NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS WISCONSIN CHAPTER 

October 21-23, 2024

at the Crowne Plaza, Milwaukee Airport 6401 S. 13th Street, Milwaukee, WI, or attend Virtually!

Registration begins on July 1st, 2024.

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50TH ANNUAL STATE CONFERENCE PRESENTERS 

Edwin Bacalso, MSW 

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 Edwin has worked in behavioral health since 2013, providing direct patient care and psychoeducation in psychiatric inpatient settings. In 2019, he earned his Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He has worked in academic, clinical, and research settings, providing training and education on trauma-informed care. Edwin is dedicated to helping fellow social workers and other clinicians develop their therapeutic skills. He works as a lecturer at UW-Milwaukee, teaching coursework on trauma theory and intervention, and is the Chair of the ABCT’s special interest group for masters-level training and education

Corinne Billet, MSW, LCSW

Corinne Billet, MSW, LCSW graduated in 2016 with her Masters in Social Work from University of Wisconsin- Madison. Corinne has worked in both urban and rural behavioral health settings. She has helped to develop a behavioral health department within Black River Community Hospital and Clinic in Black River Falls, WI. Corinne has specialized in working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault for 6 years and 3 years in clinical mental health. Corinne, most recently, has taken a position at Pine Valley Integrated Services (PVIS) as an Outpatient Behavioral Health Therapist providing services both at (PVIS) and Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston, WI. In some of her roles, Corinne has worked as a mentor and clinical supervisor with social work and professional counseling students in their academic programs and post graduate work. Corinne is also training as a leader and clinical supervisor at PVIS.

Melissa, Bleiler, MS, LMFT, LPC

Melissa is a therapist in her own solo private practice near Madison, WI where she serves couples and individuals, specializing in ethical nonmonogamy, kink, sex therapy and trauma work. She presents suicide prevention programs with suicidologist Dr. Aruna Jha. She is a former board member of the Wisconsin Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Melissa also enjoys providing supervision for training licensed LPCs and LMFTs.

Madeline Breager, (she/her) MPH

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Maddie Breager is a Community Health Strategist with Winnebago County Public Health where she works to engage the community to advance health equity. She earned her Masters of Public Health from the Medical College of Wisconsin Milwaukee and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. Norbert College. Over the past year in public health, Maddie has focused on system-level changes related to overdose prevention and substance use recovery. Maddie believes centering voices of lived experience and working among the community is a vital component of public health. 

Tess Brodsky, MSW

Tess Brodsky, MSW, is a Youth Justice Policy Coordinator for WI Department of Children and Families (DCF) since 2023. She graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison Public Child Welfare program. Tess worked at Dane County Human Services for 11 years in Child Protective Services as an Access and Initial Assessment Social Worker. Tess is passionate about DCF’s Putting Family First strategic initiatives and how to shift this mindset into practice.

Roberta Bronecki, (she/her)MSW, LCSW

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 Roberta Bronecki, MSW, LCSW graduated in 2002 with her Masters in Clinical Social Work from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts. Roberta has specialized in the development of behavioral health programs within a primary care setting. She has developed three behavioral health/primary care integrated programs in Wisconsin and Colorado. She is currently the Co-Founder/Clinical Director/Clinical Supervisor for Pine Valley Integrated Services (PVIS). PVIS is an outpatient behavioral health and substance use program integrated into Mile Bluff Medical Center in Mauston, WI. Roberta is also the Clinical Program Director for Pine Valley Residential Services (PVRS), a program of eight long-term care facilities based in Juneau and Sauk Counties.

Roberta is the chair of the Clinical Network for the NASWWI, and the former chair of the Roche A Cri Consortia for Medication Assisted Treatment in Adams, Juneau, and Marquette counties. Roberta has been a clinical supervisor since 2006. In this role she has clinically supervised social workers, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and substance use counselors in their academic programs and post graduate work. She actively participates in professional collaborative/consultative groups with peers. 

Scott Caldwell

Scott has a three decade-plus career in human services as practitioner, program coordinator, trainer, EBP coach, consultant, and evaluator. An enduring theme of this work has been supporting practitioners, supervisors, teams, and organizations to innovate services. Collaborating with the UW-Whitewater Center for Inclusive Transition, Education & Employment, Scott co-leads the Qualified Treatment Trainee Supervisor Professional Development Initiative. This unique initiative has supported 200+ clinical supervisors to grow their skills as an investment in the future workforce.

J. Cangialosi (she/her)

J. Cangialosi (she/her) is a licensed clinical professional counselor and a dedicated therapist at Relief Mental Health, a leading outpatient provider of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), SPRAVATO® (esketamine), medication management and psychotherapy. With more than a decade of experience in the field of mental health, J brings a wealth of knowledge and a compassionate approach to her practice. J’s extensive background in therapy has equipped her with the skills to address a wide range of mental health diagnoses. She specializes in anxiety, depression, coping skills, relationship issues, self-esteem, insomnia and sleep problems, stress management, and more, offering valuable support to those navigating these complex conditions. J utilizes a variety of evidence-based treatment modalities to provide the most effective care possible. Her toolkit includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. This eclectic approach allows her to tailor her therapeutic interventions to meet each patient’s unique needs. Passionate about guiding individuals in making lasting and meaningful changes that ultimately lead to an improved quality of life, J helps patients explore the barriers that may be hindering their progress. As a dedicated change agent, J meets her patients where they are, respecting their pace and journey. She is committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive space for everyone, encouraging patients to be themselves without judgment. In her role with Relief Mental Health, she not only provides therapeutic services to patients but also conducts clinical development for mental health providers, sharing her extensive knowledge and experience. Her commitment to advancing the field is evident as she actively participates in media opportunities and podcasts, and is a published author on Medium—using her voice to advocate for mental health and destigmatize the challenges that so many individuals face. With her dedication and willingness to engage with the community, she makes a significant impact on Relief's Mission to improve the well-being of those served

