The Advisory Board of IACAF serves an important function in fulfilling our overall mission. Members of the Advisory Board provide our organization with their professional expertise; their diverse knowledge of essential perspectives; and their connections to local, national or international resources, colleagues or peers. The Advisory Board has no governing function within the organization but provides an important role to its Executive Director and programs by sharing their unique experiences and perspectives.
Crystal Brandow Ph.D.
Crystal Brandow Ph.D. has been working in the fields of behavioral and community health for nearly a decade, including efforts related to children’s mental health, youth behavioral health, health and wellness, trauma, community action, statewide family networks, systems of care, and homelessness. Her interests include broader, interdisciplinary topics related to public health communication, health disparities, and media effects. Dr. Brandow is a Senior Project Associate at Policy Research Associates, Inc. She is a Founding Member of the Society for Health Communication and a member of the American Public Health Association, in addition to working as a consultant with HumanKind Workshop and Inspired Vision, LLC.
Cathy Cave has 30 years of experience as an administrator, facilitator, and consultant. She specializes in cultural competence and disparities elimination, trauma informed services and supports, strength based approaches with individuals, youth and families, and leadership within child welfare, education, juvenile justice, disaster response, mental health, domestic and sexual violence advocacy, healthcare and corrections. She is one of New York State’s early trauma champions, coordinating county collaborative and annual trauma conferences. Currently, Cathy provides technical assistance on trauma, cultural competence, wellness and peer support through the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health, SAMHSA’s Programs to Achieve Wellness. She also provides assistance to The National Center on Trauma-informed Care, governmental agencies and advisory bodies, coalitions, and directly to human service organizations throughout the country. She served 7 years in the executive staff position as the Director for Cultural Competence at the New York State Office of Mental Health, addressing disparities elimination and inclusion of cultural considerations into services and supports. She is recognized for her work in the integration of cultural competence and trauma-informed approaches. She also consulted with many national technical assistance centers and brings her experiences with survival, healing family and community trauma, leadership and organizational development to all that she does.
Laura Delano is a founder and the Executive Director of Inner Compass Initiative (ICI) and The Withdrawal Project. The passion she feels for the mission and vision of ICI arises from the fourteen years she spent lost in the mental health system and the journey that she’s been on since 2010, when she chose to leave behind a “mentally ill” identity and the various treatments that came with it, and gradually began to rediscover and reconnect with who she really was and what it means to suffer, struggle, and be human in this world. Through her personal journey she’s come to believe that the darkest parts of ourselves are often our best teachers, and that our pain is something to listen to, lean into, explore, learn and grow from—not fear, suppress, run away from, or pathologize and seek to shut down. In the Boston area, she worked for nearly two years for a large community mental health organization, providing support to and advocating for the rights of individuals in emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals, and institutional “group home” settings. Recently, she began consulting with individuals and families seeking help during the psychiatric drug withdrawal process. Laura has also given talks and workshops in Europe and across North America, facilitated mutual-aid groups for people in withdrawal, and organized various conferences and public events such as the Mad in America International Film Festival.
Robert Spicer M.S. Ed.
Robert Spicer is a national trainer and speaker on restorative justice practices. Prior to working at Community Justice for Youth Institute, Mr. Spicer worked at Christian Fenger H.S., first as the Chief Dean of Discipline, Restorative Justice and Code Switching, and then as the Culture and Climate Coordinator, where he effectively implemented restorative justice practices to sustain a safe and stable school climate. Mr. Spicer received President Obama’s National Volunteer Service Award in 2013, and his work was featured in the eight part docudrama “ChicagoLand.”
Wendy West-Pidkaminy LCSW-R
Wendy West-Pidkaminy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified School Social Worker, Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University, Nurtured Heart Specialist, and the Author of two books: Parenting Challenging Children with Power, Love and Sound Mind and Jimmy and Julia's Rainforest Adventure. Wendy owns and operates Nurturing Life Concepts, LLC, a counseling, consultation, professional and parent coaching organization dedicated to leading people of all ages, throughout the world, to realize their life's passion, purpose and vision.