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To support those who are affected by suicide, provide education, awareness, and understanding by collaborating with the community to prevent suicide, and reduce the stigma associated with suicide.


To have a Commonwealth where every life is valued, that everyone has the support necessary to get help when needed, and that hope and healing abounds in every person.

About Us

Since the 1980/90’s, Pennsylvania has made strong efforts to prevent suicide through various programs and non-profits throughout the Commonwealth. Programs and organizations such as Feeling Blue, and the (STAR-Center), along with a variety of other approaches were doing wonderful things concerning suicide prevention in local areas. The Advisory Committee of the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) prioritized a state suicide prevention plan as one of their major goals to prevent suicide in Pennsylvania. A work group was formed and began to meet in July 2005. This prevention plan is a collaborative effort between those dedicated individuals from both the public and private sectors of our state. The work group strived to raise awareness about suicide and its prevention so that fewer Pennsylvanians experience the pain and grief resulting from the suicide death of a loved one. Two entities were divided to devote suicide prevention plans for the Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Steering Committee and the Youth Suicide Prevention Steering Committee. Both committees grew into two separate organizations in 2012 (PA Adult/Older Adult Suicide Prevention Coalition and the PA Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative). In 2015, talks began to occur about combining both organizations into one to create a stronger, more unified entity to prevent suicide in Pennsylvania. 2017 is the culmination of the efforts of many dedicated individuals wanting to make a difference.


  • Matthew Wintersteen

    Vice Chair Executive Board

    Dr. Wintersteen is an Associate Professor and Director of the David Farber ASPIRE Center at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. In collaboration with OMHSAS, he has served as Co-Investigator and Co-Program Developer of several SAMHSA-funded programs focused on youth suicide prevention across Pennsylvania. He is Director of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Suicide Prevention Coalition and co-chairs the Delaware Valley Medical Student Wellness Collaborative. In addition to his grant-funded projects, Dr. Wintersteen has served on national task forces convened by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Institute of Mental Health. He was a consultant to the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide (NCPYS) and served as the Co-Chair of the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative for nearly a decade. As a clinical psychologist at Jefferson, Dr. Wintersteen provides clinical care, educates students and residents, and carries out his research on youth suicide prevention.

  • Erich Batra

    Secretary Executive Board

    Dr. Batra is a primary care physician with Penn State Health, board certified in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. He became involved with suicide prevention through his work with Child Death Review. This program is present in all PA counties and uses a multi-disciplinary team to review deaths of all children with the goal of finding strategies to prevent future childhood injury and death. He was involved with the PA Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative for many years as its Co-Chair, and helped with the merger to form the current Prevent Suicide PA. He is very proud of his work in getting Act 71 passed, which requires schools have suicide prevention policies in place, requires training for professional staff, and education for all students in PA.

  • Francesca Pileggi

    Board Member

    Francesca joined the AOASPC board in 2012 and began serving as the chair of the Communication Committee. She has been active in suicide prevention efforts since losing two family members to suicide and dealing with her own mental health issues as a teenager and young adult. Francesca currently lives in Delaware County and works as a high school counselor in Delaware. She is a public speaker, certified peer specialist, and certified QPR Master Trainer.

  • Beth Sprentz

    Board Member

    Beth served as a member of the Executive Board for the Pennsylvania Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative since 2010. She has been employed as the Region X Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Network for Student Assistance Services since 1998, providing technical assistance to school districts and county Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Student Assistance Program (SAP) providers in the following counties: Cameron, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, McKean, Potter and Warren. She resides in Warren PA.

  • Marisa Vicere

    Board Member

    As a strong believer in the empowerment of young people, Marisa Vicere founded and became president of Jana Marie Foundation in 2012. The experience of losing her sister, Jana Vicere, to suicide in 2011 cemented her commitment to helping young people navigate through the tough transitional years and educating parents and community members about mental and emotional health. She is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor (Youth and Adult) and Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Certified Gatekeeper Instructor. Marisa currently serves as chairman for the Centre County Suicide Prevention Taskforce. Marisa holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Susquehanna University and MBA from Penn State Smeal College of Business.

  • Christian Kreamer

    Board Member

    Christian Kreamer is a 4th generation Funeral Director, and the President of Kreamer Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc. in Annville, Pennsylvania. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida in 2018. Christian became involved with suicide prevention efforts after losing a family member to suicide. He hopes to develop better ways for the Funeral Service Industry to assist loss survivors.


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