Our Team - Cohen Veterans Network
Top Alert

anthony m. hassan, Ed.D, LCSW


As the inaugural President and CEO of the Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), Dr. Hassan leads and executes the strategic, operational, and financial direction for the $275M Network which is tasked with carrying out the establishment of 25 mental health clinics nationwide. These clinics are designed to improve the quality of life for post-9/11 veterans and their families by focusing on improving mental health outcomes, especially those associated with post-traumatic stress, through high-quality, accessible mental health care. In addition, he leads all efforts to advance the field as a learning mental health system through funded research initiatives and training programs that improve care within the Network and set CVN up to serve as a model for others.

Hassan is a veteran of the United States Army enlisted and Air Force officer with 30 years of experience in military behavioral health, serving as a military social work officer, leader, clinician, and academic. He served during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004 on the first-ever Air Force combat stress control and prevention team embedded with the Army. He also led the largest military substance abuse and family advocacy programs in the Pacific. These programs were recognized as benchmark programs and training sites for all other Pacific bases. Hassan’s last military assignment was at the U.S. Air Force Academy where he served as the Deputy Department Head, Leadership Directorate, and led the only graduate-level degree program at the Air Force Academy for top-tier Air Force Commanders.

Prior to CVN, Hassan served as the inaugural Director and Clinical Professor of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) at the University of Southern California School of Social Work. During his tenure at CIR from 2009-2015, Hassan was instrumental in the exponential growth of the school’s military social work program and community-based research on veterans and military families. Dr. Hassan’s former military and academic roles have positioned him to develop strong relationships with the most senior levels of leadership in the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and Washington, D.C. Hassan holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of South Florida and is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School.

Our Team

Alice Kim, MA


As Chief Operating Officer, Kim oversees the operations and administration of the Cohen Veterans Network and all of its programs and initiatives.

Prior to joining the Cohen Veterans Network, she was the Director of Operations at the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) at the University of Southern California School of Social Work. Kim oversaw the day-to-day operation of CIR and managed several large research projects funded by the Department of Defense to enhance the competence and capacity of civilian behavioral health care providers working with military populations. Kim also led the development of numerous cutting-edge programs such as an online training platform for behavioral health professionals, virtual avatar trainers for evidence-based practice and clinical skill, observed structured video examination (OSVE) for military clinical skill assessment, and inter-professional education using military-focused standardized patients. Throughout her career, she has worked for numerous major research initiatives focused on behavioral health care, community development, social welfare, and education. Kim received her BA from the University of Chicago and her MA from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.


Tracy A. Neal-Walden, Ph.D.


As the Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Neal-Walden provides clinical vision and strategic leadership for the network in mental health, psychiatry, substance use, case management and clinical training focusing on the needs of clinical staff as well as our veteran and military family clients.  Neal-Walden leads the development and implementation of network-wide clinical practice guidelines and ensures all clinics within the network meet the highest professional standards of access, empirical quality care, and ethical service delivery.


Neal-Walden is a veteran of the United States Air Force and served for over 24 years as a military psychologist/clinician, officer, leader, and academic; retiring in the rank of Colonel. She served as the Air Force’s Director of Psychological Health and Chief of Behavioral Health, as well as numerous other clinical and senior level leadership positions; developing and implementing policy for 75 military treatment facilities. In addition, she deployed to Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom and led a team of clinicians across 9 different locations to serve our nation’s warriors resulting in her being awarded the Bronze Star Medal.


Prior to CVN, Neal-Walden served as the inaugural Clinic Director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals and a Senior Vice President at Easterseals from 2017-2020.  During her tenure, she was instrumental in leading the clinic to success in attaining CARF accreditation, leading the network in telehealth implementation and utilization, and spearheading new clinical processes and procedures.  Neal-Walden is actively involved in the professional community serving on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s National Advisory Council, the American Psychological Association’s Continuing Education Committee’s Advisory Council, and the Editorial Board of Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice.


Neal-Walden holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Drexel University-Hahnemann Medical Campus and completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Health Psychology at Wilford Hall Medical-Surgical Center.



Paul Wood Web

Paul J. Wood


As Chief Communications and Marketing Officer and a member of the C-Suite, Wood is responsible for setting overall communications strategy for Cohen Veterans Network and oversees internal and external communications, reputation management, national marketing, brand management, media relations, thought leadership, social & content strategy and storytelling, national partnerships, and community outreach.

Prior to joining Cohen Veterans Network, Wood was a partner at Ketchum, a top global public relations firm, where he held a variety of roles focused on client leadership, practice leadership, client experience, and growth. He has expertise in using strategic communications programming to drive organizational outcomes. While at Ketchum, Wood developed cause and public education campaigns for Michelin, Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, The New York State of Health, and other clients.

