SCIMHA is a multidisciplinary association of professionals working to promote nurturing relationships for infants, young children and their families through, resources, policies and practices to foster positive mental health and well-being. SCIMHA promotes uniform and nationally recognized competencies and standards to ensure that individuals supporting young children are trained in up-to-date science of child development, infant mental health principles and relationship-based practices.
The ability and power of simple, meaningful interactions to influence a child’s life cannot be overstated, whether an individual is intervening with families and very young children in the child welfare system, teaching a young child about feelings in the early childhood classroom, or engaging with families and children during pediatric well-visits. SCIMHA works to assure that individuals engaging with infants, young children and families, have the knowledge and skills to make the most of those interactions by providing culturally sensitive, relationship-focused practices that support young children’s behavioral wellbeing.
SCIMHA is working toward three goals
GOAL 1: Build and maintain organizational capacity that creates sustainability of the Association.
GOAL 2: Expand and engage a collaborative community of professionals who work to promote healthy social-emotional development and well-being of infants, young children, and their families.
|GOAL 3: Provide and promote leadership to inform policies that reflect the critical importance of early healthy social-emotional development across, within, into multiple systems that serve infants, children and their families.|
President: Kerrie L. Schnake, MA, IMH-E® Infant Mental Health Mentor - Policy
Kerrie is the director of South Carolina’s Infant/Toddler Specialist Network hosted at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness. She established the South Carolina Program for Infant/Toddler Care (SCPITC) in 2006 for the SC Department of Social Services. Prior to moving to South Carolina, Kerrie worked in California at WestEd’s Program for Infant/Toddler Care and as a Research Assistant at the WestEd Center for Child and Family Studies. Kerrie is a leader in South Carolina’s infant/toddler quality initiatives and engages in multiple cross state collaborations. She serves on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on the Regulation of Child Care Facilities, Citizens Review Committee, and SCale Down Child Care Committee. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from Cal State, East Bay and an M.A. in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis in Public Administration from San Francisco State University.
Vice President Chair: Karen Larson, M. Ed.
Karen is the Director of the Easterseals South Carolina (ESSC) Autism Division. She is responsible for the oversight of the provision of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to children across the state of South Carolina. Karen has worked in the field Early Intervention for over 25 years in North Carolina and South Carolina. Throughout the various positions she has held in her career she has maintained a driving mission to ensure the programs she is responsible for support and empower parents of young children. She earned a master’s degree in Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Resources from West Virginia University.
Secretary: Rachel Flynn, JD
Rachel Flynn is a business and distribution litigation attorney practicing out of the Columbia, SC office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. Her business litigation practice focuses on dealer, distributor, and franchise litigation, complex commercial litigation, contract law issues, unfair competition and business tort matters, the defense of consumer class actions, and false advertising disputes. Over the years, Ms. Flynn has actively assisted in pro bono matters as well. In 2014, she earned her Firm’s Claude M. Scarborough, Jr. Pro Bono Award for her work related to the Firm’s special advocacy project, in which she assisted with representing students with special needs and disabilities in administrative proceedings against the school district. From 2012 until 2016, she assisted with administering Nelson Mullins’ Pro Bono Guardianship and Conservatorship Program, in which she and other Nelson Mullins attorneys assist families of adult children with special needs and disabilities with pursuing guardianships where appropriate.
Tricia Richardson, BA
Tricia serves as the Executive Director of SC Thrive, a statewide nonprofit offering efficient solutions to help South Carolinians access resources through technology and training. Tricia is a Community Involvement and Development Specialist with more than 25 years’ experience in capacity building, community and fund development, events management, volunteer training, and mobilization for faith organizations. She successfully networks and connects with diverse organizations across the state, using her positive attitude and a proactive approach to build collaborative teams shaping stable, healthy communities in South Carolina. Tricia has a proven track record in developing and implementing strategic community involvement and mobilization plans, as well as building and managing long-term relationships for the betterment of South Carolinians.
