Debbian Fletcher-Blake | President and CEO
Debbian Fletcher-Blake specializes in technical assistance related to the administrative areas of health care services. She has a master’s degree in nursing from Pace University and bachelor’s degrees in Nursing and Chemistry. With an Executive Leadership in Health Information Technology Certificate from the University of Colorado School of Nursing, Debbian brings expertise and efficiency to the coordination of health and social services programs.
Debbian serves on several boards including Montefiore Nyack Hospital, the Community Health Care Association of New York State (CHCANYS), the Coalition of Medication-Assisted Treatment Providers and Advocates (COMPA) of New York State, and NYC Coalition for Behavioral Health, CCBHC Expansion Grantee National Training and Technical Assistance Center (CCBHC-E NTTAC) Advisory Board, and collaboratives and associations including Alcohol and Substance Abuse Providers (ASAP) of NYS. She serves as the Co-Chair of the CHCANYS Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Advisory Council.
Most recently, Debbian was the Assistant Executive Director at Care for the Homeless in New York City, Clinical Director of the Mobile Health Program and instructor at the New York University College of Nursing. In 2020-2021 she served as a mentor to two Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHC) and continues to provide mentorship after her commitment ended.
As VIP’s CEO, Debbian provides leadership and direction for daily operations relating to integrated clinical care delivery, customer service excellence that exceeds patient, provider, and payer expectations, as well as coordination of internal team efforts with external community key stakeholders, providers, and regulatory agencies. Under her leadership, VIP has doubled its budget and expanded its housing & shelter portfolio to include sanctuary shelters for asylum seekers, and shelters across New York City. To meet the mental health needs of children, under her leadership VIP established a school-based mental health program. Other programs implemented or about to launch under her leadership include a dental clinic, a Mobile Medication Unit and a Harm Reduction Program.
Debbian was awarded Crain’s New York Notable Black Leaders as well as 2022 Schnepps Media Healthcare Heroes presented by Catholic Health for her contribution and dedication to the healthcare community. In 2021, for her role in rebuilding New York City during the pandemic, she was recognized as an Empire Whole Health Hero and showcased on the Bronx Power List as one of the most influential and impactful individuals in the borough for her continued commitment to improving the Bronx under-resourced communities. In 2019, for her leadership, vision, and dedication to reducing health disparities in the communities and transforming the lives of underserved populations, Debbian was selected as a CRAIN’s Notable Women in Health Care. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Dr. Philip W. Brickner Award Honoree from CHCANYS for advocating and being a champion for the medical needs of those who are vulnerable and experiencing homelessness. Debbian further serves as the regional director for Region 2 on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.
Dr. Darcia Bryden-Currie | Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer
Darcia Bryden-Currie joined VIP Community Services in January 2018 and currently serves as Chief Clinical Officer for Health Services and Wellness.
Dr. Bryden-Currie has more than 20 years of experience in the health care field. She has served as a provider, and more recently as an administrator. Her work as an administrator was to address the challenges faced by her colleagues and patients within the New York health care system. Prior to joining VIP, she served as Vice President of Health Services for a local FQHC. Dr. Bryden-Currie also has extensive experience working with individuals experiencing homelessness, mental health, and substance use challenges.
Dr. Bryden-Currie holds a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska and a Ph.D in Public Health from Walden University.
Opal Dunstan | Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer
Opal Dunstan joined VIP Community Services as the Chief Operations Officer in March 2020. Opal has been in healthcare leadership for over thirty years in both hospitals and ambulatory care FQHC settings. She worked with Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx Hospital as Associate Executive Director with responsibility for various areas such as Quality Management, Regulatory Affairs, Utilization Review, Inpatient Services, Risk Management, and Outpatient Surgery.
Most recently, Opal worked for over twenty years at Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, where she served in various roles such as Chief Operations Officer, Acting Chief Executive Officer, and Chief Executive Officer.
Opal holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from New York University and a Certification in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ). She is committed and dedicated to the belief that the population we serve should receive quality efficient healthcare.
On a personal note, Opal enjoys music, gardening, and cooking. Originally from Jamaica, West Indies, Opal has two adult twin daughters, Tisha and Tracy and resides in Fishkill, NY.
Natasha Vernon | General Counsel
In her prior roles, Natasha participated in numerous contractual negotiations and transactions. She also managed litigation and arbitration cases on behalf of healthcare providers in the Midwest and the Eastern United States. She completed her legal studies at the University of Law in London and at CWRU School of Law as the fully-supported Emmerich De Vatel Scholar. Additionally, Natasha is a fully qualified mediator and arbitrator and has served as a neutral on commercial cases. She currently sits as a neutral on a national panel and serves as a volunteer mediator in the Bronx. Prior to law school, Natasha earned her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and worked as an international consultant for several Fortune 500 companies. Natasha is proficient in Spanish.
Tabitha Gaffney | Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer
Tabitha Gaffney comes to VIP with 23+ years of experience working in social services and non-profit organizations that provide services and support to consumers who have a history of homelessness, mental health and substance use issues, physical and mental health and care coordination needs. Ms. Gaffney’s track record of success includes driving program and project development, implementation and management, quality improvement projects, and effectively restructuring and rebuilding failing programs into high performing programs. Ms. Gaffney’s expertise in Corporate Compliance, Privacy Compliance, Risk and Incident Management, Training, Team Development, Quality Improvement, Program/Project Development, Implementation and Management will be critical in her new role as Chief Compliance Officer for VIP where Ms. Gaffney will be responsible for the oversight and management of the Corporate Compliance Program and HIPAA Privacy Management.
Dr. Ernst Jean | Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Jean has been the Medical Director at VIP Community Services for almost a decade. He has over 20 years of experience in Addiction Medicine/Outpatient Behavioral Health and Ambulatory Medicine.
