Recent Podcasts

AMEN team is collaborating with KAZI FM 88.7 in producing a radio series to highlight the importance of addressing mental health and physical wellness in the African American community. The monthly series will feature AMEN team members from the School of Nursing, leaders from Mt. Zion Baptist and Rehoboth Baptist churches, and community organizations who provide mental health resources and support in Travis county.

Austin Public Health is funding the effort with a grant to the AMEN program. Each radio show is moderated by Shannon W. Jones III, former Director of Austin Public Health, and features Jacki Hecht, RN, MSN, Managing Director of the AMEN program at the UT Austin School of Nursing along with experts from the community, who share information and tips related to mental health with the goal of increasing awareness, reducing stigma and highlighting resources to address the full spectrum of mental health and illness.

African American mother and kid holding each other

Episode 22: October 13 and 27, 2021 – Raising Awareness and Bridging the Gaps of Mental Health

October 13:

October 27:

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Fabian Wood Sr., founder and CEO of the D. Wood Foundation on October 13th, 2021. Their discussion focused on raising awareness about suicide, and what can be done to support those in need and save lives. The discussion continued on October 27th as Jacki Hecht and Shannon Jones spoke with Dr. Quevarra Moten, Deputy Executive Director at National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Central Texas.

African American woman getting a medical treatment

Episode 21: September 8 and 22, 2021 – Public Health & Discussing the Effects of COVID-19

September 8:

September 22:

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Dr. Desmar Walkes, the health authority for Austin and Travis County and Medical Director for Austin Public Health as well as Adrienne Sturrup, Interim Austin Public Health Director and Assistant Director for Community Engagement on September 8th, 2021. Their conversation focused on the impact of COVID-19 on chronic disease and mental health within the African American community during the pandemic. This discussion continued on September 22nd as Jacki Hecht spoke with Shannon Jones about the best strategies for prevention.

Sign on the side of a building that says How are you, really?

Episode 20: June 2, 2021 – Healing and Building Mental Wellness

Moderator, Jacki Hecht, interviewed Elliott Niblack, the Chief Education and Equity Officer and Internship Director at The D. Wood Foundation. He has an extensive background as an educator and trainer and has developed an Educated Empathy curriculum for families to strengthen communication, social and emotional learning, and cultural awareness for creating spaces that support youth through the trauma of racial bias. Additionally, Jacki Hecht interviewed Meredith Stacy Jones, a Behavioral Health Trainer, Group Facilitator, Transformation Coach, Motivational Speaker, who has worked as an offender education instructor, Mental Health First Aid Instructor.

Austin Police Officers

Episode 19: May 5, 2021 – How Police Officers Provide Mental Health Support in the Community

Moderator, Jacki Hecht, interviewed Corporal Michael Rhone, who has been with the Austin Police Department for 18.5 years and is the President of the Texas Peace Officers Association Austin along with Officer Alexandria Parker who has been with the Austin Police Department for 2 years and is the secretary of the Texas Peace Officers Association Austin.

African American Women talking with each other

Episode 18: April 7, 2021 – Levels of Mental Health Care

Moderator, Jacki Hecht, interviewed Jhana Rice, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor-Intern, Counselor in Behavioral Health and Resource Navigation at Ascension Seton and Tenisha Hunter, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Resource Navigator and Behavioral Health Counselor at Ascension Seton.

African American Man with his son

Episode 17: March 3, 2021 – Healing the Health Disparities Within the African American Population

Moderator, Jacki Hecht, interviewed Larry Wallace, Sr., who holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Amberton University in Dallas and is an accomplished Health Care Executive with over 35 years’ experience in developing strategies to improve access to healthcare to underserved populations. Mr. Wallace is also a member of several prominent healthcare associations.

Go Red for Women

Episode 16: February 3, 2021 – A Stronger Heart for a Healthier Life

Moderator Jacki Hecht, interviewed Judy M. Garner, BA. MA, MS, retired Air Force Officer and current Board Member of the American Heart Association (AHA). Ms. Garner’s father died of congestive heart failure and she has become passionate about the importance of eating healthy and exercise.

African American Community

Episode 15: January 6, 2021 – Sparking Important Conversations to Improve Mental Health

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht, interviewed Kimberly Holiday - Philanthropist, Author, Motivational Speaker, Marketing VP Education Foundation and Radio Personality as Lady Joy on KAZI and Dr. Calvin Kelly - A certified clinical trauma professional.

People doing physical activities at the park

Episode 14: December 2, 2020 – Investing in Health by Building Personal Fitness

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht, interviewed Kiounis Williams, a Certified Master Personal Trainer with VisionBody Texas, a Health and Wellness Coach, and a Lay Community Health worker for the UT AMEN program and Mt. Zion Baptist Church Health Ministry.

Woman and Child View iPad Christmas

Episode 13: November 4, 2020 – Thriving Through the Holidays During this COVID Pandemic

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht interviewed Theresa Libios, a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate, who provides person-centered Christian counseling at the Timothy Center.

Patience getting a flu shot

Episode 12: October 7, 2020 – How To Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones During This Flu Season

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht, interviewed Ms. Raisa Charles-Willock, certified educator with Austin Public Health Immunization Program. They discussed what influenza (flu) is, who it affects, its impact on the African American community, the flu vaccine, and why it's important to get a flu shot.

