Community Behavioral Health PartnershipJune 15, 2023 - Written by Dr. Linda Torres
The love for and relationship we have with this city has grown from how can we improve our home to how can we best support our brothers and sisters who share our home and foster their well-being? Since the inception of our organization, we have become familiar with neighborhoods affected by substance use, uncertain about the next meal, cooked in the sweltering heat, and as Veterans, can say war torn by gun violence. Many times, they were the same neighborhoods… Hunting Park, Frankford, West Philly, North Philly… Where these people live have an immense impact on how they live. As Dr. Robert Winn of Virginia Commonwealth University put it, a person’s ZNA (zip code , neighborhood and association) affects their health and well-being as much as (or even more than) their DNA. Which is why we at Action Tank are supporting our new colleagues and their pursuit to care for Philadelphia and the people living in their affected ZNAs.
Community Behavioral Health (CBH) shares the same love, where their mission is to provide access to high-quality, accountable care to improve the health and mental wellness of those they care for.
With this partnership, our goals are:
• Identify and assess social conditions impacting mental health within CBH's population, and develop targeted initiatives to address these conditions.
• Increase awareness of CBH's programs and initiatives to better serve the community and ensure the accessibility of resources to those in need.
• Leverage existing partnerships to support CBH's mission and broaden the scope of services available for individuals and families affected by social determinants of health.
• Work with Philadelphia public health and other students to conduct a community needs assessment to help identify effective policies, programs, and interventions for social determinants of health, with the goal of implementing best practices within these communities.
Planting TreesApril, 2023 - Written by Larry Abrams
Packing and Partnership with the The Share Food ProgramJanuary 21, 2023 - Written by Larry Abrams
Veterans Serving Veterans Service Project with The Share Food ProgramNovember 12, 2022 - Written by Jess Wisniewski-Hagen
Action Tank Partners with PHS to do Some Digging
Action Tank Supports Team Foster and Penn Vet Working Dog Center
Meet Larry Abrams: Action Tank Member and Founder of BookSmiles
Action Tank Delivers 1300 lbs. of Food to Senior Citizens with the Share Food Program
The Share Food Program leads the fight against food insecurity in the Philadelphia region, by serving an expansive, quality partner network of community-based organizations and school districts engaged in food distribution, education and advocacy. Food insecurity is rising in and around our city and YOU can help feed your neighbors in need. To find out more about the Share Food Program, volunteer, or find food, visit: https://www.sharefoodprogram.org/.
To learn more about other organizations in Philadelphia fighting food insecurity, watch Feeding Philly. Directed by Tim Yingling and produced by Action Tank, Feeding Philly (2020) follows Action Tank on their year-long mission as they work with community partners to improve the food insecurity landscape in Greater Philadelphia.
Action Tank Closes Out the Year Serving the Philadelphia Community with Toys For Tots
Joining Local Communities to Plant Trees in Honor of Veterans
Featured on 6ABC Action News Philly Proud
Action Tank member’s, Mark Torres and Jessica Wisniewski, share what make makes them Philly Proud to serve their communities with other like-minded and like-hearted veterans. CLICK HERE to watch the full news clip featured on ABC6 News
“Stepping out of the military and going into civilian life it seemed like, now I have all this energy that I’m used to exerting and extending, and I don’t have that outlet for it.”
— Mark Torres, Action Tank Treasurer
“There are so many of us that are true assets to our community. We harness all these skills and we put them to good use. ”
— Jess Wisniewski-Hagen, Action Tank Admin Director
Congratulations, Dr. Emily Balog
Action Tank Featured in Philadelphia Inquirer
Matt Connolly, Operations Director
Nick Liermann, Admin Team
Jake Baranik, Admin Team
Action Tank Members Fundraise with Team Foster to Provide Service Dogs to Veterans
Leading Generations to Come: Action Tank Members Honored with Teaching Awards
Honoring National Volunteer Week: Join Tree Philly in Their Mission to Create Growth for Philly's Urban Forest
This City of Philadelphia is launching its first-ever urban forest strategic planning process and this month Tree Philly, a partner of Action Tank, officially announced their public engagement project for the Philly Tree Plan. Their plan includes a ten-year blueprint to create growth and care of Philadelphia’s urban forest. Action Tank has learned that addressing the tree canopy is linked to better community health outcomes and even reduces violence.