Prior to Ketchum, Wood worked for other leading agencies such as Burson-Marsteller and Fleishman-Hillard in both the US and Asia. His work on behalf of clients has been recognized through numerous awards programs, including PRSA Silver Anvils, PR Week, Global Sabre Awards and others. Wood is a frequent speaker/commentator on disruption and communications.

Wood received a BA in English from The University of California at Irvine. He also is certified as a Six Sigma Black Belt and holds certificates in Digital Disruption and Digital Marketing and Social Media.

Sheetal Sood


As Chief Information Officer, Sheetal is responsible for the strategy, implementation and optimization of CVN’s information systems including business systems, health information and data sciences. Sheetal also serves as CVN’s information security officer responsible for CVN’s cybersecurity strategy and implementation of the organization’s security program including policy and education, data confidentiality, risk analyses, and incident response.

Sheetal is a healthcare information managment, information security and technology innovation leader with over 20 years of industry experience. She specializes in the areas of information governance, technology risk management, cyber security, business continuity, privacy audits, information systems investigations,  security awareness and training programs and healthcare compliance.

Before joining CVN, Sheetal was the Senior Executive Compliance officer and Corporate Records Management Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest municipal healthcare system in the United States, where she was responsible for all information governance activities around HIPAA privacy and data security. Prior to NYC Health + Hospitals, Sheetal was the Chief Privacy Officer for the NYC Housing Authority and the head of technology audit for the agency. Prior to her government roles, she worked as a technology expert leading digital transformation for companies in various industries including financial, media, transportation, manufacturing and others.

Sheetal is a frequent speaker at information security and healthcare compliance events. She volunteers with Scouts BSA specifically teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills to scouts (age 6-18).

Sheetal is certified in information security (GSEC, CISSP), risk management (CRISC), information systems audit (CISA), information privacy (CIPP/US) and healthcare compliance (CHC). She also holds numerous other product-specific certifications and has worked with several frameworks including NIST, HITRUST and COBIT. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering from Shivaji University in India.


Devon Collins


As Senior Vice President, Network Systems, Collins is responsible for the implementation and integration of a network-wide Electronic Health Record system and leveraging meaningful data at the network, clinic and client level.

She has worked with the veterans community for nearly a decade, most recently serving as the Chief Operations Officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), a leading veterans group for post-9/11 veterans. As COO, Collins managed all finance, human resource, legal, and technology infrastructure operations, as well as played a key role in organizational and programmatic development.

Collins received her BA in sociology from Rollins College.


Johanna Longo


As a Senior VP of Cohen Veterans Network, Longo oversees all of the General Office Management and Administrative needs in addition to assisting with the day to day Finance and HR issues.

She brings almost 20 years of Administrative experience to Cohen Veterans Network, supporting groups in excess of 50 people in her prior role.

Longo holds a BS in Finance from Sacred Heart University.


Carl J. Marucci


With more than twenty-five years of fundraising experience in diverse arenas, Marucci joins Cohen Veterans Network to coordinate the organization’s fundraising efforts to sustain, advance and endow the Cohen Clinics across the nation. With particular success in structuring comprehensive development efforts, including developing major gift, annual giving and planned giving programs, along with prospect research, high level special events, capital campaigns, and board development, Marucci has led fundraising efforts for local, national and international organizations.

Prior to joining CVN, Marucci coordinated the successful capital campaign at Northwell Health’s Peconic Bay Medical Center on Long Island’s East End. He also served as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at HealthCare Chaplaincy Network, New York City.  Marucci also served as Executive Director at CCS Fundraising, one of the most comprehensive and widely recommended fundraising firms in the world, providing on-site fundraising counsel and campaign management services to leading non-profit institutions in the academic, healthcare, civic human services, religious, and cultural arenas.

Marucci’s diverse experience encompasses a spectrum of non-profit organizations, from coordinating American Idol’s “Idol Gives Back” Campaign to leading the Vatican’s Path to Peace Foundation here in New York City. In addition to his responsibilities at the Vatican Foundation, Marucci served as a member of the Vatican’s diplomatic staff at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, covering the U.N.’s Third Commission addressing human rights issues around the world. While in that position he planned the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to the United Nations.


Team Althea Samuels

Althea Samuels


As Senior Vice President, Samuels is responsible for managing all accounting and day- to-day financial operations from monthly reporting, annual audit as well as assisting with forecasting and budgeting processes and regulatory compliance filings and requirements.

Samuels most recently was the Controller at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for three years where she managed the monthly financial close process, annual audit and played a vital role with the implementation and merging of all local affiliates into one consolidated Society.

