FUTURES RECOVERY HEALTHCARE IS COMMITTED TO OFFERING HIGH-QUALITY, EFFECTIVE, AND RELEVANT TREATMENT TO OUR NATION’S VETERANS AND FIRST RESPONDERS.
The Futures Hero’s Ascent Program focuses on identifying and addressing mental health conditions such as underlying trauma, chronic pain, addiction, and other issues shared by first responders and veterans. The program’s coordinated and personalized care plans incorporate medical treatment, psychiatry, individual and group psychotherapy, physical therapy, wellness services, and neurostimulation. Family programming is an integral part of the Hero’s Ascent program. Therapy and education are provided to help family members address their mental health needs and learn to support their loved one’s recovery. Futures strives to help frontline workers find like-mindedness, camaraderie, and support by connecting with peers in recovery. Our thriving alumni community is a source of ongoing inspiration and connection.
The Futures Hero’s Ascent Advisory Board
The Futures Hero’s Ascent Veterans and First Responders Program uses insights and ongoing guidance from some of the nation’s leading first-responder and military mental health advocates. These advisory board members are experienced thought leaders championing individual, organizational, and policy solutions to address first responder and military personnel trauma, addiction, and suicide. Members of the Futures Hero’s Ascent Advisory Board provide mental healthcare and suicide-prevention training and education to first-responder and military organizations and policymakers nationwide. They also participate in our annual “Enemy Within Symposium,” an educational event that attracts military and first responder leaders from around the country working to reduce stigma and increase access to care.
Dr. John Violanti Ph.D
Dr. Violanti is a Research Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, School of Public Health and Health Professions, University at Buffalo and a member of the University at Buffalo graduate faculty. He was formerly a full professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology Department of Criminal Justice. He is a police veteran, serving with the New York State Police for 23 years as a trooper, criminal investigator, and later as a coordinator of the Psychological Assistance Program (PAP) for the State Police.
Dr. Violanti has been involved in the design, implementation, and analysis of police stress and health studies during his entire career. Recent projects include a longitudinal study on psychological stress and cardiovascular disease in police officers and the impact of shift work on police health outcomes funded by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Dr. Violanti has authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles on police stress and PTSD, police mortality, suicide, and cardiovascular health. He has also written and edited seventeen books on topics of police stress, psychological trauma, and suicide. He has lectured nationally and internationally at academic institutions and police agencies on matters of suicide, stress and trauma at work.
Ret. Lt. Col. Tanya Juarez, CEO at Howard Brain Sciences
I have always been passionate about helping people and focusing on all aspects of physical and mental health.
As a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, I have over 20 years of experience leading and managing various programs that focus on behavioral and mental health. Concurrently, I’ve pursued my education to obtain my Masters of Social Work, so that I could help Soldiers and Families proactively manage a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, domestic violence, child abuse, substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) I’m honored to have been consistently recognized by leadership and placed in various significant positions of responsibility.
In my current role as Chief Executive Officer for the Howard Brain Sciences Foundation, I’m responsible for overseeing all aspects of strategic development, funding, and program development so that we can help millions of people who currently suffer from incurable diseases and help to raise awareness about mental health.
I was driven to pursue a career in the mental health industry because I’m passionate about helping to make a difference. I have played a key role in the leadership and management of various programs including being hand-selected to serve in multiple leadership positions at the highest levels in the military medical community.
Along with the various decorations and awards I received throughout my career, I’m particularly humbled and honored to have been recognized with the Army Social Worker of the Year award (2018).
My colleagues and some of the Soldiers I’ve worked with have described me as “pragmatic, trustworthy, and motivational”. I’m driven to uphold the highest standards when it comes to my leadership, while also being approachable, accessible and motivational to everyone that I work with.
As a part of the Howard Brain Sciences Foundation, I’m excited to partner with neuroscientists, mathematicians, clinicians, computer and computational scientists to work on the advancement of technologies that will help to provide improved therapies and alternative treatments for mental health illnesses and neurodegenerative disease.
