Alcides Amador, MD
TCHATT Medical Director, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Dr. Alcides Amador is a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the UTRGV School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. He is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist in both Adult and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Amador is also the Medical Director of the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) under the Texas Child Mental Health Consortium at UTRGV where he provides telemedicine-based behavioral health services.
Taiwo Babatope, MD, MPH, MBA
Assistant Professor, Associate Fellowship Training Director
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Taiwo Babatope, MD , MPH, MBA serves as associate program director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Program and Director of the Autism Spectrum disorders and Neurodevelopmental specialty clinic. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a telemedicine-based provider with the UTHealth Houston Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN). Babatope earned her doctor of medicine degree from The College of Medicine, University of Lagos and obtained master’s degrees in public health (MPH) and in business administration (MBA) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She completed her residency and fellowship training at the McGovern Medical School at UT Health Houston where she served as chief fellow during her final year. Babatope has been active on numerous committees and has been the recipient of several awards, including the AACAP Educational Outreach Program Award, David Mendell Fellowship award in Family Therapy, APA/APAF Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship Award, AACAP Systems of Care Special Program Clinical Projects Award, and the Cynthia W. Santos Best Clinician Educator Inaugural Award. Babatope has a special interest in early childhood disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disabilities.
Diana Chapa, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Dr. Chapa obtained her MD at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1995. She is an assistant professor of Psychiatry at the UTRGV School of Medicine and is double boarded in Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Chapa completed her Psychiatry internship and residency at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Affiliated Hospitals from July 1995 to June 1998. She then trained in the same institution for a Child and Adolescent Fellowship from July 1998 to June 2000. With her return to the RGV, Dr. Chapa’s goal is to make a positive impact to our community through her resident teachings and supervision.
David Farmer, PhD, LPC, LMFT
Executive Director of Interprofessional Practice and Behavioral Health (IPEP)
The University of North Texas Health Science Center
Dr. David Farmer is the Founding Director of the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Institutional Department of Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPEP). He has helped develop a culture of interprofessional collaboration across UNTHSC’s programs in medicine, pharmacy, health professions, public health, and biomedical sciences. He has led in the establishment of interprofessional education partnerships with Texas Christian University, The University of Texas Arlington, Texas Woman’s University, and Texas Wesleyan University to allow for collaboration across eleven health professions. Dr. Farmer leads initiatives in interprofessional faculty and clinical preceptor development. As a faculty member in the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Farmer works with medical students in the development of their clinical communication skills. He co-leads an HSC institutional initiative in emotional intelligence recognition and development with students, faculty, and staff. As a Clinical Executive with HSC’s SaferCare Texas, he participates in patient safety initiatives, focusing on team development and the creation of psychological safety. A Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Farmer came to UNTHSC with twenty-three years’ experience in the clinical practice of counseling psychology. Dr. Farmer received his PhD in Counseling and master’s degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Sonja Gaines, MBA
Deputy Executive Commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services
Health and Human Services Commission
Sonja Gaines is the Deputy Executive Commissioner for Intellectual and Developmental Disability and Behavioral Health Services. She came to Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) in 2014 as the first Associate Commissioner for Mental Health Coordination. In 2016, she assumed leadership responsibility for the policy and delivery of community-based services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and behavioral health conditions. During her tenure at HHSC, Commissioner Gaines spearheaded the development of the first Statewide Behavioral Health Strategic Plan as well as the first IDD Strategic Plan, eliminated the outpatient waitlist has been eliminated, and oversaw the more than $200 million of behavioral health services implemented through the Texas Opioid Response federal grant and mental health matching grant programs. She previously served as Chief of Mental Health Services with My Health My Resources of Tarrant County, the second largest community mental health center in Texas. She holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Texas Women’s University.
Wayne Goodman, MD
D.C. and Irene Ellwood Professor and Chair Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Baylor College of Medicine
Wayne Goodman, MD, D.C and Irene Ellwood Professor and Chair of the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, specializes in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for intractable psychiatric illnesses. He is the principal developer of the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), the gold standard for assessing OCD, and co-founder of the International OCD Foundation, the major advocacy group for patients with OCD. Prior to joining Baylor, he held senior administrative positions at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, NIMH and the University of Florida. He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Electrical Engineering, received his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine and completed his internship, residency, and research fellowship at Yale School of Medicine where he remained on faculty for 7 years. He has received numerous awards, published over 300 peer-reviewed papers and has a longstanding record of extramural research funding and is currently Principal Investigator on three grants from NIH’s BRAIN initiative.
