Roundtable Facilitator – James Rodriguez, LCSW, PhD
Dr. James Rodriguez is a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychologist in private practice with over 25 years of experience as a direct practitioner, trainer, and researcher in mental health services to children, youth, adults, and families. He is the Senior Director of Clinical Initiatives at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research and Adjunct Faculty at the NYU Silver School of Social Work.
Thursday, January 12 at 2pm ET
Snow Date: January 19 at 2pm ET
This roundtable discussion will focus on providing attendees with a thorough understanding of the experience of mental health stigma, including but not limited to the various types of stigma, the impact of the stigma experience on the help-seeking behaviors of those experiencing mental health challenges, and how mental health stigma impacts the quality of care provided to people impacted by mental illness. Panelists will share their personal and professional experiences with mental health stigma.
Like a lot of parents, Nancy started her “career” learning to navigate the child serving systems for her children. Little did she realize that her personal experiences would lead her on professional quest to ensure every family, no matter the challenges have access to a family peer helping to teach, coach and mentor parents as they journey towards their personal strength and empowerment.
Nancy has worked with Families Together for 27 years. First as a Regional Parent Advisor and currently as the Director of Community and System Engagement, leading a team of 10 Regional Parent Advisors engaging and advising the child serving systems on the value of family driven and youth guided practices, data collection and especially outcomes!
Nancy works closely with Family Peer Advocates in delivering the Family Needs & Strengths (FANS) outcome measure for Family Peer Support to use to quantify their excellent work with parents and caregivers.
Nancy also is passionate about residential experiences for families and their youth. She works closely with the Building Bridges Initiative to support organizational transformation within the residential framework leading to family driven, youth directed services and best practices for successful outcome for families and their youth.
In her spare time and in true advocacy fashion Nancy worked with other FPA’s to create a very low cost summer camp experience for the whole family to come together for three nights -four days in a safe supported environment to build those memories as a family, not an illness.
Emily Grossman, MA, CPRP, NYCPS-P has worked in mental health for over a decade, beginning on the “front lines” as a peer specialist in community mental health in NJ. After several years, she transitioned to doing mental health provider training and systems change work at large organizations such as The Jewish Board, Columbia’s Center for Practice Innovations, and the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS). In 2018, she was the winner of the National Council for Behavioral Health’s prestigious “Peer Specialist of the Year” Award. Currently, Emily is the Director of the Training Institute at Coordinated Behavioral Care and has a small private peer specialist practice. Emily frequently speaks nationally about mental health recovery. She holds a Master’s in Education from Columbia University.
Mya Haley is a peer specialist recovery trainer with the ACT Institute. She works to destigmatize mental health diagnoses and normalize the experience of those with lived experience and/ or psychiatric labels, both on clinical provider teams and as service recipients. Her goal is to continue breaking down walls of stigma that allow space for mistreatment and abuse within the mental health system while also centering lived experience as expertise that the system itself can benefit from when there is equitably and thoughtful inclusion.
Having worked for providers of mental health services in New York for many years, Larry has seen the transition of mental health services from the medical model to a more inclusive model of recovery oriented, person centered services.
Larry was a mental hygiene therapy aide for a New York State hospital, South Beach psychiatric center, in the late 1980s. He then went on hiatus from the field and worked in financial services for more than a decade, where among other things, he became a trainer of these services at a Fortune 500 company.
Seeking more meaning in his professional life, he returned to our field. He worked in several direct care positions for one of the largest private mental health systems at the time. One of those positions, was as the trainer for their Residential Services as well as providing training throughout that system. Another part of his job was community outreach. It was here that he joined the Staten Island Mental Health Council, started to work more closely with the city, and back when the city had the Federation of Mental Health Councils for the five boroughs, he co-researched and wrote a report on stigma and anti-stigma efforts for the Federation. This was a very important topic to him, because as the community liaison for a large residential system, he saw firsthand how the misinformation and misunderstandings about mental health issues that the public had, directly and unfairly impacted the rights and lives of people receiving services.
In the last eight years, Larry has worked for NYAPRS, getting his CPRP, he is the New York City and Long Island Training and Technical Assistance Facilitator, as well as being promoted, first to the Training Collective Team Leader position in 2021, and then taking over the Training Collective as its Manager in 2022. In this role, he brings recovery oriented, person-centered, culturally competent and trauma and resiliency informed practice to the mental health services provider community.
