WICHE Staff -- Mental Health Program

  • Thomas Barrett

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      Thomas Barrett, Ph.D.
      Adjunct Professor, Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University of Denver

      Dr. Tom Barrett has been doing human services program evaluation for most of his forty-year professional career.  He was the first program evaluator for Bethesda Community Mental Health Center in Denver.  He also supervised state-wide program evaluation services when he was the Mental Health Director for the state of Colorado.  He conducted international mental health program evaluation activities when he was senior medical office for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. Barrett co-authored “Human Services Program Evaluation: How to Improve Your Accountability and Program Effectiveness” which summarizes a variety of program evaluation techniques including cost benefit analysis. He was also co-director of the Colorado Legislative Task Force on people with mental illness in jails and prisons. This task force was responsible for developing legislation to address the serious problem of people with mental illness in Colorado Correctional Facilities. Dr. Barrett authored an article (with R. Slaughter and C. Jarrett) on "People with Mental Illness in Jails and Prisons - Colorado's Model for Changing the System", Spectrum: The Journal of State Government, Fall 2004.

      Dr. Barrett has been the program evaluation consultant for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) for two federal grants (Renaissance Services Enhancement Team and the Dual Disorder Outreach Team).  He is currently the independent assessor for the Kresge Program Related Investment for the CCH. One of the requirements of the Kresge Program Related Investment is an independent assessment of the social outcomes that CCH is achieving.  The social outcomes include both residential stability improvement outcomes and system cost reduction outcomes.  The system cost reduction outcomes include: reduction in detox use, reduction in emergency use, reduction in hospitalization and reduction in emergency shelter use.  As the independent assessor, Dr. Barrett is responsible for verifying the accuracy of the data collection and analysis completed by CCH. In addition, Dr. Barrett has been the program evaluation consultant for a cost benefit study on the Dual Disorder Outreach Team (DDOT) at CCH.  This evaluation is examining the cost of publicly funded services such as shelter costs, hospital costs, detox facility expenses, jail expenses, and prison expenses. These cost savings are then compared with the cost of providing program services to determine if there has been a cost savings.  

      Dr. Barrett also serves as an adjunct professor at the DU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP), an accredited program that has offered a Doctor of Psychology degree since 1976. GSPP faculty have been awarded a number of grants over the past few years, providing students with excellent opportunities to develop their research and evaluation skills under the supervision of experienced faculty members. Program evaluation projects are particularly germane to the students’ development as practitioner-scholars: the emphasis on identifying, operationalizing, and supporting clients’ short- and long-term goals; developing practical, relevant outcomes; and appropriately conveying findings and recommendations helps students master sustainable skills that will serve them well throughout their careers.  

       

    tbarrett's picture
    Senior Consultant
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0311
  • Genevieve Berry

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      Genevieve Berry is the Project Manager for the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MP-MHTTC), a WICHE project that operates in partnership with the University of North Dakota. Genevieve received her B.A. in psychology from Memphis University. Prior to joining the WICHE Behavioral Health Program team, Genevieve worked for the state of Colorado on the Multi-Use Network Project (MNT) and The Next Mile project, where she developed communications strategies and served as the liaison to rural communities, for each of the state funded broadband programs. In this capacity, she traveled the state presenting each of the projects to various rural communities and learning firsthand about the unique obstacles rural communities encounter when trying to implement and use broadband. For the past three years she worked for the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities at the University of Colorado. In her role as the Content and Community Outreach Manager, she was responsible for all external communications, website content and design, and she managed the Annual Coleman conference. For over three years, Genevieve worked to develop accessible content and products for people with cognitive disabilities and the communities who serve them. 

    gberry's picture
    Project Manager, MHTTC
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0220
  • Gina Brimner

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      Gina Brimner, MSW, LCSW Gina holds a master’s degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her career spans direct service, management and leadership roles in government and non-profit health and behavioral health sectors in multiple western states. Most recently, Gina held independent consultant contracts with health care organizations, states, and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE BHP) before joining WICHE as an employee in 2019. In her role at WICHE BHP, she leads Together With Veterans Projects, a rural veteran suicide prevention collaborative developed in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Positions Gina held previously include Senior Vice President of Youth and Family Services at Albertina Kerr Centers in Portland, OR; Adolescent Unit Supervisor for the Policy Division of the Washington State Children’s Administration; Clinical Director of Juneau Mental Health, Inc.; and multiple roles in the State of Alaska Division of Behavioral Health.

    gbrimner's picture
    Director of Veterans Initiatives
    Behavioral Health Program
    720.708.9321
  • Brittany Copithorn

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      Brittany Copithorn has been with the WICHE Mental Health Program since July 2014. As a Project Coordinator, her primary responsibility is recruiting Behavioral Health staff for the Hawaii Department of Education. She also aids in some administrative work as needed. Prior to WICHE, she was in sales and marketing. She earned her bachelor's degree in communications at Colorado State University. Brittany is a Colorado native with two young girls and loves hiking, biking, snowboarding and rafting. 