Hicham Ibrahim, MD
Associate Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Ambulatory Services
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Hicham Ibrahim, MD, is Associate Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Ambulatory Services at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He completed his medical education at American University of Beirut and his residency in psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical Center and UT Southwestern. He also completed a research fellowship in neuroscience at the University of Michigan and two clinical fellowships in addiction and geriatric psychiatry at UT Southwestern. Dr. Ibrahim has won numerous institutional and national teaching awards, including the American Psychiatric Association Irma Bland Award for teaching residents and Nancy C.A. Roeske Award for teaching medical students. He has published peer-reviewed articles in top journals and is a reviewer for several professional journals.
Trina Ita, MA
Chief Strategist for Behavioral Health
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Trina Ita holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Master’s in Community Agency Counseling. Trina has worked in behavioral health for over 30 years with approximately 13 years of state government service. She began state service with the Department of State Health Services Mental Health and Substance Abuse Division as a program specialist focused on integration of evidence-based practices in the continuum of services with contracted providers and then worked as a team lead on the adult mental health team. She led strategic initiatives as part of the transition from a Resilience & Disease Management (RDM) model of care to a Texas Resilience & Recovery (TRR) system of care until transitioning to the role of contract and operations manager for NorthSTAR Program. She then served as the Director of Programs with responsibility for the mental health service continuum until being selected to serve as the second state mental health coordinator for the Statewide Behavioral Health Coordinating Council and Deputy Associate Commissioner of the Office of Mental Health Coordination. Her most recent post as Associate Commissioner of Behavioral Health Services with the Health and Human Services Commission included responsibility for the state funded behavioral health continuum of care to include mental health, substance use, recovery, prevention and disaster behavioral health services. She started with Department of Family & Protective Services (DFPS) in an interim role as Chief Strategist for Behavioral Health. She began her official tenure with DFPS on 9/1/23 continuing as Chief Strategist for Behavioral Health leading the Office of Behavioral Health Strategy (OBHS) .
Lee Johnson, MPA
Chief Executive Officer
Texas Council of Community Centers
Lee Johnson serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the Texas Council of Community Centers, a state association that represents the 39 community centers of Texas. In this role, Johnson leads legislative strategy, appropriations issues, strategic communications, public policy development and implementation. Prior to joining the Texas Council, he served as legislative director for a state representative and, in the private sector, managed the urban and land use planning efforts of a commercial development firm in Austin, Texas, engaging county and city officials across the state. Johnson holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in public administration and political science from Texas State University.
Andy Keller, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
Dr. Keller is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides high quality, data-driven, nonpartisan policy and program research, development, and advice to state and local leaders with a single goal in mind: to improve mental health care in communities throughout Texas. Andy is a licensed psychologist with more than 20 years of experience in behavioral health policy, financing, and best practices. His work has centered on helping state and local health systems implement evidence-based and innovative care, as well as helping local and state governments develop the regulatory and financial frameworks to support them. Prior to moving full time into policy work, Andy was a managing partner for 15 years at a national behavioral health management consulting firm. Before that, he worked in Colorado at the health plan level with a leading Medicaid HMO and at the provider level with the Mental Health Center of Denver, where he directed and led a range of community-based and care management programs.
David Lakey, MD
Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer
The University of Texas System
David Lakey, M.D. serves as the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at The University of Texas System, and as Senior Advisor to the President and Professor of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center Tyler. Dr. Lakey was the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services from 2007 to 2015. Prior to being appointed commissioner, Dr. Lakey served as the chief of the Division of Clinical Infectious Disease and medical director of the Center for Pulmonary and Infectious Disease Control at the University of Texas Health Center in Tyler. Dr. Lakey is a graduate from Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana University School of Medicine, and completed his internal medicine, pediatrics, and infectious disease training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Israel Liberzon, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology
Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
In 2018 Dr. Liberzon was recruited as founding Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center. Dr. Liberzon’s primary research interest centers on emotions, stress and stress related disorders like PTSD, particularly in the regulation and dysregulation of stress response systems. Prior to that he was an Endowed Professor in the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry and the founder of the PTSD program at the Ann Arbor VAMC, a program that has since grown and remained on the forefront of biological research of PTSD worldwide. He had published over 250 peer reviewed manuscripts, and has authored and edited several books and book chapters.