Action Tank Member Joins Fellow Veterans to Speak About Serving Their Community After Serving Their Country
To hear Jess and other veterans share their stories, follow the link below and use passcode: EF7S*ABs
Additionally, Jess was featured in #FemaleVetFriday, a social media program by the Philadelphia Veterans Parade and Food Shelter that showcases specific female veterans who are positively contributing to their communities through continued acts of service. Action Tank was featured on the #AnsweringTheCall through our work as a VSO bringing attention to issues impacting the veteran community.
Congratulations Jess and thank you for your incredible service to the veteran community, Philadelphia, and to Action Tank!
Action Tank Service Director Honored with Scholarship and Selected to Head Pro Bono Clinic
Big News for Action Tank Members: Starting off Strong in 2021
Action Tank Condemns Capitol Violence
Action Tank Continues Tree Canopy Restoration Amidst Global Pandemic
Veterans Day with Action Tank: Documentary Screening and 2020 Awards
Penn Doctoral Student and Action Tank Member named Penn's Perry World House Fellow, Leads Students in Galapagos Island
Standing in Solidarity Through Continued Efforts in Improving Social and Environmental Conditions: Tree Canopy Restoration
Returning Member Awarded Ethics Certification
Action Tank Member Helps Deliver 600 Pounds of Food to Philadelphians in Need
Action Tank Service Director, Dr. Linda Fontanilla, Publishes Article on Founder of The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting
Dr. Fontanilla, Action Tank's Service Director, published an article in the Social Innovations Journal highlighting Jim MacMillon, founder of The Initiative for Better Gun Violence Reporting. The article describes MacMillon's humble leadership and desire to generate a program that improves journalists responsible reporting of gun violence and how best practices can prevent shootings and save lives. Action Tank is pleased to be connected with such an innovative passionate leader. Thank you for capturing such an inspirational profile, Dr. Fontanilla!
Action Tank Member Receives Civic Engagement Award
Meeting with Policy Makers Call to Action: Gun Violence
Action Tank is at it again—Bringing theory to action in our community! Members took to Harrisburg and met with the PA House of Representative’s Armed Forces Caucus, including PA National Guardsman and State Representative Zach Mako for state action on gun violence while another Action Tank group met with Representative Chrissy Houlahan to discuss federal impacts on gun violence. Action Tank is utilizing their unique position as veterans to develop innovative solutions to ensure a safe America while also protecting our right to bear arms. Anyone interested in making an impact should email email@example.com Pictured (top): Matt Miclette, Chris Diaz, Representative Zach Mako, Andres Galarza; Pictured (bottom): Randall Hsia, Nick Lierman, Representative Chrissy Houlahan, Emily Balog, Doug Wieglet.
Executive Director Appointed by Philadelphia Mayor to Serve on Committee
Member Presents at Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council Conference
Action Tank Policy Team Member, Doug Weiglet, had the opportunity to present to over 600 law enforcement, public service, medical professionals, at the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council Conference hosted by the State Attorney's office. His team covered a number of topics that included bio-terrorist risks to humans and agriculture infrastructure, to ebola treatment centers and current operational capacity to survey, respond, and prepare for these events.
Doug is yet another demonstration of the diverse knowledge set that Action Tank members posses and the dissemination of that knowledge to the right groups.
Action Tank on The Road: Running, Cycling & Fundraising for the Good of the Community
Action Tank Members have been busy participating in athletic events supporting veterans and the community.
Growing Concerns for Stimulants
Member and Operations Director, Matt Miclette, published an article for the Inquirer about substance abuse and the growing concern for stimulants. Miclette emphasizes prevention and response strategies in the article. Thank you Matt for your continued efforts to raise awareness and strive toward treatment options!
Member Nick Liermann as Guest Analyst on The Dan Abrams Show
Action Tank member, Nick Liermann, appeared as a legal analyst on Sirius XM's The Dan Abrams show twice this month. In his first apperance, he discussed the charges brought against Scot Peterson for child neglect after he did not confront the gunman at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In his second appearance, Nick talked with Dan about the trial of Navy SEAL, Chief Edward Gallagher. Liermann claims that the "intersection of law and our military is something [he is] very passionate about."
