Behavioral Health and Addictive Services

North Hudson Community Action Corporation Mental Health and Addictive Services Department began operations in 1995. NHCAC provides services to one of the most heavily populated areas per square mile in New Jersey. These services include psychiatric and physiological evaluations, individual and group therapies, prenatal and domestic violence counseling, addictive services, parenting skills training and academic guidance. The team at North Hudson Community Action Corporation Mental Health and Addictive Services Department is comprised of a caring group of multilingual individuals each with varying levels of expertise.

The credentials and background of our staff of child, adolescent and adult psychiatrists and counselors can be found below:

Dr. Frank Santos, M.D., Director of Mental Health & Addictive Services

Dr. Santos has been a member of the North Hudson Team since 2001. He is responsible for building the team as it is today. Born in Weehawken and raised in West New York, he returned to serve his community, which was in severe need of the services this department offers. He completed his residency in adult and child psychiatry at Metropolitan Hospital in New York City and subsequently worked for nine years as a staff psychiatrist at Saint Barnabas Hospital in Bronx, New York. He is currently affiliated with Palisades Medical Center and serves as Section Chief of Psychiatry, which bridges services for the community. Dr. Santos’ most recent accomplishment has been creating a teaching environment at NHCAC through an academic affiliation with Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City. Dr. Santos is currently the Director of Clinical Clerkship at NHCAC for Touro College. He also has a private practice located in Edgewater, New Jersey.

Dr. Daniel Sanchez, M.D., Staff Psychiatrist

Dr. Sanchez, a native of Cuba and fluent in Spanish, has been a member of the team since February 2008. Dr. Sanchez completed his residency in psychiatry at Cabrini Hospital and completed child psychiatry at Metropolitan Hospital in NYC. Prior to joining our department, Dr. Sanchez worked at Fordham Tremont Community Health Center in Bronx, New York for 17 years. This experience helped to prepare him for better serving this community. His combination of years of experience, enthusiastic personality, and strong roots in this community, make him a significant figure in the progress, growth and quality of this department. Dr. Sanchez also runs a successful private practice in the community.

Dr. Wei Wang, M.D., Staff Psychiatrist

Dr. Wang has been a member of the team since 2006. Dr. Wang obtained her medical degree from Tongui Medical School in China and completed her general psychiatry residency training at Albert Einstein School of Medicine. She also finished one year of child psychiatry training at Cornell’s Weil Medical Center. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and has experience with the Chinese immigrant population in Gouverneur Hospital in New York City. Dr. Wang also served as director of the partial care program and inpatient unit at Hoboken University Medical Center. Her wealth of experience and eclectic style of psychiatry, adds a new dimension to the department.

Dr. Vicente Ruiz, M.D., Staff Psychiatrist

Dr. Ruiz, a Cuban American fluent in Spanish, has practiced his specialty in the neighboring communities that he was raised in. He obtained his medical degree from Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara and completed Internal Medicine and Psychiatry residency programs at New York Medical College. Dr. Ruiz has worked closely with the Board of Education of the neighboring towns, providing Psychiatric Evaluations to children and adolescents for a number of years. Prior to his current roles, he held a successful private practice. Now he has joined our team and provides unique outside perspective for our patients.

Dr. Germaine Griswold, Ph.D., Director de Psicología

Dr. Griswold who is also fluent in French, joined our staff in March of 2008. Dr. Griswold completed her graduate training at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology in the Bronx and finished a one year internship at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange. Prior to joining our team, she worked for a number of years at Bellevue Hospital Center, with a variety of chronically physically and mentally ill patients. Her special interests include adult depression and anxiety, and attention deficit disorders in children. A dedicated multifaceted contributor to the quality of care, as well as, her compassion towards the lives of the mentally ill, makes us fortunate to have such a professional as part of the team.

Monica Cortes, B.A., Administrative Supervisor

Ms. Cortes has been a member of the department for the past 12 years. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from New Jersey City University and worked as a crisis counselor in the emergency room in Palisades Medical Center. Due to her extensive managerial skills from working in New York City, serving for 10 years in the US Army Reserves, where she acted as a Sergeant in her last 2 years of service, her talent led to being chosen to help create and develop our innovative model of providing services in mental health and addiction medicine. Ms. Cortes is also the coordinator of Margaret’s Place, a Joe Torre Foundation grant, which aides children of Domestic Violence. She assists and helps manage other grants that provide supportive services in the neighboring communities. As a member of several committees to improve quality of care, she has displayed a special commitment to our department, as well as the many lives she has touched.

Roberto Negron, LCADC, NCAC, CSW, Coordinator of Substance Abuse Treatment Services

Mr. Negron has been a longstanding employee of NHCAC, working for the corporation for over 30 years. Mr. Negron is a graduate of Montclair State University and has a vast amount of experience in social work and in addictions counseling. He is currently coordinator of the Addictions Program. In this role he performs intakes of new clients, facilitates several bilingual support and educational groups for clients in the early stages of recovery and domestic violence, and participates in the writing of grants for new programs within the corporation. He also coordinates programs with many other agencies including the Division of Youth and Family Services, the court systems, and other local addiction agencies. His experience and enthusiastic positive energy has been vital towards the growth of this department.

