Welcome to the National Alliance for Mental Illness – Linn County!
Our group works to be a wealth of information to you the consumer, the family member, the friends and relatives of those dealing with day-to-day issues of living with a mental illness.
MEET OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Mona McCalley-Whitters, PhD
My Journey in Helping Others
Thank you for the opportunity to represent Linn County as the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Given my passion, experiences, and 30-year career in mental health, I’ve always been on a journey to help others.
As a teenager, I experienced firsthand mental illness in a family member. Then more episodes with friends and family fueled my calling. After a fulfilling 30-year career as a psychiatric nurse and psychologist, I took a break with retirement… or so I thought.
After hearing stories of people falling through the cracks, long wait times, and underfunded mental health services, I couldn’t stand by any longer. It has become increasingly clear that we are in the midst of a mental health crisis. These trends prompted a change in my game plan. No more status quo.
That brings me to the next chapter in my journey—joining forces with like-minded individuals at NAMI Linn County. Our small, dedicated chapter has many challenges and dreams to grow our programs. My mission is to help fundraise, offer more programs, and spread NAMI messages. This next chapter will be all about building strong partnerships, advocating, and helping others.
In addition to working, you can find me spending time with my spouse, Dr. Alan Whitters (my favorite psychiatrist), our 3 grown children and their partners, and a new grand dog (Wally). My favorite activities are traveling, seeking new adventures, paddle boarding, and working out.
In our community, the stigma around mental health is an obstacle that keeps people from getting the help they need and often results in fewer public funds being put toward mental health services. Thanks to NAMI and your support, we will help end the silence and continue to make a difference.
2020 Board of Directors
Kurt Rogahn, President
In dealing with multiple family members’ issues, Milwaukee natives Kurt Rogahn and his wife, Lynn, have benefited from NAMI services, including the Family Members and Friends Support Group and the 12-week Family-to-Family course. To begin to pay it back (or perhaps pay it forward), Kurt joined the NAMI Linn County board in July, was elected vice president in December, and now moderates one of two monthly family support group meetings. After a 41-year writing/editing career, and 12 years as a hospice volunteer, Kurt joined the UnityPoint Hospice staff in fall 2017 as volunteer coordinator. A Cedar Rapids resident for nearly 40 years, Kurt has board or committee experience with charity, professional, educational, and bicycling organizations.
Katherine Shea, Vice-President
Katherine is a lifelong Cedar Rapidian. Her passion for nursing led to a career in mental health at Tanager Place, where she has served children and families for the past seven years. She feels that there is nothing more rewarding than helping a child in crisis achieve a sense of normalcy, safety, and belonging regardless of their mental health diagnosis. Katherine is currently pursuing a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certification to further serve the community as a provider. As a member of NAMI Linn County, she plans to advocate for awareness, action, and education to prevent, treat, and support community members with mental health diagnoses.
Tyler Bruzek, Treasurer
Tyler Bruzek joined the NAMI Linn County Board of Directors in 2019. He was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, and graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, with certificates in Non-Profit Management, Entrepreneurial Management, and a minor in Political Science. He has been working for World Class Industries, Inc. in Hiawatha since 2016 and currently oversees accounts payable. His goal as a board member is to be an advocate for the de-stigmatization of mental illness, and to help spread awareness of the mental health resources in the area.
Michelle Allmandinger, Secretary
Michelle was born and raised in small town Illinois. She loved school, sports and her animals. After graduating high school, she attended Marycrest College where she earned her BA in English/Journalism. She began her experience in the human service field in July 1990 as a youth service worker for a 36 bed group home facility at Four Oaks in Cedar Rapids. It was during her early years in the field that she began to understand the impact of trauma and mental illness, both to the individuals doing their best every day to find hope and resilience – to their families, many of whom suffered in silence and didn’t know how to help their child.
Over the next 29 years, Michelle has dedicated her career to kids and families, working in child welfare/juvenile justice and residential care. She is currently the Director of Inpatient Care for Tanager Place in Cedar Rapids. She is reminded daily of the struggles of young people and their families but also of the courage, the strength and even the humor of those trying to find their place in the world and live whole, happy lives. She joined the NAMI – Linn County Board to assist others in the quest to dispel myths about mental illness and to help support a world where going to the doctor for your mental well-being is just as acceptable as going to the doctor for your physical health. Michelle currently lives in Marion with her husband of 27 years; they have three adult children.
Jackie Smith Duggan, BASW
Jackie is originally from Delhi, Iowa. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Mount Mercy College and her Masters of Social Work from St. Ambrose University. She is employed as the Director of Community Based Services with Penn Center, Inc., a subsidiary of AbbeHealth Services. Jackie has family members who have been affected by mental health lived experiences and has been committed to mental health care ever since. Her current employment includes working with adults in the community and the focus is on education, managing symptoms of illness, and assisting individuals in returning to the community. In her free time, Jackie enjoys scrapbooking, card making, reading, and spending time with family, including her husband Michael. She joined the NAMI Linn County Board in May 2009. She has served as past president and vice-president. As a Board Member, she hopes to help defy the stigma and misunderstandings that those with mental health issues face. She believes that those who live with a mental health diagnosis are no different than those who are faced with major medical concerns. The faces and stories are different, but the needs, care, and desire to be understood and appreciated are the same.
