Jeff is the Executive Director of CRHSSD and has over 18 years of professional experience with a special interest in the areas of Coordinated School Health Education, Bullying Prevention, Social and Emotional Learning, and Youth Development. He is a certified Master Trainer for CATCH and the Michigan Model for Coordinated School Health Education and has a Master’s Degree in Education. Prior to joining the staff of CRHSSD as the Illinois Delta Network Project Coordinator, he worked as an Educator for the University of Illinois Extension and also served as an Elementary School Health Educator providing oversight of the implementation of the 8-component coordinated school health model. Jeff has also presented and co-presented on the regional, state and national levels in the areas of school health, bullying prevention and social and emotional learning.
Kitty serves as the Director of CRHSSD. Originally from Carbondale, Kitty spent many years working throughout the US in rural and frontier communities in a variety of community planning and public health capacities before returning home to southern Illinois. She received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado, earned a Master of Community and Regional Planning degree from the University of New Mexico, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Population Health at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Through work and volunteerism, she has always been committed to decreasing health disparities, enhancing community resilience, and promoting social, climate, and environmental justice. Much of Kitty's career has revolved around public health preparedness planning and developing programs in response to the opioid epidemic. She has a huge heart for animals and you may see her on campus with her four-legged companion, Shayla.
Cristina Castillo has a Master of Science in Educational Psychology with a concentration in School Counseling from SIU Carbondale, and a Bachelor's in Psychology and minor in Sociology from Southern New Hampshire University. In addition to being a counselor, Castillo’s professional training includes cross-cultural communication, program development and program assessment. She joined the CRHSSD team in July 2023 as a program coordinator and soon after she was involved with the fall 2023 curriculum assessment of the CRSS-CPRS, cohort two. Castillo is an educator and a collaborator at heart and in every aspect of her life she abides by the ethical principle of "First Do No Harm." She is intentional and strives to be understanding and a safe space for everyone she meets.
Originally from Jacksonville, IL, Chris Massey relocated to Carbondale in the late 1980s to pursue her education at SIU, earning her Bachelor's degree in Marketing and Communications followed by her Master's degree in Sociology. While in graduate school, Chris focused on both qualitative and quantitative approaches to sociological research and developed a special interest in medical sociology. Chris's career spans various locations and roles, from contributing to an AIDS study at the National Opinion Research Center in Atlanta to working at Turner Broadcasting and the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory in Portland. After a successful 23-year career in IT, Chris returned to Carbondale and SIU, serving at the Institutional Review Board Coordinator for animal care and use. Currently, at CRHSSD, she oversees the development and implementation of the mobile health unit project, manages the Illinois Delta Counties Prescription Monitoring Program, and serves as a case manager for the MAR NOW program.
Kristen joined the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development as a program coordinator in 2022. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Tuskegee University in Biology and a Master of Public Health degree from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Kristen is also a Certified Health Education Specialist. She has worked in healthcare and public health education, with special interests in improving social determinants of health, access to care, and health equity.
Ashley is the Illinois Delta Network Project Director for the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development. Her educational background is in nutrition, public health, and health education. Much of Ashley’s career has been spent serving southern Illinois in various roles including coordinating health and nutrition efforts for our area youth. Ashley is excited to be able to provide a comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of our area youth and young adults.
Angela Towne, PhD, MEd, CHES
Dr. Angela Towne earned a B.S. in Health Psychology from Bastyr University in 2001 and began developing strengths-based, trauma-informed, and LGBTQ+ inclusive wellness curriculum and teaching community education in the non-profit sector, including a professional position in peer recovery support at a drop-in center in Arizona's behavioral health system. They continued this work in a public health position when they moved to the east coast to earn a Master of Education and a PhD in Sexuality Studies from Widener University. She began teaching at the university level in 2013 with a focus on health through social justice lenses in Gender and Sexuality Studies departments. They are also a Certified Health Education Specialist. She is excited to bring her knowledge and experience into her position as a program coordinator, working as the curriculum developer and instructor for SIU School of Medicine's Certified Recovery Support Specialist program.
