Meet Our Austin Presenters


Lanette Allendorf







Lanette Allendorf, MS, LPC, CCM, joined Envolve PeopleCare™ in 2015 and serves as the senior director of clinical integration. As an experienced behavioral health executive, she spearheads strategic objectives through innovative programs driven by high consumer engagement. During her time at Envolve PeopleCare, Ms. Allendorf has increased member engagement in our Telephonic Care Management Program, led development of clinically appropriate criteria for community-based services with a focus on driving improved treatment outcomes, and improved medication and treatment compliance for children prescribed medication to treat ADHD. Prior to Envolve PeopleCare, she served as the clinical leader at Humana Behavioral Health Services for 12 years including clinical director, senior clinical director, interim COO, clinical strategic consultant, and clinical product strategy/development consultant. With a high-record for success, she developed an effective integrated medical and behavioral health model of care at the payor level impacting more than 60,000 Medicare recipients and their families. A natural-born leader, Ms. Allendorf steered a work group to create a center of excellence around treating individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and eating disorder. She received a master’s degree in applied behavioral studies from Oklahoma State University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Case Manager, and Innovation Engineering Blue Belt.





Louis Appel, MD, MPH, serves as Chief Medical Officer and Director of Pediatrics at People’s Community Clinic in Austin, Texas. Dr. Appel provides primary pediatric care at the clinic in addition to overseeing the clinical programs.  He serves on the Executive Legislative Committee of the Texas Pediatric Society. In the past he has served as the Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) Program Facilitator for District VII of the American Academy of Pediatrics and also co-chaired the Texas Pediatric Society’s Community Health Advocacy Committee, served on the Texas Pediatric Society’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity, and was a member of the Travis County Early Impact Team, advising on the coordination of Early Childhood Intervention services in the county. He has also served on the Public Assistance Health Benefit Review and Design Committee of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and on the Austin Multi-Institutional Review Board.  A graduate of Princeton University, Dr. Appel received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and obtained his Masters of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health, with a concentration in public management and community health. He completed his pediatric residency at the University of Washington in Seattle.








Larissa J. Estes, DrPH, is the health system transformation program manager leading Prevention Institute’s work on health delivery and payment transformation. She is interested in integrating evidence-informed strategies into policy and practice across the health care system and sectors that impact health and wellness. In addition, Dr. Estes has a key role in Prevention Institute’s Mental Health and Well-Being focus area and the Making Connections Initiative. Dr. Estes has prior experience in program planning, implementation, and evaluation; maternal and child health; women’s health; and public health policy analysis. Prior to Prevention Institute, she was a policy analyst for the Texas Institute of Health Care Quality and Efficiency, serving as key programmatic staff in the development of legislative policy recommendations to improve health care quality and efficiency across Texas. She has experience in federal, state, city, and county level, non-profit, government, and academic public health. Larissa earned her BS in Athletic Training from Duquesne University, a MPH in Family and Child Health from the University of Arizona, and a DrPH in Community Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston. Her doctoral studies specialized in using enhanced surveillance methods and policy analysis to address maternal mortality in Texas which led to the implementation of a statewide maternal mortality and morbidity review board. Dr. Estes is adjunct faculty with the Texas Tech Health Science Center School of Nursing and a member of San Francisco Junior League and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also serves on the Austin Clubhouse Board Advisory Board, the HealthImpact and California Action Coalition Advisory Committee Board, and the Walden University Center for Faculty Excellence Advisory Council.




Lynda E. Frost, JD, PhD, serves as the director of planning and programs at the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, where she oversees major initiatives and grant programs, leads strategic and operational planning, and manages program and grants management staff. Dr. Frost is an experienced administrator and attorney with legal expertise in human rights, juvenile justice, criminal law and mediation. She serves as an Assistant Vice President in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Frost has a passion for teaching. She holds appointments as a clinical associate professor in the College of Education and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where she teaches interdisciplinary graduate seminars on topics such as mental health policy or the school-to-prison pipeline. Dr. Frost previously held academic positions at the University of Virginia Schools of Law and Medicine, the American University in Cairo, and the University of Richmond School of Law, teaching criminal and international law.  She has published numerous articles and was the co-editor of a book entitled The Evolution of Mental Health Law.






