About Presenters

Marcellina Melvin
Senior Director of Health Equity Strategy for Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

Keynote: “Healing from a Collective Trauma”

Marcellina Melvin is the Senior Director of Health Equity Strategy for Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. Before joining the Meadows Institute, Melvin had over 18 years of experience in developing and implementing mental health programs, systems and procedures in primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational settings. She is a child, adolescent and family-trained Licensed Professional Counselor. She has over 25 years of experience in providing direct clinical and supervisory services to children, adolescents, parents and young adults in a variety of clinical settings: residential, in-home, outpatient, private practice, primary, secondary and post-secondary locations. While at MMHPI, Melvin was the project lead on the American Red Cross Texas CARES grant and supported the Texas CARES-Training grant. These grants helped to support the mental and behavioral health needs of teachers, students and their families along the Gulf Coast that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. She assisted in leading a comprehensive environmental scan of the child welfare services in Harris county and assisted in the financial analysis of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department MST program. In addition to these projects, Melvin helped in the development of a mental health strategic framework for Region 4 ESC. She also co-led the Rebuild Texas Dickinson Independent School District project, where she was instrumental in the development and delivery of curriculum for early childhood teachers, local early childcare center/daycare center staff and parents in Dickinson ISD. The trainings were intended to improve the social-emotional health of young children. Marcy has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Xavier University and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Fisk University.

Latoya Plater, LPC
Senior Manager Disability Services – El Centro

“Grief, With Nowhere to Go”

LaToya Plater is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University with an M.A. in Counseling. She also earned a B.A. in Sociology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. LaToya is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Child and Adolescents Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessor in the state of Texas. She has dedicated her life and career to working with people from different socioeconomic backgrounds who have been compromised as a result of trauma, poverty, chronic stress and other challenges posed by cultural adjustments, homelessness, or exposure to violence. Over the past 18 years, she has worked in nonprofits, social services, public schools and post-secondary education environments as an adjunct professor (Human Development), program services coordinator (Educational Talent Search - TRIO), senior program development specialist (GED), transitional vocational rehabilitation counselor (Texas Workforce Solutions – TANF and Vocational Rehabilitation Services) and senior manager (Disability Support Services). LaToya also owns a private practice in Dallas, where she works with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. Her theoretical practices applied may include Gestalt, Existential, Reality, Person Centered or Solution-Focused Brief Therapy to address symptoms associated with grief, trauma, self-harm, anxiety/depression or complex diagnosis. LaToya offers teletherapy and in-person services, and she presents on topics related to counseling and mental health in her community. LaToya is affiliated with the North Texas Chapter of Play Therapy, North Texas Trauma Institute and Texas Counseling Association.

Dallas College Counseling Services

Panel Discussion: "Mental Health Wellbeing for All – Keeping Equity at the Forefront"

Dalia Blell, LCSW-S, is an assistant director for Dallas College North Lake Campus Counseling Services. She has worked as a professional counselor at North Lake Campus for 13 years and has over 25 years of experience as a clinical social worker. She is a certified EMDR therapist, specializing in treatment of trauma. She was the chair of the Professional Counselors Workgroup and Council for several years and has presented on mental health wellbeing topics for diverse groups at various campuses and events, including Dallas College Conference Day, the Dallas College Sustainability Summit and other state conferences. Panelists for this presentation include: Dalia Blell, LCSW-S; Jesse Gonzalez Ph.D., LPC-S; Jaime Torres, LPC-S; David Thompson, LPC-S; Karen Cuttill, LPC-S; Quinessa Johnson, Ph.D., LPC-S; Rhonda Dalrymple, LPC-S.

Stephanie Harris, LMSW, and Tashia Moore, LMSW

"Higher Ed Case Management – Intro to Connections”

Stephanie Harris, LMSW, and Tashia Moore, LMSW, have collaborated to present and discuss the benefits of having a higher ed case management program. Tashia Moore, LMSW, graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2016 with her master’s in social work. Tashia spent over eight years serving children and families of Dallas and outlying counties to help mitigate the risk of abuse and neglect in homes and address additional challenges. Tashia is very passionate about mental health and addressing the needs of the community to now include the student community. Although Tashia is new to Dallas College, her passion for education and addressing mental health, among other stressors, has led her into the advocation of a streamlined higher ed case management program and implementing processes to help keep students enrolled and successful in courses. Stephanie Harris is a social worker at Dallas College Richland Campus who works with students to connect them with internal and external resources to assist with navigating life’s challenges. After spending the last 4 years working with the homeless population in Dallas, Stephanie knows how deeply affected each person is by the complexity of poverty and all the components of things that are barriers to a student’s success. Stephanie is new to the academic world, but she has gained major insight to the struggles of students. Instilling hope and inspiring change, while also providing the foundation to do so, is crucial to the care and support that she provides students. Stephanie holds a master’s in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Dr. Rodney Teague
North Texas VA

"VA North Texas Mental Health Service: Introduction and Updates"

Rodney C. Teague has worked as a clinical psychologist for VA during the past eight years. He currently serves as a Local Recovery Coordinator for the North Texas VA system, promoting a highly contextual Recovery model of mental health services. He earned his doctoral degree from Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dr. LaJuanda Bonham Jones
Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at North Lake

“The Juggling Leader: Teetering on the Verge of Burnout”

