Harris County Judge Ed Emmett selected Dr. Regenia Hicks, a nationally renowned mental health and juvenile justice expert, to be the director of Harris County's effort to develop a mental health jail diversion program.
Dr. Hicks is a former research scientist with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and Deputy Director of Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MHMRA) of Harris County. Her work will help ensure that people with mental health issues receive the necessary treatment, rather than the far more expensive incarceration, for their illness. Dr. Hicks, a native of Minneapolis, is a graduate of Cornell University and the Wright Institute of Los Angeles. She has served on a number of boards and commissions relating to mental health and juvenile justice throughout her career.
Wanda LeBlanc is the Housing Specialist for the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program and responsible for the identification of housing and participant placement. Wanda also serves as the Public Housing Advisor for Judge Ed Emmett's Office. In addition to these duties she is a board member for the Incarnate Word Academy, International Trade Center, and the Harris County Hospital District Foundation Board. Born in Lafayette, Louisiana, she completed her undergraduate degree and received a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Management and International Business from Our Lady of the Lake University.
Yesenia Elizondo, Program Manager, joined the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program at the Harris County Judge's Office in June 2014. Yesenia is responsible for coordinating training and activities with the criminal courts, Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department and other criminal justice involved agencies. Prior to working with the MHJDP, Yesenia was a Docket Clerk at Harris County Pretrial Services for nine years. Yesenia graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and minor in Psychology.
Nancy Carrasco is responsible for overseeing the collection and analysis of data as well as assisting with program development and evaluation. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology from Rice University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Kaplan University. Nancy's past work experience includes the development and implementation of program initiatives such as the Passport to Houston undergraduate educational outreach program at Rice University and the Clergy Pastoral Outreach Ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston–Houston.
Meghan Lyons, Grant Budget Manager, joined the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program at the Harris County Judge's Office in May 2016. Meghan is responsible for the grant and budget administration of the program. Meghan brings 10 years of grant, contract, and project management experience. Prior to working with the MHJDP, Meghan was a Grant Manager and Project Coordinator at the Department of State Health Services and the Railroad Commission of Texas in Austin for six years. She has held other positions as a Research Administrator at Rice University and Grant Program Manager at MD Anderson Cancer Center. Meghan received her undergraduate degree in Communications from The Ohio State University. She will receive her master's degree in Business Administration in May 2017.
James Skipper, Program Support Specialist, joined the Mental Health Jail Diversion Program in October 2015. James brings ten years of criminal justice and case management experience. He is a former Community Supervision Officer and Program Coordinator with the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department. James, a native of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a minor in English.