The Epidemic of Prematurity in Nassau County Guidance Centers seeks to educate community about racial disparities in birth outcomes

The Epidemic of Prematurity in Nassau County Guidance Centers seeks to educate community about racial disparities in birth outcomes

Roslyn Heights, NY, November 26, 2018 —On November 19, 2018, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center held a special event at its Leeds Place site in Westbury entitled “World Prematurity Awareness Breakfast.”

At the event, the audience, which consisted of healthcare professionals and community members,  learned that over 300,000 babies in the United States are born premature each year, and the statistics indicate a wide racial disparity. According to the New York State Department of Health, a black woman is up to four times more likely to die in childbirth than a white mother. In Nassau County, the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is 9.4 for black babies versus the 2.2 reported for white non-Hispanic babies.

The three communities at highest risk are (in order) Roosevelt, Hempstead and Westbury/New Cassel.

“Babies—especially black babies—are dying way too soon,” said Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, Director of the Leeds Place. “Many don’t see their first birthdays. I’ve gone to way too many funerals for babies who didn’t survive.”

Dr. Taylor-Walthrust said that the goal of the Guidance Center—in particular, its Good Beginnings for Babies program—is that every mother who comes through their doors gives birth to a healthy baby. The Good Beginnings for Babies program provides support, counseling, advocacy and education for pregnant and parenting teens.

Viviana Russell, Nellie, Adriann J. Combs, Martine Hackett

Viviana Russell, Nellie, Adriann J. Combs, Martine Hackett

The Guidance Center, in partnership with Hofstra University, has also created a program called Birth Justice Warriors, which focuses on improving the health of black mothers and their babies through education and advocacy efforts. Birth Justice Warriors are trained to educate the community, including women, pediatricians, nurses, elected officials and others, regarding the racial disparities in an effort to create real change. The ultimate goal is to pass legislation that guarantees that this crucial information is delivered to all women of child-bearing age.

Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Viviana Russell shared her personal story of having given birth to a premature daughter in 1995. Russell felt that her doctors were not listening to her concerns. Luckily, her daughter, who weighed only 1 pound and 12 ounces, survived and is now a mother herself, but the experience

made Russell want to help others. “As women, we are nurturers, but we need to learn that pre- and post-natal care is as important for us as for our babies.”

Dr. Martine Hackett from Hofstra University, a co-founder of Birth Justice Warriors, pointed out that maternal mortality rates are rising in the United States, whereas they are going down almost everywhere else in the world. She said that historical patterns of racism have affected black women even in today’s world. “While individual behaviors are important, we must also acknowledge discriminatory biases in the medical community and take steps to reverse them.”

Adriann J. Combs, Clinical Director of OB/GYN at Northwell Health, presented the March of Dimes Score Card on NY State Prematurity births. While the state received a grade of B, Nassau County only earned a C. “The March of Dimes goals are to ensure improved care for all races, to encourage research and conduct advocacy efforts,” said Combs.

To find out more about the Birth Justice Warriors, contact Dr. Walthrust-Taylor at (516) 997-2926, ext. 229, or email NTaylorWalthrust@northshorechildguidance.org.

Every Fight Needs a Voice,” by Andrew Malekoff, Blank Slate Media, November 26, 2018

When tragedy strikes, the grief can be overwhelming. One way that some people choose to deal with their pain is to try to make something good come out of a horrible situation. That’s what the parents of Timothy O’Clair did when their 12-year-old son died by suicide on March 6, 2001 after mental health benefits provided by their insurance company ran out.

The O’Clair family fought tirelessly for years for New York State to pass a law requiring health insurance policies to provide access to timely and affordable mental health care in the same way they cover physical illness. The legislation, called Timothy’s Law in honor of their son, was finally signed in December 2006.

Timothy’s Law helped to blaze the trail for a much broader federal law that passed two years later which requires health insurers to provide access to mental health care on par with medical and surgical care.

Now, what would you think if I told you that despite these hard-fought state and federal laws, in New York State national insurance companies are continuing to prevent children like Timmy O’Clair from accessing care and that New York State regulators are assisting them in doing so?

This is precisely the case. As health law expert Brian Hufford stated, “Timothy’s Law appears effective.

In 2009, the state reported an increase of 4.5 million people with plans promising comprehensive mental health coverage. But that number is almost certainly a mirage.” Hufford goes on to say that New York’s insurance regulator, the Department of Financial Services, has a shallow history of enforcement that suggests it lacks the interest or resources to adequately protect New Yorkers.

One year ago North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center issued the results of a groundbreaking study known as Project Access, which surveyed 650 people across Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The results revealed conditions similar to what the O’Clair family fought against in the early 2000s and showed that discrimination against people living with mental illness and substance use disorders persist.

An immediate follow-up to the Project Access study exposed the reality: the New York State Department of Financial Service is stonewalling demands to further investigate this civil rights issue.

In a letter to DFS Commissioner Mary Vullo citing the Project Access study, state Senators Todd Kaminsky and Elaine Phillips requested a thorough investigation into the persistent problem New Yorkers were experiencing when trying to access timely and affordable mental health care.

Almost five months later Scott Fischer, executive deputy superintendent for Insurance, a division of DFS, responded in writing to the senators.

Fischer wrote: “DFS’s review of the various networks has confirmed that each of the insurance companies in Long Island exceeds the standards for mental health and substance use providers, for the purpose of the commercial products sold outside of the New York State of Health,” the official health plan marketplace.

In other words, this DFS official is stating that there is no problem and nothing more to do, which is contrary to the evidence.

Fischer’s response belies the reality that DFS does little if anything to verify reports from health insurers indicating that they have adequate networks of providers available to their beneficiaries.

I had the privilege of meeting Timothy O’Clair’s dad Tom at a National Alliance on Mental Illness event in Albany in October.

Tom was the driving force behind the passage of Timothy’s Law. We shared a stage in recognition of our mutual efforts to advocate for effective and enforceable parity laws so insurers do, in fact, cover mental health care the same way they do physical illness.

We spoke briefly. I told him that although I never met his son, I keep Timothy close to my heart in the continued fight. He responded, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”

Although it was only the two of us in this fleeting interchange, I’m sure that Tom’s entreaty was meant for all people of good will that know firsthand the devastating impact of untreated mental illness and addiction. We all must keep fighting so Timothy’s Law is a reality and not just mere words on paper.

GUIDANCE CENTER RECEIVES AWARD FOR ADVOCACY WORK 11/15/18

GUIDANCE CENTER RECEIVES AWARD FOR ADVOCACY WORK 11/15/18

Roslyn Heights, NY, November 15, 2018 On October 26, 2018, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center’s Executive Director, Andrew Malekoff, received a “Leaders of Mental Health Awareness Award” from NAMI-NYS (the National Alliance on Mental Illness-New York State) at its 2018 Education Conference in Albany, NY.

“The lack of mental health parity is one of the biggest social justice issues of our time,” said Matthew Shapiro, Associate Director, Public Affairs, NAMI-NYS. “People living with mental illness and addiction are being discriminated against with separate and unequal treatment by insurance providers. New Yorkers are fortunate to have a strong advocate in Andrew Malekoff, who is bringing awareness to this issue and is fighting for access to recovery support services. NAMI-NYS is honored to recognize Andrew as a Parity@10 Champion.”

Andrew Malekoff receiving the award from Ariel Coffman, Board Member of NAMI-NYS

Parity@10 refers to a three-year campaign seeking compliance to the landmark 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, a federal law that mandates equal insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as compared to other medical benefits covered by the plan. Unfortunately, insurers are not complying with the law and enforcement has been inadequate, leaving millions of Americans at risk.

