Laysha Ostrow

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Laysha Ostrow is the Founder and CEO of Live & Learn, Inc. and the Project Director on the Reclaiming Employment SBIR grant. Lasyha‚Äôs work focuses on community-driven approaches that present safe and effective pathways to independence and empowerment for people who have used mental health services. In addition to her duties at Live & Learn, Inc., Laysha is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University. She completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF and holds a PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a Master of Public Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Dr. Ostrow has first-hand lived experience of the special education, Social Security disability, and psychiatric systems.

Carina Smith

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As a Research Assistant with Live & Learn Inc. since 2016, Carina Smith is driven to improve access to heath care and public health services for underserved populations. She has assisted on a variety of grant-funded and technical assistance projects at Live & Learn, including the Guidebook for Peer Respite Self-Evaluation: Practical Steps and Tools and Reclaiming Employment. Working with quantitative as well as qualitative data, she has contributed to in several aspects of research studies such as survey development, data collection and analysis, and writing public reports and peer-reviewed journal articles.

Prior to becoming a Research Assistant with Live & Learn, Inc. Carina completed a bachelor's in Political Economy and German at UC Berkeley in 2016. Her work in public policy is largely motivated by understanding the dynamics of development, particularly in education and health care, with a particular interest in improving access to health care services.

Pat Nemec

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Pat Nemec is an independent trainer and consultant in psychiatric rehabilitation, a Wellness Coaching trainer and Program Development Specialist at CSPNJ, Inc., and consultant with Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare. Nemec has taught in a number of graduate-level academic programs, including directing the graduate psychiatric rehabilitation specialization at Boston University. 

 From 1984-2008, Nemec was on the faculty of the Rehabilitation Counseling program at Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Boston University, where she was responsible for the graduate level psychiatric rehabilitation specialization.  She has written a number of articles, book chapters, and training materials on psychiatric rehabilitation, and is co-editor of Best Practices in Psychiatric Rehabilitation (2nd edition, 2014).

 Nemec received her B.A. from Syracuse University, and her Psy.D. from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.  She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2007 John Beard Award from the US Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.  In 2012, she was appointed as an USPRA Dincin Fellow.