About Us

about us

Academy of Peer Services

The Virtual Community of Support is a project of the Academy of Peer Services: a joint venture of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) and Rutgers University School of Health Professions, made possible by funding from the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH).

Project Director
Ken Gill (Rutgers)

Project Manager
Amy Spagnolo (Rutgers)

Instructional Design Team (Rutgers)
Annette Backs
Rita Cronise
Karen Richards

Web and Data Analysis Specialists (Rutgers)
Varsha Kamat
Efrem McCrimon

Technical Support Team (NYAPRS)
Maryam Husamudeen
Tyrone Garrett

Advisory Council (alphabetical order)

  • Lori Ashcraft (Resilience, Inc.)
  • Karen Burke (Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey/CSPNJ)
  • Laurie Curtis (Advocates for Human Potential/AHP)
  • Jonathan Edwards (NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene/NYPSCB)
  • Gita Enders (NYC Health + Hospitals)
  • Matthew Federici (Copeland Center/Doors to Wellbeing)
  • Sara Goodman (Baltic Street)
  • Cheryle Hinds Leslie (Riverdale Mental Health)
  • Yumi Ikuta (NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene)
  • Oscar Jimenez-Solomon (NYS Psychiatric Institute, Columbia Medical Center University)
  • Chacku Mathai (Mental Health Association of Rochester)
  • Jeffrey McQueen (MHA Nassau/NYPSCB)
  • Steve Miccio (PEOPLe, INC.)
  • Cindy Raley (Aurora Mental Health Center)
  • Denise Ranaghan (NYAPRS)
  • Tanya Stevens (Mental Health Empowerment Project/MHEP/NYPSCB)
  • Carlton Whitmore (NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene)
  • Joseph Woodward (Housing Options Made Easy/HOME/NYPSCB)

Subject Matter Experts (alphabetical order)

  • Fatima Aguilar
  • Annette Backs
  • Patrick Bailey
  • David Barker
  • Thomas Bartholomew
  • Peter Basto
  • Francine Bates
  • Andy Bernstein
  • Andrea Blanch
  • Celia Brown
  • Carol Bryant
  • Lorenzo Bryant
  • Gina Calhoun
  • Cherie Castellano
  • Cathy Cave
  • Amy Colesante
  • Ruth Cook
  • Patrick Corrigan
  • Rita Cronise
  • Laurie Curtis
  • Lloyd Deans
  • Joni Dolce
  • Moira Dwyer
  • Jonathan Edwards
  • Gita Enders
  • Tina Gollett
  • Joshua Gran
  • Steve Harrington
  • Ellen Healion
  • Yumiko Ikuta
  • Oscar Jimenz-Solomon
  • Michael Johnan
  • Maura Kelley
  • Carol Kench
  • Lynn Legere
  • Sarah Lickey Diwan
  • Rex MacQueen
  • Chris Martin
  • Chacku Mathai
  • Jeffrey McQueen
  • Steve Miccio
  • Pat Nemec
  • Bonnie Sue Newell
  • Daniel O’Brien-Mazza
  • Hextor Pabon
  • Elizabeth Patience
  • Darby Penney
  • Tina Powell
  • Denise Ranaghan
  • Melissa Roberts
  • Regina Shoen
  • Shari Sinwelski
  • Garrett Smith
  • Sue Sotack
  • Amy Spagnolo
  • Jana Spalding
  • John Stenson
  • Tanya Stevens
  • Peggy Swarbrick
  • Joseph Swinford
  • Pilot Tanzy
  • Lauren Tenney
  • Tony Trahan
  • Francis Ulrich
  • Marie Verna
  • Carlton Whitmore
  • Joe Woodward
  • Joe Young

To learn more about the Academy of Peer Services and the Virtual Community,
send email to: academy.virtual.community@gmail.com.

New York Certification Board


The Academy of Peer Services and Virtual Community are separate from, but work in collaboration with, the New York Peer Specialist Certification Board to ensure quality training, continuing education, and support for the peer workforce.