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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 Francis Montaño, Co-Coordinator

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

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 licensed as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and specializes in healing the impact of traumatic experiences, including difficulties with early childhood. Mara is the owner and full-time therapist at the Utah Center for Post Traumatic Growth. Additionally, she is currently the Media Manager for the Utah Association for Women in Psychology. 

Liz Owens, Membership Co-Coordinator

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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.

Halleh Hashtpari, Scribe

Halleh photo

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. 

Kara Patin, Programming Co-Coordinator

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_11a7Kara Patin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who graduated with a Masters of Social Work from the University of Utah in 2014. She has worked on research teams to evaluate the presence and impact of trauma in public service organizations, and in community mental health agencies as a clinical mental health therapist where she has deepened her understanding of trauma and the implications it can have on the functioning of individuals as well as organizations.  She is the founder of Noble Soul Therapy where she practices with advanced training in trauma recovery therapies and works with the University of Utah where she has developed and delivered trauma specific trainings to state and local agencies around Utah to thousands of people working within the helping professions with various scopes. She is passionate about the implementation of trauma-informed practices and recovery on all levels. She is originally from Los Angeles, Ca. and now resides in Salt Lake City with her husband. She enjoys travelling, expressive arts, and working on community development projects locally and abroad.

Uma Dorn, Programming Co-Coordinator

IMG_20200601_093947 (1) (2)Uma has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years and has worked in multiple outpatient and inpatient settings. She currently works as a licensed psychologist at the University of Utah as the Assistant Director of Psychology & Wellness in the Department of Athletics. As a sports psychologist, she works with student athletes providing individual, group and team-based services. She also is an adjunct professor at New York University. Prior to this, she was faculty in the Educational Psychology department for 4.5 years. She graduated with her Masters (2006) and Specialist in Education (2007) in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University. She received her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology at the University of Georgia in 2011. She has presented at local, national, and international conferences. She also has a small private practice providing individual therapy, assessment, and education/training. She is a co-founder of an international consulting firm working with human services organizations to address EDI (Equity, Diversity & Inclusion) and mental health initiatives.

Uma is a 1.5 generation immigrant who moved to the U.S. from India at the age of 10. She grew up in the Atlanta area and experienced the cultural complexities of being South Asian American. These early experiences of race and culture has informed her work with clients and teaching. Her work embodies the belief that each person has in them the power to heal and grow, but often individuals are in environments or part of systems that prevent them from being our true selves. She understands the impact of power within larger systems and its influences on intersecting identities. Uma has centered much of her work in dismantling systems of oppression through creating space to engage in much needed conversations about racism and other inequities. In working with folks who have sexual trauma – it is important to consider the individual traumas that they have experienced while also understanding the context of collective and historical traumas especially within communities of color and queer and trans communities.

Personally, Uma loves spending time outdoors camping and hiking with her four children, partner, and two dogs. She enjoys listening to young adult audiobooks of the dystopian variety. She believes cooking is her therapy and encourages her creative side.

Mindy MacDougall, Treasurer

Amber Whiteley, Membership Co-Coordinator 

Susan Lyons, IMP Emertia

Susan LyonsSusan 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 and IMP emeritus.

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