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National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery | NCMHR

Who We Are

NCMHR Staff

Lauren Spiro

Lauren SpiroLauren, the Coalition’s Director, has spent over 30 years working in a variety of behavioral healthcare settings in positions ranging from direct service provider to senior manager. She has served on a number of boards of directors and advisory boards, and was a founding board member of Housing Unlimited, Inc., an award-winning non-profit corporation in Maryland that provides housing for adults labeled with mental illness. She has served on CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) International’s Cultural Diversity Advisory Group and is currently on the board of the Virginia Organization of Consumers Asserting Leadership (VOCAL) and on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) Person Directed Service Planning Training Guide Project and the SAMHSA Wellness Initiative. For several years she has traveled across the country as a CARF surveyor and as a mental health recovery consultant and educator. She has presented at national, state and private provider conferences on evaluation and measurement of recovery outcomes, peer support, the recovery process, systems transformation, quality management, and cultural competency.

As a teenager she was labeled with chronic schizophrenia. She educates diverse stakeholders on the dynamic components of the journey to wellness. She envisions an America where every individual is respected and included as a valued member of the community. She is a native Washingtonian and has an M.A. degree in Clinical/Community Psychology.

NCMHR Board of Directors

Molly Cisco

Molly CiscoMolly has been the Executive Director of Grassroots Empowerment Project Inc. (GEP), a statewide organization in Wisconsin for 10 years and is responsible for the fiscal, program and personnel development and management of the organization. During her tenure as GEP Executive Director she has established the agency as a free standing, consumer controlled non-profit organization, more than doubled the agency’s budget and has worked collaboratively with consumers and policymakers across the state to strengthen the voice of the consumer movement.

Linda Corey

Linda CoreyLinda has been the Executive Director of the statewide consumer run agency of Vermont (Vermont Psychiatric Survivors) for 9 years. Previously she was the Recovery Education Coordinator for Vermont Recovery Education Project. Linda began having mental health issues at age 6. She is passionate about recovery and building peer leadership. Linda believes that recovery is a personal process which each individual must define for one’s self.

Mike Finkle

Mike FinkleMike is the Executive Director of On Our Own of Maryland, Inc., a statewide mental health consumer advocacy and education organization, which has a combined membership of over 1,400 people and represents 20 affiliated independent, mental health consumer-operated agencies around Maryland. Mr. Finkle is also a former Chairperson of the joint Maryland Advisory Council on Mental Hygiene and the federal P.L. 102-21 State Planning Council. He has been involved in mental health consumer advocacy since 1981 and helped coordinate and host the first national Alternatives Conference which was held in 1985 in Baltimore, MD.

Dan Fisher

Dan FisherDan obtained a PhD in biochemistry and carried out neurochemical research at the National Institutes of Mental Health. During the course of that work, he was labeled with mental illness. He recovered, earned a medical degree and became a psychiatrist. As co-founder and Executive Director of the National Empowerment Center, he has been an outspoken advocate for rights and recovery. Dan was a Commissioner on the White House New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. He promotes recovery throughout the US and in Japan, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, United Kingdom, Portugal and Korea.

Carole Glover

Carol CloverMy home is Lafayette, Louisiana and I am very happy to be an advocate for those of us who suffer from mental illness. I am presently president for the primary state consumer organization, Meaningful Minds of Louisiana. My advocacy work has been to bridge gaps between Office of Mental Health and those that are served by this consumer-run organization, I am President of the local chapter for Mental Health Association and co- chair for the Regional Advisory Council in my region. I am also very active in committees within my state on the state level. Making a difference is what I choose to do with my life.

Todd Lange

Todd LangeFive years ago, Todd Lange fueled his recovery from depression and anxiety through service to NAMI and the peer-run Wellness Center in Dubuque. Todd credits his ongoing recovery to building connections with others and finding purposeful work.

"I've learned along my recovery path the power and importance of nurturing my whole person, body, mind and spirit. Diet and exercise, connection with people I love and care about, and doing work that helps to improve the lives of others have all been key to my ongoing recovery."

Todd is one of the founders of the Iowa Advocates for Mental Health Recovery and currently serves as the Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs. He is in the second year of marriage to advocate and crisis counselor Carolyn Pettit-Lange and loves spending time walking along the Mississippi River, cheering for the Hawkeyes or spending time with his nephews. History and democracy are his other passions.

