Behavioral Health Administration Advisory Council

 
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Collage of three photos of diverse people in Colorado with different identities and in varying settings

The Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) invites Coloradans with lived behavioral health experience to co-create and inform the BHA’s vision and strategic plan. The BHA Advisory Council (BHAAC) is a group of people with lived experience who applied for and were selected to ensure there is public accountability and transparency across the activities of the BHA. The inclusion of the BHAAC is codified in legislation and the BHAAC began activities in 2022.

BHAAC meetings are open to the public and are held quarterly. Meeting dates/times, agendas, meeting minutes, membership, and working group information will be posted for future reference. BHAAC’s first meeting was held on Thursday, August 18, 2022, 3pm – 5pm (Mountain Time - Denver). 

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News and Meeting Information
Upcoming meetings

October 26, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm MT: Register Here

December 21, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm MT: Register Here
February 23, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm MT: Register Here
April 24, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm MT: Register Here
June 14, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm MT: Register Here

Submit a question or comment

BHAAC meetings are open to the public. Any questions or comments regarding the BHA can always be directed to this form in English / form in Spanish.

Meeting resources

 

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About the BHAAC
Council members
  • Racquel Garcia (she/her)

Racquel’s background includes building five grassroots organizations and businesses from the ground up,coaching clients one-on-one, and cultivating other coaches to build their best lives. Raquel has experience presenting and training organizations and donors to de-stigmatize and educate on the reality of overcoming substance misuse, systemic and familial obstacles, advocating for underserved populations. She speaks on racial equity, power of peer/coaching professionals, and criminal justice reform. She leads the first and only peer-led organization in Colorado that serves the entire state with virtual coaching and programming. 

  • Jessie Pocock (she/her) 

Jessie Pocock is a queer activist and social sector leader committed to the empowerment of young people, young people’s voices, and young peoples’ health. She has been committed to making sure teens and young adults have a safe space where they can go and meet trustworthy people, gain skills and help launch them into the next phase of their lives. Jessie currently leads the only non-profit in El Paso County that serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning youth. 

  • Dr. Stacey Oberly (she/her) 

Dr. Stacey Oberly is an enrolled member of the Southern Ute Tribe, located in the Southwestern corner of Colorado and serves as a tribal council member.. She  has been a Ute language, endangered languages, and Indigenous cultural activist for over thirty years. Dr. Oberly is a strong proponent for regenerating endangered languages, linguistic and social justice, and building proactive and protective cultural identity and spirituality. She has three wonderful children, and in her free time, she enjoys beading Ute style moccasins and designing/sewing Ute traditional clothing.

  • Selwyn Whiteskunk

Selwyn Whiteskunk is a Tribal Council Representative at Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.

  • Noor Shafi (she/her)

Noor has 12 years of professional experience in human services, where she assists people with behavioral health challenges to navigate the system and live better lives. She has lived experience with mental health challenges personally, as well as through supporting members of her family. As a first-generation American, Noor has a deep understanding of how social inequality and cultural barriers can create struggles in accessing mental health support. She is honored to be a part of the BHAAC and excited to support people who live in Colorado.

  • Seth Watkins (he/him)

Seth Watkins has been a Peer Specialist for the past 12 years. For 5 years, Seth worked with Aurora Mental Health Center on the Ascent Team, working with first episode psychosis youth ages 15 to 29. Seth is an openly gay man who has been living with HIV for 22 years. Seth is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, major depression, generalized anxiety, trauma, and PTSD. Seth is originally from Grand Junction, CO, and has a dog named Fear.

  • K. Ron-Li Liaw (she/her)

Dr. K. Ron-Li Liaw is the Cannon Y. & Lyndia Harvey Chair in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Chair of the Pediatric Mental Health Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Dr. Liaw is a Professor, Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and Division Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She serves as the inaugural Mental Health In-Chief at Colorado Children’s Hospital to help shape and oversee child mental health vision and strategy, operations, quality, safety, and workforce development system-wide. Dr. Liaw is a 2021-2022 Aspen Institute Ascend Fellow, a leader  who are moving ideas to action for children and families in the U.S. and co-designing new care paradigms that give all children the opportunity to thrive, learn, feel safe, known, and loved.

  • Ash Annan (she/her)

Ash Annan is a Denver native and first-generation Ghanaian-American. Ash is currently working with Project Include through CU Denver, providing assistive technology for early childhood educators who are implementing universal design models in the learning space. She has worked as a victim’s advocate in Colorado and experienced how proper mental health intervention can change a life for the better, as well as how a lack of or flawed intervention can devastate a life both personally and professionally. Ash is very honored and excited to serve on BHAAC!

  • Jamie Ulrich (she/her)

Jamie Ulrich, has been a strong and vocal advocate for behavioral health services for children and youth  in her role as Director of the Weld County Department of Human Services. She has witnessed firsthand the devastating effects an inefficient behavioral health system can have on families. Jamie has worked with community leaders and lawmakers to identify gaps within the system and strategize on system reform. Jamie has testified many times in front of the legislature, sharing real-life experiences of children in the child welfare system, who are often traumatized repeatedly by the lack of appropriate and consistent behavioral health services.

  • Cameron Vigil-DeTello (she/her) 

Cameron DeTello currently works at a national nonprofit where she leads young adult programming and trains diverse young adult leaders on public policy. Cameron runs a  local scholarship program dedicated to financially supporting students in Pueblo, CO who are interested in pursuing higher education and reducing mental health stigma and youth suicide. Cameron most recently served on Mental Health America's 2020-21 Young Mental Health Leaders Council. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Executive Committee for the Colorado State Youth Council (SYC), a sub-committee of the Education & Training Steering Committee of the Colorado Workforce Development Council (CWDC).

