MHA Board Of Directors

Officers
“I have seen firsthand the challenges, and continuing stigma, faced by those struggling to maintain good mental health. A strong, publicly accessible support structure including awareness, advocacy, and compassion for those affected is not only a requirement but also a responsibility of any community that strives to ensure the well being of its people.”

Brendan Harrington
Chair
CTG
Chief Financial Officer

"The MHA of Erie County has promoted the mental health and the well being of our community members for the past 50 years. I became involved with the MHA to help improve the understanding in our general community of the detrimental impact that mental illness can have on people whose lives are affected by mental disorders. By creating greater awareness of mental health issues in the community, I believe the community at large is better able to assist in improving affected people’s lives."

Thomas E. Baker Jr.
Vice Chair
Sandhill Investment Management
VP Business Development

"The MHA provides a voice for those who have lost theirs. All it takes is one person on the other end of a phone line to make a difference in someone’s life. The MHA proves this day in and day out. I am passionate about the destigmatizing of mental illness and am proud to help the MHA in raising awareness on this issue and the many others that affect the people impacted by mental illness in our community."

Karen Costa
Treasurer
Dopkins and Company, LLP
CPA and Director of General Services

"The MHA is an organization with an excellent reputation for supporting and educating individuals and their families struggling with mental illness.  I became involved with MHA because I, like many, have personally seen the devastation that untreated mental illness can cause for an otherwise loving, healthy family.  Too often, such illness goes undiagnosed and untreated either because symptoms are not recognized as treatable symptoms, or because of the negative stigma surrounding mental health illness.  Proper treatment and support make a world of difference for both the affected individual and their families and I want to be a part of this wonderful organization that is getting this message out there."

Suzanne C. Furlani
Secretary
Shatter I.T. LLC
Chief Operations Officer

"As a new board member, I am thrilled to be involved with such a worthwhile organization. Although we live in a society where stress takes its toll on many individuals from all walks of life, a social stigma still exists. I look forward to assisting in any way with the continued success of the MHA in all aspects of mental health advocacy."

Members

Helene Abate
Forbes Capretto Homes
New Home Consultant

“I am involved with the Mental Health Association because I feel that there is a great need to help children and families with early detection.”

Jeffrey L. Anker, M.D.
Center for Advanced Psychiatry, S.U.N.Y. Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director

“I want to contribute to the improvement of mental health care in Erie County. As a faculty member of UB Medical School Department of Psychiatry and the ECMC Medical Staff I am contributing to mental health care through teaching and the development of a continuum of services including inpatient, partial hospital and outpatient treatment programs. However, there continue to be many serious gaps in delivery of mental health treatment. The MHA aims to address these gaps and I would like to help in this way too. I have worked as a psychiatrist for over forty years and have had the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in many areas of mental health care. I believe I can apply my experience in a variety of ways to help us creatively bridge the gaps that continue to limit our serving of our residents effectively.”

Tom Bassanello
Business Development Executive
IBM

"I would like to learn more about mental health issues and bring the capability of our IBM Buffalo Innovation Center to solve complicated root cause problems of mental health.”

"I am looking for an opportunity to give back, and make a positive impact in the mental health community."  

Eric Clauss
E.T. Clauss Insurance Agency
President

"To advocate for an underappreciated health concern that affects a significant number of people."
"I just want to give back to the community in any way that I can."

Judith A. Feld, MD, MPH, MMM, DFAPA
Independent Health
Medical Director, Provider Engagement and Practice Innovation

“There is no health without mental health. As a medical professional, I am committed to the mission of the MHA; improving wellness in our community and supporting individuals and families who deal with the challenges of mental illness. "

Karen A. Fenzl
First Niagara Risk Management, Inc.
Vice President

“Family involvement and understand need for community involvement and awareness of programs, care, etc. that may be available to families, clients, etc."

Donna Gatti, RN
ECMC - Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program
Director

"My spirit and passion for individuals and families who are challenged with mental illness can be further enhanced as part of The Mental Health Association. Promoting health and wellness, breaking the barriers of stigma, and offering hope drives this amazing organization. I am honored to be part of this greatness. "

Donna Genesky
Delaware North Companies
Vice President

"For me, supporting those facing mental health needs, hits close to home. I have experienced first-hand the diagnosis, treatment and journey of someone facing mental health concerns. From that perspective, I am involved in this organization as a true advocate. I am a proponent for more funding and resources that can help support those living with or caring for someone with a mental illness."

