Staff List

Mary Acri_smaller

Mary Acri, PhD

Senior Research Scientist
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6654
(o) 212.992.6901
(f)  212.995.4753 

Dr. Acri an Early Stage Investigator with a background in clinical social work whose research interests focus on enhancing service use and the quality of mental health treatments available to inner-city, ethnically diverse children and families. She currently holds the titles of Research Assistant Professor at New York University School of Medicine’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Senior Research Scientist at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. She recently concluded work as a Principal Investigator of a NIMH-funded R21 grant entitled Examining the Implementation of a Peer-Delivered Intervention for Depression. The focus of this grant was to identify maternal depression and facilitate active linkages to services. Dr. Acri is also the Co-Investigator of a project under the National Collaborative for Innovation in Quality Measurement to improve outcomes for children and families by developing and demonstrating a standardized set of quality measures to monitor the quality of care for children by advancing a system of public accountability and quality improvement in child health care. Her prior experience includes her role of Co-Investigator of Examining the Child and Family Clinic Plus (CP+) Program, a New York State Office of Mental Health initiative designed to facilitate the early detection and treatment of youth at risk for mental health difficulties across New York State, and Co-Investigator of a NIMH-funded R21 grant entitled The Bridge Program and Engagement in HIV Services, which aimed to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of a peer-delivered intervention upon outpatient medical service use and rates of readmissions among inner-city adults hospitalized for HIV-related illnesses.  She currently hold the titles of Research Assistant Professor at New York University School of Medicine’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine,  a Senior Research Scientist at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. She has published over 30 peer review articles.

Amanda Alcantara

Amanda Alcantara

Communications Associate
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6654
212-992-6223 
alcantara@nyu.edu  
 

Amanda Alcantara joins the McSilver Institute with a background in Journalism and Videography. She is tasked with developing ways to inform the larger community of our different projects as well as facilitating communications within the Institute. Alcantara received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies and Political Science from Rutgers University. She also has a minor in French Literary Studies. While at Rutgers University, Alcantara worked as a Counselor at a non-profit summer camp, served as President of the student-led Latin American Womyn’s Organization, and wrote for The Daily Targum. Alcantara has worked at different news organizations. She has covered stories ranging from press conferences at city hall to community protests, and has interviewed prominent figures such as Mayor Bill De Blasio, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and Major league baseball player Robinson Cano.

Samira Ali

Samira Ali, PhD, LMSW

Post Doctoral Fellow
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6654
(o) 212.992.6902
(f) 212.995.4753
sa1112@nyu.edu

Samira Ali received her PhD in social welfare from the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Her scholarship focuses on community-based participatory research (CBPR), primary and secondary HIV prevention, and the impact of structural conditions on youth and women’s health behaviors in global and local settings. Samira’s dissertation research utilized a CBPR framework and mixed-methods design to explore sex worker mothers’ relationship and sexual health communication with their adolescent children in Kolkata, India.  Particularly, with the sex worker community in Kolkata, she designed, implemented, and tested the feasibility of culturally tailored, family-based sexual health communication intervention. She is also a coordinator on a team of academic and community partners in New York City for a series of community-based studies examining the impact of housing as a structural intervention on risk behaviors and mental health of women living with HIV.

She has experience working with children and families that have been impacted by HIV/AIDS in New York City. Prior to entering the doctoral program, she worked at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) as an Advocate Supervisor, advocating for safe and permanent homes for children involved with the foster care system.  For the past two years, she has been working with Housing Works in New York City on a pilot research project that is testing the impact of housing as a structural intervention with women who have been released from jail or prison and who are HIV positive.

