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Photo head shot of interim director, Nikole BrunsNikole C. Bruns

Interim Executive Director and Deputy Director
Office of Behavioral Health Strategies
nikole.bruns@denvergov.org
(720) 865-8842

Originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming, and an alumna of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nikole Bruns joined the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies in 2016. Since moving to Denver in 1994, she has worked to improve services for youth and families as a volunteer in the community. Nikole managed group homes as well as a runaway shelter, was director of a staff-secure adolescent detention program, and served as program director for a non-profit organization providing after-school opportunities in 12 Denver elementary schools.

“Working together to answer ‘why’ and ‘what if’ is the best part of our efforts. When systems, service providers, and communities collaborate, our city is better able to support and respond to all citizens.”

Before joining the City and County of Denver Nikole worked at Denver Public Schools on the Chief of Staff’s team. Among her special projects were engagement in Near Northeast community processes, and leading overall engagement for the development of DPS’ strategic plan, “Denver Plan 2020.” She also led a year-long engagement and development process for defining and acting on the plan’s fourth goal: “Support for the Whole Child,” per Board of Education and DPS leaders’ commitment to providing equitable and inclusive environments, making Denver a leader in this area.

When she’s not at work, Nikole enjoys family time in Park Hill with her two very active sons, a rambunctious rescue dog, and a fat cat. They take full advantage of everything Denver has to offer, from sports and cultural activities to mountains and parks.

 

Photo head shot of Special projects coordinator, Andrea DuranAndrea Duran

Special Projects Coordinator
Office of Behavioral Health Strategies
andrea.duran@denvergov.org
(720) 865-8845

A Colorado native, Andrea Duran grew up in the City and County of Denver. A lifelong student, she received an Associate’s Degree in Behavioral Sciences from the Community College of Denver and earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. Andrea is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science of Leadership degree with an emphasis in Project Management from the Regis University.

Before joining the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies team in August 2017, Andrea worked for the Denver-based nonprofit OpenWorld Learning (OWL), which supports children’s school success by tapping the power of digital technology and peer teaching to develop leadership and ignite a love of learning. When she began teaching at OWL in 2003, the nonprofit served a handful of students at one location. By the time she left, the program had expanded to serving over 1,000 participants at more than 20 locations during both the school year and summer months.

“Alone, we are one person; together, we are a force capable of tackling any challenge. Working together to bring about positive change will help ensure the most vulnerable among us have the support they need.”

During her 14-year tenure at OWL, Andrea worked to develop and lead several key programs and projects which included creating various STEM curricula aligned to international technology standards, developing a peer teaching and mentoring program that has empowered thousands of at-risk youth throughout Denver to learn advanced computer skills and to become leaders in their educational environments, and the development of a training program that helps passionate adults become STEM educators in a constructivist learning model. In 2007, Andrea was awarded the Be Bold Award from the Women’s Foundation of Colorado that recognized 20 women positively impacting the economic self-sufficiency of women and girls.

When she’s not hitting the books for school or working for the city she loves, Andrea is spending her time with her teenage son Isaiah and husband Jeremy, exploring the mountains on either their snowboards or mountain bikes. She also has two beautiful dogs that keep her very busy.

 

Photo head shot of Charlie GarciaCharlie Garcia

Program Coordinator
Office of Behavioral Health Strategies
charlie.garcia@denvergov.org
(720) 865-8843

Charlie Garcia is originally from Panama but moved to Colorado when he was 3 years old and moved to Michigan for 9 years. He returned to Colorado after the 9 years and has pursued a bachelor’s degree in public health and Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver. Charlie started working for the City and County of Denver February 2017 and since then has joined the Office of Behavior Health Strategies March 2018.

“Having an amazing support group is the reason that I have finished College and am where I am today. Working with a team that has a vision to better the community goes in line with what I teach my children. Lead by example and never forget where you have come from and those that have helped you along the way.”

Before working for the City and County of Denver, Charlie worked for a non-profit that specialized in hepatitis C and other liver diseases from 2015- 2017. Charlie was the Community Outreach Specialist and has presented in many group settings regarding the complications of hepatitis C and how to avoid exposure. He has attended many 9Health fairs and other community health events.

In his spare time, Charlie likes to go camping with his family. Charlie has two daughters, a son along with an amazing wife.

 

Jenny Hill, ALWF

Program Coordinator
Office of Behavioral Health Strategies
jennifer.lothhill@denvergov.org
(720) 865-8850

Jenny Hill comes from generations of Denverites, but grew up traveling the United States and South America. She returned home to attend the University of Colorado-Boulder graduating in 1990 with honors. While working in healthcare, she began volunteering for the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Denver Affiliate. Collaborating with other members, she developed support, educational and outreach programs with an emphasis on educating law enforcement officers through the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model.

After serving as the Board President, she accepted a position as a Crisis Intervention Team Clinical Case Manager at a community mental health center. The agency was collaborating with the law enforcement agencies in two counties. By providing outreach to individuals referred by officers and victim’s advocates, she linked them to mental health and substance abuse treatments, often supporting individuals with criminal justice involvement as they navigate complex systems.