Dr. Roger Solomon
Roger Solomon, formerly police psychologist with the Colorado Springs Police Department and Washington State Patrol, currently is Clinical Director of the South Carolina PCIS and Police Psychologist with South Carolina Department of Public Safety. He is also a consultant with the trauma programs of the US Senate and NASA. Post Critical Incident Stress Seminar – PCIS is a three-day program which originated with the FBI in 1985. This multi-day program is for officers who have been involved in critical incidents. Quite often an officer is provided support in the initial days or weeks following a critical incident. However, in the weeks and months following the critical incident, an officer may still be experiencing the emotional impact of the incident. The street, the gun, and indeed one’s life may feel different. There has been a lack of follow-up programs for officers involved in critical incidents. This program meets that need, and provides a safe, confidential atmosphere where officers can talk with fellow officers who have “been there.” The first day, the program is introduced and an agreement is made that what is said in the seminar stays in the seminar. Most of the day is spent with participants explaining the incident(s) they were involved in. However, it is certainly okay if someone prefers to just listen and not talk. The second-day education on critical incident trauma is presented and participants break into smaller groups for further discussion. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic method for resolving traumatic memories and reducing distressing images, is offered on a voluntary basis. The third day, education on coping is presented as well as further group discussions. A Family-oriented Program is also incorporated in this 3-day training to assist officer family members with education and coping strategies as well. Follow-up studies on this seminar have shown that it is very helpful in reducing traumatic reactions, and appreciated by officers. It is important to note that any officer who still has an active case regarding their incident, will be instructed not to disclose details regarding their case but can participate in the educational component of the program. Solomon is now providing PCIS for Military Personnel returning from deployment for both officer and civilians alike.
Janice McCarthy’s husband, Paul, died from suicide in July of 2006. Paul had been a well-respected Massachusetts State Police Captain. During his 21 year career, he suffered three serious line of duty accidents, which proved to be the etiology of his PTSD.
Paul’s death spurred Janice to commit herself to the cause of PTSD recognition and suicide prevention in law enforcement. Her passion is rooted in helping surviving families find the strength to reconcile the guilt so many suicide survivors experience. She draws upon her personal experience as a cop’s wife and now as a cop’s widow to connect with officers. She knows the law enforcement life and has been openly accepted by those to whom she has spoken.
In her training of officers, Janice uses Paul’s story to illustrate the need for all officers to reach out for mental health assistance without fear of repercussion. She calls for an end to the age-old stigma of asking for help. She clearly articulates how the “good old boy – suck it up” mentality was instrumental in fueling her husbands’ deterioration.
She has spoken nationally before thousands, telling her family’s personal story in an attempt to reach officers on an emotional level. She appeals to officers as a cops’ wife now widow, hoping that they might understand and appreciate their spouses’ sacrifices. She speaks candidly and emotionally of her children’s pain, hoping the officers might see their own kids in the images of Paul, Shannon, and Christopher McCarthy. And she recounts witnessing firsthand her husband’s struggles, hoping the officers might associate themselves with Paul and realize the consequences of not reaching out for help when they need it.
Her experience as a lecturer has included weekly recruit and officer in-service trainings, Employee Assistance Conferences, Peer Support Conferences, Internal Affairs Investigators, FBI Agents, University Police Chiefs and Correctional Officers. She has also been a guest speaker at the In Harm’s Way and American Association of Suicidology Conferences. Most recently she has worked with the Samaritans of Merrimack Valley constructing and facilitating suicide prevention training for Middle Age Men.
Janice is a board member of Badge of Life, a nonprofit organization which promotes psychological survival for first responders. She is a recipient of The Commendable Service Award from the City of New Haven Connecticut and the Departmental Award of Education from the New Haven Connecticut Police Department for her devotion to the cause of suicide prevention and PTSD awareness in law enforcement.
She is the founder of C.O.P.S.S. (Care Of Police Suicide Survivors), which is a nonprofit foundation formed in her husband’s memory and dedicated to their children Christopher, Paul and Shannon. The foundation provides Care and Support for law enforcement suicide survivors and suicide prevention training for law enforcement.
In addition to her training and nonprofit work, she has authored several short papers on “Policework, PTSD and its Aftermath”. She is currently working with legislators in Massachusetts to mandate Suicide Prevention Training for First Responders in the state. She considers her greatest achievement to be her three children whose strength and love fuel her.
Chris Prochut (pro-hut) is a mental health awareness advocate and law enforcement suicide prevention trainer. Over the past six years, Chris has had the pleasure to present to over 6,000 law enforcement officers across the United States and Canada on the topics of suicide and depression warning signs, medication myths, department policy revision, and told of his personal experience with the stigma of mental health issues. In addition to training with the LEDR Team, Chris has also presented at numerous Crisis Intervention Team Trainings (CIT) where he addresses the subject of “Taking care of our own” and has been featured at various specialized law enforcement conferences advising departments on program development to assist officers at risk for suicide. Feedback from these trainings shows just how well received Chris’s message is, how the topics of suicide and mental illness are rarely discussed within law enforcement, and how education and training are causing a paradigm shift within police departments. Chris is a member of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Death Response (LEDR) Team, a former trainer in QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) suicide prevention program, an FBI National Academy (FBINA) Enrichment Speaker, an FBI National Academy Associates (FBINAA) Officer Safety and Wellness Committee Member, and an active volunteer with BringChange2Mind.
