Ronald A. Witmer, Esq. - President
Ronald A. Witmer was born in Jackson, Michigan and attended Albion College (B.A.), Union Theological Seminary in New York City (M.Div.) and Northeastern University School of Law in Boston (J.D.). For the majority of his professional life, he has been practicing family law in downtown Boston. Mr. Witmer and other parents of children diagnosed with BPD founded NEPDA in 1996 in order to provide education, support and advocacy to those affected in some way by the disorder. As President of NEPDA, his goals are to continue to develop and expand NEPDA support and education programs, increase the membership and leadership of the organization and continue to enjoy time spent with others who are involved in this critically important work.
E. Virginia Coffin - Vice President
E. Virginia Coffin is a parent of an adult child who was diagnosed with BPD. She is a trained facilitator of the twelve-week psycho-education course entitled, Family Connections. With her husband, Howard, and Cindy Knight, she has conducted several Family Connections sessions. She has additional training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Virginia runs a weekly support group called Families Together for friends, family members and partners of persons with BPD. She earned a B.S in Communications from Salem State College in 1998 and is a Certified Medical Technologist.
Howard F. Coffin, M.B.A. - Treasurer
Howard F. Coffin, M.B.A. is the Treasurer of NEPDA and is the parent of an adult child who was diagnosed with BPD. In 2000, he was awarded an MBA from Salem State College. He is a trained facilitator of Family Connections, the psycho-educational program developed by the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) led by Dr. Perry Hoffman. With his wife, Virginia, and Cindy Knight, Mr. Coffin has conducted several Family Connections sessions. He and Virginia have raised four children. He retired from teaching at Salem State College in 2002. The Coffins enjoy cruising.
Cynthia J. Knight - Secretary and Clerk
Cynthia J. Knight has been a member of NEPDA for many years, previously serving as Secretary and President before assuming her current position of Secretary and Clerk. As a parent searching for answers, and desperate for information about BPD, she found NEPDA to be a wonderful and helpful organization. She was in the first group of trained leaders for Family Connections, the psycho-educational program offered through the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) led by Dr. Perry Hoffman. Ms. Knight currently facilitates Families Together, a weekly support group where family members have a safe place to express their experiences dealing with BPD. Having previously worked in business administration, Ms. Knight is now an early childhood education teacher at the YMCA. She also facilitates supervised visitations for children when it is required to increase family stability. The best interests of children have always been her passion and having personal life experiences with mental illness in the family, and aligning with excellent organizations such as NEPDA, have enhanced her ability to be empathic.
David Greenleaf, Ph.D
David Greenleaf, Ph.D. has been a member of the NEPDA Board of Directors for many years. He earned his doctorate in clinical psychology from Syracuse University and has been professionally affiliated with McLean Hospital since 1980, when he began his internship in clinical psychology. He has a background in forensic psychology and extensive experience working in public-sector inpatient programs. It was in the mid-90's, while working at Medfield State Hospital, that Dr. Greenleaf and a number of his colleagues became interested in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). After receiving DBT "Intensive" training, he was part of a team that implemented, first, a DBT day treatment program and, later, a DBT specialty unit at the hospital. Presently, Dr. Greenleaf is Director of Psychology at Tewksbury Hospital in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.
Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D
Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D. is the President and co-founder of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD). Dr. Hoffman has several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health with a focus on families who have a relative with borderline personality disorder (BPD). She conducted the landmark study on families and BPD documenting the importance of family emotional involvement in patients' recovery. She is Co-Principal Investigator of the five-part video series on BPD "If Only We Had Known."
Dr. Hoffman is co-designer of the 12-week psycho-education course for families, Family Connections, which is available in many locations both in the United States as well as other countries. Research documents the program reduces burden, depression, and grief for participants, offering them skills to better manage the impact of BPD on their lives. She is co-editor, with John G. Gunderson, MD, of the book Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide for Professionals and Families and co-editor of Borderline Personality Disorder: Meeting the Challenges to Successful Treatment.
Missy F. Cunningham
Missy F. Cunningham grew up in Bedford, New York. She attended Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut and Vassar College. She has held several different positions, including serving as Secretary to Sidney Friedberg, head of Fine Arts at Harvard, Secretary at Harvard Business Review, and coaching girls' Lacrosse and field hockey. She was a photographer for the Vermont Standard for a substantial period of time and also free-lanced. For many years, she served as a full-time volunteer for the Woodstock, Vermont Learning Clinic, a school for severely brain-injured children. As a parent of a child diagnosed with BPD, she became involved with NEPDA and the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD). Ms. Cunningham has three children and six grandchildren and has lived in the Woodstock area since 1970.
Dana Coombs is the founder of BioSampleZone, an early stage venture that creates an automated marketplace for human biological samples. Previously, Dana served at several hardware and software companies in various Sales, Product Management and Business Development roles. When a family member was diagnosed, Dana explored and utilized NEPDA resources for BPD education and support. Dana lives in the Boston area and is an active tennis player.
Robert Judge has been a member of NEDPA for many years. He is the parent of an adult child who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2004. He started by attending NAAMI support groups for a number of years. Once the diagnosis of BPD was given to his child, Robert signed up for a BPD support group, run by Dr. David Greenleaf. This was the beginning of his affiliation with NEDPA. He has been an active member since, attending whatever support groups, programs and seminars NEPDA has had to offer. This has helped give him a tremendous understanding of BPD.
Robert attended University of South Carolina. Then he served 3 years in the United States Army. Since 1972, he has been employed as an Architectural Sales Representative for commercial door products.
Beth Faria’s spouse was diagnosed with BPD in 2014. During the process of educating herself about the diagnosis and in seeking the support of others, she discovered New England Personality Disorder Association. Due to her own personal challenge of trying to identify effective treatments that accepted insurance, and being extremely disheartened by the lack of programs available for those who suffer from BPD, she was compelled to join NEPDA in their mission to promote education, support and advocacy in the field of personality disorders.
Irving Wu is a Bostonian who grew up in the South End neighborhood. Unfortunately, due to a turbulent home life, an adolescent cancer diagnosis, and later, mental illness, his formal education was interrupted. In spite of these challenges, however, he successfully was tested for and received his GED (General Education Diploma). He then attended the Year Up program, focusing on financial operations, for which he completed a six-month internship at State Street and added to his internship experiences in financial services and the passenger transportation sector. Shortly thereafter, he began experiencing first-episode psychosis and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. During this time, he learned about BPD, from which he suspects one of his parents suffers. He hopes to return to Bunker Hill Community College to finish his college coursework and transfer to a four-year university. In the meantime, he is independently studying Asian American sociology/psychology and mental illness, specifically, schizophrenia spectrum disorders and personality disorders. Irving has completed a twelve-week Family Connections course and has received a tremendous amount of support from NEPDA. As a member of its Board of Directors, he hopes to give back to NEPDA administratively.