Conference Agenda

8:00 AM - 8:45 AMCheck-In & Registration
8:45 AM - 9:00 AMWelcome, Review Agenda and Packets, Housekeeping Announcements and Overview of Stepping Up Ohio Initiative and Goals
  • Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Retired
  • Rick Kellar
9:00 AM - 9:30 AMOpening Plenary -- TBA
    9:30 AM - 10:30 AMClermont County Presentation
    • David Painter
    • Heather Cokl
    • Jaime Lutson
    • Karen Scherra
    10:30 AM - 10:45 AMBreak
      10:45 AM - 12:00 PMOhioMHAS Resources & Injectables
      • Director Lori Criss
      • Dr. Erik Messamore
      12:00 PM - 1:00 PMLunch
      1:00 PM - 2:30 PMEffective Practices for Community Support for Influencers
      • Myrinda Schweitzer Smith
      2:30 PM - 2:45 PMBreak
      2:45 PM - 4:00 PMStepping Up Resources
      • Dr. Mark Hurst
      • Ruth Simera, M.Ed., LSW
      • Sally Luken
      4:00 PM - 4:15 PMWrap up, Challenge to Counties


      Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Retired

      Justice Stratton is of counsel in the Vorys Columbus office. Prior to joining Vorys, she served for 16 years as a justice on the Supreme Court of Ohio and for seven years as a trial judge in the Court of Common Pleas. She counsels clients on variety of practice areas, including appellate issues, litigation and health care. Justice Stratton is also a dedicated public servant. She is the Project Director for the Ohio chapter of the Stepping Up Initiative, a national movement aimed at keeping those with mental illness from cycling through the jail system. She founded this initiative in Ohio and remains a driving force behind its continuing expansion throughout the state. While serving on the Ohio Supreme Court, she formed and chaired the Supreme Court of Ohio Advisory Committee on Mental Illness & the Courts, which, since its formation in 2001, has helped establish 38 mental health courts, recommended changes to Medicaid and advocated for a new Juvenile Competency Statute. Currently, she serves with Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost as Co-Chair of the Attorney General's Task Force on Criminal Justice and Mental Illness. Eve has also advocated for the development of veterans’ courts, which assist returning veterans with post traumatic stress and other issues that may lead them to criminal activity. In addition, she currently serves as President of the Ohio Military and Veterans Legal Assistance Program a non-profit which connects veterans and military families to a statewide system of referrals to pro bono lawyers, bar associations, legal aid and law school clinics. Justice Stratton is a member of the American, Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations. She is also member of the Ohio and Columbus Bar Foundations and Women Lawyers of Franklin County. Justice Stratton received her Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Akron. She also has an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Capital University Law School and an Honorary Doctorate of Community Leadership from Franklin University.

      Rick Kellar

      Rick Kellar, M.B.A., is the President of Peg’s Foundation, a position he has held since 2005. Born out of personal experience, Mr. Kellar challenges the status quo, pursuing improvements in access to behavioral health care, education and the arts, believing Akron and Ohio can serve as a template for the nation, inspiring others to “Think Bigger!”

      Prior to the foundation, he spent 28 years in the U.S. Army including service in the Infantry and Special Forces (Green Beret). His work included a variety of leadership positions at the Joint Special Operations Command and at the Pentagon as the Director of Resourcing for the United States Army Operations and Readiness initiative, supervising an $8.6-billion annual program.

      Mr. Kellar holds a Bachelor of Science in nuclear engineering from the United States Military Academy, West Point and a Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University Summa Cum Laude.

      Mr. Kellar has served on the Tallmadge School Board since 2005, and currently serves as President. He is a graduate of Leadership Akron Class 27, serves on The LeBron Community Advisory Board, Summit County Addiction Leadership Council, the Kennedy Forum National Parity Leadership Workgroup and as an advisor to the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania.

