Text Size:

NAMI Massachusetts Names New Executive Director

November 2, 2017


Karen Gromis, Deputy Director
Phone: 617-580-8541
Email: kgromis@namimass.org


National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts Names New Executive Director

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts, (NAMI Mass), one of the State’s leading voices on mental illness, announced this week that it has selected Cheri Andes as the organization’s new Executive Director. The announcement follows a rigorous six-month search undertaken after previous Executive Director Laurie Martinelli’s announcement that she was stepping down. NAMI Mass Deputy Director Karen Gromis assumed the position of Acting Director since Ms. Martinelli’s departure at the end of May.

“We are delighted to have found a new Executive Director with the leadership, commitment and executive experience of Ms. Andes,” said Tom Scurfield, President of the NAMI Mass Board of Directors. “This is a critical time in our state and in our nation when it comes to our mental health care. We are confident that Ms. Andes can work with our Board, our staff, our volunteers and affiliates to help fight for true mental health parity and the de-stigmatization of mental health conditions.”

“NAMI Mass has a long history of education, support and advocacy on behalf of all those affected by mental illness in the Commonwealth, and I cannot wait to join this dynamic team,” said Ms. Andes. “It won’t be easy to face the challenges confronting people with mental health diagnoses in the 21st century, but I feel confident that NAMI Mass is the organization to lead this effort and I couldn’t be happier to be part of their mission, vision, and values.”

“Ms. Andes has the background and acumen to lead and strengthen a membership-based, grassroots organization such as NAMI Mass,” continued Tom Scurfield. “She led the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO) for nine years and is widely credited with spearheading the organization’s significant contribution to passing health care reform in the State. She is also credited with leading a grassroots process for defining what affordable and quality coverage would look like for the state’s poorest residents.”

Most recently, Ms. Andes has worked as the Director Of Organizing Strategy with Leadership for Educational Equity, helping to found and mentor new educational equity organizations in New York, Connecticut, and Boston. She holds a BA in English from Bucknell University and an MA in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College. She will assume her position as Executive Director of NAMI Mass on November 8, 2017.

Thousands Will Walk to End Stigma of Mental Illness & Raise Money for Support Programs


Boston, MA—The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass) has a major goal for the 13th Annual NAMIWalks Massachusetts: to break the $5 million mark in funds raised over the Walk’s history. With 1 in 5 adults experiencing a mental health disorder, 1 in 5 children and adolescents living with a mental health condition, and stigma continuing to prevent people from seeking help (see statistics and infographics), this event is crucial to providing fundamental support and putting an end to discrimination.

Thousands of individuals living with mental illness, family, friends and advocates from across the state will gather for the Walk (#NAMIWalksMass) on Saturday, May 14, at Artesani Park in Boston (1255 Soldiers Field Road; across from Days Inn). Walk-ins welcome. Learn more, register and donate at namimass.org/nami-walk.

“This event is vital to putting an end to stigma and absolutely essential to funding our free programs and services, which help people get the support and assistance they need,” said NAMI Mass Executive Director Laurie Martinelli. “People with mental health issues can and do lead fruitful and productive lives, but only if they can access services and treatment without shame or fear.”

This year’s Walk includes teams from several Mass. companies whose leaders have joined NAMI’s CEOs Against Stigma campaign to change attitudes about mental health within workplaces. One such leader is Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who said, “When we come together as a community, we can turn our hardest struggles into our greatest strengths. We are committed to fostering a supportive and welcoming environment for employees and residents alike, and I look forward to continuing our important work to reduce the stigma and raise awareness about mental health.”

Read more about CEOs Against Stigma in the 2016 NAMI Mass Walk Fact Sheet-make link, along with Mental Health Myth Busters, Quotes from Prominent NAMI Mass Supporters, NAMI Mass Signature Programs Info, and Mental Health Facts and Figures.

NAMI Mass is a nonprofit grassroots education, support and advocacy organization. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals and families by educating the public, fighting discrimination and promoting recovery. The Walk is a stigma-free zone—a true celebration of hope, dignity and recovery—and is mission-critical as it accounts for half of the organization’s annual budget.

