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Board President:

Mark Smith

Mark Smith was born and raised in Manchester, Iowa.  After graduating from high school he attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice.  While attending college he helped develop Loras' first Criminal Justice Club and was student body Vice President.  After graduating from Loras Mark relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he worked with inner city youth who were involved in the criminal justice system.  Mark returned to Iowa in 2003.  Upon his return he was offered a position in the Transitional Living Program at the Abbe Center for Community Mental Heath.   While working with people diagnosed with chronic mental illness, Mark truly experienced the value of supporting and advocating for individuals in an effort to help them reach their goals.  In 2004 Mark began working part-time for the Department of Correctional Services as a Pretrial Interviewer, and was hired as a full-time Probation/Parole Officer with the Intake Unit in 2008.  In this position, Mark conducts assessments and provides referrals in an effort to ensure that probationers and parolees experience successful re-entry into the community.  In his free time, Mark and his wife Jamie ride bicycles, travel, or spend time with friends, family, and their dog Macy.  Mark joined the NAMI Linn County Board in January 2008.  As a Board Member, he is excited to help de-stigmatize mental illness in the community and empower people in a time of need. 

Board Vice-President:

Jackie Smith Duggan, BASW

Jackie is originally from Delhi, Iowa. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Mount Mercy College. Jackie is returning to college in the fall to receive her Master's Degree in Social Work. She is employed as the Director of Social Services at the Abbe Center for Community Care.  This is a residential care facility for adults with mental health and developmental disabilities.  Though it is a long term care facility, the focus is on education, managing symptoms of illness, and assisting individuals in returning to the community.  In her free time, Jackie enjoys scrapbooking, card making, reading, and spending time with family, including her husband Michael. She joined the NAMI Linn County Board in May 2009.  As a Board Member, she hopes to help defy the stigma and misunderstandings that those with mental health issues face. She believes that those who live with a mental health diagnosis are no different than those who are faced with major medical concerns. The faces and stories are different, but the needs, care, and desire to be understood and appreciated are the same. In addition to NAMI Linn County, Jackie also volunteers her time with the Community Health Free Medical Clinic.

Board Treasurer:

Shelly Kramer, RN-BC BSN

Shelly was born in El Paso, Texas, but has lived most of her life in the Cedar Rapids area. She attended Iowa State University for 2 years before transferring to the (now extinct) St. Luke's School of Nursing.  Shelly is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. She is employed as Program Manager for Partial Hospitalization and Behavioral Health Home Care at St. Luke's Hospital. Shelly is married with two grown children, and loves to travel, boat, and spend time on the water.  She is also a Cubs and Hawkeyes fan. Shelly joined the NAMI Linn County Board in November 2001 because of her work as a nurse and caregiver for those with mentally illness, and has served many years as Board Treasurer. She has also been Board President. In addition to NAMI Linn County, Shelly also is a member of the Department of Correctional Services Community Accountability Board, serves as the NAMI representative for the Linn County Continuum of Care Planning & Policy Council, and is 2nd Vice President for the NAMI Iowa Board of Directors.

Board Secretary:

Nancy Brauhn, PhD, RN

A native of Dubuque, Iowa, Nancy has lived most of adult life in Cedar Rapids where she teaches courses in psychiatric nursing and family life cycle development at Mount Mercy University.  Nancy is a graduate of the University of Iowa, College of Nursing and the PhD program in Marriage and Family Therapy.  Nancy and her husband have two grown children who are married with children of their own.  Those five young grandchildren provide lots of entertainment and many opportunities for play dates!  Nancy’s other hobbies include travel, flower-gardening, and reading.  With the encouragement of Steve Miller, Nancy began serving on the NAMI board in 2012 and recently assumed the office of Secretary for 2013.  She looks forward to collaborating with the other board members in providing educational opportunities and advocacy for persons affected by mental illness and their families.  Nancy dreams of a time when stigma surrounding mental illness no longer exists.

Steve Miller

Steve was born and raised in Iowa, and earned an Associate's degree from Kirkwood Community College. He has also taken courses at the University of Iowa.  He is employed as a NAMI Connections Support Group Model National Trainer, and travels extensively across the United States training prospective facilitators and modeling the NAMI mission. Steve is also a NAMI-Iowa Peer-to-Peer Director & Class Mentor. From 1998-2000 he was NAMI Linn County President, from 2001-2004 he was on the NAMI National Board of Directors, and from 2002-2005 he was Vice-President of NAMI Iowa.  He has also held numerous NAMI consumer-related offices over the years, including National Consumer Council Director and Vice-Chairperson of the National Consumer Council Executive Committee.  In addition to being a long-time NAMI Linn County Board Member, Steve also serves on the Iowa State PACT Advisory Council, the Mental Health Planning Council, the Dual Diagnosis Committee, and is a  Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Board Member.  He is a well-known lecturer, educator, and mental health advocate.  He has participated in numerous speaking engagements at colleges and conferences across the country, and is often a featured source/spokesperson discussing mental health issues and NAMI's mission in various newspaper articles and media presentations.

