Teena Brooks is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and Assistant Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. OCA works to ensure that the consumer and peer perspective informs the Department’s work in mental health, substance use, and developmental disabilities. She collaborates with senior leadership, representing the peer perspective in planning, policy development, advocacy, and innovative service development activities. In addition to assisting in research, policy design, and implementation, she furthers the Department’s outreach and engagement by planning forums, conferences, and other community education activities.
Before joining the Department, Ms. Brooks worked for the Urban Justice Center (UJC) for thirteen years. She enforced section 29.15 of the Mental Hygiene Law, and organized on issues including the improvement of relations between the NYPD and the mental health community, increased supportive housing, and the abolition of solitary confinement for inmates with psychiatric disabilities. She has testified before City Council and the New York State Assembly. Prior to UJC, Ms. Brooks served at the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) as President of the Board of Directors, Regional Organizer, as a member of the public policy and cultural competence committees, and as a consultant. Ms. Brooks has taught social welfare policy at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. As part of her doctoral research, she studies faith-based coping among African American women with psychiatric disabilities and type 2 diabetes.