Since 2004, NAMI Mass has raised more than $4.8 million and has funneled that money directly into programs and services statewide. The 2015 Walk raised $623,000, making it the first NAMI Walk ever to top $600,000, the most successful NAMI Walk in the U.S. for the sixth year in a row, and the fourth consecutive year above the half-million-dollar mark. This year, NAMI Mass aims to raise $650,000.

The 2016 Walk will kick off with a speaking program emceed by Fox25 News Anchors Vanessa Welch and Mark Ockerbloom, and featuring Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Commissioner Joan Mikula and Allie Raymond. Having been diagnosed with bipolar and generalized anxiety disorder after a suicide attempt in 2009, Allie will deliver a personal and powerful message that recovery is achievable.

For more information and interviews, contact: Matt Ellis, matt@ellisstrategies.com, 617-278-6560


Please Remember NAMI Mass in Your Year-End Gift Giving

Alivia and Cooper

What follows is an excerpt from Alivia Hall’s blog, our 2015 Walk intern, on what it meant to her to work at NAMI Mass, as a person in recovery. We hope Alivia’s openness communicates the importance of what we do and that you will contribute now. Click here to get started online.

1. The importance of working in an understanding and judgement-free work environment

Everyone working for or associated with NAMI Mass either suffers from some form of mental illness or has a loved one that does. This brings a genuine sense of understanding and compassion into the office. I have never been afraid to mention my anxiety disorder to my coworkers. I feel comfortable enough to be upfront and honest about my mental health condition, and I truly believe that is how every single workplace should be.

2. The importance of being passionate about what you do

Each day I speak to someone over the phone, through email or in person, I feel as if I am making a difference. Every single NAMI Mass employee is passionate about what they do and trust me, it’s contagious.

3. The importance of stopping the stigma and ending the negative associations with mental illness

In Our Own Voice (IOOV) is NAMI’s stigma-busting presentation given by two people with lived experience of mental illness, where they discuss their dark days, treatment, recovery and acceptance. The best part about IOOV is that it demonstrates that most of the time, you cannot tell a person has mental illness by looking at them.

We need to keep talking. It is the most effective way to combat the stigma. A mental illness does not define who someone is…”

Please make a donation to us during this season of giving.

Thank you and here’s to your health, joy and peace for the holidays and the year to come.

Laurie Martinelli
Executive Director

Stephen Rosenfeld
Board President

P.S. 87% of our budget goes toward our programs, all of which are offered free to participants and only 13% of our revenue is spent on fundraising and administrative/general expenses.

Thank you to the wonderful Volunteers & Staff for a GREAT NAMIWalk event May 10th!

There were over 100 volunteers and staff at the NAMIWalk at DCR Artesani Park in Brighton on Saturday, May 10, 2014! We can’t do it without them – make sure to thank them.

Volunteers at the Finish Line

Volunteers at the Finish line!

Peter Audier
Carol B
Ariel Baker
Marilyn Barrett
Kianna Barrett
David Barton
Guy Beales
Beatrice Benjamin
Lisa Boone
Mae Brown
Dave Burbank
Patty C.
Argo C.
Lingji C.
Louise Carcione
Ada Chai
Alex Cherkasov
Ilya Cherkasov
Cynthia Chu
Patrick Correa
Ann D. Coughlin
Mike Coulter
McKenna Cronin
Bruce Crowell
Angela D.

Volunteers at the First Aid Area including Boston EMS!

Volunteer at the First Aid Area including Boston EMS!

Ellen Daley
Marjorie de la Rosa
Larry DeAngelo
Tina DeAngelo
Marilyn DeSantis
Julia Dickinson
Peter Dizon
Lorna Doane
Hung Duong
Rebecca Ehrenkranz
Vanessa Ferla
Rubia Fernandes
Elizabeth Fong
Lucia Frost
Andy Furst
Nathan Furst
Abhi G.
Sid Gelb
Arianna Girard
Peter Girard
Robert Girard
Sheila Girard
Lee Goldberg
Kim Goldstein
Felipe Gonzalez
Julia Green
Lauren Grimes
Courtney Grimes
Karen Gromis
Beth Gurney
Katie Hardwick
Jonathan Harlow
Trudy Hoang
Diane Holden

Volunteers at the Finish line

Volunteers at the Finish line!

