The Mission of the Community Coalition on Mental Health is to:
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Rev. Dr. Charles Butler
Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement
Rev. Dr. Charles Butler is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. He has a Bachelors’ Degree from Howard University in Business Administration, a Master’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Counselor Education, a Master’s Degree in Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry from Alliance Theological Seminary. Rev. Butler is employed by Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement. His current position is Vice President of the Equitable Development Department. In this capacity Dr. Butler provides informational seminars and counseling sessions to first time home buyers. He has assisted over 1500 individuals and families to become first time homeowners.
Dr. Butler currently sits on the Board of Directors for the St. Mark’s Federal Credit Union, the New York State Coalition for Excellence in Homeownership, and the New York Mortgage Coalition. In addition Dr. Butler writes a weekly column in the Harlem Community newspaper on Homeownership in Harlem.
NYC Department of Health
Professor Teena Brooks, is the Assistant Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)- NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. OCA provides consumer/peer perspectives to inform the Divisions work in mental health, substance use and developmental disabilities.
Previously, Ms. Brooks worked for thirteen years at the Urban Justice Center, an innovative nonprofit that serves New York City's most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing. Before becoming a staff member at the Urban Justice Center, Teena worked as a crisis center coordinator at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.
She is currently a lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work and has also taught social welfare policy at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Teena is also a doctoral student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in the Social Welfare program.
Professor Joyce Johnson
First Corinthian Baptist Church & Monroe College
Professor Joyce Johnson always knew her career path would evolve around assisting people. After completing a Bachelor's degree in sociology from The City College of New York in 1997, she learned about Hunter College's program in Rehabilitation Counseling, There she com- pleted her Master's degree in Education as a Rehabilitation Counselor in 2001. While still enrolled as a student she earned her certification as a Rehabilitation Counselor with a specialty in working with individuals with substance abuse issues.
Joyce's internships as a student lead her to work in methadone maintenance, out-patient, re-entry and a residential therapeutic community setting. After graduation, she accepted a position at Samaritan Village as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. The experience proved to be both challenging and rewarding with the opportunity to work closely with a diverse interdisciplinary team. Having demonstrated clinical expertise and strong leadership skills, Joyce rose through the ranks from a Counselor to Assistant Director of Clinical Services.
Despite the satisfaction of working with the substance abuse population and the lasting professional relationships she developed, Joyce decided it was time for a career move.
In 2005, she accepted a position at Coler-Goldwater as the Director of the Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling Department. Simultaneously she took on a position as an Adjunct Professor at Monroe College in the Department of Allied Sciences where she teaches courses in Medical Administration, Medical Assisting and Public Health. In 2005 Joyce obtained a New York State License as a Mental Health Counselor. She utilized her license in 2009 as a stepping stone by creating a proposal to offer counseling service at her religious organization. She was hired by First Corinthian Baptist Church as a Christian Counseling Supervisor that same year. This opportunity afforded her the ability practice and operate with greater independence while serving the Harlem community. 2010 she took on the role as a full-time College Professor at Monroe College.
When Joyce is not working she enjoys facilitating exams for different professions, conducting study groups for future rehabilitation counselors, and participating in church ministry activities.
Michael A Walrond Jr
First Corinthian Baptist Church
Pastor Michael A. Walrond Jr. is the Senior Pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church (FCBC) in Harlem, New York. Walrond— affectionately known as Pastor Mike—is quickly rising as one of the most prolific and sought-after teachers and preachers in the country.
Considered a visionary, cultural architect, and game-changer by his peers, Pastor Mike has not only catalytically changed the traditional prospective of black church, but he is innovatively shifting the paradigm of Christian understanding and culture. Within two years of his leadership at FCBC, the church experienced exponential growth, tripling its membership. Over the past ten years, membership at FCBC has grown from 300 to 9,000 members.
Pastor Mike’s community and social justice initiatives include the Micah Clergy Roundtable of NYC, A.C.T. Social Justice Ministry, anti-“stop and frisk” campaign and helping to get the “New York City Living Wage” legislation passed through the City Council. In early 2014, Pastor Mike ran a spirited congressional campaign and many are eyeing him to enter the national stage sooner rather than later.
He is a board member of the National Action Network (NAN) and was appointed the first National Director of Ministers Division. He serves as a Trustee and adjunct faculty member of Chicago Theological Seminary and for over two years served as weekly columnist for the New York Amsterdam News. His work has been recognized by The Harlem Torch, Positive Community Magazine, The Amsterdam News, and he was named “One of the Lord’s Foot Soldiers” by Newsweek Magazine.