Taina Laing, MSW, NYCPS, has been employed at Baltic Street AEH, Inc. since 2002 and was appointed as the new CEO as of September 2020. Taina brings over 20 years of peer supervision, advocacy, and vocational services to individuals with mental health diagnoses. Taina is passionate about advocacy that addresses equality and service disparities in low socioeconomic communities. She believes in the power of peer specialists and the integration of peer advocates in all areas of recovery and support. Taina often states, “Peer advocacy supports are integral to all social determinants of health! We cannot allow social or health policies to be written without the inclusion of the peer perspective and insight.”
Taina participates on several committees and boards across New York State; she was recently elected the Co-President of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), sits on the New York State Peer Certification Board, Institute for the Development of Human Arts (IDHA) board, WCNY-IPA, and is a professional participant in developing and overviewing the exam of the MHA National Certified Peer Specialist. Taina graduated from Stony Brook University with her MSW and is a New York State Certified Peer Specialist and is looking forward to pursuing her Ph.D. in researching transgenerational trauma and the links of systematic oppression within the mental health and justice system.
Ben Riker is a father of two, a person in recovery, and a passionate advocate for data-driven, evidence-based policy surrounding education, treatment, and recovery from Substance Use Disorders. His professional background includes all aspects of organizational peer-professional integration and programming including training, coaching, and supervision as well as community and professional education and outreach. Ben is a FOR-NY Best Practice Trainer, a member of the ASAP-NYCB Trainer Registry and serves on the Partnership to End Addiction’s FIRST Research Network National Advisory Board, Faces and Voices of Recovery’s National Public Policy Committee and the NY Association of Substance Abuse Provider’s Harm Reduction Committee.
Thursday, January 26 at 2pm ET
Snow Date: February 2 at 2pm ET
This roundtable discussion will focus on the issue of the impact of mental health stigma on people from diverse populations, including BIPOC and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The discussion, facilitated by a psychologist, will delve into the nuances of intersectionality in the experience of multiple forms of stigma and how this intensifies the negative experience. This roundtable will increase attendees’ understanding of discrimination in the mental health system and improve overall cultural competence within the workforce.
Darlene Carrera is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has dedicated her career to working with children, young adults, families, and trauma survivors. Darlene completed her BA in Psychology from University of California, Irvine. She moved across the country to complete her Master’s in Social Work at Columbia University, New York. In addition, she has completed a certificate at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York and trainings for Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Facilitated Attuned Interactions (FAN) model, and Triple P (Positive Parenting Program). Darlene has worked in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx as a social worker and taken leadership positions in mental health clinics, care coordination and Ontrack programs. She is currently a Clinical Trainer for New York State Coordinated Specialty Care Programs at the Center for Practice Innovations.
Ruth Colón-Wagner is the CEO & Executive Director of VCS Inc. Ruth has over 33 years of experience in the fields of Child Welfare, Homeless Services, Employment, and Mental Health Care working with children, adults, and families. For the last 30 of those years Ruth has worked in a variety of leadership positions. Prior to joining VCS, NYAPRS, Ruth served as Director of Training & Development with NYAPRS and provided national technical assistance and training in a variety of specialties to include: organizational culture change from traditional care to a recovery-oriented system of care, organizational capacity building and sustainability, anti-racism organizational culture change, board development, succession planning, and strategic planning. Ruth received a Master’s of Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work and is licensed as a social worker in New York State.
Ruth identifies as a parent of an adult child with lived experiences. These experiences inform all aspects of her work. Ruth is also proud to work for an organization that is progressive and committed to anti-oppressive practices, health equity, and anti-racism work and is brave enough to engage in difficult conversations to advance social equality for all.
Kim D. Kaiser is the Director of Diversity Equity and Inclusion for Families Together in New York State and the director of Programming and Peer Support for the Color of Autism Foundation. Kim is the parent of a child on the Autism Spectrum, an advocate, trainer, artist, and speaker. Kim serves on the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Advisory Committee, SPARK Research DEI Committee, Nonprofit Boards, and community-based initiatives. Over the past 39 years, Kim has served in Disability, Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, and Mental Health systems in the US, Africa, and the Caribbean. Her work focuses on efficacy, equity, inclusion-based engagement, and cultural adaptations to the work of clinicians, researchers, and systems. Kim recently served as the lead author of a study on culturally congruent training for Black Parents and has worked with Kim has been named Advocate of the Year by Families Together in New York State and received a letter of commendation from Bronx Family Court for exemplary family advocacy. Kim’s work has been featured in Media outlets such as Spectrum News ( Autism Research), CNN, CBS, Forbes Magazine, Autism Speaks, and Netflix.
Randy Killings was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY with a host of siblings. He graduated from George Wingate High School at the top of his class and afterwards, he attended John Jay College for 2 ½ years. He began modeling during college and decided to pursue modeling as a career for 4 years.
