What is The Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment Program?

BOAT: Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment Program logo

The Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment Program (BOAT) is a mental health treatment program created in partnership between the Boston Municipal Court and Boston Medical Center. The program provides intensive social, mental health, and substance use disorder services designed to help court-involved clients maintain stability, achieve recovery within the community, and avoid hospitalization and incarceration.

Thanks to a grant from SAMHSA, we are able to closely monitor treatment outcomes with consistent court oversight and strong clinical and social services support. Our goals are to eliminate barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness, remove the stigma associated with mental health diagnoses and work towards decriminalizing mental illness in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

BOAT is tailored for clients who have a major mental illness and have a pending criminal matter or are on probation within the Boston Municipal Court system.

Note: If you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness and is involved with Boston Municipal Court, please call 617.414.1391 or email boat@bmc.org for more information on how to refer.

How can I become a client?

The BOAT Program is available to clients who have open criminal matters or probation cases. BOAT is ideal for clients struggling with serious mental illness (SMI),  co-occurring substance use disorders, or clients frequently caught in a “revolving door” of repeated psychiatric hospitalizations,  and/or arrests leading to detention in jails and prisons.

Contact Us

Our Team

kathleen Judge Kathleen Coffey, Project Director
Judge Kathleen Coffey is the First Justice of the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court. Since 2014, she has served as the Director of Specialty Courts. Working with community leaders and justice partners, she developed and continues to oversee the Homeless Court at the Pine Street Inn and the three mental health courts within the City of Boston. She is a member of the Supreme Judicial Court's Working Group on Substance Use and Mental Health in addition to the Trial Court's Community Resource Initiative. As the Project Director for the B.O.A.T. Program. Judge Coffey is eager to build upon the long standing partnership the Court has held with Boston Medical Center and to expand access to recovery services and mental health treatment to court involved individuals. She is an avid swimmer which enables her to resolve many issues and challenges while underwater.

leila Leila Spencer, LMHC, Program Manager
Leila Spencer is a licensed mental health counselor with master degrees in both Mental Health Counseling and Crime and Justice Studies. She has forensic experience in correctional and court settings, and presently oversees the Boston Mental Health Courts, in addition to being Program Manager for B.O.A.T.

elizabeth Elizabeth Plange, LICSW, CCHP | Clinical Director of Criminal Justice Diversion Programs
Elizabeth Plange, LICSW, CCHP is an independently licensed social worker with more than fifteen years of experience in social services, specializing in forensic social work and substance use disorders. As Clinical Director of the Criminal Justice Diversion Programs, she oversees Boston Medical Center’s forensic mental health programs including BOAT, mental health court, recovery court and the Boston Police and Boston EMS co-response teams. Liz is particularly passionate about serving populations with complex trauma, and whom have been impacted by systemic racism and exposure to violence. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and cheering on the Boston Celtics.

lucinda Lucinda Shotts, BS, Program Coordinator
Lucinda Shotts is the program coordinator for BOAT. Before starting as coordinator, Lucy worked with the BOAT program as a research assistant. She recently graduated from Northeastern University with a bachelors degree in Health Science, with minors in Sociology and Design and Innovation in Engineering. Lucy hopes to pursue graduate studies in either Public Health or Mental Health Counseling in the future. In her free time, she runs competitively and enjoys spending time outside with her friends.

maria Maria Foglia, LICSW, Case Manager
Maria Foglia, LICSW is a BOAT Case Manager who is passionate about decriminalizing mental illness and assisting individuals who have mental health needs while in the system. Maria had a bachelors in psychology and a masters degree in clinical social work with a focus on trauma and young adults. In her spare time she enjoys caring for her cats and baking.

hannah Hannah Miller, LMHC, Case Manager
Hannah Miller is a licensed mental health counselor with experience providing mental health services in the correctional setting as well as in the community. Hannah is passionate about addressing the needs of individuals involved in the court system by prioritizing access to comprehensive mental health care and necessary resources to divert from punitive measures. In her free time, Hannah enjoys playing the piano and trying out new recipes.

