When Cynthia Mason took on the presidency of MHAW’s component agencies in 2013, Clubhouse of Suffolk, the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County, and Suffolk County United Veterans were three independent organizations. She played a key role in shepherding the official consolidation a year later.
Cynthia had been associated with Clubhouse since 1993, first working as a Rehabilitation Counselor as well as a job coach, intake interviewer, and grant administrator. Her passion for working with those with mental illness, as well as her love for the Clubhouse model, made her a perfect choice for a spot on the Clubhouse board where she served for 10 years as Second Vice President, before being elevated to Board President.
Cynthia began working in the mental health field in 1977 at Kings Park Psychiatric Center. She rose from an aide, to supervisor, to administrator. Cynthia was part of the team that opened the original State Operated Community Residences (SOCR) and the Residential Care Center for Adults (RCCA), both on the Kings Park grounds.
While at Kings Park, Cynthia received her Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology and History from Stony Brook University. She went on to receive a Master of Science in Health Care Administration from The New School of Social Research.
Cynthia tutors middle school and high school students in writing, English and other subjects. During the summer, she teaches painting classes for teenagers at the Emma S. Clark Library in Setauket, NY.
Kristie Golden, Ph.D.
Kristie Golden, Ph.D., has a Doctorate in Arts and Sciences with a concentration in Health Administration from Union Institute and University, a Master of Science in Education and Rehabilitation Counseling from Hofstra University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Stony Brook University. Dr. Golden is nationally certified as a Rehabilitation Counselor (C.R.C.), licensed in New York State as a Mental Health Counselor (L.M.H.C). She is currently the Associate Director of Operations for the Neurosciences Service Line at Stony Brook University Hospital, including Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery. In this role she works with hospital and physician leadership, department administrators, and key stakeholders to focus efforts on the success of the neurosciences service line through strategic planning, business development, and operational effectiveness. Prior to this role she served as the Administrator for the Department of Psychiatry at Stony Brook where she was responsible for clinical and business operations, planning, department finances, and overseeing human resource functions.
Previous experience includes her role as Vice President at South Oaks Hospital and Broadlawn Manor, where was responsible for ambulatory healthcare operations and business planning. She also supervised clinical oversight, budget management, quality improvement activities, legislative advocacy, grants, research, and community development.
Dr. Golden pioneered the first vocational rehabilitation program at South Oaks as well as other behavioral health and school transition services benefitting countless children, adolescents, and adults. She also created the first Grants and Research Department for the organization.
An adjunct professor at Hofstra University and Suffolk County Community College, Dr. Golden has taught graduate counseling and vocational rehabilitation. She is an advocate in the areas of primary care and behavioral health integration, vocational counseling, and work-skill development for those with disabilities as well as innovative prevention and treatment in the area of addiction.
Dr. Golden has served on several not-for-profit boards. She was President of the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County; Chairperson of the Provider Advisory Committee for the Long Island Behavioral Health Organization; Vice President of Clubhouse of Suffolk; as well as a board member of Concern for Independent Living, the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, the Curriculum Advisory Board at Hofstra University, and the Transition Task Force with the Nassau County Mental Health Association.
Dr. Golden has also served on a number of legislative-appointed committees including the Suffolk County Heroin and Opiate Epidemic Advisory Board; the Nassau County Prescription Drug Task Force; and, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council of Suffolk County.
Dr. Golden has received several awards during her career including two Peer Recognition Awards and the George Estabrook Distinguished Service Award from Hofstra University as well as recognition as Organization of the Year Award from the National Rehabilitation Association.
Active in her local community, Dr. Golden is a Girl Scout Troop Leader and Boy Scout Troop Committee Chairperson.
Thomas McOlvin, Jr., LCSW-R
Thomas McOlvin is a Clinical Social Worker who graduated from Adelphi University with a Master of Social Work degree.
Starting his career as a Mental Health Therapy Aide working with adult and geriatric patients, Tom spent much of his 37-year career in mental health supporting the needs of children, adolescents, and families.
He has held supervisory and administrative roles with the New York State Office of Mental Health and also at the Pederson Krag Center in Huntington. In 2014, he retired as Executive Director of Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center in Melville.
A former adjunct faculty member at Suffolk County Community College, Tom has also served as a Quality Management Consultant. He took part in the State’s response to the events of September 11, 2001 through service at the Disaster Relief Center in Lower Manhattan.
