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.

Abby Alter, MPA Senior Associate for Early Childhood Initiatives
aalter@uchc.edu | 860-679-8788

Abby Alter is the Senior Associate for Early Childhood Initiatives and has been with CHDI since 2014. She leads CHDI's efforts in obesity prevention, socio-emotional development, and early childhood systems, such as home visiting and early care and education. Abby is the current co-chair of the Connecticut Home-Visiting Consortium, and manages CHDI’s www.kidsmentalhealthinfo.com website, a resource for parents and providers. She is currently working with the Office of Early Childhood and CT United Way-Child Development Infoline to manage testing of Sparkler, technology designed to engage families with young children and Early Care and Education providers in Connecticut in developmental screening.

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Eminet Abebe Gurganus, MPH Health Policy Associate
gurganus@uchc.edu | 860-679-1538

Eminet Abebe Gurganus is the Health Policy Associate. In this role, she contributes to the design, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives that target improvements in the organization and delivery of pediatric primary care and early childhood services.

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Sharon Bailey Grants and Contracts Specialist
shbailey@uchc.edu | 860-679-1572

Sharon Bailey joined the CHDI staff in March 2014 as a Grants & Contracts Specialist. She has a BA degree in Sociology from Central Connecticut State University, and a Master's Certificate in Nonprofit Management from George Mason University.

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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, Ph.D. 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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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 Data Analyst
mdelaney@uchc.edu | 860-679-4544

Michelle Delaney is a Senior Data Analyst. She joined CHDI in 2011 and works on the 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 Project Coordinator
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 M.S.W. from the UCONN School of Social Work in 2007.

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Tianna Hill, MSW Communications Associate and Project Coordinator
thill@uchc.edu | 860-679-6293

Tianna Hill joined CHDI in April 2015 and is the Communications Associate and a Project Coordinator for the Connecticut School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI). She has a M.S.W. from the UCONN School of Social Work and a BA in Communications from Goucher College.

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Lisa Honigfeld, Ph.D. Vice President for Health Initiatives, CHDI
Vice President, Children's Fund of Connecticut honigfeld@uchc.edu | 860-679-1523

Lisa Honigfeld, Vice President for Health Initiatives, joined CHDI in 2005. She directs CHDI's efforts to strengthen pediatric primary and preventive care. She is also Senior Advisor of the Office for Community Child Health (OCCH) at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Her responsibilities at CHDI and OCCH include development and oversight of funded projects designed to test innovations in child health services delivery, policy and systems. In 2018, she was named as Vice President of the Children's Fund of Connecticut, a public charitable organization and CHDI's parent organization.

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Paulette James Administrative Assistant
pjames@uchc.edu | 860-679-1519

Paulette James joined the staff of CHDI in 2007 as an administrative assistant.

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Amanda Kach Data Analyst
kach@uchc.edu | 860-679-8051

Amanda Kach is a Data Analyst. She joined CHDI in July 2019 and works primarily on TF-CBT and OPCC.

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Aleece Kelly, MPP Senior Data Analyst
alkelly@uchc.edu | 860-679-6549

Aleece Kelly joined CHDI in August 2018 as a Senior Data Analyst for Mobile Crisis Intervention Services and Care Coordination. Prior to joining CHDI, Aleece worked as a program manager for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. She obtained her MPP from the University of Southern California and her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles.


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 BS in Biology with a minor in Neuroscience from Gettysburg College and completed an MPH with a concentration in Public Health Administration and Policy at 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, Ph.D. 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 Postdoctoral Fellow
lange@uchc.edu | 860-679-8064

Brittany Lange is a Postdoctoral Fellow who joined CHDI in August of 2019. She works across existing evidence-based practices (EBPs) to help strengthen the dissemination and implementation of these initiatives.

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Jack Lu, Ph.D 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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Susan Macary, MPH Senior Associate for Health Initiatives
macary@uchc.edu | 860-679-8779

Susan Macary is the Senior Associate for Health Initiatives at the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI). In this role, she contributes to the design, implementation, and management of practice quality improvement initiatives that integrate health and mental health care in pediatric primary care sites as well as test innovations in child health delivery services and systems.

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Maggy Morales Educating Practices Coordinator
mamorales@uchc.edu | 860-679-1527

Maggy Morales joined CHDI in 2008 as CHDI's Educating Practices Coordinator. She coordinates Educating Practices trainings for pediatric health care providers across Connecticut.

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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). 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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Carol O'Connor, LCSW Senior Project Coordinator & Quality Improvement Advisor
caoconnor@uchc.edu | 860-679-1517

Carol O'Connor joined CHDI in 2012 as the TF-CBT Project Coordinator and Quality Improvement Advisor. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is nationally certified as a TF-CBT Trainer.

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Diana Perry, Psy.D Project Coordinator
dperry@uchc.edu | 860-679-3327

Diana Perry joined CHDI in December 2017 as the Project Coordinator for the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS). In addition to project coordination, Dr. Perry is a site-based CBITS trainer who assist with training new clinicians and providing clinical consultation.

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Kellie Randall, Ph.D. 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 as an Administrative Assistant. She currently serves as CHDI's Office Manager. She manages all the daily office operations and supervises administrative staff.

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Carrie Shaw Administrative Assistant
cashaw@uchc.edu | 860-679-8095

Carrie Shaw joined CHDI in March 2014 as an Administrative Assistant primarily supporting CHDI's trauma-focused programs. She has over 25 years of experience as an executive office manager and educator.

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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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Paul Suter Vice President for Finance & Operations
psuter@uchc.edu | 860-679-1533

In his role as Vice President for Finance & Operations, Paul Suter manages the accounting and finances of both CHDI and its parent organization, the Children's Fund of Connecticut.

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

Julie is the Vice President for Communications where she oversees communications strategy and outreach. She joined CHDI in 2012.

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

Kayla Theriault joined CHDI as a Data Analyst in January 2019. She works on the School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI) and the Mobile Crisis Intervention Services Performance Improvement Center.

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

Jeff Vanderploeg is President and Chief Executive Officer of both the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut and its parent organization the Children's Fund of Connecticut. He joined CHDI in 2009 and was appointed President and CEO of CHDI on October 1, 2017 and President and CEO of the Children's Fund on October 1, 2018.

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