Elder Justice Planning Committee

Planning Committee
18th Annual NYC Elder Justice Conference
A World Without Elder Abuse: 
Coming Together, Taking Stock and Leading Change


   Florian Edwards, LMSW is JASA’s Senior Director of Protective Services, which entails oversight of Adult 
   Protective Services (APS), Elder Justice Prevention Services, and the Annual Elder Justice Training   
   Institute. Florian has provided individual and group therapy in her professional work with victims of
   domestic violence, elder abuse, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery. She is a core member of
   the Enhanced Multi-Disciplinary Team (EMDT). She is passionate about fighting for social justice,
   especially for vulnerable and at-risk populations. 

   Florian attended CUNY’s Herbert H. Lehman College where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2002, with honors. Florian attended Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service where she received her Master’s of Social Work in 2004. Florian remains an active member of the National Association of Social Workers.

A special thank you to Sharon Steinberg, Conference Assistant, for her dedication to making this conference a success!

   Paul L. Caccamise, LMSW, ACSW is Vice President for Program at Lifespan of Greater Rochester, a not-for-profit
   aging service provider in upstate New York. Since 2002, he has provided administrative and clinical oversight for
   agency programs with a focus on elder abuse programs, and services targeting older adults at risk of mistreatment,
   including the Upstate Elder Abuse Center, Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman, Guardianship, and Recovery
   and Wellness (Geriatric Addictions) Programs. He also is Program Director for the National Center for State and
   Tribal Elder Justice Coalitions, sponsored by Lifespan. 

   Paul oversees Lifespan’s role in implementing the statewide Enhanced Multidisciplinary Team (E- MDT) initiative.
   He is part of the team that organized and implemented the 2022 NYS Elder Abuse Summit. He was also the project director for the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study conducted by Lifespan, Weill Cornell Medical Center, and NYC Department for the Aging from 2007-2010. Prior to coming to Lifespan, Paul served in a number of positions at Monroe County Department of Social Services including as administrator for Adult Protective Services from 1985-2002.

   Sgt. Dawana Castro presently has a total of 28 years with the New York City Police Department.

   Sergeant Castro joined the department in March of 1996 as a civilian employee. She was soon promoted to
   supervisor and served nine years as a civilian employee.

   With the desire to do more, Sergeant Castro furthered her career with the department and became a NYC Police
   Officer.  She moved through the ranks to become a Detective and was soon thereafter promoted to sergeant. In
   recognition of her hard work and dedication, Sgt. Castro was acknowledged by the department in 2014
   and promoted to the rank of Sergeant Special Assignment.

Sergeant Castro is currently assigned to the Chief of Department Domestic Violence Unit, where she is the supervisor for the Chief of Department’s Domestic Violence Training Unit.  In her current role, Sergeant Castro is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring all Department Units Citywide, continue to recognize the core aspects of domestic violence and its effects on victims. Additionally, her team collaborates and conducts training with many outside agencies and advocacy groups to provide support and services that will assist each victim with their unique situation.

   Donna Maria Cooper is the Senior Training Director from the Office of Policy, Procedures, and Training (OPPT) for
   the Office of Special Services for the New York City Human Resources Administration (NYC-HRA). Ms. Cooper is
   charged with managing all training activities and responsibilities for the development, execution and on-going
   trainings for Adult Protective Services (APS), HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), Medical Assistance
   Program (MAP), Home Care Services Program (HCSP) and Customized Assistance Services (CAS). She has more
   than 37 years of social services experience with 6 years as a dedicated Bronx-APS Supervisor and 7 years as the
   Training Director for Adult Protective Services. She’s known for implementing new and creative training methods,
   designing an APS curriculum, and establishing a culture of continuous learning.

As a certified Mental Health First Aid trainer, Donna is charged with training HRA employees to recognize symptoms of mental health problems and offer the appropriate help and support until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis is resolved. Donna is also a member of the  Association for Talent Development and the National Adult Protective Services Association. She sits on the steering committees of the Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) NYC Elder Abuse Conference and the Adult Abuse Training Institute (AATI) through the Learning and Development Projects at the Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College.

   Maureen Curtis, LMSW, MPH  is responsible for the development and oversight of Safe Horizon’s Criminal Justice
   Programs with a staff of more than 300 locations city-wide and manages a budget of more than 20 million. She
   has worked for more than 35 years in the field of victimization and has extensive knowledge of victims' rights
   within the criminal justice and housing systems. 

   Maureen started her career in the Domestic Violence Police Program (DVPP). When promoted to Director of
   DVPP, she helped expand this program over the years into 26 police precincts in NYC.

   DVPP led to the creation of the Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) which places Advocates in every NYC police precinct and provides services to all victims of crime. She helped launch CVAP and currently provides senior leadership for its staff. 

Maureen was instrumental in creating and introducing a new practice for Safe Horizon staff in their work with clients; led the training for supervisors in the implementation of this model of client-centered practice; and continues to provide support and guidance to help staff develop their skills and enhance their knowledge. Maureen is a licensed social worker with a Master’s in Public Health. 

   Rachael Domanico is the Elder Justice Specialist at The Weinberg Center. Rachael has worked with a variety of
   populations including LGBTQ+ youth, justice-involved individuals, and housing-insecure veterans. She graduated
   from Molloy College with a Bachelor's in Social Work and was Secretary of the Molloy Social Work Club. She later
   received her Master of Social Work from Fordham University. Rachael was awarded the New York State Society for
   Clinical Social Work Student of the Year Award of Excellence in the Spring of 2020. She recently became a certified
   dementia practitioner and is currently training to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

   Donna Dougherty, Esq. is the Senior Director of Legal Services for Elder Justice. She is a 30-year veteran of JASA. In
   her role, she oversees a 20+ person legal team that provides direct legal services to thousands of older adults each
   year in the areas of evictions and foreclosures, financial exploitation and fraud, public benefits, healthcare, and
   elder abuse. 

