By working with and educating legislators, policy makers, and key stakeholders, we assist in the development and implementation of sound public policy that creates and supports healthier families and safer communities. IABH also shares its extensive experience by providing conference and training opportunities on the cutting edge of behavioral healthcare.
Sara Moscato Howe, Chief Executive Officer
Sara Moscato Howe, MS, CHES, is Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health (IABH). Her responsibilities include state and federal policy analysis and advocacy efforts on behalf of the IABH's Membership. Ms. Howe also oversees the planning and implementation of the Association’s substance abuse prevention programs: Operation Snowball (OS) and the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute (CGTI). She is Chair of the Illinois Department of Human Services Social Services Advisory Council, a member of Illinois’ Human Services Commission, and serves as Public Policy Chair of the National Council for Behavioral Health. Ms. Howe holds a Master of Science in Health Promotion with a research emphasis in collegiate peer alcohol abuse prevention a Bachelor of Arts in Health Promotion from Purdue University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. She is a member of the Animal Protective League of Springfield and Sangamon County and has previously served on their Board of Directors.
Eric Foster, Chief Operating Officer & VP for Substance Abuse Policy
Eric Foster guides the development of public policy recommendations for internal and external programming and research activities supporting IABH’s mission and strategic objectives for a state wide, comprehensive system of community-based Mental Health (MH) & Substance Use Disorder (SUD) prevention, treatment, and recovery support services. Mr. Foster is actively engaged in state wide committee and workgroup discussions to ensure MH/SUD prevention, treatment and recovery support services are a continued priority as the state rolls out implementation of Medicaid Managed Care, Care Coordination efforts, Medicaid Expansion, and other healthcare reform initiatives in Illinois.
Mr. Foster began working in the field of addictions in 1997. Prior to joining IABH in 2009, he served as the Director of Outpatient Services for the South Suburban Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, worked with children and teens from families of domestic violence, and was an educational trainer on the relationship between alcohol, drugs, and domestic violence. He holds a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago, Social Services Administration a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Illinois State University, and is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.
Randy Wells, VP for Mental Health Policy
|IABH’s Vice President of Mental Health Policy, Randy Wells, joined the Association in 2015 to lead IABH’s mental health policy efforts. Randy provides legislative and policy analysis, strategic guidance and recommendations to ensure mental health services remain a priority in Illinois and on the federal level. Prior to joining IABH, Randy served as Director of Legislative Affairs and Deputy Chief of Staff at the Illinois Department of Human Services. He also served as executive director of NAMI-Illinois before joining Illinois state government as a public policy and legislative expert. His background and knowledge make him one of the most sought after mental health policy experts in the State.|
Ashley Webb, Director of Strategic Initiatives
Ashley Webb is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Illinois Association for Behavioral Health (IABH). She is the Director of CGTI, oversees Operation Snowball, Inc (OS), the OS Board of Directors, and the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) grant. Ashley is responsible for the planning, implementation, recruitment of volunteers and Community Action Teams (CATs), and providing technical assistance. She is also a part of IABH’s policy staff and supports the associations on-going advocacy efforts.
Ashley joined the Association in 2014. Prior to joining IABH, Ashley worked as a Prevention Specialist where she gained experience working with a mentoring and tutoring program, a social norms communication campaign, interacted with local coalitions, and educated middle school and high school students, professionals, and communities on the importance of youth prevention. Ashley holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in human development from DePaul University.
Pel Thomas Kelley, Business Manager
|Pel Kelley (Thomas) has been with the Association over 25 years. She began her career as an administrative assistant and is currently the business manager. Pel’s responsibilities include fiscal operations, executive assistant to the CEO, annual conference coordinator, providing assistance to the Membership, Board and Committees. Pel graduated from Balyki High School and attended Lincoln Land Community College.|
Raabiah Ali, MPH joins IABH as our first-ever Technical Assistance and Training Coordinator. She will serve as primary contact for members, agencies and individuals seeking technical assistance and/or training to accelerate adoption and implementation of mental health related evidence-based practices. She will also serve as the Association’s primary Mental Health First Aid instructor. Raabiah will be the local point of contact for mental health assistance requests to the regional Mental Health Technology Transfer Center.
Prior to joining the Association, Raabiah served as an intern at DuPage County Community Services where she conducted outreach and assessments and provided supportive services to low-income individuals and families to connect them with mental health services and assist them in entering and sustaining permanent housing. Raabiah completed her Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences and Master’s degree in Public Health at Benedictine University.
Riley Blythe, Prevention Program Manager
As Prevention Program Coordinator, Riley Blythe, MSW will work in concert with the Director of Strategic Initiatives to develop, implement and evaluate the Association’s prevention, wellness and leadership programs – Operation Snowball (OS) and the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute (CGTI). She will support OS chapters and CGTI Community Action Teams through trainings, technical assistance, outreach, and fundraising, and work with community members to increase prevention programming throughout Illinois.
Riley was first introduced to CGTI in 2012 and since has participated as a discussion group leader, Activity Coordinator, Conference Advisor, Care Team member, as well as a workshop presenter. Prior to joining IABH, Riley worked with individuals in recovery from substance abuse, members of the HIV community, and provided individual and group therapy to at-risk youth in the greater Chicago area. Riley holds a Master’s degree in Social Work with a specialization in Children and Family from Loyola University Chicago. As an alumnus of Homewood-Flossmoor High School, she has been volunteering with their Operation Snowball chapter in various leadership roles since 2010.
Laurie Thomas, Executive Assistant to VP for Mental Health Policy
Laurie Thomas serves as Executive Assistant to the Vice-President for Mental Health Policy, handling administrative functions such as scheduling and correspondence. Ms. Thomas also works with the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute and Operation Snowball programs as a behind the scenes person. Laurie also worked for IABH as an Administrative Assistant from 2007 – 2010. Laurie attended Greenview High School and graduated in 2006. After high school Laurie attended Lincoln Land Community College. Laurie resides in Menard County with her husband and two sons.
CEOs, presidents, and executive directors from our member agencies lend their experience and expertise as members of our board of directors. Each director is elected by the membership for a two-year term.
Jessica Hayes, Chair
Illinois Certification Board
Jeff Collord, Vice Chair
Adriana Trino, Secretary
Latino Treatment Center
Richard Wesley, Treasurer
New Age Services Corporation
David Gomel, Immediate Past Chair
Shea Haury, Human Service Center
Mark Ishaug, Thresholds
Ann Raney, Turning Point
Laura Brookes, TASC, Inc.
Donna Rennard, Serenity House