Center Staff

Kenneth Gill Ph.D., CPRP
PI and Co-Director

Kenneth Gill, Ph.D., CPRP, (PI and Co-Director) is an Associate Dean of Faculty Development, and Chairperson and Professor of the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He supervises academic programs from the associate through doctoral levels. He oversees workforce development and technical assistance projects funded by New Jersey, New York, and other states. He is co-author of two books, Psychiatric Rehabilitation (2014) and People in Recovery as Providers: Building on the Wisdom of Experience (2010), and more than 60 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. He combines his applied research background (Ph.D., Columbia) with his psychiatric rehabilitation and leadership expertise to improve the skills of providers and refine practices designed to help people with serious mental illnesses thrive.

Ann Murphy Ph.D., CPRP

Ann Murphy, Ph.D., CPRP, (Co-Director) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at Rutgers. She has extensive experience as a researcher, focused on interventions to improve the lives of individuals with psychiatric conditions, as well as a provider of psychiatric rehabilitation services. She has provided many professional development conference presentations and trainings throughout her career and is committed to facilitating the implementation of evidence-based practices in mental health. Ann has contributed significantly to the implementation of several federal and foundation-funded research studies and has conducted program evaluations for community-based mental health programs, including serving as Evaluator for three SAMHSA-funded Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration (PBHCI) grantees.

Joni Dolce MS, CRC, CPRP
Project Associate

Joni Dolce, MS, CRC, CPRP, (Project Associate) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at Rutgers. Joni has several years of experience working in behavioral healthcare, specifically Supported Employment (SE) services, providing both direct employment services and supervising SE staff. She has authored and co-authored articles and workbooks on employment and education and provides workshops locally and nationally on a variety of career services-related topics. Some of her areas of expertise include in-vivo staff training, job development, and implementing employment services into non-vocational settings.  Joni has presented and provided training to a wide range of audiences including individuals in recovery, behavioral healthcare providers, Veterans Administration staff, Human Resource professionals, and employers. Joni’s role in the MHTTC will be to support systems change initiatives through training, consultation, and technical assistance provided to behavioral healthcare systems and organizations.

Michelle Zechner Ph.D., LSW, CPRP
Assistant Professor at Rutgers, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Programs

Michelle Zechner, Ph.D., LSW, CPRP, Assistant Professor at Rutgers, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Programs, has focused her career on helping people with mental health conditions and their supporters improve their health and wellness for over twenty years. She has worked in a variety of settings including: academia, outpatient mental health programs, nursing homes, state psychiatric hospitals, training services, and public mental health administration.  Currently, Dr. Zechner conducts research, teaches and mentors students, and consults inter-professional teams on the implementation of staff support programs. Her research interests include inter-professional teaching about vulnerable populations, supporting multi-dimensional wellness, and supporting mental health professionals. She has co-authored peer-reviewed and technical publications on health promotion, evidence-based practices, inter-professional health initiatives for people living with mental health conditions, and supporting older adults living with mental health conditions. She is a sought-after trainer and has given presentations locally, nationally, and internationally on topics ranging from multidimensional wellness, aging with mental illness, building resilience and self-care for health professionals, and health promotion strategies for people living with mental health conditions.

Caribel Sanabria Vélez Ph.D.
Senior Training and Consultation Specialist – Mental Health and School Mental Health lead for Puerto Rico

Caribel Sanabria Vélez, Ph.D., (Senior Training and Consultation Specialist – Mental Health and School Mental Health lead for Puerto Rico) is a fully bilingual Clinical Psychologist. She has over seven years of clinical and research work, performing with federal, community, and non-profit organizations. Using the knowledge gained with her postdoc degree in trauma, she developed and provided workshops, documentation, and psychoeducation with an evidence-based methodology to foster and increase the resiliency of the Puerto Rican population. Caribel has worked on federal proposals targeted at helping minority and Hispanic populations who suffered during and post-Hurricane Sandy in New York City. She has also collaborated as a therapist and consultant in the development of new proposals for projects with the purpose of training mental health specialists in resiliency and trauma post-Hurricane María in Puerto Rico.

