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Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services

IPAS > Mental Illness Advisory Council Mental Illness Advisory Council

The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act of 1986, (42  USCA 10801 et seg). The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness regulations (42 CFR 51.8), mandate that an Advisory Council (MIAC) exists to advise the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission concerning those policies and priorities that affect the rights of individuals with mental illness. The Mental Illness Advisory Council (MIAC) helps the IPAS Commission best meet the needs of people with mental illness eligible under the PAIMI Program.

The MIAC may have up to 10 members, appointed by the Commission. All members must be knowledgeable about mental illness, and must have demonstrated a substantial commitment to improving mental health services. Members of the MIAC serve for a three-year term. Members are prohibited from serving longer than five consecutive three-year terms.

To best give voice to mentally ill clients of IPAS, at least six members of the MIAC must be receiving or have received mental health services, or have a family member who is receiving or has received mental health services, and at least one member must be the parent of a minor receiving mental heath services.

Next MIAC Meeting - Monday, February 1st 

Open to the public. Media welcome to attend.

Executive Session - 1:00PM EST
Executive Session Agenda 

Public Meeting - 1:30PM EST
Public Meeting Agenda 

Location: Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services Office
                 4701 N. Keystone Ave., Suite 222
                 Indianapolis, Indiana 46205

Public Policy Advocacy Opportunity Available

Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission (IPAS) is seeking individuals who have received mental health treatment services, or family members of such persons, to serve on their Mental Illness Advisory Committee (MIAC). The MIAC helps shape IPAS services for individuals with mental illness and reports annually to the IPAS federal funding source. The MIAC meets once per quarter, expenses are reimbursed and members are appointed by either the Governor or the IPAS Commission. Persons interested in applying for consideration should contact IPAS Executive Director Dawn Adams, at .

Click here to view a brochure that gives more information on both the Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission and Mental Illness Advisory Council. 

Mental Illness Advisory Council (MIAC) Members

Dr. Nancy F. Slater, Chair Person
Hamilton County

Nancy F. Slater Nancy has been an IPAS Commission member since November 2012 and currently serves as the Chairman of the Mental Illness Advisory Council of which she has been a member since October 2007. She is a self employed attorney with Slater Law Office, LLC, and has focused her law practice on disability law, elder law and special needs trusts. She has a strong interest in mental health law.

Nancy is a board-certified developmental pediatrician. She closed her medical practice in June, 2006 after practicing medicine for 25 years, to practice law full time.  She specialized in primary care pediatrics and completed a 3 year fellowship in developmental-behavioral pediatrics.

Her memberships in groups and organizations are many. She is an active member of the American Bar Association (2000-present), Indiana State Bar Association (1999 to present),  the Hamilton County Bar Association (2006 to present), and is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners, a national attorney group specialized in disability planning and special needs trusts, (2006 to present).

Nancy is also a current member of the Indiana State Medical Association (1981 to present), Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics (1982 to present), and the Indiana Chapter American Academy of Pediatrics (1982 to present), where she served as the Chair of the School Health Committee from 1990 to 2005. Nancy has been a Volunteer Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Indiana University Medical Center since 1991.

Nancy is a member of both the Indiana and Indianapolis chapters of the National Association for Mental Illness (NAMI), C.H.A.D.D. (for children and adults with ADD), and Mental Health Association of Indiana.


Lynda Snider, Member
Porter County

Lynda has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since October 2007.

Lynda is a member of Fifth Freedom. She has been an InSource Regional Parent Resource (RPR) since 2000, is a Lake County FSSA Educational Surrogate Parent and is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking class of 2003. Lynda is the Founder of Parents for Parents (PFP), Special Education Advocates for the Porter, Lake and LaPorte County areas. Parents for Parents focus is special education. PFP has been assisting special education students since 1995. Lynda returned to the work force as a home healthcare worker in 2007. She currently works with individuals that are aging and individuals with mental illness.

Lynda has been committed to advocating for people of all ages for over 15 years. She has completed many hours of training regarding disability rights, assistive technology, available services, surrogate parent training and special education. 

Leisa Barber, Member
Spencer County

Leisa Barber has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since November 2012. Her passion for mental health issues began while advocating for her own son. Leisa’s interest revolves around mental health issues in school systems. She is active in educating parents about the standards for special needs children. Through supporting her own son, she has helped guide several families to the resources they need. Currently, she is working with Rockport Engagement, an organization devoted to individuals with disabilities in southern Indiana, to bring resources to and assist in educating families about the various programs that are available.

Vicki Copeland, Member
Hamilton County

Vicki Copeland has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since November 2012. Vicki received education from the University of Indianapolis. She then went on to be a pre-school teacher until she had her daughter. Vicki’s daughter was diagnosed with numerous medical issues, which led to her passion for special education. Recently, she was nominated by her church to be on the Disabilities Task Force for the United Methodist congregation. Vicki continues to be actively involved with IPAS to help support her daughter and others.

Debra Switzer, Member
Vanderburgh County

Debra Switzer has been a member of the Mental Illness Advisory Council since November 2012. Living with a disability, her passion revolves around assisting those facing issues with mental illness and physical disabilities. Debra is involved in several different organizations. She is the Daughters of the American Revolution flag chairman and has been a member of DAR since 1970, is a member of the advisory council of PEACE Zone, is actively involved with Goodwill and has been a color bearer for 20 years at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Indiana. Debra has a bachelor’s degree from Taylor University. She received a master’s degree in religious education from a local bible college and a master’s degree in library science from Indiana State University.

To contact an Advisory Council member, please send your comments to IPAS in care of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Program Coordinator. He can be reached by e-mail, mail or phone.

Mr. Grant Helms, Staff Attorney/Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Program Coordinator
Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services
4701 N. Keystone Ave., Suite 222
Indianapolis, IN 46205
Voice 1-800-622-4845 or TTY 1-800-838-1131