Alisha Ross Ramcharitar is the Founder/Chief Drumming Architect of Just Add Rhythm, which takes an interactive and innovative approach to team-building and wellness.
Alisha is also a Remo Endorsed Drum Circle Facilitator and HealthRHYTHMS® facilitator, and a senior accredited DRUMBEAT facilitator. Since 2004, Alisha has been an avid performer of West African drum and dance styles, which fueled her love of rhythm. An accomplished musician with a B.A. from Berklee College of Music and an M.A. from Tufts University, she has since shared her love of the community-building aspects of rhythm and music with thousands and thousands up and down the eastern U.S.
Anna Farrin is an APT Registered Play Therapist, and she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She owns and operates The Healing Playroom in Neptune Beach. Children have a limited verbal ability to communicate how they think and feel about the world. Young children (ages 2-12) most naturally process and share emotionally significant experiences through play. Play is their language. At The Healing Playroom, Registered Play Therapists use the child’s most natural form of communication, instead of asking them to use ours. Play Therapy is a respectful, effective, and developmentally appropriate way to help young children who are experiencing social, emotional, or behavioral problems. Playful expressive art activities are also used to facilitate the healing process for our tween, adolescent, and adult clients.
Bill Carruthers, a nationally known advocate for recovery and the peer support movement, has recently joined Highland Rivers Health as Director of Peer Workforce Development.
Carruthers, who has shared his personal story of addiction, mental illness and his journey to recovery throughout the nation, was most recently director of the peer program for Gateway Behavioral Health Services in Chatham County.
A native of Kansas City, Carruthers, 58, began using alcohol and drugs as a child, and lived a transient life for years, often homeless and moving from city to city all over the country. Eventually landing in Savannah in the 1980s, Carruthers grew tired of substance use and its associated problems and sought treatment eleven years ago. He has lived in recovery ever since, and has become involved in the peer movement in order to share his experience and help others. He became a peer-to-peer facilitator for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) in 2008, and a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) in 2012. In 2016, Carruthers attained the highly specialized Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner (CPRP) credential.
Bobbie O’Connor has 40 plus years of experience as an advocate for social justice. Her education, work and volunteer history have fostered a deep commitment to creating change. One of the many ways she is a change agent is through writing – a path where she can be of service to foster equality for all – standing in her own fullness by using her voice.
Carmen Joyce is an artist, idealist, visionary, instigator, mental health advocate and peer living in recovery (not necessarily in that order). She learned to use art as a healing modality as a teen experiencing deep depression. In 2014 she created the nonproﬁt, I Still Matter.
I Still Matter (ISM) is a peer-run program that works to foster mental and emotional healing through art and creative expression. ISM provides free monthly expressive arts support groups and supportive programming. In 2017 ISM received a Ripple Effect Award from MHA of NEFL for “Innovative Program”. Carmen possesses Bachelor of Science in both Criminology and Sociology along with a Master of Arts degree in Counseling. She has worked in the ﬁeld of mental health over 14 years. She spent twelve of those years working with teens in the role of counselor and teacher.
Senior Medical Science Liaison, OPDC
Courtney Robinson is Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the Lead Care Coordinator for the City of Jacksonville’s Opioid Pilot Program- Project Save Lives. She has worked specifically with the substance abusing population for almost a decade. Her current focus with Project Save Lives is to help change the cultural viewpoints of overdose survivors and link them to appropriate care. She has contributed to numerous NIDA funded research studies and has managed and evaluated multiple SAMHSA funded programs. Her mission is to ensure that practitioners are well equipped to evolve with the changing needs in mental wellness.
Darlene Hall is a Duval County Master Gardener and specializes in the area of growing edible plants.
Deborah Anthony has been providing psychotherapy and psychoeducation since 2002 to families, children and adults inpatient, outpatient and in schools. She practices a holistic and systemic approach and to treat the person in context. treating depression, anxiety, defiance in children and adolescents, family conflict and addiction treatment. She also provides training and consultation to schools and children in the areas of social and emotional development.
Dona Leith is a Licensed Professional Counselor and nationally-certified Recreation Therapist. She is experienced in developing and implementing and managing programs that provide individual, group, and family therapy. She previously worked with veterans at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington DC. She also owned the consulting firm Integrated Professional Eldercare Services, which trained staff of long term care facilities as to state and federal compliance issues. She currently works at Sunshine Health as a LTSS Clinical Trainer where she trains facilities on a variety of mental health topics. She has presented conference topics including Cultural Competency, Depression and Behavioral Management.
Dr. Gracious is currently the Program Director of a new psychiatry training program in Graduate Medical Education at Orange Park Medical Center. She attended Northwestern University in Chicago for her undergraduate and medical education, and completed training in Internal Medicine, Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Pittsburgh, respectively. Prior to her move to Florida last year, she worked in the Mood and Anxiety Disorder Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Adolescent Partial Hospital Program at The Ohio State University. She holds an adjunct associate professor position in clinical psychiatry and in nutrition at The Ohio State University, and is also an adjunct associate at Edward Via College of Medicine. She has engaged in numerous research studies including her own independent work on bone health in those with depression and chronic mental illness, vitamin D deficiency in those with severe mental disorders, metabolic changes and interventions in those taking atypical antipsychotics, and most recently, the use of micronutrients to treat common disorders in youth and adults, including ADHD. She is happy to be here to discuss the role of diet in mental health.
