More of Our Board Members

  • Deborah Elledge

    Ph.D., CCC-SLP
    Deborah has served on the Board since 2018

    Statement Profession/Employment: Debbie has worked for over 20 years as a speech-language pathologist with children of all ages with a variety of communication disorders. After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, she spent 5 years as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire before returning to clinical work. Her current position is with New England Pediatric Services serving children with developmental language disorders and selective mutism.

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Debbie is currently serving on the Development and Fundraising Committee.

    Why IMH matters to me: Having worked with individuals from preschool through graduate school, I have witnessed the profound impact mental health issues can have on the lives of children and young adults as well as the family members of those individuals. I believe that early-intervention and family education is the best way to promote healthy social-emotional development in our society.

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  • Joanne Kawecki

    BA in psychology
    Joanne has served on the Board since 2018

    Statement Profession/Employment: Director of Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Program

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Board Member

    Why IMH matters to me: Our young people are our future. I’ve been working in mental health for the last 14 years with children and families and I have seen their struggles. We need to start with these families and children and give them the best opportunities as possible – through social emotional learning, informed parenting practices, community supports, and access to the wealth of knowledge available.

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  • Sandy Beaudry, MS

    Sandy has served on the Board since 2004

    Statement Profession/Employment: Sandy is the Program Director, Cross Roads House, Portsmouth, NH.

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Sandy serves on the Training and Education Committee. Previously, she served as the Secretary to the Board.

    Why IMH matters to me: "As a family therapist, I believe in ensuring the emotional well-being of children from birth and in providing effective support and education to parents and professionals who make this happen."

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  • Lisa Couture, BS

    Lisa has served on the Board since 2015

    Statement Profession/Employment: Lisa has a bachelor degree in Child & Family Studies with a minor in Early Childhood Education from Granite State College. She has worked 17 years with Head Start as a classroom teacher, a Disability Content Manager and a Disability/Behavioral HealthContent Manager. Lisa serves on the Coos County Watch Me Grow Advisory Board and the Coos County Material Depression Advisory Board. Lisa has served as the Team Leader for the Coos County Infant Mental Health Regional Team.

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Lisa is currently serving on the Community Resource and Information Committee.

    Why IMH matters to me: "I consider a solid foundation of social-emotional skills and regulatory abilities enhance a child's potential to experience positive outcome throughout their live's journey. I believe this foundation begins in the family home."

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  • Annie DiVello, MS, CCC-SLP

    Co-Owner New England Pediatric Services
    Annie has served on the Board since 2017

    Statement Profession/Employment: Annie DiVello M.S.,CCC-SLP is a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist specialized in the area of Selective Mutism. She co-owns New England Pediatric Services where she provides treatment for individuals with SM. She also serves as the director of the SM clinic at NEPS and leads a parent support group specific to SM.

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices):

    Why IMH matters to me: I am passionate about infant mental health as very often the individuals I serve with Selective Mutism also experience anxiety and depression. I am also passionate about raising awareness and connecting families with resources, as I know first hand what a difference supports can make.

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  • Kassie Eafrati, MA, NHECFMHC-Intermediate

    Kassie has served on the Board since 2017

    Statement Profession/Employment: Kassie works for Northern Human Services (NHS) as the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Program Director, a certified Early Childhood Educator for NHS Family Centered Early Supports and Services, and a credentialed Program Consultant working with the Preschool Technical Assistance Network (PTAN). She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Child Development. Kassie is also a Trauma Informed Early Childhood Services Highly Qualified Consultant (TIECS-HQC) working with a statewide team.

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Kassie currently serves on the Training and Education committee.

    Why IMH matters to me: "Infant Mental Health matters to me because my passion is to help children and families to be successful, functioning, HAPPY members of our communities. This begins and ends with their mental health."

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  • Kathleen Gray

    Kathleen has served on the Board since 2016

    Statement Profession/Employment: Kathy works as the Part C Program Specialist, Family Centered Early Supports and Services, DHHS, BDS.

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Kathy is currently serving on the Community Resource and Information Committee.

    Why IMH matters to me: "I believe that identifying and addressing infant mental health concerns as early as possible provides advantages to enhance child development and family understanding. It is critical for a family to be provided with appropriate strategies to enhance their child's development to the fullest."

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  • Kristi Hart, BA

    Home Visiting Program Coordinator
    Kristi has served on the Board since 2018

    Statement Profession/Employment: Kristi is the Home Visiting Program Coordinator with the State of NH Division of Public Health, Maternal and Child Health Section. She also teaches foster care classes through Granite State College to new and experienced NH foster parents.

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Knowledge and Education Committee

    Why IMH matters to me: Infant Mental Health matters to me because so much of the scaffolding for a person's cognitive and social development, and ultimately their later integration into society, occurs before they can thoughtfully communicate with others. Preverbal neglect and trauma can have such a significant impact on development, and people often assume that because a child can't communicate that they must not be impacted by early negative experiences as drastically as an older child or adult would be. It is important for me to educate others on the importance of the early years in a child's development and advocate for the wellbeing of children when they don't yet have the ability to advocate for themselves or to express their needs to their caregivers.

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  • Deborah Hirsch, MAEd, MSW

    Deborah has served on the Board since 2001

    Statement Profession/Employment: Deborah's career has spanned three decades plus of work with children and families in home, community, and hospital settings. Much of Deborah's work has focused on the interrelationship of mental and physical health. She has served on transdisciplinary, early intervention teams in two New England states, bringing a family systems perspective to the teams' work.

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Deborah is currently serving on the Membership Committee. Previously, she served as co-chair of the Membership Committee.

    Why IMH matters to me: "Our increasingly sophisticated understanding of brain development and neuropsychology makes clear the critical importance of healthy early development and relationships. By promoting awareness and education for families and communities,by encouraging training of professional and paraprofessional providers, and by advocating for sensible public policy, the NHAIMH can contribute significantly to the well-being and achievement of all our children and families."

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  • Mary Lavalley

    CLC,FSW,BA ( current NH Educ, K-8, and TIECS, trauma trained, NH DOE Educ. Surrogate)
    Mary has served on the Board since 2017

    Statement Profession/Employment: Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services, Keene, NH

    Roles on Board (Committees/Offices): Knowledge and Education Committee Member

    Why IMH matters to me: I am eager to participate in the planning and facilitation of the diversified realms that NHAIMH sets as critical goals through NHAIMH's educational outreach to support the intricate growth of the infant-family dyad in NH communities.

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