Meet Our Team

Amy Saunders headshot
Amy Saunders, M.A.
Managing Director
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
Applied Engineering Complex, Rm 4223
saunde22@marshall.edu
304-696-4800

Amy Saunders, M.A., is the managing director of the MU Center of Excellence for Recovery at Marshall University, where she oversees multiple behavioral health initiatives on campus and in the community. She received a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Marshall University and has over 20 years of experience working in the fields of behavioral health and public health. Saunders served as the director of Marshall’s Wellness Center for over fifteen years where she implemented multiple health and wellness initiatives on campus. She has served as the director of a school-based mental health program overseeing services to students in five middle schools. She has authored and received over 25 public and mental health-related grants where she has served as a Principal Investigator (PI) or as an Evaluator. Saunders has assisted with strategic planning and coalition development on campus and within the local community and state. She is a founding member of the Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership and the West Virginia Collegiate Initiative to Address High-Risk Drinking and Substance Use, coalitions working to provide substance use education and prevention in West Virginia. She serves as an advisory member on the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment.

Tammy Collins Headshot
Tammy L. Collins, Ph.D., CPS, OCPC
Lead Evaluator & Family Scientist
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex, Rm 4240
collins@marshall.edu
304-696-6276

Tammy L. Collins, Ph.D., IC&RC certified prevention specialist and Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant, has more than 25 years of experience in translating research into practice and policy in the fields of substance use disorders, mental health, justice, and education. She currently conducts applied research as Lead Evaluator for Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery, is the Family Scientist for WV Kids Count, and an evaluation consultant for projects in Union and Montgomery Counties in Ohio. Her doctorate of philosophy in human development and family science with a cognate area of adolescent behavioral health risk and protective factors was earned from The Ohio State University. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism/public relations from Marshall University. Dr. Collins has led administrative and applied research teams at Ohio and WV state agencies including being Deputy Director at the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, Senior Research Analyst at the WV Supreme Court of Appeals, and Policy and Planning Coordinator at WV Division of Criminal Justice Services; as well as leading research and evaluation teams at The Ohio State University and Marshall University. Dr. Collins has served as a subject matter expert for national, state, and local prevention, youth and community development, and applied research projects.

Tammy Pearson headshot
Tammy Pearson, M.A.
Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) Director
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex, Rm 4232
tpearson@marshall.edu
304-696-6242

Tammy Pearson, M.A., is the TCOM Director of the Marshall University Center of Excellence for Recovery, where she oversees multiple behavioral health initiatives related to Transformational Collaborative Outcomes Management (TCOM) and Wraparound in WV. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and worked with WV’s System of Care for over 18 years, serving both as an Evaluator and later Program Director. Through this project, she worked statewide with mental health providers, juvenile justice, and the Department of Health and Human Resources. She has served on many statewide committees that serve children in the state of WV. She continues to work with the state on data collection and reporting and other projects.  She also is the principal investigator of the Southwestern Regional Day Report Center Fresh Start Program-Bureau of Justice-Comprehensive Opioid Misuse Program, Principle investigator. This is a diversion program to keep individuals with substance use disorders from entering prison by providing therapy, education, and job training.

Keigan Aabel-Brown, MSW
BWHET Coordinator
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex, 4244
aabelbrown@marshall.edu
304-696-6275

Keigan Aabel-Brown, MSW, coordinates a behavioral health workforce education and training grant supported through HRSA and was the previous coordinator for the Marshall University SBIRT grant. Keigan received his master’s degree in clinical social work from Marshall University and has dedicated his professional career to serving marginalized and at-risk populations in West Virginia. Previous to his commitment to West Virginia, Keigan served as a training and technical assistance specialist for the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office on Trafficking in Persons, building capacity in service provision for individuals who were victims of crime or had lived experience with human trafficking. Keigan is involved with numerous community-based efforts including the Cabell County Juvenile Treatment Court, Prevention Coalition, and leadership in local reentry initiatives. Finally, Keigan has worked with numerous social service programs including home visitation, probation, and youth advocacy to build capacity related to responding to substance use behavior.

