Other Staff


Ms. Neysa Acosta, MA, MFT, joined RWJBarnabas Institute for Prevention in the Spring of 2016 as a Prevention Specialist, where she will lead an evidenced-based comprehensive prevention program, TALK, in the Essex County school community. The program provides universal weekly classroom lessons and selective small psycho-educational groups to decrease the risk of drug use/abuse via the development of improved decision making skills. TALK provides families with a 7-week parenting program where Neysa will utilize the Strengthening Families evidence based curriculum to build family skills known to develop protective factors associated with reduced substance abuse that increases parenting skills, child social skills and improves family functioning overall. Staff development and community partnerships and referral services are an additional component to the program that Neysa will be facilitating in the community.

Neysa is an experienced and compassionate mental health professional dedicated to providing exceptional treatment while delivering results to individuals and families in need. She is trained on human development, behavior and therapeutic treatment and holds a Masters in Behavioral Sciences/Psychological Services, as well as a Professional Diploma in Marriage and Family Therapy from Kean University. Ms. Acosta is Bilingual in English and Spanish and has a track record of success in working with very diverse client populations of youth and families, and within different systems and settings including schools, homes and in/out-patient clinical programs. With over 13 years of experience in the mental health field, Neysa initially provided counseling services at adult partial care programs, working with clients diagnosed with a developmental delay and/or moderate to severe mental illness, as well as dually diagnosed clients with substance abuse addiction. She later worked as a Special Services and Mental Health Manager at a Head Start Preschool where she developed a deep passion for advocacy and parent training, and became experienced in navigating the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and all procedures related to special education and related services. Neysa moved on to working with the Early Intervention System of Passaic County, and for many years continued to service youth with developmental and social emotional disabilities and their families. She also practices as a lead Bilingual Clinician at a Counseling Center, providing one-on-one individual therapy, and marital or family counseling. Her counseling work includes treatment for Anxiety/Depression, Trauma, ADHD, family or marriage conflict and parenting issues.
Neysa’s systemic approach to therapy drives her ability to integrate families when working with youth and what will drive her work with RWJBarnabas and the school communities she serves.
ShaRonda AmonShaRonda Amon is a Prevention Specialist for the Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention. She facilitates the TALK program at Hope Academy Charter School in Asbury Park, NJ, working with children, parents and school staff. She has developed and conducted several workshops and trainings on topics, including substance use prevention, bullying and team building. She also facilitates the Strengthening Families program with children and families in Essex and Monmouth counties. She began in the prevention field running an after school peer leadership program for high school students in Asbury Park and Long Branch. Under her direction, the students won several awards, including a Proclamation from the City of Asbury Park. ShaRonda received her B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.
Edward BisceglieEdward Bisceglie is a Recovery Specialist for Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention. He has twenty-five years in the recovery community counseling families, individuals and adolescents. He assists those involved with the criminal justice system on a daily basis assisting families and their loved ones work toward a productive life.
Chris BrennanChris Brennan is a Recovery Specialist for Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and a former Securities Broker from Philadelphia and currently resides in Riverton, New Jersey. He is a recovered heroin addict since March 1994, during which time he has personally mentored many others through the recovery process. He is uniquely qualified in this area and looks forward to joining the Barnabas team.
Michele BuldoMichele Buldo, DART Colaition Coordinator, has more than ten years of experience in the field finance and has been with IFP since 2002. She received a bachelor’s of science degree in Business from Montclair State University and a master’s degree in Administrative Science from Farleigh Dickinson University. In 2013, Michele became the Coordinator of the DART coalition.
Michael CapkoMichael Capko is currently the DART Coalition Manager. In this role, he works to collaborate with community-based organizations and local community members to implement environmental prevention strategies aimed at reducing substance abuse in Ocean County. Michael has more than 7 years of experience in the field of substance abuse prevention. He previously worked as the Regional Coalition Coordinator in Union County. Michael holds his Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Management from Kean University.
Dan CarrollDan Carroll is a Recovery Specialist with Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention, originally from Southwest Florida and now an Ocean County resident working in addiction recovery for seven years. He has prior levels of treatment working in various levels of care including IOP, Residential Inpatient, and Sober Living Placement. He is a CADC, CCAR, Recovery Coach, First Aid/CPR/AED Certified, and currently enrolled in KEAN University. He as seven years of experience in the recovery process and is dedicated to his clients and helping them find their path on this journey to recovery.
Angela CicchinoAngela Cicchino from Ocean County is a Recovery Specialist for Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention. She has been in recovery for over four years and knows what it is like to have addiction change her life. She brings this experience to her job and the ability to understand and empathize with others. She takes great pleasure in helping to guide and empower those dealing with Substance Use Disorders so that they can make healthy changes in their lives that are necessary for the recovery process.
Neil CicconeNeil Ciccone is a Recovery Specialist with the Opioid Overdose Recovery Program In Ocean County. Neil has 25 years in 12 step recovery and is a certified interventionist.
Prior to that, in his early recovery, he worked with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and served a greeter for “Friends of Bill W.” a 12 Step recovery group at sea.
His professional career prior to 12 Step recovery, consisted of Sales and Marketing Manager for a number of large food distribution companies.
He has consistently held speaking commitments to bring the message of recovery in Prisons, Rehabs, Youth centers, and various other meetings since he began in the program. His solid foundation and ability to meet individuals where they are at in their path will be an integral part of the work as a Recovery Specialist and connecting people to treatment and recovery.
Krista DefilipoKrista DeFilipo As a Prevention Specialist with Barnabas Health, Institute for Prevention, Krista DeFilipo currently coordinates and facilitates a comprehensive school-wide prevention program for the staff, students and families of the Walnut Street Elementary School in Toms River, NJ. Krista has spent most of her career providing programming to children and families who are at risk- for delinquency and/or substance use disorders in several schools and communities throughout both Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

