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2017 Conference Speakers

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Plenary Speakers

ButlerReverend Jennifer Butler is the founding Executive Director of Faith in Public Life and chair of the White House Council on Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships. Before leading FPL Jennifer spent ten years working in the field of international human rights representing the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the United Nations and is an ordained minister. While mobilizing religious communities to address the AIDS pandemic and advocate for women’s rights she grew passionate about the need to counter religious extremism with a strong religious argument for human rights. Out of that experience she wrote Born Again: The Christian Right Globalized, which was published by University of Michigan Press. Her book calls for a progressive religious response to Religious Right efforts to take the culture wars global. Jennifer served in the Peace Corps from 1989 to 1991 in a Mayan village in Belize, Central America where she discovered she was at heart a community organizer. A graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, she also studied public policy and community organizing and graduated with a MSW from Rutgers University. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Jennifer and her husband Glenn together run Iona Conversations, a Christian spiritual community in downtown Washington DC. When not dreaming up ways to amplify a social justice faith voice, Jennifer loves camping, hiking and biking with her husband and son. Rev. Butler will be interviewing Glennon Doyle Melton on the evening of June 15th.


Glennon Doyle is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior, which was chosen as one of Oprah’s Book Club picks for 2016, as well as the inspiring and hilarious New York Times bestseller, Carry On, Warrior. Glennon is the founder of Momastery, an on-line community where millions of readers meet each week to experience her shameless and laugh-out-loud funny essays about faith, freedom, addiction, recovery, motherhood and serving the marginalized. She is a speaker, activist, and the creator and president of Together Rising, a non-profit organization that has raised seven million dollars for families around the world through “Love Flash Mobs,” which have revolutionized online giving. *Glennon will be speaking at a special evening event on Thursday, June 15. Admission is included in conference registrations, and individual tickets to the event can be purchased.


GebbiaRobert Gebbia serves as the CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the leading suicide prevention nonprofit organization and largest private funder of suicide research in the United States. Since joining AFSP, he has expanded AFSP’s mission to include education and advocacy, created the Out of the Darkness Walks to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention, developed a nationwide network of 85 chapters and increased AFSP’s annual revenue from $700,000 to over $22 million. In 2015, Bob announced AFSP’s bold goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. He is a founding member of the National Council for Suicide Prevention, serves on the National Lifeline Steering Committee, the Executive Committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and the Board of Directors of the National Health Council. Prior to joining AFSP, Bob had a successful career with the United Way and served as a Public Health Advisor for the City of New York. He holds a master’s degree in Sociology from the New School for Social Research, and completed the Harvard Business School’s Human Services Management Executive Program and IBM’s Leadership Commitment Program for nonprofit executives.

Doreen Gentzler

Doreen Gentzler anchors News4 at 6 and News4 for the Washington, D.C. NBC affiliate (NBC4). She also serves as the station’s medical reporter, filing cutting-edge health reports for all of the station’s newscasts. For more than 25 years, Gentzler has anchored with Jim Vance, making them one of the longest-tenured anchor teams in the country. She spent several years honing her reporting and anchoring skills in Chattanooga, Charlotte, Cleveland, and finally Philadelphia at WCAU before joining NBC4 in 1989. Gentzler is also the spokesperson for the station's health-related community outreach activities such as the annual NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo. Gentzler has won three local Emmy awards for reporting and anchoring as well as three other Emmy awards for news writing and reporting while in Cleveland. Doreen will be the Emcee at the 2017 Media Awards Luncheon on June 15th.

Senator Franken

United States Senator Al Franken was born on May 21, 1951, and grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. In 1973, he graduated from Harvard, where he met his wife Franni. They've been married for 40 years and have two grown children, Thomasin and Joe. The couple's first grandchild, Joe, was born to Thomasin and her husband Brody in May 2013. Jacob, their second grandson, was born to Joe and his wife Stephanie in January 2016. Before running for the Senate, Senator Franken spent 37 years as a comedy writer, author, and radio talk show host and has taken part in seven USO tours, visiting our troops overseas in Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Uzbekistan--as well as visiting Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait four times. First elected to the Senate in 2008 and re-elected in 2014, he currently sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

