Debbian Fletcher-Blake | Chief Executive Officer
Debbian Fletcher-Blake specializes in technical assistance related to the administrative areas of health care services. She has a Masters degree in Nursing from Pace University and two Bachelors degrees: one in Nursing and one in Chemistry. With an Executive Leadership in Health Information Technology Certificate from the University of Colorado School of Nursing, Debbian brings expertise and efficiency when related to the coordination of health and social services programs.
Most recently, Debbian was the Assistant Executive Director at Care for the Homeless in New York City. There, she supervised two federal grants and was responsible for the overall functioning of the health services at the agency. As CEO, Debbian will provide 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.
Dr. Darcia Bryden-Currie | 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 | 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.
Lizanne Fontaine | Counsel
Lizanne serves as Counsel at VIP Community Services where she reviews and drafts contracts, and advises staff on a variety of matters that may have legal significance or risk. She is gratified to work with such committed and dedicated colleagues.
Lizanne received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, and then a law degree from New York University, subsequently returning to NYU for a nursing degree. She started her career as a litigator and then transitioned to health care. She spent five years working as a nurse on board a mobile medical van in Brooklyn, NY, and since then has worked in health care administration at organizations serving the homeless and other vulnerable populations.
When not at VIP, Lizanne serves as the Board Chair for The Brooklyn Hospital Center. She enjoys reading, museums, and spending time with her five children and their families.
Tabitha Gaffney | 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 | Medical Director
Dr. Jean has been the Medical Director at VIP Community Services for the past 3 ½ years. He graduated from and completed his Medical Degree at the State University of Haiti School of Medicine and Pharmacy. With 20 years of experience in Addiction Medicine/ Outpatient Behavioral Health and Ambulatory Medicine, Dr. Jean is committed to patient education and finding solutions in Medication Assisted Treatment with emphasis in quality improvement and aiding consumers to be productive members of society.
Frank Kploanyi | Chief Financial 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 | 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 | 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 | 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.
Inez is an active board member of Sunnyside Community Services, a human services provider in Queens. Her degrees include an MPH from Boston University and a BA in women’s health from the University of Massachusetts.
Fenesha Blanchard, LMSW, MS, CASAC-M | Program Director – 822 Outpatient Services
Fenesha Blanchard, LMSW, MS, CASAC-M manages an outpatient substance use treatment program providing group and individual counseling to individuals as well as addressing mental health, medical and vocational needs. Ms. Blanchard is a dedicated and passionate individual with many years of experience working in the Medical and Social Services field. Her most recent experience includes working with survivors of domestic violence, incarcerated women and individuals with mental health issues. Ms. Blanchard obtained a Masters in Social Work from New York University and a Masters in Counseling with a concentration in Addiction Services from Pace University. Her favorite color is purple and she has her motorcycle license.
Terence Boyd | Director of Development
The son of a man raised as a Southern Baptist from Clarksville, TN, and an Irish Catholic woman from Chicago, Terence Boyd is the Director of Development at VIP Community Services. He values the work of VIP due to his lifelong commitment to service and his view of life as a “calling.” He believes deeply that “it is so important to understand that we are all in this life together and that we all need a hand at some point.” A graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, Terence got his start in fundraising working on the Xavier Forward Fund in the early 80s. He has more than thirty-eight years of development experience working for Xavier, as well as Rust College, The National Judicial College, Marygrove College, Elizabeth City State University, “I Have a Dream” Foundation, and a handful of other nonprofits. He and his wife Mae live in Montclair, New Jersey. He has two adult children: Sarah, and Robert.
Dana Coleman, MSW, CASAC-T, CARC | Senior Director of Housing and Shelter
Dana Coleman is the Senior Director of Housing and Shelter at VIP Community Services in the Bronx, New York. Ms. Coleman has over 25 years of clinical and administrative experience, with 15 of those years with VIP. She has held various positions at VIP such as Health Education Coordinator, Social Worker, Program Coordinator and Program Director. Ms. Coleman has been an integral part of the VIP support team at most of the VIP programs and has been involved with SAMHSA grants throughout her VIP years. Before joining VIP, Ms. Coleman worked as a social worker in a renal dialysis program and at a Ryan White hospital based program. She received her MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work and her undergraduate degree from Herbert H. Lehman College. Ms. Coleman is directly responsible for the oversight of 3 supportive housing sites, while also supervising the Directors over VIP SRO Housing and Women’s Shelter. Ms. Coleman enjoys watching sports and playing basketball.
