On February 21, 2020, the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission (MSAAHCC) hired Terry Alford to serve as its full-time Executive Director beginning March 2, 2020. Mr. Alford will be responsible for leading the effort to create a unified master plan that will maximize the opportunity of this unique destination that includes the Michigan Street Baptist Church, Nash House Museum, Colored Musicians Club, and WUFO Black History Collective among other important assets.
Terry Alford is a seasoned senior manager/administrator with over 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a results-oriented professional with expertise in management, marketing, public relations, and community capacity-building. Most recently, he served as the “Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities” Community Engagement Program Manager at Cicatelli Associates. Prior to that, he served in various leadership roles for 18 years at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, including as director of the Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition where he oversaw a $2 million annual budget and managed the day-to-day operations of the coalition on behalf of the NYS Department of Health including marketing, promotions, public relations, and community engagement.
He holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Medaille College with honors and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, with a minor concentration in Urban Planning from the State University College at Buffalo.
His community activities have included serving in leadership roles within the St. Martin de Porres Parish; president and CEO of Help Initiatives for Men; co-founder of Men Allied for the Need to Understand Prostate Cancer; and, co-founder and president of the African American Roswell Employee Network. He was honored by the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society in 2019; was St. Martin de Porres Roman Catholic Church Holy Name Society’s 2016 “Man of the Year” and was Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s “Living the Dream” 2014 Employee of the Year.
Terry, a native of Buffalo, was raised with four other siblings by parents who made residence in neighborhoods bordering or near the Michigan Avenue corridor. He is the proud father of one daughter, Violet, and the grandfather of two, Myles and Autumn. Terry presently resides on the east side of the city with his wife, Laurie.
Dr. Daniel Antonius
Wearing many hats, my work includes administrative, clinical, academic, and research responsibilities. Administratively, I oversee our department’s forensic faculty and staff, forensic programs, and the forensic psychology training program. Clinically, I (or my team) conduct psychological evaluations that address clinical and forensic questions (e.g. emotional problems, cognitive issues, risk, competency, criminal responsibility, etc). Using social-psychological-physiological methods, I help clients overcome psychological and emotional problems and optimize their performance. Academically, I teach and supervise students at all levels, with the ultimate goal of facilitating scholarly thinking and work. All students are encouraged to get involved in my research program, which focuses on the neurobiological, behavioral, and societal factors that underlie human emotions, aggression and impulsivity.
Joan S. Baizer
BA, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA (psychology)
MS, PhD, Brown University, Providence, RI (psychology)
Postdoctoral Training and Sabbatical Leave (1988) NIH, Bethesda, Maryland (neurophysiology)
Sabbatical Leave (1995, 1 semester) University College, London, England
1976-present Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Jacobs School of Medicine and
Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Full Professor 2014.
Mother of a developmentally disabled woman born 5-19-1987, died 12-02-2022, of complications from epilepsy. Jessica had ID/DD, a seizure disorder and a movement disorder. She lived in a People Inc. IRA with 5 other women. I have been involved in disability advocacy since Jessica was first diagnosed as disabled at the age of 6 months. When she was a child, my goal was to have her included with typically-developing peers as much as possible in school and in recreational programs. The adult disability world is much more segregated and my focus has shifted. My present goal is to ensure that the supports needed for people with ID/DD are better funded (including salaries for DSPs) and that residential and employment opportunities are greatly increased.
Tori Brooks, MD
Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, I briefly left the area to attend Boston College for undergraduate study, and returned to the Jacobs School of Medicine for medical school and residency training in general psychiatry. Upon graduation, I began working as a full-time faculty member in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) at Erie County Medical Center in July of 2006. In June 2014, I was promoted to the position of CPEP Medical Director, still held today.
As a Clinical Associate Professor in the Jacobs School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry, I provide didactic and clinical teaching to medical students and residents at all levels of training. In addition, I recently developed the curriculum for one of only 5 emergency psychiatry fellowships nationally. I am happy to report the recruitment of the first trainee who will graduate from this program in June 2023. We hope this will further highlight Buffalo as a center of excellence in the practice of emergency psychiatry, and be a catalyst in enhancing the quality of psychiatric care available to our community.
In addition to my clinical and administrative duties, I participate in several community-based activities striving to positively contribute as much as possible to improvements in the Western New York system of care within which I practice psychiatry. To this end, I have served as a member of the Erie County Department of Mental Health Community Services Board since 2014. I’ve also worked closely with Commissioner O’Brien as a co-chair of the High Utilizer Task Force, participated in the Suicide Fatality Review Team, co-host ongoing monthly SPOA Coordination Meetings, and have been a member of the Endeavor Health Board of Directors since 2004.
As Chief Officer of Community Engagement & Workforce Development at OLV Human Services, I am responsible for aligning the agency’s purpose and value with community needs. The focus of my role is to cultivate partnerships in the community and strategically identify and advance new programs and services in our clinical, community-based, education, residential, and vocational departments. I am also responsible for developing and maintaining partnerships with businesses and trade associations to meet their workforce needs. To meet the growing community demand for vocational training programs for individuals living with mental illness, I am responsible for designing and overseeing training programs for youth, young adults, and adults with mental illness to help them reach their employment goals.