Caribel Sanabria Vélez, Ph.D., (Especialista senior en capacitación y consulta – Principal representante de Salud Mental Comunitaria y Salud Mental Escolar en Puerto Rico) es una psicóloga clínica completamente bilingüe. Ella tiene sobre siete años de trabajo clínico e investigativo, trabajando con organizaciones federales, comunitarias y sin fines de lucro. Usando los conocimientos adquiridos con su posdoctorado en trauma, desarrolló y brindó talleres, documentación y psicoeducación con una metodología basada en la evidencia para fomentar y aumentar la resiliencia de la población puertorriqueña. Caribel ha trabajado en propuestas federales destinadas a ayudar a las poblaciones minoritarias e hispanas que sufrieron durante y después del huracán Sandy en la ciudad de Nueva York. También ha colaborado como terapeuta y consultora en el desarrollo de nuevas propuestas de proyectos con el propósito de capacitar especialistas en salud mental en resiliencia y trauma post-Huracán María en Puerto Rico.

Katty Rivera M.Ed
Project Coordinator and Education and Training Specialist

Katty Rivera, M.Ed, (Project Coordinator and Education and Training Specialist)

Katty has over ten years of experience managing and supervising community and residential-based mental health centers serving people with serious mental health conditions. She delivers training programs and curricula on Cultural Considerations for Mental Health Services within the Latino Community and Trauma-Informed Care through the Latinx cultural lens.

Katty also participates in national workgroups with other federal regions MHTTCs across the country in behavioral health initiatives and promoting the implementation of evidence-based practices. She serves on Behavioral Health Equity and Cultural Responsiveness National MHTTC Workgroup to promote internal and external initiatives and programs to address gaps in behavioral health equity. She is also a member of the National Hispanic and Latino MHTTC Task Force, which provides training topics on Hispanic and Latino mental health.   Her research interests include acculturation and biculturalism and their impact on mental health, Trauma-Informed Care, provider self-care, compassion fatigue, and burnout prevention from a macro to a systemic level. One of her areas of expertise includes implementing multi-systemic Trauma Informed Care Systems of care in healthcare and human services. She is fully bilingual in English and Spanish.

She is the Advisory Board Co-chair for the Rutgers University Center for Latino Arts and Culture and a member of the Rutgers University Alumni Association Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. She is also a past RUAA Board Member. She is a Community Advisory Board Member of Rutgers' Master of Social Work (MSW) Certificate Program in Latina/o/x Initiatives for Service, Training, and Assessment (LISTA) Program.
She has a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. She is an Organizational Psychology doctoral student at Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology. 

Heidi Trotta Ed.M.
Instructional Designer

Heidi Trotta (Instructional Designer) focuses on e-learning creation and production work at the MHTTC.  Her current academic interests include visual design and literacy, case-based learning, digital gaming, and design thinking. Heidi has her Ed.M. from Teachers College at Columbia University in Instructional Technology and Media with a Master’s Degree in Adult Education/Instructional Media from Seton Hall and certificates in Advanced Web Design/Web Graphics from Rutgers University. To relax and have fun, she loves to pursue creative projects such as painting, sculpting, mixed media, creating books, and drawing.  She also enjoys ballroom dancing.

Sean Karyczak MS, CRC

Sean Karyczak, MS, CRC, (Evaluator) is an Assistant Research Coordinator in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He has experience working as a researcher, program evaluator, and counselor providing services to individuals with mental health challenges. Within the MHTTC he serves as the evaluator of the center’s training initiatives and products. His interests include physical health promotion, inter-professional health care education, and advancing evidence-based practices for those with mental health challenges. In his spare time, he can be found cycling around town and enjoying the outdoors.

Meredith Bell Franczak B.A.
Program Assistant

Meredith Bell Franczak (Program Assistant) received her B.A. in Health and Wellness Communication, with a minor in Digital Communication, Information, and Media, from Rutgers University. As the program assistant, Meredith runs our social media accounts, creates digital content for the center, manages our website, and provides additional support to other members of the team.

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