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Our Staff

Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

Amanda Boeke, PsyD

Amanda Boeke, PsyD


Dr. Boeke joined the Austin Lakes Hospital staff in November 2020. With over 16 years of clinical and administrative experience in Psychiatric Health, she brings a comprehensive understanding of practitioner and supervisory perspectives to the delivery of the behavioral health service continuum. Her background includes work in outpatient, acute and residential care, addiction prevention & treatment, and diverse therapeutic intervention. She holds great value in Leadership and finds it rewarding to work with the respected team of professionals at Austin Lakes Hospital.

Shiva K. Lam, M.D.

Executive Medical Director & Clinical Director For Adult Services

Dr. Shiva Lam graduated from Gandhi Medical College in Hydeabad, India with his Medical Degree. He completed his residency and fellowship at Austin State Hospital. Dr. Lam was awarded the Capital Area Mental Health Center Award for his outstanding service to the Austin Mental Health community. He has supervised Psychiatry Residents from the Austin Psychiatry Residence program since 1999 and also provides psychiatric services to a wide range of individuals.

Dr. Lam is a Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist, Board Certified in Psychiatry and has been an Attending Psychiatrist with St. David’s Pavilion since 1998. Dr. Lam is now the Executive Medical Director of Austin Lakes Hospital.

Vanajakshi Paturu, M.D.

Associate Medical Director

Dr. Vanajakshi Paturu began her career as a practitioner in general medicine and an instructor in the Dept of Pharmacology at Siddhartha Medical College University of Health Sciences & Research Institute in India. While earning her medical degree, Dr. Paturu also received a distinctive National Merit Scholarship. Her outstanding achievements have been noted in both her academic and professional endeavors working with adult and geriatric populations.

After moving to the United States, she performed research for Beth Israel Medical Center in NJ. Dr. Paturu then completed her residency in psychiatry at Bergen Regional Medical Center in NJ, and a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in NY. Dr. Paturu is Board Certified. Dr. Paturu joins Austin Lakes Hospital after being in private practice since 2001 and working in various health care settings.

Dan B. Smith, B.A.

Human Resources Director

Dan has worked in behavioral health since the 1970s, initially as a Mental Health Worker and Center Supervisor. He received his degree from Southwest Texas State University in 1976. In 1983 he began his career in Human Resources and has served with various behavioral health facilities and corporations at the director level since 1985. In 2007, after a 14-month Human Resources/Management Consultant adventure working with a Department of Defense contractor in multiple locations in Iraq, he returned to behavioral health, participating in the opening of Austin Lakes Hospital.

Julie Cooper, CCA

Director Of Medical Records

Julie joined Austin Lakes Hospital in 2011 and currently serves as the Director of Medical Records. Prior to coming to Austin Lakes, Julie worked for a multi-physician private practice managing medical records and for a durable medical equipment company handling Medicare appeals. She has 11 years experience in the medical field and completed her Certificate of Medical Coding at Austin Community College in 2006. Julie is a Certified Coding Associate through the American Health Information Management Association since 2007. She began her career with Austin Lakes Hospital as a medical coder before becoming the Director in 2013.

Elizabeth "Liz" Babb, LCSW

Director Of Clinical Services

Liz earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Social Work from Texas State University San Marcos. She joined Austin Lakes in 2014 as a Therapist and succeeded into other roles as Lead Therapist, Interim DCS, and Assistant DCS. Prior to joining Austin Lakes, Liz worked as a Case Aide for the Children’s Shelter in San Marcos, TX and as a direct care provider to adolescents at San Marcos Treatment Center. While obtaining her Bachelors, she interned at San Antonio State Hospital and volunteered at Austin State Hospital after graduating with her Masters. Liz has extensive experience working with abnormal psychology, crisis intervention, acute psychiatric care, case management, and discharge planning.

Miriam “Mimi” Nelson, RN, BSN

Director Of Utilization Review

Mimi joined Austin Lakes Hospital in January 2013. She graduated from the University of Texas School of Nursing in Houston, Texas. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse in multiple Texas and California facilities, ranging from a methadone clinic, chemical dependency units, intensive care units and inpatient psychiatric units with children, adolescents and adults. Additionally, she has worked as a charge nurse, house supervisor, nursing manager and Director of Nursing. Mimi’s current role involves oversight over clinical care coordination of patients, ensuring medical necessity criteria is met.

Adam Ramirez

Adam Ramirez

Director of Plant Operations

Adam joined Austin Lakes Hospital in 2020 as the Director of Plant Operations. Prior to joining Austin Lakes Hospital, Adam worked for Wellbridge Healthcare as Plant Operations and brings valuable knowledge of compliance and safe work practices in mental health to ALH. Adam started his career in facility management in 2005 with Mac-Gray, a commercial laundry company, and Travis County Sheriff’s Department which lead to his focus in the environment of care. Adam is a proud military veteran that served under two campaigns in the Middle East and has earned his Associates in Applied Science in Management from the Air Force University. Adam is currently working on completing his Bachelors of Arts and Applied Science degree from the University of North Texas (Go Mean Green!) Adam also incorporates his passion for golf as a member of the Pan American Golf Association which has allowed him to organize fundraisers for scholarships of graduating high school seniors since 2006!