He obtained his Medical Degree from the State University of Haiti, School of Medicine and Pharmacy, in Port-au-Prince.
He completed his training in Internal Medicine at the State University of Haiti Hospital, and his training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology at the Albert Einstein College affiliated hospitals in The Bronx. He studied Forensic Pathology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Dr. Jean worked in the early 90s as a New York City Medical Examiner and in the late 90s as an HIV Specialist. He was a founding member of the NY Chapter of the Minority Providers in HIV Care. He previously worked at Catholic Medical Center of Brooklyn & Queens, Inc.
Dr. Jean is fluent in French, English and Creole. He is committed to addressing the disparity in health and inequities in healthcare, with patient education and empowerment combined with excellence at and access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).
Frank Kploanyi | Senior Vice President and Chief Finance Officer
Frank Kploanyi joined VIP Community Services in December 2017, providing leadership in the organization’s financial management and strategy. He has over 25 years of experience in the Healthcare Industry — specifically in FQHCs and Community based Organizations and Hospitals — with a strong background in Financial Management, Reimbursement, organizational process design, and improvement. Frank’s recent position was as Director of Finance, Business Development at Northwell Health, Physician Partners.
He has previously served as CFO at both 1199 SEIU Training and Employments Funds and Morris Heights Health Center, and also as Director of General Accounting at Beth Israel Medical Center. Frank is a CPA, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Accountants, and serves on the Boards of a couple of non-profit organizations.
Occasionally, Frank teaches courses in Accounting, Auditing, and Cost Accounting at the City University of New York, York College, as an Adjunct Professor. Frank received his Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Ghana, Legon, and his MBA in Management Accounting from Pace University Lubin School of Business in New York. Outside work, Frank’s interests are in tennis and golf.
Justin Mitchell | Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer
Justin Mitchell joined VIP Community Services in February 2020 as the Chief Program Officer. Justin has worked in the substance use/mental health disorder field for the past twenty years. For the last twelve years, he has held various leadership positions at Odyssey House including as the Vice President, Director of Residential Services since 2011. Justin holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Science in Education (Rehabilitation Counseling) from Hunter College, CUNY, and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).
Core to his beliefs are that consumers participating in substance use disorder treatment and other healthcare services are deserving of the highest quality care including access to evidence based clinical practices and medication assisted treatment. Each day provides new opportunities for success by inspiring hope in those we serve and by role modeling patience, positive communication skills, and genuine care and concern.
Justin grew up in Sunnyside, Queens and is a long-time resident of Yonkers where he lives with his wife, daughter, and two dogs.
Carmen Rivera | Senior Vice President and Chief Vocational and Community Affairs Officer
Carmen G. Rivera serves as Chief Vocational and Community Affairs Officer for VIP Community Services. Carmen served on the Board of Directors of VIP Community Services for 35 years, where she served as its Chair for 20 years. Ms. Rivera is an active community organizer and activist who facilitated a myriad of community partnerships throughout her 42-year history with the organization.
Ms. Rivera was born in Bayamon, in Puerto Rico and is the third of six children. Her bilingual and bicultural background provided her with sensitivity to the plights of the influx of immigrants and those with language barriers. She began a career of volunteerism; most notably at her local parish of St Anthony’s where a local priest (Rev. Father Robert Banome) helped to nurture her thirst for spiritual ministry and activism. These ecumenical efforts helped to propel the Bronx leaders into providing housing for the poor, food for the hungry, and treatment for those suffering from chemical dependency. Ms. Rivera became a leader in provision of those services in her community.
Her community leadership has spanned decades. Carmen has served on Community Board 9 for 17 years, and held a post on the Executive Committee for 9. Ms. Rivera also served for 14 years as Housing Chairperson. Ms. Rivera honorably served as parish trustee for 18 years, and President of Parish Council for Church of St. Anthony. Ms. Rivera serves as a mentor and leader to young girls ages 7–18 years. She provides spiritual mentorship and community projects to create future Latina leaders. She also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of Discovery for Justice Coalition, a nonprofit organization that advocates for criminal justice reform.
Her early professional career was in Publishing. Carmen was employed as the National Sales Manager at Bookazine a Book Wholesaler, later becoming National Trade Sales Manager at Lectorum/Scholastic Publishing marketing Spanish books nationwide. Carmen was a member of the American Library Association, American Bookseller’s Association, and a member of Reforma, supporting the needs of Spanish speakers through library services. In 2009, Carmen was honored with the first Lifetime Achievement Distinction providing services to the Latino community.
Her most important role is the matriarch of her family. Carmen is mother to Yolanda and Jeanette and grandmother of three: Jasmine, Destiny, and Brandon. She is great grandmother to Hailey and Dominick. Ms. Rivera is a proud resident of Bronx, NY, for 54 years and has resided in the same home for 45 years. She is an avid reader who enjoys culinary arts and travel.
Inez Sieben | Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
Inez Sieben comes to VIP with over 30 years of experience in numerous public health, social services and health programs.
As Chief Operating Officer of OneCity Health Services, a subsidiary of Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), she ramped up the program to meet key DSRIP goals, developed and implemented strategies subsequently approved by the subsidiary’s governance and achieved 99% of DSRIP funding.
Previously Inez served as Chief Operating Officer for the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), a non-profit that promotes health information technology that ensures secure access to patient data across New York State. In collaboration with stakeholders and the State, Inez coordinated the development of the Statewide Health Information of NY (SHIN-NY).
She served as Vice President of Nonprofit Consulting and Special Projects at Public Health Solutions, and as Executive Director of the SKILL Center, a training and employment program for home health aides.
Her degrees include an MPH from Boston University and a BA in women’s health from the University of Massachusetts.