PTA Speakers Bureau

Partners Training Academy (PTA) includes a bureau of expert speakers in topics related to mental health, substance use disorder, and intellectual and developmental disabilities diagnosis, treatment, and managed care best practices. The PTA Speakers Bureau includes the professionals listed in alphabetical order here and many others.

Contact us to learn more about incorporating PTA speakers into your training events and educational conferences.

Carla Bradshaw, RN
Geriatric and Adult Specialty Team Registered Nurse
Training Specialties: Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Schizophrenia, Personality Disorders and Depressive Disorders; Dementia, Challenging Behaviors, Suicide Prevention, Accessing Services and Medications treating these diagnoses

Carla Bradshaw, RN, has worked in nursing and human services for over 34 years, serving in skilled-long term care, emergency departments, quality management, and training. She currently serves as a member of Partners’ Geriatric and Adult Specialty Team and is a graduate of Gardner Webb University.

In her role at Partners, Carla provides formal training, education, consultation, and technical assistance to long-term care facility staff that serve geriatric and adult residents with mental illness. She also provides education and training in the community on topics relating to caring for older citizens and adults living with mental illness.

Charity N. Bridges, MA, LPA, HSP-PA
Utilization Management Manager
Training Specialties: Mediation Proceedings; Service Decision Appeals

Charity Bridges is a licensed and experienced behavioral health clinician who has worked in the behavioral health field for over twenty years. During her tenure, she has worked in all aspects of care, from working directly with individuals in services to managed care functions.

Charity is a certified health services provider-psychological associate (HSP-PA) and Licensed Psychological Associate (LPA), with a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky and a B.A. in Psychology from Kent State University. She currently serves as a Utilization Management Manager, primarily responsible for consumer appeals and intellectual and developmental disabilities utilization management.

Charity has participated in countless mediation proceedings and State Fair Hearings pending in the North Carolina Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). She has worked as a behavioral health clinician, community mental health therapist, crisis clinician, and developmental clinician throughout her career. Charity continues to further her development and growth in all areas of behavioral health services.

Paul Caldwell, BA
Chief Community Operations Officer
Training Specialties: Community Partnerships, Provider Development, Integrated Health Centers

Paul Caldwell began his human services career at Western Carolina Center, now the J. Iverson Riddle Center, as a special education teacher. He spent the next 17 years in various roles, serving the intellectual and developmental disabilities community, with both public and private organizations in North Carolina and Oregon. Paul also worked for over 10 years in the geriatric rehabilitation field, working with companies providing rehabilitation services in long-term care facilities throughout the US. He has also served as the CEO of a company providing community-based periodic mental health services.

Paul is a graduate of Davidson College with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. In his current role as Chief Community Operations Officer, Paul oversees Partners’ Provider Network, Consumer Relations, System of Care, and Community Operations functions.

Tara Conrad, MSW, LCAS, LCSW
Lead Regional Director of Community Operations, Central Region
Training Specialties: Mindfulness EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)

Tara Conrad earned her Master of Social Work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). In her role at Partners, Tara interacts with key community stakeholders in Burke and Catawba counties to identify system barriers, develop solutions, and lead Partners’ efforts in the communities it serves.

Tara has over 24 years of experience in the mental health field and has served in various capacities including managerial, provider monitoring, utilization management, grant writing, and program development. She participates on numerous community boards and presents on issues related to behavioral health and policy change. Tara advocates for individuals struggling with mental health and substance use disorders, especially trauma, addiction, and the juvenile justice population. She is certified in Mindfulness EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and serves as a volunteer therapist for individuals suffering from trauma and addiction.

Jeffery Eads, MA, NCC, LPC
Regional Director of Community Operations, Northern Region
Training Specialties: Access to Care, LME-MCO Overview for Community Leaders, Crisis Services Overview

Jeffery Eads works with community and government agencies in Iredell, Surry, and Yadkin counties to identify partnerships and solutions to best serve citizens. During his career, he has served as Community Operations Manager for CenterPoint Human Services, a rehabilitation counselor and as an employment representative.

Jeff received a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education and Human Development from Radford University. He is a National Certified Counselor and a North Carolina Licensed Professional Counselor. Jeff also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech.

Niels T. Eskelsen, MBA
Chief Business Officer
Training Specialties:
Managed Care System Design, Organizational Management, Provider Network Development and Monitoring, Performance Indicator Development and Reporting, Clinical Data Utilization in Service Management, Incentive Compensation Programs

Niels Eskelsen has served as Partners’ Chief Business Officer since 2012.  He has extensive knowledge of Medicaid waiver applications, and has worked with a number of managed care organizations overseeing behavioral health services. Niels received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Washington and a Master of Business Administration from Seattle University.