Brenda Wine-Cooks | Shelter Director – Metro Inn
Brenda Wine-Cooks is currently the Shelter Director for Metro Inn at VIP Community Services. Ms. Wine-Cooks is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) in the state of New York. As a Shelter Director she oversees the coordination and administration of all aspects of an ongoing program including planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and ensuring that appropriate program activities are provided to clients. Ms. Wine- Cooks has a particular interest in improving the accessibility of the lives of homeless individuals, single adults, and individuals who are at a disadvantaged.
Ms. Wine- Cooks has over 15 years of experience in a variety of settings and with diverse clients, including both long-term and brief interventions. She provides clinical oversight of program assessment and services provided by the staff to residents to ensure the quality of the services and to ensure that services meet or exceed regulatory guidelines. In her spare time, she enjoys the comfort of her family, God, and weekend getaways. Ms. Wine- Cooks graduated from the University of Fordham with her graduate degree in Social Work, and possess an undergraduate degree from City College in Psychology minoring in addiction.
Aurelio Gooden | Director of Human Resources
Aurelio Gooden has over 25 years of Human Resources experience handling all aspects of human resources.
Prior to joining VIP, Aurelio served as Director of Human Resources with The Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center, Inc., a Federally Qualified Health Center where he managed the day-to-day operations and implemented new initiatives such as an open-door policy, employee satisfaction surveys, salary surveys to bring compensation up to market levels, reduced annual provider recruitment costs and identified overpayment to third parties over a fifteen-year period.
Aurelio also worked as HR Deputy Director with The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and oversaw a workforce of 12,000 employees. He also served as HR Director with the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health and with Steinway Child and Family Services, Inc. Moreover, he successfully managed a start-up criminal defense law firm – The Bronx Defenders, which was funded by The City of New York with an initial operating budget of 8.5 million dollars, 55 Attorneys and 25 support staff. Within a few months of operations, they exceeded their annual goals, and received an additional 10 million dollars in funding from the Office of The Criminal Justice Coordinator to manage additional criminal cases.
Aurelio holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mount Saint Mary College. He is a candidate for a Master of Science in Counseling Degree from Mercy College – which he expects to complete by December 2022. Aurelio is married and resides in Orange County with his family. He is involved in his local community and his church.
Rosemary Gordon | Program Director – Flushing Meadows/Best Western LGA Plus
Rosemary Gordon is the Program Director of Flushing Meadows/Best Western LGA Plus. She has extensive years of experience working in the shelter system, improving, and assisting the lives of patients.
As the director of the site, Ms. Gordon is responsible for the management of the facilities, compliance with applicable program requirements and plans, interpreting all policies and procedures for staff to ensure correct implementation. Also, she directs the delivery of services to ensure case management is substantive and client centered. Other responsibilities include ensuring the site and team meet targets (i.e., case management, employment, housing placement, medical, chart compliance and recreational activities), and addressing and attending community-based meetings.
Prior to transitioning to VIP Services, she served as a Program Director with Cores Services Group, Acacia Network Housing and Volunteers of America, where she oversaw all aspects of the site’s operation, including but not limited to bed management and incident reporting.
She graduated from Long Island University with a Master’s in Public Administration (M.P.A).
Ellen Hoffman | Senior Director of MAT
Ellen Hoffman joined VIP Community Services in 1998. Hoffman dedicated her time and attention to addressing the needs and care of VIP’s vulnerable population, consisting of individuals with substance abuse issues and co-occurring disorders as a clinical counselor. She sought out continuing education opportunities to develop the necessary skills and comprehensive understanding of the OASAS/CARF regulations to take on a supervisory position in 2010. While aiding OTP consumers, Hoffman enhanced her CASAC license to further service gambling addiction issues and was then promoted to Clinical Director in 2013. Hoffman later pursued her M.S. in Human Behavior Studies, as well as obtaining her SAP (Substance Abuse Professional, CARC (Certified Addiction Recovery Coach), MAC (Master Addiction Counselor) and FDC (Family Development Credential).
In 2016, Hoffman was promoted to Senior Director of MAT and in this role, she provides direct supervision and oversees the advancement of the Opioid Treatment Program and all Medicated Assisted Treatment Services as well as overseeing grants for the following programs: MAT-PDOA, Bronx Hope, NY Community Trust and the 350-hour CASAC curriculum, offered through the continuum, in an effort to advance MAT in the community. She also oversees the OOPP (Opioid Overdose Prevention Program), providing training on how to properly use NARCAN to outside and in-house providers.
In her spare time, Hoffman likes to spend time with her children and is very family-oriented.
Nicholas Jefferson, LMSW, CASAC-G, FDC, CARC SIFI | Sr. Director of Admissions
Nicholas Jefferson joined VIP Community Services in 2012 as a supervisor in the Opioid Treatment Program (OTP). Since 2018, Nicholas has served as Director of the Admissions Department.