Dr. Natalie Indelicato is an Assistant Professor and Clinical Director with the Jacksonville University Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Qualified Supervisor in the State of Florida. As Clinical Director for the Jacksonville University CMHC program, Dr. Indelicato works with community partners in Northeast Florida that serve as clinical internship sites for CMHC students. Her professional counseling experiences include working with adolescents and emerging adults in Counseling Centers and community agencies in Northeast Florida. Dr. Indelicato enjoys integrating her clinical experience in the classroom through active, experiential, and community based learning.
Dr. Marsha Brown is a Florida licensed psychologist with specializations in forensic and clinical psychology. She has experience in the assessment, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of children, adolescents, adults, and families across a variety of settings. She is currently working in private practice where she conducts forensic psychological evaluations to address a variety of issues related to criminal and family court.
In addition to the above work, Dr. Brown has conducted research related to treatment compliance among individuals court-mandated to receive psychological and substance rehabilitation treatment, and cultural views of mental illness and treatment-seeking. Her research has been presented at several research conferences, including the annual conferences of the European Association of Psychology and Law and the American Psychological Association. Dr. Brown teaches a variety of topics at the university, graduate school, and professional levels, and she is currently on the training faculty of the Crisis Intervention Team program at the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO). Using her years of clinical and research experience, Dr. Brown has developed presentations addressing topics including stress management for various professionals, evaluation bias identification, cultural considerations for working with forensic populations, and assessing a need for further psychological screening in adolescents and adults.
Erica Whitfield is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Qualified Supervisor who graduated from the University of North Florida with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is currently the President of the Florida Mental Health Counselors Association where she actively participates on the Government Relations Committee. Erica has extensive experience working in Tallahassee and Washington D.C with lobbyists and state and national leaders in her pursuit to educate and promote the importance of mental health issues. In addition, Erica owns a private practice, Positive Development, LLC, where she primarily provides counseling to children and adolescents on the southside of Jacksonville.
Jacquelyn Canning is part of the PsychU team, a division of Otsuka Pharmaceutical. The PsychU community includes a team of clinical research professionals who specialize in translating scientific and medical information to a broad range of stakeholder organizations in the mental health field. Jacquelyn is a Medical Science Liaison and is licensed as a PharmD, BCPP. Her areas of expertise are in psychiatry, medication management, ambulatory care, drug-induced movement disorders, and drug-induced metabolic syndrome.
Jalen is music producer, sound engineer and a Streamer. He has an Associate Degree in the Arts and is pursuing a bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Music Production. He is also a Peer Specialist and an Ambassador of Compassion. He believes in the power of resiliency and that it is a skill he knows everyone can develop. He is a living example of implementing this to overcome depression, which he describes as an everyday battle over the past six years. He reaches out to others through empathy, helping them to embrace the art of resiliency as part and parcel of daily lived experience. At his college he is a part of the LEAP Program, a student-based resource that offers unconditional regard for his Peers. There he shares his lived experience with Freshmen and Sophomores so that they can cope with the first two years of college. Jalen has over come many health challenges in his short time here. He has had eight collapsed lungs and last year he had surgery however is doing great. He currently resides in Port Saint Lucie, Florida with his mother and twin brother Jamal. He is the youngest of four siblings. Brandon is his elder brother and Mar Sha` is she elder sister. He is also the uncle of two nieces, Nevaeh, and Jurnee.
Jeanine Hoff is the founder of Where is the Sunshine? a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to peer support for mental wellness. Jeanine is a 2016 TEDx Jacksonville speaker and presented at Mental Health America’s National Conference. She is a certified instructor for Mental Health First Aid, a certified presenter for NAMI, a member of the Peer Support Coalition of Florida and certified in Suicide Prevention (QPR). Jeanine is a contributor for The Mighty and Jacksonville Moms Blog and has been featured in the Florida-Times Union. Jeanine has been a guest on First Coast Living, First Coast Connect, River City Live, and The Chat.
Jennifer Celani, MA, LMHC, NCC, Registered Play Therapist
Jennifer graduated in 2010 from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans with a master’s degree in Community and School Counseling. She has provided mental health counseling in both agency and school settings to children, adolescents, adults, and families utilizing play therapy, cognitive-behavioral, trauma-focused CBT, and person-centered techniques. Jennifer currently maintains a private practice in Jacksonville, Florida, where she utilizes play therapy and sand tray techniques with children and adult clients. In addition, Jennifer is an adjunct instructor for Florida State College at Jacksonville. In 2017, she was a co-presenter of Introduction to Play Therapy and Sand Tray Therapy at Jacksonville University’s College of Mental Health.