A resident of Holbrook, Tom and his wife, Marie, have two adult daughters. Tom’s interests include architecture and his classic car, a Mercury Cougar.
Rosemary Cusack Speciale
Rosemary Speciale had a distinguished and successful forty-year career in commercial banking. She rose through the ranks to Vice President, concentrating on commercial lending and business relationship management.
Rosemary is a summa cum laude graduate of New York Institute of Technology having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Finance. She is a member of Delta Mu Delta Honor Society for Business and Economics.
A former Rotarian who was honored with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow award, Rosemary has a strong history of community service and volunteerism. She joined the Clubhouse of Suffolk board in 1992 and within a few years was named Vice President and Chair of the Finance Committee. She currently serves as MHAW’s Treasurer.
Rosemary has lived in Islandia since 1973 and was a catalyst behind the village’s incorporation in 1985. She has two adult daughters and three grandchildren.
Entrepreneur Virginia Cravotta is a pioneer in the field of long term care. In 1976 she launched Geriatric Planning, Inc. (GPI), the nation’s first company to help families deal with long term care needs. Her guidance, and that of her professional healthcare team, has enabled families to communicate more effectively, acknowledge the functional needs of their frail loved ones, and make informed decisions and choices.
GPI later expanded to include elder law and financial planning services, transforming the firm into a “one-stop shopping” resource for seniors and their families. Virginia’s expertise in nursing and the field of aging resulted in her becoming a featured speaker for the National Council on the Aging, Hofstra University, and County and State Offices of the Aging.
Her quest to publicize her business and to discuss the critical issues confronting the rapidly aging population on Long Island planted the seeds for a second career in broadcasting.
Realizing that seniors didn’t have a strong voice in the media despite their growing numbers and increased financial clout, Virginia took to the airwaves with a four-year run hosting a local radio program on older adult issues. Its success led to a weekly half-hour program on Cablevision titled “Young at Heart,” which ran for an unprecedented eight years due to its rapid commercial success and positive viewer-feedback. That became the springboard for a regular spot on News 12 Long Island as the station’s Senior Affairs Correspondent.
A frequent speaker and workshop presenter, Virginia is currently the president of Senior Care Solutions of New York, a geriatric care management firm. She is also active in the community and devotes her time and expertise to many not-for-profit organizations such as Literacy-Suffolk and PUPS for Parkinson’s Disease, Inc.
W. Scott Bradley, M.S., PMP, CISSP, ITTL
W. “Scott” Bradley is an information technology (IT) enterprise executive with strategic-level experience designing and managing major IT production environments within complex organizations.
Currently serving as the Commissioner of Information Technology for the Town of Brookhaven, he has an exceptional reputation as an effective leader of large IT organizations and expert technologist with a comprehensive understanding of IT strategic planning, project management, and cutting edge technologies.
Scott has more than 30 years of experience in a variety of IT leadership roles in the federal government, as an independently incorporated senior consultant, and as an IT Systems Officer in the US Marine Corps, including a tour as a Communications Detachment Commander in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Scott has M.S. in Information Technology from Johns Hopkins University, is certified as both a Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), in addition to being certified in ITILv.3 Foundations.
Robert E. Detor, LCSW
Robert E. Detor retired in 2015 as the President and Chief Executive Officer of The Long Island Home, a member of Northwell Health System, which operates South Oaks Hospital, a 193-bed behavioral health facility with ambulatory services for Children, Adolescents, and Adults. He also oversaw Broadlawn Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a 320-bed skilled nursing facility with a sub-acute care and rehabilitation specialty as well as an adult day health program.
Previously, Bob served as Director of Health Services for the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s Catholic Charities, Executive Director of the North Suffolk Center, and the Director of the Bureau of Training for Narcotics and Drug Research, Inc.
Bob currently serves, or has served, on the following boards: The National Association of Psychiatric Health System; LeadingAge New York; United Way of Long Island; Health and Welfare Council of Long Island; Hands Across Long Island; Clubhouse of Suffolk, and; the Victims Information Bureau. He was also a gubernatorial appointee to the Mental Health Services Council.
Bob completed his graduate work at Syracuse University and resides in Port Washington.
Andrew T Garbarino, Esq.