daisy Daisy Perez, MPH, Research Program Manager
Daisy Perez is the Research Program Manager for the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center and is also the Program Evaluator for the Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment (BOAT) Program. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Healthcare Management and is passionate about behavioral health care delivery and expanding behavioral health services and programs within the department. In her free time she enjoys going on hikes and staying active.

karen Karen Kwok, MD, Psychiatrist
Karen Kwok is an adult psychiatrist at Boston Medical Center. She was also previously a resident at Boston Medical Center and is excited to be back on campus. For many years, she served as an Attending Psychiatrist at the Metro Boston Mental Health Units at the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center and the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center. She also previously worked at the main campus of Tufts Medical Center and at the Boston University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time outdoors.

hannah brown Hannah Brown, MD, Psychiatrist
Dr. Hannah Brown is an adult psychiatrist at Boston Medical Center and is the lead psychiatrist of the Boston Outpatient Assisted Treatment (BOAT) program. She currently treats mainly patients with psychosis and has both clinical and research interests in first episode care. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and running; she hopes to eventually train for a marathon again.

carla Carla Merlos Chindongo, PMHNP-BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Carla Merlos Chindongo is a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP-BC), with a master’s in nursing Practice (MSN) from Regis College. She is passionate about providing quality, compassionate, and comprehensive mental health services to adults suffering with Mental Illness, and substance use disorders. Carla has experience working in various diverse settings, including an outpatient clinic, outside the traditional clinic walls, form alleyways to shelters, housed and correction facilities. Carla has devoted her life to work with people experiencing homelessness and living with serious mental illness. She is focused on practicing harm reduction and building respectful relationships with patients from the first steps of engagement on street outreach to partnering with a patient on mental health goals. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling. 

tithi Tithi D. Baul, MPH, Biostatistician
Tithi Baul is a biostatistician in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center. She graduated from University of California, San Diego with her Bachelors of Science in Physiology and Neuroscience and holds a Master of Public Health degree in Biostatistics from Boston University. She is interested in understanding the social determinants of mental health among immigrants and refugees. She is committed to building strategies to promote mental health equity. Outside of work, Tithi enjoys spending time outdoors and plein air watercolor painting.

casey Casey Hoffman, LMHC, Therapist
Casey Hoffman is a licensed mental health counselor who provides therapy to clients engaged in the BOAT program. She has experience working in correctional health care and is passionate about providing mental health treatment to those involved in the criminal justice system. In her free time, you can find her on her yoga mat or traveling.

evan Evan Dahlstedt, M. Ed., Recovery Coach
Evan Dahlstedt is a recovery coach with a graduate degree in psychiatric studies. He uses his education and personal experiences to help aide those with mental illness and addiction by utilizing a nonlinear approach to recovery. His work with those with mental illness and addiction has been a passion of his since a teen and his life experiences have led him to believe strongly in the BOAT program. In his spare time he DJs, although when it comes to his own taste in music he is still stuck in the 90s.

jennifer Jennifer Lancet, MBA, MS, CPS, Peer Specialist
Jenny Lancet is a Peer Support Specialist with the BOAT Program at Boston Medical Center. She provides one-on-one support by assisting others in their own journeys of recovery through sharing her own experiences and promoting hope that recovery is possible. In her spare time she enjoys photographing the city.

virginia Virginia Capellupo, Research Assistant
Virginia Capellupo is a fourth-year co-op student at Northeastern University. She is pursuing a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Psychology with a minor in Behavioral Neuroscience. She plans to obtain a Psy.D. in Forensic Psychology, hoping to offer and reform mental health services in prisons—to treat those who may have been mistreated. Outside of her profession, Virginia loves to blast 60s-80s music, wander through cities, and stumble upon hidden locations. And to shop along the way, of course.

meagan ryan Meagan Ryan, Research Co-op
Meagan Ryan is a third-year co-op student at Northeastern University. She is pursuing a B.S. in Criminal Justice and Psychology. She plans to obtain a PhD in Clinical Psychology, with the hope to provide mental health services in the context of the criminal justice system, especially regarding trauma and comorbid disorders. Outside of her studies, Meagan loves crocheting and spending time with her pets.

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