In an attempt to draw attention to these discriminatory practices, in December 2017, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center released Project Access, a year-long research study that asked 650 Long Islanders about the ease or difficulty of accessing mental health and addictions care. Some of the key findings:

  • Almost half of the participants said that it was more difficult finding help for mental health or substance use problems than finding help for physical illnesses, especially when they were in crisis.
  • Nearly 40% said that their insurance company did not have an adequate number of providers.
  • Two thirds told us that their insurance company was not helpful to them in finding a suitable provider for themselves or a loved one.

NAMI’s Shapiro called the Project Access study “eye-opening for many and a true catalyst for the reforms which are necessary to create a more mentally healthy New York State.”

Accepting the award on behalf of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, Malekoff told the audience, “The difficulty people have getting mental health and substance use care is not simply a matter of stigma —it’s a civil rights issue and often a matter of life and death.”

Malekoff also acknowledged the dedication of the NAMI members and other advocates who were present at the conference. “Every fight needs a voice, and it’s good to be in a room with so many people who are raising their voices in this most worthy battle.”

To find out more about the Guidance Center’s work, call (516) 626-1971 or visit www.northshorechildguidance.org. The website features a Project Access tab where readers can learn more about advocating for mental health parity and also share their own stories.

Guidance Center Honors John & Janet Kornreich Generous donors support the organization’s Latina Girls Project November 13, 2018

Guidance Center Honors John & Janet Kornreich

Generous donors support the organization’s Latina Girls Project

November 13, 2018

Roslyn Heights, NY, November 13, 2018 —On Wednesday, November 7, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center hosted a celebration honoring John and Janet Kornreich, founders of the John and Janet Kornreich Charitable Foundation, who fund the monthly outings that are such a big part of the Latina Girls Project.

The Guidance Center’s Latina Girls Project is an innovative program that employs rapid response to emergency calls; individual, group and family therapy; and monthly outings and other activities, all designed to tackle the epidemic of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicidal ideation in young Latinas.

Guidance Center Associate Executive Director Regina Barros-Rivera, who heads up the Latina Girls Project, describes how critical the trips are to the success of the program: “In addition to individual and family therapy, monthly outings to places such as museums, theater and other cultural sites are crucial to the Latina Girls Project’s ability to transform these girls’ lives. The trips serve to boost their confidence and sense of independence. They also discover that there’s a great big world of opportunity out there for them, which allows them to feel hopeful about their futures.”

The event Wednesday night, which featured moving speeches from several of the girls who’ve participated in the program, was not only a celebration of the girls’ success but also an opportunity to honor John and Janet Kornreich.

All of the attendees expressed their profound gratitude to the Kornreiches, who were very touched by the girls’ expressions of how profoundly the outings helped changed their lives.

As one girl put it, “The therapy helped my mother and I communicate and become very close, and the monthly outings showed me a world I never would have seen. I felt that I wanted to be a part of the larger world. The trips gave me the feeling that I could be truly happy in my life.”

Barros-Rivera said that the Kornreiches were “angels,” explaining that John walked into the Guidance Center one day and said “tell me how I can help.”

Toward the end of the celebration, both John and Janet Kornreich told the girls that they were so proud of them and that they should be proud of themselves.  The couple also pledged their continued support for the Latina Girls Project.

“We are deeply grateful to John and Janet for their dedication and contribution to this very important Guidance Center program,” said Malekoff. “They make these trips possible, and the trips make the girls see wonderful possibilities in their lives.”

To find out more about the Guidance Center’s work and how you can help, please visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call (516) 626-1971.

“Beyond Words: Trauma and the Arts,” by Andrew Malekoff, Anton Media Group, Oct 17-23, 2018

Powerful images that depict disturbing events in ways that literature alone cannot can be illuminating and healing. Following are three descriptions of different media that capture recent man-made disasters, still very close to the surface for many of us.

The first, Please Stand By, is an example of cartoon art in the aftermath of 9/11. The second, The Last Lockdown, is about a sculpture created after the mass school shooting in Parkland, FL. Both illustrate the fear-inducing paralysis of traumatic events. The last, Memorial Rock Garden, describes bereaved children painting stones to memorialize their deceased dads.

Please Stand By

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on America, several artists joined together to produce a soft cover book titled 9/11: Artists Respond. It is a collection of art, sequenced to showcase the artists’ response to the terror that befell the world.

One nine-frame piece entitled “Please Stand By…,” by Jeph Loeb and J. Scott Campbell, features a girl of about 8 years old watching cartoons on television. By the third and fourth frames, the image on the screen changes to a live feed of the Twin Towers ablaze.

As the little girl stands transfixed, stuffed animal in hand and her face less than 12 inches from the screen, the commentator announces, “We interrupt this program to take you live…”

The little girl turns away and cries out, “Mommy!” The next three frames begin with her mother dropping a basket of laundry. Then, with her face contorted in anguish, she embraces her daughter to shield her from the unrelenting televised images.

The final frame is a close up of the little girl asking, “Mommy, when are the cartoons gonna come back on?”

The Last Lockdown

The next image is a haunting statue, as described by journalist Josh Hafner, of a “small girl cowering beneath an open school desk, clutching a leg as she gazes into the distance with a look of fear in her eyes.”

The sculpture was created by Manuel Oliver, an artist who lost his 17-year-old son Joaquin in the Parkland, FL, mass shooting earlier this year.

As Oliver said, “It’s too late for us to save Joaquin from gun violence, but through art, my family and I are making sure that we protect the rest of the kids out there.”

“Talking about the trauma is rarely if ever enough,” advises noted trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk. He points to the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem and the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., “as good examples of symbols that enable survivors to mourn the dead and establish the historical and cultural meaning of the traumatic events to remind survivors of the ongoing potential for communality and sharing.”

Memorial Rock Garden

In 2002 at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, a group of boys and girls who lost fathers in the attack on the World Trade Center decorated stones to be placed in a memorial rock garden.

The kids in the bereavement group sat together around a table covered with newspaper. In front of each of them was a large smooth oval-shaped stone. They decorated the stones with unique designs of paint and glitter, each one a personal remembrance of their fathers.
“Mine is painted gold,” beamed Mack. “I painted it gold because my dad is like gold to me.”
A heart framed Jenny’s design, “because my dad will always be in my heart.”

On Seth’s stone were two intertwined hands, a small one and a larger one that showed “me and my dad were best friends.”

Victoria painted a fire hat and said, “My dad is my hero.”

We might do well to remember that when funding cuts threaten to decimate arts programs in schools there is more at stake then we might imagine. The impact of the arts is not measured by standardized tests and its value is incalculable.

Andrew Malekoff is the Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, which provides comprehensive mental health services for children from birth through 24 and their families. 

The Guidance Center Celebrates 65 Years of Hope and Healing

The Guidance Center Celebrates 65 Years of Hope and Healing

 

65th Sapphire Anniversary Gala to Honor Andrea and Michael Leeds,

Americana Manhasset Champions for Charity®

Roslyn Heights, NY, October 12, 2018North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is proud to announce that Andrea and Michael Leeds and Americana Manhasset Champions for Charity® will be the honorees at the 65th Sapphire Anniversary Gala, which will take place October 25th at the Garden City Hotel.

Andrea Leeds has been a Board Member at the Guidance Center for more than 20 years. She and her husband Michael have taken a leadership role in philanthropy and have been passionate, dedicated and committed supporters of the Long Island community.

Every holiday season, Americana Manhasset supports more than 100 not-for-profit organizations during its annual Champions for Charity® holiday shopping benefit, which this year takes place from November 29 through December 2.  (Visit championsforcharity.org for free registration.) Since its inception in 1996, Champions for Charity® has raised nearly $12 million.

