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Leadership Team

Leadership Team

ADMINISTRATION

Alyson Harder, L.C.S.W., L.S.C.S.W.
Chief Executive Officer

She obtained her B.S. from the University of Arkansas and M.S.W. from the University of Kansas. Alyson was recruited to Heartland over 15 years ago to develop the Residential Treatment Center Program. She progressed into the role of the Director of Clinical Services before being promoted to our Chief Executive Officer in 2010. Alyson has been recognized and received numerous rewards for her commitment to placing patient care as a top priority and training future clinicians to fulfill our mission of changing lives. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and is in fellowship training. Alyson is a trained clinician in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Informed Care and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Mike Ast
Director of Support Services

He is a graduate from Nevada High School and joined our team in 1982 where he worked in our Maintenance Department. In 1986, he became our Maintenance Supervisor. Mike took on his current position as our Director of Support Services in 2006.

Carri Compton, M.B.A.
Administrative Officer

Carri obtained her B.S. in Health Information Management and her M.B.A. with an emphasis in Clinical Information Systems from Stephen’s College. Carri joined our team in 1982 and has more than 25 years of experience in psychiatric and hospital services and is a Registered Health Information Administrator.

Betsy Curtis, M.S.L.
Director of Business Development

Betsy obtained her Associates of Science Degree from Cottey College, her B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in Human Resource Management from Pittsburg State University, and her M.A. in Strategic Leadership from Stephens College. She then went on to complete her Master Certification in Disaster Management and Mitigation from Benedictine University. Betsy joined Heartland in 2010 as the Director of Marketing and Community Relations. In 2018, she became the Director of Business Development and has been involved in numerous local and national organizations over the years.

Amanda Johnson, B.S.N.
Director of Nursing

She obtained her B.S.N. from Cox College of Nursing in Springfield, MO. She joined our team in 2005 as a Charge Nurse, then became our Employee Health Infection Control and Staff Development Nurse. She then moved into a new role as our RTC Nurse Manager and Assistant Director of Nursing, and transitioned into her current position as our Director of Nursing in 2018. Amanda is also currently pursuing her PMHNP.

MEDICAL STAFF

Dr. Ahmad K. Tarar, M.D.
Medical Director

Dr. Ahmad K. Tarar has been with Heartland for over 30 years and is our current Medical Director . He has touched thousands of lives and we have dedicated the Dr. Ahmad K. Tarar Children’s Wing in his honor. Dr. Tarar is our current Medical Director and has received numerous awards and recognitions. He is a Diplomat for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is a graduate from the AUC School of Medicine. He completed his post-graduate Residency in psychiatry from UMKC School of Medicine from 1982-1986, with an emphasis on children and adolescents. In 1986, he began working as a staff psychiatrist at Heartland and transitioned into his current position as the Medical Director. Many will remember him as “Forever the Heart of Heartland” and we are so grateful to have him on our team for all of these years.
This wing also includes a special “Wall of Honor” that honors our employees who have been with us for 25+ years. Each one of them holds a special place in our heart and has made a lasting impact on our facility.

Dr. Nicole Canaley, M.D.
Physician

Dr. Canaley joined our team in the fall of 2018 is a Board Eligible Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist from St. Louis, MO. She completed her child and adolescent fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis and was a Chief Resident at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Keenan Smart, M.D.
Physician

Dr. Smart joined our team in the fall of 2018 is a Board Eligible Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He completed his child and adolescent fellowship at Oregon Health and Science University and attended medical school at the University of Oklahoma.

Dr. Arneli Solidum, M.D.
Physician

Dr. Solidum is a Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and has been with Heartland for 8 years. Dr. Solidum is focused on our pre-adolescent acute care patients. Prior to working at Heartland, Dr. Solidum worked on the east coast as an outpatient psychiatrist.

Dr. Amy Underwood, M.D.
Physician

Dr. Underwood is a Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. She is a graduate of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and completed her residency through the University of Louisville Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Underwood completed her fellowship at the University of Louisville Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She has over 7 years of experience working with children and adolescents in psychiatric care and she currently provides telepsychiatry on a full-time basis for our Inpatient Acute Hospitalization Program.

