Senior Director: Valery Shuman, LCPC, ATR-BC
Valery is a board certified, registered art therapist and licensed clinical professional counselor. She is also a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. She has worked at Heartland Health Outreach in various capacities since 1998, primarily with formerly homeless participants with a serious mental illness and a substance use disorder. She has taught at the School of the Art Institute and Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, and presented at both local and national conferences. Valery’s interests include applying art therapy and other creative interventions in a harm reduction setting, and working to reduce the stigma associated with having a mental illness and/or a substance use disorder.
Manager of Training and Technical Assistance: Vilmarie Narloch, PsyD
Vilmarie earned her M.A. in Counseling and Psychological Services from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University. During her time at Roosevelt, she was a graduate research assistant with Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy. Her work at ICDP included research support, report co-authorship and event planning and coordination. Vilmarie’s interests in drug education, access to treatment, and harm reduction policy and practice have led her to numerous projects, including the provision of counseling and harm reduction services to students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul University, serving as a member of the Chicago Consortium on College Alcohol Harm Reduction, a predoctoral internship in the Adult Behavioral Services department in a local public health department, and a postdoctoral fellowship in a small private agency in Skokie, Illinois, where she provided therapy for individuals, couples, families, and groups in addition to supervising interns. Additionally, Vilmarie has been an adjunct instructor teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology and substance use disorder treatment. She has dedicated her studies and clinical work to advance Harm Reduction and integrated treatment as the standard of practice for substance use disorders. In doing so, she has sought opportunities to educate others in her field about harm reduction, including her students. Vilmarie’s dissertation, titled, “What Youth Want: Developing a Drug Education Curriculum Based on Youth Guidance and Evidence-Based Principles,” inspired her to continue to advocate for effective drug education on a professional level, which led to her other current position as Drug Education Manager at Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
Project Coordinator: James Kowalsky, BA
Since 2014, James has been providing training and support to organizations adapting their practices to incorporate harm reduction, housing first, motivational interviewing and trauma-informed care. He is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. James spent seven years as an outreach worker with HHO, meeting people experiencing homelessness and linking them to housing, primary and mental health care, and other community-based resources. In that role, he learned the value of using harm reduction and trauma-informed care to connect with the most vulnerable members of our communities. James has presented at regional and national conferences. He is committed to promoting a shift in public health policy, characterized by acceptance and support for marginalized communities including people who use drugs, have a mental illness, or experience homelessness.
Supervisor of Administration: Kelsey Miller
They are the gears that make the institute turn. They are an artist, performer, and problem solving guru. Kelsey is interested in all things social justice, harm reduction, and LGBTQ issues. Their background is in ceramics and sculpture, and they have spent a great deal of time outside working with peers and youth. Kelsey came to MHRI from the customer service realm to do more meaningful work and develop their ability to help others. If you catch them in person you might hear them talking about art, sewing, building community, or how to better help folks in the transgender and gender nonconforming community.
MHRI contracts with over twenty individuals who bring expertise in a variety of areas related to homelessness, mental health, and substance use in order to ensure that we are able to meet the training and technical assistance needs of our constituents.