Meet Our Team
Denise is indeed passionate about her work and she brings over 20 years of operational management, fundraising, strategic communications and partnership development experience to the table. As a thought leader and consultant in non-profit and for-profit enterprises, she is skilled and highly valued for her innovative initiatives that resulted in exceptional team engagement, profits, and savings. “First and foremost, as a non-profit leader I understood the importance of two things: maintaining communication and transparency with all stakeholders and, valuing partnerships beyond transactions.”
Over her career, Denise has raised more than $70 million dollars, led over 100 staff, mentored many, and rallied thousands of volunteers to advocate organizational missions.
Her early body of work includes creating and directing some of most controversial and talked about campaigns for HIV/AIDS awareness and the “Don’t Try. We Comply” tobacco ID retail campaign. She directed national advocacy and pharmaceutical campaigns targeting diabetes and insulin awareness, low dose birth control, and celebrity endorsed hormone replacement therapies. She also created one the first needle exchange programs in the District of Columbia, “Prevention Works, ” that led to her national and international recognition in HIV/AIDS prevention and lectures in Europe and Russia with the Albert Schweitzer Institute, USAID and the Clinton Administration’s Office of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
Under her leadership as the Executive Director of the National Capital Region for the American Cancer Society, the Society launched its first breast cancer walk, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, and hosted hundreds of its signature Relay for Life events in the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Denise is a 5th generation Washingtonian. She received her Master of Business Administration from The George Washington University focusing on finance; her Master of Science in Health Education/Public Health from Trinity Washington University; and, her Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in Marketing/Public Relations. She is moderately conversational in Spanish and enjoys learning French and Portuguese languages.
Lisa McCarthy, MA, NCC, CBIST is the Deputy Director. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University, an Associate’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy from Shenandoah University and a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling from The College of New Jersey. She has been employed at Brain Injury Services since 1999.
NKenya Lassiter, MA, CRC, CBIS currently is the Director of Operations at Brain Injury Services. She has her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.
NKenya has been employed at BIS since 2002 and has worked in the field and with persons with various disabilities since 2000.
Michelle Thyen, CVA is the Director of Community Engagement. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola College in Maryland and a Graduate Certification from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. She has also obtained her CVA, Certification in Volunteer Administration. She has been employed with Brain Injury Services since 2002.
Katy Schnitger is the Office Manager and Outreach Specialist at Brain Injury Services. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and Anthropology from Albion College. Katy has been involved with BIS since 2010 as a client and as a volunteer with the Speaker’s Bureau. She has been employed at Brain Injury Services since 2015.
Sara Aly, CBIS, MSW is the Department Manager of Adult Case Management Services at Brain Injury Services. She received her Bachelor degree in Social Work from her home country Egypt and her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from George Mason University. She began her experience with Brain Injury Services as an intern during her graduate program. Sara is a certified Wellness and Recovery Coach and facilitates a variety of wellness workshops that empower survivors of brain injury and their caregivers in developing a personalized wellness plan that can help them in improving the quality of their life. She is also a certified interpreter in health and community settings. She has been employed at BIS since 2011.
Claire Callison-Aub, MSW, CBIS is the Program Manager of the Child and Adolescent Program. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English, and a Master’s in Social Work from George Mason University. She has been employed at Brain Injury Services since August 2009.
Allison Canaday is a Vocational Specialist for Brain Injury Services. She received both her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her Masters degree in Pastoral Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family, from Liberty University. In her free time she enjoys volunteering for a local Equine Therapy facility, hiking, and traveling with friends and family.
Priscilla Castillo-Woyak is a case manager with over ten years of experience helping those in need of guidance and assistance make their voices heard and their needs met. Her compassionate, patient-centered care ethic and comprehensive background in everything from needs evaluation and identification to strategy implementation and outcome analysis make her a wonderful addition to the team and a true help to our clients.
Before joining the Brain Injury Services team, Priscilla worked to help those struggling to secure housing do so with Alexandria-area nonprofits. In those positions, she built up the skills that serve her well today: customer service, project management, operations management, training and coaching experience, and much more.
