California Project LAUNCH Team

We are pleased to share information about the members of our California Project LAUNCH team.  A brief description with each team member’s name, contact information, role, and skills related to our LAUNCH work in California is provided in the following paragraphs.


Karen Moran Finello, PhD 
California Project LAUNCH Director



Dr. Finello is the Director of the California Project LAUNCH and a Project Director in WestEd’s Center for Prevention & Early Intervention. She is an applied developmental psychologist with a specialization in birth to five-year-olds and their families. Dr. Finello has developed, directed, and evaluated home-based programs focused on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with behavioral, health, and mental health issues since 1983. She provides training, technical assistance, and consultation to school districts, hospitals, and community, state, national and international organizations in the areas of infant mental health, early intervention, early childhood development, reflective supervision, evaluation, and program development. She is endorsed as a B-5 Mental Health Specialist and a Reflective Practice Mentor in California and is retired faculty in the Emeriti Center at the University of Southern California. Dr. Finello was the external evaluator for the California Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Programs from 2012-2016.
Areas of support: Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health, Reflective Supervision/Reflective Practice, Screening & Assessment Issues, Early Childhood Development, Family Engagement, Children with Special Health Care Needs, Home Visiting, Systems Integration, Collaboration Across B-5 Service Sectors, Evaluation, and Program Development.



Carla Keener                                                 


Carla is the Senior Administrator for the Continuum of Care and Linkages Strategy at First 5 Alameda County.  In this role, she oversees the planning, implementation, and monitoring of an array of services that support the needs of young children and families including: home visiting, early identification and healthy child development, school readiness, and place-based strategies. Prior to joining First 5 Alameda County in 2001, Carla spent the previous 20 years serving in a variety of senior-level management roles in health care and family support agencies promoting overall wellbeing, improved health outcomes—particularly for vulnerable and marginalized children, families, and communities.

Areas of support: Parent Engagement and Support, Placed-Based Continuum of Care Development and Implementation, Home Visiting Program Administration, Collaboration and Integration with other Community and Public Initiatives.



Rita Lang, MA, MFT            
Mental Health Administrator                      
510 618-2086


Rita Lang, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked in the field of human services for over 25 years. A graduate of San Francisco State University and Cal State University East Bay, Rita holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Educational – Counseling Psychology. Her specialties include: Family Systems Therapy, Dyadic Parenting Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy Adolescent, and Child-Play & Expressive Art’s Therapy. Rita has worked for a number of medical, school and social service agencies providing comprehensive counseling services and believes in “people’s innate ability to find their way to health and healing”. Rita’s experience additionally includes; Program Supervision, Program Development and Consultation Expertise working with a broad array of diverse communities. She has extensive experience as a local trainer, working currently on First 5 Alameda Counties Touch Points Individual Level Training Team. Rita currently works for the Alameda County Public Health Department in Maternal, Paternal Child and Adolescent Health Unit as the Behavioral Health Clinical Supervisor and Program Manager for the Blue Skies Mental Wellness Team. Her consultation and counseling work has been fundamental in implementing the Mental Health Integration efforts for MPCAH-Behavioral Health Care Home visiting programs integration.

Areas of support: Home Visiting-Direct Service (over 15 years of home visiting field experience), Program Development of Mental Wellness Team Management, Reflective and Administrative Supervision, Trauma Informed Care Interventions, Early Childhood Mental Health Approaches to care, Case Triage, Team Building, Case Review and Clinical Case Management.


Anna Gruver, LCSW   
Local Lead Agency
Alameda County MPCAH
510 667-4334


Anna Gruver is the Maternal, Paternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MPCAH) Coordinator and Health Care Services Administrator at Alameda County’s Public Health Department. She is a bi-lingual, bi-cultural Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in the field of social work focusing on children and families for almost 20 years. As the MPCAH Coordinator and Alameda County Healthy Start Initiative Project Director, she leads the integration of maternal child/early childhood family support services for pregnant women and families with young children; looking closely at social determinants of health and the strength of our families as well as supporting a workforce to meet the needs of our communities across the life course. 

Areas of support: Home Visiting Program Development and Administration, Administrative and Reflective Supervision, Financing and Leveraging Options, Integration with other Initiatives, Building Partnership across County System.



Ayannakai Nalo, LCSW   Ayannakai Nalo
Mental Health Consultant
510 316-3475


Ayannakai Nalo, LCSW, is a CPP rostered licensed clinical social worker who has been working with children and families for nearly 30 years and in the early childhood mental health field for the last 15 of them. The California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health has endorsed Ms. Nalo as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Reflective Practice Facilitator Mentor.

Ms. Nalo is also the former Manager for Early Intervention Services at UCSF Benioff Children’s Oakland and is a member of the faculty of the Irving B. Harris Early Childhood Mental Health Training Program. As a member of the Harris Foundation Diversity-Informed TENETS Work Group, Ms. Nalo integrates diversity-informed principles from TENETS and other sources into reflective supervision and infant mental health services and also trains organizations and mentors individuals in the implementation of the TENETS across infant and early-childhood mental health providers and public health fields.

Areas of support: Home Visiting-Direct Service (over 20 years of home visiting field experience), Program Management, Reflective and Administrative Training and Supervision, Early Childhood Mental Health Integration into Early Care & Education, Trauma Informed Care Interventions, Child-Parent Psychotherapy trained Early Childhood Mental Health Clinician



Jill Shinkle, MA   
California Project LAUNCH Evaluator  
510 332-1761


 Jill Shinkle served as the evaluator for the original California Project LAUNCH, beginning late in the second year of the project and is the evaluator for the Expansion Project. Jill has 20 years of experience evaluating educational, health, and family support programs as an evaluation consultant for WestEd and for Philliber Research Associates. Her experience includes the original Project LAUNCH, as well as evaluations of programs involving multiple partner agencies, such as city, county, and state government, school districts, private foundations, and community-based organizations of all types.