Kathy Muscari

Kathy MuscariKathy is Director of Consumer Organization and Networking Technical Assistance Center (CONTAC), West Virginia, which oversees implementation of self-help education and training programs such as the Leadership Academy. She has facilitated Leadership Academy workshops and presentations for several years as well as authored articles on leadership and empowerment. Ms. Muscari applies both personal and professional expertise to facilitate skill-development in areas of wellness and recovery, non-profit governance, transformational leadership, and peer support.

Ann Rider

Ann RiderAnn Rider lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where she grew up and lived a psychiatric and substance abuse history. She became involved in the c/s/x movement 11 years ago when she wrote her first peer support curriculum. She has since written two more distinct peer support curriculum, including one currently in use by a Native American provider in Arizona and the one in use by her agency, Recovery Empowerment Network (REN). Ann earned an MSW from Arizona State University where she has taught and where she continues to teach social work interns. She did undergrad work in mediation and dialogue and continues to work in conflict resolution. Ann is currently the Executive Director of REN, having founded it in 2005. REN was awarded a statewide consumer network grant by SAMHSA, expanding their activities in system transformation and legislative advocacy. Ann brought 300 people from peer-run programs in Arizona to the state legislature, four days after the tragic shootings in Tucson in 2011. Her basic belief is that people can reclaim a full life in the community, and that all of us can learn to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Joseph A. Rogers

Joseph RogersJoseph Rogers is executive director of the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse, one of five consumer and consumer supporter national technical assistance centers funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/Center for Mental Health Services; and chief of advocacy of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania. He has testified before U.S. Senate committees; has consulted in more than 30 states, as well as nationally and internationally; has served on numerous boards and committees; and has received a number of local and national awards, including the 2005 Heinz Award for the Human Condition, which is accompanied by a $250,000 unrestricted cash award.

Effie Smith

Effie SmithCo-Founder and Director of Advocacy/Program Development of Consumer Action Network (CAN) is a leading advocate on consumer issues in the District of Columbia. She has promoted self-direction and recovery for users of mental health services in many ways, from co-launching the first consumer-operated professional organization, to promoting entrepreneurship concepts for consumers, and Serving on various State and national-level committees and advisory boards, including the DC State Mental Health Planning Council. She encourages people who use services to be involved in policy and program development to become drivers of system change. Effie is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and is passionate about enhancing housing options for persons with disabilities.

Charles B. Willis

Charles B WillisCharles Willis is the Georgia Peer Support Resiliency Project Director with the GA Mental Health Consumer Network, an organization that promotes recovery through advocacy, education, employment empowerment, peer support and self-help. His work in the area of Self Directed Recovery has led him to become an Advanced Level Wrap Facilitator through the Copeland Center. He is an enthusiastic individual with over 20 years of successful, results-oriented experience in the helping professions of education and facilitation. In addition, Mr. Willis has worked as a Senior Research Interviewer with Emory University Grace Crum Rollins School of Public Health.

Mr. Willis has an undergraduate and Master's Degree from Fort Valley State University. He has completed the Georgia Certified Peer Specialist Training which is a project of the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network and The Department of Human Resources Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases. He has earned the credential of a Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner from the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. He is a member of the Mental Health Planning and Advisory Council (MHPAC), Board Member of Mental Health America of Georgia, and a member of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Advisory Council.
Sally Zinman

Sally ZinmanSally Zinman has been a pioneer in the mental patient rights movement for almost thirty years. In 1977, Sally founded a client-run organization called the Mental Patients' Rights Association in West Palm Beach, Florida. This organization developed a small, unfunded, all-volunteer client-run community center and shared living space. These were among the first client-run drop-in centers and supportive housing projects in the country. Later, in 1985 in Berkeley, California, she helped found the Coalition for Alternatives in Mental health, known as the Berkeley Drop-In Center, one of the first funded self-help agencies in the country.
Sally has been passionate about systemic change as well as direct services. She was a founding member of the California Network of Mental Health Clients, a statewide rights organization working to develop and expand self-help groups throughout the state, to confront stigmatizing attitudes about mental health clients, to provide a strong voice of, by and for mental health clients, and to promote and instill the rights of clients. Today she serves as its Executive Director.

In 1986, Sally co-edited and wrote articles for Reaching Across: Mental Health Clients Helping Each Other, which has been used by mental health clients and professionals throughout the country as a manual for understanding and starting self-help programs. A sequel, which Sally co-edited and for which she also wrote articles, Reaching Across 2: Maintaining Our Roots/ The Challenge of Growth, was published in 1994.

Sally is a workshop presenter, keynote speaker, and consultant on issues of clients' perspective, self-help programs, the consumer/survivor movement, and rights protections and advocacy throughout the United States.