Sarah Martin, MD
Director, Psychiatry Residency Training Program, Assistant Professor, and Child and Adolescent Division Chief
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso
Dr. Sarah Martin is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso. She is the Division Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and supervises residents and fellows in several different rotations. She is also the medical director of Texas Tech El Paso’s area of responsibility in the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, a 16-county region that extends all the way along the border to Eagle Pass. Dr. Martin attended the University of California at Santa Cruz, for her bachelor’s degree and after graduation served in the Peace Corps for two years, working as a community services specialist. The US Army then awarded her a Health Professions Scholarship to attend Tulane University’s School of Medicine, and upon graduation from medical school, was commissioned as a captain, and started her residency at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and went on to also complete a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry there. She was then transferred to Ft. Knox where she served as the Chief of Behavioral Health for four years, as well as a deployment to Camp Bucca, Iraq, a detainee facility. Her last duty station in the Army was here in Texas at Ft. Bliss. After completing her military obligation, she was the Chief of the Child and Family Behavioral Health Service at Ft. Bliss for two years before joining Texas Tech in 2015.
Octavio Martinez, Jr., MPH, MD
Senior Associate VP & Executive Director
Hogg Foundation for Mental Health and Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, UT Austin
Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., F.A.P.A., is Executive Director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Martinez also holds an appointment of Senior Associate Vice-President within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and as a Professor of Psychiatry at the UT Austin Dell Medical School. Dr. Martinez has a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University’s School of Public Health, a doctor’s degree in medicine from Baylor College of Medicine, and master’s in business administration from The University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for Preparedness and Response Board of Scientific Counselors and on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s, Health and Medicine Division’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity. Dr. Martinez is a member of the board of directors for Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), and a board member (and former chair) of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA).
Nathan Maxwell, Ed.D.
Associate Executive Director
Region 16 Education Service Center
Nathan Maxwell, Ed.D., currently serves as Associate Executive Director for the Region 16 Education Service Center in Amarillo, Texas. Region 16 ESC comprises sixty-one districts and three charters and covers 26,000 square miles in the Texas Panhandle. Additionally, he is an Adjunct Professor at West Texas A&M University, teaching curriculum and instruction and principal certification courses. Previously, Maxwell served as Superintendent in Ralls, Texas, and as Assistant Superintendent, Executive Director, Principal, Assistant Principal, and Teacher in Pampa, Texas. He received his Doctorate of Leadership from Lamar University and a Master of Education and Bachelor of Science from West Texas A&M University. Region 16 is home to the newly developed Texas Center for Student Support, assisting the Texas Education Agency in developing best practices and resources for mental health and whole-child practices.
Assistant Commissioner, Academic and Health Affairs
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
Ms. Elizabeth Mayer joined the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in May 2020 as its Director of Policy and in February 2022, became its Assistant Commissioner for Academic and Health Affairs. Ms. Mayer leads the Academic Health Affairs (AHA) Division, which provides leadership, guidance, expertise, and resources to improve the efficiency and quality of higher education in Texas. The AHA Division promotes the goals of the agency’s refreshed strategic plan, Building a Talent Strong Texas, and facilitates collaborative solutions with Texas higher education institutions. Under her leadership, the division develops new degree and certificate programs that are responsive to workforce needs, encourages quality and equity across the higher education landscape, and drives student completion. AHA is also responsible for the administration and management of more than $200 million in grant funding to support Texas public higher education. Ms. Mayer began her career in higher education at the Coordinating Board in 2008 as a Program Director. In 2013, she joined the staff at UT System where she served as a Senior Research and Policy Analyst focusing on issues of affordability, dual credit, transfer, and educator preparation. Ms. Mayer has a Master’s in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Seton Hall University.
Tarrah Mitchell, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Dr. Tarrah Mitchell is an Assistant Professor and Licensed Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC). She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology at the University of Kansas and her pre-doctoral and post-doctoral training in Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology at the University of Florida. Dr. Mitchell provides evidence-based psychological services for children, adolescents, and families in West Texas through outpatient services at TTUHSC and through the Campus Alliance for Telehealth Resources (CATR) and Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) programs. Dr. Mitchell's program of research aims to understand the bidirectional relationships among youth’s physical, psychological, social, and academic functioning and their health behaviors. Dr. Mitchell's teaching interests include evidence-based assessment and intervention of psychopathology in children and adolescents. Dr. Mitchell also values supervising clinicians who are training in practicum placements in clinical child and pediatric psychology as they are developing skills for independent practice.