Dr. Chelece-Atavia Brown

Dr. Chelece-Atavia Brown is a dedicated and accomplished Doctor of Social Work with more than seven years of impactful experience in the field of social work and human services. She is committed to creating positive change in individuals' lives, communities, and society as a whole through her clinical expertise, advocacy, and community empowerment initiatives. Dr. Brown earned her Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree from The University of Kentucky and has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice, mental health, and holistic well-being throughout her career. With a strong foundation in evidence-based practices, Dr. Brown specializes in providing compassionate and effective clinical services to individuals and families facing a wide range of challenges. Her clinical expertise encompasses areas such as trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, and behavioral health. As a sought-after public speaker, Dr. Brown has shared her insights at conferences, and seminars. Her work consistently bridges the gap between theory and practice, offering practical solutions for real-world challenges. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Brown is a passionate advocate for marginalized populations, particularly advocating for improved mental health services and equitable access to resources. In all her endeavors, Dr. Brown demonstrates an unwavering commitment to empowering individuals to overcome obstacles, fostering resilience, and building a more inclusive society. With a heart full of compassion and a mind driven by research and innovation, Dr. Brown continues to be a force for positive change, advocating for those who need it most and inspiring her peers to do the same.

Lawanda Chambers

Lawanda Chambers, a native of Chicago's south side, is a multifaceted black woman making a profound impact on the community. Currently residing in Milwaukee, WI, Lawanda is an experienced Equity Leader, Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor, Substance Abuse Counselor, and a trauma yoga instructor. All of her education and positioning in the community sheds light on the beauty of being an expert and a witness in the present. This is exciting and valuable because as a lifelong learner she overstands the immediacy of knowledge, connectedness, and transformation. With a strong belief in giving back to the community, Lawanda is a passionate community advocate with a vested interest in its development. Her ultimate aspiration is to become a congresswoman, driven by her authenticity and unwavering commitment to her beliefs of putting care back into the community driven by equity and effectiveness. Lawanda's company, LIFE Wellness and Counseling Services LLC., is dedicated to motivating and uplifting individuals, helping them discover their true potential. Specifically, Lawanda invests her time, energy, talent, and services in empowering communities of all ages to develop self-love, confidence, high self-esteem, decision-making, and leadership skills. Through her guidance, the community becomes equipped to achieve their goals and lead successful and inspiring lives. At the core of Lawanda's ideology is authenticity in her expressions, care, and response to her audience. She actively promotes and instructs individuals on the importance of self-compassion, honesty, and self- management that teaches the community to heal. She normalizes saying that you’re not OK because one key to happiness is recognizing when you are unhappy. We cannot fix what we do not see. As a mental health therapist, Lawanda deeply understands the challenges faced by people and the significance of prioritizing their mental well-being. Lawanda may be many things however, she is everything to herself and teaches others how to care more about what they think, feel, need, and aspire to do through her leadership

Amelie Davidson, LCSW

Amelie Davidson, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist in New York and Wisconsin. Amelie earned her graduate degree in Social Work at Columbia University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She has since completed extensive post-graduate training and is certified in body-centered psychotherapy through the Institute of Core Energetics. Amelie completed coursework in clinical supervision at Smith College and has supervised both graduate and post-graduate level clinicians in the practice of psychotherapy. Amelie has also taught on the faculty and the Institute for Core Energetics. Amelie has trained in Internal Family Systems work, Emotionally Focused Therapy and Embodied Couples Work for couples, and has been part of an on-going modern psychoanalytic supervision group for the past ten years. Amelie is inspired by the innate creativity, strength and wisdom of her clients and students. In addition to her formal training, Amelie’s lifelong engagement in the practices of various spiritual traditions provides a different perspective and an array of tools to work with. Amelie brings authenticity, humor and a collaborative approach to her clinical work and her teaching

Katherine Drechsler, (she/her/hers) DSW, LCSW-SA, SSW

Drechsler, Katherine
Dr. Katherine Drechsler is an Assistant Professor and the Field Coordinator for the Bachelor and Master of Social Work Program at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and the coordinator of the School Social Work Certificate Program. She teaches in both the Bachelors and the Master’s program primarily social work practice courses and substance use disorder courses. Dr. Drechsler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a specialty authorization in Substance Abuse in the state of Wisconsin and has her school social work license in Wisconsin. Dr. Drechsler has 30 years of social work experience including experiences in child welfare, juvenile justice, and 7 years working with individuals with co-occurring disorders in an integrative community-based program.

Rachel L. Dyer, (she/her) M.S

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Rachel L. Dyer, M.S. (she/her) is a scholar-clinician working primarily at the intersection of abortion and mental health. A Ph.D. candidate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Health Service Psychology Intern at the University of Utah Counseling Center, Rachel’s work focuses on how dominant sociocultural narratives impact pregnancy and family-building desires, decisions, and experiences, as well as how mental health and other care providers can better support clients/patients around these experiences. Rachel’s work has appeared in the top academic journals of her field (American Psychologist, Psychology of Women Quarterly), in popular press (Los Angeles Times, ELITE Daily, various podcasts), and in a Brooklyn art gallery. She is also an educator and trainer, regularly providing lectures and training on abortion and mental health for laypersons, college students, graduate students, and mental health professionals. Her current projects include a book chapter on the mental health impacts of abortion stigma and co-writing the American Psychological Association’s first-ever professional practice guidelines on sex and reproduction. Rachel is also the Executive Director of Exhale Pro-Voice, a nonprofit organization providing nonjudgmental, research-driven support to people who have had abortions. Rachel is an incoming Assistant Professor of Psychology at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

NASW Chief Executive Officer Anthony Estreet, PhD, MBA, LCSW-C

Anthony Estreet

Anthony Estreet, PhD, MBA, LCSW-C, earned a bachelor’s in science in psychology from Bowie State University, an MSW at Virginia Commonwealth University, a doctorate in social work at Morgan State University, and an MBA at the University Maryland-College Park. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the oldest intercollegiate African American fraternity.  He has been a professor and chair of the Master of Social Work Program at Morgan State University since 2013. Estreet is also founder and chief executive officer of Next Step Treatment Center in Baltimore, which provides substance use treatment and mental health services. He was vice president of the NASW Board of Directors but stepped down from that role after being considered a candidate in the search process. Estreet also served as president of the NASW Maryland Chapter and is an active member of the Council on Social Work Education and the National Association of Black Social Workers.  While at Morgan, Estreet was awarded more than $6 million in extramural grant funding for social work workforce development, research, and training. He also led the development and expansion of the first MSW program in the United States, and at a historically Black college or university, to have an area of specialized practice focused on addressing substance use disorders.  During his career, Estreet has also been tapped to turn around and expand an underperforming clinical program and speed up public health action to address HIV health disparities among men in Baltimore and Jackson, Mississippi. Estreet has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, is a prolific national conference presenter and keynote speaker, and has two published books.