Pastor Mike has received numerous honors, accolades, and recognitions include induction into Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers as a “Distinguished Preacher.” In 2014 Pastor Mike was a recipient of The Root 100 Award, a list of the top 100 most influential African Americans under the age of 45.
La’Shay Morris, MPH
School of Social Work, Columbia University
La’Shay Morris, MPH, is second year masters of public health student at Columbia University, studying in the department of Population and Family Health with a certificate in Child, Youth and Family. She received her bachelor’s degree in Health Education with a minor in Urban Studies from San Francisco State University. Her desire to pursue public health came while studying Nutrition and Food Science as well as the humanities at the University of Ghana and throughout West Africa for a year.
Her training has equipped her for looking at disparities in urban settings. Her research interest are Community Based Participatory Research with children, older adults and faith based work; through which to create resiliency. As well as creating programs that address the need of executive functioning in early childhood development.
She has recently served on the E-board of the Black and Latino Student Caucus and Columbia Christian Fellowship at Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Her long term goals are become a clinical psychologist and own and operate a café.
Erin Leigh George
Just Leaders USA
Erin Leigh George, MSW, is a dedicated social justice advocate. She received her B. S. in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and spent several years providing mental health services to youth populations both in the U. S. and abroad.
Erin’s direct practice work provided insight into the systematic failures of our institutions, resulting in a desire to engage in more systemic reform. Erin received her Master’s in Social Work and Public Policy from Columbia University in May 2014. Erin focused her studies and work upon drug policy and criminal justice reform and completed a graduate fellowship with the New York Policy Office of the Drug Policy Alliance.
Erin currently works as a Social Worker and Advocate at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, a non-profit, civil-rights law firm. Erin works to promote policies that ensure Environmental and Health Justice for ALL New Yorkers
Dr. Samuel K. Roberts
Samuel Kelton Roberts, Jr., is Director of the Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS), and Associate Professor of History (Columbia University Arts and Sciences) and Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University).
He writes, teaches, and lectures widely on African-American social history, and medical and public health history, with particular interests in criminal justice, policing, and social policy. He is the author of Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), and is currently writing a book on the history of race and the politics of addiction during the “heroin plague” between the 1950s and the 1990s.
Dr. Sidney Hankerson
Columbia University Medical Center
Dr. Sidney Hankerson is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is conducting research to reduce disparities in depression care among African Americans. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, where he majored in Psychology. He then attended Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Hankerson received both his MD degree and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Emory. This training equipped him with knowledge to optimize healthcare systems that provide care for underserved populations. His long-term goal is to create a faith-based mental health network through which to reduce stigma and increase access to mental health care.
Dr. Hankerson’s professional affiliations include President of the Black Psychiatrists of Greater New York & Associates, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Laura Smith
Teacher’s College, Columbia University
Dr. Laura Smith received her Ph. D. in Counseling Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Now an associate professor in the Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, Laura has previously worked in a variety of applied settings in New York City. She was formerly the founding Director of the Rosemary Furman Counseling Center at Barnard College and the Director of Psychological Services at the West Farms Center, where she provided services, training, and programming within a multifaceted community-based organization in the Bronx.
Laura’s research interests include the psychological dimensions of social class, poverty and race-class intersectional issues; the development of socially-just practice models for psychologists at the community level; and participatory action research (PAR) in schools and communities.
Dr. Martha Sullivan
Gouverneur Health & Church of St. Charles Borromeo
Dr. Martha Sullivan has a background that includes key positions in government, city agencies, and the voluntary sector. Dr. Sullivan has a wealth of experience in healthcare leadership, education, policy, planning and program development. She is dedicated to developing and increasing access to culturally competent, quality health and behavioral health services for underserved and minority populations, including older adults, women, people of color and the seriously mentally ill or homeless.
As Gouverneur Health’s (HHC) Executive Director, Dr. Sullivan presently oversees one of the largest Diagnostic and Treatment Centers in New York and a Skilled Nursing Facility.
Over thirty years ago, Dr. Sullivan developed the Center for Older Adults and Their Families and the Women’s Comprehensive Mental Health Program at Gouverneur, where she later served as Director of Behavioral Health. She is the only social worker to have held such a position in HHC.
Dr. Sullivan served as Deputy Commissioner of NYC DOHMH, overseeing chemical dependency, mental health promotion and community liaison and as Executive Director of the Fordham-Tremont Community Mental Health Center. There she developed specialty services, including the Men’s Mental Health Service, and produced the documentary film Men of Color and Mental Health: Moving from Alienation to Hope.