Andrew T. Garbarino is Of Counsel to the firm of Ruskin, Moscou and Falitschek, PC in Uniondale. A lifelong resident of Long Island, Andrew has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. He is a member of the firm’s Health Law Department, as well as the White Collar Crime and Investigations, Not-For-Profit, and Cybersecurity and Data Privacy practice groups.
As an Assistant District Attorney in Nassau County, Andrew was assigned to the Crimes Against Real Estate Unit and Public Corruption Bureau. While there, he prosecuted cases ranging from sex crimes to white collar crimes, including larcenies, identity thefts, cyber-crimes, forgeries and frauds.
Andrew advocates for and advises various corporations, hospitals, law firms and individuals, including CEOs, CFOs, lawyers, bankers and members of law enforcement, as well as hundreds of physicians and healthcare professionals accused of (or victimized by) criminal, professional, or other misconduct.
Andrew possesses significant experience dealing with regulatory authorities, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and state authorities including the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), Office of Professional Discipline (OPD), Workers’ Compensation Board, and a variety of New York City administrative departments. He has also counseled law firms and attorneys facing inquiries by Attorney Grievance Committees and addressed matters involving the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct.
He has managed dozens of internal investigations for clients including municipalities, hospitals, medical practices and law firms. He often liaises with forensic experts, private investigators, and members of law enforcement.
Articles by Mr. Garbarino have been published in the New York Law Journal, the Nassau Lawyer and Long Island Business News.
Andrew is a member of the New York State Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section and Criminal Justice Section, where serves on the White Collar and Ethics Committees. He is active with the Hauppauge Industrial Association, serving on the Healthcare and Technology committees.
In his spare time, Andrew enjoys cooking, reading, and writing.
Wayne M. Gurnick, MS, LCSW
Wayne has enjoyed a long career as a clinical social worker and behavioral health supervisor and administrator. He currently works for Eastern Suffolk BOCES at their Academic Centers assisting youth with special, emotional, and behavioral learning needs. Wayne worked as a Division Director for Pederson-Krag Center for over 20 years, providing administrative and clinical oversight of multiple children and family programs including community residences, Family Support Initiatives, Home and Community Based Services Waiver Programs, and more. He has been in private clinical practice for over 15 years.
Wayne was honored in 2017 by Suffolk County Advisory Board on Child Protection and the Task Force to Prevent Family Violence with an award at their Volunteer and Professional Recognition Day Award Ceremony as well as by the Crossroads Counseling Center for a Commitment to Youth Award in 2013. He has been a conference presenter and trainer on many clinical topics.
Wayne enjoys travel with his wife and family. They especially enjoy time together on Marco Island, Florida at their “home away from home.”
Rev. Alexia Burgess Huart
Reverend Huart serves as Pastor of the Grace Community Church in Amityville. She is also a retired educator following over 25 years in the New York City Public Schools. She serves on the Board of Directors of MANA (Ministerial Alliance of North Amityville) and is active with the NAACP and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.
Pastor Huart leads her congregation with a mantra, “Healthy Minds, Healthy Hearts = A Healthy Church,” ensuring that her congregation has an understanding of the impact of mental health and vital resources in their community. Prior to coming on the Board, Pastor Huart worked with MHAW to organize a Mental Health Awareness Week program featuring gospel singer and mental health advocate Michele Williams. She also helped to organize a Mental Health First Aid training course for Long Island clergy.
She is an avid reader and book club participant as well as a gym workout devotee.
Silas W. Kelly, LMSW, CMHT
Silas Kelly brings diverse experiences in the fields of social work, teaching, and broadcasting to his role on the MHAW board.
He presently serves as a Social Work Counselor at Concern for Independent Living in Medford, and had previously been an Independent Living Skills Counselor at The Wayback in Port Jefferson.
Silas is also a computer and communications instructor at the Branford Hall Career Institute in Bohemia.
In addition, as an independent public affairs radio producer, Silas has created a half dozen radio programs and segments focusing on various social and public health issues for Long Island radio stations.
A resident of Copiague, Silas earned a Master of Social Work degree with honors from Adelphi University, and also holds two Bachelor degrees from Brooklyn College: in Broadcast Journalism and Public Communications. He gained has earned more than thirty awards, scholarships, and honors over the course of his career.
Jennifer L. Martin, Esq.