Chris resides in Hartford, Wisconsin with his wife Jennifer, and their children Chase (13) and Ashlyn (9).
Peter Volkmann, MSW
Peter Volkmann, MSW graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Mercy College and received his Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. Peter is the regional liaison coordinator for NY, NJ and Puerto Rico for the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) in Ellicott City, MD. Because of his vast experience in the different rescue fields and the social work profession, Peter is utilized as a crisis interventionist and trainer for rescue departments, government municipalities, schools, and corporate organizations around the United States who have experienced traumatic events. He assisted in the development of the Uniform Service Program for PTSD at Brattleboro Retreat in Vermont. Peter has been featured as an expert on stress for Dateline (NBC), Discovery Channel, MSNBC, and Law Enforcement Television Network (LETN). Peter developed “Law Enforcement Perspectives Course for CISM Enhancement” which is an approved course of ICISF. He has trained and assisted the startup of numerous critical incident response teams throughout the United States. Peter developed through the University of Albany School of Public Health “ASAP-Active Shooter Action Program” designed for schools, businesses, and communities.
Peter is a retired police officer and emergency medical technician with the Town of Ossining, New York Police Department and previous Director of NYS Zone 14 Law Enforcement Academy. He is now Chief of Police for Chatham, New York Police Department. As Chief, Peter has developed “Chatham Cares 4 U”(CC4U) Initiative in which any person can request help for opioid addiction and a treatment bed will be arranged with transportation…guaranteed. He considers his greatest law enforcement accomplishment being a first responder on 9-11-01 to the World Trade Center Disaster. Peter is a Member of the Board for Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene. Peter is also a motivational speaker and has been honored to speak before schools, businesses, federal, state, local EMS and law enforcement personnel as well as military personnel and their families.
Jeannie Kelly ~ NYPD Retired
Jeannie Kelly retired from the New York City Police Department in February 2005 after 24 -years of service. She currently works as the Director of 9/11 Outreach and Education assisting 9/11 first responders and their families. She formerly worked as an Outreach and Education Coordinator for the World Trade Center at the Mount Sinai Selikoff Centers for
Occupational Health in New York City for ten years. She conducts presentations, coordinates World Trade Center Health Program enrollment assistance, provides benefit eligibility information and counseling, and educates all 9/11 responders from Federal, State, and local first responder agencies, including the NYPD, FBI, US Marshals, NYS Police, Task Force Urban Search and Rescue Teams, Fire Departments, and volunteer organizations with enrolling in the federally funded program. She attends meetings with World Trade Center Clinical Care Centers, Stakeholders, and labor unions, in regards to the implementation of criteria for eligible enrollees. She also plans and schedules events, assists in developing new concepts for outreach, and facilitates support for 9/11responders with all aspects of the World Trade Center Health Program. As a police officer with the New York City Police Department, she was a first responder on September 11, 2001 and continued to work at Ground Zero until March 2002. During her career as a law enforcement officer with the NYPD she worked in various assignments including Auto Crime, Vice, Anti-Crime, and Dignitary Protection. She was also a Tactics Instructor with INTAC Specialized Training Unit and conducted training at various locations throughout New York City. In March 2002, she then became instrumental in developing, instructing, and mentoring the Chemical, Biological, Radiological Awareness(COBRA) training, the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment, and Counterterrorism training to over 25,000 NYPD officers, Federal and State agencies, and the private sector. In addition to training, she has participated in the planning, mitigating, and coordinated response of major national and international events including the United States General Assembly, Papal visits, the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., the World Series, and the U.S. Tennis Open. She retired after twenty-four years of service from the NYPD in 2005 and immediately signed on as a sub-contractor/instructor with FEMA/DHS at the Center of Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama and was assigned to the Mobile Training Team in the
central and eastern regions of the United States. Her primary responsibility as an instructor was developing and implementing diversified training for such subject matter as Weapons of Mass Destruction, Improvised Explosive Device Detection, Counterterrorism for Law Enforcement, Hazmat Technician, Respiratory Protection, and all aspects of the
Incident Command System. She delivered Mobile Team Training to our nation’s first responders, the United States military, federal and state agencies as well as the private sector and volunteer organizations.