    bcopithorn's picture
    Project Coordinator
    Behavioral Health Program
    720.280.7266
  • John Gomez

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      John Gomez John comes to WICHE after retiring as Director of the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections in June of 2014.  John began his long career in Colorado State Government in 1990, serving as a Senior Analyst with the Colorado General Assembly’s Joint Budget Committee.  In that capacity, he was afforded a unique view of State Government, and worked on budget and policy issues related to the Department of Corrections, the Judicial Department, Public Health programs, and numerous Human Services programs, including the former Division of Mental Health and the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC).  In July of 1996, John accepted a position in the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Budget Office, where he managed the DYC budget.  In March of 1998, he was appointed to one of two Associate Director positions for DYC, overseeing all Administrative and Support Programs, including Quality Assurance, Education Services, Budget and Finance, Research and Evaluation, and Food Services.  John was instrumental in overseeing many program improvements in the Division, and effectively advocated for resources to serve the DYC detained and committed populations.  In February of 2005, John was appointed Director of the Division of Youth Corrections and led the Division for nearly10 years.  As Director, John was responsible for nearly 1,000 staff, 10 State-operated detention and commitment facilities located throughout the State, and an annual budget of nearly $150 million.  During his tenure, John led a major reform effort in the State’s commitment system, leveraging evidence-based principles and practices, and developing a sophisticated continuum of treatment services that helped produce a dramatic decrease in the Division’s commitment population, as well as significant saving to the State’s General Fund budget.  John also served on numerous State and national boards and commissions, including his election as Vice President of the Board of Directors for the National Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, and his election to the Board of Governors for the American Correctional Association.  John is a Colorado native, and is married with two sons, ages 21 and 18.

    jgomez's picture
    Director of Operations
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0288
  • Vanessa Gonzalez

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      Vanessa Gonzalez is a Technical Assistance Associate for the Behavioral Health Program.  She works primarily on the Rural Opioid Prevention Project, supporting the provision of TA to HRSA grantees.  Additionally, Vanessa supports the coordination of activities for the Mountain Plains MHTTC.  A May 2018 graduate of CU-Boulder, Vanessa earned a Double Bachelor of Arts — Biology, Environmental Studies, with Minors in Business & Communications, and a Certificate in Public Health.  After completing her education accolades in four years, she is excited to join the WICHE Behavioral Health Program team.

    vgonzalez's picture
    Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Coordinator
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0255
  • Andie Hancock

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      Andie Hancock is a Budget Coordinator for the WICHE Mental Health Program. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas and has 35 years of experience in administration. She previously worked for the City of Boulder Parks and Recreation Department for 34 years and learned everything from flowers to financials!

    ahancock's picture
    Budget Coordinator
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0309
  • Rebecca Helfand

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      Rebecca Helfand received her Ph.D. in psychology from Baylor University before moving to Colorado as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Colorado's Institute for Behavioral Genetics. Prior to joining the WICHE Behavioral Health Program team, Rebecca worked for the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) in the State of Colorado Department of Human Services. In her four years with OBH, she worked on a variety of projects with other state agencies, namely the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Department of Healthcare Policy, and Financing. Rebecca served as the director of the Data and Evaluation unit within OBH where she supervised a team of twelve people, affording her the opportunity to work on projects throughout the OBH office.

    rhelfand's picture
    Program Director
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0205
  • Debra Kupfer

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      Debra Kupfer, MHS. Debra has more than 35 years of public behavioral health experience as both a clinician and an administrator. From 1996 to 2006, Debra was the planner, deputy director, acting director and manager for the Colorado Division of Mental Health, Director of Policy and Planning for the Mental Health Institutes, and designated as the state’s Mental Health Commissioner for the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.  Debra has worked on a variety of consulting projects with the WICHE Mental Health Program since 2007 in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, New Mexico, South Dakota, Utah, the U.S. Territory of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These projects include behavioral health system analyses and redesign; public policy and planning efforts; program evaluation; rural workforce development; consultation activities with state hospitals regarding performance improvement; crisis system planning, staffing, safety and security; and developing opportunities to link behavioral health and primary care services in rural areas. Debra has served as the lead on several projects, such as the Colorado Behavioral Health Needs Analysis – Current Status, Strategic Positioning and Future Planning; Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care (AZ) Evidence-based Practices Quality Improvement and Technical Assistance initiative; Alaska Psychiatric Institute and Arizona State Hospital Technical Assistance; Idaho Behavioral Health System Redesign; Guam Transformation Transfer Initiative and Behavioral Health System Improvement Initiative, and the Alaska Complex Behavior Collaborative. These efforts have involved facilitating stakeholder groups, developing data collection instruments, leading focus groups, conducting key informant interviews, data analysis, reporting findings and developing recommendations for the enhancement of behavioral health systems. Debra also serves as the Western States facilitator for Advocates for Human Potential’s Olmstead Community of Practice Initiative funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

    dkupfer's picture
    Senior Consultant
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.263.6517
  • Dennis Mohatt

