Meet Our Keynote Speaker

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Niki Henderson, M.Ed., LPC, Director of Recovery Services, Uvalde ISD

Niki Henderson is the Director of Recovery Services for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. In this role she has worked collaboratively with local and state partners to develop and coordinate a wide range of support services for staff and students. Niki assisted in the development of a multi-tiered system of student support to reflect the hierarchy of social-emotional and mental health services available to students, has developed partnerships with community and state providers, and has coordinated training opportunities to promote staff wellness and self-care, to equip those who are providing vital support to students.

Niki is a Licensed Professional Counselor, trained in a variety of evidence-based, trauma-focused interventions and therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma and Grief Component Therapy, and Bounce Back. She is a member of the Texas Counseling Association, the Texas Association of School Psychologists, and the Texas Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in School Psychology from Texas Tech University. Prior to her employment with Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Niki worked in the fields of criminal justice, non-profit behavioral health, community-based mental health, and was a member of the Uvalde County Child Welfare Board from 1998 to 2020.

Meet Our Panelists

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Brigitte Bailey, MD, Professor and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Director at UT Health

Brigitte Bailey, M.D. is the Training Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Program and a Professor of Psychiatry at University of Texas Health San Antonio in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  Dr. Bailey received her medical degree from the University of New Mexico.  She completed her residency in Psychiatry and a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UT Health SA.  She is board certified in both Adult and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.  

Her passion has been mentoring minority students, providing quality mental health care to underserved people, and educating others on the importance of mental health in minority communities.

Dr. Bailey has served in leadership roles on local, state, and national committees involving psychiatry and children. She is the President of the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians., Vice Chair of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and a past president of the Texas Society of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and the Bexar County Psychiatric Association. 


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Jessie Higgins, MA, LPC, LMFT, Chief Mental Health Officer for the City of San Antonio

Jessie Higgins is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has a passion for improving community systems so that they can better provide excellent patient care and vulnerable populations can improve. Jessie currently serves as the City of San Antonio’s Chief Mental Health Officer. This position is in the Metropolitan Health District and works to coordinate internal and external partnerships to improve the mental well-being of the residents of San Antonio.

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Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at UP Partnership

Dr. Ryan Lugalia-Hollon serves as the CEO for UP Partnership, where he  leads a powerful group of systems change leaders to ensure every child in Bexar County is ready for the future.  He is an active leader in the StriveTogether network and also serves as the Board Chair for the Children’s Funding Project, a national organization focused on growing public investments in children and youth.

Prior to joining UP Partnership, Ryan served as the executive director for Excel Beyond the Bell San Antonio and the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s Youth Safe and Violence Prevention department, as well as a policy researcher at multiple universities. Ryan’s first book, The War on Neighborhoods, was published by Beacon Press and tracks the devastating impact of mass incarceration on one Chicago community area. Ryan received a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. He was selected as the Outstanding Young San Antonian of 2020 by the Rotary Club of San Antonio. 

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Valerie Sanchez, Impact Manager at United Way of San Antonio

Valerie Sanchez has worked to help individuals and families facing poverty, homelessness, inequality, and family violence for the last ten years. She was raised in the Southside of San Antonio and, since a young age, has felt called to empower those facing adversity. She benefited greatly from her high school's Communities in Schools program and was the first in her family to graduate college. Valerie works as the Impact Manager for Strong Individuals and Families Impact Council at United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. There, she, her colleagues, and volunteers work to unite the community toward addressing critical issues. 

Moderator: Rhonda BeLue PhD CMQ/OE, University of Texas at San Antonio

Rhonda BeLue PhD CQM/OE is a Professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Texas, San Antonio and Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Partnerships. Her work focuses on improving health care access and promoting health in families and organizations in diverse communities in the US and global south. She takes a holistic approach to advocating for social justice, including community-based participatory research approaches to addressing health disparities and participating and supporting for diverse cultural arts activities and serving local organizations that serve diverse communities.   She also a dancer, having performed in several professional African dance companies, and a fiber/jewelry artist.

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