She previously worked eight years at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as the Accounting Manager responsible for the monthly close, financial reporting and all states regulatory compliance filings. Throughout her career Samuels has enjoyed mentoring her team. Samuels graduated from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business with a BBA in Accounting.

Heather Youmans, MSW, MP


As Vice President for State Level Initiatives, Youmans is responsible for working with CVN’s clinic partners on state grant opportunities and other state-level funding related initiatives. Since beginning her career, she has become well-versed in multifaceted advocacy efforts at every level of government and has a proven record of leading successful legislative campaigns.

Prior to joining CVN, she spent 8 years with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network as their Senior Director for Government Relations for Florida, Georgia and Puerto Rico. Youmans was responsible for overseeing state operations and working to influence state and federal policies that impacted the American Cancer Society’s program of work.

Youmans also served as the Senior Legislative Advocate for Health Care & Human Services with the Florida Association of Counties. There she worked alongside local elected officials, learning about the inner workings of local governments and further developing her understanding of the overall political climate.

Youmans holds two Master’s Degrees from Florida State University in Public Administration and Social Work and graduated with honors from the University of North Florida with a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology.

team todd

Todd Dias, MS


As Vice President, Data Analytics of the Cohen Veterans Network, Dias manages a database and reporting system for information collected at each clinic regarding structure, process, and patient-reported outcomes in order to foster a culture of rigorous, patient-centered care; discovery; and continuous systemic improvement.

Previously, he was Manager of Informatics and Statistics for the Perinatal Data Center at the March of Dimes Foundation, where he gained more than a decade of experience working with maternal and child health data. His work provided key guidance to the foundation and contributed to the mission to reduce premature birth and improve birth outcomes for all women and children.

Dias received his BA from Marist College and his MS from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Suzzette Giordano, CPC


As Vice President of Revenue Cycle and Billing Operations, Giordano serves as the relationship owner between CVN Central Office and the Cohen Veterans Network clinics on all operational matters related to the revenue cycle, including professional billing, collection, and regulatory compliance.

Prior to Joining Cohen Veterans Network, Giordano served as Director Revenue Cycle Operations at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, CT for 8 years. Responsible for the day-to-day operations of Patient Accounting and Utilization Review teams maintaining less than .5% bad debt and denial rates. Giordano has over 25+ years revenue cycle operations experience, the majority of which have been in Behavioral Health non-profit settings for both inpatient and outpatient services. Giordano has extensive experience serving as lead handling OIG, MAC/RAC, and retrospective billing and clinical documentation audits.

Giordano is a Certified Professional Coder and an active member of the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) since 2010. Giordano studied Business Management and Economics with a concentration in Healthcare Management at SUNY Empire State College.



Anthony Guido, MPA


As the Vice President of Communications & PR for the Cohen Veterans Network, Guido is responsible for raising awareness of Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics in the communities the network serves, media campaigns to de-stigmatize mental health care among veterans, and managing relationships with national stakeholders and partners.

He most recently was the Director of Communications at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum where he oversaw daily media relations activities. He played a lead role in the communications initiatives around milestone moments such as the May 2014 opening of the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the September 2015 visit of Pope Francis to Ground Zero.

Guido previously served as Director of Communications at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, leading media efforts around the issues of hunger and poverty in the state. Guido earned a BA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an MPA from Rutgers University.


Rebecca Moynihan


As Vice President, Moynihan is responsible for developing and managing network-level projects to support the growth of the CVN network and it’s initiatives.

She brings over 10 years of non-profit experience to Cohen Veterans Network, recently serving as Director of Special Projects at the March of Dimes Foundation. In that role, she was responsible for managing and executing all aspects of the foundation’s national conferences, trainings and events, as well as managing the foundation’s military initiative, Mission: Healthy Baby.

Moynihan previously served as Director of Special Events at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, leading their annual Winter Wish Gala which raised $1.95 million annually. Moynihan studied English Literature and Dance in her native England, graduating from Havering College.

Team Stephanie Renno

Stephanie Renno, MA, DSW, LCSW


Stephanie Renno is the Senior Director of Training and Clinical Practice at the Cohen Veterans Network where she oversees the network-wide training of clinical evidence-based practices and processes and works directly to support each clinic in delivering state of the art clinical services to our veterans and military families.

Dr. Renno has worked in both government and not-for-profit sectors providing and overseeing mental health services for veterans, service members and their families. At the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), she provided clinical treatment, and oversaw implementation of innovative evidence-based programming for substance use disorders in addition to serving as a Master Trainer and consultant for evidence-based practice training roll outs. At the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Renno piloted a program combining DoD and VA resources to provide mental health care to active duty military and their families at Fort Detrick in Maryland. Prior to joining the Cohen Veterans Network team, Dr. Renno was a clinician at the Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center providing an intensive outpatient model of PTSD treatment to veterans.

