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Experts

Our experts are available to provide interviews on and off camera for a wide variety of hot topics including suicide prevention, mental health policy, veterans transitions, substance abuse, bullying, the role of social media in suicide prevention, and many more. Please contact Michael Rosen to schedule an interview at at 646-738-6285 or by email at mrosen@mhaofnyc.org.

Quick Links

Suicide Prevention Disaster Response Veterans’ Issues
Adult Mental Health Children’s Mental Health Public Safety
Crisis Response Substance Addiction Business and Programs

 

Areas of Expertise

Suicide Prevention

 

140623-368retJohn Draper, PhD

Project Director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Area of Expertise: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Service Systems

Dr. Draper has nearly 25 years of experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention work, and is one of the nation’s leading experts in crisis contact center practices (hotline, online chat, SMS services, etc.). He oversees all aspects of the federally-funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, which consists of over 160 member crisis centers across the country. Dr. Draper frequently presents at national conferences on subjects related to best practices in crisis intervention and suicide prevention, as well as the use of innovative technologies (text, chat, other online programs, etc.) in helping persons in emotional distress. Dr. Draper also frequently discusses the role of persons with lived experience of suicide (attempt survivors, loss survivors, etc.) in suicide prevention. Dr. Draper has been quoted in The New York TimesABC NewsThe New York Post, and TIME among others.

 


Veterans’ Issues

Kimberly A. Williams, LMSW

Vice President of the Center for Policy, Advocacy, and Education

Area of Expertise: Mental Health Policy

Kimberly leads MHA-NYC’s advocacy efforts, positioning the agency at the forefront of practice solutions that promote better behavioral health policies for high-risk populations across the country. She serves on numerous advisory and planning groups such as The National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging, the New York State Geriatric Mental Health and Chemical Dependence Planning Council, and the New York City Adult Protective Services Advisory Council. In addition to commenting on her specific area of expertise, Kimberly can discuss the challenges veterans face and how civilians can help them adjust to life off the battlefield. Ms. Williams contributes to a column on The Huffington Post and has been quoted in The New York TimesToday’s Geriatric Medicine, and featured on NY1 and PIX11.

 


Disaster Response

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Christian Burgess, LMSW

Director, Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH)

Area of Expertise: Mental Health Concerns in Relation to Natural and Human-caused Disasters

Christian has been the program Director for the national Disaster Distress Helpline since its start in 2011. During this time, Christian has led numerous presentations at conferences and other events that address the impact disasters have on behavioral health. In addition to commenting on his area of expertise, Christian can discuss: disaster behavioral health concerns that are common throughout all phases of a disaster, including during anniversaries or other ‘trigger’ events; the impact of disasters on youth and other populations especially at-risk for disaster distress; healthy coping and emotional resiliency; and more. Christian has been quoted in WNYC.

 


 

140623-240

Kathryn Salisbury, Ph.D

Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, MHA-NYC

Area of Expertise: Development of Systems of Care; Child, Adolescent and Family Services; Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy; and Integration of Behavioral and Primary Care

Dr. Salisbury has over 30 years of experience as a mental health clinician, administrator, educator, consultant and policymaker focusing on mental health issues. She has been instrumental in building MHA-NYC’s diverse portfolio of innovative programs and services, including family support programs, services for transition age youth, disaster mental health services, workplace wellness programs, and online behavioral health services. Dr. Salisbury’s work has been published in peer reviewed journals such as Child and Adolescent Clinics of North America and the American Journal of Public Health as well as popular and trade publications such Behavioral Health News and Parent Magazine. She is a frequent presenter at national conferences on a wide range of behavioral health treatment and policy issues.

 

 


Mental Health Awareness and Public Education

140623-110Lisa Furst, LMSW, MPH

Assistant Vice President for Training and Quality Programs

Area of Expertise:

Training, Technical Assistance, Quality Improvement

Lisa oversees MHA-NYC’s training and technical assistance programs delivered by the Center for Policy, Advocacy and Education, which engage and inform a diverse group of professionals and the general public about mental health, mental illness, and treatment through knowledge development and skills-building. In addition, she directs the implementation of the organization’s quality improvement program.  Lisa can speak to the needs of a number of populations, including youth, adults, older adults and people affected by disasters and other traumatic experiences.  Lisa is the co-author of Depressed Older Adults:  Education and Screening (Springer Publications) and has co-authored pieces for Aging Well, Today’s Geriatric Medicine, and the Journal of Case Management and has been featured on NBC and other broadcast, print, and radio media.

