Staff Members

Jeff Franklin, M.S. Ed

Jeff Franklin is the Director of CRHSSD and has over 18 years of professional experience with special interest in the areas of Coordinated School Health Education, Bullying Prevention, Social and Emotional Learning, and Youth Development. He is a certified Master Trainer for CATCH and the Michigan Model for Coordinated School Health Education and has a Master’s Degree in Education. Prior to joining the staff of CRHSSD as the Illinois Delta Network Project Coordinator, he worked as an Educator for the University of Illinois Extension and also served as an Elementary School Health Educator providing oversight of the implementation of the 8-component coordinated school health model.  Jeff has also presented and co-presented on the regional, state and national level in the areas of school health, bullying prevention and social and emotional learning.


Kitty Juul, MCRP
Project Coordinator

Kitty Juul has a Master of Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico, with a special interest in rural, community-based planning. She has over 20 years of experience working in rural and remote communities in a variety of planning and public health-related positions. Her background includes public health preparedness and disaster response planning, community organizing, instructional design, and community health education. She is committed to decreasing health disparities, building resiliency through development of community coalitions, and addressing social and environmental justice issues.

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Nicholas Weshinskey, Ph.D., NCC
Lincoln Scholars Program Director

Dr. Nick Weshinskey is a licensed professional educator in the state of Illinois and holds a national board certification in counseling. He has been a high-school teacher, a psychotherapist, and a university faculty member and administrator. Prior to his work with the Lincoln Scholars, Dr. Weshinskey designed and oversaw curricular interventions to improve undergraduate students’ academic and psychosocial success. Dr. Weshinskey’s teaching and research interests include high education pedagogy, faculty development, student development and socialization, qualitative inquiry, and men’s studies.

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Eric Wiedenman
Project Coordinator, Illinois Delta Network

Eric Wiedenman is the Illinois Delta Network Project Coordinator for the Center. He received his B.D. in Disaster Psychology and M.A. in Kinesiology and Sport Science from the University of South Dakota. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Health Education and a Masters of Public Health from SIU. Prior to joining the CRHSSD staff, he worked as a doctoral research assistant for the Center, supporting Jeff’s work on the Illinois Delta Project Grant, as well as focusing on mental health and social-emotional learning in schools. Eric currently serves on the Jackson County Board of Health, providing guidance and direction to the Jackson County Health Department in addressing local health issues. Growing up in Huron, South Dakota, Eric is a lifelong resident of rural America; he is dedicated to improving the health of rural individuals through skill acquisition, community and social support, education, and policy development.

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Liesl Wingert
Project Coordinator

Mrs. Wingert joined SIU Medicine in 2018 as the Rural Health Project Coordinator for the eastern region of Illinois. Her responsibilities include partnering with local stakeholders in order to address community health issues in a twenty-county region, supporting the Director of the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development in regional health efforts, and supporting the interdepartmental efforts that expand the school’s programs in population health and regional service programs. Mrs. Wingert received her bachelor of science in applied health science from Indiana University and master of health administration from the University of Southern Indiana.

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Amy Preston
Office Support Associate

Amy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Administration from Southern Illinois Carbondale in 2015. She is currently enrolled in the Psychology program at SIUC. At the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development, she provides clerical support for staff; some of her duties include completing university forms and inventory, coordinating all CRHSSD Advisory Board meetings and Executive Committee meetings, and handling correspondence for the Advisory Board. She is responsible for correspondence, documentation, and filing, regarding the CEUs offered by the CRHSSD.

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Mary York
Graduate Assistant

Mary received her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis.  She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Psychology with a specialization in health psychology from SIU, and supports the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development as a graduate research assistant.  Prior to attending SIU, Mary’s experience has included clinical research and mental health services research where she has managed a variety of study projects.  A southern Illinois native, Mary is committed to improving the health of rural communities through research and evaluation efforts of empirically supported interventions and initiatives.