Kelsey Smith, LCSW, IMH-E®
She is committed to racial justice and equitable opportunities for all children to grow and prosper. Kelsey was a founding member of Power of Two, a New York City child welfare organization focused on dismantling systems of oppression to support the city’s youngest residents, and has a background in attachment-based parenting and home visiting. In 7 years, Kelsey helped the organization grow to serve all 5 boroughs of New York City and reach thousands of children and their families. Kelsey has extensive experience in organizational growth and program development, cultivating and maintaining relationships, program design, training and implementation, and consultation. She is an organizational leader who leads with integrity and authenticity.
Kelsey holds a master’s degree from New York University School of Social Work and became Endorsed as an Infant Family Specialist in 2022.
Asata Virgo, MAS-IFP, IMH-E®
Program Manager: Endorsement
Asata carries an Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Based Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® recognizing her expertise and experience in providing clinical services to infants, toddlers, young children and their families. Additionally, she is a certified Infant-Toddler Family Specialist with experience working with children and families as an early childhood center educator, family education facilitator, and early childcare and education provider coach. A regarded advocate for healthy child development, Asata’s focus is on infant-toddler mental health and early relational health. Her work centers around nurturing and strengthening those vital connections between child and caregiver. Asata is eager to support the workforce nurturing and supporting young children.
In her free time, Asata loves spending time with family, enjoying the beauty of nature, and exploring her community through service learning and development projects. A resident of North Carolina for 3 years, she is dedicated to personal, professional, and community wellbeing.
Julissa Thompson, MPH, IBCLC, CLC
Program Manager: Training
Julissa has a background in psychology, early childhood education, and breastfeeding/chestfeeding research. She brings the experiences of a nanny of over a decade, preschool teacher, and parent coach to her current roles as NCIMHA Training Coordinator and Board Certified Lactation Consultant in a local Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Her passion for cross-cultural understanding, parental and child well-being, and her Caribbean heritage coupled with her love for learning (and food!) have taken her to 18 countries between Denmark and Barbados for personal and professional journeys. In her free time, she collects unicorn decor and dreams of more travels, more roti, and a world where social equity is the standard that we all hold ourselves to.
Jess Taylor-Pickford, LCSW, IMH-E®
Program Manager: Reflective Supervision/Consultation
Enthusiastic about Endorsement and reflective supervision/consultation, Jess sought Endorsement as an Infant Mental Health Specialist in 2017 and as an Infant Mental Health Mentor (Clinical) in 2020. She provides reflective supervision to individuals and groups, supporting supervisees in shifting the ways in which they view, wonder about, consider, understand, and respond to the pregnant women, infants, young children, and families whom they serve. Additionally, Jess enjoy bringing reflective practice into her current policy, systems, and partnership work.
Jess has extensive clinical experience working directly with infants, toddlers and their families in a variety of settings, including early care and education centers, in homes, and in a private practice setting. She graduated from Smith College School of Social Work in 2011. Her desire to support this unique population comes from a strong held belief that all children should be seen, valued and supported just as they are—which is what she is working towards in parenting her own young children too!
Anicia Battles, IMH-E®
Endorsement Central Service Coordinator (ECCS)
Based in Michigan and employed by the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health (Alliance), Anicia is contracted to provide specialized support and guidance to our North Carolina Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Endorsement (I/ECMH-E®) applicants. Anicia brings to the team a refreshing viewpoint from her experiences as an Endorsed Infant Mental Health Specialist (IMHS) and IMH Home Visitor of 7 years, supporting Early Childhood Educators as well as families of 0-7 year olds. We are pleased to welcome her strengths in supporting applicants seeking endorsement in various stages and discussing inclusion, diversity, and equity within the workforce and its impact in the field of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Anicia is excited to provide Endorsement applicant support here in North Carolina and to interact with applicants as they embark on their Endorsement journey.