Speakers

Christal Badour, Kalea Benner, Cassie Brown, Anu Challa, William Elder, Robert Franko, Fareesh Kanga, Karen Lawrence, Donna Schuman, Tara Stanfield, Deborah Stanley, Ann Vail, Pamela Weeks, Jeffrey Yarvis

Christal Badour, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky

Dr. Badour is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Kentucky. Her research is focused on identifying and understanding mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of psychopathology following traumatic experiences. Much of this work involves examining the role of affective expression and regulation in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a particular emphasis on moral emotions such as disgust, shame, and guilt.

Dr. Badour is interested in identifying unique and shared processes underlying symptoms of PTSD and commonly comorbid concerns including substance abuse, sexual dysfunction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and chronic pain. Her work is increasingly focused on identifying specific mediators and moderators of treatment change in order to enhance existing interventions and to guide development of new targeted interventions aimed at improving outcomes for patients with trauma-related psychopathology. Although she is interested in trauma broadly, much of her research has been conducted among women with histories of interpersonal trauma (i.e., sexual and physical assault and abuse) and US military veterans with a history of combat exposure.

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Kalea Benner, PhD, MSW, LCSW

Director of Undergraduate Studies
University of Kentucky, College of Social Work
Lexington, Kentucky

Kalea Benner, PhD, is the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Benner is a licensed clinical social worker whose practice interests include child welfare and the connected intersectionality of mental health and substance misuse. Dr. Benner’s research interests reflect her practice experiences as well as influences on student engagement and academic success. Her work emphasizes inter-professional education and program efficacy, particularly as they relate to student learning, reflecting her value of multi-disciplinary perspectives on student success.

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Cassie Brown, MSW, LCSW

Drug and Alcohol Educator
Eastern State Hospital
Lexington, Kentucky

Cassie Brown LCSW is currently in clinical practice with adults with severe mental illness in an acute setting at Eastern State Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. She received her MSW from the University of Denver in 2010. She has been involved in developing, evaluating, and delivering evidence-based programming and groups for patients with co-occurring substance use disorders since 2015. She works with representatives of multiple disciplines to improve the outcomes for those she serves.

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Anu Challa, MD

Director of Substance Abuse Program
Sterling Health Solutions
Mount Sterling, Kentucky

Dr. Anu Challa graduated from St. John’s Medical College and completed her Psychiatry residency through Michigan State University. Dr. Challa is Board Certified through the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She brings with her over ten years of experience in the Behavioral Health and Psychiatric fields and serves as the Director of Sterling Health Solutions’ Substance Abuse Program. In her spare time, Dr. Challa enjoys spending time with her teenage daughter and performing and recording Traditional music.

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William Elder, PhD

Professor and Director of Behavioral Science
Department of Family and Community Medicine
University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Lexington, Kentucky

Dr. Elder is a Professor and Director of Behavioral Science in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. As a clinical psychologist he sees patients with a full range of mental disorders. He trained at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, then completed a fellowship in neuropsychology and rehabilitation at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, where he became very interested in the psychological aspects of medical conditions. Finding his home in Family Medicine, he has served departments in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Kentucky. He has led or co led research and educational projects funded in excess of seven million dollars and served on multiple regional and national advisory panels for education and research. As a native Texan he thought he would never leave, but he and his family have come to love Kentucky where the sky is just as blue and the topography is much more interesting. Since staying in Kentucky, he has transitioned from Dallas Cowboy silver blue and now bleeds Kentucky blue, even during the final four. When not working, you’ll probably find him pursuing his latest home improvement project or traveling with his wife Honey. He is always willing to trade home remodeling tips and is currently looking for a good drywall installer.

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Robert Franko, CEO

Chief Executive Officer
HealthFirst Bluegrass
Lexington, Kentucky

Bob Franko is Chief Executive Officer of HealthFirst Bluegrass, a community health center serving central Kentucky. Previously, Bob worked at Cherokee Health Systems in Knoxville, TN, and at Porter-Starke Services, a community mental health center in Valparaiso, IN. Bob has worked in health care since 1991. He graduated from Purdue University with both his undergrad and MBA degrees. He has been published in a text about health disparities in Appalachia, was the chief author of a study of New Hampshire’s health system, consulted with the Dr. David Satcher Health Leadership Institute, and worked with a number of State health administrators.