Priscilla is fluent in both English and Spanish and holds a Master of Human Services degree from Philadelphia’s Lincoln University.
Robert Cerminaro is a Vocational Specialist in the Vocational Program at Brain Injury Services. He received a Bachelors Of Science degree in Individual & Family Studies from Penn State University. Bob is originally from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Belmont Bay, Virginia. In his leisure time, he enjoys watching football, listening to classic rock music, and walking his English bulldog Miles.
Cynthia Cross is a Pediatric Case Manager. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Cynthia has been employed by Brain Injury Services since April 2020.
Dahlia Elkzzaz is a case manager for Adults age 55+. She is a graduate of George Mason University. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Public Health and is currently pursuing her graduate studies. Dahlia has a history of volunteering with non-profit organizations and is driven by her passion for advocating. Both her educational background and volunteer experiences have allowed her to understand the inner workings of health and wellness management.
Natascha Grant, MA, CRC, CBIS, is the Vocational Manager. She holds undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Fayetteville State University and a Masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with a concentration in TBI from George Washington University. Her experience began with Brain Injury Services as an intern. She has been employed at Brain Injury Services since 2014.
Joy Koeppen, LCSW, CBIS is the Licensed Clinical Therapist at BIS. Joy’s passion for working with individuals with disabilities and their families began when she worked for Brain Injury Services as a Case Manager from 2000-2003. Joy spent her years away from BIS serving on the Fairfax Area Disability Services Board, running a private mental health practice, working at a psychiatric hospital, and working for a local school system.
Paula Levin-Alcorn, MSW, LCSW is an Adult Case Manager. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Towson University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from University of Maryland. Paula was a case manager at BIS from 1996 to 2001 and is delighted to be back.
Sarah Pickford is the Manager of Community Participation and Skill-Building Services. She is helping to initiate the BIS Assistive Technology Program. While obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design from North Carolina State University she studied product design, human factors/ergonomics, aesthetic appeal, and universal design principles. She also earned a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Shenandoah University and is licensed in the state of Virginia. She draws knowledge and skills from both of these fields as she helps clients find assistive technology that supports their ability to engage in the activities they find meaningful. Sarah has been employed at Brain Injury Services since 2012.
Tamara Rogers is an occupational therapist in the Community Participation and Skill-Building Services (ComPASS) program. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and a Master’s of Science degree in Occupational Therapy, both from Tufts University. She has experience working in the acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient settings, including completing a year-long fellowship program in Neurology with MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC. She obtained her Board Certification in Physical Rehabilitation in 2019 and is particularly passionate about helping individuals with brain injuries live their most fulfilling and productive lives. In her free time, she enjoys running, reading, field hockey, and spending time with family. She has been employed at Brain Injury Services since July 2020.
Stacy Stone, OTR/L has a Bachelor of Business and Organizational Communication from the University of Akron and a Bachelor of Health Science certificate in Occupational Therapy from Cleveland State University. She had experience in marketing and public relations before pursuing her degree in health sciences. She has worked in rehabilitation settings in Florida, Mississippi, Ohio, and Virginia primarily in hospitals, however is eager to further her experience with assistive technology and cognitive rehabilitation at BIS. She is pursuing on-going certifications and education with a passion to share new skills and knowledge with clients. Her interests are in reading, travel, running, and animals. She has a set of electric drums that are gathering dust, but that will one day be mastered!
Jasmine is the Pediatric Case manager for adolescents ranging from 14-22 years of age. Jasmine obtained her bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University in Family and Consumer Science. She acquired her master’s degree in human services and counseling with a concentration in life coaching from Liberty University. Two weeks out of the summer, Jasmine volunteers as a camp counselor teaching at risk youth and young adults. She has also served as an educator of young children as a part of the Head Start program for five years where she transitioned into becoming an Early Learning coach, servicing children with special needs, and high-risk behaviors. Jasmine enjoys helping others and engaging in community outreach. She focuses much of her time on health and wellness, while incorporating, meditation and Yoga into her daily practice. Jasmine looks forward to being a helping hand to those who are in need.