The co-chairs for this year’s gala are Matilde and Cliff Broder and Rosemarie and Mitchell Klipper.  Journal co-chairs are Jo-Ellen Hazan and the recently deceased John J. Gutleber, who passed away unexpectedly in September. Auction co-chairs are Deirdre Costa Major and Charles G. Chan. The Mistress of Ceremonies is News 12 Long Island’s Carol Silva.

The gala will feature delicious food, live music, dancing and fabulous auction and raffle prizes. The speaker will be Linda Beigel Schulman, whose son Scott Beigel was murdered during the Parkland, Florida tragedy.

“For 65 years, the Guidance Center has been committed to providing essential mental health services to all children and families, regardless of their ability to pay,” says Executive Director Andrew Malekoff. “The generous support of our honorees, donors and sponsors at the gala will help us maintain the highest standard and quality of care to our community.”

All proceeds will benefit the Guidance Center.  To learn more about becoming a sponsor or an underwriter or purchasing tickets, please visit www.northshorechildguidance.org/events, call (516) 626-1971 ext. 337 or email development@northshorechildguidance.org.

About Us:

As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other mental health professionals lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug and alcohol abuse; and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma and divorce. For 65 years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call (516) 626-1971.

NORTH SHORE CHILD & FAMILY GUIDANCE CENTER RAISES OVER $17K FOR  THE CHILDREN’S CENTER AT NASSAU COUNTY FAMILY COURT

NORTH SHORE CHILD & FAMILY GUIDANCE CENTER RAISES OVER $17K FOR THE CHILDREN’S CENTER AT NASSAU COUNTY FAMILY COURT

Roslyn Heights, NY, September 26, 2018 — On Tuesday evening September 24th, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center hosted a fundraiser for its Children’s Center at Nassau County Family Court. The event, which was held at Tesoro’s Ristorante Cucini Italiana in Westbury, featured wonderful entertainment by musician and soul crooner Paul Loren, along with cocktails and a buffet dinner.

The event raised over $17,000 for the Children’s Center, which provides care and early learning to almost 2,000 children annually, ages 6 weeks – 12 years, while their parents or guardians are conducting court business.

At the event, Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan presented a citation to the Guidance Center honoring the Children’s Center program. “North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center knows that the best investment one can make is in a child,” said Lafazan. “I am proud to support their efforts as they make a difference in the lives of youths and families all across Long Island.”

Seated: Carolyn Germany, Corinthian Sistrunk, Allison Cacace, Robert and Joan Antonik. Standing: Mace Greenfield, Judge Andrea Phoenix.

Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, Director of The Leeds Place (under which the Children’s Center operates), explained that the Children’s Center is not a babysitting service but rather an early learning center.  “Often this is a child’s first exposure to an early learning environment,” she said. “Every aspect of the Center promotes learning by which the children can explore new things in a safe, structured and professionally supervised setting.”

Lauren McGowan, Bob Mangi, Allison Cacace, Legislator Joshua Lafazan, John Zenir and Andrew Malekoff

Andrew Malekoff, Executive Director of the Guidance Center, thanked the two full-time staff members and the valued volunteers, without whom the Children’s Center’s high level of service wouldn’t be possible. He also acknowledged Laurie Joseph-Yehuda and Rene Joseph, the daughter and widow of the late Honorable Burton S. Joseph, founder of the Children’s Center, who were in attendance.  Laurie is a member of the Children’s Center Advisory Council and Rene painted the beautiful murals on the wall of the Children’s Center many years ago.

Dr. Walthrust thanked co-chairs Allison Cacace, Bob Mangi, Esq. and John Zenir, Esq., P.C. for their dedication to the third annual event. “This fundraiser is critical for the Children’s Center, as funds for it have been drastically cut over the years, though we have been able to keep it open full time,” she said.

Allison Cacace and Judge Andrea Phoenix

The fundraiser was sponsored by an array of local law firms and other businesses, including Aiello, DiFalco & Gianakos, LLP; Barnes Catterson LoFrumento Barnen, LLP; Casino One Limousines; DiMascio & Associates, LLP; Gassman Baiamonte Betts, PC; Mangi & Graham, LLP; Mejias, Milgrim

& Alvarado, PC; Schlissel Ostrow Karabatos, PLLC; The Law Firm of Edwards & Rockmore, PC; The Law Practice of John M. Zenir; The Pessala Family; The Virdone Law Firm, PC; Vishnick McGovern Milizio, LLP; and the family of Hon. Burton S. Joseph, Founder of the Children’s Center at Nassau County Family Court.

“Kids First: A Frozen Moment,” By Andrew Malekoff, Blank Slate Media, September 14, 2018

Three years ago on a bright September morning, my wife Dale phoned me at my office in Roslyn Heights to tell me about something disturbing that had just happened to her. It was a few days before the Jewish New Year when our family comes together.  

Dale and I both grew up in New Jersey. We relocated permanently to Long Island after we were married in 1980. We raised our children here. She has been teaching art to high school students at the Hebrew Academy of Five Towns and Rockaway, a Yeshiva in Cedarhurst, for close to 35 years.

This is the story she told to me.

She had been shopping at King Kullen in Island Park, about a mile-and-a-half from our home in Long Beach. She was standing in a checkout line unloading a shopping cart full of groceries on to the conveyer belt.

A large man stepped up to wait in line behind her. He had only a few items in a smaller hand-held basket. He seemed agitated; she said she thought it was because he’d have to wait.

Trying to be helpful, she pointed out to him that a cashier had just opened another register just a few aisles away and that there was no one standing in that line.

The man didn’t react. He just stood there, muttering under his breath, appearing to be dissatisfied with the pace of the transaction in front of him.

In my wife’s basket were a number of items for cooking and baking traditional foods for the holidays: brisket, chicken, soup greens, matzo ball mix, and so forth.

Also in the basket were four Yahrzeit candles that we light each year at this time to remember our parents, three of whom died in the 1990s, all well before their 80thbirthdays. My mother-in-law Ida was the only one who made it past the age of 80.

The man continued mumbling under his breath and, finally, he said out loud: “You know the ovens are still open.”

It was a frozen moment. The checkout girl and Dale just looked at one another. It was one of those surreal moments that can leave one feeling momentarily numb.

There was no physical altercation, no yelling, no overt anger. But, in my view, it was every bit of a violent moment.

As she recounted her experience she said, “I wish you were there with me.” I thought about that. Had I been there I’m not sure what I would have done. Initiated a physical confrontation?  Shouted him down? Assessed him as mentally disturbed and ignored him? Calmly asked him, “What do you mean by that?” I’ll never know for sure. 

What I do know is that anti-Semitism is alive and well.

My wife’s disturbing experience, on the eve of our High Holy Days, was a fleeting yet indelibly shocking moment and reminder of how close to the surface anti-Semitism is, particularly in the increasingly divided nation our children are inheriting.  

Andrew Malekoff is the Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center.

“Kids First: Respecting the Dignity of the Working Person,” By Andrew Malekoff, Sept. 10, 2018

By now I imagine you’ve heard all about “The Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens who was job-shamed for working at Trader Joe’s.

If you haven’t heard or just to refresh: a customer recognized him, snapped a few unflattering photos of him bagging potatoes and sold it to a tabloid news outlet that gave it a derisive can-you-believe-what-he’s-doing-now hook.

If you are a parent, this is a great story to share and discuss with your kids. If you are a young person still in school it is an important lesson to absorb, store away and preserve so you can come back to it. You might find that you will need it one day.

Although Yale graduate Owens admitted to feeling humiliated by being exposed in such a disdainful manner, he said that he was not embarrassed about having a side job at Trader Joe’s and that many working actors need to supplement their income to help support themselves and their families.