Bob has worked with over 4,000 health care professionals on the integration of primary and behavioral health, in over 200 organizations in 49 states. He has presented at a number of national and state conferences on integrated care, and consulted with dozens of Primary Care Associations, managed care organizations, and state administrators on the model. Bob also served as chairman of the HealthLinc (Valparaiso, IN) Community Health Center board of directors, as well as with a number of other non-profits supporting homelessness prevention, mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence.

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Fareesh Kanga, MD

Director of Psychiatry
HealthFirst Bluegrass
Lexington, Kentucky

Fareesh Hobbs Kanga, MD is currently the Director of Psychiatry at HealthFIRST Bluegrass (HFB), a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC), in Lexington, Ky. She has both administrative and clinical responsibilities, particularly in integrating behavioral health with primary care and school-based mental health. Dr. Kanga is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She completed her general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry training at the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, Ky. She is a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for both general and child and adolescent psychiatry. She currently serves as Vice-President of the Board of Directors for NAMI, Lexington.

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Karen Lawrence, PhD, CSW

Assistant Professor
University of Kentucky College of Social Work
Lexington, Kentucky

Dr. Karen Lawrence is an Assistant Professor in the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. She has an interdisciplinary background in biomedical science and mental health social work. The goal of her research program is to improve mental health outcomes in traumatized populations and advance understanding of trauma-related disorders to improve prevention and treatment. Current projects and interests include evaluation of biopsychosocial outcomes from a novel civic service health promotion intervention on diverse subgroups of reintegrating military veterans, identifying treatment-resistant symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, and understanding trauma-related disorders/symptomatology across the life course.

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Donna Schuman, LCSW, MSW, PhD

Assistant Professor
University of Kentucky College of Social Work
Lexington, Kentucky

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Tara Stanfield, MPA, MSW, LCSW

Director of Integrated Care
HealthFirst Bluegrass, Inc
Lexington, Kentucky

Tara Stanfield’s professional development has provided the right experience to effectively capture the Triple Aim. As an LCSW providing direct clinical service to health fragile populations, she learned all too well the challenges facing not only her patients but also those who wish to improve population health. Tara’s work in behavioral health led to her passion for design and build of multi-discipline teams and integrated treatment models. From opening her own behavioral health clinic, co-located in a primary care practice, to designing specialty clinical teams assisting hospital and primary care staff in service delivery, she has pushed the topic of integration at every opportunity.

With a degree in Public Administration and years of experience managing and transforming large teams and budgets, Tara understands it takes a motivated staff to deliver the Triple Aim. As a member of MINT (Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers), Tara is an expert in evoking growth and change in both staff and patients. It’s her belief that better care for individuals, improved population health, and reduced healthcare cost is achieved by inspired staff who are willing to work together. Helping organizations grow inspiration is nothing short of a passion for this administrator.

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Deborah Stanley, MD

Medical Director
HealthFirst Bluegrass INC
Lexington, Kentucky

Deborah Stanley, MD is a practicing Pediatrician in Lexington, KY. Dr. Stanley graduated from University of Kentucky College of Medicine in 1978 and has been in practice for 38 years. She completed a residency at University of Kentucky Medical Center. Dr. Stanley also specializes in Adolescent Medicine. She currently practices at HealthFirst Blue Grass INC and is affiliated with Saint Joseph Hospital and UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Stanley accepts multiple insurance plans including Aetna, Medicare and Cigna. Dr. Stanley is board certified in Pediatrics. Dr. Stanley also practices at Healthfirst Bluegrass Inc in Lexington, KY.

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Ann Vail, PhD, MS

Interim Dean
College of Social Work
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky

Dr. Ann Vail is Director of the School of Human Environmental Sciences, Assistant Director of Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, and Interim Dean of the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Prior to coming to Kentucky she was Department Head for two departments at New Mexico State University—Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and Department of Extension Home Economics. She held faculty positions in Family and Consumer Sciences Education at Iowa State University, University of Idaho, and Ohio State University. She has a PhD and MS from Ohio State University and a BS from Colorado State University in Family and Consumer Sciences Education.

Dr. Vail’s publications include three books, numerous refereed publications, abstracts, proceedings and technical reports. Her books include: Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Family and Personal Relationships—an issues-based book used in college courses across the country; Taking Sides Instructors Guide; and an AAFCS Yearbook titled Leadership for Change: National Standards for Family and Consumer Sciences Education.