  • Tasha Koncar (they/them)

Tasha is a resident of El Paso County and a lifelong brain injury survivor, suicide survivor, and survivor of our state’s human services systems, mental health services, and the criminal justice system. Tasha is a proud member of CDHS’ Family Voice Council and aims to use their voice to help accomplish and implement change to improve quality of life for all humans. Tasha wants to help build trust within our state's systems and services, and be the tar that fills the cracks in Colorado’s systems.

  • Robert "Bob" Dorshimer (he/him)

Bob has a long history of leading holistic and innovative prevention and treatment techniques for alcohol and other drug use. He has worked with populations including at-risk youth, the unhoused, and HIV positive communities. Dorshimer is dedicated to continued improvement of the quality of life of those struggling with substance use and other mental health needs. He is the proud adoptive parent of three children with special needs.

  • Karyn ReNae Anderson (she/her)

At the age of 27, Karyn was an artist and graphic designer and lost her sight due to complications wit certain medications.  Karyn took what could have been a debilitating prognosis and became a force for good, as  a patient rights advocate for the needs of the visually impaired in Eagle County, statewide, and nationally.  Karyn has served as the National Federation of the Blind Chapter President, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition Advisory Council Member, and patient advocate on the Mountain Family Health Centers Board of Directors. According to Karyn, while being blind has changed her approach to some of life’s challenges, “I just do all things that anyone else would do. I do what I love. There is nothing I can’t do unless I choose not to do it.”

  • Rana Shaner (she/her)

Rana served on the Long Term Competency Subcommittee of the Behavioral Health Task Force as a representative with lived experience. She is also serving her second term on the Mental Health Advisory Board, relating to 27-65 or civil commitment. It is such an honor for her to be involved in this work. She has been involved in her community through the Zero Suicide Task Force, Health Equity Advocacy Team, suicide prevention coalitions, peer volunteer, board membership, and patient advisory at a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Rana began her recovery over four decades ago and has made many observations, both beneficial and harmful, regarding the intersection of various systems. Her life mantra is “Spread good and be ornery, too.” Rana enjoys working on creative projects and slab pottery.

  • Kathryn Washington (she/her) 

Kathryn Washington is passionate about science and is using it to improve the lives of those around her.  By combining this passion with her expertise as an Army veteran, public health professional, and consultant, she advocates for underserved communities through grassroots efforts. As a disabled veteran, Kathryn believes it is her responsibility to contribute by raising awareness about disease and disability, Sarcoidosis, addiction, trauma, suicide prevention and mental health. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, loves the snow, and finds time for meditation, healing arts, and nature.

  • Tina Rowe (she/her) 

Tina was diagnosed with Bipolar 1 at the age of 14. Much later she learned, through the support of others with lived experience, that your diagnosis is not who you are, but only a part of your journey. Thankful for that support, she started a journey to help others. She currently serves as a full-time Advocate with Solvista Health for Fremont, Custer, Chaffee, and Lake counties. Tina has also implemented a client store to provide free ready items to meet the needs of clients in crisis. It is Tina’s hope that through sharing her story, she will decrease stigma and increase the opportunity for others to gain access to services that improve their overall wellness. Autism advocacy is a part of Tina’s daily world and something that is close to her heart. Married for 25 years to a patient man, Tina has 3 children who are the light of her life and have taught her so many things.

  • Carolyn Hall (she/he) 

Carolyn Hall has worked in all positions of Peer Specialist services over the last 21 years. In addition to serving on BHAAC, Carolyn chairs the Aurora Mental Health Client Advisory Council to enhance its services for individuals. She enjoys volunteering and serving on committees dedicated to developing and improving services for vulnerable populations . She loves spending time with her family, gardening, trampoline parks, and taking care of her dog in her spare time.

  • Maria Martinez

Maria Martinez has worked in the fields of education, domestic violence, and substance use and served in multiple roles including Support Group Leader, Peer Mentor and Advocate. Maria was in a motorcycle accident in 2007 and sustained a brain injury. She  went on to serve as Director of a non-profit called Re-Inspired Minds/Pueblo Brain Injury, LLC. as well as Co-Chair of the Colorado Department Human Services/MINDSOURCE Brain Injury Network. Maria is currently a member of The National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS) and the Traumatic Brain Injury Technical Assistance and Resource Center (TBI TARC).

  • Robert Archuleta (he/him)

Rob has been an agent of recovery for over seventeen years. He has worked in all aspects of addiction services from prevention and detoxification units to residential treatment and setting up recovery homes. Rob has created and co-founded innovative recovery programs, and his approach to recovery through fitness has been highlighted in various books and magazines. Rob is a plant-based athlete and six-time Ironman triathlete, and  is married and has two dogs, Oakley and Kato.  

  • Andrea Sivanich 

Andrea Sivanich is the Criminal Justice Programs Unit Manager for the State of Colorado Judicial Department. Dr. Sivanich began her career building teams as a volunteer Soldier and Family Readiness Group Leader, a coffee industry supervisor, and a non-profit team member and assistant director. Before joining the State Court Administrator’s Office, Dr. Sivanich worked in Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District from 2015 to 2021 as the Volunteer Mental Health Court Liaison and as a Problem-Solving Court Coordinator for the Family Treatment Court and Recovery Court programs. Dr. Sivanich actively serves her local, state, and military communities to impact systems through collaboration and innovation.

Member responsibilities
  • Providing diverse community input on challenges, gaps, and potential solutions to inform the BHA's vision and strategic plan

  • Providing expertise, on-the-ground perspective, and insights on implementation challenges as part of working groups to support the BHA in problem solving and developing solutions

  • Ensuring there is public accountability and transparency through reviewing the BHA's public-facing activities