Special NAMI Membership Meeting and Election on June 11th at 6:30 PM

Current members in good standing may vote in the election of candidates to the NAMI
 Bucks County PA Board of Directors at 6:30 PM on Thursday, June 11, 2020 
immediately before the NAMI Forum held on Zoom. A majority vote of the general
 membership present and whose dues are current is required for approval. We are pleased to
 have four NAMI members seeking election to the Board, and three members seeking 
re-election. At the beginning of our meeting, we will have an election for these
 candidates.

Please join 
us using the following credentials to login:

Join Zoom Meeting: bit.ly/NAMIVirtual

Dial-in by Phone: 1-646-558-8656
Meeting ID: 912 202 4943
Meeting Password: 202901

Candidates Seeking Election to the Board

The NAMI Bucks County, PA Board of Directors is recommending the following to serve
 on the NAMI Bucks County PA Board of Directors for a three-year term. You may vote 
for all or just the candidates that you wish.
 (Download .PDF Ballot)

Tahira Ahmad-Khan is a Bucks County resident and has worked in mental health for
 Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) since 2008—of which 5 years were in London—and
 then transferred through work to the US. She performed specialized work in
 Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Major Depressive 
Disorder. Tahira brings a great passion for serving those living with mental illness
 and wishes to be a voice for those who are often unable to bring their experience into 
the public domain, and for raising awareness in the local community. As a woman of
 color and British, Tahira would like to explore opportunities for cultural inclusion in
cultures where mental health remains a challenging area of discussion.

Christopher Capitano is an Account Manager for Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals and has
 worked in the CNS arena for more than 11 years. Christopher is a family member of
 loved ones living with mental illness, and hopes to be a voice for NAMI that bears
 impact. As a Veteran and volunteer at the VA of Philadelphia, Christopher thrives on
 being part of a team, and with NAMI, will help to expand awareness, broaden our 
reach, and increase our support network in the area of Veterans’ Mental Health.

Robert W. Fuchs, Jr. has been a Police Officer with Upper Makefield Township for
thirteen years, and serves as one of the department’s CIT (Crisis Intervention Team)
 Officers. Throughout his years as a Police Officer, he has handled many incidents
 where a mental illness was present and required treatment rather than incarceration. Robert brings a dedication to helping those suffering from crisis and the capability of
 developing a rapport with those in need and creating relationships. He was honored
 with NAMI Bucks County’s Advocate of the Year Award in 2019 for his dedication to 
improving the lives of Bucks County residents impacted by mental illness.

Dr. Patrick McElwaine is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and also Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Dr. McElwaine is an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at Holy Family University and a faculty member at the Beck Institute. Dr. McElwaine has over 23 years of clinical experience in various settings. The settings include community mental health, primary care, private practice, wrap around services, residential treatment facilities, inpatient hospitals and academia. With the Beck Institute, Dr. McElwaine provides supervision and conducts various workshops focused on Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide, and trauma. He is a member of multiple professional psychology organizations and he serves on the Montgomery County Drug and Alcohol Advisory Council. Dr. McElwaine also serves on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) board of trustees and the courtesy medical staff at Brooke Glen Behavioral Hospital (BGBH). At settings including NAMI, various school and hospital organizations, Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA) and the Lilly Conference, he has conducted numerous presentations related to mental health, addiction, stigma, and pedagogy.

Dr. McElwaine is also active in his recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. He believes that substance use disorder and mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief are closely connected. Currently, Dr. McElwaine has 11 years of continued recovery. Dr. McElwaine is a strong advocate for supporting individuals diagnosed with a mental health concern and/or addiction. He states “those who are in recovery or diagnosed with mental health disorders are resilient, strong, and empowered.” He is proud to be an active member of the Bucks County NAMI board expressing “I have seen first-hand the amazing job of advocacy that NAMI Bucks County has provided the community. They do amazing work.” In his free time, Dr McElwaine enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He enjoys running and is an avid sports fan and a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan.

Candidates Seeking Re-election to the Board

David Benincasa is a civil/structural engineer. He is a NAMI Peer-to-Peer mentor since 2012 and a NAMI Connection Facilitator.  Dave has been a Board member since 2017 and is currently the Chairman of the Stride Committee and is on the Community Support Committee. His family has benefited directly from NAMI’s Family to Family program.  Attending Peer to Peer and becoming a Peer-to-Peer mentor and Connection Facilitator has enriched his life by educating and supporting others with a mental illness. Dave offers the NAMI Board of Directors feedback and support as a person with a disability and an advocate for Peers and as a volunteer – No job is too small. Dave is also an officer with the Knights of Columbus.

Bonnie MacDonald is a family member of a person living with a mental illness.  Bonnie has been a Family-to-Family teacher since 2014.  She would like to be actively engaged in all of the activities of NAMI Bucks County and do so from the “inside”.  She feels that she is more effective in an association, when she participates on the board.  It was her involvement with NAMI Bucks County that made her effective in promoting the Recovery High School, which is now a reality for the residents of both Bucks and Montgomery Counties, as well as Philadelphia County.  Bonnie is actively involved in many community organizations such as  Kiwanis Club of Old York Road, serving her 3rd term as Lieutenant Governor of PA District 21, Friends of Boileau Farmstead, Bucks County Foster Care Program, Upper Moreland Historical Commission, former Girl Scout Assistant Leader Troop 4471, Judge of Elections – Ward 5-1 Upper Moreland, PA, Participant in READING TO ROVER program in elementary schools with therapy dogs, Owner/handler of therapy dogs in local hospitals and nursing homes, and NAMI Family-to-Family teacher.

Joanne Murray is a family member of a person living with a mental illness.  Joanne is a partner in a Doylestown Law Firm.  Her practice focuses on counseling small and medium-sized businesses as well as nonprofit clients. Joanne and her husband participated in the Family to Family class and felt that it helped them to provide needed support for their family member. She was elected to the Board in 2017 and shortly thereafter was elected to serve as Board President. Together with NAMI Bucks staff, Joanne used her professional skills to guide the organization through its recent reaccreditation process. She also drafted various policies that were adopted by the Board to ensure compliance with nonprofit organization best practices. Under her leadership, our Board has expanded to allow for increased diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. She hopes to continue this work in a second term on the Board.