Meet the Team

NMHIC Leadership


Matt’s passion for mental health led him to found the National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC) at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, in 2015. As Executive Director, Matt leads a team of committed professionals to help accelerate the pace at which new technologies are responsibly developed to better treat and prevent mental illness, promote mental wellness and destroy stigma.  

Matt has become a leading national voice on mental health and the use of technology to improve people’s mental health.  Matt has lectured and been featured in the media internationally, including keynotes at the World Conference on VR and Industry in Nanchang China, and a TEDx talk on the use of VR in mental health.   

Before taking on leadership of the NMHIC startup, Matt served as Deputy Director of the University of Colorado Depression Center and managed the national program expansion for the Nurse-Family Partnership. Matt earned degrees from Marquette University and the University of Minnesota and now lives in beautiful Golden Colorado. In those rare times when he’s not working, odds are you can find him immersed in one of his other passions; family time, photography, kayaking, cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals and against the Chicago Cubs. 

Email Matt Vogl 


Debbie is passionate about the effective implementation of mental health technology in clinical and community settings. As a licensed clinical, she has a deep background in research, which has fueled her desire to ensure that evidence-based approaches are utilized in the mental health and technology. After earning her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder and completing my internship at the University of California San Diego/Veterans Administration program, Debbie expanded her knowledge of digital health as a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Translational Institute. She has been working in fast paced environments leveraging technology to improve wellbeing and understands the balance between speed and efficacy. Debbie’s expertise ranges from contributing to the development of web-based interventions and the implementation of digital health and virtual reality. As Deputy Director at the National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC), Debbie lead efforts focused on accelerating the implementation of new innovations into mental health. Outside of work, you will find Debbie listening to a tech podcast, walking her dog Walter or playing sand volleyball.

Email Debra Boeldt

NMHIC Staff


Sarah has been part of the NMHIC team since the Center’s inception in 2016. She is a Senior Project Manager for the Tech Innovation Network (TIN) at the NMHIC where she leads TIN operations by streamlining the integration of digital health technologies into community and clinical practices. In her work with the TIN, Sarah has successfully implemented virtual reality, along with other technology, into a diverse portfolio of universities, hospitals, prisons, and community mental health centers. She also leads a range of efforts to further the TIN model in the expansion of technology in mental health.

With a background in business and psychology, she has a passion for incorporating mental health into workflow practice. After receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Charleston Southern University, she worked with the U.S. Air Force in Japan where she developed her passion for raising behavioral health awareness and reducing mental health stigma. She applies this passion in her work at NMHIC by partnering with organizations working with underserved populations. Sarah is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Health with a Population Mental Health focus. In her free time, you can find Sarah enjoying all Colorado has to offer with her family, friends and Bernese Mountain Dog, Sylvie.

Email Sarah Beary


When Ashley fell into fundraising back in 2004, she had no idea how one career decision would help to change organizations and communities for years to come. After being at the University of Colorado for over two years, she joined the National Mental Health Innovation Center in March of 2018 to help play a small part in changing mental health care in the U.S. In her role, she works with benefactors that are equally as passionate about mental health and gives them the opportunity to play a unique role through philanthropy and change the landscape of mental health. In addition to being benefactor focused, Ashley finds great pleasure in ensuring that the experts at NMHIC have the resources they need to dream big around mental health. Ashley works with individuals, corporations and foundations to help guide the philanthropic mission of NMHIC.

Ashley grew up in Michigan, where her family still resides, and moved to Colorado in August of 2012. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado where she spends her time baking, hiking, camping and spending time with her husband and three children – Grace, Ava and Miller. Ashley holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration.

Email Ashley Blubaugh


Swarnima, or Nima, Chaudhary, is an East Indian transplant who grew up in Iowa. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Microbiology from the University of Iowa in 2016. She decided to leave the Iowa cornfields to spend a year teaching in Thailand. Nima moved to Colorado in 2017 after being accepted to the Colorado School of Public Health to pursue a Master of Public Health, which she completed in 2019. Now, she is a technology project manager at the National Mental Health Innovation Center, based on the University of Colorado Anschutz Campus in Aurora, working with the community and clinical sites to effectively use evidence-based digital solutions in behavioral healthcare. The innovative conversations around tackling the gaps in the mental healthcare system, which includes technology and upstream work, has been eye-opening. Nima is committed to bringing her public health-centered, health equity-oriented voice to the mental health and technology landscape. Nima's other long-time interests include openly speaking about her experiences as an LGBTQA person of color. To help her stay grounded, Nima loves Bollywood fusion dancing, yoga, being out in nature with her wife, and traveling.