Areas of support: LAUNCH Evaluation, Local Evaluation Assistance, and SAMSHA requirements.



Dara Griffin, BS
DDG Training & Consulting, CA LAUNCH Family and Community Engagement Consultant   


Dara Griffin first attended a Parent Cafe in 2008 and has been involved with the Strengthening Families movement ever since. Dara consults with organizations and systems that wish to authentically engage families and communities, and has worked with several Project LAUNCH grantees across the country assisting with the implementation of the Café approach and accompanying professional development, training and technical assistance to enhance engagement and parent/provider relationships.  Before consulting in the family strengthening arena, Dara was a sales and marketing professional in the Human Resources and Pharmaceutical Industries. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and Social Policy with a concentration in Human Development from Northwestern University in Evanston,Illinois.

Areas of Support: Family and Community Engagement Training, Strategic Planning, Facilitation, Program Design and Professional Development.



Thea Perrino

Thea Perrino, Chief 
Program Quality Section, California Home Visiting Program, MCAH/CDPH

Ms. Perrino has 10 years of experience with the California Department of Public Health working in chronic disease prevention and health promotion.  Prior to joining the state, she managed the Orange County Cancer Detection Partnership, a program that provides local support and training for physicians and offers community education to women at higher risk for breast and cervical cancer.   Additional work experience includes managing a program designed to promote domestic violence screening among health care providers and serving as a legislative aide to former California Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett.  Ms. Perrino is very excited to join CHVP!



Cindy Wilson, MS, RN, PHN, IBCLC
Nevada County Public Health Department
(530) 265-7269


Cindy has been the Director of Public Health Nursing and Maternal Child Adolescent Health Director with the Nevada County Public Health Department since 2014. Prior to that, she was the Maternal Child Adolescent Health Coordinator and Maternal Child home visiting nurse. She also has experience working as a nurse in intensive care units and labor and delivery in several hospitals. In between her time in public health and acute care, she lived in Africa for 18 years, where she participated in community health improvement efforts, such as immunization and health clinics and education and HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Kenya and South Africa. Cindy earned a Masters in Nursing Science and Health Care Leadership from UC Davis and Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Pacific Union College. Additionally, she is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).

Cindy is the liaison for Nevada County’s Project LAUNCH Team, with implementation through First 5 Nevada County. She is passionate about prevention and is excited to be part of a multi-pronged effort to improve health outcomes for Nevada County’s mothers, children, and families.

Areas of Support: Home Visiting, Building Cross-Cultural Bridges, Breastfeeding, Maternal Health, Infant Health, Mental Health for the Perinatal Population, Community Collaboration & Partnership, Team Building, Leadership.



Diane Beetham, MSN, RN, PHN  Dianne Beetham
MCAH Director of Public Health Nursing
San Francisco Department of Public Health

Diane Beetham is the Director of Public Health Nursing in San Francisco’s Department of Public Health- Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Section. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing and Public Health Nursing Certificate from Dominican University and her Master of Science degree at the University of Phoenix. Prior to coming to San Francisco, Diane was appointed as the first Chief Nurse Executive at San Quentin State Prison and was previously employed in Marin County Health and Human Services for ten years as the Clinical Services Administrator and Director of Public Health Nursing.

Ms. Beetham successfully implemented the Nurse Family Partnership Program (SFNFP) in San Francisco in 2012 which was funded in part by the Maternal and Infant Early Child Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program provided through the Affordable Care Act. By leveraging different funding streams, The San Francisco Nurse Family Partnership Program doubled their capacity to serve low income first time mothers. Now, with the Project LAUNCH expansion grant, San Francisco is once again leveraging funding to support the integration of Mental Health consultation and Parent Cafés into Public Health Nursing Home Visiting Programs, including SFNFP and the MCAH PHN Home Visiting Program.



Rose Mary Rahn, BSN, RN, PHN Rose Mary Rahn
MCAH, Director of Public Health Nursing
Fresno County Public Health Department
(559) 600-6340

Rose Mary has been the Director of Public Health Nursing and Maternal Child Adolescent Health Director with the Fresno County Department of Public Health since 2012. Prior to that Rose Mary’s public health career has included maternal child home visitation, reproductive healthcare for at risk adolescents, communicable disease and tuberculosis case investigation/case management as well as public health emergency preparedness. Rose Mary spent 10 years of her nursing career working in acute care hospitals in the intensive care unit, quality management programs and performing perinatal case management for a neonatal intensive care unit, high risk obstetrics and pediatrics units. Rose Mary earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles in 1986.

Rose Mary oversees the Fresno County Project LAUNCH Team and serves as a liaison with the Family Café and mental health consultation components. She is passionate about providing quality services to women and their families and supports the home visitation programs and staff which serve them.



Lilia M. Rodriguez, LMFT Lilia M Rodriguez
Mental Health Consultant

Lilia provides program Support to Project LAUNCH. She is endorsed as an Infant Child and Family Mental Health Specialist and has over 12 years of experience providing mental health treatment services to children Birth to 5 years old in the home, community, school, hospital, and clinic settings. She provided mental health consultation to Early Head Start and Head Start programs for 7 years and has worked as a home visitor for the past 26 years providing support and services to infants and children with medical and developmental disabilities.