Mental Health Summit Speakers

When:  9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022

Location: DoubleTree by Hilton, 150 S Nicolet Road, Appleton, WI 54911 

Dr. Wayne Bentham
Dr. Wayne Bentham

He/Him/His

Internist/Psychiatrist

Dr. Bentham is an internist and psychiatrist, and currently serves as the Medical Director at The Remedy MN Ketamine-TMS in Minneapolis, Minn. Previously, Dr. Bentham served as attending psychiatrist at St. Elizabeth Hospital, in Appleton Wis., during which time he also served as the Associate Director for Behavioral Health at Network Health Plan, and then was attending psychiatrist at Bellin Psychiatric Center, in Green Bay, Wis. His board certifications are Diplomate, of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and Diplomate, of the American College of Independent Medical Examiners. Over the 20-plus years of his career, Dr. Bentham has practiced in academic medical centers, special medical centers, community mental health centers, telepsychiatry, and he has collaborated in community/public health partnerships to deliver mental health services to communities devastated by natural disasters.

Eliza Cussen
Eliza Cussen

She/Her/Hers

Organizer & Communications Strategist

Eliza Cussen is an organizer and communications strategist with 15 years’ experience in the progressive movement in the US and Australia. Since 2018, she has worked within the Human Rights Campaign, establishing its first grassroots organizing program in Northeast Wisconsin. She serves as the communications director for Kristina Shelton for Assembly and advises a number of political campaigns for women, nonbinary, and BIPOC candidates. She lives in Green Bay with her child.

David DeGrood
David DeGrood

He/Him/His

Epidemiologist

David is the epidemiologist for Outagamie County Public Health and has served on the steering committee for the Wisconsin Epidemiology Network since its creation in 2021. Some of his current work focuses on communicable disease prevention, healthy infrastructure promotion, and equitable community health improvement. A native of the Upper Midwest, David received both a Master’s in French & Francophone Studies and a Master’s in Global Health from the University of Notre Dame. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and playing with his parents’ dog

Kathy Flores
Kathy Flores

She/Her/Hers

Director, Diverse & Resilient – Appleton

Kathy started her career at Kimberly-Clark Corporation in 1993 focused on diversity and inclusion. Over the past 25 years, Kathy has worked in corporate, nonprofit, and government work. In 2000, Kathy helped start Harmony Café in Appleton as its first program director. She has worked in the anti-violence movement since 2002 while working for a mainstream domestic violence program in Appleton. She then founded the Valley LGBTQ Anti-Violence Project serving LGBTQ survivors as a volunteer outside her paid working hours. Hoping she could influence community change by taking her activism to city government, Kathy spent seven years as the City of Appleton’s diversity and inclusion coordinator in the mayor’s office. In her proudest accomplishment in her 29 years of activism, Kathy expanded the original request of Diverse & Resilient to build a statewide warmline for LGBTQ survivors into the creation of today’s vibrant and growing Room to Be Safe Anti-Violence program traveling the state educating mainstream domestic and sexual violence programs about LGBTQ survivors for 3 years before expanding the program even further. In 2019 Kathy secured funding to open an office in Appleton that employs four staff members. Today, Kathy is the director of Diverse & Resilient’s outreach office in Appleton and director of the statewide anti-violence program. Kathy considers herself a grassroots organizer and has spent years learning from brilliant activists in movements to end racism and LGBTQ bias in communities throughout the country.

Nathaniel Fores
Nathaniel Fores

He/Him/His

Gender Affirming Care/Registered Nurse – Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin

Nathaniel BSN, RN, is proud to hold the title of the first Gender Affirming Care Registered Nurse at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. He comes from a long line of nurses, always insisting he would not follow that same path. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2012, putting an exclamation point onto these early lifelong sentiments. By 2015 he had been dipping his toes in the field of caring for others and by 2016 found himself as a Paramedic and slowly started to realize it was happening, he was headed for the nursing profession. The nursing field found him in a slightly different way, however. As a man of trans experience, he ran into a multitude of roadblocks and difficulties accessing affirming healthcare, while hearing many similar stories from the community, particularly while working at the LGBTQIA+ Resource Center at UW-Oshkosh. This solidified his path forward. He would become a nurse with the number one intention of creating positive change, providing affirming healthcare and serving his trans and non-binary community, and what an honor to be a safe space in others’ journeys.

