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A new director to help expand a program that covers a wide range of mental health, substance abuse and wellness issues has been hired at the University of Wyoming.
Karen Robertson, a doctoral candidate in counselor education, joined WyoCARE (Wyoming Chemical Abuse Research Education) in April. She works with supervising UW Counselor Education faculty member Jane Warren.
The program once focused exclusively on providing resources to address substance abuse and tobacco prevention and violence elimination, but the role has expanded.
"She has the energy and vision similar to what I see for the potential of WyoCARE," Robertson says of Warren's description of the program's future. "I feel supported and aligned in that we can improve and expand WyoCARE in a different and more effective direction."
That broader vision of WyoCARE centers on it becoming a resource not only for distributing brochures and other materials, but also for training and supporting community practitioners and others who have an interest in mental health/substance abuse education and awareness, she adds.
"Every time we provide someone with preventative education, information or training, it multiplies the power of prevention when it goes to the next level," Robertson says.
An enhanced Web site, featuring a digital library allowing downloads of many brochures and other handouts, will be launched in the fall. This will allow broader and more immediate access to materials that otherwise would be expensive, and occasionally challenging, for individuals and organizations to obtain.
Materials on site will be searchable by topic and by intended audience -- particularly counselors and providers, parents and young people, Robertson says.
WyoCARE will offer training opportunities, some delivered on-site in Laramie and others delivered through distance technology to consumers in the state. In turn, Robertson hopes that these individuals, including counselor education and other students at UW, will return to their communities and effectively share what they have learned.
Robertson credits graduate assistants Lay-Nah Blue Morris and Tanaya Moon Morris for maintaining core services during the recent director search. Both women, graduate students in counselor education, kept the program doors open and requests for information filled.
A licensed professional counselor with 24 years of experience, Robertson has a private practice in Laramie. She began adjunct teaching for the UW counselor education department at UW/Casper College Center in 1998. She has an M.S. (1986) degree in counselor education from UW and anticipates completing her doctoral program in the fall.