Paul G

Paul Gionfriddo is the President and CEO of Mental Health America (MHA) and has worked in a variety of health and mental health related positions during a career spanning nearly forty years. In 2013, he was appointed to a four-year term on the 12-member National Advisory Council to the SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services. His policy memoir, Losing Tim: How Our Health and Education Systems Failed My Son with Schizophrenia, was published by Columbia University Press in 2014. Mr. Gionfriddo served as President of the Quantum Foundation from 2007 until 2010. As Executive Director of two community-based, integrated care collaborations from 2001 until 2007 – the Austin TX Integrated Care Collaboration and the Palm Beach County Community Health Alliance, Mr. Gionfriddo worked to improved access to safety net health and behavioral health care through implementing a variety of federal, state, and local public/private sector initiatives. From 1995 until 2001, Mr. Gionfriddo was Executive Director of the Connecticut Association for Human Services in Hartford CT.  From 1991 through 1995, he worked as a Health Policy Consultant, assessing policy issues and current trends in health care while consulting with a wide range of local, state, and national agencies in the areas of Public Health, Mental Health, and Health Care Public Policy.  Mr. Gionfriddo was a full-time elected official from 1978 until 1991.  As Mayor of Middletown CT from 1989-1991, he served as Chief Executive and Administrative Officer of a municipality with 500+ employees and 45,000 citizens. From 1978 until 1990, he was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives.  He served as Deputy Majority Leader and Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Public Health and Appropriations Subcommittees on Health and Hospitals and Human Services. 

KaineUnited States Senator Timothy Kaine has helped people throughout his life as a missionary, civil rights lawyer, teacher and elected official. He is one of 30 people in American history to have served as a Mayor, Governor and United States Senator. Senator Kaine was elected to the Senate in 2012 as a can-do optimist skilled in bringing people together across old lines of party, race or region. In the Senate, he serves on the Armed Services, Budget, Foreign Relations, and Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committees. He is Ranking Member of the Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee and the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism. Senator Kaine was first elected to office in 1994, serving as a city councilmember and then Mayor of Richmond. He became Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as Virginia’s 70th Governor in 2006. He is married to Anne Holton, who served as Virginia Secretary of Education from 2014 until 2016. *Senator Kaine is speaking on Friday, June 16 at 8:00 a.m. Admission is included in conference registrations. Individual tickets to this event are available.

Amy KennedyAmy L. Kennedy is currently the Education Director for The Kennedy Forum, providing consultation services that emphasizes evidence-based research and programming to facilitate policy change in the areas of education and mental health. She also sits on the Board of Mental Health America. A New Jersey native, Amy has a lifelong interest in education policy, practice and politics. An educator by training, Amy has over 15 years of experience working in public schools in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and utilizes her experiences as a parent to promote the importance of social and emotional learning in the development of mental wellness for children and adolescents. Her research interests include the early identification and intervention of mental health concerns in children, the use of brain fitness and mindfulness within school systems in order to foster and improve mental wellness, and developing prevention programs that utilize and promote student social and emotional learning. Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University, and a Master of Science in Environmental Education from Nova Southeastern University. 

Patrick J. Kennedy

The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy is the nation’s leading political voice on mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases.  While representing Rhode Island in Congress, he fought a national battle to end medical and societal discrimination against these illnesses. Since leaving Congress to devote himself to brain advocacy, he founded The Kennedy Forum, which provides leadership in the mental health community, and co-founded One Mind, a global leader in open science.  He co-authored “A Common Struggle,” which outlines both his personal story and a bold plan for mental health in America.


Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams is a Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, Broadway actress, inspirational speaker, and entrepreneur. Since her days of making hit after hit as a member of Destiny’s Child, one of the best-selling female groups of all time, and then as a solo artist with four critically acclaimed albums (Heart to Yours, Do You Know, Unexpected, and Journey to Freedom), Williams has grown professionally and personally. In 2003, Williams fell in love with the Broadway stage, after making her debut in the title role of the hit musical “Aida,” succeeding Toni Braxton. Next, she appeared in a production of “The Color Purple,” playing blues singer Shug Avery in 2007, followed by “Chicago” on Broadway and London’s West End as chorus girl Roxie Hart in 2009, and then the stage play “What My Husband Doesn’t Know” in 2011 and national tour with the musical “Fela!” as Sandra Isadore in 2013, and reprised her “Aida” role last year at the Muny in St. Louis. Michelle starred in Oxygen network’s series “Fix My Choir” in 2014, as a mentor guiding choirs on their musical careers, and then served as a guest host on "The View" and "Meredith.” Public speaking has also become a major part of her life and she is very passionate about it. She has spoken at events and forums across the country—captivating and rousing audiences, young and old. Last spring, she was a special guest speaker at a reception for Hillary Clinton, as well as the keynote speaker at the University of Notre Dame’s “Lunch and Learn.” Williams also moderated GRAMMY Pro’s “Up Close & Personal” panel featuring Lalah Hathaway and other music artists. Williams has also been outspoken about mental health, an issue that has personally affected her—and one in which many in the African American community do not like to talk about. Over the last few years, she has been very vocal and candid about her battle with depression, which she was able to overcome through her faith in God and therapy. *Michelle will be speaking at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 14. Admission is included in conference registrations. Individual tickets are also available.