 

Ronnie Grace
Ronnie Grace

He/Him/His

Lead Peer Navigator – Diverse & Resilient, 

Ronnie has been an advocate, activist, and mentor in the LGBTQ and HIV communities for almost 20 years.  Ronnie brings more than 30 years of customer service experience with him prior to joining Diverse & Resilient in 2006 as a program participant.  In 2008, Diverse & Resilient received a grant for an HIV testing program, and Ronnie was asked to come on board as a coordinator.  Shortly thereafter, he became the lead coordinator for both the HIV and STI testing programs in addition to facilitating the agency’s support group for women of trans experience, Sister Helping Each other Battle Adversity (SHEBA).  In 2020, Ronnie became the lead peer navigator for the agency’s HIV Peer Navigator Program.  Ronnie has garnered many awards for his work in the HIV, LGBTQ, and transgender communities. Ronnie’s passion for advocating and serving the underserved and underprivileged LGBTQ and HIV communities of color has left him equipped with a wealth of tools and information.  He frequently serves on panels and at speaking engagements to continue to raise awareness.

Isaac Kabacinski
Isaac Kabacinski

He/Him/His

Clinical Therapist

Isaac graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Lakeland University double majoring in criminal justice and psychology and a master’s in social work from UW-Green Bay. He has experiences working with the UWGB Pride Center, Director of the LGBT+ Center in Marinette, and clinical therapist at Us 2 Behavioral Healthcare. Isaac was a P.B. Poorman Award recipient in 2019 for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People and is a passionate advocate currently providing transition-related services for transgender and non-binary individuals and facilitating a parent support group for raising their children who identify on the gender spectrum. Isaac believes the LGBTQ+ group for parents is essential to building a healthier, supportive family system and community.

Isaac utilizes therapeutic approaches and interventions including psychoeducation and strengths-based, person-centered, and solution focused, mindfulness, and Dialectical (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). He believes in taking a nonjudgmental approach that creates a safe space when collaborating with clients to develop their own individualized treatment plan that best suits their needs.

Betsy Kowal Jett
Betsy Kowal Jett

She/Her/Hers
Singer, Creative & Community Artist

Betsy Kowal Jett is a singer, creative, and community artist. Her latest projects include community songwriting projects in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s The Lullaby Project, NAMI Fox Valley, and Harbor House. Betsy is passionate about the power music has to help us heal and unify collectively; she spends her time designing and leading projects that help us to increase our collective well-being through music.

Keira Kowal Jett
Keira Kowal Jett

They/Them/Theirs

Community Education & Outreach Specialist – Diverse & Resilient

Over the past decade, Keira has been leading change work in every sphere they inhabit, pushing for BIPOC and LGBTQ representation and justice in the music industry, academia, and the several non-profits they have served over the years.  Keira loves connecting with others and strives to create grounded learning spaces for LGBTQ folks and their prospective allies to build new understandings of how to love and care for each other as deeply as possible.  Keira is a passionate singer and actor, and they love to read, write, and hike–no matter how cold the weather!  Keira came to Wisconsin from California in 2012 and graduated from Lawrence University with a Bachelor of Music in voice performance and a Bachelor of Arts in gender studies.

Jasmine Lammers
Jasmine Lammers

Licensed Professional Counselor – Gender & Sexuality

Since 2012 Jasmine has focused her training and education towards the understanding and helping of those who are sexually, gender, and biologically diverse (LGBTQIA+).  She has done so due to discovering the portions of her identity of being intersex, a transgender woman, and a lesbian individual.  She became determined to help those with similar struggles to her own find a way to work past the barriers these types of identities can cause within modern society.  Since 2016 Jasmine has been practicing as a gender and sexuality specialized Licensed Professional Counselor.  She has also been giving trainings, consultation, and general guidance to businesses, agencies, and organizations on the topic of sexuality, gender, and biological diversity (LGBTQIA+).  To better meet the needs of her community Jasmine created the Sheboygan County LGBTQ Alliance.  Jasmine went on to become certified as a gender diversity trainer through the Transgender Training Institute in an effort to help good intentioned businesses, agencies, and organizations gain the understanding and assistance they strongly needed to be able to become true and active allies for LGBTQIA+ individuals.  Jasmine founded her business, Transformative Services LLC (www.transformativeservicesllc.com), in further efforts to help support the community, its people, and its businesses/agencies/organizations.  Through it Jasmine provides LGBTQIA+ and DE&I focused trainings, consultation, assessments, mentoring, EAP services, and more.

