Introducing the Program Implementation Team
The Northwest Pennsylvania (NW PA) Veteran Suicide Prevention Program operates on a three-pronged approach involving healthcare providers, community organizations, and Veterans and their families. As the Program is currently recruiting healthcare and community partners and planning training opportunities, we’d like to introduce our program implementation team. While there are many people involved with this initiative, these four individuals represent the public face of our efforts and are the ones forging relationships with our partners and stakeholders.
Please reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to know more about connection with our program implementation group.
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Meet Greg Griffith
Greg Griffith is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist. In his role, Greg provides technical assistance, site consultation and mentorship, and program implementation to community partners and stakeholders. Greg previously worked on behalf of the Suicide Prevention Technical Assistance Center and Veterans Administration programming initiatives.
Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Kent State University and will receive a master’s degree in law from the School of Law at the University of Pittsburgh in 2022. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves and has spent the past 20 years working on community engagement and development programming in healthcare, criminal justice reform, and voter enfranchisement.
Privately, Greg is willing to admit that even though he may be a Jedi professionally, he’s just a Padawan to his daughter Lali, who spends much of her time reminding him that his training is not yet complete. They love watching Star Trek and Star Wars together and go on long bike rides where Lali is fond of telling dad to “keep up.” Dad is always working on keeping up. Pronouns: he/him/his
Meet Samantha Hernandez
Samantha Hernandez is a graduate student worker. Her roles for the Northwest Pennsylvania Veteran Suicide Prevention Program are literature reviews for evidence-based interventions,and more recently, she has been involved with syndromic surveillance coordination. She is enthusiastic to be engaging with community leaders who serve Veterans.
Samantha was born and raised in El Paso, Texas where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Texas at El Paso. She moved to Pittsburgh in the summer of 2021 and is on course to receive a master’s degree in epidemiology from the School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh in 2023. Samantha enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, walking her dog Niko, and fishing. She is an avid cook specializing in family-learned Mexican recipes. Pronouns: she/her/hers
Meet Katie Krancevich
Katie Krancevich is the Program Manager. In her role, she oversees and coordinates the implementation of the Program’s strategic plan and is responsible for developing strong relationships with our federal, state, and local partners. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Katie graduated from Youngstown State University and moved to Pittsburgh to pursue a graduate degree in public health, specializing in epidemiology, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is particularly interested in social epidemiology, which studies how social-structural factors influence population health outcomes.
Having spent most of her career working on clinical and community-based mental health and suicide prevention research programs, Katie is a firm believer in the “there is no health without mental health” principle. Her skills and expertise help the team promote community connectedness, reduce mental health stigma, and prevent suicide deaths in Northwest Pennsylvania and beyond.
In her free time, Katie enjoys birdwatching, cooking, volunteering with local non-profits, and hiking with her dogs. If you’re ever on a video call with Katie, chances are, one of her dogs will stop by to say hello! Pronouns: she/her/hers
Meet Patti Tanner
Patti Tanner is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist. In her role, Patti provides technical assistance, site consultation and mentorship, and program implementation to community partners and stakeholders. Patti was born and raised in southcentral Alaska and, in 2007, signed up to serve her country in the U.S. Navy as an AEGIS air search radar tactician. During her time in the Navy, Patti deployed with the USS Gettysburg to the Persian Gulf to support the Global War on Terror and to the Gulf of Aden with the United Nations Task Force 151 for counter-piracy operations.
Following her military service, Patti took advantage of her GI-Bill benefits and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, a master’s degree in communication studies, and an advanced graduate certificate in conflict management from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Patti began her civilian career in the non-profit sector in Erie, Pennsylvania, focusing on adult education, community outreach, and anti-violence initiatives. In 2017, she moved with her family to Pittsburgh, and in 2020, she cofounded the 501(c)(3) veteran service organization RISE: Rank & File. RISE builds supportive communities that advance the values of representation, inclusion, solidarity, and equity for minority veteran populations. Pronouns: she/her/hers
Meet Lee Wagner
Lee Wagner is a Senior Program Implementation Specialist. In his role, Lee provides technical assistance, site consultation and mentorship, and program implementation to community partners and stakeholders. Originally from Southwestern Pennsylvania, Lee continued a family tradition of serving his country. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years were he was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and is a combat Veteran.
After his return to the region, Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Robert Morris University and has worked for PNC Bank, Duquesne University, and the Veterans Administration in roles facilitating the military to civilian life transition. In addition, he has many years of experience working with Veterans who have experienced trauma and moral injury while serving.
As part of his recovery journey from trauma and moral injury, Lee began exploring yoga and meditation in 2007. He credits these practices with helping to restore health, wellness, and balance to his life. In 2020, he completed coursework and training to become a certified yoga instructor and teaches a Veterans-specific yoga and meditation class at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Western PA Chapter serving as the Public Policy Chair. Pronouns: he/him/his
Looking to Get Involved?
Whether you identify as a healthcare provider, community organization, or Veteran, there are several opportunities through the NW PA Veteran Suicide Prevention Program and PERU to connect to resources, participate in educational training, and promote harm reduction strategies. We are actively recruiting healthcare and community partners to work with us in meeting our goals and objectives. To learn more, visit the program website at theresilientveteran.org.
Need Help? Know Someone Who Does? Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat. Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.