Despite his home life being supportive and loving, Randy began experiencing trauma at an early age. However, he was unaware what the trauma consisted of. He knew the trauma was not associated with his sexuality because his family was very accepting. Randy also was living with a mental health disorder that aided in covering up the traumatic experiences. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and doctors highly medicated him at the age of eight.
The combination of Randy’s mental health disorder and the trauma he experienced led him to begin using drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, the drugs and alcohol brought Randy down a road of criminal activity and he was sent to prison many times. His last arrest garnered him 10 years in a New York State prison facility.
Randy swore that when he was released from prison, things would be different. He got clean and sober while in prison and now has almost sixteen years of sobriety. Also since his release, he has successfully become a productive member of society. He graduated from Howie the Harp, a forensic training program in New York City, at the top of his class. He is now working at a psychosocial club that provides advocacy and support to LGBT identified mental health consumers. He started out as a peer specialist intern and is now the Director of Peer Services with many responsibilities. He supervises nine Certificated Peer Specialist staff, interns from Howie T. Harp Peer training program, and all volunteers. (Randy also is a CPS). Randy is also the food coordinator of agency’s meal program. He has facilitated many groups, solutions group and the Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) groups, a group that teaches group members about wellness and recovery and how to maintain it. Gay men’s group, self-acceptance and games night a group that assists members with getting alone with one another.
Randy has had a hard bout with dealing with the co-morbidity of his trauma and mental illness. He searched until he found a therapist that could adhere to his needs and help him with what he wanted to be helped with. Now, he is flourishing. Randy knows that he will never be recovered. He will always be recovering. He embraces life today and that makes all the difference in the world to him. Randy has a partner of sixteen years that supports his every endeavor. They live together in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn, NY.
Katheryn Roberson, PhD, EdM, has her doctorate in Counseling Psychology and has provided mental health services to communities of Color, primarily in NYC, for eight years. She has clinical experience working with children, adolescents, and adults. Currently, Dr. Roberson is a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Health Equity Research where she is working on projects related to reducing stigma in the Black community. She believes promoting mental health equity benefits from a two-pronged approach where (1) people are provided the resources to build resilience and promote health, and (2) systems that uphold inequity are challenged and transformed.
Tiara (she/her) is an ambitious leader, mental health advocate, and a community organizer who is dedicated to ensuring the voices of youth and young adults within underserved communities are not only heard, but recognized and used as a driving force for change within all child serving systems. Driven by her own lived experience with the foster care and mental health systems, her goal is to advocate for access to quality care for those within marginalized and oppressed communities. Tiara takes pride in her ability to provide skill development and create spaces where all youth and young adults can be empowered to take charge of their own lives. In addition to her primary job functions as the Director of Youth Power at FTNYS, Tiara is also an alumni of CUNY Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work where she obtained her Master of Social Work degree.
Thursday, February 9 at 2pm ET
Snow Date: February 16 at 2pm ET
This roundtable discussion will focus on the role of the media’s impact on mental health stigma with a focus on the ways the media can promote positive contact and social inclusion to mitigate the effects of mental health stigma. This roundtable, facilitated by a psychologist, will improve attendees’ understanding of the media’s impact on mental health stigma and address common misconceptions and facts about those diagnosed with a mental illness.
Ellen Barry is a mental health correspondent for The New York Times. She joined the Times in 2007 and has served as bureau chief in Moscow and Delhi, and in London as Chief International Correspondent. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2011 for a series on corruption and impunity in Russia.
Daniel Bergner is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and the author of six books of nonfiction—The Mind and the Moon, Sing for Your Life, What Do Women Want?, The Other Side of Desire, In the Land of Magic Soldiers, and God of the Rodeo—as well as a novel, Moments of Favor. Sing for Your Life was a New York Times bestseller and a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of the Year. In the Land of Magic Soldiers received an Overseas Press Club Award for international reporting and a Lettre-Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage and was named a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. God of the Rodeo was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. In addition to the New York Times Magazine, Daniel’s writing has appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, Harper’s, Mother Jones, Talk, and the New York Times Book Review, and on the op-ed page of the New York Times. His writing is included in The Norton Reader: An Anthology of Nonfiction.
Christina Caron is a reporter for the Well section at The New York Times, covering mental health and the intersection of culture and health care. Previously, she was a parenting reporter, general assignment reporter and copy editor at The Times. She also spent a decade working in broadcast news, primarily as an online editor, and has worked as a clinical research coordinator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Ms. Caron attended Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and earned a master’s degree from the Missouri School of Journalism.