Prior to Partners, Niels served as a consultant for many of North Carolina’s LME-MCOs, and was the Chief Finance Officer and Director of Business Operations for PBH, now Cardinal Innovations, from July 2005 to September 2010. He has tremendous experience in developing business operations and processes from the ground up, and shares this knowledge in trainings throughout the state.

Michael Forrester, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Chief Clinical Officer
Training Specialties: Disease Management & Managed Behavioral Healthcare, Profit and Loss Management, Change Management, Infrastructure Development, Entrepreneurial Orientation, Quality Improvement, Operational and Technology Leadership, Product Development and Implementation, Integration, and Clinical and Provider Network Leadership

Dr. Michael Forrester is a clinical psychologist and a leader in managed health care and disease management organizations. He received his PhD in clinical psychology from Kent State University, and serves as Chief Clinical Officer for Partners.

Dr. Forrester has a multitude of experience in both public and private sector behavioral health care. Some of his roles include overseeing day-to-day managed care operations, disease management services, and work in the areas of population health and recovery and resiliency programs. Dr. Forrester enjoys identifying and developing creative approaches to enhancing one’s health while reducing costs.

Prior to his entry into the private sector, Dr. Forrester worked in community mental health and was involved in the development of a number of alternative specialized delivery systems for the chronically mentally ill and severely developmentally disabled adults and children.

Dr. Forrester is a licensed psychologist in a number of states and is on the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. He holds lifetime membership to Disease Management Purchasing Consortium International, Inc. (DMPC)’s Honor Roll in Critical Outcomes Report Analysis.

Lachelle Freeman, MA, QP
Appeals Manager

Training Specialties: Mental health and its effect on families; Empowering caretakers of individuals living with mental illness; Physical and sexual abuse, and its effect on families; Partners’ Appeals Process.

Lachelle is a Qualified Professional with over 21 years of experience in the mental health field. During this time, she has worked as a provider delivering mental health services to individuals and families, assisted with research, and developed and currently manages Partners’ Appeals Unit. Lachelle has also served as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor as well as, a Family to Family instructor for NAMI.

Lachelle earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lincoln University, and holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Geneva College.

Stephanie Funderburk
Child System of Care Liaison, Iredell, Yadkin, and Surry Counties
Training Specialties: Child and Family Team Training (Parts I and II), Youth Mental Health First Aid, Adult Mental Health First Aid

Stephanie Funderburk is the Child System of Care Liaison serving Iredell, Yadkin and Surry Counties. In this role, she develops connections among families, human service agencies, providers, schools, and advocates for children living with behavioral health issues or a disability. Stephanie serves as Project Director for the Reclaiming Futures initiative ensuring the continuity of services for juvenile justice involved youth. She is an advocate for families and children and believes that all children can learn and be productive in society given the right tools.

Stephanie graduated from Mitchell Community College with an Associates in Arts degree in Early Childhood Development and holds a Bachelor in Science in Psychology from Ashford University. She served as the lead Family Partner for Crossroads Behavioral Health assisting families connected with services to navigate systems from 2009 to 2012, and also served in this role with Partners.

Doug Gallion, M.S.
Associate Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Clinical Services Director
Training Specialties:  Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Service Definitions, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Care Coordination, Clinical Supervision, Medicaid & State Services, Autism Spectrum Disorder/Traumatic Brain Injury Resources, NC Innovations/1915 (c) Waiver, ICF-IID Levels of Care, Home and Community Based Service Standards.

Doug Gallon has over 26 years of experience in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field and has worked in a variety of roles, such as direct services, case management, clinical supervision, and managed care. Doug spent 13 years of his career with Mental Health Partners as the Director of Provider Relations, Quality Management and Community Collaboration, and currently serves as Partners’ Associate IDD Clinical Services Director, where he helps develop new initiatives related to IDD services.

Doug has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina-Asheville and a Masters’ Degree in Strategic Leadership with a concentration in healthcare from Mountain State University.

Tammy Gilmore, M.Ed.
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Clinical Director
Training Specialties
:  NC Innovations Waiver (service definitions, waiver overview, resource allocation), Person-Centered Thinking/Practices, Person-Centered Planning

Tammy Gilmore has over 28 years’ experience in intellectual and developmental disabilities program development and implementation. Tammy joined Partners in 2016 as its Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Clinical Director, and prior to this role, served at Cardinal Innovations in a variety of roles, including, vice president of community programs, director of developmental disabilities and mental health services, and director of consumer planning and support services.