Email Nima Chaudhary


Erika is NMHIC’s resident expert in evaluation. For fifteen years, Erika has worked on applied research and evaluation projects in the areas of mental health and well-being, child and youth development, educational equity, and workforce development. Over the years, Erika has been on many study teams evaluating the impact of a range of community initiatives for non-profits, foundations, and government agencies.

Prior to joining the Center, Erika worked at The Evaluation Center at University of Colorado Denver and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. She holds degrees from Brandeis University (Ph.D. in Social Policy), Boston University (MSW) and Vassar College (B.A. in American Culture).

Erika grew up in Colorado and recently made her way back home. You’ll see her kindness in the office, but only her devilish side on the tennis court.

Email Erika Moldow


Patrick Micone is the Director of Finance and Administration at the National Mental Health Innovation Center, where Patrick’s primary responsibilities include office administration, fiscal oversight and management, and the day-to-day business operations. He has many years of experience working in Grants, Finance, Human Resources, and Payroll Administration for the University of Colorado and  Children’s Hospital Colorado where developing strong relationships was the foundation of everything he did, both professionally and personally. He has always been drawn to organizations whose mission involves helping individuals and society, making NMHIC a perfect fit. 

Patrick was one of the original team members of NMHIC, joining in February 2016, where he was also able to utilize his previous experience with computers, gaming, and technology during the opening stages of virtual reality and the Tech Innovation Network.  Watching the growth of technology, and the opportunities it provides to treat mental health, has excited Patrick the most about the future of NMHIC and its partners. He received his education from Central Washington University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. When not working for the NMHIC, Patrick enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the great outdoors and the assorted activities it has to offer.

Email Patrick Micone


Lauren Shviraga is a Technology Project Manager at NMHIC, and has a broad professional background that spans communication design, patient care, program evaluation, and data management. Passionate about helping others and experiencing new things, Lauren has taken an atypical professional path working as a Rehab Technician at Craig Hospital in Colorado with Acute Spinal Cord Injury patients to serving as US Peace Corps Volunteer in Fiji, as well as getting her BFA studying graphic design.

She started down the path of healthcare research at Children’s Hospital Colorado Emergency Department as a research assistant, and then transitioned to a role within the CU Anschutz campus supporting the program and data management for multiple statewide federal healthcare improvement initiatives. Currently at NMHIC she manages the implementation and operations for research activities with technology and community partners. Outside of work, you can find Lauren in the mountains on some adventure, or just spending quality time with her family, friends, and loving pups!

Email Lauren Shviraga

 


Chloe Nicksic, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with a passion for facilitating access to quality, evidence-based care for underserved populations and people who might not otherwise be able to receive mental health treatment. She specializes in the integration of clinical work with program evaluation and research. Chloe's clinical background is in treating trauma and emotion dysregulation. In her previous role as Research Director for a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Clinic in Southern California, she took the lead on developing a standardized program evaluation protocol and active research program focused on examining factors related to adherence and effective treatment outcomes.

Chloe earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in 2012 and completed internship and postdoctoral fellowship positions at VA Medical Centers in PTSD, DBT, and military sexual trauma clinics. Her training emphasized adherent implementation of evidence-based therapy and tracking objective outcomes while also not losing track of therapeutic rapport and validation. Chloe enthusiastically embraced this approach and gets excited about consultation and teaching opportunities to pay it forward.

In 2020, Chloe joined the NMHIC staff, inspired by the fervor with which the Center operates in order to disseminate high-quality treatment through innovative means to those in need.

Email Chloe Nicksic


Katie assists the leadership at NMHIC and manages the content on the website, social media and the center’s podcast, Crazed. Katie holds degrees from the University of Denver (MA in International Administration) and the University of Redlands (BA in Sociology and Anthropology). Following college Katie worked abroad for several years in community development projects and finally landed in Seattle after graduate school. In Seattle she worked for small international NGOs focused on HIV/AIDS and then at the University of Washington working with graduate programs in Global Health.  

After nearly a decade in Seattle, Katie moved home to Colorado for the sunshine and mountains and with a goal of focusing on health disparities in her own community. She began working at the Anschutz Medical Campus working with a team leading several healthcare demonstrations projects where she assisted with communications and coordination of events. Her transition to National Mental Health Innovation Center at the end of 2019 was a no brainer as ending the stigma around mental health issues is close something that hits close to home. She can usually be found out in a lake swimming or on a mountain whit her dog. 

