Mental Health Commission

The Mental Health Commission, composed of seven members, appoints the director of the Department of Mental Health with confirmation by the state Senate. Commissioners are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor, again with the confirmation of the Senate. The commissioners serve as principle policy advisors to the department director.

The Commission, by law, must include an advocate of community mental health services, a physician who is an expert in the treatment of mental illness, a physician concerned with developmental disabilities, a member with business expertise, an advocate of substance abuse treatment, a citizen who represents the interests of consumers of psychiatric services, and a citizen who represents the interests of consumers of developmental disabilities services. E-mail the Commissioners at

Photo of Mina Charepoo

Mina Charepoo is a board certified practicing psychiatrist at the Washington University School of Medicine.  After completing medical school at Drexel School of Medicine in Philadelphia, she moved to St. Louis, Missouri where she was accepted to Washington University's Department of Psychiatry's residency program.  Dr. Charepoo has been practicing adult psychiatry since 2003.  She lives in St. Louis with her husband and their three children.

Photo of Teresa Coyan

Teresa Coyan moved to the Springfield area in 2003 to attend Missouri State University, where she received her undergraduate degree in 2005 in Business Management with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship and in 2010 received her MBA through Webster University. Teresa started working at CoxHealth in 2008 and has had several roles over her 11 years with the organization. She currently serves as the Vice President of Public Affairs. In her role, she is the liaison between CoxHealth and local, state and federal legislators, business leaders, and the community. She is also active in a variety of community organizations including chairing the Governmental Relations Committee for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools, and Discovery Center Springfield. She was part of class 27 of Leadership Springfield and previously was a board member for the Board of Public Utilities. Teresa has been married to her husband, Justin Coyan for 13 years and they have two children, Connor (6) and Kinley (4).

Photo of Dana Hockensmith

Dana Hockensmith is the father of Philip (1971-2001), who had severe developmental disabilities. In 1977, Dana, along with his wife, Susan, founded the Pony Bird Home in Jefferson County. The home initially served 10 children with developmental disabilities, and now serves over 60 adults with developmental disabilities. Dana has served on the Board of Directors since its founding, including as President. He was Co-Chairman of the "Special Ones" campaign (Senate Bill 40 election), and he served as the first Chairman of the Jefferson County Commission for the Handicapped. During his time with the Commission, a new sheltered workshop, Jeffco Subcontracting, was built, and he served on it's Board as Chairman. He was appointed to the Board of the Midwest Special Needs Trust. Dana has a degree in Business Administration (Finance), Cum Laude, and a Juris Doctor degree, both from the University of Missouri, Columbia. In his forty years of legal practice, he represented numerous individuals and families of individuals with both physical and intellectual disabilities in matters involving education, placement, finances, medical rights, guardianship, and estate planning. Dana represented a number of organizations supporting persons with developmental disabilities, including the Autism Society of America. Dana has two daughters, Angela and Laura.

Photo of Brian Neuner

Brian Neuner is a journalist by degree and served as Sports Director at KOMU-TV for 11 years. He then was drawn into the Columbia, MO, community to serve as the UMB Bank Vice President and President for eight years. Brian continued to diversify his skills and spent time as a Business Development and Public Relations Director until landing in his current position as Chief Development and Marketing Officer for Special Olympics Missouri. With his volunteer time he is committed to improving health care in Mid-Missouri. Brian served on the board of Children’s Hospital in Columbia, the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing, and served as an officer, including chair, for the Boone Hospital Center Board of Trustees. Brian is married to his wife of 30 years, who is a pediatric nurse, and they have two daughters. His first introduction to mental health was through his mother-in-law who was an administrator at Fulton State Mental Hospital for more than 25 years. Brian has also been involved in programs like the Thompson Center for Autism and Step-up for Downs Syndrome. His combined professional and personal experience drives him to be an active voice and advocate for Missourians with mental illness and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Dennis Tesreau, Mental Health Commission

Dennis Tesreau is an attorney with the firm of Wegmann, Stewart, Tesreau, Sherman, Eden & Mikale, P.C. at Hillsboro, Missouri. Dennis has extensive experience in Municipal Law, including City Attorney for the City of Herculaneum and former Prosecuting Attorney for the City of Herculaneum and City of Hillsboro. He currently serves as Director of the Community Advisory Committee with the Missouri Foundation for Health, is former Director of Community Mental Health Board of Jefferson County, former Board Member of the Children’s Learning and Rehabilitation Center, and former President of Jefferson County Bar Association.

Photo of Lynn Unnerstall

Lynne Unnerstall is a retired inventory control analyst. She is married and the mother of two sons. In 1996, her younger son was hit by a drunk driver at the age of 18 and sustained a traumatic brain injury. In order to learn what options were available for her son, Lynne became involved with the Missouri Brain Injury Association and served on the Board for nine years, two years as President. She has also served as President of the Friends Foundation which helps fund requests from various service providers of persons with developmental disabilities to help enhance their lives. She currently serves on the Board of Advocates for Community Choice (ACC) including three years as President. ACC promotes choice of options in both living location and type of employment. Lynne is interested in local, state, and federal policies and budgets that affect those with developmental disabilities.