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Executive Team
Outreach Team
NF Transition Team
DC Transition Team


Executive Team

Person Terre Lewis – ICHNJ Project Director, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DHS) has worked with individuals with disabilities for over twenty years, including helping individuals to transition out of long-term care and, more recently, in supporting individuals in the community through self-direction and person-centered planning. Her extensive experience championing choice and self-direction in both institutions and community settings is an incredible asset to the ICH/MFP project.
Person Joe Amoroso – ICHNJ Associate Project Director, Division of Disability Service (DHS) is a person with a physical disability who began his career two decades ago working as an advocate in a Center for Independent Living.  An expert in community resources and benefits coordination, he is committed to the concept of institutional discharge to the community through the ICHNJ project.
Person Alisa Mead – ICHNJ Associate Project Director, Divison of Aging Services, has worked with individuals with physical disabilities and complex medical needs in the home care and case management arena since 1986.  Before joining the ICHNJ team she transitioned individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities onto community waivers for the Division of Disability Services.  Her experience and commitment to home care is a valuable asset to the ICHNJ project.​
Person Amy Brown –  ICHNJ Director of Outreach and Advocacy, Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly (OOIE) - is an advocate specializing in issues affecting institutionalized elders - including residents' rights, improper discharges and transfers, and end-of-life ethical conflicts. Before joining the ICH team as the Director of Outreach and Advocacy, Amy worked as a Staff Attorney in  the Ombudsman's Office, advocating on behalf of residents seeking to assert their civil and human rights.
Person Laurie Brewer – ICHNJ Press/Media Specialist - Office of the Ombudsman for the Institutionalized Elderly (OOIE) - provides administrative support for I Choose Home NJ in the areas of human resources, budget, procurement and information technology, and oversees marketing, public relations and advertising for the program. A former newspaper reporter, Ms. Brewer has more than 20 years of communications experience in the government and non-profit sectors, including her tenure as Director of Communications for the NJ Department of the Public Advocate and Director of Public Affairs for the NJ Department of Human Services.
Person Emily Florio – I Choose Home Financial Coordinator, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DHS)- responsible for developing, preparing and executing the ICH/MFP projected budget.  Emily works with all divisions involved in the project to ensure the best use of available funds to enhance home and community based services. 
Person Lea Hernandez - Acting ICHNJ Statewide Housing Coordinator, is a social worker with extensive experience assisting geriatric and disabled populations in acute care hospitals, dialysis units, adult day care and assisted living facilities. Lea brings vast knowledge and experience of the medical, social and financial struggles facing our clients to her work in both housing and outreach/education.
Person Robin McPherson -  ICHNJ Quality Assurance Specialist, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DHS) - has worked with individuals with a variety of intellectual and physical disabilities for over twenty-five years. She has worked with adults with autism, supported people living in developmental centers (helping some to transition to community placements), and later worked as a case manager for people with many types of disabilities. Robin comes to MFP with extensive experience in self-direction and advocacy on behalf of New Jersey’s disabled populations.
Person Cynthia Mapp – ICHNJ Employment Specialist, Division of Disability Services (DDS).  Cynthia has played a prominent role in recent years in supporting employment access and incentive programs for individuals with disabilities throughout New Jersey. Cynthia brings years of experience to ICHNJ matching individuals with meaningful work and volunteer opportunities so that our interested participants can lead more full and independent lives after transition.

Outreach and Advocacy Team

OOIE’s outreach team educates nursing facility staff, residents, and their families about I Choose Home, the basic eligibility requirements, and potential services offered. Outreach Coordinators attend professional and community events to spread the I Choose Home - NJ message that "A Nursing Home May Not be the Only Option."

We work closely with the Department of Human Services to identify individuals in nursing homes who are interested in transitioning home and following up on those referrals. OOIE is also playing a larger role to ensure that Section Q (a section of a resident's assessment indicating that s/he wants more information about community-based options) are properly filled out and transmitted to the appropriate agency.

If you are interested in a presentation
for your community/professional organization,
please call us at 1-855-HOME-005.