Dr. Elizabeth Blanchard-Hills, P.M.H.N.P.
Nurse Practitioner

She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, APRN program in Nashville, Tennessee. She received her B.S.N. from the Research College of Nursing in Kansas City, MO. She has a long list of awards and accolades related to quality care initiatives. Dr. Blanchard-Hills began as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner student with our team in the spring of 2018 and joined us as a full-time employee in the fall of 2018.

Beth Fast, F.N.P-C.
Family Nurse Practitioner

Beth is a graduate from Cox College of Nursing, ASN program in Springfield, MO. She also obtained her MSN from Cox College. She originally joined our team as a Charge Nurse. Beth returned to school in 2010 to pursue her degree and is currently completing her PMHNP training with us. She will join us as a full-time Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner on January 1st and we are so excited to have her on our team. Beth has numerous certifications and over 8 years of experience working in the hospital and outpatient setting.

Allied Health Professional Providing Medical Support

Sonja Albright, D.N.P.
Allied Health Professional Providing Medical Support

Dr. Albright graduated with her RN, BSN, and MSN from Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, MO and has over 25 years of experience working in the mental health industry. Dr. Albright has authored fourteen chapters in the FENCE (Furthering Education for Nurses who Care for the Elderly) Manual, currently being used by the state of Missouri to educate and certify Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses who specialize in long term care. She joined our team in 2006 as an FNP and she is currently actively involved in numerous national and local organizations.

Karen Marquardt, P.N.P.
Allied Health Professional Providing Medical Support

Karen obtained her BSN from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS and is a graduate from the University of Missouri Kansas City, MSN, PNP Program. She is a Board Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and has over 24 years of experience working in the health and pediatric industry. Karen joined our team in 2016 as a nurse practitioner and does a wonderful job assisting our medical team.

Mandy Swink, D.N.P.
Allied Health Professional Providing Medical Support

Dr. Swink obtained her MSN and ARNP from Pittsburg State University in 2010 and her DNP in 2016 from Pittsburg State University. She joined our team as an RN and then transitioned into a FNP in 2011. Dr. Swink does a wonderful job working on our team as an allied health professional and has over 7 years of experience providing support to our medical team.

CLINICAL STAFF

Heath Baker, L.C.S.W.
Therapist

Heath has more than 5 years of experience working on our team with the children in our care. He obtained his B.S.W. and M.S.W. from Missouri State University. He completed his post-graduate licensure supervision with Heartland. His specialties include; TheraPlay and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.

Louis Blea, L.P.C., R.N.
Therapist

Kori Bower-Cherry, L.C.S.W.
RTC Director of Social Work

She obtained her B.S.W. from Pittsburg State University and M.S.W. in Social Work from the University of Missouri. Kori joined our team in 2012 as a case manager and continued her graduate school education while working full time at Heartland. Kori completed her clinical practicum at Heartland and her 2 year-post graduate supervision. Kori moved into a role as a therapist and recently transitioned into her current position as a Director of Social Work. Her specialty is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Eating Disorder Treatment.

Abby Chilton, L.M.S.W.
Therapist

Abby joined our team in the summer of 2017 and worked in our Admissions’ Department. In the fall of 2018, she transitioned into her current position as a Licensed Master Social Worker working with our acute inpatient team. Abby is currently being supervised for her LCSW at Heartland. Abby is skilled in the provision of interactive and engaging group therapy, along with individual therapy with patients.

Tiffany Decker, C.T.R.S.
Recreation & Expressive Therapist

Jennifer Doyle, L.P.C.
Therapist

Jennifer joined our team in 2009 working as a Switchboard Operator, then moved into the role of an Administrative Assistant to the Clinical Suite. She then became an Admissions Coordinator and eventually moved to our Utilization Management Department as she completed graduate school to become a licensed clinician. Jennifer recently earned her LPC following 2 years of supervision. She is a skilled therapist and specializes with our pre-adolescent population

Alex Franks, L.P.C.
Therapist

Alex has a B.S. in History from Southwest Baptist University and a M.S. in Family and Youth Services from Bellevue University. Many years ago, he spent four years in college as a Behavioral Health Specialist and then joined Heartland as a full-time therapist in the summer of 2014. In 2017, Alex transitioned into a part-time therapist role on our team and his specialties include; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Family Systems.