Jennifer’s career has traversed positions in corporate and public service sectors. She graduated with a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Tennessee State University in 2005, and was awarded a J.D. from Touro College School of Law in 2009. Jennifer is currently Chief of Staff for Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Valerie M. Cartwright. She held prior public posts as a District Representative to State Senator Jeffrey Klein and positions in the New York State and Tennessee State Attorney Generals’ offices. As a law school student, Jennifer served as Northeast Regional Chairperson for the National Black Law Students Association, presiding over regional board meetings and facilitating diversity events. The daughter of a US Air Force Veteran, Jennifer joined MHAW’s Board in 2017 and has been active on our fundraising events committees and our Organizational Diversity workgroup.
Dr. James B. Mullin
Dr. James Mullin’s distinguished career in Social Work spanned five decades. He practiced in such fields as criminal justice, Veterans and the military, developmental disabilities, mental retardation, mental health, homelessness, and education.
Dr. Mullin holds a Doctorate in Public Administration from NYU, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Syracuse University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Siena College.
Most recently, Dr. Mullin served as Director of the Undergraduate Social Work Program at Adelphi University’s School of Social Work. He also held various senior-level positions with the State Office of Mental Health both in Albany and on Long Island.
Throughout his career, Dr. Mullin has focused attention on addressing the emotional and social work-related challenges facing Veterans and active members of the military. In the late 1960’s, Dr. Mullin was a Social Work Officer with the US Army, including a year of active service in Vietnam. Dr. Mullin and his wife, Fran Greene, live in Smithtown.
Cindy Reide-Combs, LMSW
Cindy has been a social worker for over 25 years with the bulk of that time as a school social worker in the Brentwood School District. In that role, she provides counseling services to individual students and groups and develops collaborative services with community agencies to help address student needs. Cindy has been an Adelphi School of Social Work Field Faculty Liaison since 2015. She also worked for the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk when that agency was awarded the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which partners with MHAW/Suffolk County United Veterans’ SSVF Outreach team. Cindy joined the MHAW Board in 2016 and serves on the Organizational Diversity workgroup.
Cindy is married to Fred Combs, Executive Director of the Bellport-Hagerman-East Patchogue Alliance, a non-profit community organization that assists “homeless and low income households to live lives of dignity.”
Jason D. Sattler
Jason D. Sattler, a Holbrook resident, has more than 13 years of officer-level experience providing an array of commercial banking services to Long Island’s business community.
He presently serves as a Managing Director for Sterling National Bank. Based in the Babylon and West Islip financial centers, he manages a $300-million portfolio of assets and focuses on business development in the Long Island Market.
Jason, who has formal credit training, had previously held positions with Capital One Bank, the Bank of America, and JP Morgan Chase Bank in various locations on Long Island.
Through his own family experiences, he developed an awareness of mental health issues – as well as an understanding of society’s critical need to dispel stigmas associated with the disease.
Dedicated to community service, Jason is active with a number of social service and Veterans’ organizations. He also participates and contributes to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Hydrocephalus Association, and United Cerebral Palsy. Jason also teaches finance education to grade-school students through Junior Achievement.
Susan Shilling, Esq., LCSW
Susan joined our Board in 2017 after a long and impactful career with the New York State Office of Mental Health. Susan began her career with NYSOMH as a Psychiatric Social Worker with their inpatient admissions service. During her career, Susan worked both as a clinician and an administrator on inpatient services and in outpatient clinics. She also continued her education, earning a Juris Doctor from Touro Law School in 1996. Following the enactment of Kendra’s Law, Susan became a leader in the Law’s implementation first in New York City and then statewide, working for NYSOMH Central Office as Director of the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program from 2003 to 2010. Susan is also a committed vegan and sits on the Compliance Oversight Committee of the Board.
Dr. Jarvis M. Watson, Ed.D.
Dr. Jarvis M. Watson serves as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at School of Visual Arts in Manhattan where he leads the effort to build a more inclusive, equitable and welcoming campus and college community. He was previously Assistant Dean for Student Support Services at Stony Brook University. Dr. Jarvis previously served the University as its Interim Chief Diversity Officer, as Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs, as well as Senior Counselor/Assistant Director with the Education Opportunity Program.
Dr. Watson received his doctorate in Educational Administration, Leadership, and Technology from Dowling College in Oakdale. He earned a master‘s degree in Counselor Education from Kean University in Union, NJ, and his bachelor’s degree in English from Stony Brook University.