 


 

Angela Mora-Vargas, LMSW

 

Assistant Vice President of Programs

Area of Expertise:

Families, Children and Adolescent Services

Angela oversees MHA-NYC’s direct services that specialize in meeting the unique needs of parents and caregivers who need help navigating the complex mental health care system on behalf of their children, and youth and young adults who seek alternative educational options to make a seamless transition from adolescent to adulthood in spite of their behavioral and /or emotional challenges. Angela is particularly well-informed with the barriers in the service system that include long waiting lists, a shortage of linguistically competent clinicians, and the need for more funding to provide additional services and care coordination, which yields to early detection and intervention. She is fluent in Spanish and understands the importance of culturally competent and linguistically sensitive services for families in NYC. In addition to discussing her area of expertise, Angela has experience in facilitating a number of trainings including Mandated Child Abuse Reporting and Mental Health First Aid and ASIST.


Crisis Response

PhotoGrid_1405805543181Anitha Iyer, PhD

Vice President, Contact Center Services

Area of Expertise: Trauma and PTSD, Sexual Assault, Integrative Psychotherapy

Anitha Iyer is a NYS Licensed Clinical Psychologist. As Vice President of Contact Center Services, Dr. Iyer provides clinical leadership and management oversight to ensure MHA-NYC hotlines incorporate the highest clinical standards, trainings, and best practices in the field. She is a recognized leader in the innovative use of technology in delivering crisis services, is an advisor to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline through participation in their Standards, Trainings, and Practices Committee and Metrics Workgroup, and is a frequent speaker at behavioral health and suicide prevention conferences across the Nation.  Her professional affiliations include American Psychological Association (APA), and New York State Psychological Association (NYSPA), and the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS) for whom she serves on the Advisory Board. Dr. Iyer is multilingual and fluent in English, Tamil, and Hindi/Urdu.

 

 


Children’s Mental Health

140623-240Kathryn Salisbury, Ph.D

Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, MHA-NYC

Area of Expertise: Development of Systems of Care; Child, Adolescent and Family Services; Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy; and Integration of Behavioral and Primary Care

Dr. Salisbury has over 30 years of experience as a mental health clinician, administrator, educator, consultant and policymaker focusing on mental health issues. She has been instrumental in building MHA-NYC’s diverse portfolio of innovative programs and services, including family support programs, services for transition age youth, disaster mental health services, workplace wellness programs, and online behavioral health services. Dr. Salisbury’s work has been published in peer reviewed journals such as Child and Adolescent Clinics of North America and the American Journal of Public Health as well as popular and trade publications such Behavioral Health News and Parent Magazine. She is a frequent presenter at national conferences on a wide range of behavioral health treatment and policy issues.

 

 


Public Safety

Kimberly A. Williams, LMSW

Vice President of the Center for Policy, Advocacy, and Education

Area of Expertise: Public Safety, Gun Safety

Kimberly leads MHA-NYC’s advocacy efforts, positioning the agency at the forefront of practice solutions that promote better behavioral health policies for high-risk populations across the country. She serves on numerous advisory and planning groups such as The National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging, the New York State Geriatric Mental Health and Chemical Dependence Planning Council, and the New York City Adult Protective Services Advisory Council. In addition to commenting on her specific area of expertise, Kimberly can discuss the challenges veterans face and how civilians can help them adjust to life off the battlefield. Ms. Williams contributes to a column on The Huffington Post and has been quoted in The New York TimesToday’s Geriatric Medicine, and featured on NY1.

 


Business and Programs

140623-240Kathryn Salisbury, Ph.D

Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, MHA-NYC

Area of Expertise: Development of Systems of Care; Child, Adolescent and Family Services; Online Cognitive Behavior Therapy; and Integration of Behavioral and Primary Care

Dr. Salisbury has over 30 years of experience as a mental health clinician, administrator, educator, consultant and policymaker focusing on mental health issues. She has been instrumental in building MHA-NYC’s diverse portfolio of innovative programs and services, including family support programs, services for transition age youth, disaster mental health services, workplace wellness programs, and online behavioral health services. Dr. Salisbury’s work has been published in peer reviewed journals such as Child and Adolescent Clinics of North America and the American Journal of Public Health as well as popular and trade publications such Behavioral Health News and Parent Magazine. She is a frequent presenter at national conferences on a wide range of behavioral health treatment and policy issues.