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Welcome Heather Strachan!

We are excited to welcome a new Program Manager and Director of the OCA, following Judy Davis’ retirement. Welcome to Heather Strachan, who will be starting on July 1st!

Heather Strachan is a native of Humboldt, Iowa, and attended Iowa State University, majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication.  Heather’s professional background includes campaign organization as well as public policy and program development, notably helping found the state and national Urban-Ag Academy initiatives in 2011-2012. 

Heather’s mental health experience spans both the personal and professional.  Since 2014, Heather has been on the front lines of health care as a Certified Recovery Specialist at UnityPoint Berryhill Mental health Center in Fort Dodge, Iowa.  There she has served as a resource expert for the Integrated Health Home, partnership builder, and specialized in case management for victims of domestic violence who live with mental illness. In this capacity, she played a leading role in establishing a partnership between the Integrated Health Home and the local Emergency Department, and has been on the forefront of advocating for the use of peer providers in crisis and emergency services.  She is also currently a curriculum reviewer for the University of Iowa’s Peer Support Training program.  She has served on the Advisory Committee of the Iowa Office of Consumer Affairs since November 2016.

Q&A With Heather

Why did you want to work for NAMI Iowa/OCA?
I wanted to work for NAMI Iowa because of the support they provide to both individuals with mental illness and their families. In particular, resources for rural Iowans with mental illness are scarce and may be located far away from home in many cases.  I feel NAMI is well-positioned to help bridge some of these gaps through the affiliates and the OCA.  NAMI’s continued advocacy for peer-professional services has also been very important to one of my passions: increasing the peer support workforce and expanding their roles througout the state at all levels of service.

What do you hope to accomplish for mental health in Iowa with this new role?
My rural organizing roots run very deep, and I grew up in a small town farm family with close relatives who have struggled with mental illness and addiction. In some respects, not much has changed regarding access to care and support in our most rural areas, especially for families. I’m excited to help build upon NAMI’s affiliates and program offerings, in order to provide the very support my family could have benefited from. 

What excites you about moving into this new position?
I’m excited to join the NAMI Iowa team, as it is the perfect fusion of my experience in organization and advocacy with the front-lines knowledge of Iowa’s mental health system.  And it will afford me the opportunity to make a difference in the availability of support for Iowans in rural areas. 

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