We are pleased to announce that Chacku Mathai has joined the Center for Practice Innovations OnTrackNY team as the Project Director for the recently funded SAMHSA Healthy Transitions grant, Promoting Hope and Opportunities for Youth with Early Psychosis (ProHope), focused on
supporting youth and young adults experiencing First Episode Psychosis to achieve their goals for school, work, and relationships. The project will support young people through the OnTrackNY model of Coordinated Specialty Care with teams located at the Child Center of NY in Queens and the Westchester Jewish Community Services in Peekskill and Hartsdale.
Chacku is an Indian-American, born in Kuwait, who became involved in consumer/survivor/ex-patient advocacy when he was only 15 years old. Chacku's personal experiences with trauma, suicide, and disabling mental health and substance use conditions, including psychosis as a youth and young adult, launched Chacku and his family towards a number of efforts to advocate for improved services, social conditions, and alternative supports in the community.
He has since accumulated over thirty years of experience in behavioral health systems transformation in a wide variety of roles
including youth leadership, community organizing/advocacy, psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner/trainer in community mental health centers and residential programs licensed and certified by the Office of Mental Health.
He has served in executive leadership roles including CEO for the MHA of Rochester; Director for the NAMI STAR Center, a SAMSHA National Technical Assistance Center; and Associate Executive Director for the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services. He has extensive training and technical assistance experience through NYAPRS as an implementation partner for the New York State Center of Excellence for the Integration of Care (CEIC), the SAMSHA Northeast Addiction Technology Transfer Network, the SAMHSA Recovery to Practice Resource Center for Behavioral Health Professionals and the SAMHSA Bringing Recovery Supports To Scale Technical Assistance Venter Strategy (BRSS-TACS). Chacku was active in state policy leadership by leading a statewide Employment Campaign, became the Chair for the Most Integrated Settings Coordinating Council's Employment Data Integration Team, was appointed to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Credentialing Board and the New York State Integrated Block Grant Committee. He is the former member of the Commission that oversees the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA) Certification Program for Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioners (CPRP).
He is a founding board member and President of Friends of Recovery - New York, a statewide coalition of people in recovery from addiction and as a board member for the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA). He is a National Advisory Council member for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health in Texas and the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems. Chacku has served on a number of advisory boards and teams for key research initiatives at Boston, Columbia, Lesley, and Rutgers universities. Chacku is also an appointed member of the New York State Integrated Block Grant Committee.
Chacku moved to NYC from Rochester with his wife, Julie, and their eleven-year-old daughter, Shobha.
Please join us in welcoming Chacku Mathai to our staff.