Patricia Batista

Patrica L. Batista, MPA

Research Scientist
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6654
(o) 212.992.9705
(f) 212.995.4753
email: patricia.batista@nyu.edu
www.mcsilver.org

Patricia serves the team as the Strategic Marketing & Projects Manager of CTAC in which she will be leading branding and marketing efforts as well as overseeing special initiatives.  Patricia joins the CTAC team with 8 years of experience in nonprofit management and marketing, specializing in educational attainment within marginalized communities. Prior to her joining the team, Patricia was the Director of Communications and Marketing at Zone 126 where she led efforts to  increasing  brand name recognition amongst community members, political leaders and funders through  strategic digital marketing , press and social media. Patricia holds a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College and completed the prestigious National Urban Fellows program in 2011. 

nisha 3

Nisha Beharie, MPH

Jr. Research Scientist
The Urban Institute for Behavioral Health
NYU McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY, 10003
Ph. 212-992-9725
C. 202-210-8668
F. 212-995-4753
nisha.beharie@nyu.edu

Nisha Beharie received her Master’s degree in Public Health from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and is currently a doctoral candidate in the DPH program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Ms. Beharie is a former Peace Corps Volunteer who has worked with underserved populations both internationally and domestically, in a various capacities. Ms. Beharie comes to UIBH after working with Dr. Mary Mckay at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator for six years. While at Mount Sinai she assisted in the coordination of the research and evaluation component of the Multiple Family Groups project as well as co-directed a NIDA funded project with homeless families and youth (HOPE). Ms. Beharie worked at UIBH prior to the merger with McSilver and at present is coordinating UIBH’s activities on its Health Care Affordability and Efficiency Law (HEAL) initiatives to facilitate implementation of technology driven care coordination strategies.

Peter Campanelli

Peter C. Campanelli, Psy.D.

Peter C. Campanelli, Psy.D.
Senior Scholar, Organizational & Community Services
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, Room 705
New York, NY 10003
Ph. 212 992-9708          
pcc3@NYU.EDU

 Peter C. Campanelli, PsyD, is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Community Living, and founded the Company in 1986.  Dr. Campanelli holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology and is a licensed Clinical Psychologist in New York and New Jersey.  He is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as Board Chair and member of The Association of Community Living (ACL) and Managed Care Innovations (MCI) as well as the President of the Coalition of Voluntary Mental Health Agencies’ Board of Directors, and the Chair of the Mental Health News Board of Trustees and a member of the Board of Directors of the Human Service Council.  Dr. Campanelli is a past recipient of the Peterson Prize for Community Service from Rutgers University, the Visionary Leadership Award from the National Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies and his work has twice been recognized with the Gold Medal Award from the Hospital and Community Psychiatry Division of the American Psychiatric Association, as well as the Congressional Community Corporate Partnership Award from Hon. Edolphus Towns.

Andrew Cleek

Andrew F. Cleek, Psy.D.

Executive Officer: McSilver-UIBH
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
New York University
41 East 11th Street, 7th floor
New York, NY 10003
Ph. 212 998.9093
andrew.cleek@nyu.edu

 

Dr. Cleek oversees community partnerships at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research in his role as Executive Officer of McSilver-UIBH. Dr. Cleek holds an appointment as a Research Assistant Professor at the NYU School of Medicine.  As the founding director of the Urban Institute for Behavioral Health, Dr. Andrew Cleek has collaborated with consumers, senior provider leaders, academicians, and local and state regulatory agencies to identify, research, and disseminate state of the art program models, as well as to identify and develop strategies for the dissemination, implementation, and evaluation of best practices. Under Dr. Cleek's leadership, UIBH has become an incubator in which pilot projects are developed and brought to scale across New York City and state. Dr. Cleek is particularly well suited to this role, having worked in a variety of children's mental health settings for 10 years; most notably with children and families in Head Start, Day Treatment, Residential, and Outpatient Mental Health Clinics., Dr. Cleek is co-author of the Wellness Self-Management (WSM) curriculum, the Knowledge Empowers You (KEY) curriculum for young adults, the Diabetes Self-Management Manual, and served as a revision author for the Multiple Family Groups manual. In addition, Dr. Cleek facilitated a multi-agency-hospital partnership in the development and implementation of a state funded award to facilitate technology driven strategies around care-coordination. Dr. Cleek regularly presents at local and national conferences.

kelly

Kelly Conover, LMSW

Clinical Research Coordinator- Project Step-Up
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research
41 East 11th St, 703D
New York, NY 10003
Ph.  212-998-4239 
C. 610-742-2227
F. 212-995-4773 
kc102@nyu.edu

