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Board Members

MEMBERS OF THE MENTAL HEALTH BOARD

Board Officers:

Kara Chien
Chair
Kara Ka Wah Chien, JD
Seat # 3
Public Interest Seat
Appointee of Supervisor Jane Kim
            Ms. Kara Chien has worked for the public interest since becoming a lawyer in 1989. She has practiced law exclusively as a Deputy Public Defender for 23 years. Ms. Chien has extensive experience representing indigent clients in Juvenile, Criminal and Mental Health law. As the Mental Health Unit Managing Attorney, she and her team advocate for clients with chronic and severe mental illness -- both in civil and criminal courts. Ms. Chien endorses public education, early intervention and strong community support in promoting wellness for mental health.

Ulash Thakore-Dunlap
Vice Chair
Ulash Thakore-Dunlap, MFT
Seat #15
Mental Health Professional
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors
            Ms. Dunlap is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and holds a PPSc (School Counseling Credential.) Currently, she is core faculty at the Wright Institute, MA Counseling Psychology Program and adjunct at San Francisco State University MS Counseling Program. Ms. Dunlap also maintains a private practice in San Francisco. She is the Founder of Understand My Mind (UMM) providing free resources and support on wellness and mental health topics.
            Ms. Dunlap has extensive clinical experience working with children, adolescents, schools, families and adults. Her focus is providing culturally appropriate counseling to adolescents and school-based settings. Ms. Dunlap’s passion for school-based counseling services has led her to present on this topic at a national and international level and publishing articles on adolescent clinical needs, undocumented students and South Asian immigrant youth.
            In her free time, Ms. Dunlap is active in the community and is on several committees and boards including International Committee Member for the American Counseling Association (ACA), past Communications Officer for the Asian American Association (AAPA), past Chair for the Division On South Asian Americans, part of AAPA, past board member for The Children’s Book Press and current member for 3rdi South Asian International Film Festival.

David Elliott Lewis
Secretary
David Elliott Lewis, Ph D
Seat #7
Consumer Seat
Appointee of Supervisor London Breed
            David Elliott Lewis, PhD, majored in Psychology at UC Los Angeles. Originally driven to seek greater self understanding, as his focus shifted to practical applications of Psychology, he continued his education to obtain a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
            For the first part of his career, he worked as a management consultant to the Human Resources departments of large organizations. He helped create surveys, seminars and software to assist in executive performance assessment, training and development.
In addition, from 1985 to 1989, he taught Masters level courses in the Human Resources and Organizational Development program at the University of San Francisco.
He spent his first couple of years after graduate school working for the Mill Valley management consulting firm VICI Associates International. After leaving VICI, he co-founded and ran Strategic Edge (1985 to 2000), a database software development, publishing and management consulting company.
            At age forty, Dr. Lewis suffered a significant reversal of fortune - including the sudden loss of a parent, the collapse of a long marriage and then his business. This triggered a severe and disabling depression. With time and help from psychologists and other therapists, he has started to recover. Dr. Lewis’ values also changed and as a result, he transitioned to living simply and devoting his life to service, art and activism. He devotes his time to writing, photography and volunteering, all with a focus on improving himself by helping his community, the democratic process and striving for social justice.
            He has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Community Housing Partnership and also Central City Democrats. He is also on the board for the Alliance for a Better District 6.
            In October 2010, he started a public speaking tour for the Mental Health Association of San Francisco's S.O.L.V.E. program (Sharing Our Lives Voices & Experiences) to help destigmatize mental illness.


