Meet Our Board

Mark DeRubeis, President 2019-2022

Mark DeRubeis has been a Board Member of NAMI Blair County PA since 2016. Mark’s employment history has spanned the continuum of care in the mental health field. He has over 25 years of experience as a provider behavior modification programming, mental health therapy, and clinical services to children, families, schools, support systems and stakeholders. Since 2013 he has been primarily employed at the Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 as an Educational Consultant where his primary duties include interagency coordination, behavioral consultation, and the provision of technical support to schools on the implementation of state initiatives in the areas of behavior and mental health. Mark is also an adjunct professor at the Saint Francis University in Loretto, PA. Mark possesses a number of credentials. He holds Master’s Degree in Community Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. Mark is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Board Certified Behavioral Analyst. In the state of Pennsylvania, Mark is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Behavioral Specialist. Mark is also a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer, Non-Violent Crisis Prevention trainer, and Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention trainer. In addition to his professional obligations and spending time with his family, Mark is a volunteer youth sports coach and avid runner.

Amanda Doehrer, Vice President 2021-2024

Amanda is an advocate for reducing mental health stigma and a mother of two. She has 7 years experience as a direct mental health care provider and administrator. She has lived experience in her own mental health journey while walking with various members of her family in theirs.

Currently, she is serving her first term ad Vice-president of the NAMI Blair County board, and second year as a board member. She volunteers as a teacher for our Family to Family course and co-facilitates the Family Support group.

Kathy Custren, Treasurer 2021-2024

Kathy Custren rounds out her NAMI Blair County PA board service with a term as Treasurer. Past roles on the board include secretary, vice-president, and president. Volunteer service (pre-COVID) includes support leader, conference committee chair, and interim ED. She is a facilitator for NAMI Family-to-Family/Homefront, Mental Health First Aid (Adult and Youth), and Ending the Silence programs.

Kathy is a mother of four, a professional writer, editor, and rights advocate for various causes.

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Christina Light, Secretary 2019-2022

Christina has been a volunteer with NAMI Blair County since 2018, serving as secretary since 2020. She has previous experience supporting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. She spends her free time outdoors participating in various activities and she loves to read.

Pamela Townsend, Director 2018-2021

Pam Townsend has worked in the mental health field for the past 26 years. She has worked at an inpatient unit at Bon Secour Hospital. She also worked with adolescents who suffered from behavioral health conditions through skills. Pam currently works at Peerstar as a certified peer specialist and field supervisor. She is also currently serving as the executive director of the Hope Drop-In Center in Blair county, established in 2014.

Pan has a bachelors degree in psychology from Penn State and a masters degree in pastoral theology from Kingswood University. Pam is the lead pastor at The Cord Church. She has served on the NAMI board of directors since 2015. Pam is a facilitator of the following NAMI programs: Peer-To-Peer Course and In Our Own Voice and is mental health first aid certified. She is currently active with CSP as past co-chair.

Donald Talbot, Director 2018-2021

Dr. Donald Talbot is Professor of English and Fine Arts and Visual Arts Program Coordinator at Mount Aloysius College where he created and oversees the Expressive Arts for Healing program.

Dr. Talbot resides in Altoona and maintains a seasonal expressive arts studio in Lisbon Falls, Maine. He is on the board of Maine Fiberarts, H.O.P.E. Drop-in Center (Altoona), and the Arts for Healing advisory committee at John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute, Johnstown.

Since 2012, Dr. Talbot and his Mount Aloysius College students have brought expressive arts activities to a number of sites in Western Pennsylvania including: F.C.I., Loretto, Evolution Counseling Services (Altoona), Arts for Healing (Johnstown), Peer Empowerment Network (Johnstown), H.O.P.E. Drop-in Center (Altoona), Laurel View Village (Davisdsville), Garvey Manor Assisted Living (Hollidaysburg), and Richland Woods (Johnstown).

Christine Benzel, Director 2019-2022

Christine is a life long resident of Blair County and has worked in the mental health field for 20 years. The majority of her career was as a crisis clinician with UPMC Altoona. She is a graduate of Penn State with a Bachelor of Science in Education and is a certified teacher grades Kindergarten through sixth grade. Her most recent employment opportunity is as a Co-Responder with the Harrisburg City Police where she rides with police officers responding to behavioral health calls. Christine loves spending time with her family and friends.

Julie Waite, Director 2021-2024

Julie Waite has been a Board Member of NAMI Blair County PA since 2021. She has over 23 years of experience in the mental health field wearing many hats as a direct care professional and Supports Coordinator for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, a Crisis Counselor, and a Program Director for Intensive Behavioral Health Services (IBHS). Julie began her career working as a direct care worker for Skills of Central PA for several years while pursuing her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University. Upon graduation, she began working as a Supports Coordinator for Northstar Support Services helping to develop plans and resources to aid in people living an everyday life. Julie worked as a Crisis Counselor for 13 years as well as on the mental health inpatient unit at UPMC Altoona. Since 2019, Julie has been employed as the Program Director for IBHS at Blair Family Solutions where duties include administration of the program, interagency/school collaboration, and implementation of state regulations regarding IBHS. Julie has a background and training in Disaster Crisis Outreach and Referral Team (DCORT) and Trauma First Aid. She’s been a front-line responder to many incidents in Blair County since 2005. Julie resides locally with her husband and three daughters. She’s actively involved in their sports, boosters, and other school activities.

Shannon Flanagan, Director 2021-2024

Shannon Flanagan, LSW has been a Board member of Blair NAMI since 2021. She has a 15 year background working in the mental health field. She holds a degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State and a Master of Social Work from Temple University. She has worked several positions through Blair Family Solutions throughout the years including: Therapeutic Support Staff, Mobile Therapist, Behavioral Specialist Consultant, Outpatient Therapist, and IBHS Clinical Director. She has extensive experience working in a school setting with students, staff, and families having led a Community and School Based Behavioral Health program. She is certified in Sand Tray Therapy as well as Trauma Focused CBT. Shannon recently accepted a position as a District Social Worker for Tyrone Area School District. She resides in Altoona and enjoys spending time with her family and vacations to the beach.

Are you interested in becoming a member of our Board of Directors? Click here to download a a board member application: NAMI Blair County Board of Directors Applications Return completed applications to NAMI Blair County PA PO Box 3155, Altoona, PA 16601 or email it to