Lindsay Holmes Brech is the Senior Wellness & Travel Editor at HuffPost, where she oversees the health and travel content for HuffPost Life. She was selected for a National Press Foundation mental health fellowship in 2016 and has moderated multiple panels on stigma reduction. She’s passionate about how the media can responsibly cover mental illness and has consulted on professional guidelines for reporting on suicide. She graduated with a degree in journalism from The University of Central Florida in Orlando and is based in New York.
Micha Kirsch-Ito (he/they/we) is an artist and thinker from Philadelphia, PA/Susquehannock and Delaware land. Our passions include gender decolonized and gender affirming care as trauma-informed care, neuroaesthetics and media analysis, and infusing lived experience in institutional change. Currently, he works at Vibrant Emotional Health as a Communications Program Manager in the Equity & Belonging Department.
Thursday, March 2 at 2pm ET
Snow Date: March 9 at 2pm ET
This roundtable discussion will focus on the work of community-based organizations and advocacy groups to identify and implement strategies to promote social inclusion, reduce mental health stigma, and/or mitigate its negative impact in the lives of people with mental illness. This roundtable, facilitated by a psychologist, will educate attendees about effective strategies to reduce the harmful effects of stigma on multiple levels, including, but not limited to, personal and structural stigma.
Glenn Liebman has been CEO of the Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS) since 2004. MHANYS is a member-driven organization with 26 affiliates in 50 counties throughout New York State, dedicated to educating the public about mental illness and mental health while advocating for positive transformation of the mental health system and reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.
During Mr. Liebman’s tenure, MHANYS has been instrumental in the implementation of several important initiatives including Mental Health Parity (Timothy’s Law), Mental Health Education in School (New York being the first in the nation to have this mandated), Enhancement of Community Based Mental Health Services, Mental Health Public Awareness, Criminal Justice Reform, Workforce and many other public policy reforms. MHANYS has also been recently named among the Top 10 Mental Health Leaders in City and State’s publication.
Prior to joining MHANYS, Mr. Liebman served as Program Director of Adult Home Initiatives at the New York State Department of Health, Project Director at the New York State Office of Mental Health, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Mentally Ill of New York State (now NAMI-NYS), and as a Confidential Assistant in the administration of Governor Mario Cuomo. Mr. Liebman was also a freelance sports writer for several years.
Mr. Liebman serves as a member of the New York State Justice Center Advisory Committee, the New York State Geriatric Mental Health Council and was a member of the Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team on Social Determinants of Health. He currently serves as chair for New York State’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council (BHAC).
Mr. Liebman has received policy awards from several organizations and is the first recipient of the New York State Senate Thomas P. Morahan Leadership Award in Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.
Mr. Liebman was honored as one of City and State’s Top 50 Health Care Executives in New York State from 2019 through 2021.
He lives with his wife and son in Albany, New York.
Harvey Rosenthal has over 45 years of experience working to promote public mental health policies and practices that advance the recovery, rehabilitation, rights, and full community inclusion of individuals with psychiatric disabilities and/or diagnoses.
He has provided service in inpatient and outpatient treatment settings, served a director for a clubhouse program for 10 years in Albany New York and as CEO of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) since 1993.
Under his leadership, NYAPRS’ advocacy has helped to transform state and national mental health systems, increase access to community-based housing, employment and peer support services, and advance numerous recovery and criminal justice related mental health reforms.
Harvey has helped to create several nationally acclaimed and replicated peer support and transformational training innovations, including the NYAPRS Peer Bridger Model™, the NYAPRS Training Collective and Project Inset, a peer led outreach and engagement and support initiative for people with repeat experiences with homelessness, incarceration and hospitalization.
He has also worked to fight stigma, discrimination, and human rights violations and to advance informed choice protections, self-directed care and racial equity.
Harvey currently serves on the boards of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and the College for Behavioral Health Leadership and as a member of New York’s Most Integrated Setting Coordinating Council, Value Based Payment Work Group and the Advisory Council for the New York Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.
His work has been recognized with the highest honors from Mental Health America, the College for Behavioral Health Leadership, the U.S. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, the National Association of Peer Supporters and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.
His commitment to our community is personal, dating back to a psychiatric hospitalization at age 19.
Dr. Smith-Wilson brings over 20 years of human service and addiction experience to Friends of Recovery-New York. Angelia’s career spans across working with human service agencies that have served individuals with mental health, substance use, residential, and homeless issues. She has worked as an intensive case manager, a primary therapist, a director of client services and eventually progressing to level of vice president throughout the greater Rochester area.
