Introducing NBA’s Mental Health Equity Cohort’s Holiday Series

The NBA Mental Health and Wellness program creates communities of compassion and care with an integrated vision of wellness that prioritizes a holistic approach centered in justice, equity, theology, spirituality, and clinical awareness.

As we believe wellness and justice are inseparable and we prioritize mental health equity in marginalized communities, we know that this work is a communal effort, thus the Mental Health Equity Cohort was created.

In June 2023, a group of diverse mental health professionals were called together to serve on a two-year cohort led by Director of Mental Health and Wellness, Joselyn Spence,  MDiv, LPC, ATR.

The Mental Health Equity Cohort exists to:

  • Be a supportive and creative space for Disciples mental health and justice professionals to explore the intersections of mental health, wellness, theology, justice, and equity.
  • Address wellness disparities and issues of justice through the equitable sharing and creation of knowledge, resources, and support services to marginalized communities, for the upliftment of all.

During December, the Mental Health Equity Cohort Members will share a variety of resources and stories to help you navigate through the wintertime, holidays, and beyond. But first, we’d like to introduce them to you. Get to know the cohort below and check back throughout December for new mental health and wellness content!

Carolina Fuentes, LCSW

Psychotherapist, Consultant, and Adjunct Social Work Professor

Carolina Fuentes graduated with an MSW and MDiv from Baylor University. She has been a social worker for 11 years. During her tenure as a social worker, she has worked in a variety of roles in the nonprofit sector including as case manager for refugee families, abuse prevention education specialist, hospital social worker, and school-based therapist.

Carolina is currently working in private practice where she provides clinical, educational, and consulting services. Carolina enjoys designing and delivering trainings, writing curriculum, and singing in her church’s community chorale. Carolina lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and two daughters.


Rev. Whittney-Marie Ijanaten, BCC

Spiritual Director/Director of Come as You Are Collective

Rev. Whittney-Marie Ijanaten, MDiv. (she/her/hers) is a certified Spiritual Director and UCLA Health Chaplain who specializes in listening to the silenced. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Come As You Are Collective a 501c3 nonprofit organization helping to close the gap of mental health and spiritual care access for the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities.

Whittney-Marie’s intentionality around inclusion led her to be featured in Gutsy, an AppleTV+ docuseries where she was in conversation with Former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton discussing love, marriage, and the radical inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons within society.  Secretary Clinton called her a “wonderful sounding board” when interviewed on The View, a daytime television show and she is. Whittney-Marie is a professional sounding board for those who have been silenced. She invites you into space to speak your truth, without judgment.

Based in Long Beach, California, she enjoys the self-care practices of rollerblading beachside, avidly listening to audiobooks in LA’s traffic, and further expanding the stamps in her passport book.

Rev. Lee Ivey III, LMHCA

Mental Health Specialist and Therapist in Residency

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, yet cultured by many journeys, Lee Ivey is inspired by a person’s audacity to heal out loud. In a world where masks are, at times, protective and necessary, Ivey seeks to create a space where a person feels emboldened to present their truest self in a therapeutic alliance that is judgment-free and acceptance-filled. Ivey discerns the intersection between faith, mental health, and clinical sexology to reveal the ways that discouragement has become ingrained in our identity. Ivey desires to walk audaciously with you in your healing journey!

Lee’s therapeutic interests include church hurt, trauma, microaggressions, generational healing, sex therapy, discouragement, passivity and aggression, grief and loss, and expression.

Rev. Kyung-min “Daniel” Lee

Pastor and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Pacific Southwest Regional Staff

Rev. Kyung-Min Daniel Lee considers himself part of the 1.5 Korean-American generation. He came to the United States from South Korea when he was 15 years old and has spent the majority of his life in the States. While he’s still learning the American culture and tradition every day, he is also holding onto his native Korean culture as well.

Kyung-min went to San Jose State University, where majored in Political Science. He also received his M.Div. from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California, and was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Northern California-Nevada Region in 2007.  In 2008, he planted a Korean-American church called Walking Faith Christian Church in Sunnyvale, California, where he still pastors. In addition to his pastoral work, he works for the denominations Pacific Southwest region as NAPAD (North American Pacific and Asian Disciples) staff and as Associate Regional Minister.