Undersheriff John Greenan, Erie County Sheriff’s Office New York
Undersheriff John W. Greenan has spent the last several years overseeing the Erie County Sheriff’s Department and its Administrative Services Division. Erie County is one of New York State’s largest Sheriff’s Offices. In his nearly 30 year career in Erie County public service John has been dedicated to serving the community and most recently his tenure as Chief of Administration and Undersheriff has given him the opportunity to be intimately involved in creating an assistance program for first responders dealing with the impacts of addiction and mental health issues, which has been a long time passion of his. John began his career as Erie County’s youngest elected official in the Erie County Legislature, followed by two consecutive appointments as Commissioner of Erie County’s Personnel Department serving over 5,000 employees. In 2003 John founded and currently Chairs the not-for-profit Labor Management Health Care Fund. This fund manages the insurance, health, and mental health care needs of nearly 35,000 participants in the Buffalo metro area. John has also served as Chairman of the Board for both the Southdown’s YMCA and the Service Collaborative of WNY for 16 plus years focusing on four very straight-forward areas that make an impact every day: Education, Economic Opportunity, Youth Development, and Volunteering.
In 2017, after overcoming his own issues with alcohol addiction, Undersheriff Greenan joined forces with local health insurers to create the not-for-profit group Strive to Thrive. John currently serves as its Chairman. Strive to Thrive provides programming and training focused on the mental, emotional, and physical health and wellness for first responders. To date, the program has provided 900 first responders in the region with a 3-day retreat focused on mental and emotional health as well as dealing with job-related PTSD. As a result of this new programming, Western New York has begun to move away from a discipline model for dealing with employee behavioral issues to a restorative model where employees are given the tools necessary to manage negative behavior and break the cycle of addiction. As a result of the partnership with local insurers, substantial changes have been made in how those companies will fund previously denied claims for addiction services. Strive to Thrive also acts as an important funding source for first responders needing financial assistance to get the mental health and addiction services they need. At Strive to Thrive we believe that no man or woman wearing the uniform should be left behind simply because they can’t afford the help they need.
Ret. Captain Carolyn Lewis; New York City Dept. of Corrections
Carolyn Lewis joined the NYC Department of Corrections (Riker’s Island) in 1991. As an officer she was assigned to various commands and units working directly for the Chief of Security, Director of Ministerial Services, Investigations Division, Gang Intelligence Unit, Special Operations Division, and the Emergency Services Unit, Support Team.
In 2001, she was promoted to the rank of Captain being assigned to the women’s facility. One year later, the Warden asked Capt. Lewis to take over the position of Security Captain, a position that put her 4th in line of running the 1,000+ bed facility.
Capt. Lewis chose to expand her experience by transferring to the Custody Mgmt./New Admission Monitoring and Control Unit from 2003 to 2016 which afforded her the ability to work on the level of Tour Commander. There she worked under the direct supervision of the Deputy Commissioner and Bureau Chief of the unit dealing with both uniformed and civilian managers/administrators to ensure inmates were classified, housed properly, and extradited to outside agencies.
In 2016, Capt. Lewis transferred to the department’s Health Management Division. Under the umbrella of this unit, she was the Tour Commander for the Absence Control Unit/Sick Desk and worked with the Intel Unit/Home Visitation Group. This was the ideal position as Carolyn is a compassionate person. It allowed her to assist her fellow uniformed staff members. As the Absence Control Unit Supervisor working directly with departmental medical doctors and psychologists, she provided support and guidance to any staff member in need of assistance for everything from referrals to rehabilitation facilities to ensuring staff were receiving the proper care and support. It was also her responsibility to ensure all members of service on sick leave complied with departmental rules and regulations, generate disciplinary sanctions, and train newly assigned staff to the unit.
Carolyn is also an extremely active member of NOBLE, Nat’l Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. In 2018, for the first time in the history of NOBLE (then 42 yrs.), she submitted 2 workshops addressing Correction initiatives/issues specifically on Mental Health concerns for inmates and staff members. She also is a strong advocate for networking to find programs that cater to providing rehabilitative services to First Responders, facilities like Futures Recovery Healthcare.
After 29 years, Carolyn retired and is now focused on community activism and advocating for First Responder rehabilitation services.
