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Organizational Update: 2021-2022 Fellowship Cohort Announced



Thursday, September 2, 2021

The Healthy Minds Fellowship today announced Audra Brulc and Joi-Michelle Rhodes as members of its 2021-2022 cohort.

Funded by The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, the Healthy Minds Fellowship enlists highly-motivated professionals to work on high-impact mental health and addiction policy and systems transformation. The program seeks to seed our community with a new wave of intellectual capital to change the way Oklahoma approaches these issues.

Audra previously worked as a grant writer and consultant for clients across a variety of sectors, including healthcare, animal welfare, and education. She also spent time working in universities as a research fellow and marketing specialist with a focus on supporting and promoting international education. Audra graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oklahoma with her BA and MA in International Studies and minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies. In 2018, she was awarded OU’s Big Woman on Campus and Letzeiser Bronze Medal honors.

During her fellowship, Audra will work on a variety of mental health policy issues such as children’s mental health in schools, and she is especially interested in reducing stigmas associated with mental illness and improving access to treatment for Oklahomans of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Joi-Michelle brings experience from various spaces involving advocacy, research, and community development. She is passionate about all things mental health, desiring to support innovative approaches to mental health treatment, policy, and program development. With a background in social work, her interest areas include adolescent mental health, suicide prevention, peer support models, and trauma-informed care.

A native of Memphis, Tenn., Joi-Michelle holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Oral Roberts University. Her past experiences include work with Mental Health Association Oklahoma, Oklahoma Policy Institute, and the George Kaiser Family Foundation. She has spoken at national conferences and is a previous member of Mental Health America’s Collegiate Mental Health Innovation Council, helping to produce a report on mental health and disability policy in higher education. She is a current member of Tulsa’s Youth Mental Health and Family Resilience Commission with the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity and has plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work and/or Public Health.

Fellows can come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including but not limited to education, psychology, counseling, law, business, social work, nursing, health care policy and others. They care deeply about mental health and want to invest intellect and heart for people to make real change. The inaugural fellowship cohort included current Policy Director, Brittany Hayes and Maggie Shaffer-Den Harder. Anna Richards, a medical student at Kaiser Permanente, and Troy Yamaguchi, current HMPI fellow, made up the 2020-2021 cohort. Recruitment for the next cohort will begin in the spring of 2022.

To learn more about the fellows, click here.