Tiffany George, L.P.C.
Therapist

She obtained her B.S. in Psychology from Northwestern College and M.A. in Counseling from Missouri Baptist University. Tiffany joined our team in the summer of 2018 and her specialties include; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Play Therapy.

Cindy Graham, L.P.C.
Therapist

Amanda Ivey, B.S.
Equine Specialist

Amanda obtained her B.S. in Animal Science from Missouri State University. She joined our team in the summer of 2008 as an Equine Specialist. Amanda is EAGALA certified and trained in Natural Lifemanship – a model focused on building relationships between a horse and a child.

Dewey Morris, L.C.S.W., L.S.C.S.W.
Director of Acute Pre-Adolescent Social Work Services

He obtained his B.S. in Psychology from Pittsburg State University and his M.S.W. from the University of Kansas. While he was pursuing his M.S.W., he completed his two year practicum at our facility and his post-graduate supervision. Dewey has over ten years of experience on our team as a therapist. He is trained in TheraPlay and his primary focus is working with and directing the pre-adolescent inpatient teams.

Clara Sands, B.A., M.S.W. Intern
Non-Licensed Clinical Counselor & Family Liaison

She obtained her B.A. in Social Sciences from Pittsburg State University and is currently a M.S.W. Student Intern through the University of Missouri Kansas City. Clara originally joined our team in 2010 as a Behavioral Health Specialist. She took on her current position as a Counselor and Family Liaison in the spring of 2018.

Kelsey Tomlin, L.M.S.W.
Therapist

Kelsey obtained her B.S. in Social Work from Missouri State University and her M.S. in Social Work from the University of Missouri. She joined our team in the spring of 2018 and is currently under supervision working towards becoming an L.C.S.W. Her areas of focus include; family therapy, Individual therapy and crisis management and stabilization with our adolescent inpatient team.

Sarah Torontow, L.P.C.
Director of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Sarah received her B.S. in Rehab Psychology from Central Missouri State University and her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Abilene Christian University. She has over 11 years working on our team as our Director of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and her specialties include; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, EAP, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Jill Yates, L.P.C., L.C.P.C.
Part-Time Therapist

Jill obtained her M.Ed. in Counseling from Wichita State University and has more than 10 years of experience working on our team. She is an extremely skilled clinician-focusing on individual therapy, coaching and family therapy. Her specialties include; Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

Mary Winders, C.T.R.S.
Recreation & Expressive Therapist

Case Managers

Allison Campbell, B.S.
Case Manager

Allison obtained her Associates of Psychology from Cottey College and then went on to achieve her B.S. in Psychology from Missouri Southern State University. She joined our team in 2015 as a Behavioral Health Specialist and then transitioned into her current role as an Acute Case Manager six months later.

Julie Kemper, B.S.
Case Manager

Julie obtained her Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice from Missouri Southern State University. She began as a Behavioral Health Specialist in 1992 and has over 25 years of experience working on our team. A few years after joining our team, she moved into a Residential Case Management position and has transitioned into her current position as an Acute Case Manager.

Julie Leonard, L.B.S.W.
Case Manager

She obtained her B.S.W. from the University of Central Missouri. Julie joined our team in 2010 as an Acute Case Manager and has over 25 years of experience working in social services.

Michelle Buck
Case Manager

Michelle graduated from Hume High School and has over 17 years of experience working in the medical industry. She joined our team in 2010 as a Discharge Planner and eventually transitioned into her current position as an Acute Case Manager.

Need Help? Give Us a Call.

We cannot offer a diagnosis, counseling or recommendations online, however, our professional staff offer 24/7 assessments at no cost. We can be reached anytime by calling 800-654-9605. If you need immediate medical assistance, contact 911 or seek the nearest emergency room.