Raisa Velez Bruckman is the Veterans Case Manager with Brain Injury Services. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Communications from Syracuse University and a Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from New York University. Before joining the Brain Injury Services team, Raisa served in the U.S. Army for five years as an Adjutant General officer. During her service, she worked as a SHARP Victim Advocate and Response Coordinator, a position that eventually led to her pursuit of an Occupational Therapy degree as a means to build a career focused on helping those in need. As an OT, Raisa has worked in acute and subacute rehabilitation. In assignments, she gained extensive experience working with traumatic and acquired brain injury patients, developing an understanding of the needs of these populations and of the role proper care plays in their empowerment, increased functional independence, and self-efficacy. Raisa is very excited for the opportunity to help veterans achieve their community independence goals. Raisa’s hobbies include spending time with her family, her “fur-baby” Appa, and traveling. She has been employed at Brain Injury Services since September 2020.
Stephanie Lloyd is the Manager at the ADAPT Clubhouse. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Stephanie has been employed by Brain Injury Services since February 2019.
Kathy Bisetti is a Unit Coordinator at the ADAPT Clubhouse. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from George Mason University. Kathy has been employed by Brain Injury Services since June 2018.
Meryiem Hadji is a unit coordinator at ADAPT Clubhouse. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from St Cloud State University, Minnesota. Meryiem has been employed by Brain Injury Services since May 2021.
Zach Daniel, CBIS is the Manager of the Brain Injury Services of Fredericksburg office. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Mary Washington University. He has been employed at Brain Injury Services since 2008.
Ashley Cornell is the Activity Coordinator for the Fredericksburg Day Program. She received a Bachelor of Arts from James Madison University in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. Ashley has been employed by Brain Injury Services since February 2019.
Markita Gilbert, MS, CBIS is the Fredericksburg area Case Manager. She has a Master of Science degree in Human Services with a Specialization in Counseling from Capella University. She has been employed at Brain Injury Services since 2007.
LeeAnna Moss is the Community Coordinator for Brain Injury Services at the Day Program in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She is responsible for implementing and developing group day program activities that assist members in achieving their goals. LeeAnna earned her Associates Degree with a focus on Psychosocial Development through The University of Hawaii, as well as her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Campbell University. LeeAnna has over eight years’ experience providing various advocacy, case management, and program development services to at-risk youth and adults. She is a military spouse who has lived in Illinois, Hawaii, North Carolina and now calls Virginia home.
Jacqueline Paz is the Fredericksburg area pediatric case manager for Brain Injury Services where she facilitates resources for care givers and clients, education and awareness, and transitional services when applicable. She comes to the Fredericksburg area after completing her Master’s in Forensic Psychology from George Washington University. During this time, she worked as a residential counselor and facility manager at Center For Discovery working primarily with adult women with eating disorders and adolescents with severe mental health needs. In addition, Jacqueline volunteers with the Office for Women in Fairfax County providing resources to victims of domestic violence and assault. Jacqueline has had the honor of orchestrating a school tour raising awareness about the impact mental health has on children and the stressors they face in today’s world. Jacqueline received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Biology from West Virginia University Institute of Technology.
James Redmon, MSW, MPH is the Adult Case Manager in Leesburg covering Loudoun and western Fairfax Counties. He holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan and Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked in California and Kansas in a variety of roles including direct service, state policy, grantmaking, and administration
Prince William Office
Nia Watterson is an Adult Case Manager for the Prince William County area. She is a graduate of Virginia State University with a Bachelors’s degree in Social Work. Nia has a passion for helping individuals achieve their personal goals, overcome obstacles set before them, and incorporate a very positive mindset. Nia focuses most of her time on uplifting people’s spirits, maintaining positive energy, and executing all endeavors faced before her.
Amanda Holsinger, MPA is an Adult Case Manager in Winchester. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Public Administration. She joined Brain Injury Services in 2016.