(Wilsonville, OR) – Ronda “Ro” Speight, New York Certified Peer Specialist, is committed to pioneering the advancement of Professional Peer Support in the mental health field. Specifically, helping to define what are “collaborative practices” between peer professionals and traditional mental health professions. Ro has been trained in various peer professional and progressive clinical methodologies, which benefit from integrating the peer professional perspective.
In the interest of this commitment, she has been trained in Social Networking, derived from Open Dialogue, currently aiming to utilize the strengths of both clinical and peer facilitation in the United States. Ro is trained as a Hearing Voices Network Facilitator, which is transforming traditional stigmas and perspectives of voice hearing and other alternative sensory phenomena. She is currently working as a Peer and Recovery Specialist at Mental Health Association (MHA) of Westchester, New York. MHA programs include On Track New York, a comprehensive program for young individuals experiencing first-episode psychosis and the Westchester Recovery Network, a peer-directed in-community peer support program.
Ro is also active in the larger New York community, modeling and applying peer professional competencies in traditional medical model settings. She is currently supporting the peer professional presence at New York Presbyterian Hospital- Westchester Division, developing comprehensive Peer Professional led wellness groups on inpatient units. Ro is enjoying being an agent of positive change after years of trying to personally navigate her identity and purpose through a complicated mental health system.
Laysha Ostrow is the founder and CEO of Live & Learn, Inc., a California-based, consumer-run and woman-owned social enterprise that provides research, technical assistance, and knowledge translation services to behavioral health system stakeholders. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Community and Global Health at Claremont Graduate University and holds a PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a Master of Public Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Laysha completed a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF and maintains a position there as a Visiting Professional.
She has been an invited speaker at the Carter Center Symposium, the Kennedy Forum on Mental Health, the U.S. Senate HELP Committee’s roundtable to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, and the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. In 2016, Laysha was the recipient of the 2016 Carol T. Mowbray Early Career Research Award from the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.
As a person who experienced mental health systems that are often ineffective at promoting recovery and community inclusion, she is passionate about improving these systems through research that advances the use of evidence-based practices in real-world settings.