MARY LONIGRO has extensive experience in the behavioral health field across business, policy, program and management platforms. Her doctoral research focused on unsheltered and chronically homeless persons, public health concerns, and inequities in the use of software technology to address public health. Dr. Lonigro’s findings with respect to these and other inequities have been shared with key political stakeholders and informed her trademark the concept of the We Hygiene App.
Dr. Lonigro earned her doctorate in social work from the University of Southern California – Los Angeles, with a focus on social innovation and macro systems management. She also holds a Master of Social Work from California State University – Sacramento. Dr. Lonigro is a licensed social worker (Academy of Certified Social Workers) and Spiritual Practitioner (RScP). She’s previously held licenses and certifications for clinical social work and alcohol and drug abuse counseling. Dr. Lonigro is a military veteran who served 20 years in the military and honorably retired with the rank of Major.
The Austin Public Health Department recently created a Homeless Services Division, which is working to strengthen response activities for individuals who are experiencing homelessness as a result of, or concurrent with, behavioral and mental health crises. Homelessness disproportionately affects communities of color and, as a result, Black and Hispanic individuals are often not able to access the care needed for their behavioral and mental health issues. Combined with Covid-19, this population has been particularly challenging to support and prevent from contracting the virus and receiving adequate medical care. FUSE will work across all city departments that interact with the homeless population to build a systematic response to behavioral and mental health crises, ensuring that staff are equipped to provide these services, particularly during the current health crisis.