Social media picked up his cause, which led to myriad media appearances and a viral social media presence. He used the opportunity to give voice to the dignity of work.

Here is what he said about that in a Sept. 4 Time magazine video interview: “The fact that I, as the guy from ‘The Cosby Show,’ was shamed about working at Trader Joe’s, that story is going to move on, that’s gonna pass. What I hope doesn’t pass is this new recognition, this current sensitivity people are feeling about work and about people working. I hope what continues to resonate is the idea that one job is not better than another. A certain job might pay more, might have better benefits and might look better on paper, but essentially one kind of work is not better, superior to another kind of work and that we reevaluate that whole idea and we just start honoring the dignity of work and respecting the dignity of the working person.”

Ironically, Owens’ job-shaming experience led to thousands of tributes on Twitter, a new acting job with producer-director Tyler Perry and offers of cash gifts from celebrities like rapper Nicki Minaj, all of whom were so moved by Owens.

I found the story to be personally uplifting; and, not because Owens benefited with renewed notoriety and a promising new acting job, but because of his humanity and the dignity he displayed in representing working stiffs all across America, regardless of their stripe or station in life.

Bravo Geoffrey Owens. Well done!

Andrew Malekoff is the executive director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center.

You can see the Time interview with Geoffrey Owens here: http://amp.timeinc.net/time/5385842/geoffrey-owens-cosby-show-actor-grocery-store-speaks-out?__twitter_impression=true

“Kids First: Look at Where We Have Come,” by Andrew Malekoff, Blank Slate Media, August 31, 2018

“Kids First: Look at Where We Have Come,” by Andrew Malekoff, Blank Slate Media, August 31, 2018

Did you know that every day more than 290 Americans die from suicide or a drug overdose?

With proper treatment, many of these tragedies could be prevented — but despite a law that guarantees coverage, people face enormous roadblocks when they seek care.

In 2008 President George W. Bush signed the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Act).

The Parity Act mandates equal insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as compared to other medical/surgical benefits covered by the plan.

According to its new website parityat10.com, “Parity at 10 seeks to ensure that insurance carriers and state Medicaid programs comply with the law so that consumers can access the evidence-based health care they need and are entitled by law to receive.”

What does equal insurance coverage mean?

It means ending insurer discrimination against access to timely and affordable care including high out-of-pocket costs and shorter lengths of care for MH/SUD.

Parity — which is another word for equity — in this case means that MH/SUD coverage must be provided on par with coverage of medical and surgical care.

Notably, this legislation was the result of a bipartisan effort by Sens. Paul Wellstone, a liberal Democrat, and Pete Domenici, a conservative Republican. What the senators had in common were personal family experiences that motivated their tireless efforts to pass this law.

Parity saves lives. Parity law is a civil rights law that has not been vigorously enforced by the States, which have the primary responsibility for enforcement of private insurance and Medicaid.

One of the most pernicious violations and barriers to care is inadequate networks of MH/SUD providers.

North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center documented this in its 2018 Project Access Study which surveyed 650 Long Island consumers of MH/SUD care. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said that it was easier for them to access medical/surgical care than MH/SUD Care.

Nationally, patients responding to a National Alliance on Mental Illness survey reported being denied twice as often for mental health care as for medical-surgical care under the Affordable Care Act.

The actuarial firm Milliman reviewed claims data in New York and found that patients had to go out-of-network for MH/SUD care far more often than for medical/surgical care — a very expensive proposition that flies in the face of the Parity Act.

At North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, we are a proud partner of the Parity at 10 Compliance Campaign. On August 10 I attended an inaugural Parity at 10 meeting in Albany with my fellow advocates and top officials in the Cuomo administration.

Some of the details in this column were included in the policy brief provided to Gov. Cuomo. The consensus among the advocates was that insurers do everything in their power to skirt parity.

Another staunch supporter of the original legislation was Patrick J. Kennedy, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Kennedy struggled with mental illness and addiction for most of his life.

In his book “A Common Struggle,” Kennedy said the battle ahead is for the law to be enforced in the face of health insurers who stand to profit by denying the full range of coverage for people living with mental illness and addictions.

Kennedy rightly frames the inequities that people with mental illness and addictions face as a matter of civil rights.

Discriminatory insurance coverage for those with mental health and substance use disorders must end. When insurers do not comply with the law and enforcement is inadequate, millions of Americans are at risk.

Andrew Malekoff is the Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, which provides comprehensive mental health services for children from birth through 24 and their families. To find out more, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org.

“Reach Out and Remember,” By Andrew Malekoff, Anton Media Group, September 12, 2018

In the aftermath of the 17th anniversary of September 11, I offer a remembrance of several groups of people—all Queens court personnel—whom I spent a day with in their courthouse, just three days after the 2001 terrorist attack.

The people I met with included individuals with missing relatives or friends, individuals with relatives or friends confirmed dead, individuals who were in the World Trade Center complex during the attack, individuals with family members who barely escaped, and individuals who witnessed the attack and collapse of the Twin Towers from courthouse windows. All were deeply affected. Most were in a state of shock and disbelief.

When I arrived at the courthouse, I learned that I would be meeting with three groups of 8 to 12 people each. I was called in by an official from an Employee Assistance Program to offer a supportive group experience. We met in a vacant courtroom. I arranged chairs around two adjacent prosecution and defense tables.

As I awaited the first group, a court officer said, “Today should be interesting.” I asked him what he meant. He said, “It’s foreclosure Friday.” He explained that every Friday they have an auction of foreclosed property and, typically, about 200 Arab-Americans participate in the auction, signaling a sense of mounting unease with people of Middle Eastern descent.

I greeted the first group, and one by one the participants revealed signs and symptoms of trauma and stress. These included numbness, shock, headaches, loss of appetite, aches and pains, frequent trips to the bathroom, sleeplessness, flashbacks, startle responses to loud noises (especially airplanes), helplessness, gruesome nightmares, anger, uncertainty, guilt and fear.

Fear was a powerful theme. Many felt that the courthouse was unsafe. During the final group meeting a female court officer walked in unannounced and searched for explosives, explaining there was a bomb threat.

At least one or two people wept openly in each group, women and men. In each group at least one person left the room to compose themselves and then came back. More than one person said, “I can’t stop crying.” And more than one said, “I can’t cry.”

Anger was a prevailing theme. There was anger at the government. “How could they let this happen?” they asked.

Many shared feelings of disbelief, saying how surreal it seems. One said, “I am in a semi-daze; I feel like I’m not even here.”

Guilt was prevalent, especially about going on with mundane day-to-day activities. A court officer said he felt insignificant, like “a grain of sand.” He said he felt helpless and wondered if he was going crazy.

One group participant’s son escaped from the 78th floor. He took the stairs. His co-workers waited for the elevator. They didn’t survive. The son’s story was retold by his mother through sobs. When he emerged from the building, she shared, he witnessed “flaming bodies falling from the sky.” Two others held her hands as she told the story.

In each group people reached out to comfort one another through physical touch and understanding words. In one group a woman who said she couldn’t understand why she hadn’t cried was brought to tears by another’s pain over a missing sister.

In closing, the participants in one group agreed that “it’s good to know you’re not alone,” and “it’s good to know you’re not going crazy.”

I found the intensity of that experience and the participants’ ability to reach out to one another moving. Although I was there to facilitate, my role was to bear witness. It confirmed for me what I was already feeling; when facing incomprehensible tragedy and overwhelming grief we must push ourselves to forgo isolation and reach out to one another.

Andrew Malekoff is the executive director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center.