Jeffrey Huey
Katie Hunsader
Katharine Jane
Diane Joe
Helen K.
Alyssa Kane
Chris Khan
Christina Laguerre
Jackie Lake
Tommy Lam
Tim Lanagan
Julie Langbort

Volunteers at the registration

Volunteers at the Registration area

Roland Lavallee
Celia Lewis
Colin Light
Matthew Lina
Eric Livingstone
Jan Lui
Cara Lustig
Jessica Mander
Julianne Mander
Carol Marchetti
Nadia Mariano
Mike Mason
Dulce Matos
Karen McGravey-Gajera
John Menke
Nancy Meyer
Biruch Mezgehu
David Mitchell
Heather Morrissette
Ann Musheno
Michaela Nelson

Photo of Volunteers at the Food table

Volunteers at the Food table

Sophie Ni
Catherine O’Brien
Eugene Ornellas
Linda Ornellas
Amy Ouellette
Dinesh Patel
Palak Patel
Tom Peller
Zoe Petryk
Rita Purcell
Varun Ramani
Linda Rice
Emily Roberts
Nora Roche
Evan Rockefeller
Bill Rubin
Steve Shea
Merlyn Snyder
Nicole Solari

Photo of volunteers cheering

Volunteers cheering along the route!

Bonna Spicer
Gervase Spurlin
Caity Stuhan
Grace Sulesky
Karen Sulesky
Catherine Tice
Patrick Tiernan
Charles Tran
Dan Turcza
Mai U.
Katrina Valeri
Sandra Valeri
Shanelle Villegas
Murray W.
Jasmine Wang
Meghan Weichnik
John Wong
Abby Yanow
Christina Yee
Linden Yee
Luke Zhao

Volunteers at the T-Shirt Design Contest table

Volunteers at the T-Shirt Design Contest table

Recap of the NAMI Mass Convention

Over 350 people attended the 28th Annual NAMI Mass convention.  Here is a recap of the days events including awards and recognitions.


2010 NAMI Mass Convention

Saturday, October 30, 2010

8am to 10am                      Registration

8am to 11am                      Board and Bylaw Voting

Marquis Room

8am to 4:00pm                  Consumer Art Marketplace and Exhibitors Hall Open

Terrace Room

9:15am to 9:45am            Welcomes from Laurie Martinelli, Executive Director; Brenda Venice, President NAMI Greater Fall River; Chaz Gross, Executive Director NAMI Rhode Island; and Guy Beales, Board President NAMI Mass

NAMI Award Presentations:

Karl Ackerman Annual Peer Award: Julia Green

NAMI Lifetime Achievement Award: Jim McNulty

NAMI Mass Lifetime Achievement Award: Sid Gelb

9:45am to 10:50am          Keynote Speaker: Dr. Bruce Cohen

New Research on Brain Energy in Mood and Psychotic Disorders

Share-NAMI-Keynote 2010-Mod (PDF)

10:50am to 10:55am        NAMI Mass Psychiatrist of the Year Award: Dr. Bruce Cohen