Nicholas is a licensed social worker in New York and a clinical supervisor for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) services. Nicholas has been in the human services field since 2002 and specializes in working with individuals with substance use and mental health diagnoses, at-risk high school-aged youth/young adults, and people without homes. Nicholas also specializes in program development and educating addiction treatment and recovery professionals.
Nicholas earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at John Jay College and a Master’s in Social Work at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College-CUNY. Nicholas has more than 18 years of experience with a diversity of patients and settings, including both long-term and brief interventions. For 14 years, Nicholas has taken his field experience to the classroom as an adjunct instructor and lecturer at colleges and training centers across New York City, including Fordham University and John Jay College.
Outside of work, Nicholas enjoys sports and reading.
Karen Frost, MSW, CASAC-T, CARC | Shelter Director – Casa Esperanza
Karen Frost is the Shelter Director for Casa Esperanza. She began her career at VIP in 2008 as a Case Manager at the College Avenue Apartments, where she discovered her passion for working with the homeless and addressing their mental health needs. After getting her Master’s in Social Work from CUNY, Hunter College in 2014, Ms. Frost transitioned into a full-time social worker at VIP’s 716 Residence when it was an all-women’s facility. There, she worked her way up as Clinical Supervisor, and later became the Program Director when the Residence transitioned to an all-men’s facility through the 820 model.
In 2020, Ms. Frost transitioned from her Program Director role to her previous social worker role at the 716 Residence where she continues to show her support and dedication to her clients. Karen obtained her CASAC training through VIP.
Outside of work, Karen enjoys spending time with her 4-year-old granddaughter and biking around the city.
Jimmy Liranzo | Director of Information Technology
Jimmy Liranzo is an Information Technology professional with over 15 years of experience leading and participating in the planning, design, and implementation of information security and vulnerability management programs. Jimmy’s experience is focused on day-to-day operations of enterprise security, management of assets, risk vulnerability, network infrastructure, and cloud architecture. He’s had proven success leading broad ranges of instantiates, developing and implementing policies and procedures that decrease exposure and increases awareness, productivity, and strengthening operating efficiency.
Alison Maling, LCSW | Director of Wellness
Alison Maling serves as Director of Wellness for VIP Community Services. She oversees daily operational and clinical services for VIP’s mental health programs.
Maling has worked in the Bronx since moving here in 2005 and finds that the needs of this community are often overlooked. Her passion is to bring creative ways to help people make a difference in their own lives and the lives of those that they care about.
Maling has been a master’s level clinician for 20 years and has worked with a variety of organizations and agencies whose focus has been the mental health of people in those communities. Whether it was working with at risk youth identified by their school system in the DC area, to running residential programs and working on crisis teams in the Boston area to now merging her skills to address substance use and mental health in a holistic way, teamwork and the commitment to healing has been her clinical focus.
She is an avid Boston area sports fan and enjoys watching most of those teams dominate in recent years. Maling holds a MSW from the Catholic University of America and a BSW from Trinity College of Vermont.
Anna Otero | Director of Health Services
Anna Otero serves as Director of Health Services for VIP Community Services and has worked in the healthcare industry for the past eight years. She is well-versed in medical billing, front office management, and patient advocacy. Otero came to VIP in July 2012 as senior biller in the billing department, before taking on a dual role as interim clinical supervisor. In 2015, she successfully transitioned to the role of clinical supervisor of the Health Services Department, and played an instrumental role in VIP’s FQHC application process.
Otero’s passions are helping people and making a difference in their lives. She works with a team who shares her sentiments for wanting to make a difference in the world and wanting to make a positive change in the lives of our patients. In her spare time, Otero enjoys spending quality time with family, reading, and golfing.
Victoria Robinson | Director – 764 Residence
Victoria Robinson joined VIP Community Services in November 2020, as Program Director at the 764 Residence. Victoria has worked in residential treatment settings for the past 17 years servicing populations with substance use and mental health disorders. Her latest venture was at Odyssey House’s 241-bed location on Wards Island working with both the elder care and women with children populations.
Victoria has strong leadership skills as evidenced by a unique ability to motivate others to take pride and quality in the work that we do while leading by example. Victoria holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Brooklyn College, CUNY, a Masters Degree in Social Work from Hunter College, CUNY, and is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Certified Master Level Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC-M). Victoria strives to provide quality care by developing systems to enhance a positive treatment experience and promote a healing environment.
Jonathan Robles | Sr. Director of Operations (FTS – Facility, Transportation, and Security)
Jonathan Robles serves as the Sr. Director of Operations (FTS- Facility, Transportation, and Security). His responsibilities include the management of Facility (building contractors and maintenance), Transportation (vehicles and drivers), as well as Security (desk managers and security personnel). He also oversees janitorial services, equipment, help desk services system, and handling payroll for his department, and assists and advises the Chief Operating Officer and various program directors.