Allison Plymale Headshot
Allison Plymale, BA
Special Projects Coordinator
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex, 4224
plymale15@marshall.edu
304-696-5080

Allison Plymale, B.A., is the Special Projects Coordinator for the MU Center of Excellence for Recovery. Working alongside the Managing Director, Plymale works on multiple behavioral health initiatives on campus and in the community. She is a 2005 graduate of Marshall University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Advertising from the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Born and raised in West Virginia, Plymale is committed to continue working and supporting initiatives to address issues related to substance use disorder and behavioral health within the state

Heather Stalnaker, M.A., LPC
Collegiate Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership Director
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex
mcdonnellsta@marshall.edu

Heather Stalnaker, M.A., LPC,is the project director of the Collegiate Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership for Success program.  The C-SPF-PFS seeks to enhance prevention infrastructure and build capacity among higher education institutes to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of alcohol, tobacco & vaping, marijuana & prescription drug misuse and its related problems among higher education students.  She has worked in the behavioral health field since 2005.  She holds a Masters of Arts in Counseling from WVU and a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Fairmont State University.  Heather is a Licensed Professional Counselor through the WV Board of Examining Counselors, Certified in Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning through EAGALA and a Certified Trauma Provider- Educational (CTP-E) through Starr Commonwealth.  She has worked in a variety of settings such as, corrections, in-patient and out-patient behavioral health, public education and private practice over the last 15 years.  In addition to her work as a counselor, Heather has also provided trainings and professional development to a variety of groups such as Healthy Grandfamilies, WV School Counseling Association Conference, Harrison County School Counselors and Nurses and school faculty. Training topics include: trauma awareness, stress management, self-care for professionals, Women’s Wellness Workshops, EAP/EAL Work, Modifying Mindsets and educating students with anxiety & stress.

Ana Ramirez Garcia, MPH

Evaluator
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex
ramirez9@marshall.edu

Ana Ramirez Garcia, MPH, oversees evaluation of the Treatment, Recovery, and Workforce Support Grant through SAMHSA. Ana received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences from Marshall University, and then her Master of Public Health degree in International Health and Development from Tulane University in New Orleans. She has worked in community-based participatory research efforts to benefit low-income, underserved and marginalized communities in the US and Peru. Her work in evaluation and program development has focused on creating tools and processes to ensure sustainability and continuity in community health programs. She is excited to be back in Huntington to support the ongoing efforts to strengthen our communities.

Katelyn Fowler, MSW
Lead Epidemiologist – Collegiate Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
fowler106@marshall.edu

Katelyn Fowler, MSW, is the Lead Epidemiologist for the Collegiate Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success and was the previous coordinator for the Marshall University Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention grant. She began her career at the bachelor’s level with a focus on the justice system. She gained experience as a student working with Family Court in Northeastern Kentucky before working in community-based corrections for several years after graduation. As a reentry specialist, she worked with individuals, groups, and community agencies, such as probation and parole, reentry coalitions, and drug prevention task force in Southeastern Ohio. Katelyn then received her master’s degree in clinical social work from Marshall University and went on to work in outpatient mental health. During this time, she worked with individuals of all ages and backgrounds. She also has experience working with adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. Through her career, Katelyn has developed a passion for prevention and education. She has conducted numerous trainings on suicide prevention, assessments and screening tools, addressing student’s mental health needs, ACES and the impact of trauma, sexism and gender roles, Mental Health and LGBTQIA+ populations, and more. She is also currently a field faculty liaison for Marshall University’s MSW program, as well as the secretary for the Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group.

Cassandra M. Hefner, MS
Behavioral Health Researcher
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex
jeffers19@marshall.edu

Cassandra M. Hefner, MS, is a part-time Behavioral Heath Researcher for the West Virginia Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success statewide project. She graduated with a B.A in Political Science and an M.S. in Criminal Justice from Marshall University. Hefner’s previous work experience includes child abuse and neglect research for the Supreme Court of West Virginia Administrative Office, criminal justice research at the West Virginia Criminal Justice Statistical Analysis Center as well as legal assisting, healthcare contract management, and she has been an adjunct instructor.

 

Amy Knicely, MA
Project Aware Coordinator
Marshall Center of Excellence for Recovery, MURC
knicely7@marshall.edu

Amy Knicely, MA., is the State Educational Agency (SEA) Coordinator for Project AWARE, a grant-funded initiative from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS).   She coordinates the efforts of local education agencies, community project managers, mental health professionals, and community organizations, to support the success of the AWARE Project.  Amy holds a School Principalship certification from Marshall University; an MA., in Curriculum & Instruction from Ohio Valley University; a BA., in Elementary Education from Kean University; and an AA., as an Education Practitioner from Middlesex County College.  Amy is also certified in Math, Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, and a Library Media Specialist.