   For nearly three decades, Donna has taught negotiating, interviewing, and counseling to law students at
   universities including St. John’s Law School, Cardozo Law School, and New York Law School. Donna is a member of
   the NYC Bar-Mortgage Foreclosure Task Force, NYC Elder Abuse Center Steering Committee, Queens Bar Association, and Landlord/Tenant Committee. Donna received her undergraduate degree from SUNY Oneonta and her Juris Doctor Degree from SUNY Albany School of Law.

   Cheryl Lee, LMSW is currently the Elder Abuse Coordinator at NYC Aging in the Office of Elder Justice. Cheryl
   acts as a senior project leader for all NYC Aging funded Elder Abuse Programs. Cheryl facilitates communication
   between her colleagues and programs working with older adults who are victims of abuse, to help optimize their
   well- being, safety, and the coordination of services.  She is also a member of the New York State Judicial
   Committee on Elder Justice, a  committee committed to improving  access to the court systems for older adults. 


   Ayana Mortley is the Training and Program Facilitator for the Center for Elder Abuse Solutions (CEASe) at Weill
   Cornell Medicine’s Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine. She collaborates with program directors and division
   co-chiefs to assist in developing and implementing The Weill Cornell Medicine Partnership with Historical Black
   Medical Colleges within the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. She also develops, coordinates, and
   delivers all aspects of training workshops related to division’s elder abuse and elder justice programs and initiatives.  

   Ayana developed a passion for elder justice during her time as a social worker for the Human Resources
Administration Adult Protective Services program, where she developed and facilitated intervention plans for high-risk vulnerable adults. Ayana received her M.Ed in Adult Education and Education Technology from Rutgers University and her B.A. in Sociology from Wesleyan University.

   Geoff Rogers has a BA in European history and English from Colby College, and has more than three decades of
   professional change management experience. His commitment to racial and social justice is the foundation of his
   transformative leadership in guiding organizations and its staff as they learn to manage and navigate change and
   new opportunities.

   He brings to his work an array of multifaceted experiences including working in advertising, publishing, and 
   marketing, as well as time working in New York City Adult Protective Services serving in multiple roles such as the
   Director of Special Projects, Director of Training, and the Director of Operations.

Geoff’s diverse background, from public administration to management consulting, informs his work as he leads the development of expansive and inclusive learning opportunities that engage a diverse array of human services professionals. Geoff is the Director of the Learning & Development Projects for Silberman School of Social Work.

   Loangys Sanchez, MSW  is the Program Director of the Violence Intervention & Prevention (VIP)- Elder Justice
   Program at Neighborhood SHOPP. Loangys was promoted into the position on August 2021, prior she was the
   Elder Abuse Social Worker and has been dedicated to working in this field since 2015. Loangys holds undergraduate
   and graduate Social Work degrees from Leham College, she is a certified Relationship-Centered Communication
   Specialist and a SIFI Field Instructor. Loangys has prior experience within the youth population and overall, she
   carries a strong passion for promoting well-being, safety and independence to this vulnerable population utilizing
   the self-help model within her practice.

   Dianne O. Woodburn, Esq. is the Legal Services Supervisor for the Senior Initiative and Home  Retention Programs
   at JASA Legal Services for Elder Justice. Ms. Woodburn assists seniors who victims of scams or who are at risk of
   foreclosure. Ms. Woodburn is also the  Supervising attorney for Queens’ Legal/Social Work Elder Abuse Prevention
   Project  (LEAP). LEAP is an elder abuse prevention project that combines teams of social  workers and attorneys to
   help senior citizens fight against physical and financial abuse  and exploitation in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.
   Prior to joining Legal Services in  2003, Ms. Woodburn was employed at the trial litigation firm of Quinn Emanuel
   Urquhart Oliver & Hedges. Ms. Woodburn is also an Adjunct Professor at St. John’s  University School of Law. Ms.
   Woodburn graduated from New York University and St.  John’s University School of Law.

   Margaret M. Woods, LMSW, ASW-G, ACSW, CCM is a licensed gerontological social worker who graduated from
   NYU Silver School of Social Work in 2015 and is a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society. Margaret has a
   post-master certificate from the NYU Zelda Foster Studies Program in Palliative and End of Life Care as well as a
   Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) Certification from NYU. Margaret has experience in field instruction, clinical,
   community-based, and medical social work which included a Fellowship at the VA Medical Center in Manhattan in
   Palliative and End of Life care working with our nation’s veterans and their families. 

   Since graduation, she has worked for the Carter Burden Network in the Geriatric Case Management Unit assisting homebound older adults and their caregivers with direct services before assuming the director’s position for CEMAPP  (Community Elder Mistreatment Abuse Prevention Program) in June 2021. 

   Jeanne Zieff, MSW CASC Elder Justice Program Director, and her dedicated staff have been on a mission
   for the last 14 years to bring awareness to the all too frequently concealed crime of Elder Abuse to the Staten
   Island Community. 

   Jeanne received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brooklyn College, in Television and Radio. Jeanne then pursued
   the very rewarding career of “motherhood”, returned to school and pursued her Master of Social Work Degree from
   NYU. Jeanne graduated with her MSW in 2006, receiving the “Student of Distinction Award”.

Jeanne serves on the Professional Advisory Board for Stella Orten and Richmond Home Needs. She also volunteers for the Children’s Tumor Foundation and is a proud member of the Soroptimist International of Staten Island.

   Meredith Levine, LMSE, APHSW-C 




   Katherine Martinez, LMSW 




   Alessandra Pilarte, LMSW