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      Dennis Mohatt is the vice president for Behavioral Health at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). He directs the WICHE Behavioral Health Program and the WICHE Center for Rural Mental Health Research. Mohatt has over 30 years of public mental health services. His work has included direct clinical care, clinical supervision, and CEO tenure in a rural CMHC serving Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Additionally, he led an effort in the early 1990s, funded by HRSA, to successfully integrate mental health and primary care in multiple rural family practice settings. During the late 1990s, Mohatt served as the deputy director for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, a position where he also served as the state's commissioner of mental health. His duties included executive management of multiple state HHS divisions including: child welfare, juvenile justice, public health, mental health, developmental disabilities, substance use, services for the older adults, public assistance, Medicaid, services for the visually impaired, and public institutions. Since 2001, Mohatt has led WICHE's efforts in behavioral health. He has served as a member of the National Rural Health Advisory Committee, and led many national efforts relating to rural mental health including his role as the chief consultant to the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. He is actively engaged in efforts focused on improving services to Veterans, Guard, and Reserve as well as their families; rural mental health policy; workforce development, and increasing adoption of integrated approaches to behavioral and primary care practice. His graduate training was supported by a NIMH Fellowship and focused on rural community-clinical psychology. 

    dmohatt's picture
    Vice President, Behavioral Health and Co-Director, Mental Health Technology Transfer Center
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0256
  • Bethany Rigles

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      Bethany Rigles, PhD. is a Research and Technical Assistance Associate with the WICHE Behavioral Health Program. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies at the University of Montana, her Master’s degree in sociology at Washington State University, and her PhD in sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder where her work focused on the physical and mental health of children with disabilities, namely those with autism. Dr. Rigles’ work with the WICHE Behavioral Health Program includes a variety of behavioral health projects, but her primary role is currently assisting with the creation and implementation of Psychology Internship Consortiums in rural western states. She is also an adjunct faculty member at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, where she teaches a graduate and upper-level undergraduate course on incorporating disability and mental health into design. Previously, Dr. Rigles was a Senior Research Associate with several University Centers in Excellence for Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) in rural states including Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming.  Her UCEDD research focused on improving the health of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in rural areas.  She also served as the Montana Utah Regional LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) Coordinator for the State of Montana.  In her role as Coordinator, Dr. Rigles trained doctoral students and medical providers in how to work more efficiently with, and to provide more specialized care for, children with disabilities and their families. She has extensive research training and experience in both qualitative and quantitative methods. She has developed survey and data collection instruments, analyzed both small and national-level datasets, performed interviews and focus groups, and performed a variety of statistical analyses ranging from simple descriptives to more complex modeling such as group-based trajectories.

    brigles's picture
    Research and Technical Assistance Associate
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0226
  • Annette Robertson

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      Annette Robertson, LMSW is a Fidelity Reviewer with the WICHE Mental Health Program and has been a licensed social worker for more than 25 years. She earned a Master of Social Work degree with a focus in Policy, Administration and Communities from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Moorhead State University, Minnesota.  Prior to joining WICHE in 2017, she delivered: behavioral health services to adults in one of the largest populated counties in the U.S.; school based behavioral health services to children and their families on a rural Minnesota Ojibwe reservation; and delivered family based services to families whose children were at risk of being placed out of the home. Annette currently works on a contract with the State of Arizona Medicaid program, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, one of the first Medicaid programs to bring integrated mental and physical health care to its residents. For WICHE, Annette evaluates adult behavioral health programs’ ability to meet the fidelity of SAMHSA’s Evidenced Based Practices being used throughout the state of Arizona.

       

    aRobertson's picture
    Fidelity Reviewer (Arizona)
    Behavioral Health Program
    602.705.4064
  • Ivory Tubbs

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      Ivory Tubbs: Prior to earning his doctorate in psychology, Ivory served in the United States Air Force during Operation Desert Shield in logistics in 1991. Prior to his discharge from the military, Ivory’s career in the mental/behavioral health field began in Las Vegas, Nevada as a crisis intervention specialist. Later, he transitioned to the role of child development assistant with Clark County Family Services.

