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About Us

Since the 1980/90’s, Pennsylvania has made strong efforts to prevent suicide through various programs and non-profits throughout the Commonwealth.  Programs and organizations such as Feeling Blue, and the (STAR-Center),along with a variety of other approaches were doing wonderful things concerning suicide prevention in local areas. The Advisory Committee of the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) prioritized a state suicide prevention plan as one of their major goals to prevent suicide in Pennsylvania.  A work group was formed and began to meet in July 2005. This prevention plan is a collaborative effort between those dedicated individuals from both the public and private sectors of our state. The work group strived to raise awareness about suicide and its prevention so that fewer Pennsylvanians experience the pain and grief resulting from the suicide death of a loved one.  Two entities were divided to devote suicide prevention plans for the Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Steering Committee and the Youth Suicide Prevention Steering Committee.  Both committees grew into two separate organizations in 2012 (PA Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Coalition and the PA Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative).  In 2015, talks began to occur about combining both organizations into one to create a stronger, more unified entity to prevent suicide in Pennsylvania.  2017 is the culmination of the efforts of many dedicated individuals wanting to make a difference.  

Board of Directors:
  • Executive Director and Chair/ Board of Directors

  • Matthew Wintersteen
    Vice Chair Executive Board

    Dr. Wintersteen is Associate Professor and Director of Research in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. In collaboration with OMHSAS, he has served as Co-Investigator and Co-Program Developer of several SAMHSA-funded programs focused on youth suicide prevention across Pennsylvania. He is Director of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Suicide Prevention Coalition and co-chairs the Delaware Valley Medical Student Wellness Collaborative. In addition to his grant-funded projects, Dr. Wintersteen has served on national task forces convened by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Institute of Mental Health. He was a consultant to the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide (NCPYS) and served as the Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative for nearly a decade. As a clinical psychologist at Jefferson, Dr. Wintersteen provides clinical care, educates students and residents, and carries out his research on youth suicide prevention.

  • Mary Brown
    Treasurer Executive Board

    Mary Brown has been an AOASPC board member since 2010. In 2015, she was named Co-Chair. She has also served as chair of the Fundraising and Training committees. She has been employed with Community Connections of Clearfield/Jefferson Counties since 1998. Mary is currently the Crisis Program Specialist; she oversees the County Delegates and the two County Crisis system. Mary is also the DCORT (Disaster Crisis Outreach Referral Team) Coordinator. She is co-chair for the two county CDRT, Child Death Review Team. Mary was instrumental in organizing the Clearfield Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team in 2008; she has been the Team Coordinator since its inception. Mary is a certified trainer for Mental Health First Aid for Adults, Youth and Public Safety and also a QPR Master Trainer.

  • Erich Batra
    Secretary Executive Board

    Dr. Batra is a primary care physician with Penn State Health, board certified in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. He became involved with suicide prevention through his work with Child Death Review. This program is present in all PA counties and uses a multi-disciplinary team to review deaths of all children with the goal of finding strategies to prevent future childhood injury and death. He was involved with the PA Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative for many years as its Co-Chair, and helped with the merger to form the current Prevent Suicide PA. He is very proud of his work in getting Act 71 passed, which requires schools have suicide prevention policies in place, requires training for professional staff, and education for all students in PA.

  • Francesca Pileggi
    Board Member

    Francesca joined the AOASPC board in 2012 and began serving as the chair of the Communication Committee. She has been active in suicide prevention efforts since losing two family members to suicide and dealing with her own mental health issues as a teenager and young adult. Francesca currently lives in Delaware County and works as a high school counselor in Delaware. She is a public speaker, certified peer specialist, and certified QPR Master Trainer.

  • Beth Sprentz
    Board Member

    Beth served as a member of the Executive Board for the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative since 2010. She has been employed as the Region X Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance Services since 1998, providing technical assistance to school districts and county Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Student Assistance Program (SAP) providers in the following counties: Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Potter and Warren. She resides in Warren PA.

  • Marisa Vicere

    As a strong believer in the empowerment of young people, Marisa Vicere founded and became president of Jana Marie Foundation in 2012. The experience of losing her sister, Jana Vicere, to suicide in 2011 cemented her commitment to helping young people navigate through the tough transitional years and educating parents and community members about mental and emotional health. She is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor (Youth and Adult) and Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Certified Gatekeeper Instructor. Marisa currently serves as chairman for the Centre County Suicide Prevention Taskforce. Marisa holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Susquehanna University and MBA from Penn State Smeal College of Business.