Kelly Conover received her MSW from Fordham University in 2009 and has since served as a program coordinator for Project Step-Up.  In 2011, she received a post-masters certificate in Clinical Practice with Adolescents from NYU.  Kelly has spoken in Graduate and PhD level courses at NYU regarding Step-Up's work with adolescents, families and schools.   She previously served as a teaching assistant for a graduate level Social Work course at Columbia University.  Kelly continues to further her professional development by attending conferences and trainings on work related to adolescents and families.

cara2

Kara Dean-Assael, LMSW

Kara M. Dean-Assael, LMSW
Clinical Consultant and Trainer. Clinic Technical Assistance Center, NYS
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
41 East 11th Street, 7th floor
New York, NY 10003
C. 917-215-9395
kara.dean@nyu.edu

 

Kara has been working with children and families for the past 15 years.  She is passionate about helping to create programs and practices to increase engagement and family functioning.  She was the co-director of the MFG Project, an NIMH funded project that is now known as the 4 Rs and 2 Ss for Strengthening Families Program.  She has facilitated and supervised many groups and has worked for the past 4 years on training clinicians and supervisors on how to utilize the model in their clinic settings.  She currently works for the Clinic Technical Assistance Center as a trainer and coordinator.  She co-leads the clinical lunch and learn series as well as other initiatives that are offered through CTAC.  She has also co-founded a soon to be 501c3 called Fareground Community Café, which is a collaborative project with the community of Beacon, NY, where children and families from the entire community can gather to enjoy a healthy meal  that functions on a ‘pay what you can’ model.

Zoila

Zoila A. Del-Villar, MS, CASAC

Research Scientist 
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th street 7th floor
New York, NY 10003

Zoila Del-Villar’s interests with marginalized communities led her to earn a BA in Peace Studies from Manhattan College.  She focused on the impact of colonialism on the Caribbean Negro population.  Upon graduating she became a Corps Member for City Year New York (CYNY), where she taught and mentored at PS 50 in East Harlem and led service-learning projectsthroughout the city. To better understand the injustices surrounding the urban community, Zoila went on to earn a MS in Urban Science at Hunter College.  Previously, Zoila was the Program Coordinator for Healthy Schools Healthy Families, a coordinated school-based health program in Harlem and Washington Heights.  One of her major accomplishments was the creation of Fresh Food Fresh Start a school-based farmer’s market that brought affordable nutritional resources to the neighborhood, as well as empowered and organized parents and students in their community.  Zoila’s health focus broadened when she became a Substance Abuse Prevention Intervention Specialist with the NYC Department of Education.  She taught a life skills class at PS/IS 180  in which she utilized themes such as self-esteem and stereotyping, as well as the physiological and psychological impacts of drug use on the user, his/her family and the community as well.  This position inspirited her to earn a CASAC.  Zoila accepted a position with Grameen America in their pilot G Next Program as a Center Director.  In this role she lead workshops to get girls living in low-income communities start earlier in life on the path towards financial independence and well-being through asset building, leadership development and experiential learning. This position lead her to receive an additional MA in School Counseling. 

Currently, Zoila is a Research Scientist with McSilver gathering qualitative and quantitate data for their Step Up Program.  Her primary responsibilities are to co-facilitate groups and conduct individual counseling.  She sees this as an opportunity to lead the next generation of revolutionaries. Zoila is now working towards receiving her LMHC certification.

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Dan Ferris, MPA

Assistant Director, Policy and External Affairs
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6654
office: (212) 992-6926
dan.ferris@nyu.edu 

Dan’s responsibilities include coordinating McSilver’s efforts to inform policy through community-led research projects and robust evaluation efforts, drafting legislative testimony and issue briefs, supporting health care policy projects around DSRIP and the transition to Medicaid Managed Care in New York State, and working with the Community Technical Assistance Center of New York team on a variety of initiatives related to improving outcomes and providing resources for mental health clinics. He received his B.A. in Politics and Metropolitan Studies from New York University in 2007 and his M.P.A. with a concentration in Public Policy from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service in 2010.

