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Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services

IPAS > Mental Illness Advisory Council Mental Illness Advisory Council

The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act of 1986, (42  USCA 10801 et seg). The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness regulations (42 CFR 51.8), mandates that an Advisory Council (MIAC) exists to advise the IPAS Commission concerning those policies and priorities that affect the rights of individuals with mental illness. The Mental Illness Advisory Council (MIAC) helps the IPAS Commission best meet the needs of people with mental illness eligible under the PAIMI Program.

The MIAC has 10 members, appointed by the Commission. All of the members must be knowledgeable about mental illness, and must have demonstrated a substantial commitment to improving mental health services.

To best give voice to mentally ill clients of IPAS, at least six members of the MIAC must be receiving or have received mental health services, or have a family member who is receiving or has received mental health services, and at least one member must be the parent of a minor receiving mental heath services.

All MIAC meetings are held at 1pm at the Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services Office located at 4701 N. Keystone Ave., Suite222, Indianapolis, Indiana. The FY 2015 meetings will be  scheduled for February, May, August and November. The MIAC meetings will begin at the conclusion of the 1pm closed Executive Session. The approximate time for the MIAC meeting is 1:30pm.

These members serve for a single four-year, non-renewable term. 

Public Policy Advocacy Opportunity Available - Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission (IPAS) is seeking individuals who have received mental health treatment services, or family members of such persons, to serve on their Mental Illness Advisory Committee (MIAC). The MIAC helps shape IPAS services for individuals with mental illness and reports annually to the IPAS federal funding source. The MIAC meets once per quarter, expenses are reimbursed and members are appointed by either the Governor or the IPAS Commission. Persons interested in applying for consideration should contact Karen Pedevilla, Education and Training Director, at 1-800-622-4845, ext. 232, or by emailing Click here to view a brochure that gives more information on both the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission and Mental Illness Advisory Council. 

IPAS Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council (MIAC)

Dr. Nancy F. Slater of Hamilton Co. - Chairperson of Mental Illness Advisory Council

Nancy F. Slater Nancy has been an IPAS Commission member since November 2012 and currently serves as the Chairman of the Mental Illness Advisory Council of which she has been a member since October 2007. She is a self employed attorney with Slater Law Office, LLC, and has focused her law practice on disability law, elder law and special needs trusts. She has a strong interest in mental health law.

Nancy is a board-certified developmental pediatrician. She closed her medical practice in June, 2006 after practicing medicine for 25 years, to practice law full time.  She specialized in primary care pediatrics and completed a 3 year fellowship in developmental-behavioral pediatrics.

Her memberships in groups and organizations are many. She is an active member of the American Bar Association (2000-present), Indiana State Bar Association (1999 to present),  the Hamilton County Bar Association (2006 to present), and is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners, a national attorney group specialized in disability planning and special needs trusts, (2006 to present).

Nancy is also a current member of the Indiana State Medical Association (1981 to present), Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics (1982 to present), and the Indiana Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics (1982 to present), where she served as the Chair of the School Health Committee from 1990 to 2005. Nancy has been a Volunteer Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Indiana University Medical Center since 1991.

Nancy is a member of both the Indiana and Indianapolis chapters of the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), C.H.A.D.D. (for children and adults with ADD), and Mental Health Association of Indiana.

Ronda Ames of Marion Co. - Member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council

Ronda Ames - Member of the Mental Illness Advisory CouncilRonda has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since the beginning of 2006. Ronda served on the IPAS Commission from 2008 to November 2012 during which she held the position of Chairman of the Mental Illness Advisory Council.

She is the manager of patient accounts for Clarian Health Services' Indiana University Hospital and the director of financial services at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

In addition to her other work, Ronda is the executive director of KEY Consumer Organization, an advanced trainer for Mary Ellen Copeland's Wellness Recovery Action Plan, and a Certified Trainer for the Indiana Leadership Academy and Self-Advocacy Training.

Ronda's board-level community involvement is extensive. She serves on the Depression/Bipolar Support Alliance Board for the Mental Health Association in Indiana, the Advisory Board for Supported Employment Consultation and Training, the Midtown Advisory Board and the Assertive Community Treatment Board.

Ronda is a member of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Mental Health Planning Council and the Division of Metal Health and Addiction Advisory Council. She is a member and chairwoman for the Division of Mental Health and Addiction State Consumer Council. In addition, Ronda is a member of the FSSA Transformation Work Group to reform the mental health system. In this function, she is actively involved in working with all the state hospitals to change the culture to one of recovery, rather than the strict medical model.

Ronda holds associate degrees in human resources and office administration.

Lynda Snider of Porter Co. - Member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council

Lynda Snider

Lynda has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since October 2007.

Lynda is a member of Fifth Freedom. She has been an InSource Regional Parent Resource (RPR) since 2000, is a Lake County FSSA Educational Surrogate Parent and is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking class of 2003. Lynda is the Founder of Parents for Parents (PFP), Special Education Advocates for the Porter, Lake and LaPorte County areas. Parents for Parents focus is special education. PFP has been assisting special education students since 1995. Lynda returned to the work force as a home healthcare worker in 2007. She currently works with individuals that are aging and individuals with mental illness.

Lynda has been committed to advocating for people of all ages for over 15 years. She has completed many hours of training regarding disability rights, assistive technology, available services, surrogate parent training and special education. 

Leisa Barber of Spencer Co. - Member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council

Leisa BarberLeisa Barber has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since November 2012. Her passion for mental health issues began while advocating for her own son. Leisa’s interest revolves around mental health issues in school systems. She is active in educating parents about the standards for special needs children. Through supporting her own son, she has helped guide several families to the resources they need. Currently, she is working with Rockport Engagement, an organization devoted to individuals with disabilities in southern Indiana, to bring resources to and assist in educating families about the various programs that are available.

Vicki Copeland of Hamilton Co. - Member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council

Vicki CopelandVicki Copeland has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since November 2012. Vicki received education from the University of Indianapolis. She then went on to be a pre-school teacher until she had her daughter. Vicki’s daughter was diagnosed with numerous medical issues, which led to her passion for special education. Recently, she was nominated by her church to be on the Disabilities Task Force for the United Methodist congregation. Vicki continues to be actively involved with IPAS to help support her daughter and others.

Debra Switzer of Vanderburgh Co. - Member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council

Debra SwitzerDebra Switzer has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since November 2012. Living with a disability, her passion revolves around assisting those facing issues with mental illness and physical disabilities. Debra is involved in several different organizations. She is the Daughters of the American Revolution flag chairman and has been a member of DAR since 1970, is a member of the advisory council of PEACE Zone, is actively involved with Goodwill and has been a color bearer for 20 years at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Indiana. Debra has a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University. She received a master’s degree in religious education from a local bible college and a master’s degree in library science from Indiana State University.


To contact an Advisory Council member, please send your comments to IPAS in care of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Program Coordinator. He can be reached by e-mail, mail or phone.

Mr. David Boes, Support Services Director/Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Program Coordinator
Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services
4701 N. Keystone Ave., Suite 222
Indianapolis, IN 46205
Voice 1-800-622-4845 or TTY 1-800-838-1131