Angelia has centered her career around improving treatment outcomes for those in recovery, as well as exploring research designed at substance use counselor development. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled, “Examining the Relationship between the Substance Abuse Counselor Knowledge of the Models of Disability and their self-assessment of cultural competence working with the Deaf Sign Language User,” afforded her the opportunity to learn and study addictions from the counselor’s perspective.
Dr. Smith-Wilson has a B.S. in Psychology from SUNY Brockport, Master of Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Doctorate in Education from St. John Fisher College. Dr. Smith-Wilson is adjunct faculty at the School of Social Welfare, Graduate MSW Program, University of Albany, where she teaches Macro Practice Social Work in the MSW program and a variety of undergraduate courses.
Angelia is currently a member of Black Faces, Black Voices, and on the CAPRRS Advisory Committee for Faces and Voices of Recovery.
Euphemia Strauchn is a founding member and CEO of the grassroots family run agency Families On The Move of NYC, Inc. She grew up in a home and neighborhood in which mental health awareness was necessary. Her mother, brother, seven neighbors, herself, and later three of her children received mental health services. Hearing offensive comments about people because of their mental health status was hurtful. The jokes made by people who did not understand mental illness, and words of hopelessness by therapists and psychiatrists were further traumatizing. These early memories taught Euphemia the painful, long-lasting effects of mental health stigma firsthand.
Having experienced how dehumanizing stigma can be, Euphemia determined that she would never make anyone feel hopeless or less than because of their mental health status. Committed to providing supportive services to families like hers, and those of her childhood neighbors, in an environment that is welcoming, non-stigmatizing, and that did not criticize or blame. With the support of leaders from the Children’s Division of State Office of Mental Health Field Office (OMH), and local Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), Euphemia, leaders in the Family Support Movement, and advocates from the five boroughs, worked together, and formed Families On The Move of NYC, Inc. through the 2002 NYC System of Care Grant (SOC).
Euphemia presented at conferences on local and national platforms and panels. She has served on numerous committees including the Governor’s Task Force, and most recently the Behavioral Health Advisory Committees, the Administration for Children and Families (ACS) Family and Youth Justice RAPC Committee, and currently serves on the Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee, Justice Center Advisory Committee, United Health Fund PEDS Board of Advisors, and the DOHMH Stakeholder Advisory Committee, the Staten Island Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Committee, and others representing family voice.
Euphemia has an MSW, is Certified in Health and Mental Health Christian Counseling, Medical Billing and Coding, and is a Credentialed Family Development Worker/Instructor. Over her twenty-six years in the Family Support Movement, she has served as a Co-Project Director, Training Director, Director of Cultural Competency, Family Support/Engagement Specialist, and Co-Chaired the OMH Citywide Coordinated Children’s Services Initiative Committee for the NYC System of Care Grant. She provides technical assistance on local and national levels and was a consultant in the development of NYS Parent Empowerment Project (PEP), instrumental in the restructuring of the NYC DOHMH Parent Resource Centers into the Family Support Programs. Euphemia conducted site visits for SOC communities nationally through SAMHSA. She has facilitated training in Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid, CCAR Peer Recovery Coach, Trauma Informed Care 2.0, Recovery 101, Anger Management and Parenting Train the Trainer, and Engaging Families. In addition, she developed two Family Strengthening Programs for SAMHSA grants in NYC.
Euphemia works to educate people about mental health to reduce beliefs that contribute to stigma. She promotes hope, person first language, individualized person-centered care, cultural responsiveness, resiliency, recovery, “nothing about us without us.”
Euphemia is the mother of four, has twenty-two grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Daniel Tanh, LCSW, is originally from Philadelphia and currently resides in Brooklyn. He is a licensed clinical social worker who brings compassion and insight from partnering with youth, families, and adults through his experiences in after-school programs, summer camps, various community mental health programs, and in his own private practice. Drawing from his identity as an English- and Teochew Chinese-speaking Asian American son of refugee parents who escaped the Cambodian genocide, his strategies hone in on the ways that societal ideologies, community institutions, interpersonal interactions, and internalized beliefs can prevent or promote individual and community prosperity and health. He believes that mental health is about overall wellness and incorporates social justice as part of his social work and behavioral health practices, consulting services, and community activism. He was most recently the Team Director and Primary Clinician of an OnTrackNY team which supports individuals experiencing first-episode psychosis at the Jewish Board, where he was also a leader within the agency’s Confronting Structural Racism (COR) initiative. He continues his community-building efforts within his current role as an Executive Committee of the New York Coalition for Asian American Mental Health, where he co-founded NYC’s first peer supervision group for Asian American mental health and community wellness professionals. He is also the Assistant Director of Learning Innovation at New York University’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, where he supports the training, technical assistance, and growth needs of the New York mental health workforce.