A Registered Occupational Therapist by trade with a specialization in Behavioral Health, I am an alumnae of the University at Buffalo. Upon graduation, I worked for UB under the Research Foundation, managing a vocational program in a school age day treatment facility for Baker Victory Services. This opportunity led to long-term employment with Baker Victory Services where I implemented The Work Appreciation for Youth (WAY) Program, a replication adapted from the model at Children’s Village. The WAY Program has since evolved over the last twenty years and is now a division within the organization which serves youth, young adults and adults who participate in funded vocational and transition services both in educational settings and in the community.
Katie Coric, LCSW has worked as a social worker in the WNY community for about 15 years. Her current position is at the VA Western New York Healthcare System as the Suicide Prevention Program Manager, coordinating the clinical and administrative suicide prevention efforts at the VA. Prior to this position, Katie worked in previous roles at the VA such as, Community Education and Partnership Coordinator, Suicide Prevention Coordinator and Emergency Services program manager, and as an inpatient psychiatry social worker. Katie has over fifteen years of experience working in settings with adolescents and adults providing trauma-informed treatment to individuals who struggle with self-destructive behaviors and struggle with managing mental health symptoms. She has worked at the University at Buffalo Counseling Center, Child & Adolescent Services DBT program, and at Cattaraugus Community Action as a child and adolescent therapist.
Max Donatelli is a proud parent who along with his wife, Joyce Donatelli, have two beautiful children, Connie and Craig. Craig is 34, has Down syndrome, and lives semi-independently and works in competitive employment. The family are recognized advocates for people with developmental disabilities, those with mental health challenges, and for inclusion and equity locally and statewide. Max retired from Baker Victory Services (now OLV Human Services) in 2016 after 42 years in roles including direct care worker, clinician, director, and department head, helping high risk youth in foster care and families (has BA degree in psychology and sociology; MS degree in counselor education, both from Canisius College), and former executive director of the Parent Network of WNY. Currently, he is chair of the Erie County Community Services Board for Mental Hygiene. He is also an active member of the following: Health Leadership Fellows Action Network (co-chair DEIJ Committee), of Developmental Disabilities Alliance of WNY Family Committee (Founding Member); co-creator of the Art of Advocacy, founding member of the Hamburg Coalition of Equity and Inclusion, member of Leadership Buffalo, other advocacy initiatives; as well as, vice chair of the Community Veterans Engagement Board (Max is a Vietnam Veteran). In addition, he is a Founding Member and the first chair of the EC Anti-Stigma Coalition (see letstalkstigma.org). Max regularly writes articles in the media and speaks publicly on advocacy topics. Recent advocacy awards: NY Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation, Community Advocacy Award, and NFJC, Lana Benatovich Lifetime Achievement Award; and he is a 25-gallon-blood donor.
Maya Hu-Morabito is a board member of the Community Services Board for Erie County, NY. As a long standing member, she represents community interest and family interests.
An honorary Western New York native, Maya began her career as a Direct Support Professional and has since gained two decades of experience working in the field of Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health, including practice in case management, self-directed services, clinical assessment, and community education outreach. Her involvement in direct service has given her a deep appreciation of the positive outcomes that grow from people caring about other people.
Today, Maya works as a Project Facilitator for the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability and the National Center for START ServicesTM. The National Center for START ServicesTM is an initiative that works to strengthen efficiencies and service outcomes for people with IDD and mental health needs in the community. The START model was founded in 1986 and was established at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability in 2009 to provide technical assistance, clinical expertise, training, and consultation services that support of community-based crisis intervention for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health needs.
In addition to her day to day work, Maya is the President for the Recovery Options Made Easy (ROME) Board of Directors. ROME is a peer run mental health non for profit organization with service across Western New York. ROME emphasizes accessibility to support and trauma informed approaches; the organization leads with what they know, because they have been there.
Maya has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology and a Master of Arts in Humanities – Interdisciplinary with a concentration in Disability Studies from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
In free time, Maya has two beautiful children, whom she spends a lot of her off-hours chasing around and entertaining. She enjoys cooking with a glass of white wine, reading in-hand fiction books (never in electronic form) and running.
Stephanie Orlando is the Chief Operations Officer of Western New York Independent Living Inc. (WNYIL). She is responsible for the oversite of five agencies administered by WNYIL which offer Independent Living services in Erie, Niagara Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties. Ms. Orlando has worked as a peer in the disability rights field since 1998 and has served on the county, regional, state and national levels as a systems advocate. Ms. Orlando is the founder and former Director of YOUTH POWER! of Families Together in New York State. In 2012, Ms. Orlando was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the US senate to serve a two-year term on The National Council on Disability. Ms. Orlando has been recognized for her work by receiving the New York State Mental Health Association’s Leila Salmon Advocacy Award, National Council on Independent Living’s Diana Vietz Award, Mental Health America’s mpower Award, and the Erie County Executive Award for Disabilities Employment Awareness Month.