Person Amy Brown, Director of Outreach and Advocacy, is an advocate specializing in issues affecting elderly populations - including residents' rights, improper discharges and transfers, and end-of-life ethical conflicts. Before joining the ICH team as the Director of Outreach and Advocacy, Amy worked as a Staff Attorney for the Ombudsman's Office, advocating on behalf of residents seeking to assert their civil and human rights.
Person Jennifer Sills, Outreach Coordinator, is a Certified Recreation Therapist with twenty years of experience in long term care settings.  Prior to working with the Office of the Ombudsman, she was the Director of Recreation in a continuing care retirement community where she worked with seniors with Dementia and Dementia like symptoms.  She has always felt strongly for this vulnerable population and has spent most of her career advocating for their needs and rights.
Person Nikiah Nixon-King, Outreach Coordinator, holds a B.S. in sociology and has worked for the past seven years for the Division of Mental Health Advocacy and the Office of the Ombudsman in various capacities, including advocating on behalf of elderly individuals who face eviction from long-term care facilities. Nikiah enjoys community speaking and involving stakeholders in the ICHNJ development process to ensure consumer input and participation.
Person Sharia Minney, Administrative Professional, has worked with the Ombudsman’s Office for two years. She specializes in coordinating conferences and special events as well as editing and producing community outreach materials.

Transition Team - Nursing Facilities

The Transition Team is made up of highly experienced licensed nurses from the Department of Human Services and is responsible for identifying and transitioning individuals who are eligible for I Choose Home-NJ.

They provide counseling about community-based options, assess the person’s clinical transition needs, and help put in place all community services through a transitional plan of care. This plan is developed at the individual's interdisciplinary team meeting to ensure the participant’s safety when s/he goes out back to the community. In some cases, the Transition Team identifies necessary home modification, helps to search for housing, and even buys furniture and other furnishings the participant may need to transition safely to the community.

The Transition Team works hard to ensure that all individuals who meet the ICH-NJ criteria and want to go home will be enrolled in the program and safely transition to an appropriate home environment.

(Northern Region)

Marsha Miller, RN, LMSW, ICH/MFP Nurse Liaison, Department of Human Services, has worked with the elderly and physically disabled population prior to joining the ICH/MFP team. She is an original member of the team.

Kathleen Filippone, RN, BSN, ICH/MFP Nurse Liaison, Department of Human Services, hasworked in the Northern OCCO office prior to joining the ICH/MFP team at its inception. Prior to this, Kathleen practiced for fifteen years in community health home care, where she supervised a multi-disciplinary care team. She is experienced in the areas of oncology, long-term care, and substance abuse rehabilitation, and is very passionate about quality assurance and patient advocacy. She is an original member of the ICH/MFP team.;

Ellen Klose, RN, ICH/MFP Nurse Liaison, Department of Human Services. Ellen began working as a Community Choice Counselor with the Department of Health and Senior Services in 2000, but her career in long-term and acute care dates back to her teenage years. Ellen is a strong patient advocate and believes firmly in her clients’ right of self-determination. Working closely with local and state agencies and other partners, Ellen has successfully transitioned many clients from the long-term care environment to the community.
(Southern Region)

Jacqueline R. Jones, RN, AA, ICH/MFP Nurse Liaison, has worked in the Office of Community Choice Options for 10 years as a Community Choice Counselor. In her 30+ years of NJ State service, Jacqueline has worked as an Interdisciplinary Team Leader; Head Nurse and Program Coordinator at Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital; Claims Adjudicator Specialist for the Division of Disabilities; Head Nurse and Acting Shift Administrator at Arthur Brisbane Child Treatment Center; Developmental Disability Case Manager and New Lisbon Liaison for community transitions; and over 20+ years in Correctional Nursing.

Daniel Moise, RN, ICH/MFP Nurse Liaison, Department of Human Services. Daniel began his career in 2000 working for the nursing home transition grant program with the Department of Health and Senior Services, prior to the inception of ICH. When the transition grant ended in 2002, he assumed the role of Community Choice Counselor and maintained his passion for guiding people towards community living. In 2015 he returned to his original nursing home transition role by joining the ICH/MFP team for OCCO.

Thorbjorg Thorisdottir, RN, ICH/MFP Nurse Liaison. Thorbjorg has extensive experience working with individuals in long-term and acute care settings in the USA and Norway. She worked as a Community Choice Options Counselor before joining the MFP team in 2015. Prior to becoming a nurse she worked as a Direct Service Worker, primarily with geriatric patients. As a mother caring for a son with physical and mental challenges, Thorbjorg has a deeply personal commitment to physically and developmentally disabled people living in the community. It gives her great satisfaction to help her clients achieve a smooth and successful transition back home.

