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James Maney, Executive Director, NY Council on Problem Gambling 

James has been passionate about raising awareness about problem gambling and getting help to those in need for over 30 years. He has been leading the discussion on problem gambling through speaking and educating professionals and community members across the nation, and testifying in front of the New York State Legislature on many occasions supporting and urging for policies to help those adversely affected by problem gambling. As the Director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) for the last 20 years, he has helped increase awareness and education about problem gambling, and has been a strong proponent for increasing services available to those adversely affected by problem gambling across New York State. Before leading NYCPG, he was the Director of the Center for Problem Gambling, and worked as a treatment clinician helping clients find hope and happiness in recovery from problem gambling.


Email Adress: JManey@NYProblemGambling.org


Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, Commissioner, NY Office of Addiction Services and Supports

Dr. Cunningham is a physician, researcher, and public health professional who brings over 20 years of expertise in substance use treatment to OASAS. Prior to joining OASAS, she served as the Executive Deputy Commissioner of Mental Hygiene at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, was a practicing physician at Montefiore Health System, and a Professor of Medicine, Family and Social Medicine, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Cunningham has more than 20 years' experience in research, care, and program-development that focuses on people who use drugs. She has also partnered with community-based organizations to develop pioneering programs to promote the health of this population. Dr. Cunningham led one of the first clinics in New York City to integrate buprenorphine into primary care. She has trained hundreds of doctors to treat substance use disorders in primary care. She has also led several research studies and published numerous research articles that focus on treating substance use disorders.


Email Adress: email address


Jody Bechtold, LCSW, ICGC-II, BACC, PC

Jody Bechtold, LCSW, ICGC-II, BACC, PCis a highlyregarded gambling addiction expert workingextensively across the globe with individuals, organizations,and associations. She is the CEO ofThe Better Institute, a group practice located inPittsburgh. She is the co-author ofTheGambling Disorder Treatment Handbook: A Guide forMental Health Professionalsand 2chapters in theSocial Work Desk Reference v 4onGambling and Gaming Disorders, publishedin 2021. She serves as the Vice President of the boardfor the International Gambling CounselorCertification Board (IGCCB). Jody holds a master’sdegree in social work from the University ofPittsburgh’s School of Social Work and has certificationsas a Board-Approved Clinical Consultant(BACC) and Internationally Certified Gambling CounselorLevel II (ICGC-II) with the IGCCB. WhenJody isn’t working, you can find her providing pettherapy with her dog, Hanna, and supportingher husband’s business, Pittsburgh Guitars. Pleaseemailjody@betterinstitute.comor visitwww.BetterInstitute.comto contact Jody Bechtold,LCSW, ICGC-II, PC.


Email Adress: jody@betterinstitute.com


Jonathan Crandall, Veterans Outreach Coordinator, NY Council on Problem Gambling

Jonathan Crandall served eight years in the United States Marine Corps. Crandall served as a Team Leader for the Scout/Sniper Platoon of Third Battalion, Sixth Marines (3/6). Following his time with 3/6, Crandall was assigned to the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) training unit as their Chief Instructor for the Designated Marksman Course. After his 4th MEB assignment, Crandall returned home to Syracuse, NY where he served the remainder of his time with Echo Company, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion. While in service, Crandall earned the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Combat Action Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Armed Forces Service Medal, among others. Upon completion of his military obligation, Crandall continued service in Iraq as a Private Military Contractor for the U.S. State Department providing protective security for diplomats working as Provincial Reconstruction Teams. Following his time overseas, Crandall worked as a Corrections Officer before determining that his life direction was not following his moral compass, nor at the standard he was groomed to uphold. Crandall graduated with his Bachelor's degree in Social Work and now lives a purpose driven life as the Veteran Outreach Coordinator at the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG).