Prior to joining the McSilver Institute, Dan spent over six years in government affairs and community engagement roles focused first on higher education and then public health policy. Most recently, he coordinated partnerships and federally funded grant projects with health advocacy organizations that addressed major disparities in New York City. His passion for public service has led him toward volunteer positions with various political and advocacy campaigns, an after-school program in his home-city of Milwaukee, and teaching secondary school in Tanzania.

Rachel Flynn'

Rachel Flynn, PhD, MA

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6654
(o) 212.992.6904
(f)  212.995.4753 

Rachel is a post-doctoral research fellow focusing on the factors that lead to positive outcomes for youth, specifically identifying interventions and contexts that improve academic outcomes and cognitive skills.  Her dissertation research examines the acute impact on executive functioning skills, such as attention and self-regulation, of exercise, active video games, and traditional video games. Interventions that improve executive functioning are of interest based on the relationship between these skills and academic outcomes.

For the ten years prior to her doctoral program, she worked with children in New York City in a variety of roles. As the Senior Program Director for Oasis Children's Services, she oversaw program quality and development for summer and after school programs serving thousands of NYC youth.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and completed her Master’s in Clinical Psychology at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. She is also currently serving as a Senior Program Officer for Research and Evaluation at Ramapo for Children, an organization specializing in direct service programs for youth with special needs and training programs on positive behavior managing for adults.

lydia3

Lydia M. Franco, LMSW

Clinical Consultant/Trainer
The Clinic Technical Assistance Center
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
41 East 11th Street, 7th floor
New York, NY 10003
Ph. 212-992-9725
F. 212-995-4773
lmf234@nyu.edu
 

Lydia M. Franco, LMSW, is a PhD Candidate at Rutgers University School of Social Work and a past recipient of the SAMHSA funded Council on Social Work Education's Mental Health and Substance Abuse Minority Doctoral Fellowship Program. Her current area of concentration in doctoral studies is Latino child and family mental health issues, with a focus on assessing parenting cognitions and how this can improve the provision of culturally sensitive services to Latino families. Ms. Franco received her MSW at Columbia University’s School of Social Work in 2004. She is currently a trainer and clinical consultant at The Clinic Technical Assistance Center (CTAC), funded by New York State Office of Mental Health, where she focuses on  disseminating a number of practice and business initiatives to mental health clinics across the state and nationally. Further, she serves as a Senior Research Coordinator for an NIH-funded study assessing the effectiveness of a multiple family group approach for children with behavioral difficulties. Other research experiences include coordinating studies on clinical engagement and HIV prevention. Lastly, she has clinical experience in a variety of settings working with children and families in the areas of mental health and health care. She recently held a position of Social Worker in Mount Sinai’s Child Outpatient Psychiatry Department. Ms. Franco is also a Part-Time Lecturer at Rutgers University School of Social Work and a Field Instructor for social work students at McSilver Institute.

 

Ashley Fuss

Ashley Fuss, LMSW

 Junior Research Scientist
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research; UIBH
Silver School of Social Work
New York University
41 East 11th Street, Room 703A
New York, New York 10003
Ph. 212-998-9097 
F.  212-995-4753 
ashley.fuss@nyu.edu

 

Ashley Fuss received her Masters of Social Work from Fordham University with a concentration in research in May 2011. Upon graduation she joined The Urban Institute for Behavioral Health (UIBH), which became McSilver/UIBH in July 2012. Ashley is responsible for the coordination, data management and oversight of various initiatives, including The Clinic Technical Assistance Center (CTAC), the Knowledge Empowers You (KEY) program and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Health Homes’ project. She also holds research positions with faculty from NYU's Silver School of Social Work and the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. She has over ten years of experience working with children and youth in an array of settings, including pre-school and dance education, after school and summer youth programs. Ashley's research interests focus on engagement in mental health treatment for military service members and their families, reintegration into civilian life and improving mental health services for families involved in the child welfare system.