Reggie WilliamsReginald Williams is a Senior Vice President at Avalere Health and the Board Chair of Mental Health America. At Avalere Health, Mr. Williams leads teams that deliver research, analytic, and strategic support to clients, with a focus on the needs of life sciences manufacturers and patient groups. He advises clients on medical technology policy, regulatory and market access strategies for new products, and the evolution of public and private payers' use of evidence for formulating coverage and reimbursement decisions, with a focus on the Medicare program. Prior to joining Avalere, Reggie was a member of the health policy team at the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI). He also served as the Howard R. Swearer Public Service intern in the Rhode Island Department of Health's Office of Minority Health. Mrs. Williams has an AB in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University. He is a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research grant reviewer and a member of NASI and Health Technology Assessment International.

Workshop Speakers

Nicole Avallone, LCSW is clinical social worker, trainer and educator with nearly 20 years of direct practice and management experience in LGBTQ and youth settings. Her most recent roles include serving as Director of Youth Services, and later Deputy Director of Programs and Policy, at the NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center. She now provides psychotherapy in private practice, as well as consultation on a range of progressive causes. Nicole has trained thousands of people on best practices in working with LGBTQ communities, with a focus on providing core training on gender identity and expression, as well as strategies for more effectively engaging family support. 

Soliana Berhane came to the United States with her family at the age of 5 from Eritrea (a county near Ethiopia in Africa). She often speaks about the impact that a person’s cultural beliefs have on people when they’re addressing mental health needs. While in her teens, she started to experiencing problems with her mental health that followed her into adulthood. While attending a local community college, she started to have suicidal thoughts. Soliana subsequently received the help which transformed her life. These days, she realizes the importance of recovery and is proud to share her story so that others, especially people from minority communities, overcome stigma and other barriers that prevent them from seeking the help that they need. 

David Bond, LCSW is a Board-Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress, and the Vice President of Programs at The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing suicide prevention and crisis intervention services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning youth. David oversees Trevor’s suite of crisis services which includes a 24-hour Lifeline, Digital Crisis Chat and Crisis Text programs. He also oversees Trevor’s Education Department, Peer Support Programs, and Research Initiatives. Before joining The Trevor Project in 2013, he served as the Manager of Youth Development Programs at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Prior to that, he was a clinical supervisor and provided bilingual mental health services at the Chadwick Center for Children and Families in San Diego, California.

Olivia Boyce is the marketing and communications manager at InSight Telepsychiatry. Olivia has been a key leader in the planning, implementation and promotion of the Montana MHA Telemental Health Program, working closing with MHA Montana. She is currently pursuing her master’s in public health where she has done several research projects on the mental health crisis in Montana. Olivia has worked in the telehealth industry for over five years and is a strong believer in the power of telehealth to transform access to care.

David Brouitt is the Creative Director at Toronto’s emerging advertising agency dedicated to not-for profit and cause marketing, David has deep experience in strategically-driven creative campaigns designed to have people take action. He is particularly proud of the work done for The Canadian Mental Health Association and the annual “GET LOUD” for mental health campaign. With 20 years of advertising and marketing experience, David is a senior strategist who knows how to create messaging that connects and engages. 

Thomas Camilleri was born and raised in Detroit, and earned his Bachelors in Psychology from Wayne State University in Detroit and his Masters of Social Work with a specialization in school social work and substance abuse from the University of Kentucky. He has been a musician for ten years; he has experience with suicide prevention and substance abuse counseling within the musical community, as well as, with children. He has been a Junior Board Member with Six Feet Over for two years. He has been working to break the stigma surrounding mental health for the span of his career.

