Board Members and Officers – 2018

Meet the Nami West LA Board of Directors

Ralph Fagan

Ralph is currently serving along with Sharon Dunas a co-president of NAMI Westside.  He has been an active member of NAMI Westside LA since 2007. Ralph has been a Family-to-Family teacher since 2008 and has assisted hundreds of family members to better understand, cope with, and support loved ones afflicted with mental illness. He has mentored new Family-to-Family teachers while leading a number of family support groups.

Ralph became a Smithsonian Laureate in 2000, for his work with at risk children.  We are proud to have him as our current co-president.

Sharon Dunas

Sharon has unselfishly provided leadership and exceptional services to the community via NAMI WLA for more than twenty years, having taught various NAMI courses to hundreds of members of the community, as well as teaching new teachers. She took the lead in reorganizing NAMI WLA in 2007, recruiting seven people to serve on the initial Board as well as a dozen or more to fill subsequent vacancies. Sharon has also recruited two speakers every month for our Speaker Meetings for ten years.

In addition to chairing the Board of Directors from 2007 to 2013, Sharon served as President of the affiliate from its reorganization until 2013, and also served for several years as our representative to the Los Angeles County Coordinating Council of NAMI (LACC), and served as its President for three years. Sharon has been the top “Team Captain” fundraiser for the annual NAMI Los Angeles County Walk for many years.  She is again serving as co-president this year along with Ralph Fagen.


Shelley Hoffman
Board Member, Walk Manager

Shelley is the Manager of NAMIWalks Los Angeles County — the signature fundraiser and anti-stigma campaign for the 12 local affiliates of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in the County. She came to NAMI in 2001 and soon became a Family to Family Teacher, Support Group Facilitator, Provider Education Course for Clinicians Teacher, and a State Trainer of Teachers for the Provider Education Course, and Coordinator of many Provider Education Courses held throughout the County. In addition to working full time as NAMIWalk Manager, she runs a Parent Support Group for Daniel’s Place, a program of Step Up On Second. Shelley previously served on the NAMI Westside Los Angeles Board of Directors starting in 2005 for many years, as Treasurer and then Secretary.

Dorit Haroni
Board Member

Dorit is dedicated to helping raise money for NAMI and awareness about mental illness.  Happily married wife and a mother of four children, Dorit immigrated to the US at the age of 14. She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and proceeded to get her Masters in Structural Engineering from Stanford University.Dorit has established Our NAMI Westside Instagram profile. She’s responsible for the profile maintenance and daily updates.  In a very short period of time our NAMI Instagram profile surpassed a thousand followers with hopes of rapid growth in the future.


a-02-nye-2003Duane Bentzen
Board Member

Duane has been a NAMI member for over 14 years. He served on the Board of NAMI Ventura county  for five years and was Board President for three years.  He teaches NAMI Family-to-Family and Provider Education classes and is a NAMI Group facilitator.

He also performs IT support and does Website development for a number of non-profit organizations in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties including The Client Network, NAMI Westside, NAMI Ventura, Musicians on a Mission, Rock for Recovery and Feed America Now.  Duane is excited to have the opportunity to be a member and to work with Ralph and Sharon and the entire board of NAMI Westside to work to restore and increase the level of outreach and social media services to the Westside community. 

Adaline Fagen
Board Member, Fundraising Chair

Adaline Fagen has been involved with NAMI WLA since 2007. Adaline is chair of the Fundraising Committee which is responsible for our annual Gala fundraising event. She and her husband Ralph are Family-to-Family teachers, and is committed to growing the membership of the affiliate and effecting major change in her communities attitude toward brain illness. She has taken the pledge to fight stigma.  She performs well as our fundraising chair, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years and she has worked diligently to create our annual Gala fundraising event.  To see the results she provides, see the Gala Fundraising video from our spring 2018 ‘Moroccan Bazar’ on the home page.

Cynthia BrownCynthia Brown, PsyD, LMFT

Cynthia is currently our Secretary.  She is and has been a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist for individuals, couples and families since 1991.  She works in private practice in Santa Monica, California.  Additionally, since 2007, she has provided intensive psychological treatment and case management for people diagnosed with trauma, and severe, persistent mental illness at the residential psychiatric facility, Bridges to Recovery. NAMI became an essential support for her and her family when her son became ill in 2010 and later during his recovery. Cynthia welcomes the opportunity to give back to NAMI and provide her expertise in whatever capacity she can.



mitziMary Sue Wright

Mitzi Wright has been a member of NAMI WLA for over 15 years and was one of the seven individuals who completely reorganized and revitalized the NAMI WLA affiliate in 2007. Mitzi previously served as a member of NAMI WLA Board for six years, and served as a Walk Captain 11 years. Her team has always been one of top fundraisers for LA County.

Mitzi represented Westside LA on the NAMI WALK committee for four years, and organized Kick-off Luncheons with other team captains. Mitzi completed training to be a support group facilitator, and has served as a facilitator for 5 years. She also served on a committee that organized Luncheon and Fashion Show in 2013 that raised over $20,000.

Frances Tibbits
Vice President

Frances is Vice President of NAMI WLA, assisting Sharon and Ralph with the executive duties of our Board of Directors. She has been a NAMI member for over 15 years. As a former Board member of NAMI California for six years, she served as Vice President, Treasurer, and on the legislative committee. Frances is a retired attorney, who has been active in local environmental causes.   She brings a level of executive expertise, and we are grateful to have Frances’ experience on our growing board of directors and NAMI Family.