Mike grew up in Williamsburg and graduated from the University of Iowa. He joined Bankers Trust in January 2004 and is currently overseeing the Consumer Services area of the bank. Mike has volunteered and served on several non-profit Boards including the YMCA, Kids First Law Center, Linn Community Care, Marion Cares, Inc., and the Abbe Center for Mental Health. Mental health awareness is personal and very important to Mike and his family. His wife Sue and Mike have three children, Mollie and her husband Chris, Patrick, and John.
Steve was born and raised in Iowa, and earned an Associate’s degree from Kirkwood Community College. He has also taken courses at the University of Iowa. He is employed as a NAMI Connections Support Group Model National Trainer, and travels extensively across the United States training prospective facilitators and modeling the NAMI mission. Steve is also a NAMI-Iowa Peer-to-Peer Director & Class Mentor. From 1998-2000 he was NAMI Linn County President, from 2001-2004 he was on the NAMI National Board of Directors, and from 2002-2005 he was Vice-President of NAMI Iowa. He has also held numerous NAMI consumer-related offices over the years, including National Consumer Council Director and Vice-Chairperson of the National Consumer Council Executive Committee. In addition to being a long-time NAMI Linn County Board Member, Steve also serves on the Iowa State PACT Advisory Council, the Mental Health Planning Council, the Dual Diagnosis Committee, and is a Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Board Member. He is a well-known lecturer, educator, and mental health advocate. He has participated in numerous speaking engagements at colleges and conferences across the country, and is often a featured source/spokesperson discussing mental health issues and NAMI’s mission in various newspaper articles and media presentations.
Kathy Johnson, LMSW, CADC
Kathy grew up in Des Moines, but has also lived in Laredo (TX), Cedar Falls, and Williamsburg. She has lived in Cedar Rapids for the past 24 years. Kathy earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. She has been employed for the past 27 years at the Abbe Center for Community Mental Health, where she is the Director of Community-Based Recovery Services. She oversees 11 specialty programs specifically for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. These programs include PACT, Transitional Living, Adult Day Treatment, Life Skills, Community Support, Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Peer Support, Homeless Outreach, Integrated Health Home, Home-based Nursing Services, and 4 Recovery Centers in Linn, Jones and Benton Counties. Kathy has been married for 34 years to Michael Johnson, who has been Associate Principal at Washington High School for 24 years. Kathy and Michael have 3 adult children. In her free time, Kathy enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and taking her dog for long walks. Kathy served as Vice-President of the NAMI Linn County Board in the 90’s. She re-joined the Board in 2008, and began serving as Vice-President again in 2009. When asked why she is a NAMI Board Member, she states, “I believe in NAMI’s mission. Mental illness is something that touches ALL families, including my own. As such, I believe it is important to provide education and support to individuals, families, and the community. There is hope. And it is easier to find that hope if we look for it together!” In addition to serving on the NAMI Linn County Board, Kathy also serves on the Advisory Boards for 4 local human service agencies in Linn County.
John was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he has lived most of his life. He has an Associate’s degree in Disability Services from Kirkwood Community College. John has lived with mental illness since 1979, and also has 2 sisters with mental health issues. All three are far along in the process of recovery. John spreads hope and a message of recovery through his songs and poetry. Much of his work can be found on his website (www.johnthepoetministries.com). John is employed by Goodwill Industries and also provides one-on-one care to a gentleman with Muscular Dystrophy. John is active in his church, and provides ministry to ManorCare Nursing and Rehabilitation Services. He gains fulfillment helping others with disabilities, and was once named Consumer of the Year by Options of Linn County. In his free time, John enjoys working out at the gym. John has been a NAMI Linn County Board Member for over 10 years. He enjoys sharing the consumer perspective with other Board Members.
Wayne Jerman has been Chief of the Cedar Rapids Police Department (CRPD) since 2012. Prior to this, he was an officer in Montgomery County, Maryland for 33 years. The CRPD is comprised of 213 officers and over 60 non-sworn employees. The department serves 130,000 residents and is responsible for 73 square miles. Since his arrival in Cedar Rapids, he has increased the department’s community outreach efforts and formed stronger partnerships with law enforcement partners within Iowa, as well as increasing the department’s participation with federal task forces. Chief Jerman is an active member of several professional organizations, including the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and the Iowa Police Chiefs Association (IPCA), where he has been selected to represent IPCA as the legislative representative at the Iowa General Assembly. Chief Jerman is also an Executive Fellow for the Police Foundation which is based in Washington, D.C. Chief Jerman’s education includes a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland and a Master of Business Administration from Frostburg State University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and also completed the FBI’s National Executive Institute in 2012.
Stacey Pawlak, PhD
Stacey Pawlak first joined the NAMI-Linn County Board of Directors in 2005 and served as Board President from 2006-2008. She continued to maintain the NAMI-Linn County website over the years and rejoined the Board in 2017. Stacey is originally from the state of Michigan. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her Master’s and Doctoral degrees (Clinical Psychology) from the University of Memphis (TN). She came to Iowa in 1996 to complete her psychology internship at the University of Iowa. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Psychological and Quantitative Foundations and is the Director of the Women’s Wellness & Counseling Service at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. She is also Health Psychologist for the Center for Advanced Reproductive Care. In addition to her family (husband and 3 children), the most important aspect of Stacey’s life is her work as a psychotherapist. She believes strongly in the de-stigmatization of mental illness and in the power of shared experiences as a tool for recovery.