Terezie "Terry" Bohrer, RN, MSW, CLNC
Seat #4
Public Interest Seat
Appointee of Supervisor Aaron Peskin
            Terry Bohrer is a Nurse, Social Worker, and Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, with expertise in mental health public policy. Prior to moving to San Francisco in 2011, she worked for ten years as a professional consultant specializing in Disaster Mental Health, Veterans Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Peer Support, and non-profit agency organizational development and grantsmanship. For over 20 years Mrs. Bohrer was employed in directing and managing local and state government agencies and programs, including Director of the Maryland Patients’ Rights program, Director of the Prince George’s County Health Department Disability Support Services and Director of the Prince George’s County Core Service Agency (the local mental health authority).
            Her numerous volunteer activities over the past 45 years include: President and Board Member of the Maryland Mental Health Association; President of Community Crisis Services, Inc. (a suicide prevention hotline serving five Maryland counties); Board member and Government Affairs Chairperson of the Prince George’s County Mental Health Association and Mental Health Association of Maryland; Member League of Women Voters; Member Association of University Women; President of the Women’s Political Caucus of Prince George’s County; Coordinator for the American Red Cross National Capital Area, Mental Health Lead (worked 9/11 at the Pentagon, DC floods and many local disasters); Member NAMI; and from 1978 to 2011, member of the Maryland Governor’s Mental Health Advisory Committee (a committee with a similar purpose to the San Francisco Mental Health Board).
            Mrs. Bohrer was a sought after trainer in Maryland, providing Mental Health First Aid Train-the-Trainer training when it was first adopted in the United States; mental health disaster planning and preparedness training for the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America); training for the American Red Cross in Psychological First Aid and Disaster Mental Health Services and most recently in ASIST, a nationally recognized suicide prevention training program. Her recent activities in San Francisco include volunteering for the Mental Health Association of San Francisco as Public Policy Committee Coordinator, and counselor at the San Francisco Suicide Prevention Center. Mrs. Bohrer is married to Dr. Norman K. Bohrer--they have four daughters (two live in California, one in Hawaii and one in Virginia) and three adult grandchildren living in California.


Mark Farrell, Board of Supervisors
Seat # 17
Board of Supervisors
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors
           Supervisor Mark Farrell represents District 2 in San Francisco, which includes the Presidio, Marina, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Anza Vista, Laurel Heights, Jordan Park, the Lake Street corridor, Sea Cliff and parts of Russian Hill.
           First elected in November 2010, and subsequently reelected for his second term in November of 2014, Supervisor Farrell currently serves as Chair of the Board of Supervisors’ Budget and Finance Committee, as a founding member of the 2016-17 Super Bowl Bid Committee, and also serves on eight other local and state Boards and Committees.
           Supervisor Farrell’s legislative priorities include advancing policies and projects that address housing affordability and the cost of living, homelessness, boost local economic development, ensure neighborhood vitality, and enhance public safety and quality of life issues that affect all San Franciscans.
           Since his election, Supervisor Farrell ushered through a unanimously supported two-year City budget that reflects San Francisco values and priorities, reformed the way San Francisco pays for retiree health care benefits - solving a $4.4 billion unfunded liability, and passed small business tax credit legislation so our City’s small businesses can hire more employees and create more local jobs. In addition, Supervisor Farrell created a public-private partnership between the San Francisco non-profit Kiva.org and San Francisco’s Office of Small Business to provide small businesses citywide greater access to capital at 0% interest, and became the first elected official in California to personally endorse Kiva borrowers on the platform.
           To address homelessness in San Francisco, Supervisor Farrell led the effort to double San Francisco’s Homeless Outreach Team, authored and passed Laura’s Law, which is a state law that allows for community-based compelled mental health treatment for the severely mentally ill, and has hosted numerous hearings on services and solutions to reduce and end homelessness in San Francisco.
           To help keep families in San Francisco, Supervisor Farrell created the Schoolyards Project which opens public schoolyards on the weekends to create more open space and foster a greater sense of community and annually sponsors the Marina Family Festival in District 2. Supervisor Farrell has also called hearings on family flight to find and discuss the root causes which are causing families to leave San Francisco, and has worked on policies and projects to help reverse family flight.
           To help integrate the benefits of technology into resident’s everyday lives, Supervisor Farrell led a broad coalition to create “Free Wi-fi” in our city parks, plazas and open spaces and is working to expand online access to all communities across our city. Supervisor Farrell also authored and passed the City’s landmark open data legislation that continued San Francisco’s national leadership in the open data movement and will promote further local economic development and government efficiency.
           Supervisor Farrell was born and raised in San Francisco, where he attended both Stuart Hall and Saint Ignatius. He received his B.A. from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, his M.A. from University College Dublin in Ireland, and J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in Philadelphia. Supervisor Farrell currently resides in San Francisco’s Jordan Park neighborhood with his wife and three children.

Wendy James
Wendy James
Seat #1
Consumer Seat
Appointee of Supervisor John Avalos
            Ms. James is originally from Southern California, then spent a number of years in Louisiana before
moving to the Bay Area. She has been in San Francisco since 1996. She has a grown daughter, three
grandchildren and one great grandchild.
           In September 2010, Mayor Newsom appointed Ms. James to the Mayor’s Office on Disability. There and on
the Mental Health Board, Ms. James is a strong advocate for seniors.
           Ms. James is a panelist for “SOLVE”, Sharing Our Lives, Voices, and Experience, hosted by the Mental Health
Association, and a NAMI educator with a certificate in peer-to-peer mentoring and self-help.