Emmanuel Cajulao, BSN, RN, has worked for the Department of Human Services as a Community Choice Counselor since 2001. Prior to this, he worked for several years in various units and departments in NJ hospitals. In his current role, he is committed to coordinating transitions with nursing homes and managed care organization to assist nursing home residents return to the community with adequate supports and services.

Transition Team - Developmental Centers

The State of New Jersey, Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) currently operates seven (7) developmental centers throughout the State.  DDD is committed to facilitating movement to a home in the community for those individuals who are eligible.  Eligibility for a move to the community for individual's under DDD services is defined as:  1) The Individual/Guardian is in favor of a move to a home in the community; and, 2) The Individual's Inter-Disciplinary Team has agreed that the individual's needs can be met in a community setting.

Once a person meets the aforementioned criteria, they are assigned a Transitional Case Manager (TCM) who works with the individual and their team to facilitate a move to the community.  The individual's team consists of the individual, their guardian (if applicable), interested family, professional staff from their current developmental center (DC), transitional case management and other essential staff.  That team will collaborate together to identify what services the individual will need to be successful in their new home.  An individualized service plan will be developed before the individual moves to capture those needs and transitional case management staff assigned will ensure needed services are in place before the individual moves.

If you are the guardian or a family member of an individual who resides in a DC in New Jersey and are interested in learning more, please contact Jonathan Seifried, Director of Olmstead Activities for DDD, at Jonathan.Seifried@dhs.state.nj.us or Michelle Whitmore, Assistant Director of Olmstead Activities for DDD, at Michelle.Whitmore@dhs.state.nj.us.

Vineland Developmental Center Transition Team:

Lori Watson is the Olmstead supervisor for community planning and transitioning activities at Vineland and Woodbine developmental centers since September 2011 and November 2012 respectively. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech pathology and Audiology. For 29 years prior to joining the Olmstead Unit, her experience includes addressing the needs, of individuals within the developmental center, as the speech therapist, the behavior support specialist, habilitation planning coordinator, and lastly as the acting executive assistant/Olmstead point person. Lori finds the work more and more rewarding each time an individual moves from a center into his/her chosen home in the community.

Shelley Ayers is a Transitional Case Manager at Vineland Developmental Center. She has a B.A. in Psychology. She has worked with the Developmental Disabled population for twelve years with the Division of Developmental Disabilities at Woodbridge and at Vineland Developmental Center. She has been working in the Olmstead Unit transitioning individuals into the community since 2011. Shelley is passionate about helping consumers reach their full potential by living in the community. She has successfully transitioned many individuals to the community under Olmstead.

Beatrice Darby, BS, CSW, HPC, is a Transitional Case Manager in the Olmstead office at Vineland Developmental Center since September 2011. She has worked with the intellectually disabled population for the past 23 years and has extensive training in behavior modification, secular and Christian counseling, and meditation. Beatrice has transitioned many ladies into community living arrangements under the Olmstead Initiative.

Woodbine Developmental Center Transition Team:

Denise Bradley has been a Transitional Case Manager (TCM) since July 2013, however she brings more than ten years of experience to her TCM role. She has worked as a direct care worker, as a group home manager and a habilitation plan coordinator. Denise reported that she is “very motivated about moving our men from the Woodbine Developmental Center into the community.

Melinda Formento, RN, is a Transitional Case Manager at Woodbine Developmental Center since early 2012. She brings over 20 years’ experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. She is passionate about her new role in assisting individuals to integrate into community living.

Helen Guice has a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and has been a Transitional Case Manager (TCM) since March 2012 but brings over 25 years of experience working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Working as a TCM, Helen advocates for individuals living in Woodbine Developmental Center to transition from an institutional to a community living environment. Helen reported that she likes “seeing how the people react when they move into their new homes and the progress that they make after moving. “I really feel like I’m making a difference in their lives and they are all very grateful”.

North Jersey Developmental Center Transition Team:

Michelle Whitmore is the Assistant Unit Director of the Olmstead Unit. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Business Administration. Michelle has worked with the Developmental and Intellectually Disabled population for fourteen years. She has been employed with the Division of Developmental Disabilities for five years. Michelle has worked in the Olmstead Unit supervising the transitioning of individuals into the community since 2012. She is passionate about identifying resources in the community to meet the needs of individuals served.

