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Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Equity (DICE) Board

The Department of Psychiatry’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity Board (DICE Board) consists of nominated representatives from the Department’s five divisions who meet twice per month to discuss and create opportunities for enhancing diversity and inclusion regarding departmental needs for:

  • Promoting a culture of respect
  • Building a healthy work environment for all department employees
  • Providing culturally relevant care and training

The D.I.C.E. Board will operate similarly to the Department of Psychiatry’s Diversity & Cultural Awareness Leadership Team (DCALT), except that all divisions will be required to have representatives at the table to assure all of the Department’s strengths and challenges are utilized and addressed. The focus of this Board will primarily be on the identification and promotion of targeted (per division/program needs): Education, Training, Collaboration, Practice Integration, Policy and practice improvement, and Identifying ongoing professional development & training needs. 

DICE Board members will be nominated by their Divisional Leaders and Peers and serve for two years. Members will need to have one to three hours of protected time per month to attend DICE Board meetings and to attend to follow-up activities within their division. Members will be responsible for hosting meetings at their site and include arranging for Zoom capability.

Current DICE Board Members


Linda Alpert-Gillis

Linda Alpert-Gillis, Ph.D.

Linda Alpert-Gillis, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Clinical Nursing at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. She has been a faculty member here for 33 years. She is the Director of the Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness Outpatient Services for the Depts of Psychiatry and Pediatrics. In this role, she oversees all child and adolescent behavioral health outpatient care for children from birth to 18 years of age serving approximately 50,000 patient visits annually. Dr. Alpert-Gillis also is the Director of the Lab for Innovation in Child Mental Health Care Delivery and the Director of the Child Postdoctoral Fellowship Training program. Her clinical, training, and research efforts have focused on at-risk and under-served populations. She has worked to train, recruit, and retain diverse staff and faculty throughout her career. She created the Racial Justice Initiatives Team in the Child Psychiatry Division and is committed to its goals to promote and facilitate racial and social justice initiatives within our staff members, with our patients and their families, and in the community. She believes, “We need to listen; We cannot be silent; We must all take responsibility for change.”

Marie BilinskiMarie (Hasitavej) Bilinkski, PMHNP in Telepsychiatry, Specializing in Geriatric psychiatry

Being subject to and witnessing racism (as a Thai-American), sexism, ageism, and religious prejudices generated my interest in being on the DICE board. I hope my personal experiences will be influential in achieving the collective goals and mission of our group, in addition to learning from the wisdom of our group. Officially I represent the geriatric and Asian-American population, and my main interest is keeping an “eye out” for any acts of “unfairness” within policies, health care delivery, employee needs, etc., plus promoting handicap friendly treatment settings.

My favorite role models emulating inclusiveness and loving kindness are babies and pets—they have NO concept of racism and divisiveness!

Eric CaineEric D. Caine, M.D.,

Dr. Caine has been a faculty member at the URMC since 1978. He has deep experience in the evaluation and care of seriously ill psychiatric patients dating to the 1970s. He led the Department of Psychiatry from 1993-2017. During this time, the Department developed an array of collaborative community clinical, research and training activities under the umbrella of “public health and preventive psychiatry,” while also building innovative patient care services for children, deaf persons, those suffering severe mental disorders, substance use, co-occurring medical disorders, dementia, and those speaking Spanish.  He has focused his grant funded research and education activities in the US and internationally for more than three decades on preventing suicide, attempted suicide, and their antecedent risks by addressing “upstream” (“distal”) individual and community risk and protective factors.

Robert CalhounRobert Calhoun

I served in the United States Navy for 21 years and have been working for Strong Memorial Hospital for 22 years. 20 of those years, I’ve worked in Psychiatry on unit 29200, In the last two years, I have been working at the Older Adult Clinic in an outpatient setting. I am an Afro America male who is hard working, and I have been faced with unfair treatment, racial profiling due to my skin color over the years, and not by my character. I am a member of the Dice Board, and I am happy, and proud to be a part of positive change, and to bring attention to racial, and unfair treatment to people of color.

Ian CeroIan Cero, Ph.D., Center for the Study of Prevention of Suicide

My background is in Psychology and Statistics, with most of my clinical and research work focusing on suicide and PTSD. My number one service priority as a DICE Board member is finding ways to measure the kinds of changes we would like to bring about in the department. My intention is to make sure we get valuable quantitative credit for our successes and useful information for making progress on the issues that challenge us.

