The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have in interest in suicide prevention.
How We Accomplish These
AAS Mission Statement
To promote the understanding and prevention of suicide and support those who have been affected by it.
AAS Vision Statement
We are an inclusive community that envisions a world where people know how to prevent suicide and find hope and healing.
Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business
We accomplish this mission by directing efforts to:
- Advance Suicidology as a science; encouraging, developing and disseminating scholarly work in suicidology.
- Encourage the development and application of strategies that reduce the incidence and prevalence of suicidal behaviors.
- Compile, develop, evaluate and disseminate accurate information about suicidal behaviors to the public.
- Foster the highest possible quality of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention to the public.
- Publicize official AAS positions on issues of public policy relating to suicide.
- Promote research and training in suicidology.
Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes research, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. In addition, AAS serves as a national clearinghouse for information on suicide.
AAS, a not-for-profit organization, encourages and welcomes both individual and organizational members.
AAS is an Equitable Organization
AAS believes in equity for our members and in our services. From the leadership team, the Board of Directors, to our staff and committees, equity is a priority from the top down.
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Leeann Sherman, MPS, CAE (she/her)
President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Leeann Sherman, MPS, CAE, is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS). Sherman brings extensive non-profit experience with over 20 years in professional associations and community-driven, mission-based organizations to her tenure with AAS, a national organization that provides training, education, research and awareness programs to promote the understanding and prevention of suicide.
Sherman has been a founding member of various industry coalitions to drive mission and advocacy forward, working with stakeholders and volunteers throughout her diverse career. She has worked with federal, state, and local government agencies including Centers for Disease Control, PA Department of Health, PA Department of Human Services, PA Department of Transportation, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Federal Highway Administration, US Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania’s Governor’s Office and federal legislators while also working closely on advocacy with the Pennsylvania Legislature.
She has a baccalaureate (Hospitality Management & Nutrition) and master’s degree (Community & Economic Development) both from the Pennsylvania State University. She is an active alum at her alma mater in various activities for the next generation. She has been awarded the Scott Jackson award for leadership from PASAE which is the highest honor for an association executive in Pennsylvania and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential which is the marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to manage an association in today’s challenging environment with less than 4,500 people worldwide holding this certification.
Bonnie Benetti, CPA (she/her)
Director of Finance
Bonnie was welcomed as the Director of Finance of AAS in December of 2022. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over 11 years of professional experience in accounting, audit, taxes, and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining AAS, she served as a Section Chief in the Bureau of Fiscal Management, under the Office of Medical Assistance Programs, within the PA Department of Human Services. She used her accounting knowledge and leadership skills there to help further the mission to protect Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens. Bonnie also spent 5 years in public accounting, where she gained valuable experience with many non-profit accounting clients.
She earned her baccalaureate degree in Accounting from the Pennsylvania State University in 2011. She became a licensed CPA in 2015. In 2016, she established her own successful tax practice which she continues to enjoy on a limited part-time basis. Bonnie enjoys spending her free time cooking or going out for dinner, watching movies, taking nature walks, and most importantly spending time with her family, her friends, and her house full of pets.
Chris Cosentino (he/him)
Director of Marketing & Communications
Chris Cosentino stepped into the Director of Marketing & Communications role at AAS in March of 2023. He has 15 years of leadership experience from some of the most respected nonprofit organizations in the country. Throughout his career, he has implemented successful integrated marketing plans that have generated unpreceded funds and awareness.
Prior to AAS, Chris spent nine years as the Director of Marketing & Communications at the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA). While at HDSA, Chris played an integral role in positioning the organization as the world leader in Huntington’s disease communication, education and resources.
Over the years, he has secured media placements in national outlets such as NBC’s Today Show, ABC News, FOX News, CBS News, People Magazine, ESPN and many more. Chris also has extensive experience in building ambassador programs featuring celebrities, professional athletes, musicians, and other influencers who have used their platforms to support various initiatives. He has also produced short films, podcasts, digital education series and major special events.
Chris is passionate about mental health and his proven track record of securing corporate partnerships, increasing revenue, and producing impactful community engagement platforms, will help take AAS to new heights. He holds a B.A. in Public Relations from Hofstra University where he also minored in Speech Communication and Rhetorical Studies.
Born and raised in New York City, Chris and his family now call North Carolina home. He is also a two-time national championship hockey coach and spent time coaching the New York Rangers in 2013.