“Kids First: Look at Where We Have Come,” by Andrew Malekoff, Blank Slate Media, August 31, 2018

“Kids First: Look at Where We Have Come,” by Andrew Malekoff, Blank Slate Media, August 31, 2018

Did you know that every day more than 290 Americans die from suicide or a drug overdose?

With proper treatment, many of these tragedies could be prevented — but despite a law that guarantees coverage, people face enormous roadblocks when they seek care.

In 2008 President George W. Bush signed the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Act).

The Parity Act mandates equal insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as compared to other medical/surgical benefits covered by the plan.

According to its new website parityat10.com, “Parity at 10 seeks to ensure that insurance carriers and state Medicaid programs comply with the law so that consumers can access the evidence-based health care they need and are entitled by law to receive.”

What does equal insurance coverage mean?

It means ending insurer discrimination against access to timely and affordable care including high out-of-pocket costs and shorter lengths of care for MH/SUD.

Parity — which is another word for equity — in this case means that MH/SUD coverage must be provided on par with coverage of medical and surgical care.

Notably, this legislation was the result of a bipartisan effort by Sens. Paul Wellstone, a liberal Democrat, and Pete Domenici, a conservative Republican. What the senators had in common were personal family experiences that motivated their tireless efforts to pass this law.

Parity saves lives. Parity law is a civil rights law that has not been vigorously enforced by the States, which have the primary responsibility for enforcement of private insurance and Medicaid.

One of the most pernicious violations and barriers to care is inadequate networks of MH/SUD providers.

North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center documented this in its 2018 Project Access Study which surveyed 650 Long Island consumers of MH/SUD care. Nearly 50 percent of respondents said that it was easier for them to access medical/surgical care than MH/SUD Care.

Nationally, patients responding to a National Alliance on Mental Illness survey reported being denied twice as often for mental health care as for medical-surgical care under the Affordable Care Act.

The actuarial firm Milliman reviewed claims data in New York and found that patients had to go out-of-network for MH/SUD care far more often than for medical/surgical care — a very expensive proposition that flies in the face of the Parity Act.

At North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, we are a proud partner of the Parity at 10 Compliance Campaign. On August 10 I attended an inaugural Parity at 10 meeting in Albany with my fellow advocates and top officials in the Cuomo administration.

Some of the details in this column were included in the policy brief provided to Gov. Cuomo. The consensus among the advocates was that insurers do everything in their power to skirt parity.

Another staunch supporter of the original legislation was Patrick J. Kennedy, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Kennedy struggled with mental illness and addiction for most of his life.

In his book “A Common Struggle,” Kennedy said the battle ahead is for the law to be enforced in the face of health insurers who stand to profit by denying the full range of coverage for people living with mental illness and addictions.

Kennedy rightly frames the inequities that people with mental illness and addictions face as a matter of civil rights.

Discriminatory insurance coverage for those with mental health and substance use disorders must end. When insurers do not comply with the law and enforcement is inadequate, millions of Americans are at risk.

Andrew Malekoff is the Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, which provides comprehensive mental health services for children from birth through 24 and their families. To find out more, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org.

“Lessons from the Field,” by Andrew Malekoff, Anton Media’s Long Island Weekly, Aug 22-28 2018

In recent years I have written about concussions in youth sports in this space, with a special focus on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease of the brain that is the result of repetitive brain trauma. This was something I knew nothing about in my teenage years. As a high school and college football player in the 1960s and ’70s, using one’s head as a battering ram and shock absorber was expected.

Beyond the discovery of CTE and what it has generated in the way of much-improved player safety, August never fails to evoke memories of twice-daily summer practices when guys like me went to “training camp” before school started. Training camp lasted about two weeks. It was usually hot out. They were two weeks that felt like a year. Those were the make or break days of my youth. No one was cut from the team as long as they showed up, but many did not last.

The rawest depiction of a brutal summer football camp can be found in the book The Junction Boys by Jim Dent. The subtitle of the book is How Ten Days in Hell with Bear Bryant Forged a Championship Team. Although I never went through anything quite like the Junction Boys did, it seems that all high school and college football players have similar war stories about summer camp.

I’m not about to rehash what I’ve since learned since the discovery of CTE and the need for protective measures or share stories from my summer football camp days. However, at the risk of being cliché, there are some important lessons I learned from playing football.
As we round out another August, I thought I’d share a few of those lessons here. Most have served me well. Some have a downside.

1. Punctuality

As the saying goes, showing up is half the battle. But don’t just show up; be there on time. In football there were serious consequences for being late, but losing the respect of one’s peers eclipsed them all.

2. Hard work

Know that when you are working hard, there are others working just as hard and others who are not. Push yourself to surpass your opponents and inspire your teammates.

3. Stoicism

Keep your head up. Push through disappointment and injuries. This is mostly a good trait, but it can also prevent you from seeking the support you need when you really need it, physically and emotionally. Vulnerability is not a lesson I learned in football.

4. Dependability

It is essential that others who are pulling with you toward accomplishing a goal know that they can always count on you. There is a brotherhood that forms on a football team that demands dependability.

5. Humility

Enjoy success but don’t be boastful. Have gratitude for all those who helped to support your success.

6. Perseverance

Never give up. It is what your adversaries expect. By pushing through missteps and setbacks you learn what it takes to succeed and that your capacity to overcome failure is greater than you anticipated.

7. Resilience

As the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers Vince Lombardi said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” To survive playing football, resilience is essential.

Fortunately, these lessons can be learned in many places other than the football field. Any group activity that requires teamwork, sacrifice and shared goals generate important life lessons. Make sure the young people in your life put down their cellphones and other tech gadgets and take up a sport, join a club or get involved in the arts, to name a few possibilities. They’ll grow into better people—and with no head-butting required.

“North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center Partners with Neiman Marcus,” Anton Media, August 8-14, 2018

“North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center Partners with Neiman Marcus,” Anton Media, August 8-14, 2018

Roslyn Heights, NY, August 2, 2018 — North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center held its 5th Annual Ladies’ Night Out event on Thursday evening, July 19th, at the beautiful Neiman Marcus Garden City store. This marked the second year in a row that the Guidance Center partnered with Neiman Marcus in an event that offered exceptional beauty services and raffle opportunities to the women of our local communities and also raised awareness of the programs and services offered by the Guidance Center.

All proceeds from the event will support the Guidance Center’s mission to provide help and healing to children and families dealing with mental health issues and to combat stigma and discrimination. Guests savored delicious small bites from NM Cafe and sipped unique bubbly libations while they were treated to brow shaping and makeovers by Neiman Marcus makeup artists, along with blow-outs and hair styling from Manhasset salon nuBest.

North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center Partners with Neiman Marcus

Carol Marcell, a member of the Guidance Center’s Board of Directors, brought her mother Joyce Bruno and two of Bruno’s friends. “This was the second time my mom and I attended Ladies’ Night Out, and she didn’t hesitate to accept my invitation once again and to bring along her friends,” says Marcell. “We got our hair blown out by a charming young man from nuBest. And all of us loved looking at the clothes, jewelry and shoes at wonderful Neiman Marcus!”

“Neiman Marcus Garden City is very proud to be a supporter of the North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center,” says Doris Wilshere, Vice President, General Manager at Neiman Marcus, Roosevelt Field. “It is our corporate philosophy to support and give back to our local community, particularly with organizations that are centered on children and family. Since our opening in 2016, we have been an ongoing partner with the Guidance Center and will be for the future. We look forward to a growing partnership.”

“The Guidance Center is grateful to the philanthropic team at Neiman Marcus,” says Nancy Lane, Board President. “The events we hold at the store are very special.”

About Us:

As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other mental health professionals lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug and alcohol abuse; and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma and divorce. For 65years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call (516) 626-1971.