  • Sarah McGlinchey Aronson
    Board Member

    Sarah McGlinchey Aronson is a teacher, writer, and marketing professional with a background in journalism and French. Sarah is a personal survivor of depression and a suicide loss survivor, having lost her brother John to suicide in 2009. An active citizen of Montgomery County, PA, Sarah is Director of Service of the Conshohocken Plymouth Whitemarsh Rotary Club, a member of the Board of Directors of Conshohocken Art League, a member of the Conshohocken Running Club, and a French and Parisian-culture teacher for Plymouth Whitemarsh High School's Adult Evening School. In 2019, Sarah was recognized with the Recovery & Resilience Award by Montgomery County Office of Mental Health for her work in suicide awareness and prevention. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Elon University and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

  • Executive Director and Chair/ Board of Directors

  • Matthew Wintersteen
    Vice Chair Executive Board

    Dr. Wintersteen is Associate Professor and Director of Research in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. In collaboration with OMHSAS, he has served as Co-Investigator and Co-Program Developer of several SAMHSA-funded programs focused on youth suicide prevention across Pennsylvania. He is Director of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Suicide Prevention Coalition and co-chairs the Delaware Valley Medical Student Wellness Collaborative. In addition to his grant-funded projects, Dr. Wintersteen has served on national task forces convened by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Institute of Mental Health. He was a consultant to the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide (NCPYS) and served as the Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative for nearly a decade. As a clinical psychologist at Jefferson, Dr. Wintersteen provides clinical care, educates students and residents, and carries out his research on youth suicide prevention.

  • Mary Brown
    Treasurer Executive Board

    Mary Brown has been an AOASPC board member since 2010. In 2015, she was named Co-Chair. She has also served as chair of the Fundraising and Training committees. She has been employed with Community Connections of Clearfield/Jefferson Counties since 1998. Mary is currently the Crisis Program Specialist; she oversees the County Delegates and the two County Crisis system. Mary is also the DCORT (Disaster Crisis Outreach Referral Team) Coordinator. She is co-chair for the two county CDRT, Child Death Review Team. Mary was instrumental in organizing the Clearfield Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team in 2008; she has been the Team Coordinator since its inception. Mary is a certified trainer for Mental Health First Aid for Adults, Youth and Public Safety and also a QPR Master Trainer.

  • Erich Batra
    Secretary Executive Board

    Dr. Batra is a primary care physician with Penn State Health, board certified in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. He became involved with suicide prevention through his work with Child Death Review. This program is present in all PA counties and uses a multi-disciplinary team to review deaths of all children with the goal of finding strategies to prevent future childhood injury and death. He was involved with the PA Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative for many years as its Co-Chair, and helped with the merger to form the current Prevent Suicide PA. He is very proud of his work in getting Act 71 passed, which requires schools have suicide prevention policies in place, requires training for professional staff, and education for all students in PA.

  • Francesca Pileggi
    Board Member

    Francesca joined the AOASPC board in 2012 and began serving as the chair of the Communication Committee. She has been active in suicide prevention efforts since losing two family members to suicide and dealing with her own mental health issues as a teenager and young adult. Francesca currently lives in Delaware County and works as a high school counselor in Delaware. She is a public speaker, certified peer specialist, and certified QPR Master Trainer.

  • Beth Sprentz
    Board Member

    Beth served as a member of the Executive Board for the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative since 2010. She has been employed as the Region X Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance Services since 1998, providing technical assistance to school districts and county Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Student Assistance Program (SAP) providers in the following counties: Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Potter and Warren. She resides in Warren PA.

  • Marisa Vicere

    As a strong believer in the empowerment of young people, Marisa Vicere founded and became president of Jana Marie Foundation in 2012. The experience of losing her sister, Jana Vicere, to suicide in 2011 cemented her commitment to helping young people navigate through the tough transitional years and educating parents and community members about mental and emotional health. She is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor (Youth and Adult) and Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Certified Gatekeeper Instructor. Marisa currently serves as chairman for the Centre County Suicide Prevention Taskforce. Marisa holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Susquehanna University and MBA from Penn State Smeal College of Business.

  • Sarah McGlinchey Aronson
    Board Member

    Sarah McGlinchey Aronson is a teacher, writer, and marketing professional with a background in journalism and French. Sarah is a personal survivor of depression and a suicide loss survivor, having lost her brother John to suicide in 2009. An active citizen of Montgomery County, PA, Sarah is Director of Service of the Conshohocken Plymouth Whitemarsh Rotary Club, a member of the Board of Directors of Conshohocken Art League, a member of the Conshohocken Running Club, and a French and Parisian-culture teacher for Plymouth Whitemarsh High School's Adult Evening School. In 2019, Sarah was recognized with the Recovery & Resilience Award by Montgomery County Office of Mental Health for her work in suicide awareness and prevention. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Elon University and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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