 

Brittney Fair, MSW

Brittney Fair works at Rogers Behavioral Health as a training specialist. She facilitates trainings for leaders in the non-profit, education and healthcare sectors across the country. Brittney also facilitates programming for staff at Rogers Behavioral Health and with parents in the community. Prior to this role, Brittney worked for Meta House as a Senior Residential Support Specialist and a Lead Care Coordinator for Wisconsin Community Services with the Mental Health and AODA population. Brittney earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Brittney received her Master of Social Work from Concordia University-Wisconsin and is an Advanced Practicing Social Worker, working towards becoming a Licensed Social Worker in Wisconsin. Outside of work, Brittney is a mother to four year old Kensleigh and enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and trying out new adventures and restaurants.

Megan Farley, PhD 

Megan Farley, PhD is a licensed psychologist in private practice at Different Minds. She also works at the Waisman Center, where she is an investigator on a research team studying Aging in Autism via an NIH Autism Center of Excellence grant.  Her private practice work focuses on adults with ASD. Her research interests are related to outcomes for adults with autism spectrum conditions across functional, health and social areas. She is interested in understanding the natural development of ASC and understanding effective ways to support people with ASC to achieve their goals, especially in the areas of employment, social relationships, and quality of life. 

Danielle Florence (she/her)

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 Danielle Florence is a Community Health Strategist with Winnebago County Public Health where she works to engage the community to advance health and racial equity. Over the past two years in public health, Danielle has had a wide range of focus, including work related to substance use and recovery. Danielle's background includes seven years of direct service working with those in the housing systems of Section 8 Housing and Veterans Housing.

Rachel Forbes, MSW

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Rachel Forbes, MSW, 
is an associate professor of the practice of social work and the Western Colorado MSW program director at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. She is an appointed member of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Commission on Educational Policy, the inaugural cochair of the CSWE Committee on Environmental Justice, and a former member of CSWE’s Council on Global, Learning and Practice. Rachel was the taskforce cochair for the CSWE Curricular Guide for Environmental Justice (2020) and is coauthor of the book The Intersection of Environmental Justice, Climate Change, Community and the Ecology of Life (2021). Rachel is an elected member of the Colorado Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Board of Directors. She has taught coursework on sustainability, ecological justice, culture and place-based equity, and fostering sustainable behavior across undergraduate and graduate programs for over 10 years. Rachel’s current research and teaching looks at the impacts of climate change on mental health and ecological justice social work practice. Her work has been published in Environmental Justice and has been funded by the CSWE Katherine A. Kendall Institute for International Social Work. Rachel lives in Glenwood Springs, Colorado where she advocates for environmental justice in mountain communities across Colorado’s Western Slope.

Jess Frain

Jess Frain is a School Mental Health Consultant for the Department of Public Instruction on the Student Services/Prevention and Wellness Team. She leads all statewide technical assistance, training, and resource development related to comprehensive school mental health systems. She has been the coordinator for the State School-based Mental Health Services Grant and the Federal School Climate Transformation Grant. Currently, she is the Project Director of the Wisconsin Project AWARE 2023. She received her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of WI-Madison prior to serving as a school social worker in WI public schools. Her background includes homeless liaison coordination, AODA prevention/intervention, alternative and project-based education, restorative justice program development, and trauma sensitive schools district implementation

Thomas Galten LCSW CSAC (he/him)

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Thomas Galten LCSW CSAC is affiliated with Lifestance Health’s Glendale 1 location in Milwaukee.He conducts psychotherapy with individuals, couples and families from diverse backgrounds and who present with a wide variety of concerns, including substance abuse and other compulsions, anxiety, depression and marital/family discord.  Tom has completed Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) training with Elam Nunnally and Eve Lipchik, both of whom were instrumental in the founding and early development of SFT.  Tom has served as adjunct instructor of social work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Loyola at Carthage, Carroll University, Marquette University and in Gateway Technical College’s human service department.  In addition to his strong commitment to empowerment-based approaches to psychotherapy, Tom has long been interested in the integration of the client’s spiritual aspirations and inclinations into therapeutic work. 

 

Tony Gardner, MA

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Tony Gardner has a bachelor’s degree in Human Services and a master’s degree in Pastoral Care. His approach to helping others is grounded in a strengths-based and spiritual approach that aims to build independence, compassion and resilience in others. Tony uses the transformational power of lived experience, creativity and connection to support others in their recovery journeys. Tony has several self-published works including journals and a book of poetry. He manages an active blog and creative showcase on his website thepoetic1.com. Tony currently serves as a substance use (AODA) counselor at Wisconsin Community Services (WCS) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

McKenna Garvey, MSW, LCSW, PMH-C

McKenna Garvey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Perinatal Mental Health Certified therapist. She received her MSW from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay and is currently the Outpatient Clinical Supervisor for Us 2 Behavioral Health care. McKenna’s practice experience includes working with refugees, LGBTQ populations and international work. She is a fierce advocate for social justice and has a passion for equity in the community

Dr. Jeffrey B. Gorelick (he/him)

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Dr. Jeffrey Gorelick is a board-certified physiatrist who has practiced at Pain Rehabilitation Associates since 1992. He continues to use the latest medical advances in combination with basic rehabilitation principles in non-surgical pain care and is driven by the desire to assist in people’s improvements in pain. Dr. Gorelick has always been drawn to science and as a young adult developed a heartfelt devotion to community, making his path to medicine a natural progression. He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry in 1977, earned a medical degree in 1981, and trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Medical College of Wisconsin from 1981-1985. Additionally, he was involved in a part time bioethics fellowship from 1988-1991. Initially, his clinical background focused on helping people with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, strokes, multiple fractures, and pain. During his 30+ years of treating individuals with pain, he has recognized the powerful impact of pain. This has altered the focus of his clinical practice by applying a combination of basic medical principles with state-of-the-art therapies to help people who are experiencing acute and chronic pain. In his free time, Dr. Gorelick enjoys playing the bass clarinet, biking, swimming, and spending time with his family and friends.

