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AMHCA Election: Candidate for Midwest Region Director
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AMHCA ELECTION: Candidate for Midwest Region Director


Erik Oostenink, LMHC

I have been a licensed mental health counselor in Iowa since December 2001. Always a Midwesterner, I was born and raised in Michigan, but graduated from Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, in 1994 with a BA in Psychology and received my master’s degree in Counseling from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota, in 1996.

Professional Experience

I have worked in the mental health field, primarily with children, since I was an undergraduate. My work experience includes working at group homes with adolescents, an EAP, in-home services, and community mental health centers. For the last 10 years, I have worked at Orchard Place—Child Guidance Center providing outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents, and their families. 

Two years ago, I started a System of Care Project in the Des Moines Metro area through Orchard Place—Child Guidance Center and a grant from the state of Iowa. This supervisory experience has been a growing experience in building collaborative relationships with parents, providers, administrators, and others involved in systemic work throughout Iowa. Although I have taught a psychology class in the past, my primary interest is in providing clinical services.

Association Experience

I have been a member of AMHCA and the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association since 2006. As a member of the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association, I have served in the positions of secretary, president, past-president, and most recently Public Policy and Legislation Committee chair. I attended the AMHCA Leadership Training in St. Louis in July 2006 and represented the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association at the 2007 AMHCA Leadership Training and Annual Conference in New Orleans. For the last two years, I have served on the AMHCA Public Policy and Legislation Committee. Additionally, in 2010 I began my first term on the Licensing Board in Iowa.

Through my involvement with the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association, the association has improved collaboration with other state associations to engage in lobbying, gained recognition for reimbursement from Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and began holding annual conferences three years ago.


My goals in serving the Midwest Region are to increase cooperation and coordination among the various states in conference planning, communication, and strategizing to improve services to the members of each of the states. Each state has demonstrated successes in a variety of areas, and each would benefit from sharing this information with other states in the regions. As a Region director, I will facilitate discussion between the states regarding potential conference speakers and topics, membership development, and legislative areas of interest that could be beneficial for each state. 

I have worked collaboratively and effectively in my service to the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association as well as in my professional work. I look forward to serving the Midwestern States affiliated with AMHCA in a similar manner.