Our staff members work hard to support mental health counseling through networking, advocacy, and public relations. Please contact them if you have questions, suggestions, or to learn about volunteer opportunities.
Kacey Peterson, 2017-2019
Kacey has worked as a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) since earning her Master’s from Drake University in 2010. She served as a school-based counselor and eventually as Clinical Director for an accredited mental health and substance abuse agency until 2014 when she opened Enlightened Endeavors, LLC. Throughout her career, Kacey has provided services to children, adolescents, and families in both urban and rural settings across many of Iowa’s “frontier counties”. Her involvement on multiple nonprofit boards and her position as IMHCA’s Government Relations Chair has given her the opportunity to advocate on behalf of underserved Iowans and the providers that strive to support them. Since 2011 she has worked to identify legislation and government policy that could significantly improve Iowa’s mental health delivery system and is dedicated to continuing those efforts as she works to educate our Senators and Representatives on the concerns and barriers facing counselors today.
Donald K. Gilbert, 2017-2019
Dr. Gilbert received a B.A. in Theology (1977), an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling (1991), and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and Religious Studies (1994). Don is an ordained minister and pastored for 17 years. He has worked in private practice since 1991 and has worked as a therapist (LMHC) with individuals, couples, and groups, and an adjunct professor at Mercy College of Health Sciences (2004-present). He owns and manages New Life Counseling (2002). Dr. Gilbert is certified as a speaker, trainer, consultant, and coach with The John Maxwell Team (2012). Don is a published author. He has served on the IMHCA board as treasurer, president-elect, and currently as president. Don also serves on the Iowa Board of Behavioral Science. He is married (1976) to his wife Debbie and has lived in Polk County since 1986. Don and his wife have four children who graduated from Ankeny H.S. They have 10 grandchildren. Don is a long-time and avid Husker fan and enjoys golfing, bicycle riding, reading, working, yard work, and spending time with his wife and family.
Courtney Ackerson, 2016-2018
Courtney Ackerson studied forensic psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and graduated with her masters degree in 2010. Being a big fan of Iowa, and particularly Des Moines, she moved back to her home town of Urbandale after graduation. She has since worked for Orchard Place as a PMIC therapist, supervisor of community based services, and outpatient therapist. She will now be working with New Beginnings Counseling Services as an outpatient therapist in their office and in two Des Moines elementary schools. She enjoys traveling and being creative in her free time.
Kenya Rocha, 2016-2018
Kenya Rocha (MS, LMHC, NCC) completed her Masters of Education and Community Counseling from Drake University. She is an EMDR International Association Certified Therapist and an approved EMDR consultant. She specializes in treating complex and single incident trauma. Kenya is the owner of Mosaic Family Counseling Center; providing mental health therapy to families, couples, groups, individuals, and children. Kenya also provides education, supervision and consultation to beginning therapists for state licensure and EMDR certification. In addition to training therapists, Kenya provides community education in areas of psychology, trauma, parenting, attachment, and many other mental health topics. Kenya is bi-lingual in English/Spanish and serves many diverse populations. In her personal time, Kenya enjoys reading, gardening, traveling, walking, and spending time with family.
Government Relations Chair
Kenneth Cameron, 2015-2017
Kenneth earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from Upper Iowa University in 2003. He then successfully completed his Masters of Arts in Counseling at Seton Hall University in 2009. With his educational background and professional experience working at various agencies in the Greater Des Moines area, he developed a vision for helping young people lead productive and independent lives. In June of 2008, that vision became reality when he and his wife, Elizabeth, started A New Beginning: Mentor, Counseling and Resource Center. In addition to counseling, the Resource Center features a clothing closet, food pantry, employment services, GED preparation, support groups, and much more. After becoming a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in 2013, Kenneth started his private practice at Aspire Counseling Center, LLC. He believes there is a very urgent and rising need for mental health services in today's society.
Nominations Committee Chair
Juile Hewitt, 2016-2018
Julie has known from an early age that she had a passion for helping others and has been doing so since shadowing her high school Social Worker. Julie graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Child, Adult and Family Studies and has worked in the Human Services field for almost 10 years. Julie is currently in her second year at Drake University working toward a M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. In addition to being a student, she works as a Case Manager and Intake Coordinator at Beacon of Life in Des Moines. She serves as Vice Chair and Secretary on the Polk County Housing Continuum Service Council and works hard to stay up to date on resources within the community. She believe in the value of each person and strives to make sure everyone she meets feels heard and appreciated. In her free time you’ll find her watching Lifetime movies, going antiquing, and snuggling with her cats.