Priya Gopalan

Priya Gopalan, MSW

Evaluation and Program Coordinator
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research
Silver School of Social Work at New York University
41 E 11th St., Suite 701 D
New York, NY 10003-6654
(o) 212-992-6923
(c) 732-910-0516
pg881@nyu.edu

Priya Gopalan received her MSW from the Silver School of Social Work in 2013 and has recently joined the McSilver Institute as a research evaluator and program coordinator. Prior to her current position, Priya worked with high school teenagers at Project Step Up and was a teaching assistant for undergraduates taking classes in Research Methods. She has experience with several NYU based research teams in data design and analysis on projects about behavioral and academic outcomes for children and adolescents. Additionally, she facilitates a family support group for caregivers of those with mental illness and has volunteer experience in substance abuse treatment for young adults. 

Jayson Jones

Jayson Jones, LMSW

Research Scientist
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6654
(o) 212.998.5957
(f) 212.995.4753
email: jayson.jones@nyu.edu

Jayson Jones received his Master of Science in Social Work from the Columbia School of Social Work in May of 2014 and is currently splitting his time between the Clinical Education and Innovation Department and Project Step-Up at McSilver. He assists with the development and dissemination of clinical initiatives and trainings throughout the State of New York, as well as one-on-one mentorship with high school students within New York City.

Jayson’s interests lie in the intersection between poverty, access to adequate mental health services and education. Prior to joining the McSilver Institute, he served as a City Year Corps Member and with a number of New York based non-profit agencies addressing the academic and mental health needs of children, young adults, and senior citizens.  

Ammu Kowolik

Ammu D. Kowolik, LMSW

Assistant Director, Communications and Program Development
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003-6654
(o) 212.992.6903
(f)  212.995.4753 
ammu@nyu.edu 

Ammu Kowolik is the Assistant Director of Communications and Program Development at the McSilver Institute.  In this capacity, she is responsible for the development and oversight of the Institute's major communications, including the website, newsletter and also serves as the managing editor of McSilver's academic journal Global Social Welfare: Research Policy and Practice.  As Educational Coordinator for the Institute, Ammu is responsible for overseeing and organizing programmatic objectives for bachelors and masters level student interns and volunteers of the Institute and works directly with the Deputy Director on a number of key projects.  She is also a member of McSilver's Community Collaborative Board.  

Ammu received her MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at CUNY Hunter College in 2007 with a concentration in Community Organization and Planning.  Prior to her current position, Ammu worked with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in the New York City Chapter for over five years where she oversaw fund raising and membership development.

Micaela-Mercado

Micaela Mercado, PhD

Micaela Mercado, PhD
Data Analytics Officer
Research Associate
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 E 11th St, Suite 707
New York, NY 10003
(o) 212-992-9726
(f) 212-995-4753
mm6539@nyu.edu
 

Micaela is responsible for supporting the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research by bridging rigorous research and social work practices and communicating these efforts to community agency partners and stakeholders. Dr. Mercado has served as principal investigator on several qualitative and quantitative projects examining the educational outcomes of youth and young adults. She started her career as a Program coordinator in La Paz, Bolivia with USAID/Save the Children; conducted program evaluations as a Project Evaluator for Philliber Research Associates; and served on several nationally funded government projects for Research Triangle Institute International and Abt Associates. Her work also involved multi-systemic evaluation projects including Creating Confianza a Robert Wood Johnson’s “Caring across Communities” Initiative; CareerStart a project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor to help students make connections between academic curriculum and future careers; Promoting Academic Success of Boys of Color an initiative funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to improve the academic achievement of boys ages 3 to 8; and served as an Education Pioneers Fellow in Washington D.C. as a Policy Research Fellow for Jobs for the Future.

Previously, Dr. Mercado worked for Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors as Director of Research and Evaluation for 1 of 15 White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Promise Neighborhood programs in New York City and serves as an independent research consultant for MDRC in the Young Adults and Post-Secondary Education Policy Area.

Dr. Mercado earned her Master’s Degree in Social and Economic Development at Washington University in Saint Louis, and her doctoral degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she specialized in human and social capital development and quantitative methodologies.