Virginia Lewis
Virginia S. Lewis, LCSW
Seat #5
Family Member Seat
Appointee of Supervisor Katy Tang
            Ms. Virginia S. Lewis, LCSW is a clinical social worker (MSW, UC Berkeley, 1985), a seasoned psychotherapist in private practice for over 20 years. She has wide-ranging expertise treating clients in many areas: depression, anxiety, anger; conflict resolution; addictions; emotional issues of chronic illness (HIV/AIDS); employment and Worker's compensation issues; transitions. Her clients are from diverse backgrounds including gay and heterosexual individuals and couples, people of color, as well as immigrants struggling with acculturation.
            Ms. Lewis was Advanced to Candidacy for her Ph.D. in Sociology at UCLA in 1977. For many years as a research sociologist/consultant, she worked with firms conducting large and small-scale evaluations of government and privately funded social and substance addiction prevention programs (drug, alcohol and domestic violence). She is familiar with the culture and operations of medical, justice, and social services organizations and with state and federal bureaucracies.
            Community service is a strong value of hers. In addition to her membership on the Mental Health Board, she is presently Board President of a private, non-denominational organization, the Night Ministry, which nightly provides counseling and service referrals in San Francisco's disadvantaged neighborhoods. The target population includes the destitute, people who are homeless and those who are severely mentally ill. She is responsible for achieving collaborative governance, program development and fund-raising. She is a member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) which provides assistance to the mentally ill and their families.


Toni Parks
Seat #12
Consumer Seat
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors
            Toni Parks is a native of Denver, Colorado and a graduate of University of Denver with a major in Art. She moved to San Francisco in 1974 because she visited once and left her heart here, so she returned, which was one of the best decisions she has ever made. She arrived at the beginnings of the gay movement and got involved with women’s support groups, Harvey Milk’s supervisorial campaign, and performance art. She spent decades as a health care worker for hospitals, non-profits and private doctors.
            A victim of eviction from an apartment of 25 years is how she ended up being a consumer of the system rather than a provider. Currently her interests are connecting the technology community with the reality of the needs of San Francisco, and to use their resources to assist with the disenfranchised.
            She expands her interest in technology by being a computer graphic artist.

Angela Pon
Seat #14
Family Member Seat
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors
            Ms. Pon joined the board in March 2016.  She will have bios available shortly


Gene Porfido
Seat #6
Consumer Seat
Appointee of Supervisor Malia Cohen
          I’ve spent most of my life working and performing in the music industry, as a musician, live and studio engineer, lighting designer, and producer. After many years of touring and working on all kinds of great music, I came to San Francisco to work in the gaming industry in 1999. After a few award winning games and remakes of classics like Operation and Candyland for computers, I woke up one morning with no feeling in my right hand. That led to a multitude of tests, layers of speculation, and a prognosis that left me angry, disappointed and eventually determined to fight back at what I considered a raw deal at the time.
          Permanent disability and heavy medication only led me deeper into a dark place I had never had any intention on visiting. It took a few years of being ‘OK’ with my situation, and a few eye opening experiences for me to realize I did not have to settle for anything, that I could have my life and my spirit back again…. I could, and I WILL fight back, if I ever want to be ‘myself’ again.
          It takes a lot of hard work to pick yourself up and pull all the pieces in, and put that back where they belong again. But it’s in all of us to have the ability to reach beyond our boundaries and through the fear, to begin advocating for ourselves both internally (by staying positive and winning small battles at a time), and external, using our voice and experiences to speak out and reach those who cannot, or who haven’t discovered their own way back yet… their own voice yet.
          The Mental Health Board is one of those places where we meet people who work very hard day in and day out to make things better for everyone, as well as those who are just grasping their first breath on the long journey back, from a place too many of us are familiar with. One battle, one victory at a time….Mr. Porfido joined the board in September 2015. Over the next few weeks, he will share his biography.