Brent Van Ham, MS, RN, CDC, CADC
Brent holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Southern Illinois University and is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, specializing in Substance Use Disorder prevention, treatment and recovery. He is also a Registered Nurse with many years of experience in multiple clinical settings, including physical-medical rehabilitation and medical-surgical care. Brent is especially interested in novel approaches to address health and resource disparities affecting rural and minority populations.
Liesl is the Program Coordinator for the Eastern region of the SIU School of Medicine - Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development, serving the southeastern portion of southern Illinois. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University in Human Development and Family Studies, with a minor in Sociology, as well as a Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Southern Indiana. Currently, Liesl is also a Certified Drug Endangered Children trainer with the National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC). She has worked in the medical field in various capacities for the past 35 years. Her areas of special interest are addiction and recovery issues, including sober living home expansion, MAT education, Peer Recovery Specialist development and expansion, community drug coalition and DEC alliance development, Narcan training, and judicial partnerships/drug courts. In addition, she works with medical career pipeline programs, grant writing and management, and health education opportunities.
Imran completed his Bachelor’s in Pharmacy from Shadan College of Pharmacy in 2017. His work experience includes a Territory Manager for a major laboratory, promotion of cardio-diabetic brands and many projects including Rural Health Initiatives under the campaign, “Awareness For Life”. Simultaneously, he has pursued his Master’s in pharmacy with a specialization in Pharmacology. Currently, Imran is also pursuing a Master’s in Health Informatics from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Summiya completed her Bachelor’s honors in Microbiology from Pakistan in 2010. After her BS(H), she obtained 10 years of work experience as an Assistant Manager Microbiologist in the Quality Control department of different pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan. She started her Master’s in Human Sciences at SIUC in 2022. She is a research graduate assistant at the Center of Rural Health and works on community health needs assessments. She also works as an intern with SIH Community Benefits programs.
Lynn graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago with her PharmD. She is a licensed and practicing pharmacist in Illinois and Kentucky. She also holds Board Certification as a Pharmacotherapy Specialist (BCPS). Currently, Lynn is a Master of Public Health student. For her practicum experience at the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development, her focus is working with the Prescription Monitoring Program.
Grants and Contracts Specialist
Debra Quamen, CPA, MBA
Debra is an alumna of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and a Master's in Business and Administration. She worked for the School of Medicine for many years, serving many roles, ending her career as Executive Director of Administrative Services for the School of Medicine, Carbondale. Debra currently is the Grants and Contracts Specialist for the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development, working with both the Center for Rural Health and the Institute for Rural Health.
Agriculture Resource Specialist
Karen Leavitt Stallman
Karen is a double alumna of SIU Carbondale where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science in Agriculture Education with a minor in Animal Science. She worked 20 years with the University of Illinois Extension in Randolph County, then served as the Director of the Sustainability Initiative and Vice Provost of the Red Bud Campus at Southwestern Illinois College for nine years. Karen served as Director of Continuing Education and Outreach Director at SIU Carbondale for six years. She is the Agriculture Resource Specialist for the Farm Family Resource Initiative managed by SIU School of Medicine's Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development.
Originally from Uganda, Isaac moved to Massachusetts as a teenager, where he attended high school. After gradation, he relocated to Carbondale to attend SIU where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Accounting degrees. He joined the Center for Rural Health as an Accountant I in May 2023. He previously worked at the SIU Alumni Center as an Accounting Graduate Assistant. Isaac oversees and monitors all fiscal transactions on state, local, and grant accounts. He assists in developing grant budgets and their justifications to present information to Center for Rural Health leadership and/or External Funders.
Krista English (Maxbiya)
Maxbiya has been the Administrative Aide with the Center for Rural Health since 2022, utilizing over 10 years of experience in administrative support. They are currently working on their Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, with future plans to obtain a Master's in Sociology. Having spent most of their life on the Fort Belknap Native Reservation in Montana, Maxbiya uses their lived experience and cultural knowledge to help plan and implement Indigenous programming at Southern Illinois University and advocate for Indigenous rights.
Jennifer, a 15-year employee of SIU Carbondale, joined the Center for Rural Health as an Office Support Specialist in June 2023. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with a minor in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from SIUC. Jennifer manages the daily upkeep of the Center and also maintains the inventory and shipping for the Farm and Family Resource Initiative.