Dr. LaJuanda Bonham Jones began her postsecondary education at the University of North Texas, where she was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1991. Approximately 19 years later, she returned to higher education for further instruction. In 2012, LaJuanda received her master’s in educational leadership from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her commitment to excellence led to the acquisition of additional coursework. As a result, she was awarded a Doctor of Higher Education Leadership with extended coursework in psychology in 2018. LaJuanda is a certified teacher and grief counselor and has more than 25 years of experience in education administration and teaching. After the completion of her first degree, LaJuanda taught in the K-12 public school setting. To successfully prepare students for the rigor expected of them in the educational setting, she left the public school system and started her own company, serving as founder and administrator of a private school in Dallas. LaJuanda’s education and work experience has afforded her the opportunity to serve as a trainer/facilitator for various education and leadership organizations. Additionally, she was instrumental in the organization of two nonprofits, one that trained unemployed and underemployed adults to re-enter the workforce and provided scholarship opportunities for deserving high school students. After selling her company, LaJuanda returned to higher education to receive additional training to make a greater impact in the lives of children and adults. As a result, LaJuanda worked as a graduate assistant researcher and teacher at Texas A&M University-Commerce during her doctoral studies. She also accepted a position as an adjunct instructor at Dallas College in 2013, where she teaches psychology and learning framework. In 2018, LaJuanda was named the Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at the same organization. Her research interests include student success for first generation students, leadership, and stress management.

Kim Cox, C-IAYT
Wonder Nature Therapy

“Yoga Soothing for Stress, Anxiety and Depression”

Since her teenage years, Kim Cox has always been drawn to all things physical. Moving her body in all different sports and activities has always brought her health and well-being. Kim understood from a young age the benefits of keeping active, connecting the mind and the body, and the release that was brought on by physical activity. It was no surprise that she would choose a career that would carry out her passion and share her beliefs with others. Kim believes in the power and science of yoga with the tools of breath work, mindfulness, asanas or poses, mantras, bandhas and more. Her philosophy with working with clients is not just about getting fit, losing a few pounds or inches or fitting into a smaller size, but more so working towards helping them find and live a healthy, centered and joyful way of life that is found on the mat. Kim is passionate about working with special populations, injuries and sickness. She specifically focuses on stress, anxiety and depression. She also does yoga therapy for the wellness and balancing of the brain and nervous system and working with somatic experiencing to treat trauma and gain greater awareness and bandwidth with the sensations in the felt sense in the body. Kim is a certified licensed C-IAYT with International Association of Yoga Therapists and a E-RYT500 certified instructor with Yoga Alliance. She is also a somatic practitioner with Dr. Peter Levine’s Trauma Healing.

Dr. Robert Carter
Texas A&M Commerce

"Exciting the Human Potential: Connecting with Ourselves and with the People We Supervise”

Robert Carter holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Florida and is a licensed psychologist with Texas A&M Counseling and Psychological Services. In his 30 years of employment in student counseling, he has worked with people from different cultures, ethnicities, races, abilities, sexual orientations and personal preferences. As a disabled white male, he constantly challenges himself to be more open, available and connected with everyone. He is learning to be vulnerable and is doing his best to own and acknowledge his mistakes and blind spots. Robert realizes every person has a story that needs to be heard, validated and understood, and he is humbled to have a job that gives him that opportunity. As an existential humanist, Robert believes that human potential is unlocked when one accepts the truth of worthiness.

Dr. Robin Washington-White and Dr. Adlai Charles

"Life S.A.V.E.R.S. – Six Strategies to Reduce Stress"

Dr. Robin Washington-White and Dr. Adlai Charles’ credentials include certifications such as LPC, LMFT and NCC. They have more than ten years of experience at Dallas College, teaching student success courses, counseling and providing leadership to the student success division.

Dr. Kelly Posner

"It’s Up to Everyone: Reducing Stigma and Suicide Among Students, Their Families and Communities with the Columbia Protocol"

Dr. Kelly Posner is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, and her work is saving lives all over the globe. The President of the American Psychiatric Association noted her work with the Columbia Protocol could be “like the introduction of antibiotics.” The U.S. Department of Defense said her work is “nothing short of a miracle” and stated, “her effective model of improving the world will help propel us closer to a world without suicide.” The CDC noted her work is “changing the paradigm in suicide risk assessment in the U.S. and worldwide.

Dr. Posner’s work has been noted in a keynote speech at the White House and in congressional hearings, and she gave the lead presentation in a forum on school safety at the U.S. Senate in her partnership with the Parkland community. Through her advocacy, she has changed local, national and international policy, which in turn has helped achieve reductions in suicide across all sectors of society. Israeli government officials said her work “is not only saving millions of lives but in Israel it is literally changing the way we live our lives.” In addition, Dr. Posner gave the invited presentation on tackling depression and suicide at the first European Union high level conference on mental health, was recognized as the Most Distinguished Alumna of her graduate school at Yeshiva University in the past 50 years and received the New York State Suicide Prevention Award. She was also named one of New York Magazine’s “Most Influential.”

The Columbia Protocol is policy across all 50 states, many national agencies and most countries. Dr. Posner was commissioned by the FDA to develop a scientific approach that has become the gold standard for suicide monitoring and is ubiquitous across the U.S. and worldwide. The FDA has characterized her work as “setting a standard in the field” and a lead article in the New York Times called it “one of the most profound changes of the past 16 years to regulations governing drug development.” Her scholarly work has been included in the compendium of the most important research in the history of the study of suicide. In 2018, Dr. Posner was awarded The Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service.