Harriette Stevens
Harriette Stallworth Stevens, Ed D
Seat #10
Family Member Seat
Appointee of Supervisor Mark Farrell
           Harriette Stallworth Stevens, Ed.D., is a mathematics educator and consultant. Currently, she is involved with an educational research project that focuses on classroom discourse and problem solving in urban schools. While she grew up in Alabama, she has lived in San Francisco for over 35 years with her husband and two adult children.
            Before coming to San Francisco, Dr. Stevens attended the University of Kansas where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics and Master of Arts in Education, with a concentration in Mathematics. In addition, she received her Doctorate in Education, with an emphasis in curriculum and instructional design, from the University of San Francisco. For over 25 years, she directed a mathematics professional development program for teachers at the University of California, Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science. In this capacity, she worked with urban-school teachers and their students and designed various curriculums to support students in succeeding in college and mathematics-based careers. Prior to working at the university, she worked at Cañada Community College, Redwood City, where she developed curriculum and coordinated a program that helped prepare college-level students for the health science professions. In addition, she also taught mathematics at the community college and secondary school levels across the country.
            In addition to being a teacher, Dr. Stevens is also a credentialed counselor. In her work, she found that many of her students faced life challenges that they needed to address in order to continue pursuing their academic work. As a result, she felt a need to become better equipped to listen to, advocate for, and provide her students, family members, and staff with as much guidance and counseling support as she could. For these reasons, she returned to school and earned a counseling credential at San Francisco State University.
            Dr. Stevens has the compassion and ability to understand other’s feelings and offer a nonjudgmental voice, especially to family members with a loved one with a serious mental illness.  For almost three years, she has experienced coping with and being a support to her child and the challenges he has faced.
            Throughout her career, Dr. Stevens has also been deeply involved in a number of professional and civic organizations. They include the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, California Mathematics Council, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Cal- PASS Professional Learning Councils, Blue Ribbon Committee/Bill and Melinda Gates High School Reform Initiative, and the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).
            Dr. Stevens is an accomplished NAMI family support group facilitator and has lead/co-lead monthly discussion groups for caregivers, families and friends in San Francisco. In this capacity, she is committed to fostering discussions that offer hope, and help families communicate, share experiences and become better able to cope with major challenges they face with a mental illness.
            As a San Francisco Board family member, Dr. Stevens will continue to contribute to essential mental health initiatives, offer a strong voice, advocate for individuals and families, and promote quality treatment and services for families and their loved ones.


Njon Weinroth
Seat #2
Consumer
Appointee of Supervisor Norman Yee
           I am a 20-year San Francisco resident. For the past decade, I’ve specialized in Administrative and Facilities Operations at a number of named tech start-ups. I was appointed to the Board of Directors of LifeRing Secular Recovery in 2011 and was subsequently reelected and appointed as board chair in 2014. Closer to home I have enjoyed volunteering for the North of Market Tenderloin Community Benefit District. In my free time I am an augmented reality games enthusiast and I write comedy.
           My background as an employee, a consultant, and a non-profit administrator gives me a unique perspective on the needs of the often-overlooked working class. Several years ago, when it became apparent that I was having issues surrounding substance addiction, I experienced great difficulty finding a path that would lead me to the help I needed. I had enjoyed a semi successful period of sobriety many years earlier and knew that the one-size-fits-all solutions that have become society’s standard would not be effective in my case. Additionally, being neither wealthy nor enrolled in any public assistance programs, I was left to my own devices to sort through the disparate multitude of peer-focused organizations and treatment centers, each aggressively marketing their particular facility or program. I was finally successful in finding the services I needed, but at a great expense in the way of time and only after a few false starts with programs that were ill suited to my individual needs.
           My goal for this term on the board is to facilitate the creation of a centralized, standardized and accessible database of local mental health service providers that can be leveraged by the public but also by affiliate and ancillary service providers.

Idell Wilson
Idell Wilson
Seat #16
Family Member Seat
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors
           Idell Wilson is a native of San Francisco and a single mother with four grown children. She shares her story of her family’s recovery, life experiences about single parenting, dual mental and others illness, homelessness, drugs, family, and community. She feels we need to work together to break the stigma about mental illness.
           She is a talk Show Host and Producer of BLACK DIVA TV Media, “Making The Impossible Possible” on San Francisco public access TV 29, every 1st and 3rd Friday @5:30-5:52PM. and internet www.bavc.org public access TV live stream 76. The staff and team that lead the TV show are people with mental illness and other disabilities.
           Idell’s motto for life is “never give up” and she really lives her belief. She has overcome tremendous obstacles in order to pursue a college education. She has also lived in an area of San Francisco where many shootings of teenagers have happened. One of her daughter’s was an innocent bystander in one of these shootings and fortunately survived.
           While working on her degree at San Francisco State University, she noticed the difficulties that other students with disabilities were having so she organized support services for these students. Then she took it a step further and developed her own local cable TV show where she trained women of all ethnicities with disabilities in the broadcasting arts.
           Her show focused on real people with real stories. She interviewed people who have overcome life’s challenges, highlighted people who have accomplished special things, and entertained and enchanted the audience with her passionate belief in others. For example she invited a homeless man to share his story on her show, but she told him that it was a professional studio and that he would need to take care of his hygiene. He surprised his case managers by complying and showing up for the interview freshly bathed. Idell inspires people to rise to their best.
           Idell was appointed to the San Francisco Mental Health Board early 2002 by a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and re-appointed in 2014. Between her two MHB appointments, she served as Chair of the San Francisco Mayor’s Disability Council. One of the issues she highlights for the board is the stigma of having a mental illness that makes recovery more difficult for many. She is keenly aware of the subtleties of the effects of stigma on people with a wide range of backgrounds.


