AMHCA Election Results
AMHCA members elected Karen Langer, LMHC, of Washington State, the association’s next president-elect. Director of the Counseling Center at the City University of Seattle, where she is also an adjunct faculty member, Langer’s passion has always been clinical work, specifically with underserved populations. Her work at the CityU Counseling Center “has been a rewarding union of my passion for working with clients, with the mentoring, supervision, and training of interns and new clinicians.”
Langer is already on AMHCA’s board of directors. She finishes out a three-year term as the Western Region director on June 30, and on July 1 will become president-elect for a year. She will become AMHCA president a year from now, on July 1, 2012, followed by a year as past president.
As AMHCA’s Western Region director, she successfully led the effort into the online arena to develop a regional Web presence, and she held two successful regional workshops that included CEU opportunities, regional development, and networking. She has also been active on several AMHCA committees, and was president of AMHCA’s Washington chapter, the Washington Mental Health Counselors Association (WMHCA). During her tenure as WMHCA president, membership doubled, the chapter placed more emphasis on smaller CEU opportunities, and it developed regional groups within the association.
During her year as president, first and foremost Langer plans to continue an aggressive campaign for Medicare reimbursement for mental health counselors. “One of the critical challenges in this effort is the need for strong, professional identity as mental health counselors,” she wrote in her candidate statement. “By developing consistent standards and a distinct identity, we provide an opportunity for better mobility and better reimbursement, and we create and maintain a strong voice to advocate for the needs of mental health counselors and our clients.”
In addition to other goals, she wants to ensure that AMHCA stays abreast of the effects on the profession from the new healthcare programs. “Mental health counselors are well-trained, and it is critical that reimbursement be adequate and consistent with other mental health professionals,” she wrote.
Midwest Region Director
Always a Midwesterner, Erik Oostenink, LMHC, has worked in the mental health field, primarily with children, since he was an undergraduate. For the last 10 years, he has worked at Orchard Place—Child Guidance Center, providing outpatient mental health services for children, adolescents, and their families. Two years ago, he started a System of Care Project in the Des Moines Metro area.
A member of the Iowa Mental Health Counselors Association (IMHCA), he has served as secretary, president, past-president, and most recently, chair of IMHCA’s Public Policy and Legislation Committee.
His goals for serving the Midwest Region are to increase cooperation and coordination among the states in conference planning, communication, and strategizing to improve services to the members of each state. As the region’s director, he plans to facilitate sharing of successes among the states as well as discussion among the states regarding potential conference speakers and topics, membership development, and legislative areas of interest that could benefit each state.
Western Region Director
Steven Tierney, EdD, LMHC, CAS, is professor of Counseling Psychology and chair of the Community Mental Health program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. In his work since 2008 on the San Francisco Health Commission, he continues his efforts to increase access to comprehensive healthcare and mental healthcare to all children, youth, and families.
In addition to being involved in a program in Zambia for the past five years to expand the capacity of the system of care to effectively deliver HIV services, he serves as president of the California Mental Health Counselors Association (CAMHCA); he co-chairs the Bay Area MFT Educators Consortium; and he is a member of the Educators Committee of the California chapter of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
As Western Region director, he plans to seek to bring together the region’s members, support and sustain current membership, build new and young leaders, and advance the profession across the region.