M Gour (they/ them) MSW, APSW

Gour, Megan (They, Them)
M is currently the social worker for the pediatric adolescent transgender health clinic (PATH clinic) at UW Health. M has been working in the field of social work for 10+ years and has always specialized in working with transgender, gender diverse and queer young individuals. Throughout their career M has worked to advocate, educate, and create safe places for LGBTQ+ individuals. M helped to open the first LGBTQ+ resource space on campus while obtaining their undergraduate degree in Utah, has worked with multiple agencies to create safe and inclusive policies for LGBTQ+ people and has presented at conferences across the country.

Emily Green (she/her) MSW, CAPSW, SAC-IT

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Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2020 and a Master's in Social Work degree in 2021 from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Emily currently is employed at Jefferson County Human Services Department working with children and adolescents in the Comprehensive Community Services Program. Emily is completing the training and supervision hours toward her licensed clinical social worker and substance abuse counselor. In addition, Emily is completing the Training for Adoption Competency program.

Pamela Hansen, MSW, LCSW

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Pamela received her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work (MSW) degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with an emphasis on School Social Work and Clinical Social Work. Pamela has been a School Social Worker for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) for over 25 years. She has provided School Social Work (SSW) services at all grade levels in many schools. She is currently working with the MPS Violence Prevention Program, providing professional development and consultation to MPS staff with a focus on Trauma Sensitive Schools, Social and Emotional Learning, Mindfulness, and Bullying Prevention. In addition, she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works in private practice and provides psychotherapy to individuals, children, and families on a part-time basis.

Katie Heinzen (she/her): Director of Behavioral Health The Production Farm

Heinzen, Katie, Director of Behavioral Health The Production Farm
Katie has always had a passion for working with children. She attended St. Norbert College, obtaining a degree in psychology with a minor in art while working in the child development center on campus. In graduate school at Springfield College, she received her master’s degree in art therapy and worked at the child development center there as well as ServiceNet which provided therapy and transitional living skills to young adults. Katie has also worked as a clinical assessment specialist in an inpatient psychiatric hospital for children, has been a director of patient services at a critical access hospital, and the lead therapist at an intensive outpatient program for seniors. After being out of state for 13 years, Katie returned to Wisconsin to be closer to family and has been with The Production Farm since 2018. In her spare time, Katie enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys, running marathons, gardening, and cooking.

Marc Herstand (he/him) MSW, CISW

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Marc Herstand has served as the Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers, Wisconsin Chapter since 1992.In this position Marc has facilitated the passage of bills on tele-mental health, licensure, mental health services in schools and Vendorship through the Wisconsin State Legislature and the passage of several rules benefiting clinical social workers through the Department of Health Services. During the Covid-19 pandemic he successfully petitioned the Evers Administration to allow telephone therapy and implement the tele-mental health bill in record time. Marc has also successfully organized campaigns to stop several bills and rules that would have harmed the social work profession. Marc has organized statewide coalitions on the Extreme Risk Protection Order (Red Flag legislation), the Child Victim’s Act and Conversion Therapy and has organized over twelve NASW WI lobby days.Marc greatly expanded the Wisconsin Chapter’s annual conference, began the Chapter’s Winter Webinar series and home study program and oversaw the development of NASW WI’s Fact Sheets on Child Welfare, Corrections and Hospital Social Work.

Previous to this position Marc served as Executive Director of Health Care for the Homeless of Milwaukee, the San Diego AIDS Project, Planned Parenthood of Southeast Iowa and as Social Services Coordinator at the Council for the Spanish Speaking, Inc. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the mid-70’s Marc served as a VISTA Volunteer in the Central Valley of California where he recruited farmworker and other low income families to participate in a self-help housing program.

Marc has served as an adjunct instructor of social work at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, George Williams College at Aurora University and Marian University in Fond du Lac.

Mr. Herstand earned his masters degree in social work from the University of California, Berkeley.

Kayla Hohmann LPC (she/her): Chief Operations Officer The Production Farm

Hohman, Kayla, LPC, Chief Operations Officer The Production Farm
 “Art, science, and kindness” is Kayla’s motto. Kayla was instrumental in rebuilding, rebranding and reimagining The Production Farm’s mission by helping to focus and improve programs in order to make it a sustainable company. Kayla has training and experience as a paraeducator, substitute teacher, caregiver in Foster, Respite, and Daycare settings; and community care services provider; specifically working with children with special needs. Ongoing education and degree credits in Human Biology, Anthropology, Psychology, and Business Administration. Fine Artist, with internship experience and background with Fine Art, Fine Art Gallery Administration and Management; and Community Works. Notable experiences include: 2nd Floor Art Gallery and 2nd Floor Contemporary Arts Center. Extensive volunteer experience and leadership roles with a variety of community projects, including the AYUSA Global Youth Exchange Program in Green Bay WI, Family Readiness Group Leader for the Army, The El Paso Art Walk, and other community projects. Currently chief operations officer, development director, and trauma informed service provider for The Production Farm Inc.

Dr. Aruna Jha

Aruna Jha is faculty in Social Work at UWW and is an expert in suicide prevention. She is fluent in several languages and cultures having worked in India, Germany, and Sweden prior to migrating to the US in 1984.  Dr. Jha's research and program development highlights the impact of cultural conflict, social factors, and life transitions on suicidal ideation and behavior. Prior to UWW, Dr. Jha worked at the VA for 6 years in Milwaukee and IL.  She founded the Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative (AASPI); the first US coalition to address suicide in Asian Americans.

