In response to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manhattan Strategy Group works to ensure that the government can keep working, and that vital efforts to serve communities and citizens in need are as effective and impactful as possible. MSG’s TotalResponse model offers targeted and strategic crisis and emergency management support to our Schools, Families, Workforce and Homeless populations who are at greater risk, and have more significant needs. In response to the current crisis, MSG established a COVID-19 Response Center with national experts in Education, Human Services, and Workforce, as well as medical and psychological experts, to coordinate responses to the pandemic, and to develop support that we can provide to the government, and to recipients of its services.

With this leadership team in place, MSG hopes to not only respond to this crisis, but to also begin to chart the way forward, crafting the future in which we will once again thrive.

Crisis Services


Technical Assistance

Whether in response to a crisis, or in recognition of the unique needs of agencies, organizations, and individuals, Technical Assistance (TA) must be flexible to be effective.
Read More
Welfare of Citizens

Human Welfare

An overarching concern for human welfare underlies all of MSG’s efforts in technical assistance, communications, and content development.
Read More


At the cornerstone of effective crisis management is accurate, clear, and timely communication.
Read More
Call Center Set-up and Management

Call Center Set-up and Management

Being able to efficiently and effectively communicate to communities and citizens affected by COVID-19 is a challenge.
Read More
Remote Learning

Remote/Distance Learning

Online education usually involves phases of analysis and design that cannot be implemented in remote learning during a crisis like COVID-19.
Read More

Thought Leadership

As part of the Center’s response to this crisis, MSG experts develop topical briefs to help frame effective steps forward in various government activities.

Looking Beyond the Horizon: A Framework for Education System Planning and Redesign in the Midst of COVID-19

This brief provides a roadmap to navigate the unpredictable climate while continuing and planning for education during a pandemic. The paper features the important questions school communities should consider to effectively plan for SY 2020-21.

Trauma-Informed COVID-19 Considerations in Virtual Human Services

Providing support and maintaining connection during the COVID-19 pandemic is compounded by a situation that requires isolation. This brief considers some of the unique stressors and barriers, and how trauma-informed approaches can be adapted to virtual human services. Case study spotlights are included to demonstrate how this might look in various settings.

Technical Assistance in an Emergency: The MSG Approach

Because technical assistance (TA) is integral to many aspects of federal and state services, MSG experts developed MSG’s Emergency TA Model: Key Adaptations to TA in Times of Crisis or Emergency. The model includes risk assessment, situational analysis, and trauma informed management actions to support responsive TA during a crisis.

Our Focus



The prolonged interruption of schooling will create unprecedented challenges for our nation’s educators and students.
Read More


Individuals and families experiencing poverty navigate significant challenges and excessive stress in the struggle to meet basic needs; navigate complex safety net systems; and manage issues such as mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, interpersonal violence, and racism and discrimination.
Read More


Youth and adults who are homeless are among those citizens most in need of public support and services.
Read More


As our nation’s unemployment surges the public workforce development system is struggling to respond.
Read More

Our Response Team

Having the right people — with the right knowledge, technical expertise, skill sets — is essential to the success of our Technical Assistance efforts in the midst of this crisis. MSG’s COVID-19 Response Center includes a national team of experts working tirelessly with our partners in education, workforce, and human services to ensure the government can do its vital work on behalf of our communities and citizens.
Helga Luest, MA, CC-P
Trauma and Communications Expert
Maria F. Trujillo, Ph.D
Distance Learning Expert
Marty Orland, Ph.D
Education Research and Technical Assistance Expert
Geoffrey Mount Varner, MD
Emergency Medicine Expert
Marc Mannes, Ph.D
Human Services and Technical Assistance Expert
Mary Roberto, MPA
Human Services and Workforce Development Expert
Mason Bishop
Workforce Expert
Alfred Amado, Ph.D, NCSP
Clinical Psychologist and Mental Health Expert


Anne Chamberlain
Senior Director, Programs

Erwin Coleman
Principal Associate, Corporate Relations