Sharon Dunas, President
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 ten years of our Speaker Series.
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.
Adaline Fagen, Secretary
Adaline Fagen has been involved with NAMI Westside Los Angeles 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 she is committed to growing the membership of the affiliate and effecting major change in her community’s attitude toward brain illness. She has taken the pledge to fight stigma. She performs well as our fundraising chair; she has raised 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 gala.
Sarah Haufrect is a communications director and writer born and bred in Los Angeles. She holds an undergraduate degree in English from UC Berkeley and a graduate degree in writing from Otis College of Art and Design. She has been a mental health advocate through her writing since 2016. Her essays and articles on the subject have appeared in Salon, Psychology Today, The Mighty, and OptionB among others. She is honored to be a part of NAMI Westside Los Angeles and its vibrant community.
Dorit is dedicated to helping raise money for NAMI and awareness about mental illness. A happily married wife and mother of four children, Dorit immigrated to the U.S. 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 and is responsible for the account’s maintenance and daily updates. In a very short period of time, our NAMI Instagram profile surpassed 20,000 followers.
Payal Patel, Treasurer
Payal Patel brings an impactful and engaging lens to our BOD. She joined NAMI WLA in 2019 after taking the Family-to-Family class. Payal has since become a Family-to-Family teacher herself, helping other family members like herself better understand the challenges their loved ones are facing. She now serves as the Treasurer on our Board of Directors and has become a strong advocate for raising awareness and fighting the stigma that still surrounds mental health.
Dr. Karen Wilson
Dr. Karen Wilson is a Clinical Neuropsychologist, Director of West LA Neuropsychology, the founder of ChildNEXUS.com, a digital platform that connects parents who have children or adolescents struggling with neurodevelopmental or social-emotional issues with professionals who provide services. She is also the host of the Diverse Thinking · Different Learning podcast. Dr. Wilson is an Assistant Clinical Professor (Voluntary) in the Medical Psychology Assessment Center at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Behavior at UCLA. She specializes in the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders in children and adolescents.
Lauren Reynaldo is a Los Angeles native who joined NAMI in 2018. NAMI’s unparalleled community of mental health advocates inspired her to become a certified Family 2 Family teacher shortly after completing the course herself. She continues to have the unique privilege of working hands-on with families in need of crucial mental health educational resources and emotional support. In addition to teaching, Lauren is also a certified Ending The Silence presenter, offering imperative mental health awareness and education to middle school and high school students across Los Angeles. Outside of her volunteer work as a passionate mental health advocate with NAMI, Lauren is Head of Synchronization Licensing at Crush Music.