Guyton Colantuono has spent the last 20 years holding a variety of positions within the mental health field including homeless outreach worker, program coordinator for a homeless assistance program, homeless shelters, transitional age youth, employment services and executive manager.  Guyton has developed and delivered curriculum to a wide variety of conferences, community colleges, universities and social service agencies. The topics range from Harm Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Homeless Outreach, Welcoming and Hospitality, Supported Employment and Education and Program Leadership.  Guyton is the 2007 CASRA Manager Hope Award Recipient.

Suzi Craig helps non-profit and for-profit organizations create energized environments where employees put more viable ideas into play, long lasting relationships grow, and leadership confidently moves in groundbreaking new directions. Prior to joining Mental Health Connecticut as the Senior Director of Advocacy and Development, Suzi was a strategic consultant at Connecticut Public Broadcasting and Director of Marketing for award-winning brand strategy firm Fathom. She began her career in journalism and book publishing, and has written four books in the Complete Idiot's Guide book series. 

Heidi Dalzell, PsyD, CEDS is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorders Specialist. Dr. Dalzell brings 20 years of clinical experience to her role of co-director of Bucks LGBTQ Center and Bucks Eating Disorders Collaborative in Newtown, PA. Dr. Dalzell graduated summa cum laude from Immaculata University, where she completed her research on early trauma. Dr. Dalzell has a busy private practice. Dr. Dalzell is passionate about promoting healthy body image, sexuality and self-acceptance in LGBTQ youth, especially those in the formative process of identifying sexual and/or gender identities. She also enjoys working with families of these youth.

Wesley C. Davidson is a journalist who spent years writing health and parenting articles for national and regional publications. She now concentrates her research and writing about parenting LGBT children.  Her first book, co-authored with gay psychiatrist Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D. is entitled When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know (Sterling, 2016).  Wesley blogs for and

Gerald (Jud) DeLoss represents clients across the health care spectrum. He assists behavioral health care providers, health information technology vendors, federally qualified health centers, hospitals and research organizations, as well as industry trade and professional associations. Jud has extensive knowledge of HIPAA, HITECH, meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs) and telehealth requirements and has testified as an expert witness on health information privacy. He is adept in handling matters related to state and federal regulations of behavioral health information privacy, particularly in the area of 42 CFR Part 2 federal regulations (governing the confidentiality of drug and alcohol abuse patient records) and mental health confidentiality.

Dazon Dixon Diallo, DHL, MPH is a recognized visionary and advocate in the struggle for women’s human rights and reproductive justice, and the fight against HIV/AIDS, on behalf of communities of women living with HIV and those at risk for HIV and STIs. Dr. Diallo is Founder and President of SisterLove, Inc, established in 1989, the first women’s HIV/AIDS and RJ organization in the southeastern United States. She is a proud member of In Our Own Voice: The National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, where she advocates for sexual and reproductive justice in public health and prevention policies and programs. Dr. Diallo is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Women’s Health Network, and she is a founding member of the 30 for 30 Campaign for Women in the National HIV AIDS Strategy. Diallo serves on the HIV/DV National Advisory Committee for the National Network to End Domestic Violence. Diallo was recently appointed to the NIH Office on AIDS Research Advisory Council.

Elizabeth Elliott, LSCW started working in mental health upon graduation from college. Driven by a previously unrecognized passion for the field, she completed her MSW and embarked on a varied career that included working with homeless youth, sex worker support, and psychiatric/substance abuse ER triage.  These days she drudges away by day at an insurance company, and by night she dons her Hipster Whisperer cape and enjoys a thriving private practice in Logan Square, Chicago's millennial Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll capitol. Her interests include Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, and raising young children.

Felicia Felock, MA works at Planned Parenthood Mar Monte as a Behavioral Health Clinician. In her role, Felicia approaches therapeutic relationships from a client-centered orientation and utilizes cognitive-behavioral and strengths based approaches to highlight and enhance the individual’s positive skill sets. Whether a patient is facing a medical issue, mental health concern, life-changing decision, family dynamic challenges, gender identity exploration or other causes of life stress, Felicia is passionate about the value that behavioral health brings to medical settings. Felicia has focused on the importance of a holistic approach to care as she integrates behavioral health into a multi-disciplinary team setting at Planned Parenthood.

Beverley Francis-Gibson serves as the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Howard County. Beverley has more than 25 years of experience working with non-profits and community foundations. Additionally, she is Co-Chair of the Behavioral Health Work Group of the Local Health Improvement Coalition and served on the Behavioral Health Task Force and on the County Executive's Transition Team on Health and Social Services. Through her work at NAMI HC, Beverley is a frequent presenter to businesses, faith organizations and nonprofits on mental illness.

