List of Featured Alumni

Darren D. Moore, Ph.D., MSMFT, LMFT

Darren D. Moore, Ph.D., MSMFT, LMFT, former MFP Doctoral Fellow (2009-2010), is an Associate Professor and the Program Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Masters program at Touro University Worldwide, in Los Alamitos, California. He was a recipient of the MFP Doctoral Fellowship while completing coursework for his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech University. Dr. Moore is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Georgia, and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. Dr. Moore completed his Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy at Valdosta State University and his Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies at the University of Minnesota.

The MFP program played an integral role in Dr. Moore’s education and career path. The MFP Mentorship program helped Dr. Moore develop relationships with MFTs making his transition into the field of marriage and family therapy easier. Dr. Moore’s mentors, Ken Hardy (former MFP Program Director) and Adisa Ajamu (former MFP Program Manager), well-known scholars in the fields of Marriage and Family Therapy and Psychology, helped him to develop a self-identity as a budding therapist. Dr. Moore noted that identifying with his mentors, African-American males, was very meaningful, as he was often the only one or one of very few African-American male students in his MFT training programs. Dr. Moore received advice on how to manage work/life balance, career planning in MFT, and was able to network with other doctoral students who had a passion for substance abuse and/or mental health treatment for minority populations. The MFP program helped Dr. Moore developed life-long relationships with other doctoral scholars who are now in the field serving in in direct clinical treatment, policy, academia. Dr. Moore also served on the AAMFT Board of Directors.

Allison Tomlinson, PhD, LCSW-S

Dr. Tomlinson is a Bahamian-American clinician with over 13 years of experience serving diverse populations of families and individuals in mental health. Dr. Tomlinson is a graduate of Texas Woman’s University Marriage and Family Therapy doctoral program where she was a MFP Dissertation Completion and MFP Doctoral Fellow with AAMFT Foundation's MFP program from 2011- 2014, 2017-2018. Since graduating Dr. Tomlinson has become the Director of Undergraduate Programs and an Assistant Professor of Practice at The University of Texas at Arlington in the School of Social Work. Dr. Tomlinson is the owner of a private psychotherapy practice; Point of Change Counseling Education & Training Services (POCCETS). Dr. Tomlinson is a graduate of Howard University School of Social Work concentrating in Macro Social Work Practice emphasis in Criminal Justice. Dr. Tomlinson’s research draws on her MFT education and examines the impact of non-normative life stress within family systems with an emphasis on addressing family separation issues. Dr. Tomlinson focuses on the impact of maternal incarceration within family systems specifically the mother-daughter dyadic relationship through the lens of intervention services intended to break the intergenerational cycle of incarceration. Dr. Tomlinson is currently working with the “Livable Black Futures Collective” using a participatory action research process to engage Black women in collaborative research in narrative storytelling-circles addressing birth justice issues.

In 2021, Dr. Tomlinson worked with community-based organizations to raise more than $100,000 for therapy services at the intersection of mental health and criminal justice. Dr. Tomlinson's practice and instruction draw on diverse career experiences in multiple areas of mental health including policy work focusing on criminal justice reform, medical social work as a former hospice administrator, as well as 13 years of clinical therapy with children and families in the child welfare system. Dr. Tomlinson believes in using her knowledge of mental health to help vulnerable populations and support families heal and grow. Dr. Tomlinson currently serves as a board member of Texas New Era/ Jobs with Justice, a non-profit community-based organization that generates public awareness about the rights and needs of working families. Dr. Tomlinson enjoys grant writing and program development to support the critical work of expanding mental health services to disenfranchised populations.

Janice M. Muña, M.Ed., M.MCFT

Janice M. Muña, M.Ed, M.MCFT, (MFP-Masters Fellow 2018, 2019, She/Her), is a proud haga (daughter) of the Marianas and an indigenous Chamorro palao'an (woman), nana (mother), and asagua (wife). Janice is an advocate for coalition-building and creating safe spaces for marginalized individuals. Janice holds a master's degree in International Education from Framingham State University and a master's degree in Marriage Couple and Family Therapy from Lewis and Clark College. Janice, an MFP recipient, gained lifelong friendships and enrichment on providing mental health care for youth (and adolescents as they transition to adulthood) in minority populations 

Janice is the feature cover of the MFP Times 2022 fifth edition newsletter and has been spotlighted for her recent work in diverse communities. Janice has served as a counseling professional for over a decade and currently serves as a Mental Health Specialist for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) Public School System (PSS). Janice’s calling is to provide culturally conscientious mental health services to school-age students, families, and staff of diverse Asian and Pacific Island populations. Additionally, Janice serves many indegenous Pacific Islands from neighboring islands such as the Federal States of Micronesia, including Palau. Janice's work as a couples and family therapist speaks of the importance of language and culture in the field. Janice looks forward to expanding mental health care to promote greater inclusion and diversity for underserved individuals throughout the Marianas.

