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Jill M. Williams, MD, Medical Director and Co-Founder

Jill Williams, MD is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry at Rutgers University- Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick. She holds faculty appointments at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and is affiliated with the Rutgers Center for Alcohol Studies. She received her medical degree from UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway and completed her residency training at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Dr Williams also completed a fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The focus of Dr. Williams work has been in Addressing Tobacco in individuals with Mental Illness or other Addictions. She is a member of the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD), the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT), and the American Association of Community Psychiatrists (AACP). Dr. Williams has developed training curricula for behavioral health professionals and manualized treatments for treating tobacco in mental health settings.

Dr. Williams has received research funding from sources including the National Institues on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and American Legacy Foundation. Her publications have appeared in numerous journals including Nicotine and Tobacco Research, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

Patricia Dooley, LPC, CTTS, Program Director

Patricia Dooley, MA, LPC, CTTS joined the CHOICES team in 2010 as Program Director. Trish has a Master’s Degree in Counselor Education, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, as well as a Tobacco Treatment Specialist. Trish has been the clinician for a number of clinical trials specific to various medications and behavioral therapies for tobacco dependence in the SMI population in the Division of Addiction Psychiatry. In her role, Trish manages many of the day to day operations and helps to organize the CHOICES team.


Marie Verna
Advocacy Director and Co-Founder

Marie Verna is a Senior Training and Consultation Specialist at Rutgers University Behavioral Healthcare’s Center for Excellence in Psychiatry (CFEP) where she develops and delivers wellness and recovery curricula to champion teams at behavioral health organizations nationwide. She works with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in developing a Wellness Action Plan and with the New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services (NJ-DMHS) to promote the integration of physical healthcare with mental healthcare. Prior to the CFEP, Marie was the Director of Advocacy at the Mental Health Association in New Jersey , where she prioritized the development of policy concerning tobacco cessation, the education of consumers about the risks of smoking, the discriminatory and critical shortage of tobacco-cessation services and feasible recommendations for addressing wellness.

Margaret Molnar
Liaison to NJ Division of Mental Health Services

Margaret Molnar is the Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs to the NJ Division of Mental Health Services. Margaret is very committed to the needs of consumers and works with the Division of Mental Health Services on a variety of projects dedicated to improving Wellness and Recovery in persons with mental illness.


Yasmin Halim

Yasmin Halim has always been interested in health. Her interest turned to consumer advocacy after attending MHANJ's Consumer Connections. As a supporter of the wellness and recovery approach to mental illness she believes addressing tobacco dependence is an essential part of the physical health component of recovery. She feels mental health consumers must advocate for themselves if they are to receive the services they deserve.

Wayne Holland
Wayne Holland is an artist and musician. His interest in CHOICES follows from having lost many loved ones to smoking and being a former smoker himself. He particularly enjoys meeting people, sharing his experience with quitting smoking and providing hope to other consumers that it is possible to address tobacco use.

Click here to read for the newly released Key Assistance Report, "Focus on Smoking Cessation," published by the National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse. The article features New Jersey 's CHOICES program, and Consumer Tobacco Advocate Wayne Holland, as the only consumer-run tobacco cessation education program in the country.

Deidre Stenard
Deidre is an ex-smoker who attributes her success to attendance at support groups, use of the website www.njquitnet.com and the use of nicotine replacement therapy. She started attending Dr. Williams’ quit smoking support group over 8 years ago. She made many (8) attempts at stopping smoking before this last successful quit attempt. She has finally stopped for good this time. Quitting smoking has enabled her to live a much healthier lifestyle, which includes working out at a gym and eating healthy foods. Deidre is interested in speaking to consumers and helping them quit smoking and live healthier lives. It has been 7 1/2 years since deidre had her last cigarette. Deidre has also saved $100,000 as a result of quitting smoking.

Lisa E.
Lisa joined CHOICES in October 2013.  She is a former long time smoker who admits she was in denial about the health and financial consequences of smoking. Lisa feels fortunate to have found help at the Tobacco Dependence Program at Rutgers, where she had individualized counseling, nicotine replacement therapy and joined the support group. On her second quit attempt, she was successful and remains smoke free.  Lisa’s message to consumers is since she has quit, she feels better, breathes better, looks better, and has extra money in her pocket.


We're on TWITTER As a way of staying in touch with people we meet at site visits and health fairs, CHOICES has created a twitter account.  We will use this account to post news, updates, and share valuable health information.  Please follow us on twitter at @NJCHOICES

Mental Health Agencies or Self-Help Centers in New Jersey. Our peer advocates are available to come to your site to talk to consumers. Call us today at 732-235-8232.



CHOICES - 317 George Street, Suite 105, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 - Phone: 732-235-8232

Last Updated 12/27/16