He’s a member of the American Counseling Association, the American College Personnel Association, the National Association of School Personnel Administrators, and several other professional organizations.
A frequent public speaker, Dr. Watson has given keynote addresses and other presentations before more than 15 regional and national academic conferences and events. He also co-hosts two podcasts: The Rejected Stone Podcast and Trusted Voices of the Community.
With interests in music, sports, gardening, and science fiction, Jarvis Watson lives in Shirley with his wife, Adesuwa I. Watson.
Dr. Davis Pollack
Dr. Davis Pollack is a local, state, and national leader and advocate for people with mental illness.
In 2013, Dr. Pollack retired as President of the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County, Suffolk County United Veterans, and Clubhouse of Suffolk, 23 years after he led a group of six family members to form the latter organization.
After graduating from dental school in 1947, Dr. Pollack served as Captain in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. When he returned home, he opened a successful dentistry practice in Babylon.
After two of his children were diagnosed with a mental illness, he and his wife, Helen, a licensed Social Worker, decided they needed to get involved in mental health advocacy.
Dr. Pollack joined the Board of Directors at Fountain House in New York City, an organization that was at the forefront of the “clubhouse model,” a community-based center for facilitating vocational and social integration. Dr. Pollack went on to became a national advocate, serving as the First Vice President of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
Needing a local affiliation, he established a Queens/Nassau NAMI chapter at Long Island Jewish Hospital. In 1998, Dr. Pollack co-founded Venture House, a clubhouse program located in Jamaica, NY. Within two years, he and his wife, Helen, founded Clubhouse of Suffolk and in 2006, was inducted into the Long Island Volunteer Hall of Fame for improving the quality of life for Long Islanders.
Dr. Pollack’s advocacy and drive to open Clubhouse was personal and with it the firm belief in the potential and productivity of all people in recovery. When asked about the success of Clubhouse, Dr. Pollack summed it up this way. “We realized my vision: a successful program that treats people with dignity to achieve life goals including housing, work, socialization, and becoming productive citizens of society.”
Colleen Merlo, LMSW
Colleen Merlo, a licensed social worker, has served as Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness since November 30, 2020.
She has worked for more than twenty years in Long Island’s not-for-profit sector, focusing on issues of domestic violence, mental health, gender equity, and poverty.
Colleen had previously spent more than six years as executive director of L.I. Against Domestic Violence. Her visionary leadership increased capacity and broadened the agency’s ability to respond to the changing needs of Long Island through innovative programs, such as the first pet-friendly shelter for domestic violence victims in the region.
Before that, she was executive director of the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County where she provided direction to drive the mission and vision. Colleen’s strength in building effective collaborations, her advocacy, and tirelessly efforts to bring public attention to the issues facing Long Island’s most vulnerable, greatly enhanced the effectiveness of local programming.
A past co-chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Long Island, she serves on the board of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, the Suffolk County Family Violence Task Force, and the Suffolk County Teen Pregnancy Advisory Board. Colleen was awarded the Top 50 Women in Business in 2019 from Long Island Business News.
Michael Stoltz, LCSW
Michael Stoltz has been at the agency’s leadership helm since 1990, first as Executive Director of the predecessor organization, Clubhouse of Suffolk, and since July 2014, the CEO of the Association for Mental Health and Wellness (MHAW). MHAW is the result of the merger of Clubhouse with Suffolk County United Veterans and the Mental Health Association in Suffolk County.
Under Michael’s stewardship, the agency has grown to one with an $11 million annual operating budget, 150 employees, servicing more than 3,500 people each year through its Ronkonkoma, Riverhead, and Yaphank facilities.
A social worker by training, Michael received his MSW in 1982 from Adelphi University, where he has served as an Adjunct Professor teaching Social Welfare Policy and Human Service Management. He served as a Program Supervisor, developing and implementing the Suffolk County Intensive Case Management Program, as well as positions in management and direct service at several Long Island outpatient clinics. Among Michaels vast non-profit board service, he is a member and the immediate past Chair of the board of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, as well as a board member of the Long Island Home, the parent organization for South Oaks Hospital and Broadlawn Manor. Michael was appointed to Suffolk Countys Welfare to Work Commission and is a member of the board of Stony Brook Medicines Clinical Network Performing Provider System that oversees Suffolks Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) initiative. Michael is also a Past President of the Ronkonkoma Rotary, where he has been an active member for more than 20 years and was recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Michael is recognized as a state and national leader in the field of mental health services. He is a Past President of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS), an organization acknowledged as the most prominent and influential of its kind in this state. Michael has been honored with the Irvin Rutman Award for Executive Director of the Year from the International Association of Psycho-Social Rehabilitation Services (now known as the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association). He is also a frequent keynote speaker and panelist at mental health conferences addressing topics such as leadership, management, and system transformation.