11am to 11:10 am             Break

11:10am to 12:25pm  Workshop Sessions #1

12:45pm to 2:30pm         Luncheon

Announcement of Voting Results for Board      election

Announcement of Voting Results for bylaws

NAMI Mass Champion Award: Toby Fisher

NAMI Mass Volunteer of the Year Award: Fenton and Peggy Burke

NAMI Mass Lifetime Achievement Award: Jean Childers

2010 NAMIWalks Massachusetts Awards:

Corporate LeadershipBeacon Health Strategies

Sustained Corporate SupportPartners Psychiatry & Mental Health

Top Affiliate Team: NAMI Central Middlesex

Top Single Walk Team:  NAMI Cambridge-Middlesex

Teams that Raised Over $10,000

Family-to-Family Central Middlesex

Recovery is Real

Beacon Health Strategies

Mass Behavioral Health Partnership

Teams that Raised Over $5000

Make the Merge

Team Fairwinds

Edinburg Shining Stars

Elm Brook Place – The Dream Team

NAMI Central Middlesex

Team Walsh

Family Ties

Teams that Raised Over $2500

Cape Cod

Cove Club House

The Breakers

Faces of Stigma Cape Cod

Team Karl

Tina’s Team

Mary’s Team


Harvard South Shore

Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid

Team Eliot

Team McLean Hospital

NAMI Newton-Wellesley Area Team

Individuals Who Raised Over $5000

Regina Aldhurst

Individuals Who Raised Over $2500

Lynda Michaud Cutrell

Patti Gould

Mary Iglesias

Betty MacIntyre

Corinne Meyer

Jody Newman

Joe & Debbie Walsh

Brian Ramsay

John Sharp

Individuals Who Raised Over $1000

Eric Adelman

Holly Baab

Guy Beales & Diane Joe

Stuart Beck

Scott Bezzini

Dorothy Bergold

Rhonda Bourne

Michael Brown

Jonathan Burke

Clara Carr

Linda Chance

Skip Cutrell

Priscilla DiLuzio

Maura Dolan

Cara Falconi

Dee Febba

Michael Fetcho

Melissa Haroules

Lindsey Hopkinson

Diane Krasnick

Nancy Lane

Jaeok Lee

Charlie Manning

Ralph Marple

Jane Martin

Lynda McCumber

Stephany Melton

Hector Merlin

Denise Montoya

David & Mary Munsell

Elizabeth Pattulo

Michael Scott

Tom Scurfield

Glenyce Sones

Scott Taberner

Sam Ward

Elizabeth Watson

Carolyn White

NAMIWalks Volunteers:

Bob Antonioni

Kate  & Tom Boyson

John Colburn

DJ Conrad

Aine Crytes

Susan Davenport

Tina DeAngelo

Judy DeMilla

Jennifer Denning

Briana Duffy

Naresh Gajera

Gina Gallagher & kids

Julia Green

Kyle Greenleaf

Diane Holden

Jill Judson

Patricia Kean

Patty Konjoian & kids

Marty Krasnick

Joe Le

Jennifer Leahy

Cathy Liu

Ken Mack

Charlie Manning

Louise McDonald

Peggy McNeil

Kelsey Meagher

Jennifer Middleton

Megan Miller

Joel Moses

Meta Moy

Sherwin Moyston

Leonard Mulcahy

Brandon Pearl

Amanda Pham

Laney Poulack

Richard Price

Lois Pulliam

Rita Purcell

Mary Sine

John Sharp

James Shy

Debbie Taylor

If anyone has inadvertently been omitted from this list, please accept our apologies and contact Karen Gromis, kgromis@namimass.org or 781-938-4048.

Recognition of Education & Support Volunteers:

Family to Family

Family Support Groups

NAMI Connection

In Our Own Voice

Children’s Challenging Behavior

NAMI Basics

2:35 to 2:45pm                  Break

2:45 to 4:00pm                  Work Sessions #2

4:00pm to 6:00pm           Consumer Networking Get Together, Diplomat Room

Award Bios

Keynote Speaker and Psychiatrist of the Year

Dr. Bruce Cohen is President and Psychiatrist in Chief Emeritus at McLean Hospital, having led McLean from 1997 through 2005, after which he became head of the Shervert Frazier Research Institute. He has been Director of the Molecular Pharmacology Laboratory at McLean Hospital since 1985.  Dr. Cohen is a board-certified psychiatrist with a PhD in biology. His research activities focus on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with psychotic and affective disorders, including bipolar disorders and schizophrenia, and psychiatric disorders of late life. In this work, he has used pharmacologic, brain imaging, epidemiologic, molecular and animal model approaches to study psychiatric illness. He has a total of over 400 manuscripts, abstracts, and book chapters describing the results of this work.

