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NewsFeb 3, 2023

Dr. Myisha Rodrigues ’21 named first Black executive director of NAMI Massachusetts

Lesley alumna brings trauma-informed lens to mental health advocacy

Myisha Rodrigues working with colleagues at a shared desk

As the new executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts (NAMI Massachusetts), Dr. Myisha Rodrigues ’21 will bring her combined strengths as a licensed counselor and organizational development professional during a critical time in the field of mental health.

“My time at Lesley helped crystalize my understanding of community healing, systems, and policy through a social justice and trauma informed lens,” says Rodrigues, who holds a PhD in Counseling and Psychology, with a concentration in Transformative Leadership, Education, and Applied Research from Lesley.

Rodrigues is the first Black executive director at NAMI Massachusetts, a nonprofit that focuses on advocacy, education and support in the mental health sphere.

“As a Black, woman practitioner, leader, and scholar, I have been positioned to notice, observe, and analyze oppressive, marginalizing, and privileged behavior,” she says. “I am ready to bring my knowledge, leadership, and experience for supporting historically marginalized communities to the forefront of our work.”

In particular, she says NAMI Massachusetts is poised to help both individuals and organizations when they need it most.

My time at Lesley helped crystalize my understanding of community healing, systems, and policy through a social justice and trauma informed lens.
Dr. Myisha Rodrigues ’21, Counseling and Psychology, PhD

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light an overabundance of inequities that have long existed in our mental health system,” says Rodrigues. “This is the opportune time to build strategic partnerships, advocate for systemic changes, and campaign for more funding sources to support people living with a mental health condition and their families.”

She says many recent initiatives have already made great progress in getting mental health care to the people who need it, including the new national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Rodrigues wants to see that momentum continue.

“It is crucial that we make sure individuals living with a mental health condition and their families in all Massachusetts communities can access healing and supportive care wherever and whenever they need it,” says Rodrigues.