Michael maintains a private practice along with his wife, Robin, also a Social Worker, in Smithtown. They have two children: Paul, a communications industry sales executive, and Leah, an advertising associate with Ogilvy and Mather in Manhattan. Michael and Robin proudly support Leah with the Curvy Girls Support Group which she founded when she was 13. The group, which provides information and guidance to girls with scoliosis and their families, now operates chapters in 32 States, Canada, Brazil, Great Britain, and Australia.
Paula Fries, LCAT, ATR-BC, CPRP
Paula Fries is the Chief Operations Officer for the Association for Mental Health and Wellness, a multi-faceted, non-profit behavioral health and advocacy agency serving adults with mental illness, co-occurring disorders, and at-risk or homeless veterans. The Association for Mental Health and Wellness represents a full merger between three not for profit organizations: Clubhouse of Suffolk, the Mental Health Association in Suffolk, and Suffolk County United Veterans.
For the past 21 years at Clubhouse of Suffolk Paula has had executive management and over-sight of the following: all licensed and non-licensed BH programs; Health Home Care Management; agency-wide technology operations (IT and EHR implementation); and the administration of the agency’s Corporate Compliance program.
Paula was responsible for the EHR selection and implementation of Anasazi Software at Clubhouse in 2002. Anasazi Software was purchased in November 2012 by Cerner Corporation, and the solution is now known as Cerner Community Behavioral Health. Paula is currently the Immediate Past-President of the national Cerner Behavioral Health Alliance (CBHA), and has been participating in the Alliance since its inception in 2002 as ASNA (Anasazi Software NA). She currently sits on the CBHA Executive Committee, and facilitates a Meaningful Use Workgroup and the State SIG Leaders Workgroup.
Paula is NOT a techie by “birth.” With over 32 years experience working in behavioral health, she is an Art Therapist and Certified Gestalt Therapist, and is licensed to practice in the state of New York as an LCAT (Licensed Creative Arts Therapist). She holds a Masters degree in Art Therapy from Hofstra University, an IT Management Certificate from Stony Brook University, and a Certificate in Gestalt Psychotherapy from the Gestalt Center of Long Island.
In Paula’s “other life”, she is an avid cyclist, traveling many roads and many miles throughout the US and Europe on her bike.
Kim Koster, CPA
Kim joined our agency in 1995 and has engineered Clubhouse’s finances from its early, manual stages to its full integration of an electronic health record (Anasazi) with our accounting program (FUND-EZ). Included in this development was the agency’s transition from contract management to much more extensive Medicaid and Medicare billing. Kim participates in all aspects of the agency’s organizational development including work with the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors and the Corporate Compliance activities of the agency. Kim oversees a staff of five bookkeeping and billing professionals, a group whom she proudly calls “a great crew!”
Kim came to Clubhouse following eight years with Holtz Rubenstein & Co, a metro area accounting firm at which she advanced to the position of Supervisor. While at Holtz, she participated in all aspects of client audit review, testing, financial statement forecasting and analysis, and the preparation of corporate and partnership returns.
Kim graduated from Dowling College in 1987 with a BBA in Accounting and successfully passed all exams in order to achieve Certified Public Accountant status shortly thereafter. She is a member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Anne Marie Montijo, LCSW
Anne Marie Montijo joined the MHAW in the fall of 2015 as the Deputy Director for Strategic Initiatives. With over 25 years of experience in social work – the previous seven as an administrator in higher education – Anne Marie brings with her extensive experience in child and adolescent mental health as both a practitioner and administrator. She provides executive leadership in managing the organization’s Community Outreach and Education Department, Incident Review Committee, staff development and training, organizational diversity and cultural competency initiatives, student Internship programs, and Children’s Services.