Danielle Crean

Javauni ForrestJavauni Forrest, MA, MHC-LP, RN, BSN

Javauni is the Behavioral Health Clinical Resource Nurse for the the Dept. of Psychiatry and a Family Psychiatric Mental Health NP-DNP doctoral candidate. He came to medical-surgical and psychiatric nursing as a mental health therapist, bringing eight years of clinical experience serving members of historically disenfranchised communities with a focus on those living with serious and persistent mental illness. Prior to moving to Rochester, Javauni worked in New York City’s non-profit sector serving those living with mental illness across an array of industries including HIV/AIDS advocacy and research, supportive housing and eviction prevention, child welfare, outpatient substance use treatment, and harm reduction/health and wellness advocacy and promotion. He joined the DICE Board with the intention of collaborating with like-minded individuals to address systemic oppression in the hospital community by cultivating a culture that prioritizes (physical and psychological) safety, nurtures and respects individual and collective growth, and champions diversity, equity, and inclusion, while actively challenging the status quo.

Annabel FuAnnabel Fu, MD

I am an Asian American who has an increased interest in DICE-related activities n addition to my own personal learning and growth in this area. In the past year I have helped start an AAPI support group, participated and completed ARCTT training, become a mentor for APAMSA (Asian Pacific Medical Student Association), and attended webinars/presentations/talks in the community about DICE-related topics. It's been an eye-opening experience to realize how much has already been done and how much further we still need to go in addressing racism and inequity. Now I am interested in taking the next step in joining a group of like-minded individuals to develop and facilitate change in our psychiatry department to be diverse, inclusive, culturally responsive, and equitable.

Brandi Gainey

Meghan GarveyMeghan Garvey, LCSW

Meghan Garvey, LCSW, is currently serving as a therapist at the Strong Ties Community Support Program through the Department of Psychiatry. Meghan’s passion for antiracism work was ignited on the streets of Saint Louis. After completing her MSW program at Washington University in St. Louis, Meghan was a new clinician living in St. Louis during the Ferguson uprising in 2014. Spending three years engaging in protests and educational experiences led by the brilliant Black Lives Matter organizers in the Midwest fundamentally shifted Meghan’s understanding of her role and responsibility as a white clinical social worker in the movement for Black lives. As family circumstances drew Meghan back to Rochester, Meghan has remained passionate about engaging in the work of unlearning racism, helping fellow white folks get the emotional tools needed to unlearn racism, and centering liberation in her work as a trauma-focused clinician. Meghan is thrilled to offer her energy as a clinician, white antiracist educator and enthusiastic public speaker to the work of DICE.

Donna Guardino

Leah HillLeah Hill, MEd

My name is Leah Hill and I work as the Clinical Engagement Specialist for the AYA Program at Strong Recovery. Adopted as an infant into a beautiful family of 4, I was raised in Ontario, NY and began a journey of walking the “in-between.” As a half- black/half-Native child, my lens and experience growing up set me on a course of curiosity and seeking. I spent a great deal of my childhood and adolescents traveling the country, increasing my exposure the beauty of our diverse nation. A full athletic scholarship to George Washington University allowed me to pursue my BS in Psychology. Upon graduation, I was recruited and accepted a 2-year offer to be a corps member in Teach For America-Phoenix, where I went on to work in urban Title 1 schools, obtain my M.Ed and become well acquainted with the diversity and nuances in life out west. I’ve had the privilege to travel internationally a number of times, including a year-long sabbatical in Italy.

Through all of these experiences it became that much more apparent to me how diversity creates a technicolor light to this life and this world. I’ve been the “outsider” and “other” many times for many reasons, and I’ve received the kindness and generosity of spirit from many beautiful souls along the way. This is what makes me so passionate about cultivating and creating more space for people to thrive and feel appreciated and included. I’m excited to work with a team of people united in the common purpose that is co-creation and coming together, to develop a platform upon which everyone can rise feeling supported and seen. I hope that, through my experiences and with an eagerness to learn more about yours, I can be a positive contributing member to the D.I.C.E. Board in your continued work to create a more inclusive & compassionate culture for our employees, students and those we serve.

Shunthenia HillShunthenia Hill, LMHC, Racial Justice Coordinator

My name is Shunthenia Hill. I am a Senior Licensed Mental Health Therapist, in Pediatric Behavioral Health and Wellness. I am also the Coordinator for Racial Justice Initiatives. One of my proudest accomplishments is creating and running the teen’s group for kids of color called GRACE, Growing Racial Awareness and Cultural Empowerment. GRACE has been able to give teens a voice to speak in a safe environment about racial disparities and increase their abilities to empower themselves with the tools needed when dealing with racial injustice. The reason I joined DICE was to fulfill the need to have my voice heard and gain knowledge when racial injustices occur and to hopefully help bridge the gaps with systemic racism, for the families I work for, in the communities in which they live and with the people I work with. I also wanted to be able to learn from the group of how to get things started and completed when there are so many areas of racial disparities surrounding us.