Theory to Action: Can Community Clean-up Prevent Gun Violence?
Action Tank partnered with University Place Associates (UPA) to beautify the 40th street section of Powelton in Philadelphia. Studies show that neighborhood clean ups can potentially prevent gun violence. There were 3 shootings that have occurred in this two block span since 2015, 29 shootings in the University Place neighborhood, and 36 shootings in its adjacent neighborhood of Powelton. Gun violence is one of the leading causes of injury and death in the United States and in Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, gun violence continues to rise with shooting victims up 34% from 2014-2018. PEW State of the City data shows 65% ofthese homicide victims are between the ages of 16 – 34. Reducing the number of deaths by firearm must be a prioritynot only for the city of Philadelphia, but for the state and the nation as well in order to protect the health and well-being of those who live, work, and visit here. Action tank members did their part today to bring theory to action and come together as a community. Members taking part: Chris Diaz, Matt Miclette, Randy Hsia, Emily Balog, Jim Blanchet, Linda Fontanilla, Garner Smythe and his daughter, Mark Torres, Doug Weiglet, and AT intern Guarav Barot. Additionally, Anthony Maher from UPA and his son coordinated with AT Service Director Linda Fontanilla and participated in the clean up.
Action Tank Member Wins Junior Investigator Poster Award at Behavioral Science World Conference
Pictured is Action Tank member, Lauren Johnson, at the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science World Conference 17 that was hosted in Dublin, Ireland. The poster presentation session was held in the historic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the tallest and largest church in Ireland! Lauren presented two posters, one of which, “Self-Compassion Moderates Hopelessness in Predicting Suicide Ideation Among People Living With HIV/AIDS,” was awarded the Junior Investigator Poster Award. Congratulations Lauren, we are so lucky to have your brilliance at Action Tank!
Knowledge Brokers in Action: Community Service at Project Home
Action Tank members collaborated with Project Home, an organization who provides services and housing to end the cycle of poverty and homelessness, to deepen the relationship with the organization, help to beautify their residencies, and to interact with the residents who are at high risk of being affected by gun violence. Additionally, a goal to bridge a relationship with Drexel’s Healing Hurt People and Project Home was facilitated. Action Tank Members provided minor maintenance work including painting, gardening, and building picnic tables and talked with the residents. The service work allows Action Tank Members to bring theory to action by being knowledge brokers of evidence, services, and action within the community. Pictured: Linda Fontanilla, Matt Connolly, Chris Diaz, Matt Miclette, Lauren Johnson, Randy Hsia, Darrell Wisseman, and Mark Torress. A special Thank You to service member Jess Wisniewski who contributed greatly to this event.
Hot off The Press! Action Tank Newsletter
Action Tank Supports ERPO with Moms Demand Action
Action Tank Members Publish OpEd
Action Tank Members Attend Tillman Honors in Chicago
Action Tank members and Tillman Scholars, Chris Diaz and Emily Balog, attended the Tillman Honors event where Action Tank received an honorable mention during a speech discussing leadership. To see more about the event, click here. Congratulations!
Action Tank Partners with WHYY to Support Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit
Action Tank provided partnership and support to WHYY for their Better Gun Violence Reporting Summit. Action Tank members, Linda Fontinilla, Jess Wisniewski, Matt Miclette, and Matt Connolly (pictured above)attended the event and represented the organization with expertise and professionalism. At the event, panelists discussed the implications of reducing gun violence through better reporting. Read more about the summit here.
Article Featuring Tillman Scholar and Action Tank Operations Director, Matt Miclette
Member and Entrepreneur Wins Two Awards
Member Chris Molaro won two prestegious awards promoting his company, NeuroFlow, an organization designed to promote behavioral health access and engagement. The awards honored his company mission to improve mental health access and treatment. The awards included the 2019 Venture Connect Pitch at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference and the 2019 Hatch Pitch at SXSW. Congratulations, Chris! We're so lucky to have you on our team!
COMING SOON! Feeding Philly: Action Tank's Documentary on Food Insecurity
Member Publishes Article on Substance Use Research and Policy
Action Tank's Operation Director and member, Matt Miclette, published an article entitled "Strengthening partnerships between substance use researchers and policy makers to take advantage of a window of opportunity.” The article discusses closing the gap between research and policy. This is Miclette’s second published article on substance use and AT is lucky to have him on the team! The article can be found here.
