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The STAR Center is one of the five National Technical Assistance Centers funded by SAMHSA to support mental health systems transformation. The purpose of the overall program is to provide technical assistance that facilitates the restructuring of the mental health system by promoting recovery and consumer directed approaches.

Each NTAC is organized by SAMHSA to focus on specific topic areas of concentration that can be offered through virtual training and technical assistance or product development for the whole country while also offering direct training and technical assistance to specific states, territories or tribal governments. The STAR Center is charged with supporting four target states/territories Rhode Island, New Mexico, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Our core areas of concentration are:

  • Diversity and Cultural Outreach and Self-Help Adaptation Across the Lifespan: includes identifying models for serving diverse cultural and age groups such as African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian and Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaska Natives, individuals who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered, women, men, rural/urban inhabitants, young and older adults and/or those involved with the criminal justice system.
  • Self-care/Self-management: includes developing new tools and resources on self-help best practices, culturally sensitive outreach resources and technical assistance on the advances of self-directed care resources and opportunities to promote self-determination and recovery as well as establishing and strengthening local consumer networks.

The STAR Center is funded by a grant from the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Please visit our partner TA Centers:

meet the staff
Chacku Mathai Profile Picture


Chacku Mathai, CPRP, STAR Center Director

Chacku Mathai is an Indian-American, born in Kuwait, who has over twenty-eight years of experience in mental health and addiction community based services in a wide variety of roles including youth leader, peer advocate, peer support meeting facilitator, self-help educator, community organizer and educator, community residence manager, psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner, trainer and program administrator.

He currently serves as the Director for the NAMI STAR Center, a National Technical Assistance Center on Consumer/Peer-Run Programs (NTAC) funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of the overall program is to provide technical assistance to facilitate the restructuring of the mental health system by promoting recovery and consumer directed approaches.

Chacku was formerly the Associate Executive Director for the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services and an implementation partner for the New York State Center of Excellence for the Integration of Care (CEIC), the SAMHSA Northeast Addiction Technology Transfer Network (NE-C ATTC), the SAMHSA Recovery to Practice Resource Center for Behavioral Health Professionals and the SAMHSA Bringing Recovery Supports To Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS-TACS). Chacku was also appointed to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Credentialing Board. He served as a founding board member and advocate for Friends of Recovery - New York, a statewide coalition of people in recovery from addiction and is a former member of the Commission that oversees the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA) Certification Program for Certified Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioners (CPRP). Chacku is regularly invited to train across the country on building collaborations across addiction and mental health recovery communities and systems, peer support, cultural competence, employment and economic self-sufficiency, leadership, systems advocacy and implementing exemplary, integrated practices in supporting recovery for people with psychiatric disabilities, diagnoses, trauma related conditions and co-occurring substance use conditions. Chacku's personal experiences as a youth and young adult in mental health and addiction recovery in New York launched Chacku and his family towards a number of efforts to advocate for improved services and alternative supports in the community.

Tanya C. Ryder Profile Picture


Tanya C. Ryder, M.Ed., STAR Center Project Manager

Tanya joined the STAR Center Team in January 2013. As the Project Manager, she provides daily management in the planning and implementation of STAR Center events, resources, systems, products and communications.

Tanya provides a variety of experience working with underserved and multicultural communities. She was previously employed as a Community Services Coordinator with the Department of Family Services for Fairfax County Government, an Education and Workforce Development Program Coordinator for the Hispanic Committee of Virginia and a Disaster Services Program Coordinator for the American Red Cross. She also currently serves as a Member on the Board of Directors of Fairfax Leadership Academy. Her passion is in Education and Leadership Development.

Tanya holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications and Sociology from Trinity University-Washington and a Master's of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University.

contact us

Chacku Mathai
STAR Center Director


Tanya C. Ryder
STAR Center Project Manager


We want to hear from you! Your questions, comments and concerns are important to us and we will do our best to address them in a timely fashion.

STAR Center
3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203
Toll-Free: (866) 537-STAR (7827)
Fax: (703) 600-1112

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