About CHDI

Staff

CHDI’s diverse staff shares a common mission: improving the health and well-being of children.

Our staff members provide a range of expertise in pediatrics, children’s mental health, social work and government and have a range of knowledge and experience in translating research to inform and improve public policy and practice.

Rebekah Behan Project Coordinator
behan@uchc.edu | 860-679-8726

Rebekah Behan is a Project Coordinator. She joined CHDI in 2019 and works on the School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI), School Health Assessment and Performance Evaluation (SHAPE) system, and Project AWARE. Rebekah has over 18 years of experience working in the human service field, with an extensive background in youth development, prevention strategies, and mentoring services. She is a skilled project manager and trainer who has presented both locally and nationally.

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Jeana Bracey, PhD Associate Vice President of School and Community Initiatives
bracey@uchc.edu | 860-679-1524

Jeana Bracey is Associate Vice President of School and Community Initiatives at CHDI. She joined CHDI in 2011. She oversees several school and community-based systems development activities and has experience in school-based mental health, juvenile justice diversion, health equity, and program implementation and evaluation.

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Roseann Breindel Project Coordinator
breindel@uchc.edu | 860-679-4816

Roseann (Rosie) Breindel joined CHDI in June 2022 as a Project Coordinator working on school mental health initiatives. Rosie earned her MA in School Counseling from the University of Saint Joseph and a BA in English from Providence College.She has worked as a certified middle school counselor providing academic and social-emotional support for students in grades 5-8 and has participated in department, school, and district-level initiatives to improve behavioral health.


Yecenia Casiano, MS Senior Project Coordinator
casiano@uchc.edu | 860-679-2336

Yecenia Casiano is a Senior Project Coordinator. She joined CHDI in 2013 and works on both the School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) and the Mobile Crisis Intervention Services (formerly Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services - EMPS) - Performance Improvement Center Projects.

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Michelle Delaney, MHP Senior Associate
mdelaney@uchc.edu | 860-679-4544

Michelle Delaney is a Senior Associate. She joined CHDI in 2011 and works on the School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI). She previously worked as a Senior Data Analyst on Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) Coordinating Center initiative.

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Lori Dipietro, MPH Project Coordinator
ldipietro@uchc.edu | 860-679-4945

Lori DiPietro is a Project Coordinator. She joined CHDI in August 2019 and works on the Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems (MATCH-ADTC) initiatives. Lori has over 8 years of experience in the public health field, with an extensive background in health promotion and education, working on various initiatives that include childhood obesity prevention, lead poisoning prevention, promoting dental health in seniors, and nutrition education in urban and suburban communities.

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Tiffany Franceschetti, LCSW Senior Associate
tfranceschetti@uchc.edu | 860-679-8064

Tiffany Franceschetti joined CHDI in May 2014. She coordinates the Early Childhood Trauma Collaborative (ECTC) and the MATCH initiative and supports other evidence-based treatment and trauma focused initiatives. Tiffany is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received her Masters from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in 2007.

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Sabina-Maria Griffith, MEd Senior Project Coordinator
sgriffith@uchc.edu | 860-679-4921

Sabina-Maria (Sabina) Griffith joined CHDI in June 2022 as a Senior Project Coordinator for the Connecting to Care initiative working on statewide children’s behavioral health systems development. With over 15 years of experience in Connecticut social services, Sabina is a skilled trainer with experience managing community-based programs, promoting family engagement, and building community partnerships.

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Christine Hauser, LCSW, LADC Senior Project Coordinator
chauser@uchc.edu | (860) 679-1517

Christine Hauser joined CHDI in January 2021 as a Senior Project Coordinator. She coordinates statewide implementation of evidence-based treatments for children's outpatient behavioral health, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and the Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems (MATCH-ADTC).

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Ryan Jason Vice President for Finance & Operations
rjason@uchc.edu | 860-679-1533

Ryan Jason is Vice President for Finance & Operations. He joined CHDI in 2022 and leads CHDI’s accounting, finance, contract management, operations, and human resources. Ryan has 15 years of experience in finance and public accounting with a focus on the non-profit sector.