Charles B Nemeroff, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry
The University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School
Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD, is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Nemeroff served for nine years as chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Florida. He has also served as president of the American College of Psychiatrists (ACP) and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). His research is focused on the pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders with a focus on the role of child abuse and neglect as a major risk factor. He has also conducted research on the role of mood disorders as a risk factor for major medical disorders including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. (Neurobiology) degrees at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine.
D. Jeffrey Newport, MD, MS, MDiv
Professor of Psychiatry and Women’s Health
The University of Texas at Austin, Dell Medical School
D. Jeffrey Newport is Professor of Psychiatry and Women’s Health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School where he serves as Associate Chair for Research for the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Director of Women’s Reproductive Mental Health of Texas. He also serves as Associate Director of the Texas Childhood Trauma Research Network. Dr. Newport completed a graduate theological degree before receiving his medical degree from the University of South Carolina. He subsequently completed psychiatric residency and a master’s degree in clinical research at Emory University. His awards include the NARSAD Independent and Young Investigator Awards, Young Faculty Award from the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education, the Society of Biological Psychiatry’s Lilly Fellowship, the American College of Psychiatrists’ Laughlin Fellowship, and the Distinguished Physician Alumnus Award from the University of South Carolina. He has published in leading journals across numerous specialties including JAMA, American Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Neurology, and Pediatrics. Dr. Newport’s research focuses on women’s mental health with an emphasis on the psychobiology of perinatal psychiatric disorders, psychotropic pharmacokinetics during pregnancy and lactation, and the persistent biobehavioral impact of childhood trauma and other early life adverse experiences.
Brittney Nichols, MBA, LPC-S
Administrative Director, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler
Brittney Nichols, MBA, LPC-S, is the Administrative Director of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler. She earned her MBA from and her MA in Counseling Psychology from The University of Texas at Tyler, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (Supervisor). Nichols is on the Board of the Tyler chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Tyler), is Co-Chair of the Tyler Out of Darkness Walk with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and serves on the Texas Suicide Prevention Council.
Rene Olvera, MD, MPH
Professor and Vice Chair for Community Psychiatry
UT Health San Antonio
Dr. Rene L. Olvera M.D., M.P.H. is the Dielmann Distinguished Professor and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UT Health San Antonio. Dr. Olvera completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University, his medical school and psychiatry residency training were completed at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and he completed a child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at UT Health San Antonio. After joining the faculty, Dr. Olvera obtained a Master of public health degree through UTHSC-Houston, San Antonio campus. He is dually board certified in Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and divides his time between administration, patient care, research, and teaching. He has been an investigator on numerous NIMH funded studies with a research focus on the clinical expression of mood disorders and potential biomarkers of risk moderated by genetic and environmental risk and ascertained through neuroimaging. Dr. Olvera’s past leadership roles include serving as a member of the Texas Juvenile Justice Board of Directors, the Medical Director for Clarity Child Guidance Center /UT outpatient services, the Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Chief Medical Officer for the Center for Health Care Services, and the Vice-Chair for Community Psychiatry.
Steven Pliszka, MD
Chair, Psychiatry & Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
UT Health San Antonio
Steven R. Pliszka, M.D. is Dielmann Distinguish Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. His research has focused on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and related disorders. Dr. Pliszka is the author of “Neuroscience for the Mental Health Clinician, 2nd ed.” and “Treating ADHD and Comorbid Disorders (Guilford Press). He has been very active in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, authoring the academy’s practice parameters for the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD in 2007. Dr. Pliszka has an active clinical practice, caring for many children and adolescents with ADHD and other psychiatric disorders; he also serves as the attending psychiatrist for two residential facilities for children with severe behavioral and emotional disorders.
Alan Podawiltz, DO, MS
Chair of Psychiatry
The University of North Texas Health Science Center
Dr. Podawiltz is the Acclaim Service line Chief of Behavioral Health and Chair of Psychiatry for John Peter Smith Health Network and the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNTHSC TCOM). In addition to the Chair role he has served in numerous roles including Residency Director at TTUHSC and John Peter Smith Hospital, Interim Dean UNTHSC TCOM, and serves on various committees as chair or active member from finance, education, clinical programming, patient quality and safety, to admissions. A graduate of the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, he completed his intern year at the Oregon Health Sciences Center in Portland, Oregon and finished his Psychiatry residency at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock (TTUHSC), where he served as the Chief Resident in Psychiatry and completed a Clinical Research Fellowship.
