie@mhankyswoh.org
513-721-2910
Southwest Ohio Office
Lucy joined MHA as the Regional Mental Health First Aid Director in October of 2014. In November 2015, after receiving a SAMHSA Grant and transitioning the Tristate HUB for Mental Health First Aid to Interact for Health, Lucy accepted the role as Director of Operations and is managing both the Youth Mental Health First Aid SAMHSA AWARE-C and Supported Employment grants. Lucy enjoys walking, reading Harry Potter, hanging out and laughing with family and friends.
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Elizabeth Atwell, LSW

  • Management Team
Executive Director
1998
eatwell@mhankyswoh.org
513-562-2583
Southwest Ohio Office

Liz has twenty years of experience working in the social service field, holding various positions related to mental health and substance abuse.   She has developed particular experience in the areas of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention, as well as in criminal justice/law enforcement education.  She was formerly a Director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, serving Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.  Liz currently serves as a board member for the Leadership Council of Human Services Executives and the Partnership for Mental Health, is a member of the Eastern Area Action Council for the United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the CIT Coordinator for Hamilton County.

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Jill King

  • Management Team
Associate Executive Director
October 1996
jking@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077 x 103
Northern Kentucky

Jill King is the Associate Director for Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky.  She is the KY Outreach Partner for the National Institute of Mental Health.  She oversees staff and agency programs. “I’ve dedicated myself to increasing the public’s access to science-based mental health/ illness and substance use disorder information, services and treatment options.”  Jill leads a Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky awareness marketing initiative, which includes development of advertising, PR, the production of a monthly public access cable show, education and screening initiatives. Since 1996 Jill has been responsible for administering over 14,500 screenings and educating over 15,500 individuals. She is recognized for her signature “Manage Your Mood” education program. She has over 600 hours of formal training in mental disorders, behaviors and treatments. Previous accomplishments and affiliations include: starting Project Safe Place for Northern Kentucky, working on the ground floor development of the BBB Automotive Arbitration Program, proprietor of the Auburn Suite Bed and Breakfast, active leadership roles in her neighborhood associations, nominated for the Healthcare Heroes award, and coordinator of the first ever reunion for the orphanage residents of the Children’s Home of NKY. “Thanks to everyone that has and will inspire me to make a difference in people's lives. Thanks to those of you that mentor me and those of you that share your courage, strength and secrets to recovery.”

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MHA Staff

Matt Muir

  • MHA Staff
Community Support Program Manager
2006
mmuir@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077 x 112
Northern Kentucky

I started volunteering at MHA in 1998 through the Exodus Jail listening ministry program. In  2006 I started facilitating and coordinating support groups, program administration of the DUI program, and helping with the management of the Exodus program.  I also get to work with community members who need help with monthly budgeting through MHA’s payee program. My degree is in Education which allows me to teach the Prime For Life alcohol/drug risk reduction program. I enjoy music, travel and scrabble.
 

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Laura Romito

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
2017
laura.romito@northkey.org
859-431-4770
Northern Kentucky

Laura began working as a Peer Support Specialist in June 2017 at MHA. She shares, “I recently graduated from NKU with an associate’s degree in Integrative Studies with a focus in Psychology. I was trained in March to become a KY Certified Peer Support Specialist. I heard about the training from my sister Kasey Eten, who is MHA’s Youth Mental Health First Aid Co- Instructor and Grant Coordinator. I became interested in Peer Support before I even knew it was “real”. I’ve had three spinal fusions. Since I was 13, I have dealt with daily chronic pain. I have lost years of school and years in my life due to debilitating pain. My first surgery was supposed to be a one and done deal. Things definitely don’t always turn out the way they should. You can’t tell by looking at me but I have a 29 “scar running down my back. I also don’t have a sticker on my head stating my diagnoses as Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD. Mental illnesses can be invisible illnesses. I find it important to be able to discuss our stories with others because there is a good chance they could be affected too. This is where peer support comes in. I know that I have a wealth of knowledge and it would be a shame not to share. I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine. I feel that I am in a great spot in my life to start helping others. I look forward to helping clients but I also look forward to learning from them.”

 

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Katherine McCormick

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
2016
k.mccormick@northkey.org
859-431-4770
Northern Kentucky

My name is Katherine or Kat for short. I'm a Cincinnati native and I have such a passion for working in the Human Services field. I can't wait to see where my personal/professional experiences take me in working through MHA as a Peer Support Specialist! I'm beyond excited to work for MHA and NorthKey to see what I can accomplish within these great agencies!