Elizabeth Smith – B.A., CASAC is a hands-on, strong Macedonian female who is a driven leader with a solid track record in the behavioral health arena, possessing rich operations experience of eighteen years within opioid treatment and chemical dependence outpatient treatment program settings. As Senior Administrator, Elizabeth oversees Acacia Network’s SUD integrated outpatient treatment program portfolios in Upstate New York. In addition, she oversees the operational functioning of Acacia Network’s upstate programs and operational initiatives, in coordination with the executive team. She also provides guidance and support in the strategic development of various goals, including integration of the programs to meet high standards and best practices in safety, quality, compliance, and operational efficiency.
In her role, Elizabeth in charge of overseeing operations for Acacia Network’s SUD integrated outpatient treatment programs in Buffalo and Dunkirk. which will comprise of six outpatient programs in total. The programs employs over 70 individuals and provides services to a unique patient population of about 1200 individuals and families. This diverse portfolio includes two comprehensive integrated outpatient programs licensed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and integrated with mental health IOS services, in addition to OASAS HIV EIS Testing and mobile unit grants.
Elizabeth has been on the cutting edge of opening start up outpatient treatment programs and culturally competent service delivery, and is successfully leading MAT treatment, open access and integrated care initiatives. She has become a topic expert and is currently the Chair of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Subcommittee of the Erie County Mental Health Community Service Board. Elizabeth participates in ASAP, COMPA, WNY Chemical Dependency Consortium and county opioid task force meetings.
Elizabeth is a Hilbert College graduate and has a Bachelor of Arts Psychology Degree and is an OASAS Advanced Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor. Elizabeth was recently selected to participate in the Trauma Informed Care Learning Collaborative offered by CHCANYS, in collaboration with the University of Buffalo’s Institute on Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care.
BJ Stasio is the vice chair of the Erie County Community Services Board for Mental Hygiene. He is also the President of the Board of Directors of the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS), a position to which he was elected by his fellow self-advocates and peers around New York. He has also been employed by OPWDD for over 20 years, working on person-centered planning, voting issues, and self-determination training and education. Additionally, he has served on the board of the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York, the Disability History Museum Board, and has a non-profit organization, Buffalo Racin', focused on getting people with disabilities involved in 5K races. BJ has been actively involved with direct advocacy to OPWDD during this public health crisis on behalf of SANYS, representing the voices of self-advocates across New York State. Advocacy is truly an art.
Charles Syms, LCSW is an emeritus clinical associate professor in the graduate School of Social Work at the University of Buffalo. Charles has forty years of professional social work practice that has included work in child welfare, intimate partner violence, forensic mental health and substance use disorders. His professional practice has included; child protection worker and clinical consultant, prison psychiatric social worker, supervisor on an in-patient chemical dependency unit, domestic violence program admission specialist and group leader, and child welfare program director. His experience also includes twenty years as a social work educator. As a social work educator, he has taught a number of addiction related courses as well as chaired the School’s alcohol and other drug sequence. Additionally, Charles has shared his experience and expertise on substance use disorders as a trainer and as the member of a number of agency-based, governmental and professional advisory boards at the local, state and national levels.
Erica S. Westphal
Driven by personal familiarity with the effects of mental health challenges, Erica Westphal has served on the Erie County Mental Hygiene Community Services Board since 2014. During her sophomore year in the University at Buffalo’s Biology program, she lost a family member who had recently been diagnosed with schizophrenia, to suicide. Determined to better understand and help those experiencing mental health crises in hopes of preventing future tragedy, she expanded her education to include an additional degree in psychology. During this time, she also sought opportunities to volunteer in the field spending a year and a half interning with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center’s inpatient unit as well as facilitating Electronic Gaming Therapy for children with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
After graduating, Erica began her career at the Dent Neurologic Institute’s non-profit research organization as a Neuropharmacology Research Associate and Laboratory Supervisor. As a co-investigator on cerebrovascular and neuropsychiatric projects, she elevated the department’s scope to include complex, prospective studies collaborating with international institutions and has presented across the country and published papers on depressive disorders, metabolic characteristics of antipsychotic medications, and bipolar disorder. In 2016, Dent established a Business Development division and from her interest in business operations that arose during experience in a leadership program, she enrolled in a formal project management program at the University at Buffalo and joined the department. As the project manager for Dent, she evaluates new service lines, establishes evidenced based programs, integrates efficiency optimizing clinical innovations, and provides consulting services to the healthcare industry as the clinical scientist for NeuroNet Pro, an organization focused on helping physician groups implement best-practice models.
Erica is committed to contributing meaningfully to the Western New York community and staying connected to behavioral health and human services and Chairs the Erie County Department of Mental Health Subcommittee. It is her goal to help those experiencing mental health challenges, eliminate stigma, and develop more resources promoting mental wellness within the community.