For training questions and information about the Iowa Peer Workforce Collaborative, please call or email us at:

Phone: 319-467-4296


University of Iowa Staff

Kellee Thorburn McCrory

Kellee Thorburn McCrory, MPH, LMSW

Program Manager
Kellee Thorburn McCrory, MPH, LMSW is the training and technical manager at The University of Iowa School of Social Work, National Resource Center for Family Centered Practice (NRC). She is currently responsible for the Iowa Peer Workforce Collaborative project. Ms. McCrory has managed projects employing multiple methods for a broad range of public health, child welfare, substance abuse and prevention research and evaluation grants. Ms. McCrory also provides training and technical assistance on focus groups, program evaluation, and evaluation.
Carol Coohey

Carol Coohey, MSW, PhD

Curriculum Development and Training Specialist
Carol Coohey, MSW, PhD, is a curriculum development and training specialist for the Iowa Peer Workforce Collaborative. As a former professor at the University of Iowa, she has substantial experience in teaching and a broad background in research methods, with expertise in community-engaged program development and evaluation. Dr. Coohey also has substantial direct social work practice experience with children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced trauma and are in crisis or experiencing persistent mental health challenges.
Picture of Lauren Vorwald

Lauren Vorwald

Training and Development Associate
Lauren Vorwald is a Certified Mental Health Peer Support Specialist (MHPSS) and works with the Iowa Peer Workforce Collaborative as Training and Development Associate. Lauren studied broadcast journalism at the University of Northern Iowa. She worked at several TV stations prior to serving as a consulting associate for North American Television for an international media consulting firm. Later, a career change to banking helped Lauren enhance her interpersonal communication skills. She is a graduate of the Connecticut Community For Addiction Recovery (CCAR) Recovery Coach Academy (RCA). She is a Certified Personal Medicine Coach (CPMC) and Certified Personal Medicine Coach Trainer (CPMC-T) through Pat Deegan’s Common Ground Program. Lauren appreciates the strengths-based, person-centered approach of peer support.


Picture of Diane Brenneman

Diane Zaerr Brenneman, DMin

FPSS Training Administrator
Certified Family Peer Support Specialist
Diane Zaerr Brenneman, DMin, Certified Family Peer Support Specialist and Family Navigator for the Division of Child and Community Health and Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC), is the parent of kids with special needs. She is happy to find a way to use her lived experience by coaching other families of kids with disabilities. She has been a teacher, pastor, administrator and farmer (thankfully, not all at the same time). A thread that weaves through all is the amazing resilience of the human spirit. Children and their families truly can thrive despite what life has thrown at them. She feels privileged to walk alongside families in their journeys.
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Rachel Charlot, FPSS

Family Navigator, Division of Child and Community Health and Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC)
Certified Family Peer Support Specialist
Rachel Charlot is a Certified Family Peer Support Specialist and Family Navigator for the Division of Child and Community Health and Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC). Rachel has been serving families through CHSC for 12 years as both a Family Navigator and in the Early ACCESS program as a Service Coordinator. Rachel is passionate about helping empower families with the knowledge and resources to help support their child throughout the life course.
Picture of Jennifer Day

Jennifer Day, PSS

Vice President, Advisory Committee to the MHDS ECR of Iowa
Peer Support Specialist
Jennifer Day is Vice President of the Advisory Committee to the Mental Health Disability Services of the East Central Region (MHDS ECR) of Iowa. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, where she studied many things, but mainly Psychology. She is proud to share her lived experience of overcoming trauma and "thinking different" with others as a Peer Support Specialist & Trainer. In her spare time, Jenn loves to laugh, sing, and spend time with her cat.
Picture of JD Deambra

JD Deambra, PSS

State Trainer, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Peer Support Specialist
As a State trainer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), JD has been teaching several different classes, which include Peer to Peer, In Our Own Voice, and NAMI SMARTS. He is also qualified to co-facilitate NAMI Connections support groups for persons with mental health diagnoses. Since his first training class, JD enjoys watching the growth of individuals while learning a new curriculum. He states, watching peers during trainings is like, “watching a flower open to a beautiful rose.” JD spent the last 4 years as the Coordinator at NAMI Central Iowa’s Wellness Center, sharing his sober lifestyle as well as his compassionate, warm, and approachable style of Peer Support. JD has also been an important part of the LGBTQIA movement in Iowa, volunteering for One Iowa at various events. Born in New York State, JD moved to Iowa 20 years ago and resides in Ames, with his partner of 2 years and their 2 golden retrievers.
Ron Gilbert