About Neiman Marcus Group:

Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC is a luxury, multi-branded, omni-channel fashion retailer conducting integrated store and online operations under the Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, Horchow, CUSP, and mytheresa brand names. For more information, visit www.neimanmarcusgroup.com.

Keep up with the latest news and events happening at Neiman Marcus by becoming a fan on Facebook, following us on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

Ladies Night Out 2018 at Neiman Marcus Garden City

Ladies Night Out 2018 at Neiman Marcus Garden City

NEIMAN MARCUS PARTNERS WITH LOCAL CHARITY FOR LADIES’ NIGHT OUT

Roslyn Heights, NY, August 2, 2018 — North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center held its 5th Annual Ladies’ Night Out event on Thursday evening, July 19th, at the beautiful Neiman Marcus Garden City store. This marked the second year in a row that the Guidance Center partnered with Neiman Marcus in an event that offered exceptional beauty services and raffle opportunities to the women of our local communities and also raised awareness of the programs and services offered by the Guidance Center.

All proceeds from the event will support the Guidance Center’s mission to provide help and healing to children and families dealing with mental health issues and to combat stigma and discrimination. Guests savored delicious small bites from NM Cafe and sipped unique bubbly libations while they were treated to brow shaping and makeovers by Neiman Marcus makeup artists, along with blow-outs and hair styling from Manhasset salon nuBest.

Guidance Center Board President Nancy Lane shares a laugh as she receives her makeover.

 

Carol Marcell, a member of the Guidance Center’s Board of Directors, brought her mother Joyce Bruno and two of Bruno’s friends. “This was the second time my mom and I attended Ladies’ Night Out, and she didn’t hesitate to accept my invitation once again and to bring along her friends,” says Marcell. “We got our hair blown out by a charming young man from nuBest. And all of us loved looking at the clothes, jewelry and shoes at wonderful Neiman Marcus!”

“Neiman Marcus Garden City is very proud to be a supporter of the North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center,” says Doris Wilshere, Vice President, General Manager at Neiman Marcus, Roosevelt Field. “It is our corporate philosophy to support and give back to our local community, particularly with organizations that are centered on children and family. Since our opening in 2016, we have been an ongoing partner with the Guidance Center and will be for the future. We look forward to a growing partnership.”

“The Guidance Center is grateful to the philanthropic team at Neiman Marcus,” says Nancy Lane, Board President. “The events we hold at the store are very special.”

About Us:

As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other mental health professionals lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug and alcohol abuse; and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma and divorce. For 65years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call (516) 626-1971.

About Neiman Marcus Group:

Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC is a luxury, multi-branded, omni-channel fashion retailer conducting integrated store and online operations under the Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Last Call, Horchow, CUSP, and mytheresa brand names. For more information, visit www.neimanmarcusgroup.com.

Keep up with the latest news and events happening at Neiman Marcus by becoming a fan on Facebook, following us on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

Garden City Welcoming Club Donates $30,000 to  North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center

Garden City Welcoming Club Donates $30,000 to North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center

oslyn Heights, NY, July 23, 2018On July 18, 2018, the Welcoming Club of Garden City presented North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center with a check for $30,000. The donation was the result of more than a dozen events the club held during the 2017-2018 season, all of which benefitted the Guidance Center. Just a sampling: a Halloween fair, Santa Christmas brunch, several movie nights and a fashion show.

One of their flagship fundraising events was held on May 15 as the Welcoming Club of Garden City hosted their Spring Soirée at the Garden City Hotel. The event featured fabulous boutique shopping, getting-to-know-you games, a Garden City trivia contest, great raffle prizes and a delicious buffet.

“It was a fun and fabulous night that allowed the ladies of the Welcoming Club of Garden City to come together with old friends and mix and mingle to meet new ones in a chic and festive atmosphere,” says Meg Dockery-Cremins, President of the Welcoming Club. “The Spring Soirée was the culmination of a year’s worth of family, couples and ladies events to benefit North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center.  The wonderful vendors and community sponsors provided fabulous prizes which enabled us to make a generous donation to the Guidance Center, which we view as a critically important organization in the community.” 

“We are so grateful to the members of the Welcoming Club of Garden City for making us the beneficiary of their events for this season,” says Lauren McGowan, Director of Development for the Guidance Center who, as a Garden City resident, also chaired the Philanthropic Committee for the Welcoming Club. “The funds that they raised will go directly to our core mission of helping Long Island children and their families who are in need of mental health or substance use care. We could not do our work without generous donations from community-minded organizations like the Welcoming Club.”

Meg Dockery-Cremins (center) presents a $30,000 check to Guidance Center Executive Director Andrew Malekoff and Director of Development Lauren McGowan.

Guidance Center Receives Advocacy Award

Roslyn Heights, NY, June 29, 2018 —North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, is pleased to announce that the Guidance Center and its Executive Director, Andrew Malekoff, have been named as a recipient of the Leaders of Mental Health Awareness Awards from NAMI-NYS (the National Alliance on Mental Illness-New York State).

“Ensuring that people living with a mental illness have access to appropriate psychiatric services is of the utmost importance to NAMI-NYS,” says Matthew Shapiro, Associate Director, Public Affairs, NAMI-NYS. “One of the main barriers keeping people from these necessary treatments is a lack of insurance parity and network adequacy. This is a crucial issue which does not nearly receive the attention it deserves.”

In December 2017, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center released Project Access, a year-long research study that asked 650 Long Islanders about the ease or difficulty of accessing mental health and addictions care. Some of the key findings:

  • Almost half of the participants said that it was more difficult finding help for mental health or substance use problems than finding help for physical illnesses, especially when they were in crisis.
  • Nearly 40% said that their insurance company did not have an adequate number of providers.
  • Two thirds told us that their insurance company was not helpful to them in finding a suitable provider for themselves or a loved one.

Although health insurers are required by law to offer an adequate network of providers from which their beneficiaries can choose, the law is widely ignored. “It’s heartbreaking and infuriating that when someone makes the difficult decision to seek out professional help for a mental health or substance use problem, they often face enormous roadblocks, including a lack of providers who take their insurance or waiting lists of six months or even longer,” says Malekoff. “The difficulty people have getting care is not simply a matter of stigma and discrimination. This is a civil rights issue and often a matter of life and death.”

“We are tremendously grateful to Andrew Malekoff and North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center for the incredible work they are doing to raise awareness of this issue,” says NAMI’s Shapiro. “Their Project Access study detailing the struggles many individuals and families experience in trying to access care was eye-opening for many and has been a true catalyst for the reforms which are necessary to create a more mentally healthy New York State. It is truly an honor to recognize Andrew’s commitment to parity and network adequacy by

presenting him with one of the Leaders of Mental Health Awareness Awards, especially this October, which marks the 10-year anniversary of the federal Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.”

The award will be presented at NAMI’s 2018 Education Conference on the evening of Friday, October 26th in Albany, NY.

Guidance Center Hosts 22nd Annual Krevat Cup

Guidance Center Hosts 22nd Annual Krevat Cup

Event raised more than $230,000 to support children’s mental health agency

Roslyn Heights, NY, DATE, 2018 North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, once again hosted a joyful event filled with golf, tennis and an extraordinary dinner at our 22nd annual Jonathan Krevat Memorial Golf & Tennis Classic on Monday, June 18, 2018, at The Creek in Locust Valley. The event raised more than $230,000 to support the Guidance Center’s work to bring hope and healing to children and families dealing with mental health or substance use challenges.

This year’s honoree was Ed Haug, Managing Partner of Haug Partners LLP, a pioneer East Coast law firm and provider of synthesized, multidisciplinary legal services for life science and technology businesses.

