Our Staff


Clinical Director


Dr. Laura C Taylor is a licensed clinical social worker who has been a faculty member with the University of Memphis School of Social Work since 2011. She has 23 years of professional experience as a social worker, is trained in psychodynamic therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and reflective supervision. Dr. Taylor has been in private practice for 11 years and specializes in supporting African American women's mental wellness.


Dr. Taylor's research interests involve social determinants of health that influence how African Americans seek out and experience mental health care. Her research also includes the experience of infertility among African American couples. Lastly, Dr. Taylor has five published peer-reviewed articles and has been an invited speaker, locally and nationally.




Sara Whitehurst is a Licensed Master Social Worker who has been with Apple Seeds since 2016. She is trained in Infant Mental Health, PATTCh (Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Child Birth), Postpartum Doula Care, and Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health. Sara specializes in supporting individuals and families with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, infertility, couples sessions, trauma, grief and substance abuse. Sara’s research interests involve mental health services and policy, prevention, generational trauma, and psychiatric and genetic epidemiology. 


Clinical Experience and Community Involvement:

Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Regional One Health

Christ Community Health Services

Memphis Center for Reproductive Health

Serenity Recovery Center

Grace House of Memphis




Tera Brownlee is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a designation of Mental Health Services Provider. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and her Master’s degree in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Memphis. Tera has experience counseling children, teens, and adults in various inpatient and outpatient settings. She has a passion for walking alongside clients as they heal and helping them navigate life transitions. She specializes is supporting women and young adults experiencing life transitions. Tera is a native Memphian and enjoys reading, spending time with family, travel, and attending live entertainment shows. 




Memphis native, Jelisa Anderson is a licensed professional counselor with mental health service provider designation (LPC-MHSP) in the state of TN. Jelisa has 7 years of professional experience working with ages 16 and up in the areas of anxiety and stress management, adjustment issues, addiction, maternal mental health, relational conflicts, and self-esteem/self-worth empowerment. She incorporates an array of therapeutic techniques and tools to cater to the specific needs of her clients. Jelisa is compassionate and dedicated to work in a collaborative process to assist clients in their progression to wellness.




Mr. Jamil Matthews is a LMSW graduating from the University of Memphis. He has been licensed for the past 2 years in both the state of Mississippi and the state of Tennessee. Jamil has experience with family dynamics in children and families, mental health stabilization in an acute care, as well as positive psychology to include mindfulness. 

Jamil’s research interest includes the fatherhood experience, co-parenting relationships, and the inclusion of child support and its effect on the parent child relationship. Jamil is a personal father of three wonderful children and has a wealth of experience linking people together through collaborative work within the community.  




Dianne Stacks has a M. S., and M. Ed. She is currently employed with the University of Memphis as a Victim Coordinator. She has 15 years of professional experience providing trauma related services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She works professionally to increase the public’s awareness of impact intimate partner abuse and sexual assault within African American Community.  She seeks to research the systemic impact of intergenerational traumatic experience within African American communities to empower African American families and other indigenous populations for change. 

Her most important mission was rearing her son, coordinating efforts to serve at-risk neighborhoods by connecting residents to resources, and developing a teen pregnancy nurturing parent program at Wooddale High School.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling experiencing the various other cultures of the world.  




Lauren Ellis Robinson is a graduate of the University of Memphis School of Social Work Master’s program. Lauren’s additional training is in infant mental health, trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, and animal assisted therapy. Her past work experience includes 10 years of community health, particularly OBGYN and neonatal work. 


Lauren’s practice interests include birth trauma, postpartum depression and mood disorders, and postpartum anxiety. She also has a keen interest in experiential factors that can enhance one’s therapeutic journey and healing. 




Sharena Thomas received her master’s degree in social work from Florida State University with a focus on Social Policy and Administration. She has worked in various schools in Memphis identifying barriers to success for students and partnering with community organizations to assist in addressing those barriers. Now an LMSW, her focus is on directly working with individuals to help them understand and improve their physical and mental well-being. She understands the importance of building a therapeutic alliance with clients that centers around teamwork, trust, and cooperation.