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Heights Hill MHS, CAB, Board of Directors

DANIEL GARZA, MD / BOARD CHAIR

Daniel Garza, MD  is a psychiatrist at the Michael Callen- Audre Lorde Community Health Center, the first primary care facility for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population in the United States. Since 1998 he has been the original psychiatrist for Callen-Lorde’s Health Outreach to Teens (HOTT) Program a primary care clinic servicing youth ages 13- 24.  He is the psychiatrist for the SCO Family of Services agency providing consultation and treatment for their LGBTQ foster group homes in the New York City area. He teaches regularly at both the local and national levels on adolescent mental health, commitment law, the health of racial and sexual minorities, and substance abuse.

Dr. Garza is on the faculty of the NYU-Langone Medical School of Medicine and works as the Medical Director of the Assisted Outpatient Treatment program for the borough of Queens at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  He is in private practice in Manhattan and is a volunteer examiner for Physicians for Human Rights Asylum Network providing evaluations for immigration proceedings.

MIKE WORAM / TREASURER

Mr. Woram lives and works in the local Brooklyn community. He has worked as a Senior Research Associate at Columbia University and as a consultant to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, including its investigation of Three Mile Island in 1979. Since 1980, he has been self-employed as a consultant to the nuclear industry, and in computer and software services. He also offers pro bono technical assistance to Heights-Hill Mental Health Service South Beach Psychiatric Center Community Advisory Board on database design and maintenance.

EILEEN KLEIN, Ph.D. / BOARD MEMBER

Dr. KIein served as Chief of Service at Heights-Hill Mental Health Service, and then Deputy Director of Inpatient Operations at South Beach Psychiatric Center.  She currently works as an Associate Professor of Social Work at Ramapo College where she teaches in their Social Work program. She earned her M.S.W. from the University of Buffalo, and a Master of Public Health and Ph.D. in Clinical Social Work from NYU. She
has authored and co-authored numerous articles and book chapters on the Rainbow Heights Club, stigma and mental health policy.

SUZY RITHOLZ, Ph.D. / BOARD MEMBER

Dr. Ritholz is a subject matter expert in LGBT issues such as mental health recovery, aging and trauma. A graduate of New York University, she has held leadership positions at Hetrick Martin Institute, working with LGBT youth; Interfaith Medical Center, managing a large staff to help adults with serious mental illness;  Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE), transforming the social service department to better help LGBT older adults age in place; the Urban Resource Institute, providing clinical supervision for staff working with families in a domestic violence shelter, and most recently Health First, identifying gaps in behavioral health quality management for a large managed care organization.  Currently residing in Bedford Stuyvesant, Dr. Ritholz has lived in Brooklyn since 2001. 

NATASHA STOVALL, Ph.D. / BOARD MEMBER

Natasha is a clinical psychologist in private practice. She has worked throughout the state and local mental health systems serving New York City residents. She is honored to support the mission and serve the members of Rainbow Heights Club with her fellow board members. 

SAMANTHA FRANKLIN, MSW / BOARD MEMBER

Samantha Franklin has over a decade of experience working at philanthropic and capacity building organizations. Most recently, she served at L+M Development Partners as Director of Community Investment. At L+M, she coordinated with various stakeholders and institutional partners to bring programs and resources to NYC communities through grant making and other CSR. Prior to working at L+M, Samantha was a Program Officer at Johnson Family Foundation (New York City, NY), a Project Manager at Jobs for the Future (Boston, MA) and a Junior Capacity Building Specialist at the Harm Reduction Coalition (NYC). She also served on the advisory boards of the Brown Boi Project (Oakland, CA) and Third Wave Fund (NYC) and participated in various collaborative efforts with philanthropic groups that include Funders for LGBTQ Issues, New York Women's Foundation, North Star Fund, and Queer Youth Fund."

Rainbow Heights Club Staff

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CHRISTIAN HUYGEN, Ph.D. / EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Christian Huygen has served as Executive Director of Rainbow Heights Club since 2002.  He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from The New School for Social Research. Dr. Huygen began working with LGBT consumers over in 1995, as a volunteer at an AIDS hospice in San Francisco. His research interests include autobiographical and social remembering, consumer satisfaction, and quality of life. He has co-authored articles on Rainbow Heights Club for the journal Best Practices in Mental Health and the anthology Community Mental Health: 21st Century Challenges. 