Lorenzo Rivas
Lorenzo Rivas

He/Him/His

Lead HIV & STI Prevention Coordinator, Diverse & Resilient

Lorenzo was born and raised in Milwaukee.  He has always valued Diverse & Resilient’s work and what the agency does for our community.  Since his teen years, he has volunteered with and has shown an interest in Diverse & Resilient.  One sunny day, Lorenzo got a phone call from Ronnie Grace who was, at the time, D&R’s lead HIV & STI prevention coordinator.  Ronnie then mentored Lorenzo for the following several years.  Long story short: Lorenzo was given the opportunity to give back to the community by educating and promoting self-health awareness.  His training took place at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee where he was certified in HIV counseling, testing, and referral (CTR) which allowed him to begin his new career in the prevention of STIs.  His mission is to help lower the transmission rates of HIV and to help protect his community from other STIs.  Undetectable equals untransmittable (U=U).  Knowledge is power!

Nick Ross
Nick Ross

They/Them/Theirs

LGBTQ Anti-Violence Program Advocate, Diverse & Resilient

Nick began advocating for the LGBTQ community at age 15, when they and their peers fought to form one of the first GSAs in Northeast Wisconsin at Neenah High School.  The success of this effort sparked a chain reaction of GSAs forming throughout the region.  The experience of advocating for themself and their peers as a young person fostered a lifelong passion for social justice and advocacy which informed their studies at Columbia University where they received a Bachelor of Arts in English and comparative literature in 2008.  Nick continues to educate themself on the issues and experiences of people from other marginalized communities in order to be a better co-conspirator in the fight to end systemic oppressions.  As a survivor of intimate partner violence in a queer relationship, Nick understands the critical importance of LGBTQ-specific services to help survivors get the help they need.

Kathleen Schiltz
Kathleen Schiltz

She/Her/Hers

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist 

Kathleen graduated from Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, WA in 2003 with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. She has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient therapy, crisis response, juvenile probation, EAP, college and university counseling centers, private practice and behavioral health care. As an LGBTQ identified individual, she is dedicated to her advocacy and service work. Her continuing education has focused on LGBTQ-specific training and education for individuals, couples and families. This includes participating in many anti-racism trainings and paying close attention to how identities within us intersect and inform our views, values, choices and relationships. She has conducted trainings on serving the LGBTQ community, participated in the transgender consult team at Oregon State University, and run support groups for LGBTQIAP+ individuals at Oregon State University and Lawrence University. As a Prevea provider, Kathleen supports the LGBTQ Affirming Care model of practice which affirms LGBTQ identities and approaches LGBTQ populations with acceptance and validation to lessen the potential and impact of discrimination in their health care. She leads a consultation group for Prevea Behavioral Care providers who see LGBTQ patients as well as provides LGBTQ Affirming Care trainings available through Prevea University.

Nik Shier
Nik Shier

They/Them/Theirs

Queer Storyteller

Nik Shier is a Queer Storyteller who first lived in a little town called Packwaukee, Wis. with their 16-year-old mother and her mother and her mother. They were raised on the smells of Cheese Factory Labor and Tobacco. At the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, they earned their BA in English with minors in Social Justice and Creative Writing and Interned at the LGBTQ Resource Center.  Shortly after they earned their MFA W from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, focusing on Creative Nonfiction.  Mostly they studied storytelling as a route to Social Justice.  Nik is currently the director of HeartBrain, a community-focused storytelling, editing, and nonprofit consulting platform, working on an anthology of love poems about a variety of loves, and writing bath-crayon poetry. 

Jesús Gregorio Smith, Ph.D.
Jesús Gregorio Smith, Ph.D.

He/Him/His

Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, Lawrence University

Jesús Gregorio Smith is an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and an Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Andrew W. Mellon Fellow. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology in 2017 from Texas A&M University where he studied the intersections of systemic racism, masculinity, and sexuality and how they influence mental and sexual health. He has published 25 various research pieces, including 14 peer-reviewed articles and chapters  in such venues as Archives of Sexual Behavior, Aids & Behavior, and Issues in Race & Society. Jesús coedited a collection of essays through Lexington Books titled Home and Community for Queer Men of Color: The Intersection of Race and Sexuality. Currently, he has a book contract with NYU Press for his first sole authored manuscript.