Tammy received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Pfeiffer University and a Master of Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She has a strong commitment to person-centered practices and continuous quality improvement, and strives to improve outcomes and provide excellent service for individuals, families, and communities in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Lynne Grey, MA, LPC, LCAS, CSI
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Utilization Management Manager
Training Specialties: ASAM, Service Definitions, Service Delivery Options, Opioid Addiction, Substance Use Disorder Treatment Continuum

Lynne Grey serves as Partners’ Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Utilization Management Manager. Her professional experience includes providing individual, group, and family therapy for adolescents and adults diagnosed with substance use disorders. Lynne is also involved with Partners’ opioid addiction initiative, providing knowledge and training about treatment options for those struggling with addiction. Before coming to Partners, Lynne managed the Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient Program (SAIOP) and Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment (SACOT) programs at an agency in Gastonia.

Lynne received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Arts in Community Counseling from Appalachian State University. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Addictions Counseling.

Barbara Hallisey, MSW, LCSW
Associate Clinical Services Director
Training Specialties:  Recovery-Oriented Supports, Ethics for Clinical Staff in a Managed Care Environment, Involuntary Commitment Process, Mental Health Disorders

Barbara Hallisey is a licensed clinical social worker and serves as Partners’ Associate Clinical Services Director. She has 25 years of experience in the behavioral health field with a primary clinical focus on crisis and dual disorders (substance use and mental health). She has worked in all aspects of the care continuum in her last 20 years of practicing in North Carolina, including crisis, inpatient, and intensive services.

Barbara completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Colby College and Masters of Social Work at Salem State University. She helped establish North Carolina’s statutory waiver that allows certain masters level clinicians to be certified to complete involuntary commitment first evaluations. This waiver allows people under involuntary commitment orders to be evaluated in a community setting, rather than forced into hospital emergency rooms.

Larry Holcombe, CCS, CSAC
Provider Network Manager
Training Specialties: Relative as Direct Support Provider, Provider Monitoring, Dispute Resolution, Plan of Correction Process

Larry Holcombe is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a BS in Workforce, Education, Development, and Training. He has been part of Partners’ Provider Network Department since 2012.

Larry has worked over 30 years in the Substance Use field, serving for 18 of his 24 years in the U.S. Navy as a Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor, a Residential Substance Abuse and Addictions Senior Counselor, and facility director of two Outpatient Drug and Alcohol facilities. He has worked extensively with various types of addiction, including drugs and alcohol, food, sex, gambling, adult children of alcoholics, and co-dependency.

Martha Kaufman, M.Ed.
Integrated Care Director
Training Specialties: Whole Person Integrated Care; System of Care

Martha Kaufman, M.Ed., has focused on advances in behavioral health care throughout her career. Currently, she is responsible for developing Partners’ Whole Person Integrated Care initiative. The Whole Person Integrated Care model expands integrated care beyond the health care sector to include the social determinants of health, or the conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play. By tackling all the conditions that affect an individual’s overall health, one can improve population health, reduce health disparities, advance health equity, and optimize public and private resources.

Martha has worked with a number of LME-MCOs and health departments across the state, focusing on care systems that build partnerships to better serve individuals. Prior to her role at Partners, Martha worked at the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services as State Project Manager for North Carolina’s first three SAMHSA-funded System of Care grants, and served as director of North Carolina’s Child and Family Mental Health Services. She has worked in a variety of other communities and states to help improve life outcomes for children and their families. Martha holds an M.Ed in Counseling Psychology from Auburn University, with undergraduate work at Auburn and the University of Idaho.

Beth Lackey, MSW, LCSW
Provider Network Director
Training Specialties: Provider Monitoring, Relative as Direct Support Employee, Documentation

Beth Lackey currently serves as Partners’ Provider Network Director, responsible for the development, credentialing, monitoring, and advancement of the provider network and service options for Partners’ members. She holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Appalachian State University and a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina.

Beth’s career began when working with foster children. She was responsible for managing, reviewing, and training foster parents to deliver quality care to the children they served, along with managing crisis placement. She also has experience in quality management, call center services, and utilization management. Beth served as Partners’ first mental health and substance abuse care coordination director, helping to establish the department in 2012.