Robles is passionate about the FTS mission to provide the best quality service and to ensure a safe working environment, a safe and rapid transportation system, and a clean comfortable facility for our staff and visitors.
Robles has worked at VIP for 16 years, and brings to his work over 25 years in custodial and building maintenance, eight years in security, 14 years in Fire Safety (Fire Safety Director & Active Shooter license FDNY), and 12 years as supervisor for FTS.
In his spare time, Robles enjoys relaxing, watching movies, sports, bowling, pool table, dominoes. He used to play and coach softball, football, and baseball.
Robles trained in fire safety at John Jay College and received the FSD Certificate in Active Shooter and Medical Emergency Preparedness, F-01 Fire Guard, and Boiler P99.
Abdoulaye Samb | Assistant Director – 764 Residence
Abdoulaye Samb is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of delivering health and social services to vulnerable individuals. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, multimillion-dollar network deployments, Healthcare product launches, budget policies, business analysis, risk assessments, auditing & compliance HIPPA & HIM regulations, cross-functional operations, domestic, global, and tactical planning. Professional with in depth senior management planning and global business operations skills with international and domestic experience
Prior to joining VIP in 2019, Mr. Samb oversaw multiple health care programs including DHS shelters to be successfully transitioned from Next Step to much more aligned contemporary social organizations. Mr. Samb earned a Master of Science and fulfilling a Doctorate of Professional Studies at Pace University. Mr. Samb is a longtime New York resident and a strong business development expert with a passion for social justice.
Sabrina Soto | Facility Director – Hotel Omega
Sabrina Soto is the Facility Director of Hotel Omega, a 112-bed general population commercial hotel. She joined VIP Community Services in March 2022.
Ms. Soto started her career in the human services field at Services for the Underserved in 1994. In her 17-year journey at SUS, Ms. Soto held various positions, from Billing Administrator to Assistant Program Director of a 71-bed Mental Health Community Residence-Single Room Occupancy program in Far Rockaway, Queens.
Later, Ms. Soto joined the Acacia Network as the Director of Social Services Adult Families in The Bronx and was quickly promoted to Program Director of a Mental Health women’s facility in Brooklyn.
Ms. Soto also worked at Core Services Group in 2017 as the Facility Director of Bergen House Senior Residence for males 62 years and older. She contributed to the opening of the facility and remained there until it closed in December 2021. Ms. Soto says that it was a great experience to assist and provide seniors with the services they needed as she feels that there aren’t enough shelters that cater to the senior population.
Ms. Soto holds a bachelor’s degree of Professional Studies in Human Services and a Master’s in Public Administration. She is a mother of three adult children and two grandchildren. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY.
Susan Terrell Thomas | Director – 716 Residence
Susan Terrell Thomas joined VIP Community Services in December 2020 as Program Director at the 716 Residence.
Ms. Thomas began working with special populations in 1992 at Edgecombe Correctional Facility where she taught GED classes to probationers. Through this experience she made it her personal and professional mission to assist and encourage men and women to realize that their past does not dictate their future. She has worked in the field of addiction for over 21 years and the last 14 years at Cornerstone of Medical Arts as the Clinical Director of Rehabilitation Services.
Early on, Ms. Thomas was exposed to culturally-competent care and throughout her professional career she developed programs, created curriculums, and provided necessary training skills to address the needs of all special populations and provide clinical skills to other professionals in the addiction and social service field.
Ms. Thomas is a firm believer that “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” which happens to be a quote from her grandfather, baseball legend, Jackie Robinson. She is a lifelong resident of Harlem and a proud METS and Knicks fan.
Janette Viera, LMSW | Director of Housing
Janette has over 30 years of administrative, clinical and property management experience in creating comprehensive plans to improve housing suitability and environmental fit for older adults with chronic conditions living in supportive housing as well as providing services to vulnerable populations including individuals, families, seniors, and young adults.
As Director of Housing at VIP, Janette manages four buildings with 122 units of housing for single adults and families at VIP Community Services.
From 2015 through 2018, Janette was the Director of the first LGBTQ Supportive Housing Program for young adults 18-24 years old in the Bronx.
Janette also worked as a Legislative Aide, Community Liaison and Research Analyst to the Late Assemblyman Angelo Del Toro District 68th in the East Harlem section of Manhattan when he was the Chairman of the Legislative Taskforce on Demographics and Reapportionment as well as the Chairman of Education Committee.
Janette Viera is a Licensed Master Social Worker and a graduate of The Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College with a specialization in Aging.
As Janette says, “Social Work is the art of listening and the science of hope”.