June 29, 2021 | Beating the Shortage: Solutions to Oregon’s Mental Health Workforce Woes

Mental health agencies and counseling practices struggled to recruit and retain workers —  in rural areas in particular  — even before COVID-19 prompted increased demand for depression and anxiety treatment. Additionally, communities of color are woefully underrepresented in the field, raising health equity concerns. Speakers will explore legislative, educational, and industry solutions to this critical workforce shortage, including focused efforts to improve diversity in the field and broader implications for access to mental health care and substance use disorder treatment.


April Johnson, MPA, President/CEO at Youth Unlimited Inc.

April Johnson has a comprehensive background in community-based and statewide health and human services in the Pacific Northwest. A native of Seattle, Washington, April moved to Portland in 2007, and in 2018 she opened Youth Unlimited to address the needs of African American children and all children of color in the Oregon foster care system. YUI recruits, trains, and certifies proctor families and places children involved in child welfare in their care for treatment foster care services and provides them with case management and crisis support. The organization’s mission is to build on the strengths of children, youth, and families so they find safety, hope, and success in life. April has held leadership roles within Volunteers of America Oregon, serving as Interim Director for their domestic violence program and Development Officer, overseeing the development of corporate grants. Prior to joining Volunteers of America, April served as the Health Equity Workforce Manager for the Oregon Health Authority where she implemented the statewide Traditional Health Worker Program, and earlier served as a policy analyst where she managed statewide behavioral health delivery systems. April possesses a passion and commitment to academic achievement and workforce development for the African American community. Her career accomplishments include directing over $1.5 million in grant funding to build a robust African American behavioral health system in Oregon. She has served as a member of the Multnomah County Public Health Advisory Board and their Health Department Community Budget Advisory Committee, and is a former member on the City of Fairview’s City Council Budget Advisory Committee. Currently, April serves on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Alliance representing children of color in foster care.

Contact April Johnson at ajohnson@yuioregon.net.


Cort Dorn-Medeiros, PhD, LPC, CADC III, Assistant Professor and Department Chair at Lewis & Clark College

Dr. Cort Dorn-Medeiros (“Dr. Cort”) is an Assistant Professor in the Professional Mental Health Counseling – Specialization in Addiction program and the current Department Chair of the Counseling, Therapy, and School Psychology department at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. Areas of specialization include substance use and process addictions, co-occurring disorders, integrated care, motivational interviewing, and motivational enhancement therapy. Dr. Cort is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor III in the state of Oregon. Dr. Cort is published in a variety of academic outlets including the Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, and the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health. Additionally, Dr. Cort has provided interviews for National Public Radio, The Oregonian, and most recently The Temper, a popular online media outlet addressing addiction, recovery, and mental health.

Contact Dr. Cort at dorn-medeiros@lclark.edu.

Laura Sebulsky, MBSR, Director of Clinical Outreach and Admissions at Charlie Health

Before joining Charlie Health, Laura worked as a healthcare consultant developing go-to-market enterprise systems for four of the largest National payers and providers. Through her work as a consultant she was able to grow into a skill set that is based in leadership, relationship building, culture change and growth, and business process. However, Laura’s true passion has always been healthcare access and mental health awareness in rural communities. Her first encounter with healing modalities was during a high school workshop studying The Heart Sutra. Pursuit of spirituality has taken Laura on innumerable geographic journeys over the past decade, with Bozeman, Montana and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, being where she has grown community roots. Acquiring her Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction [MBSR] certification at the School of Positive Transformation and the Himalayan Institute, she continues to study, practice, and teach alongside those who inspire her path. She’s taught meditation as a practical tool for clarity and resilience to corporate offices, to school students of all ages, and works closely with families on building an at home mindfulness practice. She is currently studying to become an Advanced Ayurvedic Practitioner [AyD] at the California School of Ayurveda. Laura is a graduate of West Virginia University and gained her certification in Negotiation and Persuasion from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. She is an Usui Reiki Master.

Contact Laura at laura@charliehealth.com.

Lori Paris, President & CEO at Addictions Recovery Center, Inc.

Lori Paris has led Addictions Recovery Center, Inc. (ARC) since June 2018. Under her leadership the organization has grown from a budget of $7.9 million in 2018 to $11.7 million in 2020. During that time, the agency expanded residential treatment, established outreach and community engagement services, and launched an Addiction Medicine Clinic to provide medication assisted treatment. Currently ARC’s 100 employees serve thousands of individuals and families each year. ARC provides a full continuum of services including medical detox and co-occurring substance use disorder and mental health services within its residential and outpatient programs. Lori’s first career in the finance industry provided her a broad range of roles, including managing mergers and acquisitions, operations, systems, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery, and consulting. She is a member of the OCBH Board, the Jackson Care Connect Board, the JHRA (Jefferson Regional Health Alliance) Board, and is also a member of the Health Justice Recovery Alliance (HJRA) Health Policy Table.

Contact Lori at lorip@addictionsrecovery.org.

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To share your ideas or if you are interested in sponsoring this event, please contact Judy Lundeen at judy@oregonhealthforum.org.