Brandy Lineberger, RN, CDP
Geriatric and Adult Specialty Team Program Coordinator
Training Specialties: Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Schizophrenia, Personality Disorders, and Depressive Disorders, Dementia, Challenging Behaviors, Suicide Prevention, How to Access Services, and Medications

Brandy Lineberger is the Program Coordinator for Partners’ Geriatric and Adult Specialty Team. She attended Gaston College School of Nursing and Western Governors University, and is a Registered Nurse and Certified Dementia Practitioner. Brandy has worked in various areas as a nurse including Intensive Care, Home Health, Hospice, Long Term Care, and Behavioral Health.

Brandy has a true passion for geriatrics. She is a member of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Older Adults Task Force, the Council on Aging and the NC Home and Community Block Grant Advisory Committee. Brandy also serves on many geriatric-focused work groups dedicated to improving the lives of the geriatric population.

Selenna Moss, MHA, BS-HIM, RHIT, CHP
Chief Quality and Compliance Officer
Training Specialties: Quality Improvement; Change Management; Ethics; Regulatory Compliance; Leadership; HIPAA; Fiscal Management; Documentation Management; Fraud, Waste and Abuse; Quality Management; and Teambuilding.

Selenna Moss currently serves as the Chief Compliance and Quality Officer for Partners Behavioral Health Management. Prior to joining Partners, she served as the Interim Health Director for the Gaston County Public Health Department.

Selenna has a diverse background where she has served in various management roles throughout her more than 26 years in the health care industry, including Assistant Health Director, Human Resources Director, Health Information Management (HIM) Director, Business Services Administrator, HIPAA Privacy Officer, Operations Director, and Compliance Officer. Prior to local government, Ms. Moss worked in the long-term care industry where she also provided compliance consultative services to nursing facilities across North Carolina.

Ms. Moss holds a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Information Management. In addition, Ms. Moss is a Registered Health Information Technician, certified in Healthcare Privacy from the American Health Information Management Association, and credentialed through the Health Care Compliance Association as Certified in Healthcare Compliance.

Jeanne Patterson
Child System of Care Liaison, Gaston, Cleveland, and Lincoln Counties
Training Specialties: Youth Mental Health First Aid, I.C. Hope

Jeanne Patterson serves as the Child System of Care Liaison serving Gaston, Cleveland and Lincoln Counties. Jeanne is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer and I.C. Hope trainer. I.C. Hope is a program designed to help reduce the stigma of mental illness by teaching children ages 4-18 about mental health. Jeanne has a special interest in domestic violence and services for homeless children and adults.

Jeanne graduated from Salem College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and French. She has had a varied career in human services, working in the school system, social services, with non-profit groups, and with a service provider. She worked with a local provider as a Family Centered Specialist, delivering Intensive-In Home services and Targeted Case Management. Jeanne also has experience in the public school system, working as a social worker and homeless education program coordinator. In addition, Jeanne served with the Cleveland County Abuse Prevention Council and Cleveland County Department of Social Services.

Kathi Perkins, Iredell, Surry, and Yadkin Counties
Adult System of Care Liaison
Training Specialties: Child and Family Team Training, Crisis Intervention Training

Kathi is the Adult System of Care Adult Liaison for Iredell, Surry, and Yadkin counties, representing Partners with the Project Lazarus task force, and is the facilitator for Adult Community Collaborative groups in the three-county area. Previously, Kathi has served as a Child System of Care Liaison with another LME-MCO. Kathi’s goal is to make sure that all North Carolina citizens have access to all available and appropriate mental health services.

Kathi holds a degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences and Mental Health Counseling from the University of Maryland. She has extensive work experience in matters relating to legislation for both the adult and youth populations, having assisted with drafting and implementing legislation relating to matters defining conditional releases for adults and defining competency in the juvenile court system. She has served as a senior consultant on a statewide multi-agency task force on matters relating to access to mental health and behavioral health services. She maintains her licensure through the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners.

Kim Rhoads, LCAS
Child System of Care Liaison, Burke and Catawba Counties
Training Specialties: Youth Mental Health First Aid; Child & Family Team; Darkness to Light

Kim Rhoads serves as Partners’ Child System of Care Liaison for Burke and Catawba counties. In this role, she develops connections among families, human service agencies, providers, schools, and advocates for children living with behavioral health issues or a disability. Kim also serves as Project Director for the Reclaiming Futures initiative ensuring the continuity of services for juvenile justice involved youth.

Kim is a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS) with experience in the recovery community as a therapist, consultant, and program manager. She has extensive experience in Public Health, serving as coordinator for Healthy Carolinians, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention, and childcare health consulting programs. Kim has served as a member of the Healthy Carolinians Governing Board, Western North Carolina Public Health Association, Burke Council on Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency Board, and the State Medical Assistance Team. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and a Master of Arts in Community Counseling from Appalachian State University.