Kathy Johnson, LMSW, CADC

Kathy grew up in Des Moines, but has also lived in Laredo (TX), Cedar Falls, and Williamsburg.  She has lived in Cedar Rapids for the past 24 years.  Kathy earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa.  She has been employed for the past 27 years at the Abbe Center for Community Mental Health, where she is the Director of Community-Based Recovery Services.  She oversees 11 specialty programs specifically for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness.  These programs include PACT, Transitional Living, Adult Day Treatment, Life Skills, Community Support, Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Peer Support, Homeless Outreach, Integrated Health Home, Home-based Nursing Services, and 4 Recovery Centers in Linn, Jones and Benton Counties. Kathy has been married for 34 years to Michael Johnson, who has been Associate Principal at Washington High School for 24 years. Kathy and Michael have 3 children, ages 28, 25 and 24. In her free time, Kathy enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and taking her dog for long walks. Kathy served as Vice-President of the NAMI Linn County Board in the 90's. She re-joined the Board in 2008, and began serving as Vice-President again in 2009. When asked why she is a NAMI Board Member, she states, "I believe in NAMI's mission.  Mental illness is something that touches ALL families, including my own.  As such, I believe it is important to provide education and support to individuals, families, and the community.  There is hope.  And it is easier to find that hope if we look for it together!" In addition to serving on the NAMI Linn County Board, Kathy also serves on the Advisory Boards for 4 local human service agencies in Linn County.

John Brobst

John was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he has lived most of his life.  He has an Associate's degree in Disability Services from Kirkwood Community College, and is currently a senior at UNI and a junior at Faith Baptist Bible College.  John has lived with Bipolar Schizoaffective Disorder for 30 years, and also has a sister with Bipolar Disorder and a sister with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and depression.  All three are far along in the process of recovery.  John and his sister Cindy enjoy providing hope to others on the journey by publicly sharing their story.  John also spreads hope and a message of recovery through his songs and poetry.  Much of his work can be found on his website (  John is employed by Options of Linn County where he works one-on-one with a man who has muscular dystrophy.  John is also active in his church, and volunteers monthly at the Abbe County Home leading church services.  He gains fulfillment helping others with disabilities, and was once named Consumer of the Year by Options of Linn County.  In his free time, John enjoys working out at the gym.  John has been a NAMI Linn County Board Member for four years.  He enjoys sharing the consumer perspective with other Board Members.

Kathleen Allen

Kathy Allen was born and raised in Cedar Rapids.  She attended Cedar Rapids Business College, Hamilton College, and Marshalltown Junior College.  She runs and operates
her own family business in Cedar Rapids.  Kathy has been a NAMI member since 1996, and has previously served as Board Secretary.  She is an advocate for her son, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia after he graduated from UNI with a degree in Information Management Systems.

Joe Freeman

Joe grew up in Benttendorf  , Iowa and moved to Cedar Rapidsin 2003.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University  of Iowa.  Since 1988, Joe has organized several mental health support groups in Iowa.  Currently, he leads a support group at ASAC in Cedar Rapids.  He began working at the Abbe  Centerfor Community Mental Health as a Consumer Consultant in 2010 and finds it very rewarding to be an advocate for those with a mental health diagnosis.  He enjoys attending Iowamental health conferences to increase his knowledge in empowerment and recovery.  Joe joined the NAMI Board of Directors in 2011.  In his free time, Joe enjoys bike-riding, meeting new people, writing poetry, and reading.

Ann Wood

Ann was born and lived the majority of her life in Mason City, but has lived in Phoenix, Arizona and southern California before settling in Cedar Rapids for the past 10 years.  Ann earned her Bachelor's degree in Accounting, with Minors in Psychology and Sociology, from Buena Vista College.  She was a property manager of several large (250-500 unit) apartment communities in both Arizona and California for 8 years before returning to Cedar Rapids.  She has worked for the Abbe Center for Community Mental Health for almost 9 years in peer support.  Ann was trained as a NAMI Peer-to-Peer Trainer and NAMI Provider-to-Provider Educator, graduated from the Iowa Peer Support Training Academy, and is a Wellness Recovery Action Plan Facilitator.  Ann feels that her work is so rewarding because she is able to provide support, encouragement, and hope to others.  She also believes that helping people grow in their recovery from a mental illness is empowering.  Becoming a NAMI Linn County Board member in 2011 has allowed her to advocate, educate, and inform on a community level.  Ann is an avid sports fan (especially tennis), and enjoys walking, music, and spending time with her family and friends.  Ann is also on the Advisory Board of the Iowa Office of Consumer Affairs and the Board of USPRA.

Okpara Rice

Okpara Rice joined Tanager Place as executive director in July, 2013. Prior to his arrival, Okpara served as executive director of Starr Columbus (Columbus, Ohio), which is a child and family services organization that has more than 150 years experience. As executive director of Starr Columbus, Rice ensured all foster care, residential and in-home counseling programs maintained a high standard of excellence, as well as the integrity of all clinical programming and treatment modalities. While in Ohio, Rice served as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Franklin County, the Governor’s Council on Juvenile Justice, the Kiwanis Club, and the Human Service Chamber on Franklin County Steering Committee, where he assisted with policy direction in the human services sector. Rice also brings leadership experience from his work at the Jewish Child Care Association in Pleasantville, New York, the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago, and the Youth Campus in Park Ridge, Ill. He is active in the field and in the community and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers.  He is a member of the Marion Cares Board, NAMI of Linn County Board of Directors and part of the Leadership Circle, a professional peer group through the Department of Human Services. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Loyola University and a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He also holds an Executive Management certification from Georgetown University.

Related Files

Steve Miller photo
Shelly Kramer photo
Mark Smith photo
Kathy Johnson photo
Kathy Allen photo
John Brobst photo
Joe Freeman photo
Jackie Smith Duggan photo
Ann Wood photo
Nancy Brauhn photo
Okpara Rice photo

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