Chief of Staff and Associate Vice President
Texas A&M Health
Olga Rodriguez serves as chief of staff and associate vice president of Texas A&M Health. In this role, she provides leadership and strategic counsel regarding innovation, development and oversight of the strategic health care finance and health care delivery system growth across the Texas A&M Health colleges, and oversees academic operations, campus operations and information technology. Rodriguez has more than 20 years of experience leading change inside federal and state government as well as non-profit organizations. She has served in leadership positions at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and was a key advisor on health care policy, operations and finance. Rodriguez has also held leadership positions at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Office of the Inspector General, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Association of Community Health Centers. Rodriguez has extensive experience working with health care delivery stakeholders in Texas to transform health care policy and finance including managed care organizations, health care provider associations, hospitals, clinics and individual providers. In her role as deputy Medicaid and CHIP director for policy, Rodriguez designed, developed and operationalized new programs and health care delivery models while working with federal partners and state partners to develop the most cost-effective way to fund these new programs.
Scott Schalchlin, JD, M.Ed.
Deputy Executive Commissioner for the HHSC Health and Specialty Care System
Health and Human Services
Scott Schalchlin is the deputy executive commissioner for the HHSC Health and Specialty Care System, where he is responsible for overseeing the operations of 10 state hospitals and 13 state supported living centers (SSLCs) across Texas. Schalchlin previously served as associate commissioner for state supported living centers since 2013, both at the legacy Department of Aging and Disability Services and at the Health and Human Service Commission after transformation. Schalchlin also has served in various leadership roles within intellectual and developmental disability community services and waiver programs and Medicaid managed care programs. He began his career working in direct care at Rusk State Hospital in 1987 and went on to work in direct care at Lubbock SSLC, as treatment coordinator at the Waco Center for Youth, as associate psychologist at StarCare Specialty Health in Lubbock, and as associate psychologist and hostage negotiator for two psychiatric prisons operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Schalchlin has a law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law, a Master of Education from Texas Tech University and a bachelor’s degree from Wayland Baptist University.
Sue Schell, M.A.
Vice President and Clinical Director, Behavioral Health
Sue earned her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She joined Children’s Health in 2014 as the Vice President and Clinical Director of Behavioral Health. Sue’s goal at Children’s has been to increase access points to behavioral health care for children across North Texas so that issues can be identified and treated at a younger age. Early in her work she developed and implemented an integrated behavioral health model of care providing a licensed clinician to accept referrals from the PCP and provide services within their medical home. This work evolved to a school based tele-behavioral health program in 2017 and has most recently expanded to the implementation of the Behavioral Health Integration and Guidance initiative (BHIG) which trains pediatric primary care providers to identify, diagnose and treat mild to moderate behavioral health disorders within the scope of their practice, decreasing the need for referral to limited behavioral health specialists. BHIG includes a new Children’s medical home in South Dallas where we have operationalized a fully integrated collaborative care practice for patients with more complex behavioral health needs. Sue and her team developed the Teen Recovery Program for adolescents with both mental health and substance use disorders, and optimized operations of the Center for Autism Care and Applied Behavioral Analysis to increase patient throughput. She is a frequent community speaker to increase awareness of mental health disorders and services and manages the relationships with the behavioral health inpatient facilities who are part of the Children’s Health Care Network. She’s a member of the Dallas cohort for the Building Community Resilience National Learning Collaborative at George Washington University and serves on the Behavioral Health Leadership Committee with the Children’s Hospital Association. Before joining Children's Health, Sue held regional and national leadership positions in two managed care companies and has experience in community mental health and private practice. Her current community work includes serving on the board of the Dallas chapter of Mental Health America, and on the Student Health Advisory Committee for the Dallas Independent School District.
Chief of School Safety and Security
Texas Education Agency
John P. Scott is currently serving as the Chief of School Safety and Security in the Texas Education Agency. Previously, Scott has served as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the United States Secret Service Dallas/North Texas District. Additionally, Scott has served as Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge for the North Texas Cyber Fraud Task Force, Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge for the Protective Intelligence & Physical Protection Unit in Dallas, and Assistant Special Agent in Charge at the Secret Service Headquarters/Protective Operations Division in Washington, D.C. Scott also served as Special Agent in the Vice Presidential Protective Division and Dignitary Protective Division in Washington, D.C. and in the Houston Field Office. Before joining the Secret Service, Scott was a U.S. Army Field Artillery Officer and Captain where he completed Airborne and the rigorous Ranger schools. Scott earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Texas Tech University, where he was named a Distinguished Military Graduate.