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Lisa Monast, MA, MA

  • MHA Staff
CIT Coordinator
May 27, 2014
lmonast@mhankyswoh.org
513-721-2910
Southwest Ohio Office

Lisa joined the MHA family in May, 2014 as the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Coordinator.  She holds the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Cincinnati and the Master of Arts in Theology from Xavier University. In addition to her work in mental health, Lisa also serves as Adjunct Faculty in the Theology Department at Xavier University. Endeavoring to uphold a strong and uncompromising ethic of compassion, Lisa embraces fully the goals and ideals of social justice and values education as a means of liberating people so that they can better lead lives of integrity and peace, both within themselves and within their world.

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Kara Atwell

  • MHA Staff
Administrative Assistant
2016
katwell@mhankyswoh.org
513-721-2910
Southwest Ohio Office

Kara Atwell first became involved with MHA in early 2015 with the Mental Health First Aid program. While obtaining her undergraduate degree in Business Management, she struggled greatly with mental illness and substance use. Despite many setbacks, Kara graduated and began working at Finding Hope Consulting, LLC, a small company that trains clinicians how to help clients recover through trauma informed practices. She states, "Through this work, I am inspired by the work of those around me with regards to the impact of trauma and the intricate workings of the brain." With the immense support of her family and friends, she is returning to school at the University of Cincinnati to study Pre-Health Sciences in hopes of one day becoming a Psychiatrist. As a certified Kentucky Peer Support Specialist, Kara will continue with MHA as the Education Administrative Assistant, working with peer support, crisis intervention training, and other continuing education programs.

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Bill Feighery

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
1-6-14
b.feighery@twc.com
859-957-0432
Northern Kentucky
I was in the same line of work for 30 years in my family's automotive dealership. I started my involvement with Mental Health America on 6/2/2011 volunteering for the Exodus Jail Visitation Program. I began helping coordinate the jail visits for over 40 volunteers for a couple years as well. On 6/21/2012 I became a KY Adult Certified Peer Support Specialist. On 1/6/2014 I became employed by MHA as a Peer Support Specialist on NorthKey Community Care ACT Team. And, on 7/6/2015 I started helping out people with mental and substance use disorders through MHA's SA Wrap Around Program in conjunction with Transitions Droege House Treatment Program. I enjoy helping people achieve recovery. I also love spending time with my family -- grandchildren, dog, and wife. Gardening is what I do to destress.
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Deann Braden

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
9-29-14
deebraden10@outlook.com
Northern Kentucky
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Sheldon “Tico” Greene

  • MHA Staff
Peer Recovery Supporter
2017
sheldon.greene@yahoo.com
513-721-2910
Northern Kentucky

Sheldon, AKA "Tico" was born in Miami Florida where he states, "I enjoyed a wonderful childhood there." He left in 1974 to attend college at Kentucky State University where he played 4 years of football, traveled and experienced life. After college, he went into Corrections as a Officer at 3 different institutions here in Ohio. As a Corrections Office, he also worked in the food service industry where MEET THE TEAM

New Employee Orientation Manual Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky & Southwest Ohio 27 | P a g e

he started as a dish washer. He retired as a Corrections Officer but still works in food services as the Kitchen Manager at SmoQ Restaurant in Springdale, Ohio putting out some exciting Southern BBQ. Tico states, "I am recently married with 5 adult children and 7 grand children. I'm ready to hang up my spatula and give back to those in need of Love, Support and Care.

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Stephanie Rice

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
2016
stephanie.rice@northkey.org
859-431-4770 ext 506
Northern Kentucky

Following a call to action, this native New Englander packed the car, grabbed the cat, and drove west to Cincinnati. Seeking new professional opportunities while pursuing personal change; the time was now for a career move.

Following my interest in our health care system led me to the discovery of the Peer Support Specialist.  After reading what a Peer Support Specialist does I thought to myself, “Wow, it’s like a job was created and tailored just for me.” I was excited that such a role existed, one which allowed me to share, rather than hide, my history with mental health issues.

As a child I knew that I was different from others and didn’t “fit in”. Not knowing what was “wrong” with me and wanting to “belong” I expended a lot of energy trying to be “normal”. It was an exhausting process that didn’t work. My peers thought I was weird and ostracized me for not understanding the unspoken social rules. I became an anxious and an extremely self-conscious child and the anxiety followed me into adulthood. 

