ABOUT US: STAFF


Richard H. Dougherty, Ph.D., President, CEO

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Dr. Dougherty is the CEO of DMA Health Strategies and President of the non-profit organization BasicNeeds US. In his work with DMA, Dr. Dougherty currently leads a team of 13 staff in a variety of behavioral health policy and workforce development projects. This includes current leadership of a strategic planning engagement on substance abuse prevention with the City of Boston, recent leadership of the SAMHSA CCBHC planning grants and leadership of a five year evaluation of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families Title IV-E waiver and joint DCF and DMH procurement. The firm has recently completed two reports related to the Commonwealth’s opiate and substance abuse crisis: first for the MA Center for Health Information and Analysis for a legislative report on access to treatment and second for the City of Boston, funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, on the availability of addiction and recovery services in the City. Dr. Dougherty also recently completed a 2014 study of the current capacity of the Massachusetts behavioral health system for the Massachusetts Health Policy Council. Dr. Dougherty was also the leader of a multi-year project known as Assessing the Evidence Base for SAMHSA to prepare 13 peer-reviewed research summaries for Psychiatric Services working with Westat and Truven and numerous university and other researchers. He advises numerous national organizations, has published extensively, sits on several boards and received the 2011 Walter Barton Distinguished Fellow Award from ACMHA. As President of BasicNeeds US Inc., Dick is leading efforts to implement the model in Southwest Detroit with Southwest Solutions, the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority and project staff from BasicNeeds sites in Kenya, Ghana and elsewhere. Dr. Dougherty went to Colgate University, the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and Boston University for his Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology.



Wendy Holt, M.P.P., Principal

picMs. Holt has considerable analytical and operational experience in Medicaid managed mental health carve outs, Medicaid managed care for people with disabilities and child welfare services. She is currently researching options available under the Affordable Care Act for health homes centered in substance abuse treatment settings for the MA Department of Public Health. She is also working with the Massachusetts chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness and the Association for Behavioral Healthcare to recommend a strategy for financing statewide implementation of jail diversion programs in police departments. Ms. Holt recently completed issue briefs summarizing lessons learned from Minnesota’s federal Demonstration to Maintain Independence and Employment; collaborated with the Lewin Group on a study of the Massachusetts children’s mental health workforce; and conducted a case study of the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program for the Commonwealth Fund.

Trained in economics (BA, University of Wisconsin, 1974) and public policy (Masters, Kennedy School of Government, 1979), Ms. Holt has a number of areas of expertise, including: assisting states to design, procure and evaluate Medicaid managed behavioral health care plans; performance measures and cross-state benchmarking of Medicaid and mental health authority services for children; assessments of state and region mental health and substance abuse needs and gaps utilizing quantitative and qualitative data; and analysis of human service provider financial condition and rate adequacy.

Prior to joining DMA, Ms. Holt served as Manager of Policy and Planning at MHMA, the first statewide Medicaid behavioral health carve out in the nation. In that position, she had key roles in network development, provider performance profiling, client outcomes measurement, outpatient utilization management, and CQI team leadership. Ms. Holt also served as Director of Administration and Finance for a mental health clinic and Supervising Management Auditor at the State Auditor’s Office.



Jinna Samara Halperin,MPH, Senior Associate

Ms. Halperin has worked for a range of public health and health care organizations as well as several local hospitals. She has served as an evaluator for numerous projects, designing data collection tools, conducting interviews, focus groups and surveys, analyzing data, and writing evaluation reports. Ms. Halperin is currently serving as the project manager and one of the evaluators for DMA’s five-year evaluation of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Title IV-E Caring Together Demonstration Project. She is also leading a three-year evaluation of the Rhode Island Veteran’s Treatment Court Pretrial Services Unit. She served as a key member of DMA’s team responsible for drafting a joint procurement of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and DCF for Massachusetts Family Resource Centers and for an Administrative Services Organization. As an independent consultant, she served as a data collector for a needs assessment of substance use and mental health issues among Native Americans and military families funded by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS). She also worked as a technical assistance provider on substance abuse prevention for BSAS-funded communities through the Massachusetts Technical Assistance Partnership for Prevention program. In addition, she analyzed qualitative data and wrote a summary report for a county-funded substance abuse needs assessment.