Hadiza Osuji

Hadiza Osuji, MPA

Chief Program Officer
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003-6654
Ph. 212-998-4296
F.  212-995-4753
C. 347-520-1960
hlo1@nyu.edu

Hadiza Osuji is the Chief Program Officer of the McSilver Institute of Poverty Policy and Research.  As Chief Program Officer, she is responsible for administrative oversight and program development of the Institute’s research projects involving over a dozen projects. Additionally, she is involved with the coordination of interagency collaborations across the state. Prior to her current position, Ms. Osuji was a Senior Research Coordinator at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine where she coordinated a large scale test of a community collaborative, youth focused HIV prevention study called the CHAMPIONS program in the Bronx, New York. She has also overseen the training of numerous research assistants and administrative staff and led a program evaluation set in a residential housing facility for severely-poverty impacted children struggling with severe emotional, behavioral, and psychiatric difficulties. Ms. Osuji received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Ilorin, and her Master of Public Administration from Columbia University School of International Affairs, New York.  Currently, she is also enrolled in Public Health doctoral studies at Walden University focusing on Community Health promotion and education. Further, Ms. Osuji has been a member of the CHAMP Collaborative Board (CCB), Bronx New York for over a decade. The board comprising of key stakeholders in the community is charged with the design, development and delivery of community-based research projects.

Gisselle Pardo

Gisselle Pardo, LCSW, MPH

Senior Research Coordinator; Adjunct Lecturer
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th street 7th floor
New York, NY 10003
C. 646-234-3428H
gap2009@nyu.edu

Gisselle Pardo, LCSW, MPH joins NYU with 17 years of experience providing mental health services in underserved communities. She received her MSW degree from Fordham University and her MPH from NYU.  Her clinical practice has focused on addressing issues of trauma, domestic violence and chronic illness specifically HIV/AIDS. Her work with HIV infected/ affected children and adolescents addressed issues of HIV disclosure, treatment adherence, and primary/secondary prevention. Currently she is providing clinical supervision for Project Step UP, a school, family and community based mental health intervention.

Her research experience has focused on HIV in international settings. Currently she is the senior research coordinator for Champ+ Argentina, a community based mental health intervention for HIV infected youth and caregivers. As part of a capstone project/partnership between NYU and Africare she conducted an HIV/AIDS community based needs assessment in Bong County, Liberia.

Ms. Pardo is also an adjunct lecturer at the Silver School and a Field Instructor for MSW students placed at the McSilver Institute.

Gary Parker

Gary Parker, MSW

Deputy Director
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 Eeast 11th street, 7th floor suite 704
New York, NY 10003-6654
Ph. 212-998-5937
F. 212-995-4533
C. 646-593-1130
gary.parker@nyu.edu

Gary Parker joins the McSilver Institute with a wealth of experience in community organization and social work, and holds an MSW degree from Hunter College School of Social Work. He comes from the NYU Office of Government and Community Affairs, where, as director, he served as a University liaison to city and state agencies and was a member of the University’s long-term strategic planning team. Parker is also an adjunct lecturer at the Silver School and teaches a graduate course on community organization and social welfare policy.  Previous experience includes positions as district manager for Manhattan Community Board Five and community liaison for New York Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick.

Kassia Ringell

Kassia R. Ringell, LMSW

Clinical Research Coordinator- Project Step-Up
The McSilver Institute of Poverty Policy and Research
41 East 11th Street, 7th floor
New York, NY 10003
Ph.  212 992.9717
C. 646. 673.5491
kr487@nyu.edu

Kassia Ringell, LMSW, graduated from The Hunter College School of Social Work in 2005. Since graduation, she has worked primarily with adolescents and families in a variety of settings including: community, school and hospital. From 2005-2007, she worked as a social worker on a school based grant at Grand Street Settlement, which served middle and high school aged youth at risk for drop-out. Since 2008, she has been working with Mary McKay as a coordinator on various grants. From 2008-2010, she was a clinical research coordinator on the Multiple Family Group (MFG) Project where she worked as a site coordinator at 6 mental health clinics; providing staff support and overall management of MFG groups at the clinic sites. She has also co-facilitated Multiple Family Groups, and conducted clinical interviews. Currently, Kassia is one of three project coordinators on Project Step-Up where she writes the group work life skills curriculum for the youth/ families in the program. She is an active group facilitator, and is also helping to create and develop a family engagement program component to the program. Kassia is a member of the AASWG-NYC (Association for the Advancement of Social Work Groups), has taken classes at the Ackerman Institute, and has participated in multiple group work trainings to further her expertise in group and family work.