Jamie Sales
System of Care Manager
Training Specialties: Crisis Intervention Team, Child and Family Teams, System of Care

Jamie Sales manages Partners’ Child and Adult System of Care and its Geriatric and Adult Specialty Team units. She works to develop strategic initiatives to advance this model of care for members in Partners eight-county service area.

Jamie has also worked closely with the state’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training program, presenting at state and national CIT conferences, including the NC Chief of Police Conference, Jail Administrator Conference, and the Governor’s Crime Commission Conference on Safe Communities.

Jamie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is currently pursuing a Masters in Executive Leadership from Liberty University.

Jeffrey Sanders, MSW, MPA, LCSW
Transition to Community Living Initiative Manager
Training Specialties
:   Consumer Rights, Ethics for Clinical Staff in a Managed Care Environment

Jeffrey Sanders is the manager of Partners’ Transition to Community Living Initiative, a program that helps people with a severe and persistent mental illness move out of an institutional living facility to their own residence.

Jeffrey has worked in the behavioral health field for over 18 years. Jeffery’s career began in Georgia, where he led therapy groups and provided crisis intervention services.  In 2002, Jeffrey joined Pathways LME and worked directly with members, delivering substance use disorder, mental health, and crisis emergency services. He also managed Pathways’ Community Alternative Program for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities’ Utilization Review Unit.  Jeffrey also has experience in quality improvement/management reporting and consumer rights.

Jeffery is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and received a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of South Carolina, a Masters of Social Work from Clark Atlanta University, and a Masters of Public Administration from Troy State University.

Andrew Schrag, LPCS
Regional Director of Community Operations, Southern Region
Training Specialties: Community Engagement, Integrated Health Care

Andrew Schrag serves as Partners’ Regional Director of Community Operations for Gaston, Cleveland, and Lincoln counties. In this capacity, Andrew engages with key community stakeholders, such as elected officials and government agencies, to identify system barriers, develop solutions, and lead Partners’ efforts in those communities. Prior to joining Partners, he spent 14 years in private practice providing treatment of mental health disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. In addition, Andrew has taught a variety of undergraduate psychology courses for multiple colleges over the past eight years.

Andrew holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Eastern Mennonite University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Indiana University-Bloomington. He is currently in pursuit of his Master’s in Business Administration through the University of Mississippi. Andrew is both a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Professional Counseling Supervisor.

Michael Smith, QP
Adult System of Care Liaison, Burke and Catawba Counties
Training Specialties: Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Crisis Intervention Team Training Facilitator

Michael Smith serves as the Adult System of Care Liaison for Burke and Catawba counties. Michael has over 13 years of experience working in the behavioral health field, working in case management, educational, and service delivery settings.

As an Adult System of Care liaison, Michael serves as a resource to local law enforcement agencies to help officers understand the challenges faced by individuals living with a mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disabilities diagnoses. He facilitates area Adult Community Collaborative groups, which bring all agencies, advocates, and volunteers working with adults together to identify solutions and reduce barriers for those living with a behavioral health diagnosis. Michael also serves as the chairperson for Catawba County Project Lazarus and the Rethinking Guardianship program.

Michael is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation Management.

Andrew Walsh, JD, MBA
Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel
Training Specialties: Mediation Proceedings, Service Decision Appeals, Documentation

Andrew Walsh has served as in-house attorney for new legal departments at three of the eight North Carolina local management entities/managed care organizations (LME/MCOs) and currently is the Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel at Partners. In his role, he has helped design, implement, oversee, maintain, and advise various health care dispute processes. Andrew has been involved in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation and arbitration, for over 15 years, including teaching ADR and negotiation at two law schools and numerous workshops and trainings in various states.

In addition to health care law, Andrew has practiced primarily in large, complex business litigation, including director and officer liability, audit malpractice, failed bank litigation, antitrust investigations, and securities litigation. As a council member of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Health Law Section and active member of the North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys, he has organized, presented, and written on North Carolina Medicaid transformation law. Andrew is an executive committee member of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s (ACC’s) Health Law Committee, and registered as a Dispute Resolver and author for the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA).

Andrew holds a Six Sigma greenbelt and licenses to practice law in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and History from Cornell University; J.D. and M.B.A. (finance) degrees from the University of Tennessee; and taken non-degree graduate studies in econometrics, industrial organization, and regulatory economics at George Washington University.