Troy Johnson, LCSW (he/him/they/them)

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Troy Johnson is a queer-identified practitioner working primarily with LGBTQ clients, specializing in gender identity and transitioning. His work with LGBTQ older adults in Central Kentucky earned him the 2012 Jennifer Crossing: Out for Fairness Award. Troy is also the Continuing Education Director for Queer Literacy, an ACE approved CE program. His work as Program Director in Central Kentucky’s long-term care ombudsman program, Lexington Fairness’ Senior Pride Initiative, Senior Services Manager at Chicago’s Center on Halsted as well as his work as an adjunct instructor, informs his philosophy as a therapist and LGBTQ advocate.

Jesse Jonesberg, (he/him) MSW, LCSW

Jonesberg, Jesse 

Jesse Jonesberg is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a focus on compassion, holistic mental health, and equity. He has over a decade of experience serving folks in community mental health settings through a variety of roles. During his career as a social worker, Jesse has served as a community support specialist, intake specialist, supervisor, manager, academic advisor and professor, trainer, and even executive director of a small non-profit. Jesse is an active member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) and a candidate for Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy (SCIP) certification. He is a trainer, therapist, and consultant at Intrinsic Change, and he serves as a therapist at Wisconsin Community Services (WCS) in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Karole L. S. Kimble

For over 30 years, noted communications expert, Karole L. S. Kimble has dedicated her time and energy to building bridges and raising awareness for underserved and marginalized populations. From being a former newscaster and reporter to becoming a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion expert and personal life & relationship coach, Karole is a true Servant Leader. Her passion lies with empowering women, immigrants and people coming out of prison to live their best lives. She is a certified facilitator and offers programs that focus on creating meaningful dialog around these and many other topics. Karole is committed to creating an inclusive society through the power of aiding people to unlearn “racism”, poignant storytelling, creative yet open communication, and building TRUE community. Karole is a Senior Facilitator & Level I Trainer with both Community Building Milwaukee & Community Building International.


 Suanne Kraft

 Suanne Kraft is a retired foster parent who was licensed through La Crosse County.  Suanne and her husband, Michael, worked with 30 children over 15 years in their home through foster care. Suanne and Michael had children placed with them for as short as 3 hours to as long as 3 years and were an ongoing, specialized home.   During this time also, Suanne and Michael became foster parent trainers through La Crosse County and began sharing their learnings about children in care with trauma histories with other new foster families.  In 2013, Suanne became a trainer for the Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System (WCWPDS) System through UW-Milwaukee.  She trained the Foundations curriculum for WCWPDS until June of 2023, when she retired from this work.  Suanne also has her BBA from Viterbo University and worked at Gundersen Health System for over 30 years in the Behavioral Health Department.   


Wyatt Kuether (he/him): Chief Executive Officer The Production Farm

Kuether. Wyatt, Chief Executive Officer The Production Farm
After over a decade in New York City working as an Actor, Technical Director, Fight and Stunt Choreographer Wyatt moved back to his home state of Wisconsin to set up The Production Farm. Wyatt based the organization on a simple premise “Leaving the world a little better than the way it was handed to us.” After working with some very inspiring organizations in NYC Wyatt came back home to bring some of what he experienced and hopes to use it to serve the lives of others. Since being back Wyatt has run the Urban Production Farm after school programming in Green Bay focused on youth in foster care, operated a foster youth created haunted house, been a foster care, respite and mental health care provider, carpenter, filmmaker and farmer. Wyatt, originally from Sheboygan, trained at UWSP, still acts, creates music, art and guitars.

Emily Kunde (she/her) LPC: Manager of Behavioral Health Sheboygan County The Production Farm

Kunde, Emily, LPC, Manager of Behavioral Health Sheboygan County The Production Farm
Emily Kunde is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 20 years of non-profit experience and has been working with children, youth, and families throughout her entire career. She practices from a non-judgmental, person centered, and trauma informed perspective when working with clients and staff. It is her belief that relationships can and do change lives and that everyone's voice has value. Her years of experience have taught her that collaboration is one of the biggest keys to success in most endeavors. She loves to laugh and infuses humor and humility in her interactions with others. Her favorite hobbies include: reading, writing, live music, listening to the stories of others’ lives, and spending time with her family.

Kathy Markeland

Kathy Markeland’s thirty year career has focused on policy advocacy representing both the public and private sectors. For more than fifteen years, she has worked for the Wisconsin Association of Family & Children’s Agencies (WAFCA) amplifying the voices of human services providers and the families they support through prevention, mental health and substance use treatment, foster care, education and youth justice services. Since 2016, Kathy has been privileged to be part of the WAFCA team supporting the Coalition for Expanding School-Based Mental Health in WI and the Coalition’s mission to advocate and advance expanded comprehensive mental health initiatives in schools around the state. Through the Coalition, Kathy supports schools, mental health providers and parent partners in their efforts to educate policy makers, engage in communities of practice and advance provider/school collaborations that improve student well-being

Deidre Marsh, LCSW, CS-IT

Deidre Marsh is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in cognitive-behavioral therapies for trauma- related disorders. Deidre earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Wisconsin– Milwaukee in 2019. Soon after, she founded the PTSD Recovery Program at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's, where she has provided Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) to a diverse clientele. She has received extensive training in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and is listed on the official CPT roster, denoting her success in providing this treatment. She has also worked as a therapist and a consultant for clinical research trials with CPT. Prior to this, she worked as a supervisor on a suicide hotline. As a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, she teaches graduate-level coursework on trauma counseling and domestic violence. Deidre provides training and consultation to clinicians and other professionals, as well as public talks and presentations on mental health and trauma

Marissa Meagher (she/her), MPH

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Marissa Meagher, MPH, is a Community Health Strategist with Winnebago County Public Health focusing on family child health in the community through direct service and program strategy and development. She earned her Masters of Public Health from Baylor University and is a certified postpartum doula, birth doula, and lactation specialist. Marissa’s background includes 4.5 years of work in immigration law as a bilingual case manager specializing in refugee and asylum applications, and 3 years working in resource navigation and prenatal care with low income families and families experiencing housing instability in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul metro areas.

Steven J. Miller, MS

Miller, Steven J., MS
Steven J. Miller obtained his Bachelor's and Master's degree in Psychology at Northern Michigan University.  He is currently a student in the part-time MSW program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Steven is an advocate for discussion among social workers about the impact of infertility on one's mental health.  Steven and his wife had struggled with infertility before being successful using In Vitro Fertilization, resulting in now four-year-old twin boys.  Steven started his own podcast called MILES highlighting the male experience in infertility and family building.  After his MSW, Steven plans to become a LCSW and specialize in Reproductive Mental Health.

