Mental Health News Education, Inc. (MHNE), the nonprofit organization that publishes Autism
Spectrum News and Behavioral Health News, will be honoring outstanding champions of the
autism and behavioral health community at its annual Leadership Awards Reception on May 16,
2018, at the NYU Kimmel Center in NYC from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM. To register, visit
Constance Brown-Bellamy, MHNE Board Chair, made the announcement stating, “MHNE has
selected leaders from four of the nation’s most prominent organizations to be honored at our
annual awards reception this year.” They are: NEXT for AUTISM Co-Founder and President,
Ilene Lainer and Board Member, Michelle Smigel; Jim Spink, Executive VP, National Client
Partnerships at Beacon Health Options; Mitchell Netburn, President and CEO of Project
Renewal; and Tino Hernandez, President and CEO of Samaritan Daytop Village.
Ira Minot, Founder and Executive Director of MHNE stated, “We are indeed honored to have
this opportunity to recognize these champions of the communities we serve. We are also pleased
to announce that Joshua Rubin, Principal at Health Management Associates and MHNE Board
Member, has graciously accepted to serve as Event Chair for our 2018 Leadership Awards
Reception. Josh has served in leadership positions at many prominent autism and behavioral
health organizations in the New York region.”
In a joint statement, Debbie Pantin, CEO of VIP Community Services and MHNE Vice-Chair,
and Josh Rubin remarked, “Both the autism and behavioral health communities will shine at our
2018 networking and awards celebration, and we invite all of our friends and colleagues to come
out and join us in honoring our outstanding Leadership Awards recipients.”
Proceeds from this event will go towards expanding and developing the nonprofit educational
mission of Autism Spectrum News and Behavioral Health News. With these publications, Mental
Health News Education, Inc. aims to reduce stigma, promote awareness and disseminate
evidence-based information that serves to improve the lives of individuals with mental illness,
substance use disorders and autism spectrum disorders, their families, and the provider
community that serves them.
Ilene Lainer and Michelle Smigel
Co-Founder and President / Board Member
NEXT for AUTISM
“2018 Advocacy Award”
Ilene Lainer, NEXT for AUTISM Co-Founder and President, is responsible for the strategic
vision and tactical direction of NEXT for AUTISM. She became a leader in the autism
community for both professional and personal reasons. Ilene co-founded NEXT for AUTISM
because she is committed to transforming the system of services and pursuing the latest
innovations, so that all families living with autism would have access to the educational, social,
recreational, and support services they need. Formerly a partner at the law firm of Grotta,
Glassman & Hoffman, P.A., Ilene practiced labor and employment law on behalf of management
for nearly two decades, developing a strong interest in working with clients that were in the
midst of internal structural change. Ilene has served on the Board of Classic Stage Company. She
has published and spoken widely about autism topics, and is currently on the Board of Trustees
of the NYC Autism Charter School and on Advisory Committees for Felicity House and the
Center for Autism and the Developing Brain.
Michelle Smigel, NEXT for AUTISM Board Member, and Co-Creator of Night of Too Many
Stars, was a young mom working toward a prominent position at the Museum of Natural History
and occasionally writing the best parts of her husband Robert’s Saturday Night Live cartoons,
when her first son, Daniel, was diagnosed with autism. Like many parents, she was horrified by
the lack of options and resources for kids with autism, and she and Robert started Night of Too
Many Stars, a televised benefit that, since 2006, has raised over 30 million dollars for autism
schools, services and programs all over the country. She is a proud mom of three perfect boys.
Jim Spink, Market President for the
Beacon Health Options
“2018 Leadership Award”
Jim Spink is the Market President for the Tri-State/ Mid-Atlantic Region at Beacon Health Options
– the nation’s premier managed behavioral healthcare organization. As a founding member of
Beacon Health Strategies in 1997, Jim has held numerous roles within the organization, most
recently serving as Beacon’s President until the merger with Value Options in 2014. Building on
an extensive background in behavioral health and developmental disabilities policy and program
development, Jim has pioneered medical and behavioral health integration within payor and provider
systems. Further, Jim has focused his education on the implementation of the American Disabilities Act
(ADA), focusing on disability as a civil rights concern.
Mr. Spink received a dual degree in psychology and English literature from the University of
Massachusetts at Amherst and a MPA in Public Administration/Disability Studies from Suffolk
University in Boston, Massachusetts.
President and CEO
“2018 Community Service Award”
A native New Yorker, Mitchell Netburn has over 25 years of public interest experience. Since
2010, Mitchell has been the President and CEO of Project Renewal. At Project Renewal he is
responsible for the strategic vision and management of the agency to ensure it fulfills its mission
to end the cycle of homelessness for adults and children by empowering them to obtain health,
homes and jobs. Mitchell oversees the agency’s innovative and award winning programs which
collectively serve 15,000 clients per year, including 2,754 people in shelters and permanent
housing. Project Renewal has a staff of 900 employees and an annual budget of $80 million.
Previously, Mitchell was the Senior Vice President at F·E·G·S Health and Human Services
System where he directed a welfare-to-work initiative serving 24,000 disabled clients annually.
Mitchell succeeded in tripling the number of clients moving from welfare to independence,
gaining both national and international recognition for this holistic client-centered model. Prior
to joining F·E·G·S, Mitchell served as the Executive Director for the Los Angeles Homeless
Services Authority where he coordinated all homeless programs for the City and County of Los
Before moving to Los Angeles, Mr. Netburn was the First Deputy Commissioner at the New York
City Department of Homeless Services where he ensured quality shelter and programs were
provided to 23,000 people per night. Mitchell also held the positions of Chief of Staff to the NYC
Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services as well as the Agency Chief Contracting Officer
and the Assistant Commissioner for the Ryan White CARE Act Program at the NYC Department
of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Mr. Netburn has a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School and a B.A. from
President and CEO
Samaritan Daytop Village
“2018 Lifetime Achievement Award”
Tino Hernandez is President and CEO of Samaritan Daytop Village. Samaritan Daytop Village is
one of the largest non-profit providers of community-based health and human services in New
York State. Serving more than 28,000 people each year, the agency operates a network of more
than 50 facilities, across 10 counties in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and upstate
Tino serves on the Governor’s Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council and sits on the
Executive Committee of the Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies. Prior to joining Samaritan
Daytop Village, Mr. Hernandez was the second-longest serving Chairperson of the New York
City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and oversaw a public housing and Section 8 system serving
more than 675,000 New Yorkers.
Mr. Hernandez previously served as Commissioner of the NYC Department of Juvenile Justice,
Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services, Deputy Commissioner
for Adult Services at the Department of Homeless Services, and Assistant Commissioner for
HIV Program Services at the City’s Health Department.
A licensed social worker, Mr. Hernandez obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Adelphi
University and a Masters in Social Work from the State University of New York at Albany. Mr.
Hernandez is married and resides in Manhattan. He is the father of two children.