Chinh HuynhChinh Huynh, LMFT

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist working at the HEAL Collaborative, within the Department of Collaborative Care and Wellness, doing trauma-focused therapy with people who experience interpersonal violence and trauma. I am a Vietnamese- Canadian immigrant and have been at the University of Rochester since 2015. I joined the DICE board with the goal to hold myself, my clinic, my department, and my community accountable to working towards racial equity and cultural humility.

Deborah King

Amanda LaiAmanda Lai, Arts and Communication Specialist 

Amanda Lai is an Arts and Communication Specialist working with the DICE office. In her role, she manages the Department of Psychiatry’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She also curates and leads exhibitions at the Bridge Art Gallery, a community gallery dedicated to diminishing mental health stigma. She is interested in promoting an environment of culturally sensitive care at UR Medicine. She is also particularly interested in addressing mental health in the Asian American community.

Megan LytleMegan Lytle, PhD

Megan Lytle, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Lytle's clinical and research expertise is in multiculturalism, with a particular focus on the health and suicide disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ) individuals. She received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Seton Hall University and completed internship training as well as a National Research Service Award (5T32MH020061) in Suicide Prevention Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center. In addition, she completed a research-based internship with the International Association of Applied Psychology NGO at the United Nations. Dr. Lytle is a licensed psychologist and is a member of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Division 44 (the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues) Youth and Families Committee. I am interested in being involved with DICE since improving Diversity and Inclusion in our department is very near and dear to my heart.

Diane MorseDiane Morse, MD

I work in the Women’s Initiative Supporting Health (WISH) Program. WISH provides medical care and peer community health workers to help linkage to needed physical, mental, and substance use treatment for women who are involved in the justice system. I provide care at MIPS and also do related research. I have a long interest in equity around race, ethnicity, the justice system, and economic opportunities. I have been working at the University and the community on these issues. I would like to focus on retention and development at the University in this group. I love to cook and I have 2 dogs and a cat.

Stephanie Murphy

Caroline NestroCaroline S. Nestro, PhD, MS, RN

Dr. Nestro is a Senior Associate in the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of DICE. She has been with the Department of Psychiatry since 1984 and has worked across the continuum of care. Caroline was instrumental in facilitating the creation of the Department of Psychiatry Advisory Council of Consumers (DPACC) in 2006. She chaired the Department's Diversity and Cultural Awareness Leadership Team (2007-2019) and now co-chairs the DICE Board. She facilitates a variety of departmental, university and community activities aimed at facilitating learning and dialogue regarding inequity related to difference. She completed her doctorate in human development in 2018, received the University of Rochester Presidential Diversity award for 2020, and is a member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

Melissa Nunes-HarwittMelissa Nunes-Harwitt, LMSW

I am a clinician at Behavioral Health Partners, providing therapy to U of R employees and their adult family members. I have always been passionate about helping people know themselves and live in accordance with their deepest values. This has turned into a professional goal of supporting each person to have autonomy and agency in their life, recognizing that we are all embedded in systems that affect our choices and view of ourselves. I try to find ways to create systemic change that will eliminate inequality and encourage respect. I joined DICE to help increase cultural humility among mental health practitioners and find more ways to support and serve underrepresented communities.

Heather O'Brien

Amanda O'HearnAmanda O'Hearn, PhD

Amanda O'Hearn, Ph.D. started with the university in 2001. Her primary hat is with the Deaf Wellness Center where she treats clients and supervises the DWC clinicians. She also does research with the National Center for Deaf Health Research. She has been involved in the department's efforts at improving diversity and inclusion for the past 18 years and has a particular interest in creating and dissemination of cultural and linguistic adaptations for the Deaf population.

Telva Olivares, M.D.Telva Olivares, MD

Dr. Olivares is an internist–psychiatrist at the University of Rochester and the Associate Chair of Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity in the Department of Psychiatry. Since 1999, Dr.Olivares has overseen the delivery of comprehensive medical care to complex patients in both the inpatient Med-Psych unit (IMIPS) and its sister outpatient primary care practice, MIPS. She is Medical Director of Lazos Fuertes, providing mental healthcare to Rochester's Latinx population through a team of bicultural/bilingual professionals. She has extensive clinical and administrative experience in all aspects of acute services and is currently the Medical Director of Interventional Psychiatry Program, where she has established the very popular Interventional Psychiatry Certificate Course for psychiatric residents.

Luke PaddockLuke Paddock, RN

I’m a mental health nurse who has worked at URMC for past 9.5 years. I worked on 4-9000 (child and adolescent inpatient psych) for 9 years, currently working in outpatient adult psychiatry at the U of R psychiatric medication consultation clinic. I subscribe to the philosophy of Radical Empathy, always trying to better understand someone’s perspective, even when I disagree, in order to connect more deeply with them. I hope to continue to broaden my knowledge and understanding about diversity, inclusion, culture, and equity and improve patient care with this better understanding.

