Maria Lizardo, LMSW, is the Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC). Maria is a proud, first generation Dominican, whose parents migrated to the United States in 1965 from Moca, Dominican Republic.
Born and raised in Washington Heights, Maria graduated from Hunter College of the City of New York in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude. She completed her course of study with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. In 1995, she obtained her Masters Degree in Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work. She completed her thesis on “Domestic Violence Against Latinas” and received honors. Since 1998, Maria has worked at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC) where she was recently appointed as the Executive Director.
Maria is one of the co-founders of the Washington Heights and Inwood Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence. She is a member of the steering committee that organizes the New York Latinas Against Domestic Violence: Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk, Brides’ March, that takes place every September 26th commemorating the anniversary of Gladys’ death at the hands of her abusive ex-boyfriend.
Maria is a member of several community advisory committees including: Columbia University Partnership for Health- Community Engagement Core Resource Executive Committee Member, New York Presbyterian WIN BACK- Advisory Committee Member, New York Presbyterian Hospital- Community Leadership Council, and New York Presbyterian Delivery System Reform Incentive Program Project Advisory Committee.
Maria’s work around disease management, has led to the following publications: Sally E. Findley with Gloria Thomas, Rosa Madera-Reese, Maria Lizardo, Mario Drummonds and Benjamin Ortiz Asthma Basics for Children Initiative (ABC) Building an Asthma Support System from the Ground Up Mobilizing The Community for Better Health What the Rest of America Can Learn from Northern Manhattan Columbia University Press 2011 and Peretz P.,Matiz A., Findley S., Lizardo M., Evans D., McCord M. Community Health Workers as Drivers of a Successful Community-Based Disease Management Initiative. American Journal of Public Health. 2012, 102 (8): 1443–1446.
For the past 16 years, Maria has worked in the Washington Heights/Inwood community and during that time has developed a strong relationship with, and understanding of, her fellow community members. Her community experience is complemented by her graduate education with a focus on program administration, which includes the development and implementation of programs that address the needs of the community. Maria is fluent in English, and Spanish.