He has six kids ranging in age from 15-34.  To care for himself, he says he tries Our Daily Bread devotionals every morning as his daily spiritual practice and goes to a spa twice a week to swim and steam sauna for physical health.  He also enjoys watching Korean dramas and tries to eat as many vegetables and fruits as possible.

Joi McCreary, MFT

Marriage and Family Therapy Resident Therapist

Joi McCreary is a pre-licensed master’s level Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Resident Therapist, Behavior Consultant, and Certified Life Coach. She’s also certified in yoga, spirituality, and wellness and is currently a candidate for a doctoral degree in Health Care Administration.

Joi is a well-versed, culturally aware professional, with years of experience in leadership, management, academia, clinical care, and ministry. She provides psychotherapy for adult individuals, couples, families, and groups. She develops resources, tools, and facilitates interactive lectures around mental health, holistic wellness, gender, and sexuality. She’s passionate about helping individuals develop healthy personal and professional practices that serve them well.


Wes Parks, LPC-S, MS, NCC

Licensed Professional Counselor, Supervisor, and Owner of Metroplex Mental Health, PLLC

Wes Parks (he/him) is the owner of Metroplex Mental Health, a boutique multilocation private practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex specializing in LGBTQIA+ clients. Wes holds a dual master’s degree in clinical psychology and neuropsychology. General treatment concerns in his therapy caseload include affective and anxiety disorders, psychotic and somatic disorders, trauma and abuse issues, career and employment, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Specialized treatment concerns include gender identity and gender expression, sexual identity, and sexual expression, assisting families navigating gender transition, and coordinating gender-affirming care among treatment teams.

For more than a decade he worked at a private forensic and clinical psychology practice where he was involved in wide-ranging, and often high-profile, forensic psychology and legal cases. Understanding that change is needed on all levels, he is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Public Policy at the University of Texas at Arlington so he can focus on mental health policy analysis and decision-making. Part of this goal includes outreach activism with vulnerable and marginalized populations. He has been featured on terrestrial and internet media programs, as well as print and digital publications across the country.

Wes is a co-conspirator at Galileo Christian Church, serving in servant-leadership as a member of the Missional Logistics Team.

Zaemelys Ramos-Rodriguez

Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student and Research Assistant

Zaemelys Ramos-Rodriguez is a member of Casa de Refugio Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in southern California, where she is a graduate student studying to obtain a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She aims to bring equity to the mental health care system by creating affordable, culturally responsive care and healing for minoritized communities. She is also an artist specializing in illustration, character, and graphic design and would like to incorporate art to bring culturally relevant interventions to the Latin American community.

Alongside her involvement in her community and her work as a student, she also started a research lab to evaluate if comic creation is a culturally responsive intervention for Latin American youth experiencing stress due to risk factors such as school shootings and immigration-related discrimination. After graduating, she plans to continue to do similar work to bring social transformation to her community.

Rev. R.J. Robles

Metro Human Relations Commission as the Director of Compliance and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rev. RJ Robles (he/they) is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Their home church is New Covenant Christian Church in North Nashville, Tennessee where they reside. R.J. is a queer and transgender Afro-Puerto Rican living in the United States Southern Diaspora.

Their movement work resides at the intersections of trans pastoral care, healing justice, disability, and faith justice. He is also a professional life coach, Reiki practitioner, sound healer, theta healer, and a certified crystal and chakra healer. Rev. Robles believes that joy is our birthright and that a different world is possible through revolutionary love and collective healing.

Dr. Chad Vickers

Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Chad is a dual-certified advanced practice registered nurse, specializing in psychiatric-mental health and family practice. Having been a nurse practitioner since 2006, he has worked in a variety of settings, including both inpatient and outpatient settings as well as a psychiatric emergency room. He has experience in treating people of all ages as well as managing a variety of complex psychiatric diagnoses.

In addition to his training as a nurse practitioner, Chad has earned a Ph.D. in Health Studies with an emphasis on population health. He has served as faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and on the board of directors of the Acclaim Physician Group of John Peter Smith Hospital Network. He has previous recognitions as the John Peter Smith Hospital Network Department of Psychiatry Advanced Practice Provider of the Year as well as the D Magazine Excellence in Nursing Award. Outside of his clinical practice, Chad is active in his community, serving as the Secretary on the Board of Trustees for the city library as well as the co-chair of his church’s outreach committee.

2023 Mental Health Equity Cohort Holiday Series