      In 1999 he was appointed as the Executive Director of Windsor Village Social Services, an agency working in conjunction with FEMA to provide emergency food, shelter and utility assistance for area residents. In addition to fulfilling his duties as Executive Director, Ivory was also a Senior Public Health Investigator with the City of Houston, Bureau of Epidemiology conducting psycho-social assessments regarding sexual practices and opioid use within the HIV/AIDS community for the CDC. After his simultaneous roles as Executive Director and Senior Public Health Investigator, Ivory began adding to his knowledge base by joining the University of Texas School of Health Sciences, Psychiatric Center working with acute and subacute psychosis patients as well as patients in the forensic psychology unit for the Houston Police Department.

      Ivory was also a Psychological Assessor focusing on dual diagnosis patients as well as outpatient therapy to monitor psychotropic drug interactions. Ivory took a hiatus from behavioral health to become an HR Manager in compliance and performance management for Walmart US. Ivory has served on several boards of directors and has done extensive work in the homeless community. He has also held the role of director working with the developmentally delayed population.

    itubbs's picture
    Technical Expert Lead, RCORP
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0228
  • Liza Tupa

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      Liza Tupa is the Director of Education and Research for the WICHE Mental Health Program. A licensed clinical psychologist, her career has focused on public behavioral health service delivery. She has expertise in behavioral health service delivery systems in Colorado and other western states, program evaluation, behavioral health policy, management and leadership, and a variety of clinical issues. She has worked in a variety of public behavioral health systems, including community mental health center, Department of Corrections, and a state psychiatric institute. Prior to joining WICHE, Dr. Tupa served as Deputy Director of Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health, providing leadership in community behavioral health programming and public services planning, procurement, and regulation. Her work there included developing budget requests and proposed legislation, performance improvement, supporting homelessness and institutional transition initiatives for individuals with behavioral health issues, and working closely with the legislative branch of Colorado’s state government as well as with a range of other state departments and agencies. Earlier in her career she served in several leadership roles at a state psychiatric inpatient hospital, including as a unit psychologist, APA-Accredited Psychology Internship Training Director, quality assurance researcher, and ultimately as Associate Director. Dr. Tupa’s graduate training had a dual focus on clinical work and research, with research specialization in program and assessment tool evaluation. She also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Public Psychology at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, studying public mental health service delivery and mental health case law. Her professional experience includes numerous clinical trainings, teaching college level psychology, and local and national presentations in the areas of behavioral health systems, communication skills training and assessment, critical incident stress debriefings, and recovery- focused mental health service delivery.

    ltupa's picture
    Director of Education and Research
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0224
  • Karen Voyer-Caravona

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      Karen Voyer-Caravona earned a Master of Expressive Therapy (art therapy) at the University of Louisville in 1993, subsequently working in a variety of settings including inpatient psychiatric, partial hospitalization, community mental health, public school schools, and child advocacy.  Her areas of clinical concentration were adults diagnosed with serious mental illness and child sexual abuse.  In 2014, Karen completed a Master of Social Work at Arizona State University, concentrating in macro practice, and soon joined WICHE as a Fidelity Reviewer for the Arnold vs Sarn EBP project, for which she continues to serve.  Karen lives in Phoenix with husband and three dogs.  During her free time, she enjoys gardening, urban sketching, reading on a wide range of topics, and bicycling to area coffee shops in search of the perfect latte.  Karen is a past member of the National Association of Social Workers Arizona Chapter Board of Directors, and currently enjoys volunteering for community projects in her neighborhood.

    kVoyer-Caravona's picture
    Fidelity Reviewer (Arizona)
    Behavioral Health Program
    928.814.8497
  • Darlene Williams

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      Darlene Williams is an Administrative Assistant III for the WICHE Mental Health Program. She brings over 25 years of experience serving the non-profit and quasi-governmental sector. She has served in several capacities for agricultural, heritage, multicultural, arts and health service organizations as administrator, events and project manager, and corporate secretary. As an arts educator, mentor and consultant, she has extensive experience working in a variety of public and private educational settings in urban, rural and remote communities throughout Western Canada. Long active in the community, Ms. Williams has served on a number of non-profit boards, leading initiatives to increase the accessibility of arts education for everyone.

    dwilliams's picture
    Administrative Assistant III
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0311
  • Stefanie Winfield

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      Stefanie Winfield is a Research and Technical Assistance Associate with the Behavioral Health Program. Her work at WICHE focuses on the Mental Health Technical Transfers Center’s work providing intensive technical assistance and training to elementary schools. Stefanie comes to WICHE with extensive experience working in schools promoting youth sexual health, conflict and angry management, behavioral health education, and school-based health care. With over 17 years of experience working with nonprofits and community organizations, Stefanie has done everything from grant management and implementation, to program and outcome evaluation, training and facilitation. Stefanie received her BSW from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and her MSW from the University of Denver. She has also completed certificates in the Advanced Study of Program Evaluation, Accelerated Learning, E-learning Design and Organization Development.

    swinfield's picture
    MHTTC Research and Technical Assistance Coordinator
    Behavioral Health Program
    303.541.0225