MEET OUR STAFF

 

SARAH B. SCRUGGS, PHD, R-HYI

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR 

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. 

ETHAN M. SMITH, LPC

THERAPIST 

Mr. Smith holds a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Denver Seminary (CACREP-Accredited) and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Prior to working at Arukah, Mr. Smith spent 6+ years as a Program Strategy Manager for Save Our Youth Mentoring in Denver, CO, where he coached youth mentors through relational instruction and training, as well as facilitated problem-solving and goal-setting exercises. Prior to that he worked with the Providence Network and Denver Christian Schools as a clinical counselor, delivering therapy and support in group and individual formats. He is passionate to serve families that are facing issues in the home, such as hierarchical issues, issues with discipline, and struggles related to cohesiveness of the family unit. As a therapist at Arukah, Mr. Smith focuses on treating general mental illness for children, adolescents and adults, and is competent in addictions and crisis counseling

jAMIE L. TAYLOR, LPC

THERAPIST 

DIRECTOR OF PREVENTION  

Ms. Taylor has a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University in Chicago. She has worked with adolescents for over 15 years, and counseled since 2019. She has worked with a variety of trauma, addictions (including porn and sex), grief, non-suicidal and suicidal injury, lifelong conditions like bipolar and schizophrenia, anxiety and depression. She is EMDR-trained which treats trauma, addiction and other diagnoses. She has a passion to change lives and aid in the restoration of individuals by helping clients discover their strengths, build a support system, and develop healthy lifestyles. Her clinical vision is “to ensure my office atmosphere is a safe place for clients and their families to experience their vulnerabilities while sharing their stories.” Jamie is a Clinical Professional Counselor (LPC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), International Alcohol & Other Drug Counselor (AOD), and a trainer/teacher in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) and Applied Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). 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.

COURTNEY BAYER, R-HYI, C-HYI THERAPY 

MIND-BODY PROGRAM LEAD

YOGA THERAPIST  

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.