First earning a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Christian education, magna cum laude, from Northeastern Bible College, Debbie L. Bacon, EdD, subsequently obtained a master’s degree, with distinction, from Arcadia University. She began her career in 2006 as a behavior support consultant for children before holding that same role with a residential community from 2010 to 2014. In 2014, she established D. L. Bacon Consulting LLC, where she provides seminars and training on mental health and mental illness to various organizations. Four years later, Dr. Bacon additionally joined Applied Counseling & Consulting Services, LLC, where she works with teams and individuals to assess and address their behavioral health needs.
Attributing much of her success to her passion for helping people with intellectual disabilities, Dr. Bacon also credits the connections she has made with fellow health professionals. She is particularly grateful to Dave Leamer, a mentor of 20 years and her current boss at Applied Counseling & Consulting, who helped her get her start working with adults with disabilities and grow as a professional. In 2021, she capped off her ongoing formal education by achieving a Doctor of Education in behavioral health at Grand Canyon University, which she considers to be the highlight of her career. Furthermore, Dr. Bacon is very proud she was able to help several of her clients move into supportive living communities, giving them greater independence in their day-to-day lives.
Dr. Bacon stands out for her approach to behavioral health as peer mentorship instead of exclusively as a caregiver/patient relationship. Her focus is on providing guidance, opportunities and connections and then allowing her patients to make their own decisions about what they want or need. While most of her clients come to her through referrals from private businesses, she has also partnered with several other agencies, including Kaleidoscope and the Bureau of Supports for Autism and Special Populations of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Throughout her career, Dr. Bacon has been continually motivated to develop new ways to help people move forward, overcome challenges and live their most fulfilling lives while managing mental illness and/or disability.
Looking toward the future, Dr. Bacon’s goal is to develop a mission to support people with special needs on their path to ministry through collaboration with colleges and universities. Coming from a background in religious education, which includes her doctoral dissertation on spiritual influence and people with intellectual disabilities, she notes the importance of mentorship and training in religious studies and feels strongly about making those resources accessible to people with different needs. Dr. Bacon hopes to see the mission established in the next 10 years to help create opportunities for connections both locally and on a global scale.
Living her life by the motto, “Educating and empowering others,” Dr. Bacon would advise young and aspiring professionals that while every day is different, it is always incredibly exciting to see people progress and achieve the ability to live their lives independently. Knowing that you have made an impact on someone’s life is incredibly gratifying. For her excellence, Dr. Bacon has been listed in the Biltmore Who’s Who registry on multiple occasions and was twice featured in Who’s Who for American Teachers. Early on, she was recognized in Who’s Who Among Students.
Growing up, Dr. Bacon’s parents, Richard and Evelyn Greenfield, placed considerable emphasis on having a strong work ethic and the value of education. The mother of three children herself, Hanna, Sarah and Josiah, she is incredibly proud that her son and one of her daughters have found their own careers working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. When she is not working, Dr. Bacon enjoys spending time with her family, which has now grown to include five grandchildren.