Kara S. Erolin, Ph.D, LMFT

Kara S. Erolin, Ph.D., LMFT (MFP Fellow 2007, 2008) is Associate Professor of Couple and Family Therapy and Director of Doctoral Programs at Nova Southeastern University (NSU), Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Erolin is passionate about diversity and social justice issues for marginalized populations with specific emphasis on addressing structural inequalities that impact mental and relational heath. Dr. Erolin scholarship focuses on promoting culturally informed care to diverse communities, especially those affected by historical, persistent, and mass traumas. Dr. Erolin has spent most of her career at Hispanic- and Minority-Serving Institutions and has extensive experience working with Latinx populations and various minoritized groups across teaching, research, clinical work/supervision, and administration.

Dr. Erolin was an awardee of the 2018-2019 NSU President’s Faculty Research and Development Grant: Track II to support her study on the experiences of couple/marriage and family therapists of color. She is actively involved in her professional community and has presented at local, national, and international conferences; and is an editorial board member of several peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Erolin is a trauma/field responder for the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology and a long-standing disseminator of Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) to clinicians around the country. After the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, she provided psychological first aid trainings to the local community.

Shardé McNeil Smith, Ph.D

Shardé McNeil Smith, Ph.D. (MFP Fellow 2011 - 2013) is Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Faculty Affiliate of African American Studies and the Center for Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Smith completed her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Purdue University Calumet (now Purdue University Northwest) and her doctoral degree in Family Relations at Florida State University. Since her transition from the MFP Program, Dr. Smith’s program of research focuses on the mental and behavioral effects of racial discrimination within families by investigating this central question: How does one family member’s experience with racial discrimination influence the health and behaviors of other family members? Her work has contributed both empirical evidence and theoretical models about family stress and resiliency among African Americans and their families by focusing on racism and racial discrimination as part of a family’s collective lived experience. Ultimately, her goal is to inform clinical and community prevention and intervention efforts designed to promote mental health for African American individuals, families, and communities. Her approach is underpinned by insights from family therapy models and research evidence from culturally-sensitive and critically-conscious approaches for successful outcomes when working with diverse families.

In addition to conducting research, Dr. Smith teaches culturally sensitive approaches to understanding diverse racial/ethnic families in her courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level. In her courses, she uses a contextual approach that focuses on how the larger social and ecological environment influences diverse family relationships and experiences over time, particularly for family stress and resiliency. For her research, teaching, and mentoring, Dr. Smith has received several awards including the Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award in Leadership in Diversity, Outstanding Faculty Award from the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, and the SAGE Publications Professional Research Award from the Association of Black Psychologists.

Shahrzad Yekta, MA

(Shahrzad Afshinyekta), MFP- Masters (NITT-Y inaugural cohort) Fellow 2014-2015, Shahrzad Afshinyekta is a bilingual Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, behavioral health consultant, and trauma-informed care trainer and speaker. With over 8 years of experience, she helps a culturally diverse range of families and individuals navigate their new life circumstances or adjust to their environments. She is currently in private practice and her latest community project is working with several entities to help with the transition and resettlement of thousands of recent refugee families and children from Afghanistan. Over the past 2 years, since the start of the pandemic, she has held workshops and training for companies and organizations adjusting to new work conditions. She also does workshops for youth and their families about emotional and relational wellness. 
Some of her areas of expertise include couples counseling, adolescent counseling, family counseling, trauma, crisis management, depression and anxiety management, sleep management, immigrant/refugee readjustment, and workplace consultation (employee self-care, cultural diversity, etc.).

Dr. Laurelle Lea Myhra, Ph.D, LMFT

Dr Laurelle Myhra, Ph.D, LMFT, (MFP Fellow 2007 - 2012) is an enrolled member of Red Lake Nation and it has been her dream to work for her tribe; and now she is the proud Director of their Mino Bimaadiziwin Wellness Clinic in Minneapolis Minnesota. Dr Myhra completed her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at East Carolina University in North Carolina, and her doctorate in Family Social Science and MFT at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Dr Myhra began her career at the Native American Community Clinic (NACC) in 2008 as a licensed MFT. She was specialized in trauma and substance use disorder treatment and supervision. She later was promoted to Clinic Manager and then Director of Behavioral Health. During this time Dr Myhra has led and participated in several research projects that have helped to guide and enhance the clinical practice at NACC. Dr Myhra has published broadly on the topic of mental health and substance use disorders among Native American communities. My greatest accomplishment to date is the successful partnership between NACC and Red Lake that led to the creation of two culturally responsive chemical health programs in the urban core. The Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program, Wiidookodaadiwin Clinic: “We help each other” and the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), Wiinodewe: “Re-Indigenizing the Spirit''. Both programs demonstrate success with improved client outcomes with substance use disorder, drug abstinence, stable housing, emergency room visits, and some wellbeing outcomes. Since then, we have continued to grow our programs with support from state and federal grants.