Jim Rodriguez

James Rodriguez, PhD, LCSW

Senior Research Scientist
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
jr4139@nyu.edu 
 

James Rodriguez, LCSW, PhD works with the Step-Up program and the clinical education teams at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research.  His work at the institute includes direct practice, training and supervision with an eye to developing evidence informed practices in the area of child and adolescent mental health.  Dr. Rodriguez received his MSW degree from Columbia University School of Social Work in 1990 and his PhD in Counseling Psychology, Counselor Education and Supervision, from the University Washington in Seattle in 2000.  His professional training and experience includes a wide range of experiences spanning a variety of settings at various levels of practice.  Prior to coming to McSilver, Dr. Rodriguez worked for 5 years as a child therapist in the School-Based Mental Health program in the Department of Psychiatry at New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH).    He provided psychiatric evaluation and treatment services for school-age children with DSM diagnoses, including children with disruptive behavior disorders, anxiety and depression.  Prior to his clinical work at NYPH he was a research scientist with the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University.  He was the Project Director and Co-Investigator along with Drs. Mary McKay and Kimberly Hoagwood on a number of studies, including the Child and Adolescent Trauma Treatment and Services (CATS) project and studies of parent empowerment.  He is honored to be joining McSilver. 

Tony Salerno

Tony Salerno, Ph.D.

Practice and Policy Scholar
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research
Silver School of Social Work
New York University
41 East 11th Street, 7th floor suite 702
New York, NY 10003
Ph. 212-998-5932
C. 914-772-5884
F. 212-995-4533
anthony.salerno@nyu.edu

Anthony J. Salerno, PhD, is a NYS licensed psychologist with over 30 years of public mental health experience in inpatient and outpatient settings.   Dr. Salerno has extensive experience as a clinician, supervisor and administrator of mental health rehabilitation programs. He has extensive experience working closely with families and consumer advocacy organizations; training multi-disciplinary staff in the principles and practices of psychiatric rehabilitation and wellness self-management; and providing organizational and leadership consultation and training services to mental health agencies.
In addition to clinical leadership activities, Dr. Salerno has helped organizations improve practices through innovative implementation methods such as learning collaboratives and practice improvement networks. These methods have been employed to promote the widespread and sustainable implementation of quality practices across clinical conditions, cultural populations and program types.

Dr. Salerno served in a leadership role with the New York State Office of Mental Health to develop system wide strategies to promote evidence based practices throughout the state, with a particular emphasis on the use of curriculum based treatment approaches such as wellness self-management and brief family involving interventions. Dr. Salerno has also developed a web based wellness self-management course to promote widespread, feasible and continuous access to training supports for students and mental health staff.  Most recently, Dr. Salerno has been working on a number of national improvement projects related to trauma informed care and the integration of behavioral and physical health services. Dr. Salerno’s teaching interest has focused on assisting students and practitioners to develop the core competencies characteristic of effective helpers working with individuals across a wide spectrum of clinical conditions, program settings and cultural backgrounds.

Most recently, Dr. Salerno has been working on a number of national improvement projects related to trauma-informed care and the integration of behavioral and physical health services. Dr. Salerno’s teaching interest has focused on assisting students and practitioners to develop the core competencies characteristic of effective helpers working with individuals across a wide spectrum of clinical conditions, program settings, and cultural backgrounds.

Ozge Sensoy-Bahar

Ozge Sensoy Bahar, PhD, MSW

Ozge Sensoy Bahar, PhD, MSW
Postdoctoral Research Fellow 
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy & Research
Silver School of Social Work at New York University
41 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10003-6654
osb208@nyu.edu

Ozge Sensoy Bahar received her Master's degree in Social Work from Columbia University and PhD in Social Work from the School of Social Work at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her scholarship focuses on urban poverty and the struggles and resilience of poverty-impacted youth, families, and communities both in local and global settings. She worked in and co-authored multiple publications on a qualitative research that focused on the challenges households with children experienced and the coping strategies they developed, especially around physical activity, access to healthy food, and family meal times in a predominantly African American low-income neighborhood of Chicago. In her dissertation work, Ozge used ethnographic research methods to explore how mothers in low-income Kurdish migrant and/or displaced families reconstructed their lives in an inner-city neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey after migrating from the East and Southeast of Turkey, including adaptation to life in the city, experiences of poverty, childrearing, child/adolescent work, and gender ideologies.