Christopher T. King, PhD, is a lecturer and senior research scientist at the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Ray Marshall Center, which he directed from 1991 – 2014. He has been researching workforce, education, and social policy for more than four decades and received the prestigious Texas Exes Teaching Award in 2007. In 2012, he was selected as one of 20 national leaders in the Aspen Institute’s inaugural class of Ascend Two-Generation Fellows based in part on his work designing CareerAdvance®, Tulsa’s award-winning anti-poverty program, for which he is co-directing a rigorous evaluation with colleagues at Northwestern University. He co-chairs Austin’s Two-Generation Advisory Committee, serves on the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Two-Generation Evidence-Building Advisory Group, and is conducting research for the International Labour Office in Geneva with academics and practitioners around the world. In addition to his two-generation work, he is best known for designing and evaluating leading-edge sectoral and career pathway programs. Dr. King held prior positions as assistant professor of economics at the University of Utah, as an economist with the US Department of Labor, and as director of research and evaluation for job training programs in the Texas Governor’s Office.





Becky Paster, MPA, oversees St. David’s Foundation’s CapacityWorks Program, which provides grantees with capacity building tools to strengthen their organization’s fundamentals. Through grants, workshops, coaching, and peer learning, CapacityWorks helps grantees build their core capacities so they can more effectively focus on their missions and meet the rapidly shifting health needs in Central Texas.  On staff with the Foundation for more than 10 years, Becky also manages the Foundation’s public policy work and the newly created Opportunity Grants program.  Prior to her current role, Becky managed the Foundation’s mental health and obesity prevention grant portfolios. Ms. Pastner holds a Master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin, and a BA in political science from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.  Becky’s career in the nonprofit sector spans over 15 years, with a focus on health and social policy and nonprofit management. St. David’s Foundation invests in a healthy community because we believe good health returns great benefits to Central Texas.  We help people in every corner of our community through our signature programs and grant funding to more than 60 nonprofit partners. In 2016, we plan to invest more than $70 million dollars to improve the health of Central Texans.







Wendy Varnell, LCSW, is Deputy Executive Director at LifeWorks. She is responsible for planning and implementing agency strategic initiatives and makes recommendations for programmatic and operational improvement. In collaboration with the Board of Governors, Ms. Varnell develops agency research projects and ensures execution.  She manages a variety of high-impact special projects.  In addition, she hires, trains and supervises the Chief Program Officer, Director of Research & Evaluation, the Chief Compliance Officer and the Director of Public Grants. She represents LifeWorks at national conferences, professional associations, relevant boards/committees, and other local initiatives. Ms. Varnell was the 2010 Austin Area Research Organization McBee Fellow, served on the Waterloo Counseling Board from 2009-2012, was a member of Leadership Austin, and received the 2003 Field Instructor of the Year award from the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work.  She is currently on the board of The College for Behavioral Health Leadership, a national organization focused on the development of leadership in the mental health and substance use prevention and treatment fields. Ms. Varnell has a Master’s of Science in social work from The University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s of arts in general studies, with equal emphasis in psychology, sociology and child development and family relations from The University of Arizona at Tucson. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked at LifeWorks since 1992.

Core Leadership Skills Presenters









Leigh Steiner, PhD, is a health care consultant specializing in communications and organizational development. She has extensive national, state, and local experience in organizational development, executive development coaching, and consulting; three decades of experience as a change leader in the public mental health field; expertise in teaching and training, speech communications and group facilitation and dynamics. She serves as the Director of Clinical Applications for Care Management Technologies, a clinical technology company which improves behavioral health care management using data-driven analytics. In that role she leads a clinical team who identifies new research in the field of behavioral health and client needs resulting in the constant development of CMT's analytic tools. Dr. Steiner teaches the Community Counseling course in Human Development and Counseling at the University of Illinois at Springfield and is a guest lecturer at SIU School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Steiner began her professional career in 1974 as the first female clinical employee of a maximum security prison working for the Department of Corrections as an activity therapist. She worked in the public mental health system for over 30 years, serving as the CEO for a public psychiatric hospital and as the Director of Staff Training, Education and Development for the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, State of Illinois. She served as the commissioner of Mental Health for the State of Illinois until 2002. She earned her PhD in Speech Communications, Psychology, and Rehabilitation in 1979 from Southern Illinois University. She received the Appreciative Inquiry Certificate in Positive Business and Society Change in 2009 from Case Western Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management.




Steve Scoggin, MDiv, PsyD, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor and ordained minister whose 30 years as a clinician and behavioral health leader have been embedded at the boundaries of behavioral health, psychiatry, and faith. Dr. Scoggin currently serves as Assistant Vice-President of Behavioral Health and CareNet, Inc., a subsidiary of Wake Forest Baptist Health, part of the Division of Faith and Health. He also is Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Dr. Scoggin duties include regular interface with departments throughout the health system working closely with medical center leadership to coordinate the functional integration of behavioral health into a population health framework. He is responsible for leadership to the overall operations of a statewide network of 35 outpatient counseling clinics that provide care to 85 of 100 counties in NC. Dr. Scoggin is a gifted presenter on a wide variety of topics focused on building functional integration and collaborations between behavioral health, psychiatry and the community.