      David Painter

      David L. Painter is a lifelong resident of Clermont County and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Findlay.  He was elected to the Clermont County Board of Commissioners, taking his seat in January 2017 and is President of the BCC for 2019.  Commissioner Painter currently serves on the Area 12 Work Force Investment Board of Directors, Clermont County Investment Board, Clermont County Planning Commission, County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) Taxation & Finance Committee, CCAO General Government Committee, CCAO Lobbying Committee and the NACo Justice & Public Safety Steering Committee and is second Vice President for the OKI Regional Council of Governments.  Mr. Painter is committed to reducing the impacts resulting from the Ohio opiate crisis.  He serves on the Clermont County Drug Free Coalition, Opiate Task Force and the Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

      Previously, Mr. Painter served for eight years on the New Richmond Village Exempted School District Board of Education, two of those as President.  Previously he was on the Ohio Township Board of Zoning Appeals.  His past experience includes 40 years in the construction and engineering business, having held positions as Resident Construction Manager, Project Oversight Manager, Regional Manager, and General Manager.  He last served as the Project Oversight Manager at the East Tennessee Technology Park (K-25) Environmental Remediation Project.


      Heather Cokl

      Heather Cokl is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with Supervision Designation from Cincinnati, Ohio who obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Wright State University and her Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northern Kentucky University.  She has over 15 years of experience working in behavioral health care.  She has been in her current role at Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services (GCB) as Director of Addiction Services for two years where she is responsible for the clinical delivery of all addiction treatment programs in Clermont County, which includes the CASC program, adolescent services, prevention services, peer support services and adult Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient programs.

      Jaime Lutson

      Jaime Lutson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.  Ms. Lutson has been employed by the Clermont County Municipal Court Adult Probation Department since 2001, serving as an Intensive Treatment Probation Officer, Intensive Supervision Probation Officer and Corrective Thinking Group Facilitator.  Her current roles in the department are the Liaison with Clermont County CASC Program, the Adult Probation Department’s Team Leader and the Quality Assurance Officer for the Intensive Supervision Probation Jail Diversion Program.  The Intensive Supervision Program jail diversion program was awarded the ODRC Clifford Skeen Award in 2010 and 2013 for Excellence in Community Corrections Programming.

      Karen Scherra

      Karen Scherra has been Executive Director of the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board since September 1997, previously working at the Board as Associate Director.  She has served on the Executive Council of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities (OACBHA), including a term as President.  She participates in many state level committees, is on the board of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Directors (NACBHDD) and is a member of the National Association of Counties Health Steering Committee.  She was a member of the Ohio Mental Health Commission and was named Administrator of the Year by Ohio Advocates for Mental Health, both in 2000. In 2010, Ms. Scherra received the Health/Healthcare Leader award at the Clermont County Salute to Leaders.  In 2015, she received Child Focus’ “Encourage the Heart” award for her ongoing support and advocacy for services and funding for children and in 2017 received the Leadership in a Community Setting award from NAMI Southwest.  Ms. Scherra has a Master of Science in Mental Health Evaluation from Hahnemann University and Bachelor of Art degrees in English and Psychology from LaSalle University.

      Director Lori Criss

      Ms. Criss serves as Director of The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. A native of eastern Ohio, she Criss has been engaged in the behavioral health field since 1992. Her experience includes working for the Ohio Commission on Minority Health and Amethyst, Inc. Prior to coming to OhioMHAS, Lori served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health & Family Services Providers.

      Ms. Criss holds Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Social Work from The Ohio State University. She graduated from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2010-2011 Women's Addiction Services Leadership Institute, a year-long nationally-selective, intensive program designed to build leaders for the nation’s behavioral health field. Lori has most recently served on the Advisory Board to Ohio’s Criminal Sentencing Commission, the National Council for Behavioral Health’s Addiction Policy Committee and Ohio’s Housing and Homeless Collaborative. She is a former board member for the National Alliance for Recovery Residences and served as the Principal Advisor for Ohio Recovery Housing.

      Dr. Erik Messamore

      Dr. Erik Messamore is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University and serves as the Medical Director for the University’s Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment Center. He teaches medical students and residents, consults with physicians and helps clinicians achieve the best possible outcomes for people with schizophrenia and other forms of illness.