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Aleece Kelly, MPP Senior Project Coordinator
alkelly@uchc.edu | 860-679-6549

Aleece Kelly joined CHDI in August 2018. As a Senior Project Coordinator, she supports the work of the state’s behavioral health implementation workgroups. Aleece previously served as a senior data analyst at CHDI. Recently she took on the additional role of Chair for CHDI’s Committee on Anti-Racism and Equity (CARE). In this role, she leads the committee’s efforts towards its goal of helping CHDI become an anti-racist organization and advancing health equity.

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Alyssa Korell, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow
korell@uchc.edu | 860-679-8722

Alyssa Korell is Postdoctoral Fellow at CHDI working primarily on evidence-based treatment initiatives. Prior to joining CHDI, she served as a clinical interviewer for the National Study of Mental Health, where she obtained information about the prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders among adults in the United States.

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Alice Kraiza, MPH Project Coordinator
kraiza@uchc.edu | 860-679-2907

Alice Kraiza joined CHDI in September 2019 as a Project Coordinator for the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) and Bounce Back initiatives. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Neuroscience from Gettysburg College and received a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Public Health Administration and Policy from the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health. Her master’s thesis focused on the implementation and initiation of school-based mental health programs in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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Jason Lang, PhD Vice President for Mental Health Initiatives
jalang@uchc.edu | 860-679-1550

Jason M. Lang joined CHDI in 2007 and was promoted to Vice President of Mental Health Initiatives in 2017. He leads CHDI’s mental health initiatives including in the areas of evidence-based practices (EBPs), trauma informed care, school and community programs, and policy and system development.

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Brittany C.L. Lange, DPhil, MPH Senior Associate
lange@uchc.edu | 860-679-8064

Brittany Lange is the Senior Associate for CHDI’s ScreenTIME (Screen, Triage, Inform, Mitigate, Engage) initiative. In this role, she leads the development and national dissemination of an online training for child-serving professionals to improve early identification and support for children suffering from traumatic stress. She also supports CHDI’s quality improvement initiatives.

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Jamie LoCurto, PhD Senior Associate
locurto@uchc.edu | 860-679-4968

Jamie LoCurto is the Senior Associate for Project AWARE. She joined CHDI in January 2020 and leads implementation, quality improvement, evaluation and training on Project AWARE. Jamie has over 10 years of experience working with schools and community mental health centers, implementing, training and overseeing evidence-based treatments in anxiety and depression for children and adolescents.

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Leah Lord Administrative Assistant
860-679-8095

Leah Lord joined CHDI in July 2021 as Administrative Assistant. She provides administrative and office management support to CHDI staff and partners on a range of children’s behavioral health initiatives.

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Jack Lu, PhD Director of Implementation
jalu@uchc.edu | 860-679-1520

Jack re-joined CHDI in 2019 where he leads the dissemination and implementation of multiple evidence-based treatment (EBT) initiatives for children with behavioral health concerns, with a particular focus on training and site-based consultation. These initiatives include Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems (MATCH-ADTC), and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) and Bounce Back (BB).

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Jessica Mahon Project Coordinator
mahon@uchc.edu | 860-679-6223

Jessica Mahon joined CHDI as a Project Coordinator in January 2020. She coordinates trainings and quality assurance activities for multiple evidence-based treatment initiatives within children’s behavioral health programs. These initiatives include MATCH – Modular Approach to Therapy for Children with Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, or Conduct Problems, and TF-CBT – Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

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Ashley Nelson Senior Data Analyst
asnelson@uchc.edu | 860-679-8052

Ashley Nelson is a Senior Data Analyst. She joined CHDI in January 2017 and works on multiple evidence-based treatment initiatives (including MATCH-ADTC, TF-CBT, and CBITS/Bounce Back). She has a BA in Psychology and Child Study from the University of Saint Joseph, and a computer science certification from Gateway Community College.