Ms. Angela Bigham, Pastor Ray Hendricks, and Ms. Deborah Duncan

Episode 11: September 2, 2020 – A Shared Approach to Holistic Health: Community Gardens

Co-moderators Shannon W. Jones and Jacki Hecht, interviewed Pastor Ray Hendricks, Rehoboth Baptist Church, Ms. Angela Bigham, Health Ministry Leader at Rehoboth Baptist Church and Ms. Deborah Duncan (LMSW), Program Coordinator with the City of Austin/Austin Public Health Department’s Health Equity and Community Engagement Unit and the sponsor of KAZI’s “Health Talk”.

Mother Putting a Face Mask on her Son

Episode 10: August 5, 2020 – Fostering Mental Wellness for Kids Heading Back to School

In typical circumstances this would be an exciting time for kids and families, as they return to school to meet their teachers and see their friends again. Yet, our current circumstances are anything but typical -- as kids prepare to return to school in the midst of this continuing pandemic.

We spoke to our guests about ways to foster mental wellness for parents and kids as they prepare to go back to school during these unusual times.

Two Women Making a Salad

Episode 9: July 1, 2020 - Discussing A Better Me Wellness Program

A Better Me Health and Wellness Program was started in 2016 to help African American community members who wanted to make a lifestyle change to reduce risk factors for developing chronic diseases or better manage chronic diseases they were already experiencing. The program would also provide individual and group educational support and accountability coaching.

Woman in Black Crew Neck Shirt Wearing Headphones

Episode 8: June 3, 2020 – The Healing Power of Music; a Way to Sooth the Mind, Body and Soul

We are bombarded with challenges right now. Not only are we wrestling with a global pandemic that is ravaging communities of color at an accelerated rate, we are also responding to the tragic murder of another black man, George Floyd, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, MN. Now, more than ever, we seek a place of refuge and a spirit of hope.

Dr. Shalonda Horton and Dr. Ana Todd

Episode 7: May 6, 2020 – AMEN & School of Nursing Engage the Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We do not have a recorded podcast for the month of May. The article below highlights the conversation covered during Episode 7.

As we celebrated National Nurses Day on May 6th, 2020, Ana Todd, PhD, RN, Clinical Assistant Professor and Shalonda Horton, PhD, RN, Clinical Assistant Professor, at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing joined Jacki Hecht to discuss how the AMEN Team and The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing are engaging the community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Todd and Dr. Horton are co-investigators and community liaisons on the AMEN team.

Woman meditating in the outdoors

Episode 6: April 1, 2020 – AMEN Program Responds to Wellness Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 1st, Jacki Hecht was joined by Becky Morales, LCSW-S, therapist with Colors of Austin Counseling, to share insights into current stressors during COVID-19, how to navigate through this uncertain time and community resources that people can access.

Collage of mental health words

Episode 5: March 4, 2020 - Improving the Lives of All Persons Impacted by Mental Illness

The March podcast was led by Jacki Hecht, RN, MSN, Managing Director of the AMEN program at the UT Austin School of Nursing and featured Karen Ranus, the first Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Central Texas. NAMI Central Texas, formerly NAMI Austin, was founded in 1984 and is a member of the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Through innovative education, support and advocacy programs, NAMI Central Austin is changing the way our community addresses mental health.

Hands working together

Episode 4: February 5, 2020 - Enhance Awareness for Suicide Prevention

The February podcast highlighted our AMEN partner, the D. Wood Foundation Inc., a non-profit organization with a mission to enhance awareness for suicide prevention and advocate the importance of mental health. Jacki Hecht, RN, MSN, Managing Director of the AMEN program at the UT Austin School of Nursing was joined by Fabian Wood, CEO and founder of the D. Wood Foundation Inc.

Handshake with words

Episode 3: January 8, 2020 – Raising Awareness and Reducing Stigma around Mental Health Issues

The January podcast focused on AMEN partners that provide programs and events to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health issues. Jacki Hecht, RN, MSN, Managing Director of the AMEN program at the UT Austin School of Nursing was joined by Christina Smith, LCSW, Social Worker at Integral Care and Kimberly Holiday, “Lady Joy”, Marketing Outreach Chair for the Central Texas African American Family Support Conference.

Shannon W. Jones III, Jacki Hecht, Tara Hutson, and Daryl Horton

Episode 2: December 4, 2019 – Managing Stress through the Holidays

In this episode, Jacki Hecht, RN, MSN, Managing Director of the AMEN program at the UT Austin School of Nursing talks about the unique stressors that arise around the holidays. Tara Hutson, Family Nurse Practitioner and PhD student at the School of Nursing shares how stress impacts both physical and mental health, and offers tips for managing these stressors during the holidays. Reverend Daryl Horton from Mt. Zion Baptist church describes how AMEN and Mt. Zion are working together to help congregants become more mindful and engage in activities that reduce stress.


Episode 1: November 6, 2019 – Introducing the AMEN Program

Jacki Hecht, RN, MSN, Managing Director of the AMEN program at the UT Austin School of Nursing describes the mission and goals of the AMEN program while Pastor Ray Hendricks and Angela Bigham, health ministry leader and AMEN health worker from Rehoboth Baptist Church describe the needs within their church and how together, the AMEN program can help address these gaps. This show describes how researchers and clinicians from the School of Nursing are working with leaders from partnering churches to design and deliver a mental health and wellness program that is tailored to their needs.