National Advisory Council

This group provides guidance and expertise to foundation staff on matters related to strategic planning, major grant initiatives and other priorities.

Council members have expertise in fields related to the foundation’s mission, such as psychiatry, community health, sociology, philanthropy, public policy and law. They bring a variety of perspectives to our work, including consumer and family advocacy, lived experience of mental health, public and private sector practice, and academia.

Appointed by the foundation’s executive director, council members serve staggered five-year terms and meet annually.

Paolo del Vecchio

Paulo del VecchioPaolo del Vecchio,, M.S.W. is the Director of the Office of Management, Technology, and Operations for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Mr. del Vecchio works in partnership with SAMHSA and the Department of Health and Human Services to manage, provide leadership, and ensure SAMHSA’s needs are met.

A self-identified mental health consumer, trauma survivor, and person in recovery from addictions, Paolo has been involved for over 40 years in behavioral health as a consumer, family member, provider, advocate, and policy maker. He graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Temple University, has published widely, and is a highly sought after national leader and speaker. Paolo has been a leader in many Federal efforts including the Federal Advisory Planning Board for the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health, the HHS Multiple Chronic Conditions Initiative, the HHS Living Community Initiative and numerous others.

Term of Service: 2021 – 2026

Teresa Granillo

Dr. Teresa GranilloDr. Teresa Granillo is the CEO of AVANCE, a two-generation organization that provides parents with the tools and support they need to set their children up for healthy, successful futures. AVANCE delivers culturally responsive early childhood education programming to predominately Spanish speaking mothers and their children ages 0-3 years. Dr. Granillo is a first-generation college graduate of The University of Arizona, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and graduating Magna Cum Laude. She also earned a Master of Social Work and Master of Science in Psychology, as well as a dual Ph.D. in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Prior to her work with AVANCE, Dr. Granillo was the Executive Director Con Mi MADRE and taught clinical skills at The University of Texas at Austin’s Steve Hicks School of Social Work and researched issues related to Latina/o mental health, with a particular emphasis on Latina youth.

Dr. Granillo serves as the Education Chair on the Board of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas and is part of the Education Committee of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is also a board member of HERdacity and is the female Texas Affiliate representative for the National Council of La Raza. A recipient of the Lora Lee Peterson Teaching Excellence Award, the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce’s Women of Distinction Award, the Austin Under 40 Award in Nonprofit/Community Service, and 1st Tee of Greater Austin’s Confidence Award, Dr. Granillo was recently featured on the cover of Austin Woman Magazine, and was nominated for the Austin Business Journal’s 2017 Best CEO Award.

Term of Service: 2018 – 2023

Dena Granof

Dena GranofDena Granof, Ph.D, retired from The University of Texas at Austin as a faculty member in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in 2013.

She has over 40 years of experience working with children and adults and their families to help them cope with a communication or cognitive disability. She taught courses in communication and cognitive impairment throughout the age span; focusing on children with brain differences and genetic disorders; traumatic brain injury; and neurological changes in adults. 

Dr. Granof developed and led programs relating to the impact of disability on families and family structure both at The University of Texas and HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital.

Term of Service: 2019 – 2024

Chacku Mathai

Chacku MathaiChacku Mathai, an Indian-American born in Kuwait, got involved in mental health and addiction recovery advocacy when he was just 15 years old. Now President and CEO of Mental Health America of Rochester, his personal experiences of trauma as a youth in mental health and addiction recovery in New York acted as a catalyst for his engagement in efforts to advocate for improved services and alternative supports in the community.

Chacku’s more than thirty years’ experience in community-based mental health and addiction services has included roles such as Director for the STAR Center with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Associate Executive Director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, and a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Practitioner with Unity Health System and DePaul Community Services.

Term of Service: 2018 – 2023

Dennis Mohatt

Dennis MohattDennis Mohatt is the Vice President for Behavioral Health for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).  Founded in 1955, the WICHE Mental Health Program is a collaborative venture with 15 western states, as well as the Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States.  The program’s mission is twofold: 1) to assist the states in the improvement of systems of care for persons with mental illness and their families; and 2) to advance the preparation of a qualified mental health workforce in the West. Prior to joining WICHE, he served as Deputy Director for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services from 1996-1999.  In that position, he was designated the state’s Commissioner of Mental Health, as well as providing leadership in the areas of public assistance, rural health, primary care, disabilities, and child welfare.  Dennis also was responsible for the administration of Nebraska’s public managed care initiatives in Medicaid for both physical and behavioral health.

He has over a decade of experience in community mental health and provided executive leadership to a CMHC in Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula, and the successful integration of community mental health services with primary care in two rural family medicine practices.  Dennis served on the National Rural Health Advisory Committee, to the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, from 1994 – 1998.  During 2002-2003, he served as consultant to the Rural Issues Subcommittee of the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and assisted the committee in preparing its report to the President.  In 2019, Dennis was nominated and selected for the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Practice in Community Psychology Award from Division 27 of the American Psychological Association.

Term of Service: 2021 – 2026

Craig Moore

Craig MooreCraig Moore is a criminal attorney in Austin, Texas.  As an Assistant District Attorney with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, he supervised two felony pretrial diversion programs focusing on mental health and substance use.  An advocate for criminal justice reform, Mr. Moore is a founding member of the Austin-Travis County Sobering Center.

Mr. Moore is a board member of the Austin Bar Association, and he has served on the Pattern Jury Charges – Criminal, Public Affairs, and District 9 Grievance committees for the State Bar of Texas.  He is the recipient of the City of Austin Distinguished Service Award, the African American Youth Harvest Foundation Social Justice Award, and the Austin Bar Association Award for Outstanding Public Sector Service.

Mr. Moore earned a Bachelor of Arts at Austin College and a dual Master of Public Affairs and Juris Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin.

Term of Service: 2020 – 2025

Steven Schnee

Steven Schnee, Ph.D., former Executive Director of the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD (formerly MHMRA of Harris County), assumed the position in 1992. Previous roles include Superintendent of the San Antonio State Hospital and Executive Director of Central Counties Center for MHMR Services.

Term of Service: 2018 – 2023

Michael Schwartz

Michael SchwartzMichael Schwartz, M.D., psychiatrist, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Joint Professor of Humanities in Medicine at the Texas A&M College of Medicine.  His career has been focused on the process of recovering from mental illness by emphasizing the promotion of wellness, overcoming stigma, and celebrating recovery.

Dr. Schwartz is Co-Founder and Medical Director of the Irwin Foundation, a group committed to abetting the process of recovering from mental illness. Author and co-author of numerous articles and chapters in books, and co-editor of numerous volumes, he is Co-Founding Editor of the journal “Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine” and Associate Editor of “Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology.”

Dr. Schwartz is actively involved with the International Network for Philosophy and Psychiatry, co-organizing upcoming meetings in Poland and in France. In 1998, he was named, in Zurich, Switzerland as a recipient of the Dr. Margrit Egnar-Stiftung for “contributing to a more human world in which the human being with its mental needs stands in the center.” 

Term of Service: 2019 – 2024