      He earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology from Southern Illinois University in Springfield, completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, went to medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago and completed psychiatric training at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

      Dr. Messamore believes that easy access to good information is the key to help people with illness unlock their full potential. An expert educator, international speaker, respected researcher and champion for mental health, Dr Messamore has been explaining medicine, neuroscience and pharmacology throughout his distinguished career and has been quoted by Malcolm Gladwell, the Associated Press, KevinMD, Vox Media and NPR outlets.

      Myrinda Schweitzer Smith

      Myrinda Schweitzer Smith received her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Cincinnati and is a Sr. Research Associate and Deputy Director at the Corrections Institute in the School of Criminal Justice at University of Cincinnati. Dr. Schweitzer’s research interests include the assessment of correctional programs, the science of implementation and knowledge transfer, and more generally correctional treatment and rehabilitation. She has co-authored several publications, presented nationally and internationally on correctional interventions, and served as a project director for over 300 correctional projects. Specific topics of research and service include a state-wide correctional treatment program evaluation, the development and implementation of cognitive-behavioral programs for general delinquency, criminality, substance abuse, employment, and sexual offending, as well as recent initiatives to implement effective practices for community supervision and support. Most recently, she is responsible for overseeing several federally funding research and service projects to improve the treatment of justice involved individuals in the community.

      Dr. Mark Hurst

      As Medical Director of the Ohio Department of Health, Dr. Mark Hurst advises the Director of Health on clinical and medical issues as the agency fulfills its mission to protect and improve the health of all Ohioans. Dr. Hurst is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry. Dr. Hurst joined ODH in 2019 and has more than 25 years of work experience with the State of Ohio.

      Previously, Dr. Hurst worked at the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) for more than 26 years, most recently holding the positions of Director and Medical Director of the agency. While at OhioMHAS, he served as the clinical lead for the department, including the supervision and leadership of Ohio’s six regional psychiatric hospitals and all drug and alcohol recovery services in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. Before his career with the State, he held leadership positions in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry in the Veterans Affairs health system, at Harding Hospital and at The Ohio State University.

      Dr. Hurst is a native of Zanesville and a graduate of both Muskingum College and the Medical College of Ohio. He completed his medical residency training at the University of Michigan and at The Ohio State University. He has been recognized by his peers as a "Best Doctor in America" on numerous occasions.

      Ruth Simera, M.Ed., LSW

      Ruth Simera, M.Ed., LSW, Director, Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence at Northeast Ohio Medical University, oversees the Ohio Sequential Intercept Mapping initiative. Previously, Ms. Simera worked 25 years in community mental health, three years in juvenile justice and ten years as instructor in Applied Conflict Management at Kent State University.

      Sally Luken

      Sally Luken, President of Luken Solutions, works with organizations and governments to solve social problems in the intersection of housing, homelessness, behavioral health and criminal justice. Luken Solutions’ client base and projects cross these disciplines.  Sally is an approved federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) technical assistance (TA) provider working with 16 homeless Continuums of Care in Georgia, Missouri and Mississippi under a contract with The Cloudburst Group. With Peg Foundation’s support, Sally is the housing TA provider for Stepping Up Ohio.  In this role, she works with the Council of State Governments’ Justice Center to assist six Ohio counties develop local strategies to house and reduce jail days for people with mental health disorders.  The Ohio Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-Ohio) engages Sally for its Fulfilling the Promise campaign.  Sally was instrumental in the development of the campaign’s Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center and is now furthering over 80 new units of housing opportunities in Appalachia Ohio.  Prior to launching her own consulting firm, Sally was the state Director in Ohio for CSH, a national nonprofit that invests in supportive housing.  Under her leadership, capacity to develop permanent supportive housing grew five-fold and the research-based, Returning Home Ohio project was launched. Sally is the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing.  She holds a bachelor degree in Social Work and a Master in Public Policy and Nonprofit Management from The Ohio State University.