Debra Minsky-Kelly, (she/her/hers) MSW, LCSW

Minsky Kelly, MSW, LCSW, Debra

Debra Minsky-Kelly, LCSW, is a professor of social work at Carthage College. She earned her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. Her experience as a clinical social worker includes serving as a director with Rogers Behavioral Health in Kenosha as well as working in areas of domestic violence, child welfare and homeless healthcare. Debra was selected as Distinguished Teacher of the Year at Carthage in 2021. Debra has a strong interest in the social work profession’s role in promoting best practices related to both adverse and resiliency factors presented by our current cultural norms and conflicts. This interest is based on teaching of a semester course on the subject of psychological trauma to undergraduate students since 2019 and seeing how young people respond to this material.

Ben Mompier, MSW, CAPSW

Ben Mompier, MSW, CAPSW is an Outreach Program Manager for the Center for Inclusive Transition, Education and Employment (CITEE). Ben has several years of experience in working with people with disabilities from community based residential systems and career counseling. In 2020, Ben became the program coordinator for the QTT Grants Program, a statewide grant initiative supporting agencies that hire and supervise trainee positions seeking advanced clinical licensure. In his role with the QTT Grants Program, Ben oversees overall administration of the program, coordinates advisory committee meetings with statewide stakeholders, and facilitates professional development components of the program with participating QTT supervisors.

Mauren Morel

Mauren Morel is a seasoned social work professional based in Miami, Florida, with a rich background spanning 17 years. With a deep commitment to evidence-based practices, Mauren consistently strives to make a meaningful impact on individuals and communities. Mauren's extensive professional journey also includes impactful roles, such as Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities Counselor/Social Worker at Miami Dade Public Schools, where she also served as a Certified District Wide Crisis Management Trainer. Clinical Director for Jacob’s Well, Inc. and the Core Centers where she was the co-founder and Medical Social Worker for South Miami Hospital. Additionally, she contributed to the academic community as an Adjunct Professor at Miami Dade Community College, integrating multimedia technology into classroom instruction. Mauren holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Health and Safety Management from The University of Alabama, a Human Resources Management (HRM) Certificate as an Expert, a Doctorate in Education with a focus on Counseling Psychology from Argosy University, a Master of Social Work from Barry University, and a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies from Barry University. Her educational journey also includes a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from Luther College. Bilingual in English and Spanish, Mauren is deeply passionate about community service. She served as a Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for the 11th Judicial Circuit from 2002 to 2013. She also appeared on the morning show "Despierta America" aired on the Univision network from 2006-2019 where she provided valuable insights on parenting skills. Despite an unexpected turn involving a federal investigation and subsequent conviction for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, a non-violent crime, in 2019, Mauren pleaded guilty and was ultimately sentenced to 26 months of incarceration followed by three years of supervised release. During her incarceration, she became a "jailhouse social worker," assisting women involved with termination of parental rights and custody disputes as a result of their incarceration. Mauren's prior contributions in social work fuel her passion to educate others. Her aim is to use this unique experience to empower individuals in safeguarding their professional license, detecting, and preventing fraudulent activities within organizations. Mauren Morel embodies a spirit of excellence, compassion, and leadership. Her journey reflects not only professional achievement but a commitment to empowering and uplifting others.

Melissa Mueller-Douglas, LMSW

Mueller Douglas, Melissa

Melissa is a mindfulness expert, licensed master social worker, volleyball player, world traveler, and a person you can't catch imposter syndrome from because she doesn't have it. She's learned that keeping busy isn't enough. We need to practice mindfulness to achieve success. As CEO of MYRetreat, she works as a catalyst to create the environment for genuine team building through chocolate, not trust falls. She works with groups at entities, including Uwill, Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Wisconsin, RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology), The Stupski Foundation, and ESL Federal Credit Union.

 

Jennifer Parker, MSSW, LCSW, ACSW

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 Jennifer Parker received her Master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1986. She felt inspired prior to graduate school to specialize in intimate partner abuse work. Her 35 years of mental health experience and her specialty led to developing a group curriculum and writing a book. Jennifer retired from practice in 2021 and dedicates her time to workshops, blogs, social media, and book marketing. Her book, "Coercive Relationships: Find the Answers You Seek," includes knowledge from her training and research, as well as insights she gained from survivors. Additional accomplishments include workshops, professional newsletter articles, expert witness testimony, blogs, podcast guesting, participation in a community DV and Sexual Assault task force, and awards from state and local agencies. Jennifer’s blog focuses on topics of interest to survivors, professionals, or family and friends of a survivor. Her passion is to enhance therapists’ knowledge about effective practices in working with IPV survivors through her workshops, webinars, and publications.

PATCH Teen Educators

Patch Teen Educators
PATCH Teen Educators are a group of high school students (aged 14-18) from Wisconsin. They are trained as public speakers and advocates. The Teen Educators come from many diverse backgrounds and are experts on the needs and concerns of young people today. They use storytelling and guided discussion to share their own perspectives about adolescent health care and to advocate for changes within health care systems that would ensure access to high-quality, youth-friendly health care for all young people. Through their work they are breaking down stigma associated with many health issues and are prepared to discuss a wide variety of sensitive or challenging health topics.

AHMED J. QUERESHI

AHMED J. QUERESHI
is the Executive Director of the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, a position to which he was appointed in 2023. Previously, he represented the Islamic Society of Milwaukee on the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee’s board of directors and served as an officer on its Executive Committee. He is a past President of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, the largest Islamic organization in Wisconsin, a position in which he served from 2009 to 2017. By education and profession, Mr. Quereshi is an attorney. He is a graduate of Marquette University Law School.

Frederick G. Reamer, (he/him) PHD

Frederick Reamer

Frederic G. Reamer is Professor in the graduate program of the School of Social Work, Rhode Island College, where he has been on the faculty since 1983.  His research and teaching have addressed a wide range of human service issues, including mental health, health care, criminal justice, public welfare, and professional ethics.  Dr. Reamer received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1978) and has served as a social worker in correctional and mental health settings.  He has also taught at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration (1978-1981), and the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Social Work (1981-1983). 