Benny Wong, LCSW
Seat #8
Mental Health Professional Seat
Appointee of Supervisor David Campos
           Benny Wong immigrated to San Francisco in 1998 and got his Master Degree in Social Work in 2001. He has been working with immigrants, especially Chinese senior immigrants, for over 15 years. Currently, Benny Wong is a senior program director at SteppingStone: Golden Gate Day Health and a licensed clinical social worker. His specialties are mental health issues especially facing the senior immigrants. Because of this reason, Benny Wong has conducted different research studies starting from 2001. For example, he completed a research study, “Life satisfaction among Chinese Immigrant elderly in S.F” in 2001. In 2005, He completed another research study, “A comparative study of Chinese immigrant seniors’ and Caucasian-American seniors’ perception of their mental illnesses in S.F”. In 2013, he coordinated a research study, “Suicide in Chinese Older Adult”. Last year, he completed research regarding dementia and Therababy Doll.
           Benny is not only contributing his time on research but also teaching different professionals such as social workers and nurses. He has been a fieldwork instructor supervising social work interns from different universities since 2004 such as San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, University of California, Berkeley, California State University, East Bay and the City University of Hong Kong. He has been giving different presentations to the community regarding mental health and aging.
           Benny is familiar with the mental health services for seniors and adults in SF. Through his career, he has been very committed to advocating the rights of Asian Pacific Islander seniors. For example, he convened Asian Caucus in 2003. He was appointed to serve as a vice president for the Advisory Council to the Aging and Adult Services Commission from 2006 to 2011 and re-appointed as a Advisory Council to the Aging and Adult Services Commission in 2014.
           Due to his committed work, Benny Wong was selected as a recipient in the category of “Community Hero” in the First Annual Asian Pacific Heritage Award in 2007. He was selected again as a recipient in the category of “Community Advocacy Award” in the California Association of Adult Day Services Conference in 2010.
Benny Wong is appointed by Supervisor David Campos to serve the mental health board of San Francisco devotedly.

 

Board Seats in Numerical Order

Wendy James
Seat #01: Consumer
Appointee of Supervisor John Avalos

Njon Weinroth
Seat #02: Consumer
Appointee of Supervisor Norman Yee

Kara Ka Wah Chien, JD
Seat #03: Public Interest
Appointee of Supervisor Jane Kim

Terezie "Terry" Bohrer, RN, MSW, CLNC
Seat #04: Public Interest
Appointee of Supervisor Aaron Peskin

Virginia S. Lewis, LCSW
Seat #05: Family Member
Appointee of Supervisor Katy Tang

Gene Porfido
Seat #06: Consumer
Appointee of Supervisor Malia Cohen

Dr. David E. Lewis, Ph D
Seat #07: Consumer
Appointee of Supervisor London Breed

Benny Wong, LCSW
Seat #08: Mental Health Professional
Appointee of Supervisor David Campos

Vacancy
Seat #09: Family Member
Appointee of Supervisor Eric Mar

Harriette Stallworth Stevens, EdD
Seat #10: Family Member
Appointee of Supervisor Mark Farrell

Vacancy
Seat #11: Public Interest
Appointee of Supervisor Scott Wiener

Toni Parks
Seat #12: Consumer
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors

Vacancy
Seat #13: Family Member
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors

Angela Pon
Seat #14: Family Member
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors

Ulash Thakore-Dunlap, MFT
Seat #15: Mental Health Professional
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors

Idell Wilson
Seat #16: Family Member
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors

Mark Farrell
Seat #17: Board of Supervisors
Appointee of the Board of Supervisors