About IRIS

The processes currently used to coordinate referring families to needed services are failing us. The Integrated Referral and Intake System (IRIS) was designed by a passionate team to help organizations connect those they serve to the right resources in their community.

Flowers Step 1
The Need

When this all started, we realized families were not accessing available and needed resources. Providers seemed to lack a shared understanding of available services and miss opportunities to make connections, so families fell through the cracks. There had to be a better way.

Flowers Step 2
The Spark

We knew that no one organization could meet all needs, which made referrals necessary—and difficult to keep track of. Too much paperwork, delayed responses, lack of transparency were recurring issues. Generating better results for families requires solving old problems in new ways.

Flowers Step 3
The Idea

IRIS grew out of those realizations. In our continued engagement with community champions and service providers, we have learned so much about what it takes to cultivate key relationships with people, to leverage technology, and to uncover the data needed to serve families better.

Our Core Team

Open Randi Harms 's Bio
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Randi HarmsMA


Randi is the IRIS team’s biggest fan. As co-director, visionary, strategist and overall facilitator of bureaucracy, Randi loves to help folks think in new ways, discover something they’re really good at, and embrace work that fills their cup. 

With degrees in Political Science and in Criminal Justice, Randi has a range of field experience from case manager, connecting justice-involved youth with life-changing community services, to data analyst for KS prevention and protective services. As she worked within the foster care system, prevention services aimed at keeping families together, and adult protective services—all of which rely on connecting parents, children, and older adults with community-based supports—Randi saw first hand the need for a tool like IRIS. Today, the contagious passion and enthusiasm of potential IRIS partners remains a bright spot for her—an indicator of positive change.

Randi would describe herself as a nurturer. Adopting slippers as her footwear of choice in the current WFH situation hasn’t impeded her efficiency in supporting her team and her two young children—and at nurturing her dream of, one day, working in a library where people come to connect, with literature, knowledge, themselves, and their community. 

Open Teri A. Garstka 's Bio
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Teri A. GarstkaPHD

Strategic Consultant

Teri is founder, co-director, strategic consultant, and IRIS’s biggest fan. Director of KU Social Dynamics Innovation Lab at the University of Kansas Life Span Institute, Teri has been involved in many large scale multi-partner data initiatives, helping use shared measurement approaches and solid implementation to support collective efforts to optimize the well-being of at risk children, youth, and families.

She is a strategic consultant for two software applications (DAISEY, IRIS) designed to make life easier, not harder, when it comes to serving families and demonstrating the impact of investments in high quality programs. Teri received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology in 1997 from the University of Kansas. She is continually working to understand how people and groups interact in a complex world, rigorously trying to bend systems and bureaucracy to better serve kids and families.

She wants you to know that, behind all that data-driven earnestness and at-all-costs altruism, she is hilarious. Secretly.

Open Loretta Severin 's Bio
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Loretta SeverinBA

Implementation Lead

Loretta wears many hats. Through collaboration with existing and potential community partners, she guides and develops continuous improvements to the implementation approach.

Every day is different but one thing remains constant: each new partner brings their needs and vision, a passion for their community and an excitement to move forward. 

For 10 years Loretta coordinated state-level projects on topics including substance abuse prevention and developmental health promotion, pairing policy and system-level initiatives with locally implemented strategies and collaborations. Empowering communities to create change doesn’t get old. 

The fact that Loretta tends to greet dogs before their humans doesn’t in any way diminish her commitment to supporting better services for human families—with or without canine friends.

Open Mary Orem 's Bio
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Mary OremBA

Research Project Manager

A member of the IRIS implementation team, Mary supports newly implementing communities as well as those working to grow and sustain their networks. 

What that really means is she gets to be a small part of making a difference for families not just where she lives, but across the country. She gets to see a small group (and sometimes one individual) create real change in their community. And she gets to provide technology to facilitate the tireless work of providers—that’s a pretty amazing feeling. 

Mary has a BA in History Education and worked as an educator and then youth and family case manager for over 10 years. With her background directly supporting families, Mary knows firsthand the importance of community connection and building relationships. This experience drives a desire to support those working with families on a daily basis and increase their capacity to impact social change for good.

Mary loves new experiences and is always up for an adventure, especially if it takes her outdoors. Whether running marathons, riding bikes, or hiking a new trail, Mary will take any opportunity to unplug and connect with family and friends.

Open Natasha Welsh-Miller 's Bio
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Natasha Welsh-MillerMA

Research Project Coordinator

Natasha is a lover of data. She’s in charge of maintaining and updating IRIS’ monthly data metrics and dashboards – including any incoming data requests from community partners. Aside from that, it’s also likely that you’d end up chatting with Natasha if you got in touch with the IRIS help desk. 
For Natasha, the variety of the work keeps things exciting, as does seeing the happenings at all levels: from early implementation in a new community to launched communities engaging with IRIS to foster positive change for families and patients. And getting to work with an amazing group of passionate and vibrant people who care so much about the communities they serve is an absolute joy. 
With a background in art history, and past experience as a Database Manager for a non-profit educational institution, Natasha finds that her ability to coordinate various demands makes her a key contributor to efficient communication between IRIS communities and the IRIS team. 
This knack for coordinating might also come in handy when Natasha travels, as she loves to do. In every city she visits, the first thing on her to-do list is to find all of the museums they have and visit as many as she can during her trip. Favorite destinations (to date!) are Chicago and Asheville, NC.

