Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board
The purpose of the Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board (PCTAB) is to function as a community-government partnership that will support Philadelphia’s efforts to infuse peer culture, peer support services, and peer leadership throughout its behavioral health system.
As a panel of stakeholders, the PCTAB is charged with
- Creating a shared vision for the future of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and disAbility Services (DBHIDS) system transformation with an emphasis on peer culture, peer support services, and peer leadership in Philadelphia;
- Advising DBHIDS in the creation of a three-year strategic and operational plan that guides DBHIDS, behavioral health stakeholders, and the broader community in moving toward that vision;
- Advising DBHIDS on the vision, structure and development of a Peer Institute that will serve a central role in the execution of the plan;
- Establishing a professional development framework with associated deliverables and timeframes that ensure the creation of a skilled, supported, and high-quality peer support workforce informed by best practice, the Peer Support Toolkit, and the experiences and talents of peers who have paved the way for excellence in Philadelphia.
Recognizing that this effort cannot and should not be accomplished by DBHIDS alone, the PCTAB will also be responsible for identifying and mobilizing community-based strategies that can work in concert with those executed by DBHIDS.
How to Get Involved
The PCTAB will comprise up to 20 members, at least 70 percent of whom will represent individuals and family members with lived experience with behavioral health conditions. In addition to people who have historically helped to lead Philadelphia’s efforts related to peer support services, membership will also include people who have recently received services, people who are providing peer support services, people who have been leaders and advocates for peer support work, supervisors of peer staff, providers who have been successful in integrating peer staff, and other influential community stakeholders who could impact the work. If you are interested in becoming a member of the PCTAB, please read the charter and complete the membership application below. We will consider your application, if and when openings occur. Thank you.
Email completed and signed membership applications to email@example.com.
Co-Chairperson of the Board Mersadies S. Bonilla
Mersadies S. Bonilla is a servant, advocate, and public speaker. She is the Chief Compliance Officer with The Advocacy Foundation and serves as a liaison to Pennsylvania elected officials, behavioral health facilities, and educational institutions. She came to Philadelphia to attend college and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in public administration. Having served as a peer supervisor with many organizations in Pennsylvania, Mersadies has developed peer support programs throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Mersadies’ participation with the Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board is due to her advocating for the development of the peer transformation and inclusion culture. She prides herself on holding stakeholders accountable as it pertains to peer support services.
Secretary of the Board Melissa Groden
Melissa Groden, MS, HS-BCP, CFRS Director of Prevention, Training & Education, has 25 years’ experience in the behavioral health field and has worked at The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania for 12 years overseeing the prevention, school services, and training programs. She has also been an adjunct professor at Chestnut Hill College for 12 years, instructing and writing curricula in classroom and hybrid format for the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Melissa is a board certified human services professional and a certified trainer in Pennsylvania Student Assistance Program and Youth Mental Health First Aid. She holds a master’s degree in Administration of Human Services from Chestnut Hill College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in criminal justice from Temple University. The Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board welcomes her organizational skills and overall expertise.
Board Membership Chairperson Jose Ferran Jr.
Jose Ferran Jr. is a Philadelphia native who loves people and loves to serve people. He has learned from both the negative and positive social environment experiences of growing up in Philadelphia. Since 2012, Jose embraced recovery and healing by stewarding relationships, learning, healing, and working on physical/green environmental spaces. Jose has assisted youth impacted by community violence in hospital and community settings and equipped young men living in recovery to be difference makers. Now he serves as a Life Set Specialist with Turning Points for Children supporting young adults who age out of state care to transition into adulthood. Jose encompasses the youth perspective on the Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board, and he leads the Membership group.
Matthew Anticoli (he/him) is a Certified Peer Specialist and Learning & Development Specialist with The Institute at Mental Health Partnerships. He is a graduate of Cornell University who received his bachelor’s degree in American studies. At Cornell, Matthew worked as a teaching assistant for two years in the Computer and Information Sciences Department, where he co-led discussions on ethics and technology as well as technological history. As a graduate of the COVID-era, Matthew has extensive experience as a student with Canvas, zoom, and other virtual learning tools; he has also worked with these tools as an educator, developing online curricula for Cornell and teaching as a graduate student for Indiana University Bloomington. Matthew worked as a facilitator for Cornell’s Intergroup Dialogue Project and for the University’s LGBT Resource Center as a Peer Panel Facilitator.