Adrienne (Dree) LaToure, 2017-2019
Dree is a graduate of University of Northern Iowa’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She has a passion for serving individuals through mental health services, and believes in our responsibility to advocate for our community’s needs. Dree looks forward to using her skills and passion to serve as IMHCA’s Membership Chair, advocating for issues in Iowa and supporting member needs. When she is not working as a Mental Health Counselor, Dree enjoys spending time with her two fantastic dogs, reading, and traveling to new places.
Networking and Communications Chair
Kyla Loucks, 2015-2017
Kyla is a recent Drake University graduate with an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Through working with individuals receiving special needs services and at-risk youth, she developed a passion for client advocacy. With a background in community outreach, Kyla is eager to combine experience and passion to help advance the profession of mental health counseling and mental health advocacy issues in the state of Iowa. She is a native of rural Iowa, now living in the Des Moines area. She spends most of her free time drinking caffeine so she has energy to keep up with her kids!
Conference Committee Chair
Susan Heitshusen, 2015-2017
Susan grew up in New York and Maryland and moved to Iowa in 2004. She received a B.S. in Business Management and Computer Science and worked in the technology industry before entering the counseling profession. Susan has a master’s degree in organizational management and a master’s in mental health counseling. She works as a mental health therapist (LMHC) and an addictions therapist (IADC). She is currently the IMHCA conference committee chair and has served as nominations chair and student representative. Susan and her husband live in Carlisle, IA. They have four children and three grandchildren.
Ethics Committee Chair
Leanna Brady, 2015-2017
Leanna Brady is Senior Manager at House of Mercy and owner of Red Couch Counseling, LLC. She has over 23 years of experience in the field of human services delivery systems. She attended the University Of Kansas School Of Education, earned an M.S. in Counseling, and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). Her involvement in many professional and civic activities reflects her passion for improving social services to the underserved. She believes that we as a society have a responsibility for the vulnerable. More importantly, she believes that as clinicians we owe a responsibility to our community for quality service, and Leanna believes strongly in the concept of service and stewardship. In her free time, she enjoys biking, yoga, and spending time with her family, which includes her husband, 4 children, 3 grandchildren, two dogs, two rabbits, and any other creatures her children decide to bring home. Namaste.
Anthony Ferguson, Jr., 2016-2018
Anthony Ferguson, Jr. received a B.A. in African American Studies, as well as a Certificate in Critical Cultural Competency, from the University of Iowa, and he is currently in his second year at Drake University working toward a M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Anthony is a National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) Minority Fellow, a recipient of the Iowa Mental Health Counseling Association (IMHCA) Academic Scholarship, and was recently recognized by the Honorable State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad for his commitment to students at Drake University, and his advocacy in educating the African American community about addressing the needs of mental health issues. Currently, Anthony works at House of Mercy as an Outpatient Primary Counselor. In his free time, he volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Investing In My Future, and is a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Corinne Harvey, 2017-2019
Corinne Harvey graduated from the University of Iowa in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Human Relations and a minor in German. She previously worked as a community support specialist helping adults with mental illness become reintegrated and active in the community. Corinne is passionate about helping people live a healthy and meaningful life and helping people reach their goals. She is currently attending Drake University pursuing a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree. Corinne works at The Project of Primary Health Care as a case manager providing psychosocial support for people living with HIV and AIDS in Iowa. Her dream job is to work with young adults and people living with chronic illness in a private practice setting and plans to incorporate as many "unconventional" and out-of-office activities as possible for her clients. Corinne enjoys traveling, going to the movies, reading, and going on long hikes with her dog, Bellatrix.
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Lauren Kern, 2016-2018
Lauren Kern earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Simpson College in 2014. She is currently working towards an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Drake University. Lauren has always been passionate about serving others and helping their voices be heard. As an Applied Behavior Analysis specialist, she worked with children living with autism (2014-2016). Lauren currently works with adults living with a mental illness at Passageway where she connects members with resources to improve social and work skills to enrich their lives. Her dream job is to have a registered therapy dog and work with college students. She enjoys volunteering weekly to read to young children and promote literacy through The United Way. In her free time, Lauren enjoys reading, hiking, baking, and exploring national parks with her husband.
Jason Stark, 2014-2017
After working as a school teacher and pastor for many years, Jason is currently attending Drake University working on a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Although not really an IT guru, Jason is a bit of a renaissance man, and it appears that is how he managed to land the job of the web coordinator for IMHCA. Jason grew up in Michigan but has lived in Iowa with his wife and three children for more than 20 years, and he is looking forward to practicing as a counselor in central Iowa when he graduates from Drake. When he isn't working (as a mortgage loan officer currently) or studying, Jason enjoys trying to protect motorists by reducing the deer population, and riding his old-school 1980 Honda motorcycle.