Email Adress: jcrandall@nyproblemgambling.org


James Syphax, Community Prevention Manager at Prevention Action Alliance

James serves as a Community Prevention Manager at Prevention Action Alliance, the state-level behavioral health prevention provider in Ohio. In addition to providing training and technical assistance to prevention coalitions across Ohio James also manages the agency’s problem gambling prevention activities. James is a member of Ohio’s Problem Gambling Advisory Board, is part of the team managing Ohio’s Before You Bet and Change the Game campaigns and serves on NCPG’s prevention committee and emerging trends subcommittee. Prior to serving at Prevention Action Alliance James was a community coalition coordinator and school-based prevention specialist.


Email Adress: jsyphax@preventionactionalliance.org


Michelle L. Malkin, JD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at East Carolina University

Michelle L. Malkin, JD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at East Carolina University. She received a Bachelor's degree in sociology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a Juris Doctorate degree from Northeastern University School of Law, and her Master's and Doctorate degrees in criminal justice from Michigan State University. Michelle's research interests include a focus on problem gambling and gambling-motivated crime. In 2018, she received a research fellowship for her research on women and gambling-motivated crime from the Center for Gaming Studies at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Email Adress: malkinm20@ecu.edu


Dr. Grace Hennessy, Associate Chief for Addiction Psychiatry at the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS)


Dr. Grace Hennessy graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, received her medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine, completed her residency in Adult Psychiatry at McLean Hospital and completed an Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship through the Partners Healthcare Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship program in Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Hennessy served as the Medical Director of the Partial Hospital Program for the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Program at McLean Hospital for 3-years post-fellowship. After moving to New York in 2003, she was a research psychiatrist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute for two years before joining the Mental Health Service at the Manhattan Campus of the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System. During her fifteen years at the VA, Dr. Hennessy served as the Director of the Substance Abuse Recovery Program and was also the Section Chief for Hospital Psychiatry during her final two years. Dr. Hennessy held several leadership roles in the New York University School of Medicine Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship before serving as the Program Director from 2017 through mid-2020.

Dr. Hennessy joined the Office of Addiction Services and Supports as the Associate Chief for Addiction Psychiatry in June 2020. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Grossman School of Medicine.

Email Adress: Grace.Hennessy@oasas.ny.gov


Tracey Little, LCSW-R, M-CASAC(G), SIFI


Tracey D. Little is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Registered in the State of New York and Georgia. Tracey has worked in Social Services for close to 25 years. Tracey has been working with NYCPG since 2016 providing treatment to individuals and significant others affected by problematic gambling. She currently runs a private practice (Concern4Community ) with 5 great clinicians focusing on mood disorders, addiction and trauma. As the name of her practice indicates, Tracey is concerned with the functioning of communities. She often provides community education on problematic gambling, treatment options and prevention strategies. As such, Tracey is very passionate and committed to being part of the Solution to increase awareness, treatment access and recovery supports.

Email Adress: traceydlittle@yahoo.com


Nicole Augustine, Founder, RIZE Consultants LLC

Nicole received her B.A. in Sociology from Cornell University and her Master of Public Health from The George Washington University School of Public Health. She has served as the Project Coordinator for the Southeast PTTC, the Project Director of the NC Behavioral Health Equity Initiative, and the Prevention Director for the Addiction Professionals of NC. Nicole currently serves as an Advanced Implementation Specialist with the Opioid Response Network.

In 2015, Nicole founded RIZE Consultants, LLC. RIZE provides advisory services that increase performance, prioritize diversity, and cultivate the development of equitable and inclusive work environments. RIZE is anchored in a core value: Diversity breeds innovation. Nicole believes a focus on innovation is critical to addressing the substance misuse issues plaguing our society.


Email Adress: nicole.augustine@rizeconsultants.com


Dr. Heather Chapman, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Dr. Heather Chapman is a clinical psychologist, an International Certified Gambling Counselor and Board-Certified Clinical Consultant for the National Council on Problem Gambling, and a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. She is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, Deputy Director of the Veterans Addiction Recovery Center and the Director of the Gambling Treatment Program at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, the only residential and leader of gambling treatment for the VA and Department of Defense. She speaks throughout the world on problem gambling. Her research interests include the relationship of gambling behavior with trauma, suicidality, and treatment engagement and retention.


