Get Involved Forums: Musicians Healthcare Panelist Bios
Nakia, known for his larger-than-life, soulful vocal performances and ability to connect with an audience, is a true Austin success story. Since his arrival at “The Live Music Capital of the World” in 2002, he has quickly formed alliances with Austin’s best musicians. Nakia rose to national prominence when a Los Angeles casting agent discovered a performance of him and his band, the “Blues Grifters,” on YouTube. The viral video was shown to producer Mark Burnett, who after seeing Nakia’s searing performance of the Blues classic, “Double Trouble,” demanded that the performer audition for his new show, NBC’s The Voice. Nakia is a Top 8 semi-finalist from The Voice, NBC’s new singing competition show. Nakia is a member of Team Cee Lo. Nakia is well known for his larger-than-life, soulful vocal performances and his ability to connect with an audience.
Troy Campbell, honored this Fall with an Austin Icon Award, founded The House of Songs project in 2009, an artist-in-residence program for international singer-songwriters that fosters collaboration between international artists and Austin musicians through songwriting sessions and showcases. Campbell was executive producer of the 2009 film “Happiness Is…” and has won numerous animation awards with his company Collection Agency Films, including an Emmy. He also produced the sold-out Roky Erickson Ice Cream Social concerts during the SXSW Music Festival 2008-2011. Campbell’s latest solo album, Long in the Sun, yielded the song “Lovers” that was featured as a Top 10 track in USA Today.
Mary Combs, Licensed Professional Counselor, has been in private practice since 1999. She is a Level II EMDR therapist, trained in Imago relationship theory and has extensively studied the dynamics of Addiction and Eating Disorders. Prior to establishing her private practice, Mary worked as the program director at Kid’s Exchange, as a Career Counselor at UT, at The Insight Center, a healing program for women with eating disorders and as a Legal Assistant. She has worked with the SIMS Foundation since 1998 as a contract therapist, has acted as their provider spokesperson, and is currently a member of their Clinical Advisory Panel. Mary has done volunteer work with Gen Austin as an on-line consultant, the Ophelia Project “Ask the Expert” column, Austin Family House, and ARC Detox. Mary attended undergraduate school at Denison University where she double majored in Art History and Studio Art. She returned to graduate school in 1995 and attended The University of Texas at Austin where she received her Masters Degree in Education with concentration in counseling.
Dr. Patrice Coons has served as the Clinical Director of St. David’s Dental Program since 2007. In her role, she oversees the daily clinical operations of the program, including staff management, conducting dental screenings, and consulting with staff dentists on complex dental procedures. Before she came to the Foundation, Patrice owned a private practice in Cypress, Texas. After moving to Austin, she practiced for nine years at the Jack Sansing HIV/AIDS Dental Clinic, where she served as Clinical Director for most of that time. Patrice received a BA in Biology from Trinity University and a DDS from University of Texas Health Science Center Dental School in San Antonio. In her time between college and dental school, she worked in a research lab in NIH-funded research in reproductive physiology.
Tricia Forbes has been the Executive Director of the SIMS Foundation since 2009. SIMS provides access to and financial support for mental health and addiction recovery services for Austin-area musicians and their families. Ms. Forbes earned her Master’s of Social Work degree with a focus on management, planning and community practice from the University of North Carolina and has spent the last 19 years working in the nonprofit sector in a variety of roles, from Board member to advocacy director to organizational development consultant. Under her leadership, SIMS has grown considerably in both revenue and service provision, leveraging more than $700,000 of in-kind support each year and working with a network of more than 60 providers in private practice.
Dr. Jackie Kerr is a board-certified family practitioner. She received a Bachelor of Arts in socio-economic policy from James Madison College, MSU in Michigan. She served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, where she worked with Peace Corps nurses developing a health promotions project in the rural areas. She took premed courses at Western Michigan University, Austin Community College, and the University of Texas at Austin, and earned a Masters of Public Health from the Houston School for Public Health at the UT Health Science Center. Dr. Kerr received a medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and completed a residency in family practice at CTMF. After residency she worked in various medical clinics, including with the Mescalero Apaches in Riodoso, New Mexico, Native Americans in Alaska and several months in rural Texas. She joined Seton in January of 1989, while also serving part-time on the faculty at the Blackstock Family Health Center and doing prenatal care with the City clinics. She became lead physician at the McCarthy clinic in 2006, and medical director of three community clinics in 2008. Dr. Kerr is fluent in both English and Spanish and eagerly serves patients with various needs.
Carolyn Schwarz is the Executive Director of Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), which provides access to affordable healthcare services to the city’s low-income, uninsured working musicians. HAAM has served more than 2,700 musicians and raised over $2.5 million. Schwarz was honored this fall with an Austin Icon Award, and was named Austinite of the Year in the 2009 Austin Under 40 Awards. She was named a winner in the 2010 Austin Business Journal’s 16th Annual Profiles in Power and Women of Influence Awards.
Dr. Carlos Tirado is a psychiatrist specializing in addiction medicine at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Austin. Dr. Tirado has specialty training in addiction psychiatry at the Center for Studies on Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania and is certified in Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Tirado has conducted health disparities research on Hepatitis C treatment in US veterans and adolescent addiction supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Tirado’s academic and clinical work has focused on medication assisted treatment of chronic addiction, treatment of chronic pain and co-morbid addiction, treatment of co-occurring psychiatric disorders (dual diagnosis), training addiction professionals and implementation of evidence-based behavioral and medication therapies for chronic addiction. Dr. Tirado has published work in the areas of chronic pain, marijuana dependence, opiate dependence, alcohol dependence and cocaine dependence.