Julia Burns began consulting in the early ‘90s when she helped major New York firms including American Express, Bankers Trust, M&M Mars, Revlon, and Pfizer develop customized outsourced technology training programs. She went on to become the Management Consulting practice lead for Blackwell Consulting Services in Chicago where she worked with organizations including Waste Management and the City of Chicago.
Julia founded Converse Consulting when she moved to Jacksonville, FL in 1998 and she has since focused her work on nonprofit organizations. Julia specializes in strategic planning, using data and stakeholder input to inform an interactive and facilitative approach. While helping nonprofit organizations through a wide-variety of situations and serving as an Interim Executive Director, Julia saw the need for succession planning especially as it related to finding the best leadership and minimizing impact on mission.
Julie Meadows-Keefe is the City’s first Ethics Officer. She began this role on October 1, 2014. After the passage of a Charter Amendment in 2014 which created an Independent Ethics Board, the Board voted to hire Julie as its first Independent Ethics Officer. She reports directly to the Board, comprised of representatives of the community. Julie assists the Board as they fulfill their mission to promote the actual and perceived integrity of our city government and to prevent unethical conduct before it occurs. She graduated Stetson University with a BA in Political Science and then from Florida State University College of Law, where she served on the law review.
Prior to her local government service, she worked in private practice, with a concentration on insurance defense, including medical malpractice defense. She then began an administrative law the Department of Health, she served as Lead Nursing Prosecutor and was promoted to Chief Legal Counsel. This role included serving as the HIPAA Privacy Officer statewide for the Department of Health.
Julie is always eager to speak to individuals about legal requirements impacting their professions in order to keep everyone working ethically and productively. Julie has been a guest lecturer three times at Massachusetts Insitute of Technology addressing professionals on legal aspects of crisis management. She is certified in Health Care Privacy Compliance.
Katie Stuart is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Certified Intrinsic Coach, and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She also serves as the Clinical Field Site Coordinator for Jacksonville University’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program. After graduating from the University of North Carolina, Katie received her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of North Florida, where she completed her graduate internship at the UNF Counseling Center. Katie has provided both inpatient and outpatient counseling services at various community organizations throughout Northeast Florida. She currently provides coaching and counseling services with an emphasis on eating and body image concerns. Katie is a member of the Northeast Florida Counseling Association and American Counseling Association. She is active in the Jacksonville community and serves on the Care Team at the Church of Eleven22. Maintaining a holistic approach to health and wellness, Katie believes that all individuals have the ability to empower themselves to create a healthy and fulfilling life.
A University of North Florida graduate, Mary Beth is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, APT Registered Play Therapist, Sandtray Specialist and PSCYH-K Facilitator. She began utilizing play therapy while providing individual and group trauma-focused counseling at a domestic violence shelter. Currently, she incorporates play therapy, sandtray and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at two elementary schools, working primarily with military-connected children. A frequent invited guest lecturer at Jacksonville University, Mary Beth is passionate about sandtray and collecting sandtray symbols. She is taking strides towards a private practice where she will specialize in play therapy, including sandtray therapy, for children and adults.
Megan Cochran is an experienced yoga teacher and leads the Contemplative Yoga service in Cummings Chapel at St John’s Cathedral, Jacksonville. She is trained in Vinyasa, Yin, Trauma Informed and Adaptive Yogas. She teaches to foster a sense of safety and well being in students’ bodies after trauma and illness. She has facilitated and volunteered in various restorative justice ministries including Prison Fellowship, Bridges to Life, and ICARE. In addition, she leads a Yoga and Christian Contemplative Prayer Retreat at Camp Weed and Cerveny Conference Center in Live Oak, FL.
Sherita Douglas is an experienced Certified Coach with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Business Planning, Microsoft Word, Coaching, and Government. Strong human resources professional with a intense global experience with includes the United States Air Force. Sherita is also a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist and WRAP facilitator.
Sydney Solan is the Manager of Strategic Engagement and Stewardship for United Way of Northeast Florida. She has an undergraduate degree in International & Global Studies and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from the University of Central Florida. Sydney is passionate about advocating for survivors of sexual assault and combating gender-based violence, and decreasing the stigma of mental illness, especially among young adults.
Vincenza Stone is a Mental Health Counselor through Project Navigation, a Department of Defense Educational Activity (D0DEA) grant, who works with military connected students by providing counseling services to children in need of social and emotional support. Prior to becoming a school based mental health counselor, Vincenza worked in inpatient settings, providing individual and group counseling services to children and adults with more severe comorbid disorders. Being a military child and spouse has inspired Vincenza to advocate for this unique population and the challenges the children and families endure during the deployment cycle and multiple transitions throughout. Vincenza offers a wide range of strength based interventions to assist military children and their families by fostering resiliency.
Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams, MA-TLA is a writer, storytelling facilitator and an applied behavioral science practitioner. She runs Narratives for Change and developed the Transformative Narratives Model™️. Yvette creates pathways for women and girls to name and unpack barriers, explore her experiences through creative writing, and advocate for herself and others using storytelling for personal healing and social action.