Action Tank Garners Support from Philadelphia Flyers and United Health Care
The Philadelphia Flyers and United Health Care awarded Action Tank $1000 to support the organization’s efforts in the city. Action Tank is grateful to have been recognized throughout the stadium as a model community partner.
Action Tank Member Participates as Female Veteran Panelist in HERstory Event
Action Tank member, Jessica Wiesnewski, was a panelist for Drexel University’s HERstory on February 11, a program showcasing women veterans. Jess and the other panelists courageously told their stories and answered questions about the struggles and achievements of being a woman in the military. Jess also shared how the military mindset has allowed her to grow in her career. She is an exemplary leader and an asset to Action Tank. Way to go, Jess!
Action Tank Veteran and Nurse Places in Penn's "StorySlam"
Join us in congratulating Action Tank member, Linda Fontanilla, in placing 2nd place in Penn’s StorySlam. Linda shared her personal stories and experiences to a room full of people demonstrating her strength, courage, and ability to be vulnerable. We’re lucky to have this incredible woman on our Team. Way to go, LInda!
Veterans Take on Hunger Through Community Collaboration: Action Tank's 100 for Hunger
Action tank members orchestrated an interactive meeting to tackle the food insecurity epidemic in Philadelphia. Members of the federal, state, and local government—including Pennsylvania’s very own Representatives, Evans and Houlahan—as well as non-profit organizations, corporate leaders, local university leaders, and individuals who have experienced food insecurity,participated in 100 for Hunger this Friday on behalf of Action Tank. Check out the coverage from KYW Newsradio here
Action Tank Partners with Dietz & Watson to Feed the Community
Action Tank members, Linda Fontanilla and Matt Connolly, met with Dietz & Watson to participate in a food drop off to the Share Food program where 20,000 pounds of food was donated in an effort to end hunger in Philadelphia. Dietz and Watson is always striving to find ways to give back to these communities. They do this in a variety of different ways, one being their philanthropic program, “Families Helping Families,” which is a nationwide effort to raise money and provide resources for community focused organizations. With their hometown of Philadelphia in mind, Dietz &Watson is thrilled to support Action Tank, and didn’t hesitate in teaming with Action Tank on this meeting. https://dietzandwatson.com/
Action Tank Member Publishes Journal Article
Action Tank's Operation Director and member, Matt Miclette, published an article entitled "Closing the gaps in opioid use disorder research, policy and practice: conference proceedings" in the Journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice. The article describes policy recommendations from stakeholders associated with the University of Pennsylvania aimed at closing the gaps in substance use policy and practice. The article can be found here
Serving After Service
Chris Diaz, Action Tank's co-founder and Tillman Scholar was featured in a promotional spot for the Pat Tillman Foundation. Chris shares the story behind his motivation and passions. Learn more about how the Pat Tillman Foundation is molding the next generation of leaders.
Member Founds Team Foster and Leads 5th Year
Action Tank member, Nick Liermann, entered his fifth year as the leader of Team Foster, a service organization that raises money to partner service dogs with veterans suffering from combat-related disabilities including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). More information can be found at Team Foster's website.
Start-up Applies Tech to Mental Health Compliance
Action Tank alumnus Chris Molaro's company, NeuroFlow, brings technology to behavioral health treatment and compliance. Its cloud-based platform enables health-care providers to track, assess, and encourage patients. Read more...
Member Speaks at Pat Tillman Leadership Summit
Matt Miclette, Action Tank member and Pat Tillman Scholar, speaks at the Pat Tillman Leadership Summit about Medically Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction. Read more about the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Action Tank at SXSW 2019!
Action Tank is proud to announce that our member, Matt Miclette, will participate in a panel discussion on “Policy & Solutions to the Opioid Epidemic” at SXSW 2019! More information can be found here.
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Philadelphia Based Community Advocacy Group Recognized by SXSW on National Stage in Austin, TX.
About SXSW Community Service Awards
Action Tank Featured in Billy Penn“There is this idea of the veteran being broken,” Diaz said, “when in reality we’ve demonstrated again and again being civic assets.”Read an interview with Billy Penn featuring group members Chris Diaz, Ryan Peters and Matt Miclette.