Meet our Team.

"Communities for Youth is an organization committed to increasing youth mental health in Idaho. Idaho's kids have some of the highest rates of depression and suicide in the nation. We utilize an "upstream" prevention approach. We do this by assessing the risk and protective factors most impacting youth mental health at the school community level. The assessment is just a small step, it really acts as a compass to point us in the right direction and see the key factors that may be hurting or helping mental health in that specific community. It helps start the conversation in communities with a shared understanding of where we are. It also helps us communicate to partners who can support with financial and other relevant resources. What we do is really more about bringing the community together to think about how we can most effectively work together to meet young people's needs. I have been working in prevention (primarily youth substance use and mental health) for my entire career, so when I moved to Idaho and saw the mental health needs of young people, I started trying to understand the factors impacting kids and schools and knew that I could adapt the work I do in West Virginia to the Idaho context. The individual schools we provide this service to own their data. This is not a research study, the assesment is a service we provide to schools throughout Idaho." - Megan Smith

 

Meet the dedicated group of folks working behind the scenes at Communities for Youth.

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Jaime Hernandez

Jaime is a skilled Senior Graphic Designer with over 20 years of experience in communications. As a visual storyteller, she's worked with a wide spectrum of clients to bring their stories to life - from non-profits, marketing, and health organizations to grocery, sports, and technology. She's proud to design impactful communication pieces for Communities for Youth that will spark conversations and spread awareness about the importance of youth mental health in our communities.

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Jenny Rapley

Jenny is an experienced Communications Director who has explored the many corners of communications for over 20 years. After working in industries such as health, technology, grocery, and the arts, she's learned a lot! She's excited to apply her skills, and her experience as a mother of two, to help bring Communities for Youth content to life so communities can come together to care for their vulnerable young.

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Hailey Dugan

Hailey Dugan works on strategy development and media buying for Communities for Youth. She has a bachelor's degree in mass communication and graphic design from Idaho State University and a master's degree in communication from Boise State University. Hailey currently works in marketing for a health and wellness company. She also volunteers for Girls on the Run and is on the board for the Boise Greek Food Festival. Hailey is excited to be on the team to help better support mental health for our local youth.

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Megan Smith

Dr. Megan L. Smith is an Associate Professor for the School of Public & Population Health at BSU. Megan spent 6 years as a K-12 classroom teacher before pursuing her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies. Dr. Smith’s work builds across education, human development, and public health science to promote positive health outcomes for youth. As founding director of Communities for Youth, Dr. Smith focuses on upstream prevention through community engaged efforts to promote youth and community mental health.

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Matt Isbell

Working with various organizations and across the private, nonprofit, and government sectors, Dr. Isbell consults on a range of topics all around how to make organizational processes work for their members. Whether it's how to make better decisions, collectively lead, implement ideas, or change, Dr. Isbell focuses on the communication processes that stall or stagnate organizational innovation.

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Taylor Neher

Taylor Neher is the project manager and a 2015 Boise State University graduate. She has completed her masters of public health from Texas A&M University and is finishing up her Doctorate of Public Health in Leadership and Communications from the University of Arkansas for Medical Science. Her research focus is around mental health, community impact, and young adults.

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Irma Mujak

Irma Mujak is an MPH student and graduate research assistant working with Dr. Megan Smith at Boise State University. Her areas of interest include identifying contextual factors that impact adolescent mental health, particularly among minority and marginalized populations. Her role in this project is serving as the graduate research assistant lead, supporting the data analysis team, and helping to facilitate school community events. 

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Kenzie Cambell

Kenzie Campbell is a graduate student at Boise State University in the Master of Public Health program. She is currently working as an Intern for Communities for Youth, helping with communications, data analysis, and community outreach. Kenzie is working for this project because she believes in the healing power of community and building connections.

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Alyssa Romero

Alyssa Romero is graduate student at Boise State University in the Master of Public Health program. She is currently working with Dr. Megan Smith as a graduate research assistant. Her area of interest include addressing the contextual, structural, and environmental conditions that influence and affect health. Alyssa has a passion for advocacy and community engagement and is excited to better support the mental health of youth in the community.  

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Kaydin Griffin

Kaydin Griffin is a graduate student at Boise State University in the Master of Public Health program. She received her undergraduate degree in health studies from Boise State University in 2022. She is currently a graduate research assistant working with Dr. Megan Smith. Growing up in Boise, she is honored to work closely with community members to gain more insight surrounding current youth mental health in Idaho.

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Lexi Cole

Lexi Cole is a graduate student at Boise State University in the Masters in Public Health program. She received her undergraduate degree in health studies with minors in Psychology and Family Studies from Boise State University in 2022. She is currently working as a graduate assistant with Dr. Smith. She is working on this project to help create prevention programs for adolescents in the Idaho communities. 

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Ashley Stafford

Ashley Stafford is an undergraduate student at Boise State University in the Respiratory Care Program. She is currently helping with communications, social media, and community outreach for this project. She is excited to contribute to this team and advocate for a cause that is so important to society.

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Kelly Rossetto

Dr. Kelly Rossetto is an Associate Professor in the Communication Department at Boise State. Kelly's work focuses on individual and family coping, support, and resilience. She views resilience as a process that can (and should) be supported through individual, family, and community efforts. Through her work with Communities for Youth, Kelly strives to help youth (and their advocates) engage in healthy coping strategies and positive supportive resources to cultivate resilience. 

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Kyle Peterson

Kyle Peterson is a graduate student at Boise State University in the Master of Public Health program. 

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Meredith Spivak

Meredith earned her MS in Epidemiology from the University at Albany in 2018. She joined the Communities for Youth team in 2022. Her research interests include environmental health, women and children’s health, and the developmental origins of health and disease.