Office of Individual and Family Affairs

Who We Are

Kathy Bashor, Office Chief Office of Individual and Family Affairs

Kathy serves as Office Chief of the Office of Individual and Family Affairs at the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) - Department of Health Care Advocacy and Advancement. She earned a Master of Counseling degree from Arizona State University and holds a B.S. in Sociology from the University of Kentucky. She is a Certified Practitioner Trainer on Readiness Assessment - Psychiatric Rehabilitation Model through Boston University and is trained in Critical Incident Stress Management-Group Crisis Intervention.

She is the founder of Arizona Dialogues, which is designed to reduce stigma and increase community inclusion of persons having behavioral health challenges and is co-chair of the Arizona Stigma Reduction Initiative.

Kathy is a staunch advocate of peer and family-driven care in the behavioral health system. Her can-do spirit has resulted in the strengthening of peer and family voice, assess to care, and choice in services throughout the behavioral health system.

Kathy has presented at numerous state and national conferences, has had numerous papers on Stigma published in journals, and is a recognized national, community, and peer leader.

Susan Junck, Healthcare Advocacy Coordinator

Susan Junck serves as the Healthcare Advocacy Coordinator at the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) - Department of Health Care Advocacy and Advancement, Office of Individual and Family Affairs. Susan has been involved with the behavioral health community for over a decade serving as an advocate, manager of family support, human rights liaison, family psychoeducation facilitator, mother of a young man with a serious mental illness and active volunteer with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental illness) where she has helped hundreds of families who have been affected by mental illness. Susan is a past president for NAMI Southeast Valley, NAMI Family-to-Family teacher/trainer and family support group facilitator. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and paralegal certification. Susan is also co-author on a book chapter on stigma.

Chaz Longwell, Recovery & Resiliency Programs Coordinator

Chaz Longwell is the Recovery & Resiliency Programs Coordinator for the state of Arizona. Since 2012 he has overseen the policies and procedures guiding Arizona’s Medicaid-Reimbursable peer support programs. He facilitates the Arizona Stigma Reduction Initiative: a grass-roots movement using new, evidence-based stigma reduction strategies to succeed in places other initiatives have not.

He had previously been employed in public relations, event coordination and program development in the non-profit sector, before coming into the behavioral health field on a dare by his therapist.

Mr. Longwell is a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in Sociology.

Steven Leibensperger, Foster Care Community Liaison

Steven has worked for AHCCCS since 2003 assisting members in the eligibility process, and working to grow and develop internal staff through training, facilitation, and eLearning design. He has been involved in the foster care system in Arizona since 2008 as a foster/adoptive parent and assisting local community organizations. He and his wife have fostered over 70 children and adopted four.

Steven has advocated for the rights and services of children in care. With a vast knowledge of AHCCCS programs and policy, the ability and skills to train and facilitate, and the passion for helping children in need, Steven brings a unique perspective to the OIFA team as he works to make an impact on the children and adults in Arizona.

Nia Buckley, Behavioral Health Community Outreach Liaison

Nia Buckley serves as a behavioral health community outreach liaison at the Office of Individual and Family Affairs. Nia is an Air Force veteran. She has served in the community as an advocate and organizer for marginalized communities to end the stigma of mental illness. She has also been a part of HIV /AIDS outreach and testing with Ebony House. As someone who lives with mental illness she advocates for those who live in silence due to the stigma. Nia is currently continuing her education at ASU.

Carol McDermott, Community Resource Coordinator

Prior to retirement in 2005 Carol worked as a Research Nutritionist with the University of Arizona on the nationwide Women’s Health Initiative. She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Nutrition and Statistics from Rutgers University and the University of Maryland . Carol previously served as a commissioned officer in the US Public Health Service at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD and later did contract work for the US Indian Health Service at Keams Canyon Hospital on the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona.

Carol and her husband have four adult children, two of whom have received behavioral health services through Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care and one grandson who receives services through the Children’s System. She has been an advocate for family members for more than 20 years. Carol served on the NAMI Phoenix Board of Directors for 5 years, the last two as President. She has served on the Boards of Directors of Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care, the Family Involvement Center, the Arizona Peer and Family Coalition, and the Crisis Response Network. Carol is a State Trainer and Teacher of the NAMI Basics education course and a strong advocate of early identification and early intervention in the treatment of mental illnesses to decrease the degree of impairment. She has great admiration for those working to continually improve systems of care.

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