 

christianhuygen@rainbowheights.org

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KEVIN GARRITY / DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Kevin Garrity is the Deputy Executive Director. Kevin came to Rainbow Heights in 2005 with a long history of for profit and not for profit corporate development and management. He has helped guide many organizations to sustainability through funding diversification and administrative capacity development both on the staff and board levels. Kevin also represents Rainbow Heights Club in Albany and at NY City Hall, where he advocates for more and better access to services for our community.  

kevingarrity@rainbowheights.org

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RANDY KILLINGS / DIRECTOR OF PEER SERVICES, CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST

Randy Killings, CASAC-T, New York Certified Peer Specialist, Director of Peer Services, earned his CASAC (Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor) diploma from the Outreach Training Institute in Queens, New York. He is also a graduate of the Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy Center. Randy is a resident of Brooklyn, New York, living with his partner, and has been in the Human Services field for eight years. Randy has experience working with autistic children and with homeless populations. Randy’s hobbies are dancing, modeling and playing handball.  Randy’s goal is to enter into social work in the future because he loves to assist people, who like him, live with a mental illness. Randy identifies as a gay man and is proud to be working with LGBTQ people who live with mental illness.

randykillings@rainbowheights.org

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EDDIE HARDAWAY, LMSW / DIRECTOR OF CORE & CONTRACT SERVICES

Eddie Hardaway is the Director of CORE & Contract Services who works with both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ people living with diagnosed mental illness to support their goals and nurture their independence. Eddie knows that every person has the capacity for happiness and the ability to work to reach their goals. Eddie believes that the work he does helps put people closer to living a life that helps them have self value and become a contributing member of their community. Eddie has worked with children, adults and families impacted by mental illness and developmental delays which has rewarded him with tremendous joy seeing folks become aware of their self worth and overcome obstacles. Eddie is a licensed master Social Worker, trained in trauma informed, recovery oriented, integrated, and person-centered care. He’s also the recipient of numerous awards including the NYS one year residency scholarship award to the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. He hold a Master’s degree in Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College of New York. 

 

eddiehardaway@rainbowheights.org

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GRACE GERBER, LMSW / DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT 

As the Director of Community Engagement, Grace Gerber expands Rainbow Heights Club's reach through engaging the member base, strengthening Rainbow Heights Club's network of health and human service providers, and broadening access to LGBTQIA+ affirming resources. Grace knows the power of collective care and experiences firsthand the importance of community in getting and staying well. Grace is a Licensed Master Social Worker, and holds a Master of Social Work from Columbia University and received her Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.   

gracegerber@rainbowheights.org 

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DANNY BRITO / COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR

Danny Brito is the Community Engagement Coordinator and a New York Certified Peer Specialist at Rainbow Heights Club. Danny arranges the many guest visits and events we have at Rainbow Heights Club. He is an advocate for helping to remove the stigma of mental illness. Danny is a native New Yorker, a freelance artist and a lover of nature. In his spare time Danny enjoys art, movies and raising turtles.

dannybrito@rainbowheights.org

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CELINE ROGERS / SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR

As the Social Media Coordinator at Rainbow Heights Club, Celine Rogers engages the online community through educational resources for LGBTQ+ community members. Celine’s social media outreach helps increase engagement, making more people aware of the resources and events going on at Rainbow Heights. Celine Rogers received her Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University in Sociology, and is committed to increasing strong community spaces as a means to mitigate the isolation and stigma that LGBTQ people living with mental illness can experience.

celinerogers@rainbowheights.org

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MONICA AMEY / LEAD PEER SPECIALIST

Monica Amey is a NYS Certified Peer Specialist. Lives in Brooklyn with her partner Monica graduated from Argus Community Inc. Monica also is a graduate from Howie The Harp. She completed her internship here at Rainbow Heights Club and was hired fulltime as the lead Peer Specialist.  She has an affinity for the population at Rainbow Heights and wants to positively contribute to Mental Health in the LGBTQ Community.
 

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CESAR MUNOZ / CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST

Cesar Munoz is a New York Certified Peer Specialist at the Club. He is from Ecuador and studied at the Institute for Career Development. He is passionate about the mission of Rainbow Heights Club. The hospitality from the staff and members has made him feel at home. He says: "Now, whatever other people say, I trust myself, I feel secure about who I am. People here are confident and respectful. I've learned so much here. Everyone here gets a second chance. No what issues you have faced in your life, you have a chance to relax and make a positive contribution to society. Rainbow Heights Club is helping people do just that."

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SHAN PERRY / CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST

After 13 years of working in the LGBTQ community in a variety of ways, Shan Perry pursued peer specialist certification in order to grow her abilities to support people with mental health conditions. She considers this career change an opportunity to do something deeper within the LGBTQ community. Shan wants to help reduce the feelings of isolation that many LGBTQ people living with mental illness experience, and she looks forward to continuing to make connections with others through her work at Rainbow Heights Club. 

