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Ann Murphy, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at Rutgers, School of Health Professions. Dr. Murphy is also the Director of the Northeast and Caribbean MHTTC, a federally funded training and technical assistance center to enhance the capacity of the behavioral health and school mental health workforces to provide evidence-based mental health interventions. Dr. Murphy also directs the Enhancing Mental Health Services for Students contract with the NJ Department of Education. Current research interests include the behavioral health workforce, implementation science, and interdisciplinary education to enhance the capacity of future health professionals to address the needs of individuals with serious mental illnesses.

Kristy Ritvalsky, MPH, is the project manager for the Rutgers-CCSMH. Having led large-scale grant projects for over 18 years and working with various stakeholders to implement school-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports and school mental health, she has identified and leveraged the strengths of inner-city schools and communities. She uses her extensive knowledge and collaborative consultation style to bridge the gap between theory and practice to help meet students’ behavioral and mental health needs. In recognition of Kristy’s outstanding contributions, the Association for Positive Behavior Support has awarded her the 2023 E.G. Ted Carr Award.

Alicia Lukachko, DrPH, LCSW works with the Rutgers-CCSMH as a senior training and consultation specialist in school mental health. She is a faculty member at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Department of Psychiatry. She received her master’s degree in social work from Rutgers and her doctorate in public health from Columbia University, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology. She is a licensed therapist, a certified school social worker, and has extensive experience in school mental health program design, implementation, and evaluation.


Stuart Luther, MS, LAC, NCC is a senior training and consultation specialist for the Rutgers-CCSMH. He has diverse background in supporting youth and schools as a regional youth development program director, school-based clinician, and policy advocate. Stuart has extensive experience equipping schools with knowledge and practical strategies through training and coaching to implement school mental health evidence-based practices and programing. He specializes in service delivery and inclusion of LGBTQIA+ youth. Stuart also supports NJ youth and children in crisis as an intensive in-home counselor.

Ifrah Akhtar is a program assistant for the Rutgers-CCSMH. She has a variety of experiences from being a Gilman Scholar, an alumni of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers, creator of the Muslims Abroad guide, and currently editor-in-chief of the digital publication and media platform, MODEST. Her work and expertise centers around storytelling and fostering a collaborative environment where design and knowledge intersect.

Allison Casal-Dunn, MS is a senior training and consultant specialist for the Rutgers-CCSMH. She has extensive experience advocating for student and staff wellness and collaborating closely with school and district-based staff and leadership to develop comprehensive systems that prioritize health and wellness in educational environments. With teaching certifications in both special education (NY and NJ) and health education (NY), and a certificate in social-emotional learning, Allison brings expertise in integrating evidence-based mental health and SEL practices into instruction. Allison is also trained in restorative circle-keeping, restorative conferencing, and implementing restorative approaches to discipline.

Stephanie Michael, LMSW is a senior training and consultant specialist for the Rutgers-CCSMH. Stephanie has a passion for prevention and advancing systems change, specifically in the area of empowering youth and families. She has had the privilege of collaborating on multiple grant-funded initiatives, including New Jersey Positive Behavior Support in Schools (PBSIS), Parent Education Technical Assistance (PETA), and County Councils for Young Children (CCYC). In these roles, she supported the delivery of training and technical assistance to educators, administrators and parents to promote positive student behavior, conduct and social-emotional wellness, and greater childhoods; engaged and built alliances among internal agency and external community stakeholders; and created and distributed tools to evaluate project implementation fidelity. Stephanie is a New Jersey Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (NJLEND) alumna; a certified Positive Discipline parent educator, and a Circle of Security® Parenting™ and Music Together® facilitator, respectively. Stephanie also supports youth and families as an associate counselor in an outpatient practice setting.