John K. Carlson
John K. Carlson is the executive director of Transformation to Recovery, a faith-based recovery community center and ministry of Christ Church Philadelphia. John has an MBA and a marketing degree. He is a certified recovery specialist with Biblical addiction-counseling certification and lived experience. John attended a bible addictions-rehab ministry at Americas Keswick for four months.
John served as the volunteer coordinator, Certified Recovery Specialist, and Philadelphia Peer Leadership Trainer at the Council of Southeast Pennsylvania PRO-ACT in Philadelphia. John’s new focus includes passionate service in the behavioral health industry. Along with this focus, John is called to lead the nonprofit organization Transformation to Recovery Addictions Ministry. He continues to facilitate PRO-ACT’s educational trainings, which include the Philadelphia Peer leadership Academy, Volunteer Orientation, Recovery Planning, Self-Disclosure, and Self-Care. John is a faith-based recovery champion, and the Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board welcomes him.
Jennifer King, MA, CFRE, is the executive director of The Council of Southeast Pennsylvania. Jennifer has a master’s degree in professional communication from LaSalle University and has held her Certified Fund-Raising Executive credential since 2015. Previously, she was the director of advancement for Penn Foundation. Before that, Jennifer worked in fundraising in Bucks County and in San Diego. She serves on the board of the Bucks Mont Collaborative, chairing the Membership Committee, and serves on the advisory board for Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency. She brings years of seasoned experience and professionalism to the Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board.
James Klasen is a learning and development specialist with Mental Health Partnerships. Jim is an advanced-level WRAP Facilitator and certified Older Adult CPS trainer. He brings over 35 years of experience from the workforce development field. Jim has worked with youth, welfare recipients, persons returning from prison, and persons impacted by trauma, mental health, and substance-related challenges. Jim is a CPS and brings lived experience, sharing his recovery journey openly as evidence that recovery and wellness are both possible and probable. His journey has led naturally to his “encore career” as the Institute’s representative to Delaware County. The Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board is happy to welcome a champion of recovery.
Bill Krebs grew up in Philadelphia and was labeled with a developmental disability at an early age. In first grade, it was hard for him to keep up with the regular kids, so he was left back the next few years until he was finally tested. It was revealed that Bill had a developmental disability. He was placed in special education classes where he was self-contained, meaning everything took place in the class and you didn’t get to see the other kids. After he graduated, Bill felt fortunate to find a group called “Speaking for Ourselves.” He now utilizes his lived experiences to teach individuals how to speak up for themselves and know their rights.
Bill now works for Liberty Resources supporting others with developmental disabilities and autism. He facilitates a monthly group in which he provides support and resources. Bill is also an advocate coordinator for individuals with developmental disabilities at Keystone Services, an organization that has offices all over the world. Bill Krebs is a leader of a self-advocate movement and sits on several committees throughout the state. He is a proud recipient of the Brighter Futures Award, Justin Dart Award, and the Mental Health Association Award, among others. He brings an IDS perspective to the PCTAB, and we are excited to have him on board.
Onzie Travis is a graduate of Community College of Philadelphia and Saint Joseph’s University. Onzie has lived with co-occurring challenges for 55 years, with 29 years of successful long-term recovery. He is supervisor of Peer Services at Omni Health Care Services. Onzie is an Independent consultant, curriculum designer and former trainer for MHASP, now known as MHP, as well as a former addictions counselor and a former litigation paralegal. His credentials include: CPS, CADC, CPRP, and MHFA Instructor. Onzie has trained more than 600 Certified Peer Specialists, several classes of supervisors, and over 200 Mental Health First Aiders. He joined Philadelphia’s DBHIDS Faith and Spiritual Affairs Advisory Board in 2012, Pro-Act’s Vision Team in 2010, Pa. Peer Support Coalition Advisory Board in 2016, and PCTAB in 2019. Onzie is honored to serve on the Peer Culture Transformation Advisory Board.