Dr. Renno received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Illinois, her master’s in social work from the University of Chicago and her Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.

Philip Berkholtz


As Director of RCM and Billing Operations, Philip oversees all aspects of clinic third-party insurance billing. This includes contracting clinics with insurances, credentialing clinical staff, overseeing EHR configuration and providing finance trainings with clinics.


Previously, Philip worked with multiple national EHR vendors Cerner and Netsmart as RCM Specialists and Finance Consultants. While working with the current EHR vendor, Netsmart, Philip was the lead finance consultant on over 30 successful implementations and worked directly with over 160 different clients across the country in addition to developing best practice documentation.


Philip earned a Bachelors degree in Business Management from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK. Philip currently lives in Kansas City, Missouri.

Team Heather Chiarello

Heather L. Chiarello, MA


As the Chief of Staff for the Executive Office, Chiarello will offer direct support to the CEO by assisting with tasks related to tracking and advancing various projects and initiatives for the network that require special attention. She will also support the CEO by helping to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Executive Office.

Prior to joining the Cohen Veterans Network team, Chiarello was a staff member at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In that role, she worked with committees of experts on numerous consensus studies throughout the National Academies and most recently staffed studies focusing on military and veteran population health. She has worked on Congressionally-mandated studies sponsored by both VA and DoD concerning service members and veterans of all eras on topics such as mental health, exposure issues, and healthcare treatment and services.

Chiarello graduated magna cum laude from Central Michigan University in 2007 with a BS in political science accompanied by a concentration in public administration and a minor in legal studies. She obtained a Master’s degree in sociology with a focus on military sociology in 2014 from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.


Elise Harte

Elise Harte


As Director of Communications and Marketing, Elise Harte focuses on working to expand the reach of the clinics to increase care to veterans and their families, as well as de-stigmatize mental health issues.

Harte has experience working in the marketing and event industry for a variety of businesses and non-profits specializing in outreach growth, events, fundraising and traditional marketing campaigns.

Harte graduated from University of Colorado at Boulder with a BA in Psychology.


Steven Lancaster, PhD


Born and raised in the Midwest, Steven received a BA in Psychology from Bethel University in 2005. A deployment to Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard during college inspired him to pursue graduate work focused on trauma and PTSD. He received an MA and PhD in clinical psychology from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and completed his pre-doctoral internship at the Minneapolis VA.

Prior to joining CVN, Steven worked in higher education as a professor of psychology, first at Drake University and then at Bethel University. At Bethel he served as department chair and obtained the rank of tenured full professor. Steven’s research focuses on issues related to military service including PTSD, military identity, and moral injury, and he has published numerous articles on topics related to veteran mental health.

Steven and his wife live in Minneapolis where they enjoy camping in their vintage camper as well as hiking, biking, and canoeing. Steven is very passionate about veteran mental health and is excited to have an impact on this important issue with CVN.


Team Claire Lawless

Claire Lawless, MSW


In her role, Lawless oversees the quality assurance arm of Clinical Programs at CVN, ensuring clients receive high-quality, client-centered care through continues quality improvement initiatives. Lawless also oversees case management service integration for all Cohen Clinics, as well as after-hours support through Vets4Warriors.

Prior to joining CVN, Lawless served at the Senior Veteran Transition Manager for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s Rapid Response Referral Program (RRRP), providing individualized case management and advocacy for veterans and their family members. Lawless lead on the national scaling of RRRP, implemented a national effort to introduce Mental Health First Aid to the veteran community, and advocated on Capital Hill for improved mental health services for veterans. Lawless has previously worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Los Angeles, Volunteers of American Los Angeles, as well as the American Red Cross of Northern Indiana as a AmeriCorps volunteer.

Lawless received her BA from the University of Notre Dame and her MSW from the University of Southern California.

David J. Linkh, LCSW, PhD


Born and raised in Queens NY, Dave received a BA in Psychology from Queens College, City University of NY in 1988 and a Master of Science in Social Work, 1994 from Columbia University with a focus on clinical practice and concentration in children and families. He entered the US Air Force in 1996 by direct accession as an LCSW Mental Health Provider.

He earned a second masters and doctorate from Columbia University through Air Force Institute of Technology in 2005 in Social Work Practice and Research. Dr Linkh held progressively responsible clinical, research and command jobs in the USAF over almost 26 years, including Community Behavioral Health Division Research Director, Major Command Mental Health Consultant and HQ USAF Suicide Prevention Program Manager.  He also served as a Medical Group Commander and deployed Medical Group Commander, deploying to war zones twice in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. He has conducted and published research in areas including psychological trauma/PTSD, interpersonal and self-directed violence, suicide prevention, resilience and translational research/implementation science. Dave is married to Denise (28 yrs) and has two children (David, 22 and Danielle, 17). He currently resides in Fairfax VA, where he retired from the USAF effective 31 Oct 21 at the rank of Colonel. He is passionate about serving military members and veterans and proud to be part of the CVN team.



