Maryland Wellness’ passionate team is made up of clinicians, counselors, advocates, specialists and other professionals who bring their varied set of lived and learned experiences to support our clients and their families, as well as our partners, each and every day. One of our core values is collaboration among our team and with our clients’ families, referring partners and their other physicians in order to create the best possible outcomes for our clients. Please meet just a few of our amazing team members.
Ken Thakkar, MHA (he/him)
Ken was appointed CEO of Maryland Wellness in 2021, having joined the organization in 2017 as Chief Operating Officer while it was known as Baltimore Area Community Health Services (BACHS). Since that time, he’s helped grow the agency to six locations (with more planned), expand the team and increase the lives improved.
Ken has a broad range of experience, working with small businesses to large scale corporations. He previously managed international/economic development and social reform within the health, alternative energy and agriculture sectors in emerging markets for BearingPoint and Deloitte. He felt a calling to give back to Baltimore where he’s lived most of his life, which led him to join Maryland Wellness. He devotes most of his time to increasing access to mental health services – particularly for those who might not otherwise have access – as well as breaking down stigmas wherever possible.
Ken is a Board Member of NAMI Metro Baltimore and a recent winner of the 2022 40 Under 40 awards from the Baltimore Business Journal, which recognizes those making a difference in their field and society.
Pathik Rami (he/him)
Pathik was one of the key founders of Baltimore Area Community Health Services, helping as it transitioned to Maryland Wellness. He currently serves as CFO with an extensive background in operations and financial management.
Judith Smith-Downing (she/her)
Advisor to the CEO
Judith has been with Maryland Wellness since its inception in 2013 as Baltimore Area Community Health Services. She started as a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program counselor, eventually becoming CEO. She recently decided to take a more-client focused role.
Judith has more than two decades of hands-on experience in the mental health field, consulting, social work and teaching, primarily with children with special needs in Maryland and Texas. She directs a charitable organization that serves the local community by distributing food, hosting clothing drives, helping the homeless find housing and holding other community resource events.
Sherry Smalls, MHA, MBA (she/her)
With more than 20 years of healthcare experience, Sherry joined the Maryland Wellness team in 2020 in order to lead operations and program development for the agency’s main office and psychiatric rehabilitation program services.
Notably, Sherry worked in hospital administration for the Urban Medical Institute with Bon Secours Baltimore Health System and Director for adults with traumatic brain injury with Neurorestorative. Born and raised in Baltimore, Sherry joined Maryland Wellness to combine her education, work experience and passion in order to serve and partner with her community in an effort to destigmatize mental health. She’s an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha and works to serve the underrepresented populations in various capacities.
Sydney Bryson, LCPC (she/her)
Sydney has worked as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Southern Maryland and the Capital Region since 2007. She officially became Program Director of Maryland Wellness in 2020, following a merger with her team at Alek’s House in Prince George’s County.
Sydney is passionate about helping others through challenging situations. She aims to provide clients with support while empowering them to achieve their fullest potential whether it is at home, within their family or relationships, or in the workplace. She has worked closely with children, adolescents, adults and couples utilizing Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which helps the clients to uncover and alter distortions of thought which may cause psychological distress. She is committed to each individual’s journey to mental wellness and emotional balance.
Danielle Bradley, MSW, aPHR (she/her)
Human Resources Manager
Danielle joined Maryland Wellness as Human Resources Manager in 2020 with a focus on creating a work environment where employees feel safe, recognized and motivated to contribute to the success of the organization. She’s helped to build a workplace culture and team of people who are passionate about what they do and who are excited about coming to work (some virtually) every day.
Previously, Danielle spent several years as a therapist and counselor and feels those skills have helped tremendously as she’s evolved into her role at Maryland Wellness. She is a proponent of mental and physical self-care and working to make a difference in the community.
Laura Crovo (she/her)
Director of Community Relations
With more than 20 years of experience in communications, outreach and advocacy work, Laura began at Maryland Wellness in 2021. She works to locate valuable resources for clients, supports community partners, and helps build access to mental health services and break down stigma to reach clients in need.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Laura has a wide array of experience, including international communications experience and community outreach for numerous Maryland organizations. She worked with the American Psychological Association to champion the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. She is certified in crisis intervention and volunteers as a Crisis Text Line counselor.
