About Us

Meet the board!
 
 
 
President- Jennifer Mitchell
I am a licensed psychologist and the Clinical Director for The Children's Center, a non-profit agency, whose mission is to provide comprehensive mental health care to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families. As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, I specialize in diagnosing and treating children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and I am trained in multiple evidence-based trauma treatments for young children. I am passionate about improving the lives of children and families, as well as mentoring and training others to do the same. 
 
 
 
 
 
Past President- Ilse DeKoeyer-Laros
I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I always loved babies and “language without words.” I graduated with a Master’s in Clinical Developmental Psychology from the Free University of Amsterdam, and a PhD in Educational Psychology from Utrecht University. In the year 2000, I crossed the Atlantic to conduct research at the University of Utah, with Dr. Alan Fogel, into early parent-infant relationships, emotional development, and the development of self. In 2006, I had a baby of my own. Since then, I have mostly been teaching at the University of Utah Psychology Department, where I am currently an Associate Professor for Development in Infancy, Research Methods in Psychology, and an internships class. In 2015, I was awarded the Superior Teaching Award of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (CSBS). In addition to my teaching career, I also work part-time position as Child Development Specialist with Help Me Grow Utah, a parenting information and resource line out of United Way. Help Me Grow Utah which offers parenting support, child development information, developmental screening, and connection to resources in the community. As a founding Board Member of the Utah Association for Infant Mental Health (UAIMH), I have served as President from 2013-2017, and currently remain on the board. My passion in life is to support parents and their babies and young children, to help optimize wellbeing and happiness across the lifespan. I also love to share my expertise in this area with others! 
 
 
 
 
 
Treasurer- Susan Ord
I had the privilege of working as the Director of the Baby Watch Early Intervention Program in the Utah Department of Health for the last 20 years of my professional career. It was there that I learned how impactful training and supporting parents of children who had disabilities or developmental delays could be. I am very excited to be involved with UAIMH as we take on the task of developing a system - along with other partners - to provide the knowledge, skills & reflective supervision to professionals in the field of early childhood as they serve very young children. These activities would ultimately lead to a professional endorsement for service personnel working with young children and their families. This project will do wonders to legitimize the need for attention to our youngest members of the community and provide resources and support for their healthy social and emotional growth.

 
 
 
 
Secretary- Codie Thurgood 
I received my Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees from Utah State University. I have worked as a mental health clinician in multiple settings including school-based behavioral health, public mental health, and non-profit for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Most of career has been spent has spent working closely with children, youth, and families and I found a deep love for the work and helping children learn and grow. Currently, I work as a Program Manager with the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health for the State of Utah.
 
 
 
 
 
Membership Committee Chair- Alda Jones 
I am native to Utah and has spent my entire career thus far in the child care field in various capacities. (I am giving serious thought to doing stand-up comedy and hospice work in my retirement years) During the first 25 years I worked full-time with while chipping away at Bachelors degree in Human Development from BYU and a Masters degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. I am in my sixteenth year The Children’s Center where I supervise an amazing staff of early childhood specialists and consultants who help programs and individuals in our field improve the quality of their services to the children and families they serve. I have a vision for Utah about the intersection of Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health and early childhood programs and plan to help bring this to fruition over the next 10 years.
 
 
 
Events Committee Chair- Janet Wade 
Prior to taking the position with ESGW in October 2008, I was employed by the Utah Department of Health under the Part C agency, the Baby Watch Early Intervention Program (BWEIP) where I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work on several statewide initiatives including: the Expanding Options for Infant Mental Health committee, a statewide community collaboration to support infant mental health. The outcome of this project was the development of State Practice Guidelines for Infant Mental Health and the foundation of the Utah Association for Infant Mental Health, where I currently serve on the board.
 
 
 
 
Board Member- William Cosgrove 
I am a pediatrician who retired after 34 years of private practice to devote my time to advocacy for the good of children. I currently serve as the Vice-chair of the Salt lake County Board of Health, the Chair of the Utah Medicaid Medical Care Advisory Committee, Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Utah Commission, Leader RESULTS Salt Lake City Global Health, and member of the Utah Maternal Mental Health Collaborative, the Utah Association of Infant Mental Health, the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and four Immunization committees.
 
 
 
 
Board Member- Susan Dickinson 
 
 
 
 
 
Board Member- Eric Tadehara
I work for the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health as a Program Administrator of Children, Youth, and Family Services. I have worked in the field of social work for the past 10 years in roles including: direct clinical practice (individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, etc.) working with adolescents, youth in transition, and adults with mental health concerns, substance use concerns, and intellectual disabilities; crisis evaluation and management; and behavioral health administration. I received my Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and my Master of Social Work (MSW) & Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am licensed as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the State of Utah since 2011.
 
 
 
Board Member- Vonda Jump 
 I am an Assistant Professor in Social Work at the Brigham City Campus of Utah State University, with an emphasis on systems of care affecting infants in orphanages, parent-child relationships during the first several years of a child's life, and an interest in the intersection of physical and mental health, especially for vulnerable families. I have developed and implemented successful interventions and a new curriculum with severely neglected children in orphanages in Ecuador, Haiti, and India; developed and implemented trainings with programs working with vulnerable at-risk families; and was a consultant and trainer for ZERO TO THREE’s Duty to Care training for military families experiencing grief, trauma, and loss. Before obtaining my PhD, I conducted treatment for children with severe emotional disturbances, and led preschool therapy groups for children who were sexually abused. I am a graduate ZERO TO THREE Fellow and past President and current board member for the Utah Association for Infant Mental Health. I currently serve as the Project Director for the Trauma Resiliency Project at The Family Place, with a focus on promoting recovery from traumatic experiences for children and families; educating families, community members, and professionals on ways to prevent trauma as well as the impact of trauma in all developmental domains; and increasing awareness of ways to support resiliency in our community.

 

Mission

To promote a unified understanding of infant mental health across disciplines and programs and to develop a statewide system of resources in support of infant mental health for all families living in Utah.

 

Scope of UAIMH:

  • To facilitate cooperation among individuals and agencies concerned with promoting conditions that will bring about the optimal development of infants and infant-caregiver relationships.
  • To encourage the realization that infancy is a sensitive period in the psychosocial development of individuals.
  • To promote education and research of the effects of mental development during infancy on later normal and psychopathological development.
  • To support the implementation of evidence-based programs of promotion, intervention, and prevention designed to foster positive infant-caregiver relationships.

Aims of UAIMH:

  • To promote the understanding of infant mental health issues and the development of programs to enhance infant mental health.
  • To discuss and share questions, problems, issues, information and theories regarding the mental health of infants, their families, parents, and other caregivers through meetings and other formats
  • To disseminate research and to educate health care professionals who study and/or care for infants.