Oklahoma Mental Health Policy Fellowship

The Oklahoma Policy Institute seeks to improve access to quality, evidence-based mental health and addiction services in Tulsa. This goal will be accomplished in part through the Oklahoma Mental Health Policy Fellowship, a two-year, full-time, paid program aimed at preparing a cohort of early-career professionals to be highly competent advocates for needed policy reforms in their community, state, and workplace. Seed funding for this effort is provided by The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation.

What are the components of the Fellowship?

Each policy fellow is assigned to a mentor, a well-recognized mental health professional with a record of successful advocacy for mental health and addiction policies. A course of study is designed to meet the unique needs of each fellow, aimed at helping them gain the knowledge and practical experiences to be an effective policy advocate. Professionals at the Oklahoma Policy Institute provide tutoring and guided learning experiences on policy research and advocacy as well. Fellows actively participate in their curriculum, involving experiential learning, one-on-one conversations, policy research and analysis, project development and implementation, guided self-study, and advocacy practice in the public and private sectors. Some classroom coursework may be provided by local universities. Opportunities also include interactions with local, state, and national experts and leaders in policy and lawmaking.

Who are the fellows?

Fellows are early-career professionals who have completed a degree program no more than two years prior to the time of application. They are selected through a competitive application process. Preference is given to those applicants who have completed a graduate or professional degree. Fellows are derived from a wide range of disciplines including but not limited to: education, psychology, counseling, law, business, social work, nursing, health care policy and others.

Prior to joining the program, fellows must have demonstrated their interest in mental health or addiction issues, or policy advocacy through their studies, professional work, and/or volunteer service. Fellows must commit to the two-year fellowship and exhibit an intent to work in the Tulsa area or elsewhere in Oklahoma upon completion of the program.

Fellows are employees of the Oklahoma Policy Institute with a $45,000 annual salary. OK Policy offers excellent benefits, including health insurance, dental insurance, retirement, and generous paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays.

2018-2020 Mental Health Policy Fellows

Maggie den Harder

Class of 2020

Margaret (Maggie) den Harder obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Theology from Seattle Pacific University and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma. Originally from the Pacific Northwest area of Washington state, Maggie has called Tulsa home since 2010. While living in Tulsa, Maggie has worked in the legal field, higher education administration, and the nonprofit sector. In 2018, Maggie spent time at the City of Tulsa as a consultant and wrote the content for Resilient Tulsa, an action-oriented strategy designed to better equity in Tulsa. Through her work, community involvement, and personal experiences, Maggie is interested in the intersection of the law and mental health and addiction treatment issues, preventative and intervention programs, and maternal mental health. Through earlier work, Maggie further developed interests in family dynamics and stability, economic security-related stress, and intergenerational trauma. Maggie is part of the CityMatCH CityLEADERS 13th Cohort. This leadership program trains emerging maternal child health leaders through skills-building, community-based activities designed to increase health equity and improve maternal child health outcomes.

While not at work, Maggie serves on the board of the Junior League of Tulsa, as a board intern for Domestic Violence Intervention Services, as a mentor at Street School, and as a tutor for Reading Partners. She also enjoys hanging around the house with her spouse and their three rescued dogs, Bertram, Gretel, and Gina.

Brittany Hayes

Class of 2020

Brittany Hayes is a licensed attorney, having graduated with highest honor from the University of Tulsa College of Law in May of 2018. Brittany earned her Bachelors of Science in Political Science from Oklahoma State University in May of 2011 before teaching history and coaching debate at Charles Page High School in Sand Springs. Brittany’s passion for policy work and advocacy reignited while working with the Community Advocacy Clinic, Immigrant Rights Project, and Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office. Her research and policy interests include mental health, criminal justice, education, and the problems at the intersection of all three areas.

Mental Health Fellow Ky’Lee Barnoski

Class of 2021

KyLee Barnoski joined OK Policy as a Mental Health Policy Fellow in August 2019. A native Oklahoman, KyLee is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and also of Muscogee Creek descent. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with a B.A. in Psychology and a Minor in Early Intervention in 2016. During this time, KyLee developed interests in advocacy and research through her roles as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and as an undergraduate researcher with the University of Tulsa Psychophysiology Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience (PLAN). KyLee earned a Master of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma in May of 2019. Her interests in child and adolescent mental health and public policy were cemented through her graduate degree practicums with Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Child Welfare; Tulsa Children’s Advocacy Center, Child Abuse Network; National Resource Center for Youth Services; and the Tulsa Family Safety Center.

Mental Health Fellow Robert Koolis

Class of 2021

Robert (BobbyKoolis hails from Glastonbury, Connecticut, a suburb of Hartford. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Economics from Keene State College, (New Hampshire) in May of 2017. He then attended the Carsey School of Public Policy, located within the University of New Hampshire, receiving a Master’s degree in Public Policy. Bobby’s research primarily focused on the intersection of healthcare and economic policy. His Master’s thesis analyzed state policy responses to the opioid epidemic in New England. While attending Carsey, Bobby worked as a Residential Counselor at a residential placement for boys with behavioral, emotional and learning disabilities. Bobby’s interests are largely reflected in his previous experience, with work continuing on healthcare and mental health policy. Specific interests include adolescent mental health, the effects of healthcare reform on mental health, suicide prevention policy, and policies to combat the substance abuse crisis.

Outside of work, Bobby is a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon International Fraternity, where he serves as Treasurer for both the Lambda-Sigma (Keene State College) chapter’s Board of Advisers and Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. He previously served as President of the Keene State College Debate Team and as a member of the American Democracy Project. In his free time, Bobby enjoys photography, video games, music festivals, and watching and playing sports – especially baseball. He is an ardent Yankees fan.

Who is the contact for more information?

Questions regarding the fellowship may be directed to: Lauren Turner, Fellowship Coordinator, lturner@okpolicy.org or (918) 794-3944