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Katie Newkirk, PhD Senior Associate
knewkirk@uchc.edu | 8606794308

Katie Newkirk, PhD, joined CHDI as a Senior Associate working on performance improvement in children's behavioral health. In this position, she helps lead the data analysis and quality improvement reporting for several community-based children's behavioral health initiatives.

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Kellie Randall, PhD Director of Quality Improvement
randall@uchc.edu | 860-679-8098

Kellie Randall is the Director of Quality Improvement at CHDI. She provides oversight for a number of initiatives focused on trauma-informed and best practices in children's mental health, with a specific focus on data analysis, reporting, and quality improvement. She is the Project Director of the Early Childhood Trauma Collaborative (ECTC), funded by SAMHSA as part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), and leads the implementation and dissemination of ARC, CPP, and other effective treatment models for young children. Her other projects include Mobile Crisis Intervention Services, Care Coordination, as well as multiple evidence-based treatments initiatives including TF-CBT and MATCH-ADTC.

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Lori Schon Office Manager
schon@uchc.edu | 860-679-1536

Lori Schon joined CHDI in 2008. She serves as CHDI's Office Manager where she responsible for managing organizational operations, technology, and human resources. She also serves as the Liaison to the Board of Directors and supports CHDI's contracts and finance activities.

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Kagnica Seng, MA Data Analyst
seng@uchc.edu | 860-679-7504

Kagnica Seng joined CHDI as a Data Analyst in January 2022. She works primarily as part of the Mobile Crisis Performance Improvement Center, completing monthly, quarterly, and annual reports. Kagnica also provides additional data analytic support on evidence-based treatment initiatives. Kagnica has over seven years of experience working in applied research settings and academic clinical research institutions. She received a master's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Health Psychology from Central Connecticut State University and a bachelor's degree in Biology and Psychology from the University of Connecticut.

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Suzanne Shea Accounting Assistant
sshea@uchc.edu | 860-679-6222

Suzanne Shea joined CHDI in January 2020 as the Accounting Assistant where she works in Finance, Human Resources and Contracts. She has over twenty years’ accounting experience, most recently working in Property Accounting for a company which provided affordable housing through state and federal funding to residents across the country.

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Heather Solak Senior Data Analyst
solak@uchc.edu | 860-679-8099

Heather Solak rejoined CHDI in 2019 as a Senior Data Analyst and works primarily with children’s outpatient services data, including work with a number of the evidence-based treatments, as well as on the CBITS/BB initiative.

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Julie Tacinelli Vice President for Communications
tacinelli@uchc.edu | 860-679-1534

Julie is the Vice President for Communications and is responsible for building awareness of the organization’s mission, priorities and initiatives. She oversees internal and external communications strategies, messaging, content, publications, websites, and outreach. Julie also contributes to the management and strategic direction of CHDI as a member of the senior leadership team and helps to guide CHDI’s work to address racism and promote equity. She joined CHDI in 2012.

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Kayla Theriault, MPH Senior Data Analyst
ktheriault@uchc.edu | 860-679-8775

Kayla Theriault joined CHDI as a Data Analyst in January 2019. She works primarily as part of the Mobile Crisis Performance Improvement Center, completing monthly, quarterly, and annual reports as well as other activities to support quality improvement for the service. She also supports the School Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI), completing school dashboards and conducting additional data analysis as needed.

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Jeffrey Vanderploeg, PhD President & CEO
jvanderploeg@uchc.edu | 860-679-1542

Jeff Vanderploeg is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut. He joined CHDI in 2009 and was appointed President and CEO on October 1, 2017.

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Mackenzie Wink, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow
wink@uchc.edu | 860-679-4966

Mackenzie Wink joined CHDI as a Postdoctoral Fellow in July 2022 working on our school mental health initiatives. Mackenzie earned her M.A. in 2019 and completed her Ph.D. in 2022 in Human Development and Family Sciences, with a specialization in child and adolescent development, from the University of Connecticut.

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Beth Zweibel, MA Contracts Specialist
zweibel@uchc.edu | 860-679-1572

Beth joined CHDI as a Contracts Specialist in April 2022. She has over two decades of experience in grants and contracts processing, monitoring, and compliance.

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