Email Adress: Heather.Chapman@va.gov


Daniel L. Smith, BACC ICGCII LCSW MARS SAP CISD

Smith is a clinical educator, online facilitator and experienced teacher/practitioner of alternative complementary medicine including meditation, wellness, and journey work for over thirty years. As a licensed therapist and trainer in clinical/university settings since 1973, Smith provides clinical consultation in the US for the International Gambler Counselor Certification Board; previously sat on the American Gambling Counselor Certification Board; and is a featured speaker both in person and online. Specializing in gambling, addiction, recovery, and schizophrenia, Smith currently treats addicts and their families, as Clinical Director of BetNoMore Gambling Programs at Assessment Counseling Solutions, St. Louis, Missouri. Smith has delivered consultation, training, and counseling in person since 1989 and online since 2010. Smith has taught for many state affiliates of NCPG, and is an independent contractor and consultant for Hope Medical Center in Las Vegas NV US, specializing in wellness, eating disorders and other addictions. He is online coordinator of gambling services for HOPE. He is one of several well-known trainers on the clinical staff providing direct service, and available for research/consultation.


Email Adress: dan@hopemedicalcenter.org


Leilani Yizar-Reid, Team Leader, Mid-Hudson Problem Gambling Resource Center, NYCPG

Leilani Yizar-Reid is currently the Team Leader for the Mid-Hudson Problem Gambling Resource Center, a program of the NY Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG). In this role, she leads problem gambling training and prevention efforts throughout the Mid-Hudson Region. Prior to her work at NYCPG, Leilani served as a staff person in the New York City Prevention Resource Center supporting community coalitions in reducing addiction in their communities. Leilani is motivated to help others seek and walk a journey toward individual wholeness. She has been blessed to have been taught by so many loving individuals about living a well and holistic life when her path was not clear. Leilani sees that her purpose is to serve, to take the lessons she learned, and to help others walk their authentic journey. Leilani’s believe that everyone has the right to live a whole and healthy life.


Email Adress: lyizar@nyproblemgambling.org


Kelly D.

Hi, I'm Kelly D., the wife of a recovering compulsive gambler. I've been in recovery for approximately 8 months. In that time, I've learned so much and met so many great people in this community. I dove into my recovery with hopes to understand this disease better and in interim learned a lot about myself. I hope that by sharing my story with others it will help with their recoveries.


Allison Weingarten, Director of Policy for Friends of Recovery - New York.

Allison serves as the Director of Policy for Friends of Recovery – New York. She works daily with recovery advocates from around the state to build local recovery capital and give advocates the tools to establish and grow local recovery community organizations (RCOs). Allison serves as a liaison between the local recovery advocates and NYS Government decision makers sharing with the local RCOs about decisions being made in Albany and advocating with local RCOs to advance the recovery movement. Prior to joining FOR-NY, Ms. Weingarten served as an Empire Fellow at both the New York State Division of Budget (Non-profit Coordination Unit) and the New York State Commission on National and Community Service. She was the Program Director for the After-School Enrichment & Summer Discovery Day Camp at the Queens Community House (QCH) in Forest Hills, New York. Prior to working for QCH, Allison served as Legislative Director of the NYS Assembly Subcommittee on Workplace Safety under its Chair, former Assembly Member Rory Lancman. Allison’s achievements have resulted in several honors, including being named one of New York State Non-profit News’ “40 Rising Stars under 40” (2016), and New York State News’ “40 Rising Stars under 40” (2010). Allison holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University, and a Masters in Social Work; Community Organization, Planning and Development from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.


Email Adress: aweingarten@for-ny.org


Brian Hatch

Brian gambled to harm from the age 18-32. He started All In: The Addicted Gambler's Podcast as a way to talk about his addiction. Since that time the podcast has amassed over 300 episodes about gambling addiction.


Email Adress: leestreetpod@gmail.com


  • The New York Council on Problem Gambling is a not-for-profit independent corporation dedicated to increasing public awareness about problem and disordered gambling and advocating for support services and treatment for persons adversely affected by problem gambling. NYCPG maintains a neutral stance on gambling and is governed by a Board of Directors.

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