Via Positiva consists of a cadre of executive level consultants, coaches and trainers throughout the
United States led by Via Positiva Principal Jim Clarkson and our team of Senior Consultants and Advisors.
Jim Clarkson, MA, LADAC, is the Founder and Principal of Via Positiva. He serves as Senior Adviser to BayMark Health Services, the nation’s leading recovery oriented, trauma informed Medication Assisted Opioid Use Disorder Treatment provider headquartered in Lewisville, Texas. He is Chairman of the National Advisory Board at Ensoftek, Inc., the proprietor of DrCloudEHR, in Beaverton, Oregon. He previously served as a National Vice President with ValueOptions, Inc. (now Beacon Health Options), the nation's largest private behavioral health and wellness managed care organization. With ValueOptions, Jim was responsible for enterprises in emerging market areas and managing substance abuse delivery systems and served as an internal and external substance use disorder subject matter expert. Previously, Jim both led behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment provider agencies and worked as a clinician for many years. Jim has also provided consultation and training nationally and internationally including for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment, the National Association for Addiction Professionals, the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness as well as many other state and federal agencies. Jim is a national presenter, trainer and subject matter expert in the business of behavioral health and led the National Addiction Professional Business Learning Collaborative and served on the SAMHSA Recovery to Practice Initiative.
In addition to his role as a managed care executive, Jim has worked and consulted with programs across the country focusing on the connection between spirituality and wellness, mental health, addiction recovery, and financial literacy. He managed the Healing Circle at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has worked with pueblos and tribes around the country. Jim has served as President of the New Mexico Recovery Professionals Alliance, is a Certified NIATx Change Leader (Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment), was a Key Supervisor for the Matrix Institute, is a Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer and for 35 years has helped Fortune 500 companies and public healthcare systems create environments for recovery, sustainability and positive therapeutic outcomes.
Kris Ericson, Ph.D., serves as Senior Consultant at Via Positiva with clients across the country. Her work includes assisting health plans, providers, and managed care organizations in the redesign and implementation of programs, mentoring emerging leaders, technical writing and research, education and training, and conference/meeting planning. Her 30+ year career in the field includes experiences as a clinician, administrator, advocate, and policy maker and she is passionate about improving the health care system to assure that all people have access to needed care. She participates in several professional societies to continually inform her work.
Dr. Ericson lives in Albuquerque, NM and is an active community volunteer. She is past chair, Board of Directors, Bethany College, Lindsborg, KS; a long-time key volunteer for Greater Albuquerque Habitat for Humanity; congregation president at All Saints Lutheran Church in Albuquerque; and is past president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) New Mexico. Dr. Ericson completed her baccalaureate studies in psychology at Bethany College, KS. Her graduate studies were undertaken at The Pennsylvania State University resulting in a master’s in community psychology and the PhD in public administration, with a concentration on health policy.
Amy McIlvaine serves as Senior Adviser and Lead Consultant to Via Positiva. Amy has nearly 25 years of leadership and management experience. Her primary areas of expertise include innovation design, change management, process improvement and business operations. She is passionate about mentoring and training operations staff to become innovative change leaders who are resilient, lead effective change teams and implement changes that result in improvements.
As Director of Training and Education for NIATx (Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison—one of the nation’s premier behavioral health process improvement organizations)– Amy developed the nationally renowned NIATx Change Leader Academy designed to teach healthcare professionals how to lead teams through successful change in today’s turbulent behavioral health landscape. She has trained and mentored over 1,000 change leaders throughout the United States.
Amy designed the curriculum and content for BHbusiness Plus, funded by SAMHSA in partnership with the National Council for Behavioral Health and Advocates for Human Potential. BHbusiness Plus offers virtual technical assistance and training to behavioral health executives covering the most complex challenges behavioral health executives face every day– Affiliations, Mergers and Acquisitions, Improving Your Third-party Billing and Compliance, Costing Out Your Services for Non-Profits, Strategic Business Planning, Innovation and Design Thinking and Health Information Technology. At NIATx She was project director for several SAMSHA funded learning communities covering a range of skill development such as Leadership, Communities of Commitment, Integration with Primary Care and Healthcare Technology. Amy has consulted and trained in and with local, state and national regulatory agencies, behavioral health managed care organizations, as well as providers around the country.
Prior to working for NIATx, Amy’s considerable corporate business experience included a leadership position with the Fortune 500 Company, ARAMARK, an international contract services corporation. She credits this experience as the foundation for developing her “customer first” approach to the change process. ARAMARK career highlights include successfully turning around the ARAMARK contract operations for American Family Insurance in Madison, Wisconsin, which led to the site being selected as an ARAMARK Center of Excellence. Under Amy’s guidance as Food and Beverage Director, the Fluno Center for Executive Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison was ranked #1 in the world for food and accommodations for three consecutive years (2003-2005) by the Financial Times of London. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She has a LEAN Six Sigma green belt.
Mark J. Abeyta, MA, LPCC, Senior Consultant, has more than 20 years of clinical and administrative experience. For over 8 years Mark has served as a leader at OptumHealth Behavioral Solutions, a nationally recognized Managed Care Organization specializing in providing behavioral health care and substance abuse services. He most recently served as the Director of Behavioral Health Provider Services in New Mexico overseeing Commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare lines of business. While at OptumHealth Mark had the opportunity to serve in other national, regional and local roles including the Clinical Director of Care Management, Director of Housing, and Director of Veterans Affairs.
