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.
Tania Leonard, MS is a Senior Training and Consultation Specialist with the Rutgers-CCSMH. Tania has 20 + years of experience identifying and connecting resources for schools, districts, and urban communities. She has a rich history working in the mental health field and education leadership, and has worked tirelessly with child servicing agencies at the city and state level. Tania has provided leadership, guidance, and coaching to schools. She’s supported school teams with implementing evidence-based supports, responding to behavioral health emergencies, and managing the aftermath of school and community crises. Tania is committed to providing quality services to the most vulnerable populations.
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.