The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc. Coalition Briefs
An Update on Behavioral Health in New York

Substance Use Community Coalition Building

The Coalition's Substance Use Committee is undertaking a meaningful transformation with the implementation of the Regional Addiction Resource Center (Community Coalition) grant supported by the NYS Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). By bringing together stakeholders from across the substance use community for town halls, community forums and informed presentations, community-based providers receive critical knowledge and opportunities to positively impact the lives of people living with substance use disorders.

Recent highlights include:

  • The 2018 Youth Summit, Hosted by Youth Empowerment Speaks (YES), which garnered over 250 high school students and stakeholders for educational workshops, including presentations by The Coalition and the Queens Consortium on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse;
  • "Consequences of the Social Work Shortage on Opiate, Foster Care, and Immigration Services to the Latino Community," a conference at which Coalition Interim President & CEO Jason Lippman spoke on the state of the Clinical Practice Licensing Exemption; and
  • "RECOVERY TALKS: Community Listening Forum on Addiction and Recovery," co-hosted by The Coalition, part of a series of forums across New York State to engage with local, personal experiences dealing with alcohol and drug addiction, and to ultimately inform both the public and policy makers on the needs of the community.

We plan to maintain this momentum, continuing to invite guest speakers and engage in events which bring together diverse audiences to educate the behavioral health community, provide resources for those in need, and encourage effective public policy during this exciting period of growth and change.

Stay tuned for our next meeting!



The 12th Annual Working Peer Specialists Conference: An Annual Success!

The 2018 Working Peer Specialists Conference kicked off in July, gathering nearly 350 peers from the New York City behavioral health, family and youth fields. The event stimulated creative and critical dialogue on career development, present-day practices and healthcare trends.

The Coalition had a strong presence at the event, with multiple staff presenting and networking with peers, disseminating benefits and financial management information at the benefits resource table, and a participant in planning committee that makes the conference possible.

We applaud all who made this year's peer conference flourish and are grateful to have joined in this annual event supporting the future development of the peer workforce.


Substance Use Pioneer & Leader, Richard Pruss, Passes at the Age of 75

Richard Pruss
was the President and CEO of Samaritan Village from 1974-2008 and peacefully passed away on July 14, 2018 at the age of 75. During his tenure, Pruss grew the facility into one of the largest nonprofit treatment centers in New York and he remained active in the field until his death.

Pruss was a founding member and past President of the now known Treatment Communities of America and he also helped found the New York State Association of Substance Abuse Providers, now Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers (ASAP), and served as President from 1988-1992. He was Chairman of the Board of Damian Family Care Centers, Inc. and as a recipient of the Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award, Pruss oversaw the merge with Daytop Village in 2015 and served as Board President of Samaritan Daytop Village from 2015-2017.

Pruss, survived by wife Kathleen Riddle, leaves behind a brother, two daughters and four grandchildren. Our deepest condolences to his family during this time of grief. Richard, your kindness and care to those around you will always be missed.

Contributions may be made to the Samaritan Daytop Foundation or the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.


water cooler
Around the Water Cooler

WellLife Network Welcomes New CEO, Sherry Tucker

Sherry Tucker was appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of WellLife Network, succeeding Alan M. Weinstock, who had an amazing four-decade career and retired on June 30, 2018.

Sherry began her career at WellLife Network, formerly PSCH, in a consulting position in 2010 and helped lead the effort to bring the organization to a place of financial stability. Accepting the CFO/SVP position in 2015, Sherry set a strategy to continue to grow and strengthen the organization that was later led into a successful re-branding.

Today, WellLife Network, one of the largest regional behavioral health nonprofits in New York City and Long Island, provides life-changing services to some 25,000-vulnerable individual and families in the New York metropolitan area.


Union Settlement Supports Immigrant Families Fearing Deportation

The heartbreaking increase in family separation due to deportation has created fear among immigrant families and many are avoiding social services that could help them.

David Nocenti, Executive Director of Union Settlement, authored an article in NYN Media about how important it is to help our communities, especially the immigrant families who are facing deportation challenges. The agency has worked determinedly providing workshops and social service programs to assist and support the immigrant community.


The Door Seeks to Help Children Being Held Under Federal Custody

Attorneys Eve Stotland and Kaavya Viswanathan of The Door were featured on WNYC news. During the interview, they focused on how several of their young clients will likely not be reunited in time with their families.

Unfortunately, the federal government did not meet the court-ordered deadline to reunite the over 2,500 migrant children with their parents separated at the southern border.


NYC RPC Provider Steering Group Nominates New Co-Chair, Jason Lippman

Coalition's Interim President & CEO, Jason Lippman, was elected as the Regional Planning Consortium (RPC) Provider Steering Group co-chair position in the New York City area. He will serve alongside Coalition Member, Steven Helfand, Executive Director & CEO at Bleuler Psycotherapy Center.

The RPC is where collaboration, problem solving and system improvements for the integration of mental health, addiction treatment services and physical healthcare can occur in a way that is data informed, person and family centered, cost efficient and results in improved overall health for adults and children in our communities.

As the new co-chair, Jason looks forward to work closely with state agencies, and community-based providers to guide behavioral health policy in the region, educate the members on the benefits of integrated and coordinated care, and reinvest in Medicaid savings back into the community-based system.



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