Alexandria, VA — In conjunction with Mental Health America’s (MHA) 2019 Annual Conference, MHA held its Delegate Assembly and quarterly board meeting and voted in four new national board members. MHA is overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of mental health and business professionals, affiliate leaders, people with lived experience, and advocates for our mission. Meeting quarterly, the Board directs the strategic objectives and policy of the organization.
“We are so pleased to bring on such a variety of talented individuals to MHA’s Board of Directors,” said Tom Starling, Chairman of the Board, MHA. “"We look forward to working with all our new members to expand our visibility at the national, state and local levels, and to advance our mission of addressing mental illness Before Stage 4."
Below are brief biographies of the new members:
Bonnie Cook is the Executive Director of MHA of Greater Dallas. Bonnie received her master’s degree in Non-Profit Management from Fairleigh Dickenson University in New Jersey. Upon completing her degree, she moved to Kentucky where she was the Executive Director of Mental Health America of Kentucky and the Kentucky Psychiatric Medical Association. Her passion for mental health drives her energy towards fulfilling MHA’s mission of leading the community in improving mental health through advocacy and education. She has an undying devotion towards raising awareness and eradicating the stigma surrounding mental health.
Aimee Falchuk, MPH, M.ED, CCEP holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Barnard College, a Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Master’s in Education in Counseling and Psychology from Cambridge College Graduate School of Counseling and Psychology and Practitioner Certification in Core Energetics from the Institute of Core Energetics, NYC. Aimee has a private practice and is a faculty member at the Institute of Core Energetics. Aimee is the founder of The Falchuk Group, a personal and corporate consulting platform that uses cognitive strategies, body-oriented approaches and a variety of expressive techniques as a path to aliveness and consciousness. Aimee facilitates workshops and lectures around the country. Aimee is also a contributing writer for the wellness magazine Goop.
Dr. Russell Petrella, President and CEO of Beacon Health Options is a clinical psychologist with more than 40 years of experience as a clinician, state official, and health care executive. Early in his career, Dr. Petrella practiced at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ann Arbor, MI, which led to his appointment as the Director of Forensic Services, and later as the Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In those roles, he worked on a variety of initiatives to foster rehabilitation and recovery and to enhance community-based care. Dr. Petrella most recently served as Executive Vice President for EmblemHealth and Chief Executive Officer for Advantage Care Physicians, one of the largest population health-focused multi-specialty physician practices in New York City. Prior to that, he held national roles as President of Magellan Behavioral Health and President of Community & State (Medicaid) for United HealthCare. Dr. Petrella holds a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in clinical psychology from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Syracuse University. He has been a fellow and president of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology and a board member and president of the American Board of Forensic Psychology.
Chris Wood is an actor, writer, and activist. Chris received his bachelor’s degree from Elon University in North Carolina before beginning his professional career in stage and film. In 2017, Chris founded IDONTMIND, a mental health awareness campaign working to defeat the stigma surrounding mental illness by encouraging candid conversations and generating positive messaging around mental health. By saying ‘IDONTMIND talking about my mental health’ or ‘IDONTMIND supporting my friends when they need help,’ IDONTMIND works to help break down the barrier of stigma and bring hope to those who are struggling and afraid to speak up.
“I’m excited to work even more closely with these four individuals,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, MHA. “The depth of knowledge and lived experience will be a great addition to our board – I know their perspectives will further strengthen and already dynamic and effective board.”