Prior to his work at OptumHealth, Mr. Abeyta worked at ValueOptions (now Beacon Health Options) where he was instrumental in writing, implementing and managing federal grants, including the highly successful Access to Recovery SAMHSA grant. Mark and his team led New Mexico to be recognized as one of the top 2 performers out of 30 States building one of the nation’s first highly functioning Recovery Oriented Systems of Care.
Mark’s clinical experience began in 1997 working as a therapist in a residential treatment home for adolescents. He continued to broaden his clinical opportunities and worked in a variety of outpatient and inpatient clinical settings. Mark went on to focus on providing clinical supervision and training as a certified Crisis Prevention Intervention trainer as the Clinical Director for a start up treatment foster care agency.
His areas of special interest include prevention, early intervention, education, utilizing technology, and building a full recovery-oriented mental health system of care. He has devoted his career on working with children and adults with serious mental illness, homelessness, and dual diagnosis treatment. He has been an advocate in building consumer based mental health workforce and to improve access.
Kimberly Allen, MS, LCDC, PRS, CPSS, Senior Consultant, has been leading addiction treatment, behavioral health and insurance initiatives for over 30 years. As founder and President of Big Blue Eye Consulting, she is an addiction treatment business professional and past fully- licensed insurance agent, well-known for using her insurance knowledge and experience to consult with addiction treatment provider organizations, helping executives to develop and implement strategies designed to maximize opportunities and build relationships with managed care organizations. In addition, her family consulting services are designed for families supporting individuals with mental health conditions and addictions.
Her current areas of focus include the systems level expansion and use of peer support services for local, state and national regulators, corporations, health systems and insurers. She is presently serving as Vice President of Business Development with Peer Support Solutions, an innovative company providing global, video-based peer support groups and services. Kimberly provides training and consultation designed for agency leaders, executives and licensed healthcare providers in primary care, emergent and hospital care, managed care and employee assistance programs.
Kimberly’s consulting and technical assistance includes the value of peer and family supporters in private and integrated settings; how to create and develop peer and family support programs; how to build collaborative peer and clinical provider teams and how to support organizational cultural change. Kimberly is a selected presenter on “The Value and Use of Behavioral Health Peers in Private Health Settings” at the 2017 International Association of Peer Supporters Annual Conference, where she will present her qualitative interviews and results of a recent project from her services as Integrated Health Liaison for a SAMSHA-supported collaboration, where she interviewed leaders in private settings on the use of peers. She is a past presenter on “Peer Recovery Coaching and Professional Collaboration: Linking Clients to Sustained Recovery”, at the 2012 Texas Association of Addiction Providers (TAAP) Annual Conference. Presently, Kimberly was selected to participate on a Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) funded project as a member of the Patient and Stakeholder Advisory Panel Committee, a unique collaboration between Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute and Harvard Medical School. This is a three-year study on the Impact of High Deductible Health Plans on Patients With Bipolar Disorder. Kimberly was also selected by Via Hope Texas Mental Health Resources to participate in the 2017-2018 leadership program designed to recognize peers that are dedicated to promoting recovery and transformation in Texas.
As a provider, Kimberly served as Administrator of a private, dual diagnosis treatment center, where she was responsible for daily operational leadership, business strategy implementation and overall systems for delivery of quality services. She also worked closely with third-party administrators, performing claims advocacy and health claims negotiation. In addition she developed strategies to increase preauthorization success. She was part of a leadership team tasked with successful accreditation through CARF.
Kimberly is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC), certified Peer Recovery Support Specialist (PSS) through the Texas Certification Board of Addiction Professionals, Certified Peer in mental health through Via Hope Mental Health Resources in Texas and holds a Master of Science in Family Studies. She has won two awards for her outstanding contributions toward health and wellness programs, including one from The City of Austin, Texas in 2008 and one from The City of Dallas, Texas in 1993. Kimberly has been Chair of the Depression and Bipolar Support Association (DBSA) Texas Grassroots Organization since 2014 and is member of the DBSA Texas Legislative Advocacy Committee. She is past- President of the Austin chapter of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, as well as the Dallas, Texas chapter. She is a Charter Member of the Addiction Professional Business Learning Collaborative (APBLC) sponsored by NAADAC, the National Association for Addiction Professionals and Via Positiva. She is a member of NAADAC, the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals, and the International Association of Peer Supporters.
Kathie Infante McBroom has an MBA from Wayne State University and successfully completed a series of business and leadership course work from University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Harvard University and Ford Motor Executive Leadership Training. Kathie has 33 years of leadership and business experience and founded Synergy Business Group LLC in 2002. Synergy Business Group focuses on discerning and applying the natural laws of high achievement. Since its inception 15 years ago Synergy Business Group and Kathie have worked with hundreds of organizations to implement the natural laws of high achievement and to build high achievement leadership teams and companies. Although the concepts are simple, building a high achievement company takes discipline, focus and commitment. Kathie introduces the concepts to the leadership team and then works with the leadership team to implement the concepts and drive results. Kathie loves what she does and is so passionate about this work that she volunteers and mentors non-profits on being high achievement and driving desired results. Via Positiva and Synergy Business Group collaborate to bring trauma informed, results driven business practices to behavioral health systems and providers around the country. Kathie leads behavioral health providers in a step by step process that moves strategic plans to operational accomplishments on a day to day, week to week, quarter to quarter and year to year basis. Kathie makes the "business" of behavioral health measurable, manageable, focused and successful.
Tommy Valdez serves as the Executive Administrator of Via Positiva bringing over 25 years of corporate business sales and development experience to support the business of behavioral health. Tommy has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies, leading universities, healthcare systems and in the public sector with state and federal clients and has led Via Positiva and helped guide its national growth since its inception in 2012.