Maryam Ahranjani, JD, serves as an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she also serves as faculty advisor to the Immigration Law Student Association and the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, a program that trains law students to teach high school students about their constitutional rights and responsibilities. At UNM, she teaches Constitutional Rights, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Criminal Sentencing. Her main research interest is children’s access to education and has authored numerous articles and book chapters on related topics.
Cathy Anthofer-Fialon, PhD, has her doctoral degree in criminal justice, a Masters of Liberal Studies with concentrations in educational leadership and emergency management, a Bachelor of Science in journalism, and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. Her professional background includes working 20 years in higher education law enforcement, where she served as Indiana’s first female president of the Indiana Campus Law Enforcement Administrators Association and serving as the Director of Emergency Management for Miami Dade College’s 174,000 students. After receiving her PhD in criminal justice she made the decision to change her career trajectory, first working as a court advocate for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She then worked as Program Manager for the 13th Circuit Court, Family Division in Michigan. In her work as Program Manager she supervised juvenile probation, truancy intervention and the Court Appointed Special Advocates program. She has now joined forces with community advocate and author, Shenandoah Chefalo to create Good Harbor Institute, where they create programs translating evidenced-based research on trauma into skills that can be used immediately.
Mark Bennett, principal in Decision Resources, Inc. has a consulting practice to help leaders develop organizational health and unity through values-based decision making, wise planning, and building cultures of dialogue and collaboration. He is the co-author of A Field Guide to Good Decisions: Values in Action. Mark has a diverse range of clients across sectors (government, nonprofit, business) in New Mexico including legal and child welfare organizations. He works throughout the US with the Vistage leadership organization, and internationally with the World Health Organization. Mark has a law degree from the University of Texas at Austin. After his early career as a lawyer, Mark received graduate training in counseling psychology and a certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Texas at Austin. He practiced as a mediator for 25 years and is the coauthor of The Art of Mediation, second edition which has been used in the US, Canada, Switzerland, and Israel. He has mediated many organizational, business, family, and community disputes and trained thousands of leaders and managers in practical mediation skills to resolve organization conflicts. System change often requires skillful work with conflict and differences.
Cynthia Chavers,MSW has been a Social Worker with the State of New Mexico for 20 years. She worked in the field offering direct services to families and children for 17 of those years. She currently serves as the Federal Reporting Bureau Chief. Cynthia is an expert in child welfare and has specialized in family drug court, the Indian Child Welfare Act, immigration issues that impact families and children, and youth transitioning from foster care into adulthood. Additional professional activities include participation in the Child Abuse and Neglect Fatality Review; participation in local Multi-Disciplinary Teams; and establishment of the Child Advocacy Center in Valencia County, NM.
Miriam Komaromy, MD, FACP, FASAM, is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the ECHO Institute (echo.unm.edu), which is a program based at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center that is aimed at expanding access to treatment for traditionally under-served populations. She is Director for ECHO’s behavioral health initiatives, which engage and support primary care teams in treating addiction and mental health disorders. Through this program she has trained more than 500 physicians to provide buprenorphine treatment for opioid use disorder, and directs a program that offers Opioid ECHO programs from 5 different hubs across the US. She is board certified in Addiction Medicine and serves on the national Board of Directors of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. She practices addiction medicine in a primary care outpatient setting and has served as medical director for the NM State Addiction Treatment Hospital. She lectures nationally on clinical and health policy issues related to integration of addiction treatment into the primary care setting, and on the use of the ECHO model to train primary care providers to treat common, complex diseases such as mental health and substance use disorders.
Rebecca Liggett, JD graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1986. Ms. Liggett started her legal career practicing water law, first working for the state of Kansas and then for the federal government with the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs. Ms. Liggett has been practicing as a Children’s Court Attorney with the Children, Youth and Families Department since 1996. Ms. Liggett has represented CYFD in Children’s Court in various counties throughout New Mexico. For the past eleven years, Ms. Liggett has been the Department’s lead appellate attorney. Ms. Liggett is a past Chair of the Children’s Law Section and is an NACC certified child welfare law specialist.
LUVYA NM Leaders Uniting Voices Youth Advocates of New Mexico (formerly Youth Advocates for New Mexico/Adelante), is a non-governmental youth advocacy and advisory board composed of youth from around the state who represent current and former foster care youth. The board evaluates policies and practices of the child welfare system and advocates for system improvements. LUVYANM educates other youth, resource families, child welfare workers, and the general public on issues related to youth in foster care.
Donalyn Sarracino, MSW is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Acoma. She has been the Director of the Pueblo of Acoma Social Services since November 2013; and is the Founder of the New Mexico Tribal Indian Child Welfare Consortium (est. March 20, 2015). Donalyn received her Bachelor’s of Science degree from Mt. St. Mary University in Los Angeles, California and her Master’s of Social Work degree from NM Highlands University. She is a licensed social worker in the state of New Mexico and she was previously the Program Coordinator for the Compulsive Gambling Treatment Clinician, as well as Mental Health Clinician for New Mexico Women’s Correctional Facility. Donalyn states she never imagined herself working in this capacity; however she always knew she wanted to use her education and experience to help her people and be a positive change agent for her community.
Sarah Steadman, JD teaches at the UNM School of Law in the Child and Family Justice Clinic. The clinic serves at-risk children and their families who have unmet legal needs due to poverty and racial and social injustice. She developed the LGBTQ Youth project to address individual and systemic inequities. Sarah teaches clinic classes on representing transgender clients and transgender youth legal issues.
Rochelle Thompson is an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe in Sacaton Arizona. Rochelle is currently the treasurer of the New Mexico Tribal Indian Child Welfare Consortium. She has been employed with the Pueblo for seven (7) years as the Manager of the ICWA Program. In her current position she is responsible for bringing all of Ohkay Owingeh children back to the jurisdiction of the tribe and protect one of the children and families of Ohkay Owingeh.
Jacqueline Yalch, MSW is a member of the Pueblo of Isleta in Isleta, New Mexico. She is an ICWA Coordinator with Isleta Social Services. Jacqueline is qualified as a clinical social worker and holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Social Work from New Mexico Highlands University. Jacqueline’s role is primarily in foster care recruitment, training, licensure and retention. Along with Fonder Donalyn Sarracino, Jacqueline is a Co-Chair of the New Mexico Tribal Indian Child Welfare Consortium (NM TIC) and has served in that capacity for nearly 2 years.
Jane Yohalem, JD is an appellate practice specialist in private practice in Santa Fe. She graduated from Columbia University Law School in 1975, and obtained an LLM from Georgetown University Law School in 1976. Ms. Yohalem worked for more than ten years for the Mental Health Law Project (now the Bazelon Center) litigating special education and disability rights cases. After moving to New Mexico, she practiced labor, employment and civil rights law with the law firm of Simon & Oppenheimer. She opened her own practice in 1996 specializing in appeals. Ms. Yohalem has represented clients in the New Mexico Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals and in the federal appellate courts in virtually every area of law. Her work in appellate practice has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America. She is a member of the prestigious American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. For more than 20 years, Ms. Yohalem has represented indigent parents in appeals from adjudications of abuse or neglect, termination of parental rights, and contested adoptions.