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 efforts towards systems transformation are also measured in milestones such as increasing the:
- number of people trained in the mental health workforce
- number of peers and family members involved in systems transformation or planning
- number of organizational and policy changes we facilitated or supported
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:
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. Naranjo, 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.
She was previously employed as a Community Services Specialist with the Department of Family Services for Fairfax County Government as well
as an Education and Training Consultant for Sovran Training, LLC and the International Center for Principled Leadership, Inc. Currently,
Tanya is also Adjunct Faculty in the ESL Department of Columbia College in Fairfax, Virginia.
Tanya provides a variety of experience working with underserved populations in northern Virginia, as well as teaching ESL. In addition to
having worked for Fairfax County Government, she previously worked for Fairfax County Public Schools as an ESL teacher at Oakton Elementary
School and Herndon High School. Tanya was also an Education & Workforce Development Program Coordinator for the Hispanic Committee of
Virginia and a Disaster Services Program Coordinator for the American Red Cross. She also 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 & Instruction from George Mason University.
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.
3803 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 100
Arlington, VA 22203
Toll-Free: (866) 537-STAR (7827)
Fax: (703) 600-1112
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