As a freelance writer, Ms. Halperin was hired by Children’s Hospital Boston’s Center of Excellence for Pediatric Quality Measurement to draft a technical report for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Ms. Halperin also worked with DMA to draft a business case study for SAMSHA’s Children’s Mental Health Initiative grantees to train and build capacity around developing financing strategies to support systems of care. Ms. Halperin earned her Masters of Public Health from Boston University and her Bachelors with honors in Anthropology from Beloit College.



Deborah C. Strod, M.S.W., Senior Associate

picDeborah Strod has supported the quality improvement, report-writing and analytic activities of the firm. Ms. Strod’s work at DMA has concentrated on the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services: designing and implementing their annual Independent Peer Review process using NIATx principles; supporting the planning process and implementation of the MA substance abuse workforce strategic plan. She has also supported DMA’s extensive work on the national Building Bridges Initiative, conducting focus groups and incorporating stakeholder feedback into a) the design of a self-assessment tool for residential providers and their community partners evaluating their implementation of system of care principles, b) development of an Outcomes Tip Sheet supporting programs in use of data for outcomes and quality improvement. In addition, Ms. Strod supported DMA’s design and conduct of a training and technical assistance needs assessment of California county public mental health system, including staff and consumer participants. The activities involved an online survey, focus groups and interviews. Active in town politics, Ms. Strod and Dr. Dougherty co-chaired the Town of Lexington Health Benefits Committee that prepared a landmark report reviewing health insurance costs for Lexington and approximately 20 neighboring communities and outlining the strategic options for the town. She has served on numerous town committees and was Deputy Town Moderator in 2015 and 2010- 2012.

Prior to DMA, Ms. Strod’ work experience involves ten years of progressive responsibility at Massachusetts General Hospital in their Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology and the Office of Technology Affairs. In various positions from 1991 to 2001, she was responsible for conducting scientific forums, facilitating development of innovative technologies, managing intellectual property, participating in continuous quality improvement and negotiating industry-sponsored research agreements including clinical trials. She has a Masters in Social Work concentrating in Group Work and Community Organization and Planning from the Boston University School of Social Work an A.B. Magna Cum Laude from Harvard College in History and Science and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Heller School of Social Polcy, Brandeis University.



Dana P. Roth, M.S., Research Analyst

Dana Roth provides data collection and analysis; summarizes quantitative and qualitative data for presentation; designs and implements surveys; and assists with evaluation design, project management, and report preparations. At DMA, Ms. Roth has provided expert data management as well as descriptive and inferential analyses for a number of evaluations, including the National Evaluation of SAMHSA’s Children’s Mental Health Initiative Expansion, evaluations of SAMHSA- and BJA-funded drug courts in Massachusetts, and a school-based bullying prevention initiative, as well as for behavioral health needs assessments of the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts. Currently, she is part of the team evaluating the implementation of the Title IV-E Waiver for the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families and the ongoing evaluation of the Rhode Island Veterans Treatment Court.

Prior to her work at DMA, she served as both a research assistant and a project coordinator in Social Psychology research laboratories and was a Field Organizer for Organizing for America Virginia, President Obama’s grassroots re-election campaign. Ms. Roth holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Virginia, where she graduated with high distinction, and an M.S. in Social Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. While at UMass, she also served as the Program Coordinator for the Psychology Department’s undergraduate concentration in Developmental Disabilities and Human Services.



Talia Hahn, B.A., Research Associate

Ms. Hahn provides quantitative and qualitative data analysis of access, utilization, and costs of the behavioral health system in MA. She generally supports projects through the development of surveys, attendance of focus groups, proposal writing, and office administrative tasks.

Prior to joining DMA in September of 2014 Talia held various research positions and also served as an AmeriCorps Direct Service member with Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters, where she coordinated hands on cooking and nutrition courses for low-income families. Talia graduated in 2013 from Connecticut College with a B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience.



Diane Salley, B.A., Office Manager/Assistant

Ms. Salley is responsible for monitoring, tracking, invoicing and reporting on the financial aspects of contracts and subcontracts to ensure adherence to budgets and contract requirements. She also maintains the functions of our office including accounting and time reporting systems, proposal coordination, and human resource functions. Ms. Salley supports the analytic functions of the team with her mastery of word processing, data collection, data base management, financial spreadsheets, flow charting software, and project management programs.

