MEET OUR STAFF
SARAH B. SCRUGGS, PHD, R-HYI
Dr. Scruggs holds a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Medicine, and postdoctoral training in functional omics sciences and data science at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She is also certified in general yoga instruction and in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Dr. Scruggs worked as a Project Scientist at UCLA on several National Institutes of Health-funded projects that discovered novel mechanisms underlying complex disease pathogenesis. In 2017, Dr. Scruggs relocated to central Illinois and founded the Arukah Institute, with the goal of bringing holistic and innovative methods of behavioral healthcare to rural communities. Dr. Scruggs has 18+ peer-reviewed publications and several digital research products. She is a strong proponent of team science and collaborative work to accomplish a common goal.
STEPHANIE N. GUSTAFSON, BS, R-HYI
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS & MARKETING
GENERAL & PRENATAL YOGA INSTRUCTOR
Ms. Gustafson holds a B.S. in Interior Design from the International Academy of Technology and Design, and is certified in both general and pre/post-natal yoga instruction from the Yoga Alliance-accredited Holy Yoga Inc. She is also certified in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Prior to joining the Arukah staff in 2017, Ms. Gustafson worked as an Office Manager in the Human Resources division at BC Tech in Princeton, IL. Ms. Gustafson is highly skilled in multi-media marketing and handles general operations and day-to-day functions of Arukah’s programming. In her yoga practice, Ms. Gustafson desires to create a space of belonging for those who have never felt accepted or worthy.
SARA N. SCRUGGS, LCSW, R-HYI, TSI
TRAUMA-SENSITIVE YOGA INSTRUCTOR
Ms. Scruggs has a Master’s in Social Work from Aurora University and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In addition, Ms. Scruggs holds a trauma-sensitive yoga instructor certification from the Yoga Alliance-accredited Holy Yoga, Inc. and a certification in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Ms. Scruggs has 10+ years experience in social services, working at DCFS and the Ray Graham Association in the Chicago suburbs before relocating to Bureau County to work with the Arukah Institute as well as the Bureau, Marshall, Putnam Special Ed Cooperative. As a therapist at Arukah, Ms. Scruggs specializes in trauma-sensitive therapies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, marriage counseling and individual adult counseling.
JAMIE L. TAYLOR, LPC (IN PROGRESS)
DIRECTOR OF PREVENTION
Ms. Taylor has a B.S. in Education from Trinity International University and is currently completing her Master’s in Clinical Counseling from Northwestern University in Chicago, as well as her Licensed Professional Counseling licensure. She is a certified instructor in Youth Mental Health First Aid and in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. She has over 10 years of experience as a teacher in education. In her role at Arukah, Ms. Taylor leads the Suicide Prevention Program, provides training for teachers and parents on youth mental health, and instructs teen group counseling. Ms Taylor is passionate about counseling children and teens in rural populations using the latest and best therapeutic approaches.
COURTNEY BAYER, R-HYI, C-HYI THERAPY
MIND-BODY PROGRAM LEAD
Ms. Bayer leads Arukah’s Mind-Body Program and holds a yoga instruction certification from the Yoga Alliance-accredited Holy Yoga Inc., as well as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and Yoga Therapy. She began her professional career in Louisiana as a dancer, dancing for the New Orleans Saints dance team. Ms. Bayer joined Arukah in 2017 as a yoga instructor, and soon thereafter began pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification as a more in-depth approach for addressing specific musculoskeletal conditions in a 1-on-1 format. Ms. Bayer desires to provide rural populations with safe and effective modalities for enhancing self-regulation, strength, flexibility, and inner peace, while reducing negative self-talk and insecurities.