As a discouraged adult lacking self awareness coupled with no sense of belonging, life was mediocre at best.  I couldn’t figure out how to be “like everyone else” and I lamented my quality of life. Convinced I would always be on the outside looking in I become my own worst enemy.

After years of personal struggle and tired of my status quo I sought help. Receiving a mental health diagnosis was a surprise, but I was relieved that there was an actual medical reason behind my thoughts and behavior. I always used to ask myself “what is wrong with me, why am I like this?” Armed with an answer, I channeled my years of frustration into becoming my own best advocate. Enabled by my medicated clear head I acquired the needed tools and learned how to manage myself. Repossessing my dignity and self-respect created a newfound sense of control and now I was no longer on the outside looking in.

Well into recovery and enjoying my now de-cluttered mind, I spend my time: researching random topics, looking for the proverbial smoking gun, and cursing industrial designers for making product packaging so difficult to get into. I also start multiple projects that I never finish, read case law, and use my hyper-focus to find the best online shopping deals.
 

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Kristen Arant

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
2-22-2016
karant@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-4770
Northern Kentucky
"I was adopted at 6 months old and weighed 13lbs when I was placed with my new family. They love me dearly, but when I was growing up, I still  felt like an outcast- an alien from another planet. I never felt like I was wanted or smart, and struggled with social interaction. I didn't have friends. My first of many suicide attempts was at 17. I just couldn't take it anymore. I was in therapy, taking medications regularly, and nothing was helping. I needed relief. I found alcohol at 18, and drugs shortly thereafter. I self-medicated for quite some time, ultimately landing myself in trouble with the law. Upon completion of a 6 month Substance Abuse Program, I found myself able to attend AA meetings and seek out help from those who seemed to know how to succeed and be happy, while staying sober. I got a sponsor and worked the 12 steps- thoroughly- and I was finally honest with myself. I enrolled in school and began working on a Bachelors Degree in Social Work... But I found myself suicidal again, at 3 and a half years sober. What went wrong? What didn't I do right? I was lost, confused, and hopeless again... so I went to see my family doctor. She recommended I start seeing a Psychiatrist, so I did. I experienced side effect after side effect with medications. We were trying to find the right one and it was so frustrating. I gained weight. I was overly emotional. I was suicidal. I just wanted it all to stop, and I knew I couldn't go back to drugs and alcohol! Then, my Psychiatrist recommended genetics testing to identify medications that would work, and which ones to avoid. We finally figured out I had ADHD, and we found medication that worked! I began to feel peace and serenity for the first time in my life. I could focus. Since coming onboard with MHA as a Certified Peer Support Specialist, I've been able to use all those life experiences to help my Clients. I love using those experiences to help others, because every time I do, those experiences lose power. My name is Kristen, I am an Alcoholic, but I am so much more than that!"
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Robert "Chip" Drews

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
2016
robert.drews@northkey.org
859-578-3200
Northern Kentucky

Robert “Chip” Drews comes to Mental Health America with a wealth of experience. He retired five years ago from 46 ½ years at Leyman Lift Gates where he was the Vice President of Sales. He shares, “I have been sober in AA for over 21 1/2 years, an active member of Al-Anon for 27 years and I was also an Alateen sponsor for over 11 years.” Before being a Peer Support Specialist, he worked a lot with homeless individuals and sponsored many people with addictions. Chip states, “I'm working with clients who have addictions, many whom are in recovery from alcoholism and I really enjoy helping them and their families.”

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Bill Shamblin

  • MHA Staff
Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor
2016
bshamblin@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077
Northern Kentucky

Bill began working at Mental Health America in early 2016 were he works as a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor and provides outreach support for the agency’s SAMHSA Aware Grant. Bill’s background includes stints as a price economist, marketing research/advertising director, public school communications director, as well as time spent as a comedy writer, and technology analyst. Bill’s interest in advocating for youth mental health was a direct result of his work in the area of public education. Bill holds a B.A in economics from the University of Maryland and a M.B.A. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In his off time Bill dotes on his daughters, plays baseball, and wields a guitar in any band that will tolerate him.