Dr. Vail has secured more than $42,000,000 in external support for research, program development and evaluation, and outreach initiatives. Her research emphasis has been leadership development and teacher change. Her program development and evaluation efforts have focused on building strong families in the areas of marriage education, parenting education, and nutrition education. Currently, she serves as Principal Investigator for the following grants: 1) National Coordination Center for Regional Nutrition Education Centers of Excellence; 2) UK Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education; 3) Collaborative Environment Approaches to Reduce Obesity Disparities in Kentucky; and 4) Rural Child Poverty Nutrition Center.

Currently, she serves as secretary on the Board of Directors for the Community Action Council for Lexington-Fayette, Bourbon, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties. Dr. Vail represents higher education on the Board of Directors for the Board of Human Sciences. She is an active member of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Kentucky Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, Kentucky Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, the Board of Human Sciences Executive Board, and the Council of Administrators for Family and Consumer Sciences. She holds membership in three honor societies—Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Omicron Nu, and Phi Upsilon Omicron.

In 2006 Dr. Vail was awarded the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Leader Award. In 1997, Ohio State University recognized her as one of their Outstanding 100 Human Ecology Alumni of the Past 100 Years.

As Director of the School, Dr. Vail has lead the school in efforts to establish the Kentucky Academy in Adjeikrom, Ghana; create a University of Kentucky tradition through the development of the official UK Plaid; and create Building Strong Families County Profiles for all of Kentucky’s 120 counties.

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Pamela Weeks, JD, MSW

Director of Field Education
Assoc. Clinical Professor
University of Kentucky College of Social Work
Lexington, Kentucky

Pamela Weeks, JD, MSW, received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Florida, her M.S.W. from the University of Kentucky, and her doctorate in Law from the University of Kentucky. She is the Director of Field Education and a Clinical Associate Professor in the College. Her areas of interest and teaching include behavioral health, child welfare, the intersection of law and social work, and professional development. She is the principal investigator on two Title IV-E child welfare projects, and the co-investigator on a HRSA Integrated Behavioral Health grant and a SAMHSA Screening and Brief Intervention for substance abuse grant.

As Director of Field Education and PI/Co-I on workforce development grants and contracts, Pam collaborates with multiple community and university partners to prepare students for professional practice in an increasingly inter-professional workplace. She has been actively involved in community and professional service on non-profit boards, including Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Child Advocacy Today, Mediation Center of Kentucky, and Specialized Alternatives for Family and Youth, and on many advisory committees and task force groups related to child welfare, mental health and law.

Pam has 25 years of experience in child welfare, mental health, education, and legal practice settings. Most recently, she was an Administrative Hearing Officer for the Kentucky Department of Education in due process hearings for children with disabilities, rotating chairperson and member of the Exceptional Children Appeals Board, and managing partner of a private mediation firm.

Pam has presented at numerous national, international and regional conferences on topics related to her areas of interest.

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Jeffrey Yarvis, PhD, LCSW, BCD, ACSW

Deputy Commanding Officer
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center
Fort Hood, Texas

COL Jeffrey S. Yarvis, PhD, LCSW, BCD, ACSW a published social work and military scholar in the field of psychological trauma for 30 years, has practiced internationally with disaster, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, accident, and war-induced trauma across many different cultures and populations. He has conducted international research and partnerships in Canada, Iraq, Germany, Ukraine and Romania on issues related to PTSD and presented his work to over 100 national and international conferences. He has received numerous honors for his humanitarian efforts to include 2015 Top 100 Executives Under 50, 2008 Uniformed Services Social Worker of the Year, 2008 U.S. Army Social Worker of the Year, 1997 ISTSS/TX Mental Health Professional of the Year, Randolph High School (NJ) Hall of Fame, and numerous decorations to include the Bronze Star Medal, Combat Action Badge, induction into the Order of Military Medical Merit. He received the US Army’s Alpha Proficiency Designator as a professor and military scholar in social work. COL Yarvis is adjunct faculty for University of Southern California, Texas State University, Texas A&M-Central Texas, University of Texas –San Antonio, and Institute for Clinical Social Work. He is currently the Deputy Commander of one of the Army’s premier medical centers and is awaiting taking command of the 21st Combat Support Hospital where he will be the first social worker to ever command a hospital. COL Yarvis earned his Bachelor's Degree from Indiana University, Masters in Education from Cambridge College, Masters in Social Work from Boston College, and PhD is Social Work from the University of Georgia. COL Yarvis is currently working on a Master’s in National Strategic Studies from the US Army War College and a Masters in Executive Leadership from Norwich University.

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