Stephanie Halstead is a Transitional Case Manager at North Jersey Developmental Center. She has a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Stephanie has a Masters in Counseling Psychology. She has worked with the Developmental and Intellectually Disabled population for fifteen years. Stephanie has been employed with the Division of Developmental Disabilities for eleven years. She has been working in the Olmstead Unit transitioning individuals into the community since 2012. Stephanie is passionate about helping consumers live successfully in the community.

Kenneth Eley is a Transitional Case Manager at North Jersey Developmental Center. He has a B.A. in Forensic Psychology and minored in Criminal Justice. He has a Certificate in Human Services. Kenneth has worked with the Developmental and Intellectually Disabled population for eight years. He has been employed with the Division of Developmental Disabilities for six years. Kenneth has been working in the Olmstead Unit transitioning individuals into the community since 2012. Kenneth is passionate about improving the quality of life for service recipients. He has successfully transitioned many individuals to the community under Olmstead.

Savita Persaud is a Transitional Case Manager at North Jersey Developmental Center. She has a B.A. in Psychology and Biology. She has a Masters in Psychology. Savita has worked with the Developmental and Intellectually Disabled population for nine years. She has been employed with the Division of Developmental Disabilities for seven years. Savita has worked in the Olmstead Unit transitioning individuals into the community since 2012. She is passionate about assisting individuals with maintaining their independence. Savita has successfully transitioned many individuals to the community under Olmstead.

New Lisbon Developmental Center Transition Team:

Noel Kerr MSW, has worked with the Division of Developmental Disabilities Olmsted unit since January 2008, as both a Transitional Case Manager and a Unit Supervisor. Over the past 20 years she has worked in both institutional and community settings for individuals with developmental disabilities, as a direct care worker, behaviorist, case manager, and supervisor. She currently supervises the transfer of individuals into the community from the following facilities: Greenbrook Regional Center, Hunterdon Developmental Center, New Lisbon Developmental Center and Woodbridge Developmental Center.

Joanne Smyth, Transitional Case Manager, New Lisbon Developmental Center and has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. She has worked for the Division of Developmental Disabilities for the past 23 years. Joanne began as a Home Developer for Monmouth County, then became an Ocean County Case Manager and held the position for 17 years. The past 3 years she has been assigned to New Lisbon coordinating the transfer of individuals from institutional living to community living.

Hunterdon/Greenbrook Developmental Center Transition Team:

Emira Roman, has been employed by the Division of Developmental Disabilities since 2006 and has worked in both the Developmental Center setting and in Community Services. Her experience has led to the development and growth of individuals to enhance their lives by gaining greater independence. Currently, she is a Habilitation Plan Coordinator/ Transitional Case Manager with the Olmstead Unit. She is responsible for orchestrating the transition process for individuals approved for placement, which includes recommending and monitoring placement plans for individuals leaving the State’s Developmental Centers. The emphasis of the planning process is on ensuring that the individuals are receiving the adequate care that they need to lead a healthy, safe and successful life.

Woodbridge Developmental Center Transition Team:

Michael D. Staples is a Disabled Veteran of the Unites States Army, who served in Operations Desert Shield & Desert Storm. He began working in the field of Human Services in 1993, at the New Lisbon Developmental Center, working in several positions including a direct care staff, Cottage Training Supervisor and as a Behavior Support Technician. In April 2012 he began working as a Transitional Case Manager at the Woodbridge Developmental Center and assisted in transitioning individuals from the developmental center into different community settings and ensuring that all proper supports are in place.

Donna Shields began her career in Human Services in 1981 after graduation from college with a Bachelor's of Arts from Moravian College in Clinical-Counseling and Industrial-Organizational Psychology. While in college, she volunteered with United Cerebral Palsy Association and worked as an intern with the Center for Humanistic Change. Donna worked in group homes for several years with developmentally disabled individuals. In 1987, she began working for the Department of Human Services at Hunterdon Developmental Center and later transferred to Woodbridge Developmental Center. She worked as a Behavior Modification Technician and as a Habilitation Plan Coordinator. She then transferred into DDD/Community services as a community case manager for eight years before

 


 

State of New Jersey
Department of Human Services
Elizabeth Connolly, Commissioner

State of New Jersey
Chris Christie, Governor
Kim Guadagno, Lt. Governor


Office of the Ombudsman
for the Institutionalized Elderly
James W. McCracken, Ombudsman