Mark Fuller, MD, FACP is the CEO of Value Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania (VBH), a Beacon Health Options company. VBH is a managed Medicaid program serving over 300,000 people in Western Pennsylvania under the Commonwealth’s HealthChoices Program. Dr. Fuller completed residencies in both Psychiatry and Internal Medicine and he is board certified in both specialties. He is also certified as a specialist in Addiction Medicine by both the American Society of Addiction Medicine as well as the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. After completing his training, he practiced for 9 years in academic medical centers taking care of patients, conducting research and teaching. He entered the managed care field 20 years ago and has worked for a number of managed care organizations on both the physical health side as well as behavioral health. He holds teaching appointments at the Drexel University School of Medicine and West Virginia University School of Medicine. In addition, he is the author of over 30 scientific articles, book chapters and monographs and he has made numerous presentations and lectures throughout the country.

Emma Gilchrist, MPH is the Deputy Director of the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center and an Instructor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The Farley Health Policy Center’s mission is to develop and translate evidence into policy to advance comprehensive, integrated strategies that improve individual, family, and population health. She works to improve health through policies that advance behavioral health integration, prevention and health promotion, workforce development, and payment reform. She received her Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan and previously worked at the University of Michigan Center for Managing Chronic Disease.

Mishawn Glover is a consultant, facilitator, and advocate who is passionate about eliminating stigma and bringing awareness to issues of sexual and domestic violence and mental health.  Ms. Glover prides herself on being a catalyst of change and continues to be a voice for others through various programming and community organizing. Ms. Glover works for the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance as a Hotline Crisis Services Specialist. Ms. Glover holds a master degree in Counseling from Virginia State University as well as holding several certifications in trauma treatment, and completing her residency towards becoming a licensed professional counselor.

Jeremy Goldbach, PhD, LMSW is an Assistant Professor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. He completed both his master’s and doctoral degrees at The University of Texas at Austin. His work at UT-Austin was funded through the SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, specializing in prevention science. His research is broadly focused on the relationship between social stigma, stress and mental health among minority populations. He currently holds funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for psychometric instrument development (2014-17); the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (Loan Repayment Program, 2013-17); the Department of Defense to examine the behavioral health needs of active duty LGBT service members (2015-17) as well as to test a neuro-feedback intervention (2016-18); and The Trevor Project to explore pathways of suicidality among LGBTQ youth (2015-17). 

Emily Grossman, MA, CPRP is an Organizational Development Specialist at the Martha K. Selig Educational Institute at The Jewish Board, New York City’s largest Mental Health Agency.  In this role, she provides training to mental health professionals such as psychiatrists and social workers.  Ms. Grossman has trained most of the city’s large mental health agencies.  She also has her own private life coaching practice, where she specializes in working with young adults and adults who struggle with their mental health.  In addition, Ms. Grossman is a writer, and blogs frequently for Huffington Post on mental health recovery.  

Molly Hall, LCPC is a licensed clinical professional counselor. She has been working in the mental health field for the last 11 years.  Prior to entering the mental health field, she was an art and math teacher, challenging both her right and left brain.  Molly's master of science in counseling encompasses community mental health, marriage and family therapy, and school counseling.  (She had a thing for picking up concentrations while in grad school.)  Molly currently owns and runs her own private practice in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. In her practice, she treats a variety of presenting issues but most of her work revolves around trauma, maladaptive by-products of trauma, and healing.  Molly has a direct and care-frontational approach to her work and she believes that talking about things directly and openly is the key to healing, real education, and societal growth.

Kate Hardy is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Six Feet Over based out of Detroit, created to serve the survivors of suicide loss in her community. Six Feet Over, and its program Suck It! Suicide, are focused on helping survivors, with a special interest in the non-mainstream communities of the music, art and youth demographics. Kate is the survivor of 8 losses by suicide beginning with the loss of her mother in 2003. Kate found that much of suicide prevention catered to the norm of society and saw the need for information, conversations and postvention after loss. 

Patrick Hendry is the Vice President of Peer Advocacy, Supports and Services for Mental Health America and has worked as a mental health advocate for the past 26 years. His areas of expertise include peer-provided services, self-directed care, recovery-based trainings, organizational development, and management and sustainability. Patrick received MHA’s highest honor, the Clifford W. Beers Award in 2012, and a SAMHSA Voice Award and Eli Lilly Reintegration Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. He is the former Executive Director of the Florida Peer Network and has assisted in the development of numerous peer-run programs and organizations. Patrick is a strong supporter of the inclusion of people with lived experience in all aspects of the behavioral health system.