Board Member: Angela Baum , PhD
Angela received her PhD in Early Childhood Education from Iowa State University. She is the Associate Department Chair of the Department of Instruction and Teacher Education and Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of South Carolina. Her expertise lies in the areas of early childhood teacher preparation and professional development, with a particular passion for working with teachers of infants and toddlers. She is actively engaged with the South Carolina Department of Social Services on several projects focused on improving the quality of child care in the state of South Carolina. While at USC, she has received two teaching awards—the Mortar Board Excellence in Teaching Award and the College of Education Early Career Teaching Award. Her work has been published in journals. She is currently the President of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators and serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.
Board Member: Adrienne Edwards, PhD
Dr. Adrienne Edwards is an Assistant Professor and Program Director of Human Development and Family Studies at Winthrop University. She is also a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). She earned a PhD in Human Development with an emphasis in Child and Adolescent Development from Virginia Tech, a MEd in Counseling and Development with an emphasis in Community and Agency Counseling from Winthrop University, and a BA in Psychology from Clemson University. Prior to working in higher education, she worked as a mental health counselor and supervisor of the Child and Family Support Services Program at Greenville Mental Health Center. Her research areas include African American child social development, family processes in Families of Color with young children, home visitor preparation, and qualitative research methods. Her work has been published in Child Welfare: Journal of Policy, Practice, and Program, Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, and Sage Research Methods Cases. She is a recipient of the Jessie Bernard Outstanding Contribution to Feminist Scholarship Paper Award presented by the Feminism and Family Studies section of the National Council on Family Relations.
Professional Development/Education/Practice Committee Chair: Kerrie Murphy, PhD, ECMH-E® Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist
Kerrie Murphy, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Dr. Murphy received her Ph.D. in clinical-community psychology from the University of South Carolina and completed her internship and postdoctoral training at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (Memphis) where she focused on trauma-informed care in youth as well as the assessment and treatment of young children with developmental disabilities.
Dr. Murphy’s clinical work and research interests include young children with disruptive behavior problems. She is a certified trainer and therapist in parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT), an evidence-based treatment for young children with disruptive behavior problems. She is also a trainer in Child-Adult Relationship Enhancement (CARE), a trauma-informed modification of specific PCIT skills for general usage by non-clinical adults who interact with children. She currently provides outpatient therapy, including PCIT, to children and families and supervises pre-doctoral interns in the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Clinic at MUSC.
Board Member: Mary Ellen Warren, PhD., IMH-E® Infant Mental Health Mentor - Research/Faculty
Dr. Mary Ellen Warren is a licensed psychologist with special interests in infant/early childhood mental health. A faculty member at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Development Pediatrics (1995-2006) and now Psychiatry (2006 - present), her responsibilities have included the assessment and treatment of young children, as well as training medical students, pediatric residents, child psychiatry residents and psychology doctoral students. Dr. Warren is active with ZERO TO THREE as a Leaders for the 21st Century Fellow (2007-2009) and is also a certified PCIT therapist and level one trainer. She holds the IMH-E Infant Mental Health Mentor - Research/Faculty Endorsement® through SCIMHA and supports infant and early childhood mental health workforce development through reflective supervision and dissemination of evidence-based infant mental health treatment models, such as Attachment and BioBehavioral Catchup).
Alesia Lowe-Jenkins, MA, IECMH-E® Infant Family Associate & Early Childhood Family Specialist
Alesia is the Director of Counseling Services at Spartanburg Methodist College where she provides therapy services to college students. Prior to this for five years she was Clinical Director at A Child’s Haven, a non-profit therapeutic child care facility that serving children and their families. She is the owner of Lowe Counseling and Supervision, LLC where she provides supervision for individuals seeking independent licensure. She has a BS in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from Lander University and a MA in Counseling from Webster University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor with 19 years of mental health counseling experience working with adults, adolescents, young adults, juvenile offenders, children and families. She is a graduate of Leadership Greenville 43. Over a 10-year period Alesia served six years as a therapeutic foster parent and cared for eight foster children. Alesia participated in South Carolina’s Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement® Leadership Cohort, and was Endorsed® as an Infant Family Associate in March 2019.