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LAMARR JONES / CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST

"A little about me: I have been positive since 1989 and have gone through a lot of ups and downs. In this process of acceptance, drugs and depression have also played a part. Were it not for the grace of God, friends, counselors and family, I would not be here today. I have come to want to give the same thing that was graciously given to me. I want to help in any way that I can. I want to let others know they can do it, and that it's truly one day at a time."

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LYNETTE JONES / CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST

"I was introduced to Rainbow Heights Club in 2018 as an intern from the Institute of Career Development. Upon my completion  of my internship at Rainbow Heights Club, I furthered my education by attending Mercy College and studying social and behavioral science. On May 19, 2022 I received a liberal arts degree. While I was in school, I knew my goal was to be employed at Rainbow Heights Club after my graduation. I am proud to announce that I am now joining the staff at Rainbow Heights Club!"

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BILLY SCHIMMEL / PEER SPECIALIST

Billy Schimmel has completed his peer support worker training at Howie the Harp.  He enjoys writing and reading poetry.  His other interests include philosophy and psychology.  He is looking forward to working with LGBTQ+ folks and people who have mental health diagnoses. 

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DINAYJA TIMERBLAKE / CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST

Dinayja is a Brooklyn native who loves reading, writing, TV, movies, and food. She identifies as a queer woman living with mental health. Her goal in the peer work is to support other people of minority groups who feel like they don't have anyone who struggles with similar problems.

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ELIZABETH PEREZ / PEER SPECIALIST

Elizabeth grew up in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She enjoys listening to music and loves the arts. Elizabeth identifies as someone who is living with mental health challenges. Her goal in doing peer work is to support others also living with mental illness and help them in their journey of recovery. Having had graduated from Nyack college she hopes to further her education and become a music therapist.

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KRISTOFFER SINGH/ CERTIFIED PEER SPECIALIST

Kristoffer Singh was born and raised in Queens. He loves horror movies, listening to music and anything involving cats. Kristoffer has lived experience with substance abuse and depression. He strongly believes that recovery is possible for anyone. Humans are tenacious and we are all more resilient than we may initially believe. Together, we can overcome any adversity.

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ARI ALFANO/ PEER SPECIALIST

Ari is a peer specialist in the process of obtaining certification from the Academy of Peer Services. They identify as a queer person in recovery from mental health challenges. Their goal of working as a peer specialist is to provide compassionate, strengths-based support to members. They hope to help everyone at Rainbow Heights feel like an important part of the community--to remember their inherent worth. Additionally, Ari hopes to support individuals in their recovery in any way that makes sense for them--whether that is the goal of harm reduction or full recovery. Ari is currently a senior Psychology major at Molloy University, and they hope to become a LCSW one day! 

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JANNA WARD/ PEER SPECIALIST INTERN

Janna has completed her peer support training at Howie the Harp Advocacy Center. She enjoys baking, painting, watching musicals, and listening to music.  Janna identifies as a queer woman in recovery from mental health challenges and addiction. She hopes to support individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community contending with mental wellness changes by assisting them to develop self-empowerment strategies, and establish their own goals. 

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NATASHA CAMILLE, LCSW / E/QUALITY CARE CO-FACILITATOR

Natasha Camille, LCSW is a Black, queer, non-binary psychotherapist born, raised, and based in the New York City Metro Area. Natasha earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Gender & Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, followed by a Master of Social Work degree from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.

 

Natasha’s areas of focus as a clinician & workshop facilitator  include identity exploration, gender, sexuality, first generation concerns, racial trauma, and relationships. Natasha enjoys working with adolescents, adults, families, partners, and survivors of sexual violence.

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Rev. Julie Novas, JD, LCSW / E/QUALITY CARE CO-FACILITATOR 

Rev. Julie Novas, JD, LCSW is a Black Latine, non-binary person, ordained interfaith minister, holistic liberation-based psychotherapist, attorney, adjunct assistant professor, meditation teacher and executive coach. Julie earned a Bachelor of Science from NYU, a Master of Social Work from SUNY Stony Brook as a Distinguished Dr. W. Burghardt Turner Fellow, and a law degree from CUNY School of Law with a focus on community and economic development.

 

In 2015, Julie was recognized by NASW-NYC as an Emerging Leader for her advocacy and social justice work and in 2017 she completed the two-year Community Dharma Leaders program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, empowering them to offer mindfulness workshops and daylong retreats in the Vipassana tradition. Her greatest wish is that all beings be free of suffering, its causes and conditions.

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