A 1992 graduate from the Stony Brook School of Social Welfare, Anne Marie went on to lead North Suffolk Mental Health Center’s adolescent boys community residence. She then joined South Oaks Hospital as the Director of Child and Adolescent Community Services. There she led an extensive outreach effort working with children’s mental health agencies across Long Island and the five boroughs. Offering numerous educational workshops to schools, advocacy organizations, hospitals, higher education, and other venues, Anne Marie established a reputation as a tireless advocate for children’s mental health with a strong focus on reducing the stigma of mental illness. Anne Marie has presented both nationally and internationally on topics such as culture and self-harm, and resiliency.
Anne Marie has extensive volunteer experience in cancer services having worked with The Eye Cancer Foundation in New York City for ten years leading patient support services and organizing patient and family luncheons on Long Island and New York City. Since 2011, she has also volunteered for the Melanoma Research Foundation’s CURE Ocular Melanoma (CURE OM) initiative. As a Steering Committee Member for CURE OM she has helped to spearhead five Patient and Caregiver Symposiums across the country and often leads groups at these events for newly diagnosed patients including workshop on resiliency. Anne Marie is also part of the Host Committee for the Wings of Hope Gala in New York City, a fundraising event for the Melanoma Research Foundation.
Roni DeKoning, LMHC, CRC
A licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor by training, Roni has over twenty years of professional experience in behavioral healthcare. She came to Clubhouse of Suffolk in 1992 following several years as Recreation Specialist/Aquatics Specialist at Kings Park State Psychiatric Center.
Roni was promoted to the position of Associate Director in 2006. As a member of the Senior Management team, Roni assumes a leadership role in designing services to respond to the wide diversity of needs of our members. She has helped design “special need” services to younger adults, seniors, people with co-occurring substance abuse disorders, and people with trauma backgrounds and more. Roni also has a responsibility for oversight and quality improvement in the agency. She has spoken at several conferences and meetings of senior agency and government personnel about key concepts in facilitating a “recovery-centered” program.
Roni completed her graduate work with distinction in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1990 at Hofstra University and for the past eighteen years has served as an adjunct Assistant Professor at Suffolk County Community College in the Health Careers Department where she inspires and guides future health care professionals for their future practice.
In May of 2010 Ruth McDade brought to our organization over fifteen years of professional experience in the behavioral healthcare field. In her role, she has assumed responsibility for the planning and execution of all fundraising events, grant projects, and other community relations activities. Prior to joining the Association for Mental Health and Wellness Ms. McDade was the Grants and Research Associate for the Long Island Home/South Oaks Hospital and Broadlawn Manor Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, working on behavioral health, senior services, rehabilitation, and long-term care projects.
Ms. McDade has a successful history in generating millions in grant funding for projects providing shelter, food, employment assistance, transportation services, and various wellness programs. She is a member of the Long Island Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Ms. McDade completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Texas A&M State University at Corpus Christi in 1987.
Jacki Powers became a member of the MHAW Executive team in January 2018 when she was promoted to Deputy Director for Care Management Initiatives. Jacki has been with MHAW for nearly five years and was Director of Care Management Programs since August, 2015. Under her leadership, MHAW has become one of the largest care management providers on Long Island. With new projects and imminent transitions to value-based contracts ahead, Jacki’s input will be critical to coordinating care management with any initiatives that evolve in managed care relationships.
Jacki began her human services career at the Pederson-Krag Center in 2002, following completion of her Masters Degree in School Counseling from LIU-CW Post. Jacki worked for many years at the Pederson-Krag Center serving children and adolescents with severe emotional challenges. She assumed the positions of Individualized Care Coordinator for the HCBS Waiver Program, Program Supervisor for the Family Support Services Program, and Coordinator of the LINK Crisis Intervention Program. In 2007, she relocated to Charleston, South Carolina where she served as Director of Youth Services (Residential Treatment Facility, Acute Psychiatric Unit and Partial Hospitalization Program) at the Palmetto Lowcountry Behavioral Health Center. Jacki returned to Long Island and Pederson-Krag as the Assistant Division Director for Child and Family Community-Based and Residential Programs where she remained until joining the MHAW Care Management team in April, 2013.
Jacki serves on the Board of Directors for the New York State Care Management Coalition where she represents Suffolk County. She is also an enthusiastic member of MHAW’s Wellness Committee, representing our Wellness team at a number of charity and fun runs across the Long Island.