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MISSION: To build a community that understands the intersection between mental health and social justice through education, resources and networking.

VISION: Equitable access to mental health and well-being for all.



Utah AWP is a local chapter of the national Association for Women in Psychology. To learn more about the national organization, visit 

For information about Utah AWP, contact Co-Coordinators: Denise Francis Montaño or Donna Hawxhurst

The activities of Utah AWP are coordinated by a dedicated group of volunteers called the Implementation Collective, lovingly referred to as the “IMPs.”




Donna Hawxhurst, Co-Coordinator

Donna is the current Implementation (Imp) Collective Co-Coordinator of Utah AWP!  She has been an active member of national AWP for more than 25 years and founded, with her life partner, Sue Morrow, the Arizona and Utah regional chapters of AWP.  She and Sue also co-coordinated 3 national conferences (1 in Tempe, AZ, and 2 in Salt Lake City). Donna retired in July, 2018 as Training Coordinator of the Feminist Multicultural Practicum at the Women’s Resource Center, University of Utah.  She is a lover of the natural world (especially the Colorado Plateau country), an avid hiker, former horse wrangler, and committed to environmental/social justice, and feminist process. She is a social introvert, mistaken at times as an extravert, who values personal time and space. She is passionate about her involvement as an Imp and with the amazing folks who are Imp Sibs!


Denise E. Francis-Montaño, Bio-page-001Denise Francis Montaño, Co-Coordinator

Social Justice is the cornerstone of their work. Denise utilizes culture-, gender-, trauma- informed methods. A dynamic integration of theories i.e., feminist/multicultural/inclusion, minority stress theories serve as a framework. Denise’s work is extensive having provided academic/career coaching, training/teaching, consultation, program administration, dialogue facilitation, academic advising, and mental health services. She has served on the SLC Human Rights Commission and has facilitated engaging classes, seminars and workshops at national/international conferences, in higher education, community and government spaces. “My greatest influencers have been 1) my parents who raised me and ancestors who came before me, 2) Living in countries where the first language was not English, 3) work in spaces that broadened my world around true diversity and inclusion!” Denise enjoys the outdoors, fiber arts, and DIY natural remedies and home maintenance projects. 

Identities: African, Latinx, Indigenous, queer person (preferred pronouns: they, them, theirs, she, her, her’s); womanist, feminist, multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-lingual; first-generation college graduate; PhD, Educational Psychology. Known for ability to connect and seek possibilities in people and situations. AKA: Tenacious ‘D’. 



Mara Haight, Media Manager

Mara (she/her/hers) joined the violence treatment and prevention community as a victim advocate in 2006, and since this time she has worked in various capacities serving those affected by violence and abuse. Mara is currently the Executive Director of the Rape Recovery Center, a position she began in early 2016. Mara is licensed as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and specializes in healing the impact of traumatic experiences, including difficulties with early childhood. Mara practices therapy part-time at Healing Pathways Therapy Center. Additionally, she is currently the Media Manager for the Utah Association for Women in Psychology. Mara practices therapy from a trauma-informed, intersectional feminist perspective. Mara believes that every individual has the ability to heal if given the right combination of empowerment, information, and support.


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Liz Owens, Membership Co-Coordinator

Liz is a womanist, feminist, multi-racial, multi-cultural, woman of color living in Lehi, Utah. She serves as a community organizer, gender justice, and racial justice activist. Her multi-issue work is firmly rooted within a human rights and intersectional framework. 

Currently Liz is the Director for Community Engagement at Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. Liz has taught Sociology courses at Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College and Program Planning and Evaluation in the Master of Arts in Community Leadership at Westminster College.

Liz once walked 70 miles in 4 days through Spain on the Camino de Santiago and is the proud pet-parent to two doggies, Flynn & Fia.



Susan Lyons

Susan Lyons, Programming Coordinator

Susan is a long-time AWP member. She got involved many years ago when Utah first started a local AWP chapter. Over the years, AWP has provided her with a community of fellow therapists and activists who care about feminism, multiculturalism and social justice.  Susan is now a retired therapist who is currently in charge of programming for Utah AWP.




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Halleh Hashtpari, Scribe

Halleh (they/them/theirs) is the inaugural Scribe for Utah AWP. They have been involved in the local and national chapters of AWP since 2016, and this is their first year on the Implementation Collective. Halleh is currently a doctoral candidate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Utah and has enjoyed getting to know themselves better through exploring various clinical, research and advocacy interests. Halleh is currently working on a dissertation looking at identity development processes in queer and trans people of color, and has also enjoyed working with student athletes for the last two years. Halleh enjoys live music, dancing, playing sports recreationally, snowboarding, and spending time with friends. Halleh has been an avid martial artist for two decades, and also describes themselves as a foodie. 



Mindy MacDougall, Treasurer


Uma Dorn

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