ADARA 2015-2017 Executive Board Members
Charlene Crump, BS, CI/CT, QMHI-S, is the State Coordinator for Interpreting Services with the Alabama Department of Mental Health. In this capacity, she has developed the Mental Health Interpreter Training Project including a supervised mental health practicum program and established certification standards codified into state law - Alabama is the only state in the nation to certify individuals as qualified to work in mental health. Her work has received national recognition by the National Alliance of Mentally Ill and was cited by Dr. Neil Glickman, as “establishing the national benchmark” for mental health interpreting. She has been recognized as employee of the year for the state of Alabama, COSDA Lifetime Achievement Award, COSDA Interpreter of the Year, SERID Interpreter of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award from ALRID and Alabama Citizen Award from Alabama Association of the Deaf. Charlene is a contributor to the RID Standard Practice Paper on Mental Health Interpreting and has served on several expert focus groups regarding mental health interpreting. She is recognized as a Qualified Mental Health Interpreter Practicum Supervisor. In addition to her efforts in mental health, she currently serves as president of ADARA, is an advisory member of the state’s ITP, and serves as an RID CMP Administrator and SLPI coordinator. Previously she assisted in the passage of state law that recognizes ASL as a foreign language and served two terms as Chair of the Alabama Licensure Board. Ms. Crump has published a chapter in “In Our Hands: Healthcare Interpreting” edited by Swabey and Malcolm and an article for the Journal of Interpretation, 2011 and a contributing a chapter to “Deaf Mental Health Care” edited by Neil Glickman.
Dr. John Gournaris
St. Paul, Minnesota
Dr. John Gournaris earned his M.A. degree in Mental Health Counseling and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Gallaudet University. Dr. Gournaris works as the Mental Health Program Director with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services Division. He is responsible for overseeing the statewide mental health delivery system for D/DB/HH Minnesotans. He also serves as committee chair on the Mental Health Committee within the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).
Damara Goff Paris
Damara Goff Paris completed a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon, and a doctorate in Deaf Education and Deaf Studies at Lamar University at Beaumont, Texas. She is a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC), and a nationally certified counselor (NCC). She has worked as the director and lead counselor of the Connection Program, a mental health facility for individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH) and have co-occurring disorders. Dr. Paris' administrative, counseling, teaching and research experience has provided her with career opportunities in the private, non-profit, state and university fields. These positions have included directing a state-wide telecommunications assistance program, overseeing a national relay marketing team with Sprint, and directing a doctoral program in Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. Dr. Paris has participated in research projects about Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (TVR), the Deaf professoriate, American Indian Deaf women, and anxiety of counselors-in-training. A qualitative researcher, she has published several articles regarding cross-cultural implications of being Native American and Deaf. Dr. Paris has also published seven books and participated in writing a toolkit through the National Council of Disability on serving American Indians and Alaska Natives with disabilities. She is currently employed at Emporia State University as an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education and a Project Director of a five year federal project for RSA Scholars entitled Get the Heartland Working! Training Highly Competent Rehabilitation Counselors.
Michelle Niehaus, LCSW, is the Statewide Coordinator / Program Administrator for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services with the KY Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities. She provided direct mental health services at Deaf Network in Indiana and Seven Counties Services in Louisville, KY. Michelle has been active in ADARA for over ten years, has published in their journal, and is the President-Elect. She serves as a Commissioner with the KY Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and on several statewide committees to improve Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. Michelle also teaches an online course on Culturally Affirmative Behavioral Healthcare through the Eastern Kentucky University psychology department. Education and advocacy to grow and improve services are her passions.
At-Large Board Members
At-Large Board Member
Bedarius Bell Jr. is the State Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services for the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS). Bedarius was a Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf prior to his current position. He received his Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Auburn University. Bedarius is actively involved in the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) and is a past president of the Alabama Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns (AAMRC).
At-Large Board Member
I currently work as a psychologist and program manager of the Volunteers of America Mental Health Clinics Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program in Minnesota. In addition to conducting therapy and psychological assessments with individuals and families who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing, I manage the D/HH programs that provide school-based and clinic-based mental health therapy, home-based family interventions, and maltreatment prevention services.
