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
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.
Eminet Abebe Gurganus
— Health Policy Associate
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.
— Grants and Contracts Specialist
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.
— Data Analyst
Annabelle Bass joined CHDI in 2018. She works as a data analyst on TF-CBT, MATCH-ADTC, and CBITS/Bounce Back. She graduated from Central Connecticut State University with a BA in Psychology and Criminology.
— Project Coordinator
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 CONNECT. 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.
Jeana Bracey, Ph.D.
— Director of School and Community Initiatives
Jeana Bracey is Director 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, cultural and linguistic competency development, and program implementation and evaluation.
Yecenia Casiano, MS
— Senior Project Coordinator
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.
Tiffany Franceschetti, LCSW
— Senior Project Coordinator
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.
Lisa Honigfeld, Ph.D.
— Vice President for Health Initiatives, CHDI
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.
Aleece Kelly, MPP
— Senior Data Analyst
Aleece Kelly joined CHDI in August 2018 as a Senior Data Analyst for Mobile Crisis Intervention Services and Care Coordination as well as the School-Based Diversion Initiative (SBDI). 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.
Jason Lang, Ph.D.
— Vice President for Mental Health Initiatives
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.
Susan Macary, MPH
— Senior Associate for Health Initiatives
Susan Macary is the Senior Associate for Health Initiatives at the Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI). She coordinates work related to the integration of health and mental health care in settings where young children are served, primarily in pediatric practices and in early care and education sites.
— Senior Data Analyst
Ashley Nelson is a Senior Data Analyst. She joined CHDI in January 2017 and works on MATCH-ADTC. She has a BA in Psychology and Child Study from the University of Saint Joseph, and a computer science certification from Gateway Community College.
Diana Perry, Psy.D
— Project Coordinator
Diana Perry joined CHDI in December 2017 as the Project Coordinator for the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) initiative. The CBITS initiative aims to improve access to trauma-informed screening and group therapy services for students throughout the state of Connecticut.
Kellie Randall, Ph.D.
— Director of Quality Improvement
Kellie Randall joined CHDI in 2015. She is the Director of Quality Improvement and provides oversight for evidence-based treatment and trauma-focused initiatives, with a specific focus on data analysis, reporting, and quality improvement, including the EBP Tracker data system.
— Office Manager
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.
— Administrative Assistant
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.
Jeffrey Vanderploeg, Ph.D.
— President & CEO
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.