“It is when we recognize our strengths, find common ground, and join as a community that we make the greatest impact, empowering others to face their challenges and live life to their full potential.”

The passion for her work is driven by her own experiences seeking healing and recovery where she quickly realized the difficulties her clients face in finding recovery support services and a supportive community. In 2011, she joined the emerging peer-run nonprofit - Colorado Mental Wellness Network, as their program coordinator. She has been honored for her dedication to the Crisis Intervention Team and was recognized as the 2014 Advocate of the Year by the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved for her work on behalf of people affected by mental health and substance abuse disorders. As an Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator and expert by experience in recovery support services, she joined the Office of Behavioral Health Strategies in October 2017.

Jenny is a mixed media artist, gardener, and lover of the outdoors. She enjoys reading while cuddled up with her four-legged friends. She is a dedicated advocate for disability rights, social inclusion, and social justice.

 

Photo head shot of management analyst, Cindy LaubCindy Laub, PhD

Management Analyst III
Office of Behavioral Health Strategies
cindy.laub@denvergov.org
(720) 865-8844

Bringing a PhD in psychology with a research-oriented focus as well as a law degree, Cindy Laub is the perfect analyst for OBHS. Her legal background provides a comprehensive foundational knowledge base, understanding policy implications, as well as legal implications in policy change. Cindy got her start in the field in the Research Department at the Department of Corrections, developing, collecting data on, and evaluating programs.

Along with a good understanding of the legal system and legal processes, Cindy also majored in finance, helping her understand business models and cost/benefit analysis. Her background in those fields enables her to understand that there are different perspectives so she can try to find common ground among them.

“Most of the world will make decisions by either guessing or using their gut. They will be either lucky or wrong.”
                          - Suhail Doshi, Mixpanel CEO

Cindy teaches a variety of classes at local universities, allowing her to stay current in relevant fields, including: forensic psychology, law and psychology, health psychology, and other areas that provide a different view on behavioral health issues.

When she’s not at work, Cindy enjoys spending time with family and friends because, as she says, “that’s what it’s all really about.”

 

Photo head shot of executive administrator, Candy RomeroCandy Romero

Executive Assistant II
Office of Behavioral Health Strategies
candy.romero@denvergov.org
(720) 865-8842

Candy Romero started with the City and County of Denver in October of 2014, in the Family and Adult Assistance Division (FAAD) Long Term Care Department, and transferred to OBHS in September of 2016. She spent the first part of her career in the private sector.

Candy has served in Administrative Assistant roles for more than 30 years. In addition, she has held positions with a real estate outsourcing firm ranging from Repair Coordinator, Accounting Utilities Specialist, Property Management Specialist, Closer, and Broker Price Opinion (BPO) Valuation Specialist.

“Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.”
                                       - Isaac Asimov

Bringing outstanding support and organization to management, staff, stakeholders, and community partners, Candy says she enjoys her job very much and is more involved with the community since she started working for the City and County.

In her spare time, Candy likes spending time with her family, including their three dogs, as well as going on outings with her extended family.

 

Photo head shot of program manager, Nachshon ZohariNachshon Zohari, LCSW

Program Manager
Office of Behavioral Health Strategies
nachshon.zohari@denvergov.org
(720) 865-8846

Over the past 20 years Nachshon Zohari has reached a broad spectrum of people in his work specializing in substances abuse, trauma, and mental health issues. He started his career as a therapist at a substance abuse clinic in Salt Lake City, UT. In 2001, he moved to Denver to lead the Women and Family Program at Denver Health’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Services.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
                                     – Viktor Frankl

In 2006, Nachshon became the Program Administrator for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment for the Denver Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Division, where he was especially proud of his work developing and implementing Denver EFFECT - a collaborative, family-focused substance abuse program that views the family as the client rather than just the individual; implementing the Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) initiative; and creating effective collaborative partnerships with other community systems.

Nachshon works to identify the underlying factors (e.g., trauma) that drive many of the behavioral health problems affecting our community and then create systems that to mitigate these underlying factors.

When he’s not working, Nachshon loves exploring Colorado with his family.

 
 

ABOUT US

The Office of Behavioral Health Strategies was created by the City of Denver to ensure that our approach to mental wellbeing is connected, innovative and effective. The OBHS team connects the key players in our city’s efforts toward greater mental well-being, helps partners find innovative ways to serve their stakeholders and our city, and connects people with the supports they need to thrive.

 
 

CONTACT US

Office of Behavioral Health Strategies
(720) 865-8842
OBHS@denvergov.org
 

Office of Behavioral Health Strategies logo

 
 

CRISIS SERVICES

If you are, or someone you know is, in need of confidential and immediate mental health, substance use or emotional help, please visit Colorado Crisis Services online, call 1-844-493-TALK (8255), or text "TALK" to 38255 to be connected to a crisis counselor or trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree. (Español - Text TALK to 38255.) Interpretation services are available for non-English speakers. Help and hope are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

If you are, or someone you know is, experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.