OK Policy selects second class of fellows for Oklahoma Mental Health Policy Fellowship

Oklahoma Policy Institute has hired Ky’lee Barnoski and Bobby Koolis as the second class of Fellows for the Oklahoma Mental Health Policy Fellowship

The Fellowship, an initiative supported by the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation, is a two-year, full-time program for early-career professionals. Fellows engage with community leaders in mental health to complete projects that will improve the mental health landscape across the state. The Fellowship will prepare them to be strong advocates throughout their careers for policies that improve mental health in Oklahoma.

Ky’lee Barnoski is a recent graduate of the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at OU-Tulsa. A native Oklahoman, Ky’Lee is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and also of Muscogee (Creek) descent. Ky’Lee’s interest in advocacy and research were sparked during her time as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA)  and were cemented through her graduate work with Child Welfare at the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the Child Abuse Network through the Tulsa Children’s Advocacy Center. Ky’lee will be mentored by Dr. Sara Coffey, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at OSU Center for Health Sciences.

Bobby Koolis is a recent graduate of the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. A native of Connecticut, Bobby’s policy and advocacy work has primarily focused on the intersection of health care and economic policy and state policy responses to the opioid epidemic in New England. He also has experience working as a residential counselor for children with behavioral health conditions. Bobby will be mentored by Gail Lapidus, CEO of Family and Children’s Services. 

Barnoski and Koolis began work in early August and will serve as fellows for two years. They join Maggie den Harder and Brittany Hayes, who were selected as the first class of fellows in 2018 and are beginning their second and final year in the program. In addition to the fellows, the mental health policy team at OK Policy is led by Lauren Turner, who serves as Mental Health Policy Analyst and Fellowship Coordinator.

“We’re delighted to add to Bobby and Ky’lee to our growing mental health team,” said Carly Putnam, Policy Director for OK Policy. “Mental health is a key contributor to many of the greatest challenges Oklahomans face, and reversing our state’s troubling trends starts with policy change.”

Fellows for the third class will be selected in the spring of 2020.


Oklahoma Policy Insititute (OK Policy) advances equitable and fiscally responsible policies that expand opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy.

One thought on “OK Policy selects second class of fellows for Oklahoma Mental Health Policy Fellowship

  1. Congratulations to the new mental health inductees!

    I would love to invite your members to the latest Mental Health and Wellness event that is coming up;

    “Creating Culture” / Building a positive company culture to maximize productivity and retention”
    Presented by Dr. Cathi Neal
    Rose State College in Midwest Oklahoma, Room #203
    Tuesday, September 10th
    11:30-1:00 (Lunch & event provided by our sponsors)
    State Senators, Mary Boren and Brenda Stanley plan to attend.

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