Dr. Reamer has served as Director of the National Juvenile Justice Assessment Center of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1979-1981); as Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of Rhode Island (1987-1990); and as a Commissioner of the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation, the state housing finance agency (1987-1995). Dr. Reamer served on the State of Rhode Island Parole Board from 1992 to 2016.  He also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Work Education (1990-1994).  He serves as Associate Editor of the National Association of Social Workers Encyclopedia of Social Work (Oxford University Press and National Association of Social Workers). Since 2012, Dr. Reamer has served as the ethics instructor in the Providence (RI) Police Department Training Academy.

Dr. Reamer has conducted extensive research on professional ethics.  He has been involved in national research projects sponsored by The Hastings Center, the Carnegie Corporation, the Haas Foundation, and the Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Healthcare at the Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania.  He has published 24 books and 175 journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles.  

Dr. Arthur Romano (he/him)

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Arthur Romano
is an Assistant Professor at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason University and The Elise Boulding Scholar Practitioner for the National Peace Academy. He has over 20 years of experience serving as an educational advisor and developing transformative and experiential education with communities affected by conflict and violence.  Dr. Romano  came to the school with over 15 years of experience designing and implementing experiential educational programs on peace and conflict resolution related themes in a wide array of locales including in Asia, Africa, and Central America. He also co-developed the Diversity Matters Now workshop series, which explores issues related to identity and peacebuilding in colleges and universities across the US.  His international work has focused on Hip Hop Diplomacy as he regularly works with US Hip Hop Artists engaging in cultural exchange work abroad through the Next Level Program as well as peace education in East Asia including implementation and evaluation of peace education and problem-solving programs in Japan and South Korea.   He has published on issues related to Black-led truth-telling processes, grassroots peace and conflict resolution education and urban peacebuilding and is currently completing a book focused on community-led nonviolence education and the living legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in US cities impacted by systemic racism and economic inequality.

Susan Rose, MSW, PhD

Susan Rose, MSW, PhD, is Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she taught Psychopathology and Advanced Practice courses. Dr. Rose was elected as Alderman in her home community for 5 consecutive terms (20 years), served as President of the local League of Women Voters, and continues to lecture on the need for greater political involvement of social workers. (My Co-presenter is James Cappleman). James Cappleman MSW, is a former Chicago Alderman, serving 3 

terms (2011 – 2023). He was a practicing social worker with unhoused persons before being elected to the Chicago City Council and continues to advocate for evidence-based practice in the realm of political activity.


Kenneth Ryback (he/him)

Ken Ryback

Ken currently works as a Community Building Senior Facilitator, mentor, and coach as well as a Project Coordinator with Community Building Milwaukee.  Graduating from UW-Milwaukee with a degree in Criminal Justice led him to work as a Wisconsin Probation/Parole Agent. Upon retiring, he began working at Wisconsin Community Services as a Recovery Support Coordinator in the Milwaukee Community providing crisis case management to those struggling with substance use and/or mental health issues.  Community Building Skills combined with pas work experiences provides the basis to connect to others, especially those who do not look like him, as well as enhanced my ability to build trust and safety.  His years working in the Milwaukee Community with justice-involved individuals provides unique qualities and perspectives.  Among other things Ken is the father of 2 children, a Master Level Reiki, and T4C Facilitator (Thinking for a Change).

Natalie Schmitt, MSW

Natalie Schmitt received her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Social Work, Psychology, and Family Studies from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. She received her Master of Science in Social Work degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Natalie has been a school social worker in Milwaukee for 18 years and employed by Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) for 16 years. For ten years, she provided school social work services to students at eight schools of all grade levels (early childhood through high school) until transferring to her current macro-level position on the MPS Violence Prevention Program. In her current role, she works on a multi-disciplinary team that provides consultation and creates and delivers professional development to colleagues in the district on topics such as trauma, social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, mindfulness, and youth mental health. She is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer.

Karen Shilvock-Cinefro

With over 40 years of experience in the field of Social Work I have worked for hospitals, hospices, social service agencies, senior centers, nursing homes and private counseling. 

I currently teach online for Aurora University. I have a BA in Psychology, an MA in Sociology and Gerontology, and a Doctorate in Clinical Social Work. I am also a researcher and writer. I enjoy teaching and getting students excited in an awesome helping profession.

Luci Staudacher (she/her/hers) MSW, LCSW

Staudacher, MSW, LCSW, Luci
Luci Staudacher is an Associate Professor of Social Work and the BSW Practicum Director at Alverno College, a BSW program that she helped in develop. In her role, she teaches core social work courses. Additionally, she cultivates and maintains off-campus partnerships for social work practicums, completes site visits, and assists with accreditation monitoring and curriculum development. Within the Social Work Department, she is the faculty advisor to the Alverno College Association of Social Work student organization and mentors new social work course instructors. Luci is also the Chair of the Field Consortium for the Wisconsin Council on Social Work Education.

James ‘Dimitri’ Topitzes, (he/him) Ph.D., LCSW

Topitzes, Dimitri

James ‘Dimitri’ Topitzes, Ph.D., LCSW, is a professor and chair in the Social Work Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He also serves as the Director of Clinical Services for the Institute for Child and Family Well-Being . He conducts applied research and partners with community-based agencies to implement and test innovative trauma-responsive programming.  He is the developer and lead evaluator of the trauma screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment or T-SBIRT interview protocol.

 

Aaliyah Torres (she/her/hers) BSW, MSW Student

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Aaliyah Torres is a Tobacco Prevention Coordinator. In her role, she plans, implements and evaluates education and training activities for coalition and community members to increase skills in evidence-based strategies for tobacco prevention and control policies. As well as supports education of local and statewide policy makers to increase knowledge regarding tobacco prevention and control priorities. Aaliyah also runs a FACT youth program that works to spread the truth about commercial tobacco use amongst our youth. Aaliyah will be returning to Alverno in the Fall of 2023 to complete her master's in social work. 