Caroline McCowen


As the Network Information Systems Director, McCowen supports the Network Information Systems department in the implementation and integration of a network-wide Electronic Health Record system.

She brings previous experience from other health organizations such as project management, clinical research, quality improvement, and patient safety. Prior to joining CVN, McCowen gained experience at an array of hospitals such as Yale New Haven Health, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. She was also responsible for mastectomy product management in a boutique shop that provides care for breast cancer patients and survivors.

McCowen graduated from Providence College with a BS in Health Policy and Management and a minor in Business, as well as from Georgetown University with a Masters in Technology Management and a Graduate Certificate in Competitive Business Intelligence.


Jean Mitchell


As Director of Corporate and Foundation Giving, Mitchell is responsible for designing, implementing, and overseeing a comprehensive development plan focused on expanding corporate and public foundation relationships and building strategic partnerships to support the network of Cohen clinics as part of a long-term sustainable strategy.

Prior to joining CVN, Mitchell served as Director of Institutional Giving with SeriousFun Children’s Network, a global network of medical specialty camps for children with serious illnesses, founded by Paul Newman, where she led relationships with corporations and foundations. With twenty years of development experience, Jean has also worked at Save the Children where she grew an extensive portfolio of foundations for the organization, and Cornell University where she was the first Foundation Relations Director for the Lab of Ornithology. She also managed institutional grants in the Office of Research Administration at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Mitchell received her BS from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland and her MA from The American University in Washington, D.C., and was an Arts Administration Fellow with the National Endowment for the Arts.

Juna Williams


As the Controller of Cohen Veterans Network, Williams is responsible for the overall financial and accounting operations of the company and supports the Vice President, Finance and Compliance.

She has over 15 years of accounting experience in varied industries and in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Prior to joining Cohen Veterans Network, she was the finance manager of the Canada Vertical at Exela Technologies.

Williams is a Certified Public Accountant in Connecticut. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy from the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City, Philippines.

Kristin DiMauro, MBA


As the Senior Staff Accountant, DiMauro is responsible for supporting the Controller in the overall financial and accounting operations of the company.

She brings over 20 years of experience in the accounting profession.  Prior to joining Cohen Veterans Network, she was a senior accountant at AllianceBernstein where she supported the revenue and asset under management reporting of the firm.

DiMauro graduated from Pace University with a MBA in Financial Management and a BBA in Accounting.

Alisa Breetz, Ph.D.


As Senior Manager, Clinical Practice, Dr. Breetz provides assistance and guidance for network-wide clinical practice initiatives, including evidence-based practice and measurement-based care to support the delivery of clinical care to our veterans and military families.

Following residency training at Duke University Medical Center, Breetz worked for seven years as a clinician and clinical supervisor in a private group practice where she specialized in the delivery and dissemination of evidence-based practices, particularly Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE). During that time, she also served as an adjunct instructor of psychology at American University and presented invited clinical trainings at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts Mental Health Center. She brings expertise in suicide prevention and trauma treatment and additional experience working with veterans at the Washington, DC VA hospital and with service members at Andrews Air Force Base and the US Naval Academy.

Dr. Breetz completed her BA in cognitive science at Brown University and her MA and PhD in clinical psychology at American University.

Emily Geslien

Emily Geslien


As Operations Senior Manager, Geslien supports the Operations Department with developing and managing network-level projects to support the growth of the CVN network and it’s initiatives.

Geslien comes with experience in non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Cohen Veterans Network, she was an analyst for a local human services provider. During this time she led and supported multiple projects including preparing for and achieving CARF re-accreditation, creating a quality assurance program, and implementing mobile devices for visit verification of personal care services. Prior to this, she supervised several workforce development locations that provided career coaching services.

Geslien graduated from the University of Bridgeport with a BA in Psychology and Human Services. She is currently pursuing her Project Management Certification.

Hope Phifer

Hope Phifer


As Media Manager of Communications & Marketing, Phifer is responsible for developing and delivering on earned media strategy and outreach to help raise awareness and understanding of the Cohen Veterans Network brand and service offering.