Email Katie Wakefield

NMHIC Advisors


Frank became a Family Physician because he is an unapologetic generalist. From 1980 through 1982 he was a research fellow in Family Medicine, and for two decades thereafter he was a mental health services researcher, studying how mental disorders and unexplained physical symptoms presented and were managed in primary care. Even after becoming a department chair in 1996 he remained interested in the incorporation of mental healthcare into the primary care setting, and with the resurgence of interest in transforming primary care into the Patient-Centered Medical Home, he retained his conviction that good primary care always includes mental and behavioral factors, and requires health behavior change.


Walter Greenleaf is a leading authority in virtual and augmented reality and is recognized internationally as one of the founders of the field. He is a behavioral neuroscientist and a medical product developer who has been on the cutting edge of VR/AR applications in healthcare for more than 30 years.

Walter joined NMHIC as the Director of Technology Strategy in April 2017, bringing his considerable knowledge to the Center’s approach to digital initiatives. He continues to work as a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab.

He has developed several clinical product streams, founded medical companies, and served as a scientific advisor and reviewer for the U.S. Public Health Service, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NASA and the U.S. Department of Education.

Walter holds a PhD in Neuro and Bio-behavioral Sciences from Stanford University.

 


Prior to joining CU in 2014, Jim worked at Mayo Clinic for three decades, where he was a Principal Gift Officer and then Vice Chair of Mayo’s Leadership Gift Program and Chief Philanthropic Strategist. He was responsible for strategic engagements with high-level benefactors. He helped lead two-billion dollar plus campaigns and retired as the most prolific fundraiser in Mayo Clinic history.

Jim is a member of the faculty at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI) where he teaches master’s classes in Philanthropy. He lectures frequently on the topics of values-based and transformation philanthropy. An Ohioan by birth, Jim holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University.

With a career like his, you’d expect a full rolodex and you would be right. His is the stuff of legends.

As the Associate Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Jim is the chief philanthropic strategist for the Anschutz Medical Campus. He also serves as the Senior Advisor to the National Mental Health Innovation Center, leading our fundraising work.

 

 


Rick joined NMHIC as the senior creative advisor in 2017, consulting on how to elevate and open and urgent national conversation on mental health.

In 2016, Rick finished 20 years with DreamWorks Animation,  most recently as Chief Creative of franchise development and the global franchise director of the hit movie “Trolls.” Among the other properties he worked on are “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”

He has been awarded two Kids Choice Awards, two Annie Awards, and Toy of the Year.  All testament to Rick’s incredible ability to connect on a deep level with kids and the adults who love them.



Patrick Bordnick is a pioneer in the use of virtual reality and other disruptive technologies for the assessment and intervention of substance use and behavioral disorders and is continuing to examine ways innovation can empower people to make long-term changes in their health and wellbeing. 

Dr. Bordnick has over twenty years of experience in clinical and laboratory research on cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, amphetamine, heroin, and nicotine addiction, published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and received $4.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health. From 2007-2019, he was the founding director of the Virtual Reality Clinical Research Lab (VRCRL) at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. This state-of-the-art facility uses the latest technology to study human behavior for the assessment and treatment of additions along with eating and other behavioral health disorders. Today, he serves as the Dean of Tulane University School of Social Work and continues his research there across disciplines. His goal for the school is to blend its mission, research, and programs with the community's needs to create a better quality of life for the New Orleanians and beyond.



Psychologist Skip Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of virtual reality (VR) systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment rehabilitation and resilience. This work spans the domains of psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. Rizzo, whose work using virtual reality-based exposure therapy to treat PTSD received the American Psychological Association’s 2010 Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Treatment of Trauma, is the associate director for medical virtual reality at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Rizzo is working with a team that is creating artificially intelligent virtual patients that clinicians can use to practice skills required for challenging clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments. His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train attention, memory, visuospatial abilities and executive function. In the motor domain, he has developed VR game systems to address physical rehabilitation post stroke and traumatic brain injury and for prosthetic use training. He is currently designing VR scenarios to address social and vocational interaction in persons with autistic spectrum disorder. Rizzo is currently examining the use of VR applications for training emotional coping skills with the aim of preparing service members for the stresses of combat.

Board of Directors

Don Elliman (Chair)
Chancellor, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Susan M. Churchill
Managing Director, Rockwood Capital

Ted Harms
Executive Director, The Anschutz Foundation

Cy Harvey
President and Chief Operating Officer, The Anschutz Corporation

Kevin Reidy
Entrepreneur and Community Leader

John Reilly, Jr., MD
Dean, University of Colorado School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs

Jeannie Ritter
Mental Health Ambassador for the Mental Health Center of Denver and First Lady of Colorado, 2007-11

Matt Vogl (ex officio)
Executive Director, National Mental Health Innovation Center