Open Mariah Winter 's Bio
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Mariah WinterAA

Research Project Coordinator

Mariah joined the team as an implementation coordinator to support community leaders with implementation and sustaining their IRIS networks. She became an IRIS believer while previously with the Illinois Department of Human Services’ All Our Kids Early Childhood Network Initiative doing community systems development work to make life better for the kids and families in her Southern Illinois community -- where she’s originally from! Before that she lived in Texas for 5 years as an early childhood educator with the US Army’s Child and Youth School Services at Fort Bliss. 

With a passion for social change, seeing any level of collaboration and progress is a beautiful thing to Mariah. Whether that be on a state or national level, or even just between community partners as they come together, collaborate to set a vision, and make changes to improve the lives of children and families. 

While Mariah has a taste for social change, she does NOT have it for celery. Do not bring it anywhere near her. Stick to carrots and other vegetables. 

Open Katherine Kanne 's Bio
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Katherine KanneBS

Research Project Coordinator

Having earned a BS in Psychology and a minor in English Studies, Katherine tends to live and operate at the intersection of art and science. While she is a lover of data and information, Katherine is also drawn towards human experience, beauty, art, and goodness. Her professional experience in clinical research helped develop a passion for data collection and analysis and the true impact it can have on public and individual health and well-being. These experiences have led her to where she is now on the IRIS implementation team. 

A St. Louis native, Katherine loves cheering on the Cardinals from Kansas City. She's a big fan of the human brain and would be happy to geek out about its structure and function to anyone willing to listen. In her free time, you can find Katherine either at a local coffee shop, exploring a record store, or having fun with her friends and family. 

Open Tanya Spacek 's Bio
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Tanya SpacekBGS

Research Project Coordinator

A behind-the-scenes superhero on the IRIS Team, Tanya fields and responds to many of the requests and questions that come through the IRIS Help Desk.

As a Driftless Area transplant who’s now spent half her life on the Kansas prairie, Tanya is firmly committed to making her current corner of the world a better place, whether that involves weeding community gardens, restoring local riverbanks with native plants, or taking to the streets to demand change. In her free time, you’ll find her listening to music, reading speculative fiction, or hiking in the woods with fellow nature nerds.

Open Julie Herzog 's Bio
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Julie HerzogAA

Research Project Coordinator

As a member of the IRIS team, Julie supports newly implementing communities, provides on-going support, assists in revisions to the IRIS process, and facilitates peer support opportunities. She brings community perspective to the team having previously led an IRIS Illinois community in the Tazewell, Peoria, and Woodford area with the Illinois Department of Human Services All Our Kids Early Childhood Network Initiative.

Julie has over 30 years’ experience in local and statewide early childhood systems, public health. She has a passion for community systems change and making a difference in the lives of children and families. She knows through experience that developing community partnerships and buy-in are essential to build and sustain healthy, connected communities.

Julie’s love of innovation flows onto canvases as well through her acrylic pour painting creations. Painting gives her the feeling of relaxation, creativity, and inspiration. She loves seeing others enjoy her paintings as well. Julie believes art can inspire change, make people feel certain ways and beautify our environment.

Open Joe Coburn 's Bio
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Joe CoburnMSW

IT Project Manager

There’s only one thing Joe wishes he could change about his career at CPPR: he would like to pick up Lawrence and move it closer to the ocean. 

Joe holds a Masters of Social Welfare from the University of Kansas and has always been focused in data, analytics, and technology.  As IT Project Manager, Joe oversees IRIS development cycles and interfaces across internal teams and external developers. He loves working behind the scenes, seeing new ideas percolating and helping those ideas become reality. 

When he’s not working, you’ll find Joe hanging out with his family. Whether they’re spending time out together doing stuff or just having downtime on the couch, Joe’s wife, kids, and dog are what bring meaning to his life. Cycling in the summer sun is also a passion. It doesn’t replace being by the ocean but it still does the trick.

Open Charlie Moore 's Bio
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Charlie MooreMA

IT Project Coordinator

With a background in computer animation, software, and journalism, Charlie works on the Application Management team and is keen on the culture of collaboration that exists within the IRIS team.

Charlie is also a fan of comic books and graphic novels. Pre-COVID she really enjoyed traveling with her daughter to comic conventions around the US and connecting with comic book professionals and fans.        

Open Kirk Rhorer 's Bio
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Kirk Rhorer BFA

IT Project Coordinator

Riding a wave of change throughout his career, Kirk eventually landed in the field of IT. With a long background in art history, customer service and support, electronics, and software testing and support, Kirk now works with the Application Management teams for IRIS. He supports the help desks for IRIS and DAISEY and creates and executes test plans for upcoming release and system updates.

In his free time, Kirk loves hanging out with his family, listening to music and attending concerts/visiting record stores. He's also an avid musician and songwriter and plays drums, guitar, and piano with varying degrees of skill. If you've ever seen his home office, you might think he should have his own 1980's themed skateboarding and rock and roll museum!

Our Values

People First

We value our people: the folks we work with and the families they serve. It starts and ends there.

Do and Improve

Services are designed to be used. We put our work out to the world to make an impact. We test, we pivot, we improve.

Amplify Voices

We walk with our partners to imagine and co-create. We listen, we learn, we amplify the impact of our collective work.

Add Seats to the Table

People are experts in their own lives. Healthy communities lift all voices.

How can we help

How can we help?

We believe in tech. We believe in data. Mostly, as you do, we believe in people’s ability to self-organize to improve systems that fail us. Take a look at our resource section to see if you can find what you need. If not, there’s a human on our team nearby.