Emily Vredenburgh, LMSW

Emily Vredenburgh, LMSW

Director Of Outpatient Services

Emily has been with Austin Lakes since 2014. Prior to transitioning into her role as outpatient director, she worked as a therapist at inpatient, and in utilization management. Emily attended Texas State University where she attained both her bachelors and masters degrees in social work. Emily began a career in social work in 2010 working at child protective services, then transitioned to a case management position for individuals diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities for the mental health authority of Comal County. She has previous experience facilitating groups for children, adolescents, juvenile probation, and co-facilitating substance abuse groups for both adults and adolescents in San Marcos, Texas. Emily has also worked as an emergency department social worker, and is experienced in crisis intervention. She is passionate about normalizing mental health with the goal of providing a safe and caring environment for the Austin community.

Valerie Slutz, LCSW

Director of Admissions

Valerie joined Austin Lakes Hospital in 2019 as an Intake Counselor before transitioning to the role of Director of Admissions. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Sciences from Texas Tech University, her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Lubbock Christian University, and her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to relocating to Austin, she worked as a Social Worker at an acute inpatient behavioral health hospital as well as an outpatient behavioral health clinic in Lubbock, TX. Valerie further developed her passion for crisis intervention counseling while expanding her experience and volunteering with the Lubbock Police Department Victim Services Team. After moving to Austin in 2015, Valerie began working for the local mental health authority throughout the crisis division where she worked in residential units, a psychiatric crisis clinic, and helped to pilot the first Emergency Observation Unit in Travis County. She also has experience providing training to local law enforcement agencies on responding to behavioral health crises. Valerie specializes in providing comprehensive care and crisis intervention to adults with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse diagnoses.

Amber Wilson

Community Liaison

Amber Wilson graduated from Texas State University with her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology. She has been working in the mental health field for 8 years now. She has worked with wide range of patients including Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, addiction and alcoholism, sexual assault victims, and has been a MHT and case manager for an adult and geriatric psychiatric hospital in San Marcos, TX. During this time, she was also a teaching assistant at Texas State for a forensic psychology class. Through her prior experiences, she has developed a passionate drive to bring awareness to mental health issues and to help the community obtain resources for their path to recovery in moments of crisis. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her husband and son, hiking, swimming, reading a good book, going to concerts, and watching Netflix until it asks, “Are you still watching?”

Lori Elder

Community Liaison

Lori Elder brings 5 years of expertise in the senior living industry with a focus on memory care. Prior to that, she built her career in the home health, hospice, and pharmaceutical healthcare industries. Her compassion for helping others has influenced her career since graduating with a Bachelors of Art in public relations and sociology from Texas State University. Lori enjoys spending time with her two children. She is an avid animal lover, and volunteers her free time in helping the many animal organizations in town.

Charlotte Carte

Charlotte Carte

Community Liaison

Charlotte joined Austin Lakes Hospital in March 2022. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Texas State University, and is looking forward to starting her professional growth in the Behavioral Health field. Prior to Austin Lakes, Charlotte had an internship at PAM Health Specialty and Rehabilitation Hospital in New Braunfels where she helped with marketing and worked closely with the Director of Quality and Case Management team. While learning from her current role and building connections, she hopes to eventually invest in real estate and possibly open her own business someday. In her spare time, she enjoys road trips, climbing at Austin Bouldering Project, floating down the river, and taking her dog on walks.

Nakisha Winterringer

Nakisha Winterringer, MSN, RN

Nakisha joined Austin Lakes Hospital as Director of Nursing in 2021. Prior to joining the team, Nakisha worked as a Director of Assisted Living and Nursing Director specializing in geriatric Healthcare in the Austin Area. She began working in behavioral and mental healthcare as a Nurse and Supervisor at the San Marcos Treatment Center in 2013, where she worked with children and adolescents. Nakisha earned her undergraduate nursing degree from Lamar University in Beaumont, TX in 2011, and her Masters of Science degree in Nursing Administration and Management from Aspen University in 2020. She has a strong passion for quality patient care and nursing advocacy. As an Austin native, Nakisha enjoys being outdoors and listening to live music. She loves spending time with her husband and cats, as well as playing her flute, traveling, and playing tennis.

Jesse Rodriguez, MS, MHSM

Director of Risk Management & Performance Improvement

Jesse joined Austin Lakes Hospital in December 2021 as the Director of Risk Management and Performance Improvement. Jesse has 15 years of experience in the medical field with the majority of his time spent in the areas of quality improvement, patient safety, and risk management. Jesse is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army where he served in two campaigns. While serving, Jesse earned his Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration from Park University and his Master’s in Health Systems Management from University of Arkansas – Grantham. Jesse’s passion for healthcare is rooted in the belief that everyone deserves excellent quality care and service. In his spare time, Jesse loves spending time with his wife and two daughters, expanding on his knowledge and education, working out, and watching sports.

Jose C. Garcia, BHA, LSSGB

Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer

Jose joined Austin Lakes November of last year. He recently graduated with his Bachelor in Healthcare Administration from Texas State University, and is eager to join the Behavioral Health field in hopes of growing and learning from everyone around him. Prior to Austin Lakes Jose worked at a developing medical group in San Antonio as healthcare project coordinator with a demonstrated interest in process improvement. Currently, Jose is working on a dual master’s program in healthcare administration and business administration in hopes of advancing his career and ultimately becoming a chief administrator officer. In his spare time you can find Jose playing spike ball at Zilker Park, hiking or swimming with his dog “Bruno”, attending concerts, or working out.

We’re Here to Help

Talking with one of the mental health professionals at our treatment center could help answer your questions. Our team wants to identify how we may be able to help you or your loved one improve daily life with our mental health services. We offer no-cost, confidential assessments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 512-544-5253.

Our inpatient and outpatient programs can help individuals deal with mental illness or behavioral health issues whether they’re suffering from depression, anxiety or other disorders. If you are currently experiencing an emergency, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.