Ken Houseknecht
Mental Health Association of Erie County, Inc.,
Executive Director

I spent 30 years doing public and investor relations work with some really great people and some truly incredible companies/organizations. Most days, I told folks, "This much fun...and we get paid too! Doesn't seem right." I was blessed!

In 2011, I was honored to join the Mental Health Association (MHA) of Erie County as the Executive Director, an organization where I had been a volunteer for nearly three decades. The MHA does some amazing work, promoting mental health and wellness and helping folks who have suffered a temporary or more permanent loss of mental health or wellness.

Again, I work with incredibly talented and passionate people doing work that really makes a difference in people's lives. How cool is that! I'm still blessed!!!

Christopher Kerr
The Center for Hospice & Palliative
Chief Executive Officer

“I have witnessed, both personally and professionally, the clear need for mental health education, advocacy, and comprehensive support. Despite the prevalence of mental health issues, stigma persists even within the culture of medicine. Meaningful progress towards acceptance and societal integration requires a broad based community effort.”

Theresa Mignone Klostermann
Private Practice
Psychologist

"As a practicing psychologist I have seen the impact of mental health problems on both individuals and families. The MHA has an excellent history of supporting and educating individuals and their families who are facing mental health concerns. It's an honor to be a part of an organization that helps to make treatment and services more accessible to those who need it. It's also an excellent venue to continue to facilitate conversation with young and old alike about reducing stigma;  making it okay to seek help."  

Peter S. Martin, MD, MPH
University at Buffalo, Division of Community Psychiatry
Director

Annemarie Mikowski
University Psychiatric Practice/University at Buffalo
Psychiatrist

“As a Psychiatrist I treat a great variety of mental health concerns, and have a keen understanding on how mental illness can affect individuals, families, and the community. I’ve had an ongoing interest in advocacy as I see how programs and services directly impact my patients. It is my hope to provide a voice for some individuals that may not be able to currently or directly speak for themselves. As an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry for University at Buffalo, I also see my involvement with the MHA as an important way to instill awareness and engagement in the next generation of providers.”  

Ronald Z. Piaseczny, JD
Department of Veteran Affairs
Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

“Coming from immigrant parents and being a minority, two of the biggest challenges I have personally faced and continue to face are, “What is my identity” and “How do I fit in?” Often times, people face many struggles in trying to answer those questions for themselves as they grow and develop from children, through the teenage years, and throughout adulthood. Compound that journey with being a minority, or having a physical illness, or mental health diagnosis, and the path ahead can often seem confusing, frustrating or overwhelming. Agencies like the Mental Health Association work to reduce stigma and improve connections between those with a diagnosis and community at large. They work to reduce barriers, educate, and improve the lives of the people they service. I am proud to be part of an organization that helps those in need, empowers individuals and strives to make the community better for everyone.”

Lauren Rivett
Senator Timothy M. Kennedy
Legislative Director

"I was first introduced to the Mental Health Association two years ago, and had the privilege of working closely with the organization to restore funding for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program in the state budget. Through that lobbying effort, I saw firsthand the immediate and direct impact MHA has on at-risk youth in Erie County. As a new board member, I look forward to promoting an open, de-stigmatized discussion about mental health and mental illness in our community. "
"I joined the MHA board because I truly believe that mental health is one of THE most important factors in a healthy society, and yet one not adequately funded, understood or even acknowledged. It effects all corners of our community. It does not discriminate. I hope through my involvement to help bring attention – and dollars – to issues that must be recognized and dealt with."

Jamie A. Shaner
Home Solutions of WNY, Inc.
Owner

"I decided to get involved with the Mental Health Association because I want to play a role in the mission to inform and educate the public about the many fantastic services offered by the MHA, and to be part of the movement to help permanently erase the stigma that is, unfortunately, still associated with mental illness."

Eric M Soehnlein JD
Associate Attorney
Attorney Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedmann LLP

Roger Woodworth
Veterans One-Stop Center of WNY
President and CEO

“A veteran is measured in equal parts by what they do during their period of military service, and by what they make of that experience upon return to the civilian sector.  We must all ensure that our Veterans are afforded the opportunities and resources to make the most of their experience of service, because not everyone who serves returns, even those that come home.  This is my opportunity to honor the service and sacrifices of all of our veterans, by helping to promote mental health and wellness throughout the community that our Veterans served to protect; and to help all of those suffering from a loss of good mental health to seek assistance free of prejudice or social label through advocacy, education, and training.”
   


999 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY
716-886-1242
info@eriemha.org



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