Katherine Delgado (she/her)
Senior Director of Programs
Katherine has worked in the nonprofit sector for 15 years supporting crisis services and trauma-informed programs. Her work began at the local crisis and 2-1-1 referral line, evolving into program leadership with a special interest around understanding systems and analytical applications while keeping a heart for the frontline work of serving and supporting those who do critical work. She specializes in process and data management, incorporating analytics into strategic development, change impact consideration, and the streamlining and operationalizing of system training, literacy and documentation. She promotes partnership collaboration to optimize systems and leverage organizational strategies, leading to collective impact opportunities, publications, and receiving the prestigious Presidential Volunteer Service Award in Service-Learning which honors those who use their skills to solve tough challenges.
Katherine is currently a technical consultant and mentor in nonprofit program data analytics, data privacy, and technology at Nashville Software School and Geek Cause, serves on iCarol’s Crisis Product Advisory Board, and volunteers as a board member for Nashville’s Girls In Tech. She often serves as a translator, story teller, and mobilizer between the technical side of the work and the experience, helping stakeholders identify opportunities for innovation and improvement leading to more agile progression of implementations and improvements.
She earned her Baccalaureate of Science in Psychology from Cumberland University in 2010. Outside of using data for good and volunteering, Katherine enjoys cooking, dancing, being creative and spending time with her daughters, family, and friends
Amelia Lehto (she/her)
Chief of Staff and Director of the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide (NCPYS)
Amelia has worked in crisis services and suicide prevention for the past 15 years. She is a past Chair of the Crisis Centers Division of AAS’s Board of Directors, where she spent time transforming the division, establishing the Crisis Services Committee, and welcoming new membership into the organization. She specializes in crisis service quality improvement, suicide prevention initiatives, postvention support group development, and facilitation skills. Additionally, she consults on social media strategy and policy, development, management, and customer engagement. Amelia is recognized as a leader in suicide prevention and postvention on the local, state, and national levels.
She is an advisor and past President of Michigan-based nonprofit, Six Feet Over, which provides financial and supportive services to families and loved ones following the suicide loss of their person. Amelia is also an advisory council member, conference committee member, and Survivor of Suicide Loss Support Group co-founder to Kevin’s Song, a nonprofit providing educational opportunities to stakeholders and supportive resources to suicide loss survivors and people with lived experience. She has consulted with several organizations, including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Live Through This Project; Google; TikTok; and The S Word documentary. She has also served as a Certified American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor and a LivingWorks Education ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and suicideTALK Master Trainer. After experiencing loss at a young age, she discovered that one is not defined by how they died, but how they lived.
Samantha Nadler, MSSW (she/her)
Director of Accreditation
Samantha has been working in crisis services and suicidology for nearly 15 years, starting as a volunteer for a Nashville crisis line in 2009. She has experience in carrying out front-line work in addition to leading various crisis services through her career, most recently working as Senior Manager of Clinical Quality at a national text-based crisis service. Her specialties include call center operations, quality improvement, change management in 24/7 services.
Sam enjoys finding solutions to complex issues, particularly leveraging data to inform next steps. Her background also includes working in advocacy and training in suicide prevention from a grassroots approach, which led to certifications in various evidence-based curricula. As a childhood survivor of several suicide attempts as well as institutional abuse, Sam uses her lived experiences to advocate for change and improvement in the mental health field. These experiences have been used to elevate understanding of the harm of coercive practices and importance of collaborative care in her work as a public speaker, trainer, clinician, and manager.
She holds a Master of Science in Social Work with a concentration in trauma treatment from University of Tennessee and has been recognized for outstanding contributions to suicide prevention in Tennessee by receiving the statewide Madge & Ken Tullis Suicide Prevention Award.
Rachael Ng, MBA (she/her)
Director of Membership
Rachael is a member relations and membership development executive with a decade of successful experience in membership growth, member success management, and community development. She specializes in relationship building and regularly learning about how to help associations to build a member-centric culture. Being of service to others is the epicenter of Rachael’s life – it is the main reason she feels joy and inspired working with AAS. Rachael has a magnetic presence and uses her positive attitude and energy to empower others to reach out for support and find the community they feel belong to. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys hiking, reading, writing, cooking, listening to music, practicing yoga and taking adventure trips with her lovely family.
Contract Team Members
Ariya Sonethavy (they/them)
Ariya joined AAS in 2021 as the Communications Coordinator. They previously interned for National Skills Coalition, a Washington D.C. nonprofit organization focused on workplace development. Their experience includes social media management, graphic design, communications, and public relations. Ariya attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst and received a BFA in Communications in 2020.