Board of Trustees
Colleen Daly Martinez, PhD, LCSW, RPT-S
Colleen is a licensed clinical social worker and a registered play therapist supervisor with 25 years of experience providing services to children and families. She is passionate about parent child relationships and is excited to be nominated to the board of NJ-AIMH.
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Colleen earned her BSW in 1994, her MSW in 1995 and her PhD in 2009, all at Rutgers University. Since being fortunate enough to receive training from Thea Bry in the 1990s, all her practice is based upon a foundation of attachment, safety, and regulation. Shortly after her initial training in infant mental health, Colleen designed an infant-parent playroom to provide a nurturing and safe environment to support families in Paterson. Her dissertation research examined risk for sexual abuse within an attachment framework.
Colleen has worked in hospital, correctional, outpatient mental health, private practice, summer camp, home based and school settings, and she specializes in play therapy and treating traumatized children. She is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Ramapo College of New Jersey. In her private practice she provides training, supervision and consultation to individuals, agencies, summer camps and schools to ensure that children and families receive high quality services.
In 2019, Colleen presented “Using Play Therapy with Preschool Aged Children with Emotional and Behavioral Challenges” for NJ-AIMH. Colleen is well known in New Jersey and is a highly sought after presenter on sexual abuse treatment, play therapy, child well-being, play, and attachment. Her research interests are specific to child well-being, including provision of services in the natural environment of the child, such as in school and camp settings, providing attachment based interventions to promote wellness, play therapy, and parent-child interventions.
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Elmoria Thomas, BA, IMH-E®
Elmoira Thomas has more than thirty-five years in the field of Early Childhood Education. Her journey began during graduate studies at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan where she worked in the Lansing School District serving Title XX students.
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Since the 1980s, Elmoira has had several leadership roles throughout her career at the national, state, and local levels. She has served as the state liaison for the National Association of Family Child Care Quality Standards Committee, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA-now Child Care Aware) Leadership and Membership Councils, President of the Family Child Care Organization of NJ, the NJ Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies and the Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators-South.
Elmoira has had administrative responsibilities for many corporate, public and welfare reform services. She has had fiscal accountability for all programs, including grant application and contracting, as well as screening, interviews, evaluations, and training of all staff.
Elmoria believes in life-long learning and throughout her career has continued her education at The College of NJ, Management and Administration; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Planning Programs for Young Adolescence; Wheelock College in Boston, Advanced Seminars in Child Care Resource & Referral Services; North Carolina State University, Excellence in Human Services; Kean University, Early Care and Education Mentoring Program; Montclair State University, Infant Mental Health Endorsement. More recently, Montclair State University, Brazelton Touch Points, along with various train-the trainer sessions throughout New Jersey.
To this Board, Elmoira brings her knowledge, expertise, ability to connect with diverse populations and assist in developing other Infant Mental Health professionals and resources.
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Muhammad Zeshan, MD
Muhammad Zeshan is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; Infant, Child, & Adult psychiatrist and ADHD Specialist. He is an international medical graduate from Pakistan. Dr. Zeshan’s interest in child mental health started during high school when he tried to encourage parents in his neighborhood to send their kids to school.
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During his advocacy work, he learned the power of being a “good listener” rather than a “problem fixer.” Dr. Zeshan came to the U.S. to pursue his dream of becoming an expert in Infant-Parent-Mental Health (IPMH). After completing his child psychiatry training at Harvard and IPMH fellowship at U-Mass Boston, he joined Rutgers New Jersey Medical School as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. He is actively involved in teaching medical students, pediatricians, social worker, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals throughout the state. Furthermore, he served as the APA (American Psychiatry Association) Diversity Leadership Fellow and APA Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning. He is currently serving as the AACAP (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) Infant & Preschool Committee, NJ-APA Council on Advocacy, WPA (World Psychiatry Association) ECP (Early Career Psychiatrist) Committee, and APA Membership Committee, and piloted IPMH programs for midwives in Pakistan last year.
Muhammad, who was recently named to the 2020-2022 ZERO TO THREE Fellowship Class, hopes that a position on the Board of Trustees will fulfill his dream of making a significant difference in improving infant-caregiver relationships. He is confident that his diverse clinical, teaching, research, and leadership background make him an excellent and deserving candidate for the Board, and that his opportunity will help him to become a better clinician and a thoughtful leader.
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