Buffalo, New York Ret. Officer Thomas Cino
Hello. My name is Tommy Cino. I was born in Buffalo, New York on September 27th, 1966. I was raised in a predominantly Italian-American neighborhood although I was adopted at 3 days old and was actually German and Polish. I lost my father to a heart attack in 1980. It was a very tough time for me at that young age of 13. My drinking and drugging began there but was never out of hand. I had a very blessed life and a Mom who was my rock through it all. I went to McKinley Vocational High School and took up Plumbing. Graduated in 1984 and took a few years off before college. I attended Erie Community College and graduated with my Criminal Justice Degree somewhere in the late 80’s. I worked various jobs between then and 1991. That is the year I was sworn in to the Buffalo, New York Police Department. One of the happiest days of my life! Always wanted to be a “Cop” from the time I was 5 years old. In 1992 I was married and in 1995 my twin girls were born. An amazing blessing! In 1996, I was involved in an “on duty” incident that began my downward spiral. My drinking began to pick up and I waited almost a year to find mental health help for myself for I thought I was going crazy. Well, I wasn’t crazy! I was diagnosed with PTSD. I shortly began to take medication and it “Saved My Life”! In 2001, September 11th We were attacked. I like many millions watched in horror as the second plane hit the second tower. Five days later, I was there on Ground Zero with 8 other officers. It was surreal! In 2004, I was very ill and went to the hospital. I was diagnosed with the flesh-eating bacteria(Necrotizing Fasciitis). I was wheeled into the surgery room being septic, organs shutting down, and almost no blood pressure. My right inner thigh had to be debrided twice and I have a cute 14 by 7-inch concave scar. I was in ICU for two weeks fighting for my life. By the Grace of God, I was saved. I spent a month in the hospital and made it home a frail man. My recovery physically lasted 4 months. I went back to work that fall. My drinking picked up at a faster pace with new pain pills as an addition. In 2011, I left my wife and children because the marriage had been suffering for quite a while. Now I was alone by myself and my addiction became worse. I went to work and did my job, coming home to a bottle and hurting every day. Both mentally, emotionally, and physically. My life had spiraled out of control!! I lost friends, family, and burned many bridges down. I lost my twin girls’ respect which hurt me the worst. Being told by your daughter that you’re not her hero anymore was a knife through my soul. But, I continued to drink and drug. My life was unmanageable!!!!! I met my current wife in 2012 and We were married in 2017. I retired from patrol in December 2018 after 27 years. She is currently in law enforcement as an NYS Parole Officer. Our marriage started out great but shortly thereafter, it began to suffer. I did quit my pain pill addiction that year by myself but drinking never stopped. Her drinking also increased with the stressors. In 2019, We both hit Our rock bottoms. We had an argument and she left with her mother. Two days later she called me and told me she was on her way to Rehab at Futures In West Palm, Florida. My drinking continued!! Three weeks later she called me with her counselor and basically said the marriage was over if I did not choose to go to rehab. I was not willing to give up my wife for a bottle. I was on a plane to Futures shortly thereafter. Futures saved Our lives! We have been sober, joyous, and free ever since. I have a wonderful relationship with My God. I regularly attend AA meetings and do service work for others often. My life changed like a coin flipped. It is a miracle to be here and living a life without the obsession for any substance is just pure freedom. I thank my God, Cindy Goss(a longtime friend), and Futures for saving Our lives. Have a happy and blessed day!
Rick Mathews, MS
Rick C. Mathews founded the Mathews Group, LLC, in October 2017. The Mathews Group provides consulting, training, education, and a host of other services – most to agencies, companies, and others within the broad homeland security enterprise. The founding occurred as he transitioned from over forty years of full-time employment within public service. His career included 30 years as an EMT and Paramedic. He served as the director of EMS for many of those in both large community and small rural services. He has delivered training and education to EMS, fire service, law enforcement personnel, and others for over 45 years, and he continues in this effort today.
During his career, he has been called upon to lead the development of training and education for the emergency responder, public safety, counter-terrorism, and homeland security communities at local, state, and federal levels. During the early years of his career, he developed and delivered local and state-level training and education programs in Indiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Immediately after the 9-11 attacks, he was invited to LSU to manage the development and delivery of bioterrorism training on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice and later, the Department of Homeland Security. Concurrently, his portfolio also included a similar role in support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concerning hospital and medical community response to weapons of mass destruction. That program also transitioned to DHS as that agency began in 2002-2003. In 2004-05 the National Center for Biomedical Research and Training evolved its organizational structure, which resulted in Mathews becoming its Assistant Director for Research and Development. By 2007, his division was responsible for developing over 24 national-level courses in the areas of bioterrorism, agroterrorism, advanced tactical operations (LE), WMD Sampling (fire service and hazmat), and a host of other courses focusing on the needs of emergency responders, first receivers, public health, those responsible for counter-terrorism efforts, and many others.
In 2007, Rick was recruited by the State University of New York to establish a national level training center to support the needs of New York as well as the needs of international, federal, local, and private sector agencies focusing on homeland security and counter-terrorism. As mentioned, in the beginning, he ended his public service career in late 2017 and began his current activities through the establishment of the Mathews Group. LLC.
Although he will tell you that he is more akin to being a ‘southerner,” he has made upstate New York his home since 2007.