We are only able to serve our community with the dedicated work of our MHAMT Staff!

Tom Starling, Ed.D., CEO

Tom Starling, Ed.D., has served as the CEO of MHAMT since 2009.  Tom holds degrees in psychology, theology, ethics, and educational administration, and he has been a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Mediator since 2007.  He has previously served as CEO of the Middle TN Alzheimer’s Assn, as CEO of United Way of Rutherford County, and as  a university administrator and hospital chaplain for institutions in Texas and Tennessee.  Under his leadership, MHAMT has been recognized as a Health Care Hero, Best in Business, finalist in Collaboration College, and finalist for the Marvin Runyon Award.  Tom currently serves on numerous state and national boards and committees to promote mental health and wellness.

Jackie Cavnar, M.B.A., Chief Operating Officer

Jackie Cavnar joined MHAMT in 2017. Jackie’s background in public relations coupled with her M.B.A. in healthcare management and nonprofit management equips her to lead the day to day operations while keeping a strategic eye on the future. Previously, Jackie has worked in community development and physician recruitment for a nonprofit entity and a national hospital organization. She has also worked as a healthcare market analyst for an international corporation. Jackie holds a B.S. in Communications from The University of Tennessee, where she serves on the College of Communication and Information Board of Visitors, and an M.B.A. from Lipscomb University, where she has taught healthcare communications. In 2017, the Public Relations Society of America’s Nashville Chapter honored Jackie with its Hercules Award for her dedication to the profession and the community.

Courtney Hatfield, CPA, Director of Finance

Courtney Hatfield comes to MHAMT with a diverse background that ranges from auditing for a public accounting firm to serving as the director of finance for one of Nashville’s leading transportation companies. Courtney’s attention to detail keeps MHAMT on budget and hitting goals. Her greatest accounting strengths include refining internal controls and streamlining processes to improve efficiency and accuracy related to financial reporting. Courtney has a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Human Resources from Lindsey Wilson College, and she has a Master of Accountancy from Lipscomb University. Outside of the office, Courtney volunteers at the Williamson County Animal Center and enjoys running.

Amy Dolinky, BA, East Tennessee Regional Coordinator
Prior to working with TSPN, Amy worked with Support Coordinator with Quality Support Coordination in Metairie, Louisiana, and with Easter Seals Louisiana in Thibodaux. In both positions she helped develop care plans for clients with developmental disabilities and their families, connecting them with necessary medical, physical, and psychological support.

She has also volunteered with the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children in Jefferson, Louisiana and Loyola University New Orleans, as a volunteer and advocate for victims of sexual assault. Additionally, she completed an internship with the New Orleans Family Justice Center, participating in various projects related to its domestic violence services. She has also gained considerable experience working with people with substance abuse issues. She also received extensive training in suicide prevention through her work with these groups.

Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Loyola University New Orleans, where she was a member of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society and the Loyola Society for Civic Engagement.

Sundra Harris, Erasing the Stigma Coordinator – West TN

Sundra Harris is an educator for the Erasing the Stigma program in the West TN area. Sundra has worked for this program almost 2 years. She works with elementary to high school students with social skill topics such as bullying, suicide prevention, and anger management. Her belief is: It is easier to build a child than to repair an adult.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Memphis and is the mother of two beautiful children.

Misty Leitsch, BSW, BBA, Zero Suicide Coordinator

Misty Leitsch is in charge of overseeing statewide implementation of the Zero Suicide Initiative by TSPN and community partners. Before joining TSPN’s staff, she served for five years on the TSPN Advisory Council, having been appointed to this post by the Office of the Governor of Tennessee. As chair of TSPN’s Mid-Cumberland Region, Misty organized the region’s first Annual Memorial Walk and conducted numerous suicide prevention training sessions for crisis centers, behavioral health facilities, schools, businesses, and civic groups.

These duties were carried out strictly on a volunteer basis, outside of her professional involvement in the mental health field. This included her work as the Statewide Education Coordinator at the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee (now Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee), where she coordinated depression screenings and mental health education sessions for people across Middle Tennessee, including K-12 school staff. She also created and produced several public outreach workshops and curricula while in this position. Misty has also worked with other TSPN partners and allies, including New Transitions, Inc., Rolling Hills Hospital, and the Mental Health Cooperative.

Misty double-majored in Social Work and Business Administration while working on her bachelor’s degree at Belmont University in Nashville, graduating in 2007.

Nancy Pertl, BSW, Aging Services Coordinator

As the Aging Service Coordinator for the Mental Health America of Mental Tennessee for the last 14 years, Nancy directs the Alzheimer’s/dementia education programs, provides information and referrals for the aging population and leads a support group for caregivers dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Nancy has 30 plus years working with families and holds a BS degree in Social Work from Bemidji University in Minnisota.  Prior to accepting this position Nancy was Social Service Director at Head Start in Hannibal, MO.

Robin Turner, Development Associate

Robin comes to MHAMT with ten years of nonprofit experience that have focused on coordinating events, donor relations, and data management.  Currently, she coordinates the agency’s fundraising activities including signature events, such as Jammin’ to Beat the Blues and the Jack C. Massey Leadership Award Dinner.  Having seen people close to her struggle with PTSD, dementia, and depression, Robin values MHAMT’s mission to help the community get connected with mental health and wellness resources. Robin has a BA in History from Nazareth College and an MLS from SUNY Buffalo.

Scott Ridgway, MS, TSPN Executive Director

Scott Ridgway has served as Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network’s Executive Director since 2001. He works closely with TSPN’s gubernatorially appointed Advisory Council to implement suicide prevention strategies within the state of Tennessee. He also serves on the Steering Committee for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Scott has been involved numerous community agencies and organizations over the past several years. A dedicated volunteer, he frequently advocates for others through the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Foster Care Review Board, the Nashville Citizen’s Police Alumni Association, Leadership Donelson-Hermitage group and by serving as a surrogate parent for Metro Nashville Public Schools. Scott holds a Master’s of Science in Public Service Management from Cumberland University and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Joanne Perley, MPH, Middle Tennessee Regional Coordinator

A Tennessee native, the suicide death of Perley’s father in 2011 motivated her involvement with suicide prevention. She is an alumna of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she obtained a Master’s in Public Health with a primary focus on the public health approach to suicide prevention. While at UA-Birmingham, she was a graduate student volunteer with the Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resources Center (ASPARC), which is funded by the Garrett Lee Smith grant through the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). She is a certified QPR instructor and facilitated several training sessions on ASPARC’s behalf. She also interned with ADPH, where she worked closely with the Department, ASPARC, and UA-Birmingham to coordinate the implementation of her state’s Garrett Lee Smith grant, and was responsible for reporting and evaluating outcomes. As part of this internship, she both organized and spoke at ASPARC’s annual conference.

Additionally, Perley’s studies at UA-Birmingham included coursework on suicide prevention and injury prevention strategy, as well as a term as President of the School of Public Health Student Association.