Jair Soares, MD, PhD
Professor & Chair, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences & Executive Director, UT Harris County Psychiatric Center
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Dr. Jair C. Soares is Professor and Chair of the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Pat R. Rutherford, Jr. Chair in Psychiatry at the McGovern Medical School, as well as the Executive Director of UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center. A Board-certified psychiatrist, he also serves as Chief of Psychiatry Services at Memorial Hermann Hospital and LBJ Hospital. Dr. Soares directs the UTHealth Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders, which focuses on the search for the causes and the development of new treatments for mood disorders. Dr. Soares received his medical degree from the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) and completed a general psychiatry residency at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh. He obtained a PhD in medical sciences at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). Dr. Soares has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the psychiatric literature and has held editorial positions on a number of national and international medical journals.
Carol Tamminga, MD
Professor and Chair of Psychiatry
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Dr. Tamminga holds the Lou and Ellen McGinley Distinguished Chair and the McKenzie Chair in Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School; she is the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and the Chief of the Translational Neuroscience Division in Schizophrenia at UTSW. She received her M.D. degree from Vanderbilt University and completed residency training in psychiatry at the University of Chicago. Dr Tamminga was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences in 1998 and has served on several NAM committees in that capacity. The goal of Dr. Tamminga’s research is to examine and understand the mechanisms underlying schizophrenia, especially its most prominent symptoms, psychosis and memory dysfunction, in order to build rational treatments for the illness.
Peter Thompson, MD
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso
Peter M. Thompson, M.D., M.S. is a professor and the Hunt Family Endowed Chair of Psychiatry. He serves as the Director of the Southwest Brain Bank and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at TTUHSC-El Paso.. He completed his psychiatry residency at Tufts University/New England Medical Center and Psychobiology Research Fellowship at the University of California at San Diego. Dr. Thompson founded the Southwest Brain Bank in 2003 and has published his research findings on brain molecular changes in mood disorders, schizophrenia, and alcohol dependence. In his time as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at TTUHSC-El Paso, the department has greatly increased its collaborations with community partners. These partnerships focus on reducing barriers to care and educating medical students and residents on how to treat mental illness, incorporating the language and cultural values of the border population.
Karen Wagner, MD, PhD
Professor and Titus Harris Chair, Psychiatry/Behavioral Science & Professor, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Karen Dineen Wagner, M.D., Ph.D. is the Titus H. Harris Chair, Harry K Davis Professor and Titus Harris Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She is an internationally recognized expert in the pharmacological treatment of childhood mood disorders. Her work has led to the development of evidence-based treatments for children and adolescents with major depression and bipolar disorder. She is Deputy Editor of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Immediate Past President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and past President of the American Association of Directors of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Wagner received her medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and her doctorate in clinical psychology from Temple University in Philadelphia.
Sarah Wakefield, MD
Associate Professor and Chair of Psychiatry
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
Dr. Wakefield is a board-certified adult, child/adolescent, and forensic psychiatrist. She attended medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas and a general psychiatry residency at Louisiana State University School of Medicine in Shreveport. Dr. Wakefield completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry and an additional fellowship in forensic psychiatry also at LSUHealth before joining the faculty at Texas Tech University School of Medicine in 2014. She has served as the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services and the Medical Director of Medical Ethics since 2016. She is currently chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Texas Tech University School of Medicine and is active in providing psychiatric diagnostic and treatment evaluations for families, for adolescents in the juvenile justice system, and for pregnant or post-partum mothers.
Laurel L. Williams, DO
Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Director of Residency Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. CPAN and TCHATT Medical Director for the Centralized Operation Support Hub of the TCMHCC.
Baylor College of Medicine
Laurel L. Williams, DO is an Associate Professor and Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). She is currently serving as Interim Medical Director for the Baylor Psychiatry Clinic. Dr. Williams has expertise in working with youth who self-injure as well as have chronic suicidality in addition to working with adolescents who are pregnant or post-partum and suffering with a mental health disorder. Dr. Williams received her B.S. in Psychobiology along with a Minor in Fine Arts at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. She then completed her medical degree at University of North Texas, Texas School of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Worth Texas. Afterwards she completed both her adult and child and adolescent psychiatry training in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.