Winter Conference Speaker Bios
Arthur C. Evans, Jr., PhD- Clinical and community psychologist, policymaker, and health care innovator Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, is CEO of the American Psychological Association, the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. Evans previously served in public policy positions in Philadelphia and Connecticut, where he led the transformation of their behavioral health systems and their approaches to serving a wide range of individuals with complex needs. An unconventional leader, Evans has employed science, research, community activism, spirituality, traditional clinical care, policy and cross-system collaborations to change the status quo around behavioral health.
Evans has also held faculty appointments at Yale University’s and the University of Pennsylvania’s Schools of Medicine, and he has been the author or co-author of over 60 peer-reviewed research articles and of numerous chapters, reviews and editorials. Over the years he has received national and international recognition, including the American Medical Association’s top government service award in healthcare, the Lisa Mojer-Torres Award from Faces and Voices of Recovery, and the Visionary Leadership Award from the National Council of Behavioral Health, as well as being named as an “Advocate for Action” by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. A major emphasis of his career has been equity and social justice and he has received multiple awards named for Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. for this work.
Lynette Sparkman-Barnes, PsyD- Dr. Lynette Sparkman-Barnes is proud to serve as Clinical Psychologist and Multicultural Specialist at KU Med in the Counseling and Educational Support Services. Dr. Sparkman-Barnes also serves as the Associate Director for Counseling Services. She earned a BA in Psychology from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Chicago, IL, completing her Post-Doctoral training in the rural communities of West Virginia. Dr. Sparkman-Barnes has devoted her career to a personal and professional commitment of working with underrepresented and underserved populations. She’s served in a variety of settings, including Universities, Community Mental Health Centers, School-based Mental Health Organizations, Churches and Private Practice, impacting systems as a clinician, professor, program developer, manager and in various administrative leadership roles. She is an often-sought presenter in the areas of Mental Health, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Social Justice, and the interface of Psychology and Theology.
Dr. Sparkman-Barnes also is an ordained Minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and Co-Pastors, alongside her husband, a beautiful congregation in Kansas City, KS. In addition to her work as a Psychologist and Clergyperson, she is very active in the community, choosing to serve on Boards of agencies that also are committed to the causes of Social Justice and Multiculturalism.
Shawna Wright, PhD- Director of the University of Kansas Center for Telemedicine & Telehealth (KUCTT) and holds a faculty position in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She started her professional career at the Southeast Kansas Mental Health Center, which inspired her passion for treating rural and underserved populations. She is an alumna of the National Health Service Corps, and she is dedicated to efforts to enhance the rural healthcare workforce. She is President and CEO of Wright Psychology Services, and independent telepsychology practice that was launched in 2011 to increase access to services for residents of skilled nursing facilities in rural and frontier counties in Kansas.
As a rural health care provider, she is passionate about informing telehealth policy and engaging medical and mental health professionals and students in telemedicine education. She serves on several statewide committees to represent the interests of rural and underserved populations and to provide telehealth consultation. These committees include: the Rural and Frontier Subcommittee [Chair, 2021] of the Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Planning Council, the Kansas Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee, the Kansas 988 Coalition, Kansas Suicide Prevention Coalition Steering Committee, the Telehealth Workgroup for the Special Committee on Kansas Mental Health Modernization and Reform [Co-chair, 2021], and the Kansas State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup. In 2021, Dr. Wright became a fellow of the Duke–Johnson & Johnson Nurse Leadership Program, and in 2022, she was received the American Psychological Association’s Excellence in Rural Psychology Award.
Kara Nishimuta, PhD (she/they) - is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center. While they primarily work with patients undergoing advanced heart therapy, she provides psychotherapy and pre-surgical letters for LGBTQIA+ folks and those undergoing gender-affirming surgery. Dr. Nishimuta completed their fellowship at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Oncology-Psychology and their residency at the University of Florida in health psychology. She primarily enjoys working with patients with chronic illness, medical trauma, and marginalized identities, particularly LGBTQIA+ folks. They are also passionate about educating other providers on culturally-sensitive care and engaging in advocacy efforts for marginalized populations.
Kansas Psychological Association
Executive Director: Sherry Reisman, CAE