By working with and educating legislators, policy makers, and key stakeholders, we assist in the development and implementation of sound public policy that creates and supports healthier families and safer communities. IABH also shares its extensive experience by providing conference and training opportunities on the cutting edge of behavioral healthcare.
Sara Moscato Howe, Chief Executive Officer
Sara Moscato Howe, MS, CHES, is Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Association of Behavioral Health (IABH). Her responsibilities include state and federal policy and legislative analysis and advocacy efforts on behalf of the 60 community-based substance use and mental health disorder prevention, treatment and recovery support service providers that comprise IABH’s membership. Ms. Howe also oversees the planning and implementation of the Association’s substance abuse prevention programs: Operation Snowball (OS) and the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute (CGTI). She is Chair of the Illinois Department of Human Services Social Services Advisory Council, a member of Illinois’ Human Services Commission, and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Behavioral Health. Ms. Howe holds a master’s degree in Health Promotion with a research emphasis in collegiate peer alcohol abuse prevention from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion, also from Purdue. She is a member of the Animal Protective League of Springfield and Sangamon County.
Eric Foster, Chief Operating Officer & VP for Substance Abuse Policy
Eric Foster guides the development of public policy recommendations for internal and external programming and research activities supporting IABH’s mission and strategic objectives for a state wide, comprehensive system of community-based Mental Health (MH) & Substance Use Disorder (SUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. Mr. Foster is actively engaged in state wide committee and workgroup discussions to ensure MH/SUD prevention, treatment and recovery support services are a continued priority as the state rolls out implementation of Medicaid Managed Care, Care Coordination efforts, Medicaid Expansion, and other healthcare reform initiatives in Illinois.
Mr. Foster began working in the field of addictions in 1997. Prior to joining IABH in 2009, he served as the Director of Outpatient Services for the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, worked with children and teens from families of domestic violence, and was an educational trainer on the relationship between alcohol, drugs, and domestic violence. He holds a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago, Social Services Administration a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Illinois State University, and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.
Randy Wells, VP for Mental Health Policy
|IABH’s Vice President of Mental Health Policy, Randy Wells, joined the Association in 2015 to lead IABH’s mental health policy efforts. Randy provides legislative and policy analysis, strategic guidance and recommendations to ensure mental health services remain a priority in Illinois and on the federal level. Prior to joining IABH, Randy served as Director of Legislative Affairs and Deputy Chief of Staff at the Illinois Department of Human Services. He also served as executive director of NAMI-Illinois before joining Illinois state government as a public policy and legislative expert. His background and knowledge make him one of the most sought after mental health policy experts in the State. |
Pel Thomas, Business Manager
|Pel Kelley (Thomas) has been with the Association over 25 years. She began her career as an administrative assistant and is currently the business manager. Pel’s responsibilities include fiscal operations, executive assistant to the CEO, annual conference coordinator, providing assistance to the Membership, Board and Committees. Pel graduated from Balyki High School and attended Lincoln Land Community College.|
Ron Jakubisin, Director for Program Development
Ron Jakubisin has been involved in the field of alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention and treatment throughout his professional career. He joined the IABH team in 2013 after previously working for over 22 years as a Prevention Specialist where he taught, trained, advocated, and interacted with students of all ages along with parents, professionals and communities. Through outreach, trainings, and technical assistance Ron sustains the current Chapters of Operation Snowball, develops new Chapters, and works in partnership with Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute (CGTI) to expand youth leadership-based prevention programming throughout Illinois. After college Ron spent seven years working with teens in residential and hospital-based treatment. At the same time, Ron was introduced to Operation Snowball and CGTI which focused on substance use prevention and developing youth as leaders. Ron served on the OS Board from 1999-2003 and has participated in hundreds of events as a co-facilitator, workshop presenter, and plenary speaker. Since 1983 Ron has participated in CGTI as a discussion group leader, PALS leader, leadership team member, as well as workshop presenter and plenary speaker.
Ashley Webb, Prevention Program Manager
Ashley Webb is the Prevention Program Manager at IABH. Her responsibilities are coordinating, planning, and implementing activities for the annual Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute’s (CGTI) calendar. Ashley is also responsible for the recruitment of volunteers, recruitment of Community Action Teams (CATs), and providing technical assistance to adult mentors who are implementing an action plan in their school and/or community. Ashley joined the Association in 2014. Prior to joining IABH, Ashley worked as a Prevention Specialist where she gained experience working with a mentoring and tutoring program, a social norms communication campaign, interacted with local coalitions, and educated middle school and high school students, professionals, and communities on the importance of youth prevention. Ashley holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in human development from DePaul University.
Laurie Thomas, Executive Assistant to VP for Mental Health Policy
Laurie Thomas serves as Executive Assistant to the Vice-President for Mental Health Policy, handling administrative functions such as scheduling and correspondence. Ms. Thomas also works with the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute and Operation Snowball programs as a behind the scenes person. Laurie also worked for IABH as an Administrative Assistant from 2007 – 2010. Laurie attended Greenview High School and graduated in 2006. After high school Laurie attended Lincoln Land Community College. Laurie resides in Menard County with her husband and her 2 ½ year-old son.
CEOs, presidents, and executive directors from our member agencies lend their experience and expertise as members of our board of directors. Each director is elected by the membership for a two-year term.
David Gomel, Chair
Rosecrance Health Network
Jessica Hayes, Vice Chair
Illinois Certification Board
Jeffrey Collord, Secretary
Michael Schwend, Treasurer
Preferred Family Healthcare
Members at Large:
Joan Hartman, Chestnut Health Systems
Mark Ishaug, Thresholds
Adriana Trino, Latino Treatment Center
Leslie Balonick, WestCare Foundation
Dennis Lubchenko, Nicasa
Gail Raney, Prairie Center Health Systems, Inc.