Jeanine Hoff is the leader and founder of Where is the Sunshine?, a Northeast Florida-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to positive early intervention and peer support for mental health. Jeanine was a 2016 TEDx Jacksonville Presenter, a certified presenter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI), a member of MHA‘s nationwide Peer Specialist Accreditation Certification team, a member of the Peer Support Coalition of Florida, and is certified in Mental Health First Aid (YOUTH.) 

Jennifer Hunt is the author of the memoir, SMOKE RINGS RISING: The Triumph of a Drug-Endangered Child. Most recently, she presented at the 13th Annual National Alliance for Drug-Endangered Children Conference in Reno, NV. Her article “The Good Girl” was published on the addiction website, Growing up Chaotic. She was included in Facing Addiction’s “Stories of Purpose.” Hunt lives in Oroville, CA, where she has been employed as a court reporter for 22 years. She is a member of the National Assoc. of Drug Court Professionals and Facing Addiction, Inc.

Lou Lang, Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1998, and has established himself as one of the legislature's most effective leaders. Representing the 16th House District, Lang has fought for economic development, working families, civil rights, and health care and Medicaid reform. Lang successfully championed a new, strictly-regulated law that will allow chronically ill individuals struggling with ailments, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma, to receive medical marijuana, through their established doctor’s prescription, to alleviate their pain and suffering. Lang has won the admiration and respect of his peers in the Legislature and his constituents at home. He is a rising star within the Democratic Party, advancing to House Democratic Floor Leader in 1993, Assistant Majority Leader in 1997, and Deputy Majority Leader in 2009. He was named “Legislator of the Year” by the Illinois Hospital Association, the Illinois Council on Senior Citizens, the Service Employees Union and the Illinois Public Action Council, among others.

Amelia Lehto is a thought leader with experience at the intersection of social media and suicide prevention. She specializes in suicide prevention and postvention on the local, state and national levels through training, advocacy and innovative technology. She is Vice President for local nonprofit Six Feet Over, Crisis Centers Division Chair for the American Association of Suicidology and works full time for a local Crisis Center. Her position serves several functions ultimately supporting those intimately affected by suicide. After experiencing loss at a young age, she discovered that one is not defined by how they died, but how they lived.

Leslie Lundt, MD is an internationally recognized clinician and educator in the neuropsychiatric field. She is board certified in psychiatry and has over 29 years experience in active clinical and research practice. Her “You Can Think Like a Psychiatrist” book series has been a popular introductory text for psychopharmacology courses. Dr. Lundt’s skills as a psychiatrist working with patients, students, colleagues, the media, payors and investors are utilized in her new position as Director of Medical Affairs at Neurocrine Biosciences. Dr. Lundt received her undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and her medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago. She was trained in psychiatry at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco where she was Chief Resident and had additional training in addiction medicine at the Haight-Ashbury Clinic. In her free time she tries to keep up with her five children in five time zones.

Ellie Jarvie, MSW, LCSW is the Consumer Affairs Coordinator for the State of Wisconsin Division of care and treatment services.  She has worked as a self-advocate and an advocate for others with lived experiences since her teenage years.  Her past experience includes youth program development and managing volunteer and training programs.  Ellie has also worked as a staff member and supervisor at a variety of community programs serving adults and youth in both nonprofit and public mental health systems.

Mark Jennings, BA, MDIV, MSW is a licensed social worker and Paulo Freire aficionado who serves as Director of Housing for Community Access, Inc. in New York City. Mark hails from the nation’s capital and holds an MDIV from Harvard Divinity School, an MSW from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and is a BA in Print Journalism from Howard University’s School of Communications. In addition to his supportive housing work, Mark has worked professionally with gang youth in Los Angeles, served as Social Justice Pastor at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (Washington, D.C.) and reported for several newspapers including the Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) and Ventura County Star (Ventura, CA). Mark is most passionate about the development and implementation of creative engagement strategies that bridge the tension between funding requirements and program participant needs and varied learning styles.