Karl Ackerman Peer Award

Julia L. Green has a long history as a consumer of mental health services. She has worked in the financial industry and in the programming industry and her own web design business, Julia Computer Consulting LLC which is a sole proprietorship. Green was NAMI Mass webmaster for over 10 years.  She earned a graduate degree from Harvard University Extension, the tuition supported by State Street Bank while she was a transaction processor and account specialist there. She also enjoys writing poetry and book and movie reviews. She would like to thank NAMI Mass for the opportunity of working for such a generous and loving organization.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Jim McNulty is a past President of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI National) currently serving as  the President of MDDA-RI, (formerly Manic Depressive and Depressive Association of Rhode Island,) and board chair of Mental Health Consumer

Advocates of RI, both support and advocacy organizations for individuals in recovery. McNulty has served in many roles in Rhode Island and nationally: Director of the Office of Consumer & Family Affairs for the RI Division of Behavioral Health, State of RI;  Magellan Health Services’ Director of Consumer & Recovery Services for Public Sector Behavioral Health and member, Advisory Mental Health Council for the NIMH from 2000 to 2004. He currently serves on the SAMHSA/CMHS National Advisory Council, and chair of the Council’s Subcommittee on Consumer/Survivor Issues. McNulty also serves on the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force for the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.  He is active in promoting research into treatments for mental illness, and implementation of peer support services in public mental health systems.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Sidney Gelb has a BS in Chemistry from the City College of New York (CCNY) and a MS in Science Education also from CCNY. He joined the ROTC and is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserves. He taught General Science and Earth Science at the Junior High/Middle School in Hicksville New York for 35 years.  He moved to Brookline from Plainview New York in 1998 to be near his daughters and grandsons. He became a member of the NAMI Mass Board of Directors (BOD) in 1998 and became chair of the public policy committee. In 2003 he was honored by the NAMI Plymouth Area affiliate as “Outstanding  NAMI Mass Legislative Coordinator.” In 2004 he received the Ruth M. Batson Advocate of the Year Award from the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers. In 2005 he received the Distinguished Service Award by the Department of Mental Health and Advocacy Award from the Legislative Mental Health Caucus of the House of Representatives. He served as secretary to the NAMI Mass BOD from 2006 to 2009.  He is currently on the Board of Directors of NAMI Latino Metro Boston.

Champion Award

Since 1993, Toby Fisher has worked in the mental health field. For five years, he worked at Vinfen Corporation as a Program Manger, Assistant Program Director, and lastly Budget Director. He earned a Masters in Business Administration and a Master in Social Work from Boston College. From May of 2000 through 2007, he held the position of Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Massachusetts (NAMI Mass). He is also a former adjunct Professor Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, Candidate for Massachusetts House of Representatives 10th Middlesex District, and member of the Governor’s Council for Mass Rehab Commission.  In 2007, he stepped down as Executive Director of NAMI Mass to manage a family business, however remained as the Policy Director until 2010.  On July 1, 2010, Toby began a new job with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), building campaigns to improve services for persons recovering with mental illness. He is a statewide leader and a visible force on Beacon Hill fighting for the disabled.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Fenton and Peggy Burke have three children and have lived in Brussels, Belgium, New York City and Washington, D.C. They currently live on Martha’s Vineyard.  Fenton practiced law; Peggy taught Special Education in NYC and Washington, D.C.  Fenton retired in 1990 from the practice of law and they biked across the B.A., M.E., is President of NAMI Plymouth, a Family to Family teacher, as well as a Family Support Group Facilitator and has led a weekly family support group in the Plymouth area for the last eleven years. By invitation she is a NAMI presence on the DMH Plymouth Provider Committee and facilitates mental illness education wherever possible.  Childers is a lifetime NAMI worker bee and was an instrumental member of the Planning Committee for this convention.


McLean Hospital

Arbour Health Systems


Harvard Brain Bank

Fellowship Health Resources

Research Study B-SNIP

Research Study:  CIDAR



NAMI Mass Wine Tasting & Holiday Sale FUNdraiser

Kristen Fitzpatrick-Medical Claims Consultant


UMass Medical

Transitions RTC

NAMI GB CAN & Boston Resource Center

Mass Behavioral Health Partnership


Wild Acre Inns

Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry

NAMI Mass 28th Annual State Convention


Saturday, October 30, 2010, 8am to 4:00pm

Johnson & Wales Inn http://www.jwinn.com

213 Taunton Avenue, Route 44, Seekonk, MA 02771

The Keynote Speaker Dr Bruce M. Cohen is President and Psychiatrist in Chief Emeritus at McLean Hospital and the Robertson-Steele Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  Currently, he is Director of the Frazier Research Institute at McLean. His research activities focus on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with psychotic and mood disorders, including bipolar disorders.