In addition, Krista is trained and facilitates the evidenced-based Strengthening Families program, is a trained Lead and Seed Facilitator, and is certified to work with trauma impacted children by providing, Skills for Psychological Recovery (SPR) and Classroom Based-Interventions (CBI). Krista has extensive experience working with and engaging children and families with a history of substance use disorders, divorce, involvement with New Jersey’s system of care, Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), probation and/or other social service agencies. Krista has developed and conducted trainings on topics relating to parenting, classroom interventions, bullying-prevention and working with children impacted by substance use disorders, as well as relaxation and meditation.

Krista’s passion is raising awareness among children and adults around building and enhancing the skills required for positive and healthy life long decision-making. She collaborates with several Ocean County youth and family serving organizations to support her passion. Krista graduated with a B.S. in Public Health from Rutgers University and holds her Certification as a Prevention Specialist (C.P.S.) from the Addictions Certification Board of New Jersey.
Aida E. Hernandez, M.A., LAC is a Prevention Specialist with Barnabas Health, Institute for Prevention, where she works implementing Evidence-Based programming with youth through the TALK Program in Monmouth County. With 10 years of experience working in the field of child development, behavioral health, and evidence-based instruction, Aida has experience working with individuals of all ages, in a variety of capacities, ranging from community outreach, to school and outpatient-based treatment and programming support. As a bilingual counselor, Aida has adapted interventions and sought collaborative support to address the diverse needs of Spanish-speaking communities. Aida earned her B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University, New Brunswick and earned her M.A. in Community Counseling from Montclair State University.
Jennifer MarzialeJennifer Marziale is the DART Coalition Director for Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention. In this role, she is responsible for managing all grants that support the Coalition and implementing sustainable prevention programs and strategies to reduce substance abuse in Ocean County. She has more than five years of experience in the field of substance abuse prevention in both local government and non-profit agencies. Most recently, Jennifer served as the Regional Coalition Project Director in Monmouth County. Prior to that, she was an Alliance Coordinator and spent more than eight years as a Research Assistant for the Freehold Area Health Department. Jennifer earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Ithaca College.
Eric McIntireEric McIntire is a Recovery Specialist for Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention. He has over 12 years in the recovery field from starting a nonprofit organization to providing a 24-hour help hotline as well as providing interventions for families of loved ones who suffer from addiction. He is a volunteer for the EAP of his union of over 10,000 members. He has been continuing his education in the addiction field with the Union by attending Labor Assistance Professionals training and continues to bring the message of hope to the still sick and suffering addicts in prisons jails and institutions.
Lee PlattLee Platt is a Recovery Specialist with Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and a retired NJ Police Officer. He is also an Interventionist and Outreach Coordinator. Lee has been in recovery for six years and continues to give back what was so freely given to him, a message of hope and a different way of life. He specializes in helping the substance abuse disorder sufferer start their spiritual journey and has aided in the placement for all stages of treatment along with a commitment to be involved with the continuum of care.
Joel PomalesJoel Pomales is a Recovery Specialist with Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention. In long-term recovery himself, he is a dedicated recovery-advocate with the mission of helping others with substance use disorder, while raising awareness and eliminating stigma that surrounds addiction and recovery. He is a CCAR-Certified Recovery Coach and assisted in developing the Mentorship Program at the Raymond Lesniak Experience Strength and Hope Recovery High School, New Jersey’s first and only recovery high school. Joel is a member of the Coalition for Healthy Communities, and a member of the East Brunswick Municipal Alliance, while also being an Advocacy Leader with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence-NJ. Joel is the Clinical Outreach Coordinator for College Recovery and a full time student pursuing a doctorate in psychology.
Abigail PrieceAbigail Priece is a Prevention Specialist for the TALK program at Aldrich School in Howell, NJ. She previously facilitated the TALK Program inNewark, NJ. Previously Abigail has also worked as an adoption/permanency worker for a child welfare agency in Phildelphia, PA and as a Crisis Counselor with the Institute for Prevention working with Hurricane Sandy survivors.