Her prior experience includes 14 years with the defense contractor Loral Infrared Imaging Systems (formerly Honeywell) where she performed time studies, program planning activities, coordination of proposal efforts, and evaluation of program management and proposal software tools.



Eileen Brigandi, LADCI., Project Director / Program Coordinator

Ms. Brigandi recently completed the finalization of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS) BJA Grant for Drug Court Enhancement. Continuing her work with the Bureau, she has assumed the role of Coordinator for the Opiod Urgent Care Center assisting BSAS with piloting urgent care centers in three agencies to create a model to be expanded throughout the state.


Emilia E. Dunham, M.P.P., M.B.A., Medicaid MassHealth Project Manager

picEmilia Dunham holds a Master in Public Policy in health policy and a Master of Business Administration in healthcare management from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Northeastern University.

Ms. Dunham is currently working with the MA Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse, and MassHealth on a SAMHSA grant, examining policy options for expanding coverage for supportive housing services for chronically homeless individuals with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Prior to DMA, Ms. Dunham worked at The Fenway Institute of Fenway Health in Boston from 2009-2015, working on a number of HIV prevention research studies and LGBTQ state and national policy initiatives, most recently as the Project Manager for a 5-year randomized-control HIV behavioral intervention, and a 2013 statewide needs assessment of transgender adults. Ms. Dunham has co-authored several policy reports and peer-reviewed articles on LGBTQ populations, particularly in the areas of HIV and sexual health, LGBTQ youth, and transgender health. Additionally, Emilia Dunham is a frequent presenter at national and local conferences and health centers on LGBTQ cultural competency and research.



Alice Colegrove, DrPH, Homelessness Grant Coordinator

picDr. Alice Colegrove is a public health expert who specializes in program development, needs assessment, and monitoring/evaluation. Specific topics of expertise include: homelessness -youth homelessness in particular, substance abuse, mental health, high-risk youth issues, and the healing impact of the arts. For over a decade Alice has worked in direct service with youth and young adults who are homeless, and she has also been traveling across the globe giving workshops and lectures on programming for high-risk and homeless youth. Some of the forums she has had the privilege to speak at include: The International Conference on AIDS, the National Public Health Association, the Harvard Veritas forum, the Global Health Council, and guest lectures at Harvard, Tufts, Northeastern, and Boston University. She received both a Masters and Doctorate in Public Health (DrPH) from Boston University, with a concentration in social and behavioral sciences.Her doctoral research focused on housing for homeless young adults. She is currently working with the MA Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse, on a SAMHSA grant providing housing and supportive services for chronically homeless individuals with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.



Rebecca Butler, LCSW, SYT-I Project Coordinator

Rebecca Butler is currently the State Youth Treatment Implementation Project Coordinator for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Services. For almost a decade, Rebecca has worked in community-based mental health specializing in nonprofit management, program development, and community engagement. Her area of focus has been creating innovative programs for vulnerable children, youth, and families in alternative settings. Rebecca holds a Masters degree in social work with a macro concentration from Boston University. She is also a registered 200-hour yoga instructor and facilitates yoga and mindfulness groups for adolescents in schools and community health centers.



Laura Kernan, MSc., Health Data Specialist

picLaura Kernan is responsible for all aspects of data collection, including data management, data analysis, and supervision of subject interviews for a study examining the benefits of integrating behavioral and physical health care at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, which provides services to Department of Mental Health eligible adults and adolescents. She is also responsible for reporting quarterly and annual results to the grantee of the study, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Ms. Kernan earned her degree in Occupational Health Epidemiology in 2013 from the University of Massachusetts Lowell and has expertise in study design, literature review, policy review, and data analysis and interpretation. While at UMASS Lowell, Laura worked as a research assistant on several projects pertaining to chemical policy and safety of workers, mental health effects of stress, and methods of participatory interventions in the workplace. After graduation she stayed on as a project manager of a study examining occupational health risks of nursing home work-ers. There she was responsible for managing data collection, generating interim results and re-ports for the study partner, managing study team projects and contributing to publications.

Ms. Kernan has always had an interest in health, even prior to making the decision to study epidemiology, having taken classes in nutrition and exercise physiology. While working in the snowboard industry, Laura managed a youth snowboard team and also obtained certifications in spinning and group exercise. Currently Laura competes as an amateur cyclist, specializing in off road forms of cycling.