July 8, 2020
In this episode we talked with the Project ECHO team based in Alaska, out of the Center for Human Development at the University of Alaska - Anchorage. An ECHO is Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes, and this ECHO is focused on mental health and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Faith Kelly is the Coordinator for this ECHO project, and we also talked to several clinicians that have been involved in the project and working in clinical roles for many years.
Project ECHO AK
What is an ECHO?
Center for Human Developement
Marti Romero, Psy.D., LPC-S
Dr. Romero is a licensed psychologist and the Clinical Director at Assets, Incorporated – a non-profit organization in Anchorage, Alaska that provides treatment and supports to individuals who experience intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DDs) and/or severe and chronic mental illness. She has dedicated her 30 year career to serving this underserved population. Dr. Romero received her B.S. in Sociology from San Diego State University, and her Masters and Doctorate degrees from Alaska Pacific University. She became interested in working with this population while studying for her undergraduate degree as she worked in an institutional setting for individuals who experienced I/DDs and severe behavioral challenges. She started her career doing direct supports and in so doing has developed a passion, and staunch advocacy for the work she does and the people with whom she works.
In 2014/15 Dr. Romero seized the opportunity while completing her doctoral dissertation, to research the training provided to masters level clinicians (or lack thereof), to provide behavioral health services to individuals with I/DDs. In addition to this research, and from her experiences working with and supervising many clinicians over the years, she knew the training was sparse – especially in Alaska. As part of her dissertation, she developed an in depth training curriculum for clinicians who would be willing, and interested in serving this population. She has since utilized this training to assist clinicians, through a variety of venues, gain the skills needed to effectively provide behavioral health services to individuals who experience I/DDs.
Dr. Romero is a life-long Alaskan, who enjoys spending time with family and friends; fishing, camping, hiking, playing softball – generally most things in the great outdoors.
Laronsia ‘Ronnie’ Reynolds
Ronnie was born in Florida and relocated to Anchorage, Alaska, in 1982. She attended Alaska Pacific University and completed her undergraduate degree and obtained a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology.
Ronnie has worked the past 25 years in the non-profit sector performing various roles in Anchorage community health agencies. She has extensive experience working with children and adults who experience varying abilities, diagnosis, and challenging behaviors. She has worked successfully with those experiencing symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, transitions, Dementia, serious mental illness, severe emotional disturbances, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Adapting therapeutic treatment strategies and approaches has been key in her work.
When not working, Ronnie enjoys spending her time with family and friends. She particularly enjoys being in the outdoors during the Summer and Fall seasons. She also enjoys playing sports and all types of word and board games. She believes there is nothing like doing work you are passionate about…….it makes it fun and not just a job.
BreeAnn Davis was born and raised in Alaska. Professionally she has worked for a tribal social service agency for the past 7 years. Personally she is the parent of 4 children, two who experience a co-diagnosis of both a developmental disability and a mental health diagnosis. She has an AAS in Disability Services and a Children’s Behavioral Health endorsement through the University of Alaska. She also has an ACRE certificate and is a certified Career Development Coach. She is currently serving on the advisory board for the National Mental Health and Developmental Disability (MHDD) National Training Center. In her personal time, she loves to garden and volunteer in her community.
Summer LeFebvre’s (LCSW BCBA LBA) 20 years of practice has been focused on working with individuals and families that have experienced complex trauma. Summer is the Clinical Director of the Effective Behavior Intervention (EBI) clinic at the University of Alaska Center for Human Development. The EBI program specializes in providing technical assistance and training in the development and use of person centered applied behavioral science interventions. In her role at the EBI program Summer has worked for six years across urban and rural Alaska within school districts and for health care providers who serve people adults, youth and children experiencing combinations of substance use disorders, behavioral health and developmental disabilities.
Summer has a Master's in Social Work from the University of Alaska, Anchorage in 2005, a postgraduate certificate in Positive Behavioral Support from Northern Arizona University in 2014 and is Licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Alaska.
Faith Brainerd Kelly joined the team at the Center for Human Development in Anchorage, Alaska, in early 2019. After studying fine art at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, Faith headed North to Alaska where she worked in the field of disability support services for nearly 20 years. Raised in a large and loving family in Maine, she is grounded in the values of human rights and self-determination. For the past several years, Faith has served as a board member for the Key Coalition of Alaska, an organization promoting equality for Alaskans who experience disabilities through direct interaction with the state government. As for that art degree – Faith gets creative these days figuring out how to walk 3 dogs without tripping over their leashes.
*Music Credit: Music for our podcast is licensed from Marmoset Music. Artist: Johnny Clay; Song "Looking Down the Road"