Erin Willis (she/her)
Director of Business Development
Erin joined Maryland Wellness following her role as Director of Business Development for SUN Behavioral Health Hospital in Delaware. Erin was approached by SUN to help open a brand-new facility in Georgetown, DE. Before joining SUN, Erin began her journey in the behavioral health field in 2012 at a UHS facility, one of the nation’s largest hospital management companies, in Fayetteville, Arkansas as a community liaison.
Erin’s primary focus is to listen to the needs of the community and the agency. In doing so, Erin works closely with team members, clients, partners, family members and individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis to ensure the best possible outcome. Erin is a tireless advocate for those who need support.
Casey Wu (he/him)
Director of Special Projects
Joining Maryland Wellness in 2020, Casey brings more than 15 years of experience in corporate management and process improvement. He is focused on expanding services and offerings, technology integration, general finance and more.
Casey started his career in the financial world, building businesses from scratch as the CFO at a few start-ups in Austin, TX. After spending his career working at companies that produce a product, he finds it impactful to fulfill a mission that makes meaningful differences in people’s lives.
Dr. Laurence Greenwood (he/him)
Dr. Greenwood joined Maryland Wellness in 2020 and has worked with partner program Alek’s House in Lanham, Maryland since 2008. He has more than 45 years of extensive experience, enabling him to take care of a broad range of adults, adolescents and children. His primary focus is providing optimal psychiatric care, including medication management, to individuals battling a wide array of mental health conditions.
He obtained his M.D. from Cleveland’s Case-Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He completed his psychiatry residency at the University of Cleveland. Following his residency, Dr. Greenwood worked on a research unit at National Institute of Health in Bethesda. Since then Dr. Greenwood has held a number of positions in private and public psychiatry including 15 years in private practice in Rockville, Maryland, followed by another six years at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington working with adults.
Mary Ellen Croft, LMSW (she/her)
With more than 10 years of clinical mental health experience, Mary Ellen has been a part of the Maryland Wellness family for three years, through the organization’s merger with what was previously known as Aspen Wellness Center in Cumberland. She provides support to the team’s Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program counselors and guides them to best help the agency’s Western Maryland clients.
Mary Ellen previously worked with children and adolescents in out-of-home placements, ensuring care for those who were unable to live with their families. She enjoys working within the team environment to help Maryland Wellness’ clients succeed and spends as much of her free time as possible enjoying nature with her children.
Angela Pennix, LMSW (she/her)
Angela has worked in various capacities in the mental health field for more than 15 years. She joined Maryland Wellness in 2018 and leads Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program counselors to ensure they are developing individual programs that best support each client’s mental health and life goals.
Angela has previously served as a therapist and addictions counselor with certifications in Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, Boundary Awareness, Motivational Interviewing and Managing Disruptive Behaviors in the Classroom.
Jeffrey Bazzett (he/him)
Joining Maryland Wellness in 2019, Jeffrey has more than 20 years of experience providing mental health counseling and case management to help positively impact the lives of others. In his role, he works with the agency’s Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program counselors to facilitate access to care and address barriers to mental health success.
Previously, Jeffrey worked as Program Director of the Adult Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program for an agency in Harford County. He has a wide depth of experience, including conducting/providing mental health assessments, case management, psychological education, crisis intervention, advocacy and work as a community liaison. He served as a Psychiatric Technician in the United States Army, where he conducted assessments and led courses related to self esteem, assertiveness and symptom management.
Core Administration Team
Tia Quiah (she/her)
Tia has been with Maryland Wellness since 2019, bringing over 15 years of office management and customer service experience, particularly in healthcare. She leads a team that ensures clients have the best experience possible. She feels most fulfilled when she is able to connect clients to the right mental health services to help improve their lives.
Lisa Cook (she/her)
Client Advocacy Coordinator
Lisa joined Maryland Wellness in 2021, where she makes sure that the agency is meeting the needs of its clients and serving their best interests. She also helps implement new innovations to help Maryland Wellness expand its offerings.
Lisa brings over 12 years of management experience in patient advocacy, volunteer services, marketing and spiritual care. She has experience in quality improvement and is a certified grief counselor with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology (Biblical Studies). She finds it very rewarding to work with clients, meeting them where they are to deliver the best possible outcomes.