We are fortunate to have five panelists, each with a unique perspective on mental health, joining us on Thursday, October 8, for the Places for People Hear Our Voices Town Hall Forum.
Executive Director, Places for People
With more than 30 years’ experience in the mental health care field, Joe understands how critical it is for those in need to have access to quality mental and behavioral health care. He joined Community Alternatives in 2007 as Executive Director but began his professional career with PfP’s Club. Joe was later named the first director of PfP’s West Pine Group Home, which opened in 1983 as the first psychiatric group home in the St. Louis area.
Following his first tenure at PfP, Joe’s career included 15 years of experience with the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH), serving as director of community-based services for the East and Southeast regions and interim deputy director for the division of Comprehensive Psychiatric Services.
He has emerged as a leader in the mental health community and served as lead adult policy coordinator for the Missouri Mental Health Transformation Initiative through the governor’s office. Additionally, Joe has a long history of leadership roles in St. Louis.
- Current Chair of St. Louis Regional Health Commission Community Advisory Board
- Current commissioner on the St. Louis Regional Health Commission
- Current board member on SIRV (St. Louis Inititative to Reduce Violence)
- Current board member (former chairman) of Behavioral Health Network
- Served as lead adult policy coordinator for the Missouri Mental Health Transformation Initiative
Missouri State Senator Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis, 4th District) | @JoeKeaveny
Missouri State Senator (D-St. Louis, 4th District
Senator Joe Keaveny has represented the 4th Senatorial District, which includes the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, since 2009. In January 2015, he became the Senate minority leader.
In addition to his legislative duties, Sen. Keaveny practices in the trust and probate section of Weiss Attorneys at Law and continues to serve as committeeman for the 28th Ward in St. Louis.
Senator Keaveny’s legislative agenda includes local control of St. Louis police department, analyzing the cost of the death penalty, increasing seat belt usage, expanding access to early childhood education programs, and improving administrative procedures in child support.
Dr. Collins E. Lewis
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus, Washington University in St. Louis
With more than four decades of experience in psychiatry, Dr. Collins E. Lewis is an expert in the treatment of substance abuse. Dr. Lewis is associate professor of psychiatry emeritus at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Lewis works 20 hours a week in the emergency room at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, John Cochran Division.
In April 2015, he was honored with the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund Dr. John M. Anderson Excellence in Mental Health Award at the St. Louis American Foundation’s 15th Annual Salute to Excellence in Health Care Awards Luncheon.
Dr. Lewis is a past board member of Places for People, and numerous other organizations in the St. Louis region.
Officer Chris Koester
Assistant Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator
Officer Koester is a member of the St. Louis County Police Department Division of Special Operations. He serves as the Assistant Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator. Officer Koester was one of 50 police officers in the St. Louis region recognized in May 2015 at the 29th annual John J. McAtee Award award luncheon by Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri for demonstrating bravery and compassion in the line of duty.
As a manager at Standing Partnership, Ashlyn builds and executes sales enablement, lead generation and digital communications strategies for clients. Her work includes using marketing automation, website strategy, SEO and content marketing to help organizations achieve their goals.
Ashlyn serves as vice president of Social Media Club St. Louis, where she developed and helped launch the Social Media ON TAP series, which highlights St. Louis’ social media stories.
As part of her passion for community service, Ashlyn is a member of the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s Young Professional Board and Social Media Avengers group, which she helps develop and implement digital strategies to fight hunger in the St. Louis region.