Professionally, I earned a master’s degree in Deaf Education from a joint program between the University of Rochester and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in 1992I and a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in 2007
At-Large Board Member
Wyatte Hall graduated from Gallaudet University’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program in 2014. He has been active in Deaf mental health clinical work for approximately six years throughout his graduate studies and his internship at the Deaf Wellness Center under Drs. Amanda O’Hearn and Robert Pollard. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at UMass Medical School, as well as Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital under Dr. Melissa Anderson. His research interest lies at the intersection of language and behavior, the impact of language deprivation on behavioral health issues within the Deaf population.
At-Large Board Member
Lynn Odom is the Statewide Coordinator of Deaf Services for the Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Ms. Odom has been in the field of Vocational Rehabilitation as a Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf in San Diego, California, and Portland, Oregon and has a strong history as an administrator of disability services for D/DB/HH individuals for 27 years. Ms. Odom has served a multitude of management positions such as Executive Director, Program Manager, Student Life Dean and Rehabilitation Counselor for the Deaf. She has served mostly with State agencies or Community Based Organizations. As a community advocate she has served on several Advisory Boards such as the Oregon Telecommunications Device Access Program, the Oregon Education Department taskforce on interpreter standards, as well as an Internship Site Supervisor for interns with the RCD program’s graduate candidates at the Western Oregon University RCD program.
Non-Voting Board Members
Charles was born in Indiana, IN in 1983. He attended Kendall Elementary School in Washington, DC then he transferred to Montgomery County Public School in MD for 1st to 7th grade. Desiring the opportunity to play sports and experience dormitory life, Charles decided to enter Maryland School for the Deaf [MSD] for high school education. Graduating from MSD in 2001, Charles applied and entered Rochester Institute of Technology [RIT] to pursue Bachelor in Business. Charles completed Bachelor in Business Management in 2005 and took a break to work and ponder for next plan. Heeding to advice from someone about pursuing graduate degree, Charles decided to enter RIT again for MBA in Finance in 2006 and completed the MBA in 2007.
In 2007, Charles met Joshua in RIT and Joshua invited Charles to join Schwarz Financial Services. Charles found that Schwarz Financial Services is the place for his future, he joined Schwarz Financial Services in January 2008. During Charles’s time at Schwarz Financial Services, he received his investment licenses, tax preparation certification, financial planning training, and specialization in nonprofit organization.
Charles is married and lives in northern Virginia.
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JADARA Journal Editor
Caroline K. Pezzarossi
Washington, D. C.
Caroline M. Kobek Pezzarossi, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Psychology at Gallaudet University, has worked at the local, state, and federal level in rehabilitation and mental health fields. Her background includes delivery of direct care as a counselor for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. She also has taught a wide range of individuals, both in the classroom and out. Her strong background in independent living skills as well as psychology has provided her the opportunity to work with individuals in becoming productive members of society. As Associate Professor of Psychology, she has taught a variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level and participated in projects supporting career development, health literacy and diversity initiatives. She has contributed to state and national forums related to issues of concern for people with disabilities. Dr. Kobek Pezzarossi's research interests are cultural interactions and communication, intimate partner violence in the Deaf and hard of hearing population and therapeutic interactions.
Columbia, South Carolina
Paul May has been teaching ASL since 2000. He also taught Deaf and Hard of Hearing children at several K-12 schools in NC and SC. Paul and his wife, Holly, are licensed Foster Parents who had taken in several Deaf boys and recently adopted 4-year-old adorable Deaf boy in July 2016. Paul also had led several workshops for a community college at their annual “ASLville” event – “Introduction to Classifiers” and “Strong Language and Profanity.” Also, he did “Classifiers” workshop for SC RID chapter. He has produced two video clips, called, “Depression: An Overlooked Mental Illness” and “HIPAA: Patient’s Privacy Rights” in ASL for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. He also developed a website for Services to the Deaf offered at the SC Department of Mental Health as an independent contractor. Paul recently participated in Teaching Medical Interpreting immersion training via the CATIE center, NCIEC in Portland, OR. He is currently hosting several workshops focusing on medical interpreting. Paul is working on getting himself enrolled into PhD or EdD program real soon!
ADARA Update Editor