Achara Consulting Inc. is a behavioral health consulting firm that specializes in equipping behavioral health leaders with the knowledge and resources to successfully lead system and organizational transformation efforts. Our firm helps state and county leaders transform crisis-driven, behavioral health systems into effective, recovery-oriented systems of care. Dr. Achara and her team have worked at the forefront of the ROSC movement for more than a decade, accumulating experience, delivering quality, and inspiring passion for person-centered, recovery-oriented treatment and services.
Ijeoma Achara-Abrahams, PsyD
Dr. Achara-Abrahams has more than a decade of experience helping behavioral health systems move from reactive to recovery-oriented approaches. As Director of Strategic Planning at the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, Dr. Achara led Philadelphia’s cutting-edge recovery-oriented system of care (ROSC) transformation effort, which included managing the change process, designing and implementing strategies to empower people in recovery to play integral roles in systems change and to expand and integrate peer services, and aligning policies and clinical practices with a recovery-orientation. Prior to leading Philadelphia’s successful ROSC transformation, Dr. Achara was a faculty member in the Yale School of Medicine Program on Recovery and Community Health, where she supported Connecticut’s recovery transformation efforts.
Dr. Achara formed Achara Consulting in 2008 specifically to help state and local governments and provider organizations envision, plan, implement, and manage transformative approaches to implementing ROSC. A key element of her approach is working early on with an expansive set of stakeholders to develop a shared vision with widespread community support.
Myriam was trained as a legal secretary and brings more than 25 years of experience in office support and operational roles to Achara Consulting. As General Operations Manager, she ensures that Finance, Human Resources, Technology, and Compliance operations are running smoothly.
Dana Bell, MS
Dana’s passion is crafting compelling digital learning experiences that change how we think, work, and interact. Dana graduated from the University of Memphis with degrees in psychology and counseling, and she completed her doctoral studies in curriculum and leadership development. Dana’s formal training, combined with her professional experiences as a case worker, adjunct professor, organizational leader, and instructional designer, ensures that peer staff, supervisors, clinicians, agency leaders, and other Achara Consulting clients receive superior online and blended learning experiences. A native Tennessean, Dana lives in the Nashville Metropolitan area with her son.
Taylor Bruer, BA
Taylor manages project plans and facilitates the delivery of technical assistance to behavioral health system leaders, peer support supervisors, and peer support staff in substance use and mental health programs for adults and youth. For 10 years prior to joining the Achara team, she worked with youth and families in a variety of roles. She volunteers as a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line. Taylor developed a passion to be a part of the solution after watching the opioid epidemic ravage her hometown of Huntington, West Virginia. She received her bachelor’s degree from Marshall University and is pursuing her DONA International Doula Certification. She has a passion for wellness in her own recovery journey and is moved by the special recovery-oriented, person-centered approach to recovery and wellness that Achara Consulting brings to behavioral health organizations across the country.
Beth Hutchinson, BS, RSPS, PSS, CMA
Workforce Development and Training
Beth is a person in long-term recovery who, since 2007, has been a tireless advocate for persons seeking recovery and wellness. Beth began her journey as a Recovery Support Peer Specialist in 2011, later becoming a certified Peer Support Supervisor. She became a Certified Medication Assisted Treatment Advocate in 2020. Beth graduated from Texas State University in 2019 with a triple minor in Sociology, Psychology, and Social Work. She has worked in the for-profit, non-profit, and public behavioral health sectors, honing her skills of strengths-based, person-centered, trauma-informed advocacy and care.
Paul Poplawski, PhD
System Transformation Initiatives
Dr. Poplawski is a psychologist with a distinguished 45-year career of service within public mental health and substance use disorder programs. He is a thoughtful, dynamic leader who has been engaged in a variety of governmental executive roles in the transformation, planning, and implementation of clinical and recovery programs. For the last 15 years, he has focused on successfully guiding state, county, and local governments from traditional behavioral health models to recovery-oriented systems of care that are solidly undergirded by recovery- and resilience-oriented philosophies, principles, and practices. His work in Delaware, Texas, Minnesota, Montgomery and Chester Counties in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and other jurisdictions has been instrumental in redefining the nature and components of recovery-oriented programs and practices.
Kris Rusch, MFA, MPP
Kris is a skilled messaging strategist and award-winning writer of PR and technical communications that advance public discourse. Drawing on her decades of training and experience in strategic communications, behavioral health writing, and public policy, Kris helps Achara Consulting clients to document and promote their recovery-oriented system changes and ensure that their state leaders, healthcare providers, staff, and diverse public audiences receive understandable, timely, accurate, and actionable information.
Erika Salinas, MS, LCDC, RSPS
Training and Technical Assistance
Erika is a person in long-term recovery from substance use and mental health conditions. She has an MS in Addiction Counseling and is a fellow of the National Board for Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program. Erika is also a certified trainer of coaches for the Recovery Support Peer Specialist Certification and brings five years of experience providing peer support services to youth and adults. Prior to working as a peer support provider, she interned as a counselor at a youth outpatient facility for substance use. Her passion is working with peers, youths, and Spanish-speaking communities. Her goals are to work toward eliminating health disparities experienced by people of color and to end the stigma borne by people with substance use conditions.
Jen Sears, BA
System Transformation Initiatives
Jen excels at providing Achara Consulting clients with the guidance and tools they need to identify their system’s assets and tap into their strengths to create recovery-oriented systems of care. She brings years of experience managing the logistics of large-scale systems change and helping leaders translate their system needs, assessment data, and shared vision into concrete, achievable steps. Jen honed her system change expertise as a part of the core team that designed and coordinated the transformation of Philadelphia’s innovative behavioral health system.
Carmelita Velasquez, M.Ed.
Carmelita comes to Achara Consulting with nearly twenty years of experience leading instructional development, learning facilitation, and coaching for both youth and adults. She has a deep passion and dedication to building capacity among all learners and empowering others to become the best versions of themselves. As an instructional designer, Carmelita brings a learner-centered approach to the development, design, and implementation of collaborative and engaging on-demand and live learning solutions.