Abigail earned an MS in Counseling and Human Relations and a BA in Human Services, both from Villanova University. She is a certified school counselor and currently volunteers as an NJ Disasters Response Crisis Counselor and a children's grief group facilitator.
Jenna ReidyJenna Reidy is a Recovery Specialist with the Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention and is in long term recovery since 2008. She is an active member of Young People in Recovery, a national advocacy organization and is the New Brunswick New Jersey Chapter secretary. In addition, she participates as a volunteer advocate for the NCADD Monmouth County advocacy team and is also involved with the student mentoring program at the Raymond J. Lesniak Recovery High School and is pursuing an Arts & Humanities degree at Brookdale Community College.

Melissa StraubMelissa J. Straub, Private Investigator and social justice advocate, Melissa J Straub is a highly experienced and credentialed professional within the investigative and consulting arena since 1993 and is a licensed Private Detective in the State of New Jersey. In addition, Melissa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science/Pre Law and Master’s Degree in Counseling and state certifications as a School Counselor in both NY and NJ. Thus enabling a deeper understanding of current social justice and child advocacy issues. Armed with advanced technical certifications, she is able to provide a technical “spin” to a vast array of investigative scenarios. She is in high demand as a professional speaker regarding internet safety, social media awareness and cyberbullying.

Melissa’s professional experience is diverse and includes leadership roles within the public, private and education sectors. Recently, Melissa joined RWJ Barnabas Health, Institute for Preventions School Based “Talk” program where she delivers prevention services to youth identified as in need for alcohol and drug prevention through the New Jersey Department of Mental Health and Human Services. Those services include one- on- one counseling, group sessions and providing universal presentations on the evidence based curriculum “Second Step”. She will also assist with the nationally known Strengthening Families Program which she is a certified Group Facilitator. She is a is a former law enforcement officer and detective with specialized training as a school resource officer, child advocacy, sex crimes, cybercrime, white-collar crime & fraud issues. Her experience within corporations includes investigations relevant to background checks, asset allocation, computer forensics, data analysis and audits, as well as insurance fraud related surveillance. Recently she was employed within a public school district where she provided school counseling and NJ School Based Youth Services, which encompassed direct counseling with students and development of social media oriented programs within the community.

Melissa has received many awards and letters of commendation as a testament to her dedication, achievement and professional prowess. Notably, she has been honored by Federal Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and many others from School Principals and Guidance professionals.

Debbie Tallia is the Executive Assistant/Office Manager for Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention, and in her role supports all departments and employees at the Institute for Prevention. Debbie started her career with Barnabas Health as the Administrative Assistant for the Turning The Tides program and has transitioned into her current role as of June 2014. She brings with her 20+ years of experience in the corporate and human resources environment.
Megan Tucker is a Prevention Specialist for the Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention. She facilitates the TALK Program at Mill Pond Elementary School in Lacey Township. Megan has been working with children and families since graduating from Rowan University in 2005 with a Bachelor of the Arts. Megan joined the Barnabas Health Institute for Prevention Turning the Tides team in 2014 in order to work with children who had been impacted by Super Storm Sandy. It was this experience that introduced Megan to the concept of using the Arts as a method to help heal trauma. Megan held the position as a Youth Development Counselor for Preferred Children's Services' School Based Youth Services Program at Brick Township High School as well as Veterans Memorial Middle School. Megan has worked with the Center for Family, Community, and Social Justice as a Community Resource Specialist. She also has earned her Certificate of Eligibility to teach Social Studies K-12. Megan utilizes her creativity and knowledge of schools to engage children in a positive learning experience.
Kathi Viola is a Prevention Specialist who coordinates and facilitates the TALK Program at Lillian M. Dunfee Elementary School in Barnegat, NJ. She has more than five years experience in the prevention field plus twenty years in youth serving organizations with evidence-based social emotional learning curriculums and community development. She is a certified facilitator of Strengthening Families Program, Children in Between, First Aid for Mental Health and Skills for Psychological Recovery Training. Her passion is working with youth to help them develop life skills for success with family, friends and their future. She has a Masters of Applied Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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