Hub for Healthy First Relationships
From professional IECMH development to critical family support services — South Carolina’s one stop for helping babies thrive.
Full Continuum of Family Supports
Promotion, prevention and intervention services that provide embedded access to highly trained specialists.
Trainings, Endorsement and Certifications
Elevating IECMH specialists across all infant-serving disciplines and building a statewide system of care for babies.
Karen Larson has worked with Easterseals South Carolina since 2007. She brings over 30 years of experience to the field of Early Intervention. While working with Easterseals South Carolina she has held multiple positions.
Karen completed her undergraduate degree in Family Resources; Child Development & Family Studies at West Virginia University. She completed her graduate degree in Education; Child & Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Karen’s graduate research and thesis were conducted on parental needs in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). That research study was a pivotal point in her growth in the field of Early Intervention. Since that experience, her focus has been to support and empower families by using the concept of family-driven services.
Karen believes that early healthy relationships and interactions are critical factors in a child’s lifelong growth and development. She saw a perfect fit between her love for Early Intervention and the mission at SCIMHA and joined them as a member and on the Board of Directors in 2019. Karen is now endorsed in the IMH-E® Infant Family Specialist and IMH-E® Infant Family Reflective Supervisor categories. She enjoys learning and continues bringing her new knowledge and skills to Easterseals Early Intervention staff, children and families in South Carolina.
Elliot Loncar is a corporate attorney in the Columbia office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP. He concentrates his practice in the areas of technology transactions, complex commercial contract negotiations and general corporate matters. Elliot works with companies across a broad range of industry groups, including automotive manufacturers, technology firms, manufacturers and distributors. He also advises clients in a variety of matters, including commercial agreements, outsourcing, cloud computing and licensing issues. Over the years, Elliot has actively assisted with pro bono matters as well, including representation of nonprofit organizations in corporate and contractual matters.
Joe Kassim serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of First Capital Bank in Charleston, S.C. Joe has more than 15 years of experience working with community banking throughout the Carolinas. He began his banking career at Elliot Davis, where he worked as an auditor and consultant with financial institutions from 2007 to 2013. In 2013, Joe joined CresCom Bank as the Chief Accounting Officer where he assisted the company as it became a public company. In 2019, Mr. Kassim joined First Capital Bank and has helped the bank grow from $100 million in assets to almost $600 million in assets at the end of 2022. Throughout his career, Kassim has worked with or served on boards of several nonprofits and is currently serving on the executive committee of South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association. Joe is a certified public accountant and is a member of the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance from the University of South Carolina. In 2022, Kassim was named as South Carolina Young banker of the year by the South Carolina Bankers Association. The Outstanding Young Banker Award is the highest honor presented in South Carolina’s banking industry. In his free time, Kassim enjoys golf, talking about banking and spending time with his wife Liz, and three children, Annagrace (4), Cash (2) and Callie (1).
Angela C. Baum, Ph.D.
Angela C. Baum, Ph.D. is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Early Childhood Education in the College of Education at the University of South Carolina. She is the former President of the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators and serves on the Editorial Board of the Early Childhood Education Journal. Her body of scholarship is focused primarily on educator development, including both the preparation of preservice teachers and the continued support and development of in-service early childhood educators, with a particular interest in teacher wellbeing. She has presented nationally and internationally on these topics and serves on several state and national committees related to early childhood teacher preparation. Dr. Baum is actively engaged with the South Carolina Department of Social Services on several projects designed to strengthen the quality of early care and education in South Carolina.
Adrienne Edwards, Ph.D.
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 Ph.D. 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.
Alesia Lowe-Jenkins, MA
Alesia Lowe-Jenkins is a school district mental health counselor for Anderson School District 5 where she provides therapy services to students. She is the owner of Lowe Counseling and Supervision, LLC where she provides counseling services to the community and supervision for individuals seeking independent licensure. She has a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from Lander University and a master’s degree in Counseling from Webster University. Alesia is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor with 23 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 the past 14 years, Alesia has served as a therapeutic foster parent and cared for numerous 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 and an Early Childhood Family Associate in 2020.
Kerrie Murphy, Ph.D.
Kerrie G. Murphy is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in working with young children and families. She currently owns a private practice in Charleston, where she provides evidence-based, relationship-focused therapy services to young children and families. Dr. Murphy received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical-Community psychology from the University of South Carolina.
Dr. Murphy’s clinical expertise is in early childhood mental health, including evaluating and treating challenging behaviors in young children, promoting and enhancing positive caregiver-child relationships, and supporting caregivers in using evidence-based parenting tools. Dr. Murphy is certified as a PCIT (Parent-Child Interaction Therapy)-International Therapist and Within Agency Trainer and is passionate about helping to support and empower caregivers of young children. Dr. Murphy is Endorsed as an Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist (ECMH-E®), and she also serves on the Board of the South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association (SCIMHA) to help bring support and awareness to infant and early childhood mental health throughout South Carolina.
In her spare time, Dr. Murphy enjoys getting lost in a good book, running, and enjoying time with her husband and three young children.
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.
Mary Ellen Warren, Ph.D.
Dr. Warren is a licensed psychologist and ZERO TO THREE Leaders for the 21st Century Fellow with special interest in infant/early childhood mental health. As an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Dr. Warren provides direct treatment to young children that supports the primary caregiving relationship and their overall mental health. Dr. Warren serves as a core faculty member in the USC-SOM Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training program at Prisma Health-Midlands and also works with the South Carolina Infant Mental Health Association. With SCIMHA, Dr. Warren supports infant/early childhood mental health workforce development, advocates for infant/early childhood mental health public policy and brings evidence-based infant mental health treatment models (e.g., Attachment and Biobehavioral Catchup) to South Carolina.