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Kasey Eten

  • MHA Staff
Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor
2016
kromito@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077
Northern Kentucky

Kasey Eten joined MHA as a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor in January of 2016. She earned a BS in Psychology at Northern Kentucky University, and underwent training to be certified as a YMHFA Instructor. Though her education has served as a solid foundation for the Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor position, her personal experience with mental illness has had the most profound impact on her ability to effectively teach such a necessary course. Kasey enjoys volunteering for a program that offers equine and canine assisted activities/therapy, and embraces the opportunity to learn and grow through interactions with others.

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Jenna Florence

  • MHA Staff
Peer Recovery Support Program Coordinator
2017
jflorence@mhankyswoh.org
513-721-2910
Warren & Clinton Counties; Ohio
I am very excited to be apart of MHA and believe strongly in the principles of peer support and how it can have lasting impacts on the lives of individuals. I graduated from Georgia Southern University with a Bachelor's Degree in International Trade. However, after graduation, I felt unfulfilled with my degree, so I decided to pursue my Master's Degree in London, England at King's College London where I studied Conflict, Security and Development. While in England, I met my husband (who is English) and I traveled throughout Europe. My passion, beside helping others, is the joy of traveling and experiencing other cultures as well as horse riding. I especially enjoy when I can combine the two. As a huge animal lover, I have two cats and two horses I adore.
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Alex Klein

  • MHA Staff
Supported Employment Specialist
3/14/2016
aklein@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077 ext 107
Northern Kentucky

Alex comes to us from NorthKey where he has been a Direct Support Professional.  Alex is a northern Kentucky resident who has assisted many individuals find and maintain meaningful employment through his previous work at The Point. Alex received a CESP(Certified Employment Support Professional) designation from APSE (Association of People Supporting Employment First) in 2014. He also attended Lincoln College located in northern Kentucky where he gained knowledge of mental health. Alex enjoys working with people and creating partnerships with local companies in northern Kentucky and southwest Ohio.

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Nicole Schnur

  • MHA Staff
Peer Support Specialist
3/14/2016
nschnur@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-4770
Northern Kentucky
I am a wife, mother of 7, which 4 of them are dogs and grandmother of 1 beautiful granddaughter.
The experience I bring, is my personal life experiences. I believe that you truly know where someone is coming from when you have already been there yourself. I never could believe in that old saying, “things happened for a reason” until I started working with MHA and Northkey. What I’ve experienced in my life, our family’s hardships and the hard rough road we went down, happened for a reason, for me to help others through their hardships. My life has lead me to volunteer and give back to those who helped my family and I. Hard work, compassion, and goal setting can take you farther than you can imagine. Never giving up is the key to success. 
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Nichole Preisler

  • MHA Staff
Administrative Assistant
4/11/2016
npreisler@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077 ext 104
Northern Kentucky
Nichole Preisler joined us as the Executive Assistant. She is a seasoned Executive Assistant with over 20 years of experience in the field.  She has extensive experience with all administrative tasks, including calendar and meeting coordination as well as travel and event planning.  In her free time, she enjoys baking and spending time with her 2 granddaughters.
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Carrie Ammerman

  • MHA Staff
4/11/2016
cammerman@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077 ext 101
Northern Kentucky
Carrie Ammerman joined MHA as the Receptionist and Office Manager. She comes to MHA after retiring from an agency that provided mental health/substance abuse services to individuals in the Northern Kentucky area.  She has 27 years of office support experience and enjoys being part of a team that provides people in need with assistance and support.  She states, “I look forward to being able to work as part of MHA’s team doing what has become my passion, helping others.”  In Carrie’s “down time” she loves spending time with my family, doing yard work and vacations to the beach.
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Robert Race

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
2017
robert.race@northkey.org
859-431-4770
Northern Kentucky

Bob Race’s background includes a career in aspects of Human Resources including recruiting, outplacement, conflict resolution, organizational development and training. His career also includes retail and wholesale management and purchasing with national organizations.

Past employers and contract assignments have included companies such as Chiquita, Anheuser-Busch, Merrill Lynch, GE Aircraft Engines as well as the Departments of Defense and Energy.

Bob and his wife currently reside in the Greater Cincinnati area.

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John Riesenberg

  • MHA Staff
Manager of the Supported Employment Program
2005
jriesenberg@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077 x 106
Northern Kentucky

I was born and raised in Northern Kentucky and still reside in the area to this day. After College I began my own floor refinishing business and worked in all aspects of the company until I sold it in 2005. It was then that I joined the staff here at Mental Health America as a Supported Employment Specialist. I enjoy coaching competitive AAU basketball and have been involved in doing so for over 15 years.