Jacqueline Knapp, MA, LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor

Ms. Knapp has a long history with NHCAC, first joining the Addictions Department as an intern. Ms. Knapp is bilingual and a graduate of New Jersey City University. She currently works full-time for the Addictions Services division of the department. In her role, she performs new intakes with substance abuse clients in early recovery, provides counseling and support to women who are pregnant and are struggling with substance abuse issues. Ms. Knapp also provides English and Spanish speaking support and education groups for clients. NHCAC is privileged to have had Ms. Knapp return to our department and bring a soothing positive professional energy.

William Micchelli, B.S.W, Substance Abuse Counselor/Intern

Mr. Micchelli has only recently joined our Addiction Services Department as part of a grant associated with SAMHSA. Mr. Micchelli is bilingual and a graduate of Rutgers University; he has a vast amount of experience working in the area of substance abuse, having worked in both outpatient and residential settings. In addition, Mr. Micchelli has worked in both social services and educational administration. Currently, Mr. Micchelli performs intakes and conducts individual and group therapy for clients struggling with substance abuse; he brings with him a wealth of knowledge to our department.

Tina Morales, ACSW, CSW, DVS, Domestic Violence Specialist/SW

Ms. Morales is bilingual, obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from University of Lima, Peru and possesses a credential from the Academy Council of Social Workers and the NJ Association of Domestic Violence Professionals. Ms. Morales has been an invaluable member of the Mental Health Department since 1999. Specializing in domestic violence, Ms. Morales runs a weekly domestic violence education and support group and works with countless numbers of victims of domestic violence including men, women, and children; and also runs a Hispanic Senior Depressive Support group. She also works for Women Rising of Hudson County Agency at the Battered Women’s Shelter since 1991. She also consults closely with agencies such as the Division of Youth and Family Services, and evaluates and provides supportive services for prenatal patients, as needed. Ms. Morales works closely with all psychiatrists and conducts a successful weekly Spanish speaking support group for women. Her passion for the empowerment of a woman in need and her comforting presence is a blessing to our department and those fortunate enough to receive her services.

Miriam Montufar, B.A., Crisis Worker

Ms. Montufar joined the team four years ago and has become vital to the Mental Health Department, particularly in regard to crisis management. Ms. Montufar, who is bilingual, graduated and obtained her Bachelor’s degree from New Jersey City University. Her previous work experience includes serving chronic mentally ill patients through Advance Housing as an Integrated Community Counselor and working in the emergency room at Palisades Medical Center for 13 years and is currently still working at PMC. She is currently crisis counselor at NHCAC and has facilitated the transfer of our patients to a higher level of care when necessary. Ms. Montufar’s confidence in handling crisis situations, as well as, her involvement in several of the administrative duties of the department, shows her versatility and commitment to quality of care.

Nelva Torres, LCSW, LCDA, ACSW

Ms. Torres, also a bilingual worker, has been with the department since 2006. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in St. Johns University and later obtained her Master’s Degree in Hunter College. Ms. Torres worked for CSW- Child Welfare services, Albert Einstein College of Medicine working as a social worker in the Bronx, NY for 15 year and also worked in administration for Medicaid. Ms. Torres Substance Abuse experience includes working in the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center as a clinical administrator. Later Ms. Torres worked as a Sr. Psychiatric Social Worker at Westchester County Community Dept. of Mental Health and as a Clinical Director of Promesa. In 1999, Ms. Torres most current work is at Palisades Medical Center in the ER, as a crisis worker for 12 years and has run a small private practice with patients with post menopausal women and substance abusers. Since becoming a member of our team, the department and those she services are fortunate to be blessed by her passionate compassion for the well being of all.

Christine Morales, B.A., M.S./P, Mental Health Facilitator

Ms. Morales, another bilingual member in our Mental Health Department, began with us as an intern in 2008. Most recently she received a Bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall and a Master’s of Science in Psychology from the University of Phoenix. Ms. Morales has joined the department full-time and in her young career has already been exposed to a variety of challenging roles. She worked for DYFS as a case worker/ investigator, Youth Consultation Services as a Family Preservation Services Counselor and serving as a Case Manager Specialist for the Homeless Assistance Project at NHCAC. Her youthful, ambitious enthusiasm and pleasant demeanor are special qualities that reflect the personality of our department.

Ana Dopazo, Senior Registration

Ms. Dopazo is our bilingual senior clerical staff member who has been with our department since 1997. She is instrumental in the implementation of the registration process of new and existing patients. She carries both experience and expertise to her position, and with customer services skills as well as being our insurance specialist. She completes daily and monthly statistic analysis of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse department. Ms. Dopazo is well-loved by our patients and brings a special nurturing atmosphere to the entire department.

Tatiana Ramon, Certified Medical Assistant

Ms. Ramon has been a dedicated member of our staff for several years. She is bilingual and has obtained her Medical Assistant Diploma. She works as a receptionist and as a medical assistant to our integrated medical provider, Dr. Hamal, as well as following up with specific recommendations from our medical staff. In addition to having administered the Quotient test, a tool for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders in children and adults, she has been instrumental in integrating the medical needs of our mental health population.