Prior to joining Cohen Veterans Network, Phifer was the Senior Account Executive for Thompson & Bender, a leading public relations, advertising and marketing agency in Westchester County, New York. Her clients included organizations in the nonprofit, retail, hospitality and higher education sectors as well as companies focused in the areas of assisted living/senior care, tourism, development, real estate and law. During her time there, Phifer garnered successful national, regional and local media coverage for her clients and was named a 2016 Business Council of Westchester “40 Under 40” Rising Star. Prior to Thompson & Bender, Phifer was the Public Relations Program and Editorial Manager for Major Accounts at Engage 121, where she created and managed editorial campaigns for franchise and direct sales companies throughout the country. Phifer also has extensive background in journalism, having held the role of reporter for print news publications including The Journal News (Gannett), as well as The Westchester County Business Journal and The Fairfield County Business Journal.

Phifer received a BA in history, with a concentration in journalism, from the State University of New York – Purchase College.


Ernest Rotili


As Senior Manager, Business Information Systems, Rotili oversees the administration, implementation, and upkeep of CVN’s essential work systems and hardware. He also provides training and technical support to CVN central office staff and teams.

Rotili has worn a number of hats at CVN and other organizations, ranging from HR support to IT device imaging to overseeing full CRM implementations. Prior to joining Cohen Veterans Network, Rotili served as an administrative and data coordinator at Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services where he was helped coordinate the organization’s transition to digitized records and a dedicated case management software. These initiatives allowed the nonprofit to streamline their grant reporting processes and their work with the local homeless population.

Rotili received his BA in Sociology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.


Kate Sullivan

Kate Sullivan


In her role as Senior Manager, Sullivan works to develop and deliver on social media, earned media and outreach to help raise awareness and understanding of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics in the communities the network serves.

A two-time New York Emmy Award winner, Sullivan’s background is in broadcast news and TV.  She began her career at CBS News Productions in which she assisted in the production of shows for The History Channel and Discovery.  From there Sullivan went to “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” where she researched questions for the nationally-syndicated game show.  She then spent a decade at PIX11 News in which she served in a number of roles within the newsroom including assignment editor, writer, producer and supervising producer. After which she moved to NBC’s “The Meredith Vieira Show”, where she produced a variety of content including human interest stories.  Prior to joining CVN, Sullivan served as vice president at a NYC based public relations firm overseeing communications campaigns for a portfolio of clients including a national non-profit and global consumer products company.

Sullivan graduated from Fairfield University with a BA in Communication and a minor in Film & Television.

Katie Porta

Kathryn Porta, MBA


As the Senior Executive Assistant at Cohen Veterans Network, Porta serves as the primary support for the CEO and COO, as well as the entire CVN team.

She brings nearly a decade of experience working as an Executive Assistant for C-level executives, across multiple industries. Her most recent experience was assisting the CEO and CRO at buildOn, a global non-profit organization headquartered in Stamford, CT.

Porta has a BS in Education and Psychology from Western Connecticut State University and an MBA from University of Phoenix.



Elaine Wright, B.B.A.


As Project Manager, Operations, Wright supports the Operations Department and the PMO with developing and managing network-level projects to support the growth of the Cohen Veterans Network and its initiatives.

Wright is a certified project management professional (PMP) with experience in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Prior to joining Cohen Veterans Network, she was Director of Business Analysis and Project Management for AmeriCares.  She has over 15 years experience in leading all phases of project portfolios including product development, IT initiatives, business growth, operations leadership and change management

Wright graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Business (UConn) with a Bachelors in Business and Technology


Jeffrey Barnello

Jeffrey Barnello


As the Manager of Telehealth Operations, Jeff is responsible for the advancement, oversite, growth and overall operations of the organization’s Telehealth program.

Prior to joining CVN Jeff served as Operations and Technology Manager for Nemours CareConnect, one of the largest pediatric telehealth programs in the nation. He was responsible for the day to day telehealth operations and all aspects of telehealth technology. Jeff brings more than 16 years of healthcare operations and technology experience.

Jeff is a veteran of the United states Army, serving as a Communications Non-Commissioned Officer for 12 years. During his service, he deployed on numerous occasions. He currently serves on the Telehealth and Innovation Steering Committee for the State of Delaware and previously as an Advisory Board Member for Vidyo Inc.

Barnello studied as an Emergency Medical Technician and Criminal Justice Administration and is a Certified Video Engineer and Advanced Certified Telemedicine Coordinator.


Erica Begin


As Operations Manager, Erica Begin supports the Operations Department with developing and managing network-level projects to support the growth of the CVN network and it’s initiatives.

Begin comes with experience in non-profit organizations. Prior to joining Cohen Veterans Network, she was a Human Resources Manager as well as a Human Capital & Recruitment Specialist for local education and human services providers. In her previous career experiences, Begin provided crucial, cross-departmental support like managing the employee lifecycle from beginning to end, launching employee engagement and retention initiatives, overseeing benefit and payroll administration, reporting data and maintaining compliance on organizational, state and federal levels, assisting all levels of staff with work-related needs, and ensuring the overall satisfaction of all internal and external stakeholders.

