Meet our New Executive Director
Kate Mahoney is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 30 years of experience in behavioral health. Kate earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Northwestern University. She completed her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Prior to joining the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute, Kate served as Executive Director of PEER Services, a nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization which has offices in Evanston and Glenview for the past 28 years. She is active in the community, is a frequent presenter at conferences and community forums and is a strong advocate for reducing the stigma that for too long has prevented many individuals from accessing mental health services and interfered with individuals impacted by mental illness from being fully integrated into the community.
Kate has dedicated much of her career to impacting public policy in order to increase access to care. She currently serves on the board of the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health. She represents Illinois on the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence. She is a past president of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association and the current president of the Illinois Association for Medication Assisted Addiction Treatment. She was the 2015 keynote speaker for the ACLU Peoria Chapter Annual Dinner in which she spoke about access to behavioral health treatment as a civil liberties issue.
Kate’s contributions to the field have been acknowledged by colleagues at the local and national level. She has received two awards from the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health. She was the 2010 recipient of the Mental Health America – North Shore Community Service Award. In 2013, Kate was awarded the prestigious national Nyswander/Dole award for her leadership in addressing the opioid epidemic.
Kate has a long history of chairing conferences and presenting workshops for mental health professionals. She served on the NRCI conference planning committee since 2007 and was a discussion leader for a number of our conferences. She Is a past conference chair for the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health Annual Conference and is serving as Accreditation Committee Chair for the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence Conference which will take place in New York City in March 2018.
Conference Coordinator: Mrs. Jill Randell MA, FTA
Jill Randell has been the Executive Director of the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute (NRCI) for over 11 years. During her tenure, she developed the NRCI Steering Committee; a preeminent group of mental health professionals and advocates that guide and shape the Institute’s outreach strategy and educational programs. Under her leadership, NRCI works closely with diverse communities throughout Chicagoland such as The Archdiocese of Chicago, the Office of Hispanic Catholics, and the Apostolic Church, and St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church in Evanston to raise awareness around the stigma of mental illness. Prior to her role at NRCI, Jill provided 25 years of leadership for the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago, serving as the Director of Day Camp and Executive Director of the North Suburban JCC. She also administered Beth Emet, The Free Synagogue in Evanston for 15 years as its Executive Director, ushering it into one of the premier synagogues reform congregation in North America.
Jill received her Master of Arts in Counseling from Northeastern Illinois University and her Fellow of Temple Administrators (FTA) from the Union of Reform Judaism. She was President of The Chicago Association of Temple Administrators and served on the board of the National Association of Temple Administrators.
“Eliminating the stigma of mental illness is our goal, and that is where I have put my energies over these past eleven years.”
2016-2017 NRCI Fellow: Erika Garcia
Erika is from Storm Lake, IA and is a second year student in the Clinical Psychology Psy.D program. She graduated from Buena Vista University of Storm Lake. She studied Psychology and Spanish and minored in Sociology. During a research clerkship, Erika had the opportunity to help run parent psychoeducational groups. These groups taught Spanish speaking Latino parents about various mental health topics that may affect families. Erika enjoyed seeing the clients’ enthusiasm and interest in learning more about topics that are often stigmatized. Erika’s current practicum site is located on the south side of Chicago. She will work at a school and a bilingual center working with low SES and minority families. She will complete assessments and diagnostic evaluations with children and adolescents.
Erika aspires to work with minority working-class and low-income families when she graduates. She would specifically like to work in the Spanish speaking community in rural Iowa, where she feels mental health services are practically nonexistent. She would like to work across various counties and plans to create psychoeducational presentations and support groups. Her goal is to engage individuals in different ways and eliminate barriers that prevent individuals from seeking help.
2016-2017 NRCI Fellow: Rebecca Romero
Rebecca was born and raised in Hanover Park, IL. She is a first year student in the M.A Forensic Psychology program at TCSPP. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Springfield and studied Criminal Justice and Psychology. Rebecca worked with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC); a state agency that works with first-generation and low-income students to help make college more affordable and accessible. She loved working for ISAC because she could see the progression of students’ journeys to pursuing entry to college. Rebecca found that often students start intimidated by the process and end being excited to leave for college.
Rebecca is excited to be the new fellow for the NRCI. She looks forward to meeting new members of NRCI and helping further establish NRCI’s role within the local community. Rebecca aspires to work with abused children when she graduates. Her goal is to work for the FBI on cases involving sex trafficked victims.
Advisory Board membership:
Larry Cohen, Chair
Marilyn Cohen, Vice Chair
Dr. Michael Horowitz, CEO, TCS Education System
Dr. Michele Nealon-Woods, President, TCSPP
Dr. Patricia Arredondo, Campus President, TCSPP
Mayra Chacon, Director, NRCI and Center for Latino/a Mental Health
Jill Randell, Conference Coordinator, NRCI
Jill Glenn, Director, Community Partnerships
Aisha Ghori, Director, Career Services
Charles Kelley, Associate Director, Career Services
Dina Glaser, Director, Applied Professional Practice & Training Consortia
Sandra Del Toro, Assistant Director, Government Sponsored Programs
Dr. Maureen Keeshin, Associate Chair, Counseling Psychology
Dr. Drake Spaeth, Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology
Dr. Candice Hughes, Associate Professor, School Psychology