Her dissertation work received the International Studies Dissertation Award, Kathleen Cloud International Research Award, and Evelyn Accad International Research Award at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also received the Marianne Ferber Graduate Scholarship in Women’s Studies awarded to the most outstanding dissertation proposal related to Gender and Women’s Studies from the Department of Women and Gender Studies and the Daniel Sanders Fellowship in International Social Development from the School of Social Work at UIUC during her doctoral studies.  

As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at McSilver, she is involved in various projects conducted at the Institute in addition to continuing her own work. Some of the work she is currently engaged in includes a qualitative study conducted in New York City as part of an international comparative study that explores how people who have had direct experience with poverty perceive and experience shame and social exclusion. She is assisting in the data analysis of a mental health needs assessment project conducted in Ghana. She is also one of the Research Coordinators for the study “Mobile Health Solutions for Behavioral Skill Implementation through Homework.”

O

Latoya Small, LMSW

Adjunct Lecturer and Research Coordinator
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
Doctoral Candidate, NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
(o) 212-992-6626
(f) 212-995-4752
latoya.small@nyu.edu 

Latoya Small, LMSW, joins McSilver after working in the United Kingdom engaged in Global Social Work projects at Oxford University. She worked on a number of research projects focused on children caring for HIV-infected family members. She is currently working on McSilver's VUKA project in South Africa which aims to assist perinatally-infected HIV+ youth and their families.

She was a clinician for almost 10 years working with poverty-impacted families as well as individuals managing chronic mental illness. She is is a doctoral candidate at the New York University Silver School of Social Work finishing a dissertation on treatment adherence by low income HIV+ women of color in the United States.

Tricia Stephens

Tricia Stephens, LCSW-R

Junior Research Scientist
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
NYU Silver School of Social Work
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
tns205@nyu.edu

Ms. Stephens is a doctoral candidate at the New York University Silver School of Social Work. Since joining the McSilver team in 2010, she has worked on various research projects involving using evidence-based interventions to improve the mental health and welfare of children and families. Ms. Stephens’ area of doctoral research is assessing and addressing the impact of trauma on parenting for low-income mothers of color living in urban areas. Her publications include work on shared trauma and the best practices for the dissemination of evidence-informed interventions. She has worked in the areas of substance abuse and trauma while at Mt. Sinai Hospital and then in community mental health for children and families at Graham-Windham. Ms. Stephens continues to hone her direct practice skills through her work with adults with histories of trauma. Ms. Stephens is also an adjunct lecturer at the Hunter College Silberman School of Social Work where she has taught Human Behavior in the Social Environment III and Practice Lab for the past year. She has presented her work on the effects of trauma in low income communities of color at both local and national workshops and social work conferences.

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Chris Villatoro, LMSW

Clinical Research Coordinator - Project Step-Up
McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research
Silver School of Social Work
New York University
41 East 11th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10003
Ph. 212 992-9718
C. 516 322-0624
F. 212-995-4533
hcv1@nyu.edu

Chris Villatoro, LMSW graduated from Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work in 2004. From 2000 - 2005 Chris worked at Association to Benefit Children in East Harlem New York as the Youth Services Coordinator, where he was responsible for coordinating after-school, summer and weekend programming for At-Risk youth in the East Harlem Community. From 2005-2011, he worked as a social worker and site coordinator on an AIDP (Attendance Improvement Drop Out Prevention) school based grant at Grand Street Settlement which focused on high school aged youth at risk of dropping-out. Since 2005 he has served as a work camp leader at Youth Services Opportunities Project (YSOP), facilitating weekend community service experiences for school and youth groups. The workcamps are designed to teach young people about service and to serve hungry and homeless people in New York City. Currently, Chris is one of three project coordinators on Project Step-Up where he provides individual and group direct services to participants at South Bronx Prep High School and Central Park East High School.