Ron Gilbert, PSS

Ron is a Peer Support Specialist with Abbe Center for Community Mental Health in Cedar Rapids. He supports peers served at the Linn County Mental Health Access Center and other Abbe Center clients. Ron has worked in adult mental health since 2005, including at the “Clubhouse” model program Passageway in Des Moines. Ron was a supervisor in the AbbeHealth Crisis Stabilization Program in Cedar Rapids before taking his current PSS role in January 2022. Ron chose this field due to his lived experience with mental illness. Prior to that, Ron worked in business and has a degree in Economics from the University of California at Davis and a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Iowa. Ron is also a grandpa, dad, theatre actor/director/designer, and lover of jazz.
Josh Gitch

Josh Gitch, MPHSS

Certified Mental Health Peer Support Specialist
Josh Gitch, Certified Mental Health Peer Support Specialist (MHPSS), has worked in the field the past five years with Black Hawk-Grundy Mental Health and served the Iowa Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) in various capacities. Josh graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre from the University of Northern Iowa and is certified as a Whole Health Action Management (WHAM), NAMI Connections, and NAMI Peer-to-Peer facilitator. Josh is the father of two young daughters, and they help keep him on the difficult yet wonderful journey of recovery. Giving back what's been given is a passion for Josh and he's excited to be a part of this evidence-based, growing profession.
Katelyn Hamilton

Katelyn Hamilton

Peer Workforce Coordinator
Katelyn is the Peer Workforce Coordinator with Life Connections Peer Recovery Services under contract with the Iowa Peer Workforce Collaborative. She focuses on community outreach and works on introducing behavioral health agencies in Iowa to peer support. Katelyn is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Katelyn was a Residential Treatment Supervisor & a Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist prior to her current position. She was involved in community support programs as well as group homes. Katelyn is living in her recovery of her mental illness and is passionate about sharing her experience to support others.
Faraji Hubbard

Faraji Hubbard, PRS, RCP, RCPF

Comprehensive Recovery Coordinator of the GuideLink Center
Certified Peer Recovery Specialist
Recovery Coach Professional
Recovery Coach Professional Facilitator
Faraji Hubbard, PRS, RCP, RCPF, is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS), Recovery Coach Professional (RCP), and Recovery Coach Professional Facilitator (RCPF). He was the first in the state of Iowa to achieve the Recovery Coach Professional (RCP) designation from CCAR's Center for Addiction Recovery Training. Along with these achievements, he is also a Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) trained Recovery Coach and Authorized Facilitator and Certified Whole Health Action Management (WHAM) facilitator. Faraji is also a member of the Iowa Peer Workforce Collaborative's Peer Advisory Committee and is an appointed Steering Committee member of The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services’ Hope and Opportunity in Many Environments (HOME) Project. His current role at the Abbe Center for Community Mental Health is Comprehensive Recovery Coordinator at GuideLink Center in Iowa City. GuideLink Center is one of the designated access centers in Iowa and provides immediate access to substance use and mental health services. Faraji has a unique position at GuideLink Center. His leadership role enhances peer services and care coordination internally but also promotes connections beyond GuideLink Center to improve peer outcomes. 
Todd Noack

Todd Noack, PRS

Executive Director of Life Connections Peer Recovery Services
Certified Peer Recovery Specialist
Todd Noack, PRS, is the Executive Director of Life Connections Peer Recovery Services, a peer-run non-profit. He directs Iowa’s only peer-run respite house, and is one of two advanced level Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) Facilitators in Iowa. Todd’s volunteer & advocacy experience includes serving as a Board Member for the Iowa Advocates for Mental Health Recovery and a member of the Advisory Committee for the Iowa Peer & Family Peer Support Training Program. Todd is now actively involved in all aspects of Mental Health Recovery, by overseeing and facilitating support groups, public relations, and business management. He keeps up-to -date with the latest developments in Peer Support Recovery movements and ongoing changes in state and local capacities involving individuals, their family members, and children.