Begin graduated from Saint Michael’s College with a dual Bachelor’s degree in English and Religious Studies.

Danielle Besuden, MSSW, LICSW


Besuden serves as a Manager of Clinical Programs to assist clinics across CVN with clinical quality assurance and clinical quality initiatives.

As a licensed clinical social worker, Besuden has worked in a variety of settings providing outpatient and community-based care. Besuden’s clinical work has focused on complex trauma, depression, and anxiety.  Additionally, Besuden has completed quality assurance work within the community mental health setting, working to improve practices to support a better client experience.

Besuden received her BA in Sociology from Brown University and her Master of Science in Social Work from The University of Texas at Austin.


Jesse Covino, M.S.


Prior to Joining CVN Jesse worked as the Data Manager at the Steven A. Cohen Military Clinic at Aspire Health Partners. A Navy veteran, Jesse served aboard the USS Chosin CG65 stationed in Pearl Harbor, HI as a Navy Cryptologic Technician.

Jesse received his Bachelor of Science in Security Management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, as well as his Master of Science in Management from the University of South Florida. He holds certifications in CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+

Daniel Dahlman, MSW, LCSW-C


As a Manager of Clinical Programs, Dahlman works with clinics across the CVN network in support of CQI initiatives and sustaining high-quality care for veterans and their families.

As a licensed clinical social worker, Dahlman has worked in a variety of clinical settings providing community-based, outpatient and acute inpatient care. Prior to joining CVN, Dahlman supported the development of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). In that role, he developed therapeutic programming focused on resilience, peak performance and mental health awareness to support NGA’s veteran population.

Dahlman received his Bachelor’s from Boston University and his Master’s in Clinical Social Work with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Carla Foster

Carla Foster

Revenue Cycle Manager

As the Revenue Cycle Manager, Foster is responsible for implementing and overseeing the revenue cycle process for all the clinics within the Cohen Veterans Network, including analyzing and implementing revenue cycle processes, third party billing and supporting CVN finance teams. In addition, she manages on-site training and improvement initiatives.

Foster has over 20 years’ experience in Revenue Cycle Management for the health care industry. Prior to joining CVN she was the RCM Manager at Harford Healthcare, were she over saw the day to day RCM operations for Home Care, Hospice and Private Duty.

Foster studied Business Administration at Central Connecticut State University.


Prasanna Joshi

Prasanna Joshi, MS


As Senior Data Analyst, Joshi works closely with the Data Scientist to gain actionable insights from data. He uses machine learning methods to highlight interesting patterns in the data that help decision making across the organization. He also uses statistical analysis techniques to help identify various process improvement opportunities

Joshi is experienced in Data Science, Process Improvement and Supply Chain Management and has applied his skills in industries such as Finance, Pharmaceutical, Manufacturing and Technology. Joshi received his Master’s of Science in Operations Research from Northeastern University and his Bachelor’s in Production Engineering from Pune University.

Chris Malvagna, M.B.A.


As Manager of Network Communications & Marketing, Chris Malvagna is responsible for developing and maintaining Cohen Veterans Network internal and external brand and communications. He assists in and facilitates special projects, events, and pilot programs.

Prior to joining the CVN team, Malvagna worked in guest relations for the Ritz Carlton as well as freelance graphic illustration. As an Air Force Veteran, having served 4 years active duty, deploying multiple times to Africa and the Middle East, Malvagna possesses an intimate understanding of and passion for veterans’ care. He continues his service in the Air National Guard as a Security Forces member and Non-Commissioned Officer.

Malvagna received both his B.B.A. in Business Management and M.B.A. in Strategic Management from Pace University in New York.



Nina Mathew, MPA


As Manager of Human Resources & Administration, Nina provides support with the daily functions of the Human Resources & Administration department.

She brings with her over 10 years of Human Resources experience with non-profit organizations from full employee life cycle to process efficiency and employee satisfaction.

Mathew holds an MPA from Pace University with a focus on Non-Profit Organizations.

Nicole Meek

Nicole Meek


Nicole Meek serves as Manager of Marketing & Communications where she manages social platforms, designs creative collateral, and develops digital campaigns to connect military families to Cohen Clinics nationwide. Prior to joining the Central Office External Affairs Team, Meek led CVN Marketing and Communications strategy in Philadelphia at the Cohen Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania.

As the granddaughter of a Coast Guardsman, daughter of a Marine, and spouse to an active duty Airman, Meek is deeply committed to serving veterans, military spouses, and their families. She has worked with several other veteran service organizations and published research in the area of military family wellness during deployment.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and completed a Communications Design Certificate at University of the Arts.