Dr. Cohen is the author of over 400 publications, including over 220 manuscripts of original research in peer-reviewed journals.  He has authored one book and has chapters in numerous textbooks.


8am to 10am Registration

9:30am Welcome

9:50am Keynote Speaker, Dr. Bruce Cohen

11:10am to 12:25pm Workshop Session 1

12:30 to 2:30pm Lunch

2:45 to 4pm Workshop Session 2

Eight Workshops for persons in recovery, their families, treatment providers and friends.

  • Ask the Doctor:  Children/Adolescents
  • Community Based Flexible Supports (CBFS) Revisited:  Learn more about DMH’s adult services
  • Peer Support Resources:  Clubhouses, Recovery Learning Communities, Warmlines, etc.
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing People Speak Out
  • Parents & Teachers United:  Collaboration between Home & School
  • In Our Own Voice:  Powerful presentation by two people living with mental illness
  • Emergency Services Program:  What to do when you or your loved one is in psychiatric crisis
  • PeaceLove Is Possible: Building A Voice On Mental Illness Through Art

The NAMI Mental Health Consumer Art Marketplace and the Mental Health Vendor Displays will be OPEN ALL DAY in the Exhibition Hall.

Detailed workshop descriptions (subject to change)

convention-workshops- titles (Summaries)

2010 NAMI Mass Convention Registration Form

To convert the PDF form to a Word document.

Please stay after the state convention ends for consumer networking from 4:30-6:00pm.  We’ll get to meet each other face to face and learn from each other.  We will talk about increased consumer inclusion in NAMI and the possibilty of forming a consumer council.

Public Transit Options (you will still have to walk 15-20 minutes from the nearest bus stop to the Johnson & Wales Inn).  Public Transportation Options

Directions to Johnson & Wales Inn, 213 Taunton Avenue, Seekonk, MA

FROM Western Mass:

Take I-90 East toward Springfield/Boston

Take Exit 10A toward Rt-146 Worcester/US-20/Providence

Turn Right onto Route 20 Conn.

Merge onto MA-146 toward Millbury/Providence RI (Crossing into Rhode Island)

MA-146 S becomes I-95 S

Merge onto I-195 E/US-44 E/US 6E/RI-1A N via Exit 20 toward East Providence/Cape Cod

Take the Taunton Avenue/US-44 East exit, Exit 4

Turn Slight Right onto US-44 E/Taunton Avenue

Continue to Follow US-44E (Crossing into Massachusetts)

213 Taunton Avenue is on the right

FROM Worcester:

Take I-146 toward Auburn

Merge onto MA-146 S via Exit 12 toward I-90/ Mass Pike/ Millbury/ Providence RI (Crossing  into Rhode Island)

MA-146 S becomes I-95 S

Merge onto I-195 E/ US-44 E/ US-6 E/ RI-1A N via Exit 20 toward East Providence/ Cape Cod

Take the Taunton Avenue / US-44 E exit, Exit 4

Continue to follow US-44 E (Crossing into Massachusetts)

213 Taunton Avenue is on the right

FROM Cape Cod:

Take US-6 W

Exit onto US-6 W/Scenic Hwy towards Buzzards Bay Continue to follow US-6 W

Take the MA-28 S/MA-25 W ramp to Falmouth the Islands/I-495

Keep left at the fork to continue toward MA-25 W and merge onto MA-25 W

Continue onto I-495 N

Take exit 6 for US-44 W toward Taunton/Providence RI

Turn right at US-44 W/Harding Street and continue to follow US-44 W to 213 Taunton Avenue,  Johnson & Wales Inn on the left

FROM Points North:

Take 93 S to Route 24 S towards Brockton

Take exit 13B to merge onto US-44 W toward Taunton

Continue to follow US-44 W to destination, Johnson & Wales Inn, 213 Taunton Avenue, on the  left