“Everyone had a great time on this magnificent golf course and on the tennis courts, and the elegant steak and lobster dinner was exquisite” said Haug. “But the most important thing is that we came together so that children and their families will continue to receive the life-saving services of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center Guidance Center.”

Left to right: Guidance Center Executive Director Andrew Malekoff, event co-chairs Mike Mondiello and Troy Slade, honoree Ed Haug and event founder Jeff Krevat.

The co-chairs for this year’s Krevat Cup were Michael Mondiello, Michael Schnepper and Troy Slade. In addition,

Dan Donnelly, last year’s honoree, served as the auctioneer at this year’s event. “It’s all about the kids,” said Donnelly, a longtime support of the Guidance Center. “I consider it a privilege to be here today to help raise money to support the incredible work that truly makes a difference in the lives of children and their families.”

“We’re so grateful to all of the people who worked so hard to make this year’s event a huge success,” said Andrew Malekoff, Executive Director of the Guidance Center. “Their dedication to our work enables us to provide the services to all those who need them, despite their ability to pay.”

Birth Justice Warriors Fight Inequality

Birth Justice Warriors Fight Inequality

Grant will help educate community about racial disparities in birth outcomes

Roslyn Heights, NY, June 14, 2018 North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, is pleased to announced that we received a $2,800 grant from the March of Dimes Greater NY Market. The grant will go toward supporting the Birth Justice Warriors Project, an initiative that focuses on improving the health of black mothers and their babies.

The concept of the Birth Justice Warriors, an initiative co-chaired by the Guidance Center’s Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust and Hofstra University’s Dr. Martine Hackett, was born out of the crippling bias and injustice faced by black and brown mothers in the United States in general and in Nassau County in particular. According to the New York State Department of Health, a black woman is up to four times more likely to die in childbirth than a white mother. In Nassau County, the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is 9.4 for black babies versus the 2.2 reported for white non-Hispanic babies.

The three communities at highest risk are (in order) Roosevelt, Hempstead and Westbury/New Cassel.

“I think most people are surprised—I certainly was—when they find out that an affluent suburb like Nassau County has such high infant and maternal mortality rates in certain areas for black mothers and babies, higher than it is in New York City,” says Dr. Hackett. “Lack of awareness means that these poor health outcomes are basically invisible, and if you can’t see these problems, then you can’t act on them.  Birth Justice Warriors will use local residents to increase the understanding of the causes of infant and maternal mortality and what we can do about it.”

“Our goal is to bring education and awareness to this issue of inequality, which has a multitude of contributing factors,” says Dr. Taylor-Walthrust, Director of the Leeds Place, a Guidance Center site. “We’re going to educate people at all levels, from women in the community to pediatricians, nurses, health care professionals, elected officials and those in faith-based institutions. Ultimately we want legislation to be written that guarantees that this crucial information is delivered to all women of child-bearing age.”

Action is also being taken on the state level. On April 23, 2018, Governor Cuomo announced an initiative to target maternal mortality and reduce racial disparities in health outcome. The initiative includes efforts to review and better address maternal death and morbidity with a focus on racial disparities, expanding community outreach, and taking new actions to increase access to prenatal and perinatal care.

To find out more about the Birth Justice Warriors, contact Dr. Walthrust-Taylor at (516) 997-2926, ext. 229, or email NTaylorWalthrust@northshorechildguidance.org.

Guidance Center Hosts Free Community Forum on Vaping Dangers

Guidance Center Hosts Free Community Forum on Vaping Dangers

Roslyn Heights, NY, May 21, 2018 — On Thursday, May 17, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center hosted a free community forum on the dangers of e-cigarettes, vaping and other substances such as new concentrated forms of marijuana. The forum was held at the Guidance Center’s Leeds Place location, at 999 Brush Hollow Road in Westbury.

“Marketers are selling teens and even younger kids on the idea that vaping is safe,” says Kathy Knaust, Clinical Supervisor at Leeds Place. “They’re also making the products more appealing to younger ages, including creating products such as fruit- and dessert-flavored vaporizer Juuls and decorative vape pens.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of young people have taken up vaping—a trend that could push back decades of progress in helping prevent kids from taking up smoking. The U.S. Surgeon General’s office reports that, along with nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful ingredients such as ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.

The seminar also discussed the fact that teen marijuana users are also more likely to be exposed to newer, more potent forms of marijuana, including a dangerous marijuana extract called “dabs” that is rapidly gaining in popularity. “We are seeing many more clients reporting that they’re using THC oil or THC wax,” says Dr. Nellie Taylor-Walthrust, Director of the Leeds Place. “It’s a very alarming trend, especially when they can’t know for sure what other substances may be added.”

Other information covered included how these marijuana products are produced and the dangerous chemical byproducts that are left as residue. Says Knaust, “It is a much concentrated form of THC that is addicting and causes hallucinations, psychotic symptoms, ER visits and long-term damage due to the chemicals involved, mostly butane.  These are becoming more sought-after products due to the potency and due to the fact that when vaped there is no smell; therefore they can be used undetected in public places or in school or in the home.”

The forum also featured Nassau County Police Officer Yolanda Turner from Community Affairs at Police Headquarters in Mineola. “Parents need to know that kids are vaping right in front of them and they likely don’t even know because it is colorless and odorless,” says Officer Turner. “It’s been spreading to children as young as fifth grade.”

Spring Soirée Benefits North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center

Spring Soirée Benefits North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center

Spring Soirée Benefits North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center

Welcoming Club of Garden City Donates All Proceeds to the Mental Health Organization

Roslyn Heights, NY, May 17, 2018 — On Tuesday, May 15, the Welcoming Club of Garden City hosted their Spring Soirée at the Garden City Hotel, with all proceeds going to benefit North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, the premiere not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island.

The event featured fabulous boutique shopping, getting-to-know-you games, a Garden City trivia contest, great raffle prizes and a delicious buffet.

“Tuesday was a fun and fabulous night that allowed the ladies of the Welcoming Club of Garden City to come together with old friends and mix and mingle to meet new ones in a chic and festive atmosphere,” says Meg Dockery-Cremins, President of the Welcoming Club. “The Spring Soirée was the culmination of a year’s worth of family, couples and ladies events to benefit North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center.  The wonderful vendors along with our generous community sponsors provided fabulous prizes which will allow us to make a generous donation to The Guidance Center, which we view as a critically important organization in the community.” 

“We are so grateful to the members of the Welcoming Club of Garden City for making us the beneficiary of their events for September 2017 through June 2018,” says Lauren McGowan, Director of Development for North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center. “The funds that they raise will go directly to our core mission of helping Long Island children and their families who are in need of mental health or substance use care. We could not do our work without generous donations from community-minded organizations like the Welcoming Club.”

The Welcoming Club of Garden City is a well-established women’s organization of over 650 members that focuses on welcoming new members to our community while promoting charitable and humanitarian projects. The Club offers many social activities/events for couples, children, families and nights out for the ladies. Some of the events they offer include: running/walking, tennis, golf, bowling, gourmet club, book club, bunko, toddler playgroups, family events, ladies nights, social events and movie night. To learn more, visit www.thegardencitywelcomingclub.org.

Guidance Center Spring Luncheon Raises More Than $68,000

Roslyn Heights, NY, April 30, 2018 — On Thursday, April 26, 2018, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, raised more than $68,000 to support our mission to restore and strengthen the emotional well-being of children and their families.

The event, which took place at Glen Head Country Club, began with exciting games of Mahjong, Canasta and Bridge, along with unique shopping boutiques from some of Long Island’s trendiest and most charitable small business owners, including Dale’s Novelty Knits, Dash, Designs That Donate, iThrive, Kostume Klassics, Museum Coffee House and RFC Fine Jewelry, among others. 