Neha PawarNeha Pawar, MD

Dr. Neha Pawar completed medical school in India and then came to the United States for training. She completed a one-year General Surgery internship at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and then transitioned into a residency in psychiatry at URMC. She completed a multidisciplinary pain medicine fellowship and is now an addiction medicine fellow also at URMC. She is very passionate about chronic pain and addiction issues in diverse populations and looks forward to bridge the gap.

Mariana RamosMariana Gomes da Sliva Frantz Ramos, BSN, RN-BC

I am an ANCC certified psychiatric and ambulatory registered nurse supporting both the Department of Psychiatry’s Adult Ambulatory Rapid Access Clinic as a psychiatric consultation clinic coordinator as well as the Behavioral Health Partners clinic as their staff RN. Occasionally I also work as a TAR crisis counselor within the department’s Crisis Call Center. Previous to outpatient I worked as a floor nurse on 2-9200, an acute adult inpatient psychiatry unit. I immigrated to the US from my native Brazil to pursue a bachelor’s of science in Psychology from SUNY Geneseo and later earned my bachelor of science in nursing from Nazareth College. My interest in joining the Dept. of Psychiatry’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity Board comes from my commitment to fostering diversity within our department’s workforce while building interprofessional relationships to ensure our department provides culturally competent, representative care to the diverse populations we serve in our community.

Tziporah RosenbergTziporah Rosenberg, PhD, LMFT, Associate Professor

As a “bordercrossing” faculty member in the Departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine, and as a clinician trained in the importance, value, and critical perspective of systems and relationships, I am committed to promoting a culture in which patients, staff, faculty, and other leaders feel seen, respected, represented, honored, invited, and safe. My role as a clinical director as well as an educator spanning multiple learner groups and clinical service areas affords me not only an opportunity but also a responsibility to keep myself and others accountable for our shared work toward creating and sustaining an inclusive and welcoming environment, as well as honestly and earnestly grappling with those things that threaten its creation. I am especially interested in learning with and from others, listening more than talking, and using my voice to promote meaningful change, now, here, and at all of the “tables” at which I sit.

Zena SherberZena Shuber, J.D., is the Director of Community Relations and a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center.  In this role, she assists the department and its chair with alumni relations, community events and conferences.  She also implements outreach strategies that help disseminate our research and work in mental health and wellness for the benefit of the community. Ms. Shuber is also the Director of Community Engagement for Translational Sciences at the Laboratory of Interpersonal Violence and Victimization (LIVV).  In LIVV, Ms. Shuber helps translate research on preventing violence in the home into practice and policy.  She also serves as the co-chair of the Integrated Systems Delivery Work Group for the Monroe Country Systems Integration Project to improve the social, health, and education services for the community. Prior to joining URMC, Ms. Shuber worked closely with Congresswoman Louise Slaughter in her District Office as a special project assistant and a community liaison regarding women, children and education issues.

Caroline Silva, PhD
Traci Terrance, PhD, LCSW

Hrutvija TrivediHrutvija Trivedi, MS, Strong Recovery

Hrutvija Trivedi is currently a Chemical Dependency Counselor at Strong Recovery. She has always been fascinated by patterns of the conscious and even the unconscious mind and enjoyed engaging in meaningful conversations that induce positive change in people's lives. Hrutvija graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology Hons from India, where she originally is from, and moved to Rochester in 2018 to complete her Master’s of Science in Mental Health Counseling from The Warner School, at the University of Rochester. Hrutvija comes from a background of counseling, providing care, and researching marginalized communities in deep- inequalities in India, and teaching students in Special Education. She is passionate about bringing a perspective of the need to foster diverse workplace environments that encourage employees to stimulate innovation bringing an effective level of care to patients. Hrutvija believes that a stronger feeling of inclusion, recognizing cultural backgrounds and community needs for healthcare workers makes the workplace feel safer and more enjoyable. Her focus currently is on researching techniques to improve peoples' chronic pain and mental health. Having lived most of her life abroad, and traveled over 23 countries, Hrutvija brings a unique perspective to DICE.

Carla Velarde, MD

John WalkerJohn Walker, MDiv, PhD

Dr. Walker is a veteran, head pastor of Christian Friendship Baptist Church and a PRIDE Seminar co-Director, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry. He has worked extensively around the issue of child abuse and is the founder and leader of a community-wide child abuse prevention effort, Rochester Area Child Abuse Network (RACAN), and until recently he served on the Bivona Child Advocacy Center’s Board of Directors. He is a former adjunct professor at St. John Fisher College and was a professor in the History and Political Science department at Monroe Community College for 28 years. John completed his B.A.S. at Morris College and his Master’s of Divinity at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. He earned his Doctorate in Religion/Religious Studies and History from Syracuse University.

Jennifer West
Christina Williams