Margaret Ostrander, MS, RD


Ostrander serves as a Manager of Clinical Programs to assist with clinical quality assurance across the network of CVN mental health clinics.

Ostrander brings over 10 years of clinical experience working in both Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers and the private sector. Prior to joining CVN, Ostrander most recently served as the Nutrition Support Team Coordinator at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. In that role, she provided clinical care for medically compromised veterans as well as established formal performance improvement activities and facilitated updates in policy and procedure.

Ostrander received her BS in Food and Nutrition from Marymount College of Fordham University and her MS in Clinical Nutrition from New York University.

Liz Palka, B.A.


Liz Palka joins Cohen Veterans Network as a Clinic Communications Manager with years of journalism, storytelling and public relations outreach. As a military spouse to an active-duty service member, she is honored to provide communications support and media expertise to Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinics.

Prior to CVN, Palka worked as a lead publicist for Nardi Media. Most of her time with the media relations firm was spent leading local outreach for March of Dimes, where she earned a track record of securing the maternal and infant health non-profit media coverage in top local markets. Palka also led local media efforts for the organization’s two biggest campaigns: March for Babies and the annual Report Card data release.

Palka has spent most of her career as a reporter in local, political and international news. Most recently, she worked in Washington, D.C. as an international radio anchor for Voice of America, a freelance correspondent for Hearst’s D.C. bureau and a multimedia journalist for WUSA9. She is particularly proud of the five years she spent as a general assignment reporter for WAVY TV 10 in Hampton Roads, Virginia, earning two EMMY nominations for her reporting.

Palka graduated from Elon University with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Communications and a minor in Political Science.

Sara Pastorello


Sara Pastorello serves as a Clinic Communications Manager for Cohen Military Family Clinics along the East Coast and is responsible for developing, and implementing effective goals, and media campaign plans with social media, reputation management, media events, news and features stories.

Prior to joining the Central Office Networking and Communications team, Pastorello was the Superintendent of Public Affairs for Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York. She has served in the Air National Guard for over 23 years and brings with her both military, civilian and non-profit communications, and public relation experience.

Pastorello continues to study Public Relations at SUNY Empire and is a graduate of SUNY Orange, The Community College of the Air Force and has completed several Military certifications.

Ava Weiss, LMSW

Training Manager, Clinical Practice & Training

Weiss serves as the Training Manager within the Clinical Programs department, where she helps to manage the network-wide training program of clinical evidence-based practices and processes.

As a licensed master social worker, Weiss has worked as a therapist at the CVN clinic at Easterseals, providing services to a diverse range of veterans and military family members. Prior to licensure, Weiss completed a graduate field placement as a social work intern at the CVN Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania. Weiss also has experience in non-profit sector program evaluation and project management.

Weiss received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania.


Juan De Dios Infante

Juan De Dios Infante


As the Network Systems Coordinator, Infante supports the Network Systems department in the implementation and integration of a network-wide Electronic Health Record system.

An aspiring HIT professional with a background of over five years in a FQHC. He played a lead role in implementing new versions of Centricity’s Practice Solution at a Community Health Center based in East Harlem. Juan has done work with process improvement, form development, workflow revision, data reporting, and project management.

Infante is studying Computer Information Systems at Monroe College.


Marie Mikols, M.A.


As Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, Marie Mikols supports the Cohen Veteran Network team with social media campaigns, engagement within the social media space, and additional special projects.

Mikols has previous experience in the non-profit sector specializing in marketing, social media outreach, communications, and public relations. Inspired by the poetry of service members from WWI and WWII, Mikols has studied service member and veteran mental health for over five years centered on moral injury and PTSD. She attended Johns Hopkins University where she earned her M.A. in Communication with a focus on corporate and non-profits. During this time, Mikols completed her thesis which outlined building stronger relationships and support groups for service members and veterans within their local community, as well as educating civilians on the challenges service members may face when returning home. Mikols is proud to be a part of Cohen Veterans Network and looks forward to further helping those who are serving, have served, and their families.


AJ Wallace


As Facilities Coordinator, Wallace supports the Operations Department with the management and maintenance of CVN’s national network of outpatient behavioral health clinics. He additionally works in conjunction with the Network Growth Department in identifying future clinic locations, and the Finance Department in the development of facility budgets.

Wallace joins CVN with prior experience in property management and construction. Most recently, while at PL Walman, he organized and managed project accounts and budgets.  Prior to that he held an internship at Exeter Property Group where he worked alongside the acquisitions team and assisted property managers with daily operations and inspections.

He is a graduate of Connecticut College with a BA in Economics.