Following the delicious luncheon buffet came a most informative and engaging presentation by keynote speaker Dr. Victor M. Fornari, MD. Dr. Fornari is Director of the Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at The Zucker Hillside Hospital and Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center and Professor of Psychiatry & Pediatrics at the Donald & Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He discussed the latest developments in the field of children’s mental health, focusing on the Mobility study currently being done in conjunction with the Guidance Center and others of a medication named Metformin.

“The purpose of this study is to determine if adding Metformin to a healthy lifestyle program would help children and teens control weight gain caused by certain medications,” said Dr. Fornari. He explained that a large percentage of some anti-psychotic medications for children and adolescents cause weight gain, which increases the risk of developing Type II diabetes as well as cardiovascular, neurological and digestive conditions.

Dr. Fornari cited “the courage” of Dr. Reena Nandi, the Guidance Center’s Director of Psychiatric Services, Executive Director Andrew Malekoff and other Guidance Center colleagues for playing such a central role in this study. He also said that the Guidance Center is “the most productive of all of our partners.”

He also told the audience that this is the largest pediatric psychopharmacological study ever funded by PCORI, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

“We are proud to partner with such a prestigious and patient-outcome drive study,” said Dr. Nandi. “We’re eagerly awaiting the results, which could have a dramatic impact on the health of children and adolescents.”

The luncheon couldn’t have been so successful without the hard work of our co-chairs, Jan Ashley, Amy Cantor and Alexis Siegel. “For several years, these three dedicated Guidance Center supporters have taken on the formidable task of organizing this exciting and informative event,” said Malekoff. “Their dedication to our mission is unwavering.”

We are also grateful for the support of our sponsors, without whom we couldn’t host such a terrific event. They are: The Children’s Medical Center at NYU Winthrop Hospital; Ruth Fortunoff Cooper; Americana Manhasset; Nancy Lane; Andrea Leeds; Signature Bank; Amy Cantor; Fara Copell; Klipper Family Foundation; Tracey Murray Kupferberg, CBR; Power Travel; Raich Ender Malter & Co. LLP; Alexis Siegel; Linda Cronin; Ann Dorman & Kenneth Adler; Joan Grant; Carol Marcell; Nanci Roth; and Carol Wolowitz.

About Us:

As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other mental health professionals lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug and alcohol abuse; and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma and divorce. For more than 60 years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and

compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call (516) 626-1971.

The Guidance Center Hosts Panel Discussion on Teens and Mental Illness

The Guidance Center Hosts Panel Discussion on Teens and Mental Illness

Includes Book Signing by author of Creative Mind: A Diary of Teenage Mental Illness

Roslyn Heights, NY, April 17, 2018On Friday April 13th, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center hosted a program featuring Long Island author Nicole Nagy.

Nagy’s book, Creative Mind: A Diary of Teenage Mental Illness, is a moving first-person account of her mental health challenges and also of the roadblocks she faced when trying to access timely and affordable treatment.

Nagy, a graduate social work student at Stony Brook, has also become a Project Access advocate, fighting alongside the Guidance Center for timely, affordable access to mental health and addictions care. The April 13 program featured Nagy’s discussion of her journey to healing and also addressed the battle to overcome stigma.

Nicole Nagy signs her book for Guidance Center Associate Executive Director Regina Barros-Rivera.

“In her book, Nicole writes with an authentic, courageous voice as she talks about her experiences with depression and anxiety,” said Andrew Malekoff, Executive Director of the Guidance Center.  “With this book, Nicole has helped lift the fear of stigma by so honestly sharing her story. In addition, her advocacy for people struggling with mental health issues is very powerful. The battle for access to care is a matter of civil rights for millions of people.”

Even with excellent health insurance, Nagy said that getting access to treatment was very difficult. “It took weeks to get an appointment after I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt,” she said. When she was finally able to get the help she needed, she “learned to own and manage my illness and love myself.” Her goal is to share her story with everyone she can and give them hope.

The April 13th event included insights from an outstanding panel: Nancy Manigat, Chief Program Officer of CN Guidance & Counseling Services; author and psychotherapist Sean Grover; Kerry Lynn Eller, a social worker at North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center who has experienced the difficulty of accessing mental health care in her own family;   and the Reverend Gideon L. K. Pollach, rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cold Spring Harbor, NY.

“Nicole’s story shows that having mental illness and being successful are not mutually exclusive,” said Eller. Grover talked about the need for adults to remember what it was like being a teenager and to “tap into our humanity,” while Pollach spoke of the need for communities of faith to fight for parity for mental health and addictions treatment.

Left to Right: Andrew Malekoff,  Sean Grover, Nicole Nagy, Kerry Lynn Eller, Nancy Manigat, and Reverend Gideon L.K. Pollach.

Manigat, Chief Program Officer of CN Guidance & Counseling Services, applauded Nagy for being an advocate, and also spoke about the importance of the Project Access study, which surveyed 650 Long Islanders about their experience trying to find mental health care. “We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center on this very important study with the goal of improving access to lifesaving services for individuals living with a mental health and/or substance use disorder,” said Manigat.  “Through our participation with Project Access, we were able to provide significant data which helped identify obstacles to care.  At CN Guidance and Counseling Services, we believe in every individual’s ability to recover – and access to care is a necessary component of treatment. We are enthusiastic about the potential for change to come through the results of this survey.”

For more information about Project Access, email Guidance Center CEO Andrew Malekoff at amalekoff@northshorechildguidance.org. You can order Creative Mind on Amazon.com.

About Us:

As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other mental health professionals lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug and alcohol abuse; and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma and divorce. For more than 60 years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call (516) 626-1971.

Andrew Malekoff honored by Fair Media Council for “Best Column” March 29, 2018

Andrew Malekoff honored by Fair Media Council for “Best Column” March 29, 2018

Roslyn Heights, NY, March 29, 2018 — North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center Executive Director Andrew Malekoff was honored today at the Fair Media Council’s Folio Awards as Best Columnist. His winning column was “Looking for a Path Back to Civility,” which ran in Newsday’s Opinion section on September 17, 2017.

North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center Board Members Jo-Ellen Hazan and Rita Castagna; Frank Castagna of Castagna Realty Co.; and Andrew Malekoff, Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center

Here is an excerpt from the column:

Most people I talk to agree that civility is on the decline. Everyone seems to have his or her own horror stories, whether it is inconsiderate neighbors or co-workers, aggressive driving or just plain rudeness.

Highways have become the Wild West. Hardly anyone comes to a complete stop for a stop sign. The yellow traffic signal has evolved from its original meaning, slow down, to speed up. And, of course, there are tailgating, middle-finger salutes and rampant road rage.

Today, there is so much talk about putting an end to bullying in schools. Yet, we live in a world of adults who don’t think twice about trampling personal boundaries through rude, intimidating and obnoxious behavior.

If we cannot reverse the trend, we can at least slow down and teach our children, after we remind ourselves, the importance of putting a pause between impulse and action. Perhaps it is somewhere inside of that sacred space that we can find our way back to a civil society.

“I’m honored to receive this prestigious journalism award, especially for this piece that I’ve come to realize has such universal appeal,” says Malekoff.

“It’s more important than ever for responsible, credible voices to take a leading role in the public conversation to ensure we have an informed public and a smarter democracy,” says Jaci Clement, CEO and Executive Director of Fair Media Council. “Winning a Fair Media Council Folio Award illustrates North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center’s commitment to bettering the community by raising awareness, and cements its role as a Long Island leader.”

James Kinney, Partner at Mazars USA and Chair of the Board of Directors of Fair Media Council; Andrew Malekoff, Executive Director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center; and Jaci Clement, CEO and Executive Director of Fair Media Council.