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Mark Pierce

  • MHA Staff
Certified Peer Support Specialist
July 2000
mpierce@mhankyswoh.org
859-431-1077 x 113
Northern Kentucky

I started as a volunteer while living homeless in the streets of Covington/Cincinnati area. With the help of the Homeless Services Project, a program that MHA & RNNK is a part of now, I made my way off the streets and have been with the company through 3 different office locations and assisting thousands of people. I have been a certified Peer Support Specialist for 5 years and just became a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant.

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Michelle Rolf

  • MHA Staff
Compeer Director
March 2000
mrolf@mhankyswoh.org
513-562-2581
Warren & Clinton Counties; Ohio

My name is Michelle Rolf.  I first came to MHA to start Compeer in Clinton County and now direct the program in Warren County as well.  I received my BA in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati (Go Bearcats!)  My previous experience includes being an investigative and ongoing case worker and a children’s case manager.  I am happily married to my husband Scott and we have three wonderful children together.  In my free time (well….my time when I am not working at least), I love supporting my husband with his coaching, cheering on  my children in their sports and school activities, being involved in my  church and even a little painting and gardening here and there.  I enjoy helping others and my position with MHA gives me that opportunity.

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Melinda A. Sponseller PCC-S LPCC

  • MHA Staff
Pro Bono Counseling Program Coordinator
February 2013
msponseller@mhankyswoh.org
513-562-2582
Southwest Ohio Office

I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the states of Ohio and Kentucky with 18 years experience in the mental health field. I am also in private practice in Ohio and own my own adoption agency, Adoption Services of KY, in Covington doing adoption home studies for private and domestic adoptions. I enjoy music, sporting events, and hanging out with my family and friends.

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Board of Directors

Board Members

Don Brewer, Ph.D.

  • Board Members
Board Member
2004


2000-Present Psychologist, Private practice: Counseling and Consultation

2007- Present Mental Health Consultant to Cincinnati Job Corps Center

 

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Bonnie Halderman

  • Board Members
Board Member
1990

Bonnie is currently on the Resource Development and Nominating Committee. She is a member of the Sunday Morning Club and is instrumental in planning and organizing our annual golf outing sponsored by the SMC.

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Nelson F. Rodriguez, MD, FAPA

  • Board Members
Board Member
2005

Lindner Center of HOPE, Staff Psychiatrist
Dr. Rodriguez serves as Medical Director of the Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Service.  He is a member of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC) Electroconvulsive Therapy Task Group.  He is also a member of the International Society for ECT and Neuromodulation, Inc. (ISEN).  He finished his ECT training at Duke University Medical Center.

Prior to joining Lindner Center of HOPE, Dr. Rodriguez worked as Medical Director of the Mental Health Unit and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry for St. Luke Hospitals in Florence, Kentucky. He serves as Board Member for the Mental Health Association of Northern Kentucky.  He also served as President of the Tau Mu Sigma Phi USA Foundation, Inc and Board of Director of the University of Santo Tomas Medical Alumni in America and Foundation. He is the current Vice-President of the Association of Philippine Physicians in Greater Cincinnati, Inc.

In 2010, he finished his Certification in Mastery in Global Mental Health:  Trauma and Recovery, traveling to Orvieto, Italy for 2 weeks for the didactic portion of the study given by the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma and Massachusetts General Hospital with CME credits from Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with the Instituto de Sanita, Italy. Post training, Dr. Rodriguez presented a CME lecture on “Healing Invisible Wounds” during the USTMAAA Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL in May 2010. He continues to provide educational activities on Disasters.  Dr. Rodriguez now serves as a member of the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association (OPPA) Public Mental Health Committee – Subcommittee on Disasters.

His academic appointments include Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

Dr. Rodriguez is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including a Presidential Award from Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky, provider nominee for the 2005 and 2006 Cincinnati Business Courier’s Health Care Heroes Awards, and listed among America’s Top Psychiatrists as ranked by the Consumer Research Council of America 2007, 2004 to 2005 and 2002 to 2003.

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Dr. Jim Thomas

  • Board Members
Board Member
1990

Jim Thomas is Professor of Psychology at NKU where he teaches courses in developmental psychology and does research on identity development in college students.  He is pleased to have been able to serve on the board for the last 23 years and proud of the many contributions MHA has made to the mental health community.

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