Ronna Trapanese

Ronna Trapanese is a creator, artist, actor, and survivor presenter. Her passion is to empower therapists and medical professionals by acting out realistic scenarios. She loves seeing the light bulbs go off in providers. Ronna's experience includes adaptive acting and interactive role-playing for testing, instruction, and education with medical students, physician assistants, nurses, veterinarians, and pharmacists. She does independent contracting for IPV training with UW Medical School, and training for transplant nurses to develop communication strategies for families in trauma. In addition, Ronna is an Independent contractor- Actor for UW Medical Dept. doing palliative training for doctors across the country, promoting empathic strategies when dealing with palliative care patients. In the past, she worked as an independent contractor- actor-trainer for the Department of Children's Services-Southern Child Welfare Partnership. She has also done training at Columbia Correctional Institution along with a psychiatrist for corrections officers to facilitate their work with difficult inmates.

Jehlisah Vaccarella

Jehlisah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Pennsylvania and has worked in the field since 2010. After obtaining her Master’s Degree in Social Work and becoming licensed, she began her clinical hours for clinical licensure. In 2020, Jehlisah began providing Clinical Supervision to others and has worked in management within the Social Work field for almost a decade. Recently completing coursework as an Advanced Clinical Supervisor, she is passionate about educating and supporting others who are providing Clinical Supervision. 


Bobby Deandra Walker, (she/her) LCSW

Deandra Walker, Bobby, LCSW
Bobby Walker (she/her) LCSW, CST, is a psychotherapist and sex therapist based in Madison, WI. She provides individual and relational therapy to persons struggling with anxiety, depression, workaholism, the demands of modern life, existential questions, loneliness, anger and loss. As an American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapist (AASECT) certified sex therapist, Bobby treats a variety of sexual issues including desire discrepancy, low or diminished desire, orgasm issues, erectile functioning, painful sex and sexual shame. She works with kink- and/or polyamory involved/curious clients.

Brenda Wesley

In response to troubling signs of growing mental health challenges in the African American community, Brenda Wesley developed an African American Outreach Program called ASK (Access, Support & Knowledge) in 2007. To lead her program, she reached out and formed a partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Greater Milwaukee. ASK is designed to educate the community and provide access to care for those who need it the most. Brenda is a trained Crisis Intervention Trainer (CIT/CIP) and mental health facilitator and has conducted numerous ASK presentations throughout communities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Brenda’s unique perspective is based on first-hand experience, including two of her closest family members who live with severe and persistent mental illness. She has become not only an educator but an advocate. After fourteen years as the Outreach and Education Director for NAMI Greater Milwaukee, she left to start her own mental health consulting agency, Pasch & Wesley. Brenda sits on or has served on various community committees as part of her advocacy work. From 2014 to 2023, she served on the Milwaukee County Mental Health Board. Brenda graduated from the Mosaic Milwaukee Partnership Program, which engaged leaders of various cultures and backgrounds to build trust, friendship, and communication. Brenda’s hard work has been acknowledged and rewarded for her dedication and commitment. From the most recent, Brenda was awarded the Heart Award from Disability Rights of Wisconsin in 2016-2017. Brenda was the recipient of her most esteemed accomplishment when she was given a proclamation from Congresswoman Gwen Moore in 2015-2016. Brenda was recognized by the State Assembly and received the 2015-16 Hometown Hero Award. Brenda was awarded the Public Service Award from the National Association of Social Workers in 2016. Brenda received the Multi-Cultural Outreach Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2013. Brenda received the first Andy Werlein “Advocate of the Year award from Mental Health American of Wisconsin. Brenda was awarded the Advocate of the Year award from Transitional Living Services (TLS) in 2007. Brenda’s most recent endeavor has been her nonprofit, Staying on Track, Inc., which she partners with her nephew Randy Jones. Staying on Track Inc. continues her dedicated work in mental health education and advocacy. Brenda's list of presentations included the Wisconsin Kidney Foundation Women of the World Series, Milwaukee College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Public Schools, City of Milwaukee Public Libraries, churches, parents, and civic groups. Brenda is also a successful playwright and director of PIECES: In My Own Voice, an innovative evidence-based theatrical production that depicts life with a mental health diagnosis. The production was so successful that she converted the production to reach the youth. Brenda continues to live and work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her family. She devotes her time and energy to continuing the work needed to educate the community.

Sarina Wiesner

Sarina Wiesner is a Youth Justice Policy Coordinator for WI Department of Children and Families (DCF) since 2023. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Lakeland University and Master of Science in Criminal Justice from UW Platteville. She previously worked at the Department of Corrections in the Division of Juvenile Corrections as a Probation and Parole Agent, and most recently at the Department of Revenue in Assessment Practices and Education. Sarina is passionate about motivational interviewing and service matching youth’s needs.  


Sheng Lee Yang, (she/her/hers) MSW, LCSW

Yang, Shen Lee
Sheng is a first generation immigrant who arrived in the U.S. as a refugee at a young age and has remained in Wisconsin since. Today, she is a practicing Licensed Clinical Social Worker, President and Executive Director for Us 2 Behavioral Health Care. Additionally, she teaches graduate-level courses in Clinical Mental Health and Diversity & Inclusion, and more importantly, is a proud mother of two young girls. Her professional experiences include direct care and leadership positions in public, private, government and nonprofit institutions. Her personal and professional experiences helped cultivate a vision to integrate social justice and cultural humility into mental health. On September 3rd, 2019, Sheng led the opening of Us 2 Behavioral Health Care to increase access to health care in the community with a vision that everyone can be healthier together.

Richelle Zimmerman (she/her/hers)

Zimmerman, Richelle
Richelle Zimmerman has been a professional in the Child Welfare System since 1998 and has been training Child Welfare Professionals since 2000. For over a decade she trained foster parents and relative care providers. In 2013 Richelle began instructing child welfare case managers for the Western Training Partnership, on a part time basis. In 2016, she joined (WCWPDS) Wisconsin Child Welfare Professional Development System, where she develops and delivers curriculum with a Trauma Informed emphasis.  Richelle also was adjunct faculty for 16 years at the Western Technical College as a Sociology Instructor and brings this sociological lens into her trainings.