Elisa English, Ph.D., LCSW-R

Director of Behavioral Health Services

With a clinical background in mental health, Elisa English currently serves as the Behavioral Health Director at VOA-GNY where she works closely with adults and young adults diagnosed with severe mental illness, chronic homelessness, co-occurring disorders, and co-morbidity. She is a strong advocate for trauma-informed and person-centered care.

In her current role at VOA-GNY, Dr. English oversees multiple areas of behavioral health polices, programs, and protocols, creates long- and short-range plans, organizes and implements process improvement strategies, and supports staff in managing complex clients issues. She directed the redesign of one of VOA-GNY's OMH Congregate level 2 facilities, and secured a three-year operating license. Dr. English also served as the consulting clinician for the Moral Injury Promising Practice Intervention for Veterans.

In her former position, Dr. English served as Senior Director of Programs at a mid-size harm reduction, OASAS-licensed, and HIV education organization, where she worked closely with the formerly incarcerated and LGBTQ communities as a strong ally for cultural-affirming practice. She served as principal investigator and oversaw the administration of federal grants including CDC, BJA/DOJ, and SAMHSA, while orchestrating end-to-end development, launch, and management of organizational projects and programs including implementation of HCBS and care coordination programs. 

For 10 years, Dr. English worked for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, promoted through roles of increasing scope and responsibility to hold a key steering position as the Executive Director of External Relations and Government Affairs, and the Acting Chief of Staff. There, she helped pave the way for improving professional competency in child services and public policy administration through the “Safety First” unit and the Child Protective Managers Leadership Academy. She spearheaded the Neighborhood Based Services and Community Partnership Initiative, which developed 25 sustainable, functional system-of-care collaborative partnerships with up to 80 members each across 59 community districts. Dr. English also led efforts to secure $5 million in federal grants to sustain the partnerships and increase the scope of services.

Dr. English holds a Master of Social Work from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Social Policy from Yeshiva University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R).

Areas of Expertise:

  • Behavioral Health
  • Clinical Engagement 
  • Substance Use

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