Christina Keelan has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from San Jose State University. She has worked with at-risk youth in Santa Clara County as a residential counselor and mentor. She currently volunteers as a mental health advocate for OSMI: Open Sourcing Mental Illness, a nonprofit that is working towards changing the stigma and conversation around mental illness in the tech community. With OSMI, she has given talks in Nashville and at the United Nations in NYC for OpenCamps. She works as a web developer in Nashville, but is a California girl at heart. 

Lisa Kugler, PsyD is a licensed psychologist who has been active in the field of substance abuse and mental health services providing direct care, executing administrative duties, and conducting research for over 20 years. Currently, Dr. Kugler serves is the CEO of Beacon Health Options Maryland. She leads her team in the management of Medicaid benefits for over 1 million covered lives in the state of Maryland. She works with the state, counties, providers, and oversight to make certain that individuals are receiving the appropriate treatment to assist them in their recovery journeys. Prior to her current position with Beacon Health Options, Dr. Kugler was the Vice President of Clinical Services for Value Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania (VBH-PA) where Dr. Kugler oversaw all clinical operations.   

Karen Lane, MA, CPS is an Advocacy Specialist with Disability Rights Wisconsin and a Certified Peer Specialist with over 20 years of experience as an advocate and as a individual with lived experience. Karen has brought awareness the issue of the high rates of sexual violence experienced by people living with serious mental illness through the Violence Against Women Accessibility Project at Disability Rights Wisconsin.  In addition, she has worked on the Recovery Implementation Task Force Peer Specialist Committee to bring the potential for sexual exploitation to happen in peer to peer relationships and how the budding profession of Certified Peer Specialists can prevent and address sexual exploitation in the professional peer context. 

Caroline Laurin is lead media trainer and crisis communicator at Reingold, Inc. She began her career working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a national television network, where she produced breaking news, interviewed program guests, and produced network coverage for major news events. She then went to work for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which was often the subject of negative news coverage. While there, she conceived, developed, and implemented a sexual assault and harassment prevention campaign that earned accolades from sexual assault prevention advocacy groups. Her program is now considered a model for other agencies by prevention advocates. 

Mark Mahoney is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he studied within the departments of music and cultural studies. He has also worked with and written for a number of Twin Cities cultural institutions, including the Walker Art Center and the Dakota Jazz Club. His research focuses on the historical and contemporary roles of music criticism within broader conversations about culture, collective politics and individual agency.

Kate Mahoney is the Executive Director of the Naomi Ruth Cohen Institute for Mental Health Education at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Kate is a both a clinician and advocate. She is past president of both the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health and the Illinois Association for Medication Assisted Addiction Treatment.   Kate also represented Illinois on the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence for nine years. Kate has earned awards from the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, Mental Health America – North Shore, and the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence.

Shelley Mayer founded Ramp Communications in 2012 with a focused purpose: to create a vibrant social profit sector capable of solving our generation’s most urgent challenges. She quickly established the agency as a sought-after resource and partner, and the Canadian Mental Health Association is now a showcase client among others in the mental health sector. Shelley is a prolific speaker on cause marketing in Canada, an experienced leader, and a mental wellness champion.

Anne D. McNeallis is a member as well as an employee of Kaiser Permanente. In 2015, she was accepted as a patient into the ketamine program, a course of treatment that has dramatically influenced the course of her life. As a result, she is grateful to share her story in the service of helping others and widen the circle of understanding, knowledge and acceptance.

Ashley Miers is a singer/songwriter who earned a double major (Psychology - Emphasis in Neuroscience; Philosophy) and double minor (Biology; Communication) at the University of Denver in 2007.  After graduation, Ashley relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a creative career.  Ashley’s struggles with Bipolar/Borderline symptoms have profoundly influenced her life.  After a terrifying phase of cutting, suicide attempts and hospitalizations, Ashley has worked hard to maintain and improve her emotional and mental health.  Today, Ashley is dedicated to sharing her music and her story to inspire, inform, and to be a guiding light for others who may be struggling with similar issues.

Angele Moss-Baker, MA is a licensed behavioral health professional with over 25 years of experience providing mental health and substance abuse treatment services to youth and adults.  Angele is dedicated to increase the clinical competency of behavioral health professionals. She provides cross-training to behavioral health professionals to increase effectiveness of integrated treatment practices. Recently, the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) awarded Angele the Dr. Linda Seligman Counselor Educator of the Year Award for outstanding and humanitarian service to others through teaching, training, consulting, supervising, research, and program development.

Jessica Nagel, BS, MA, LAC, CASAC has worked with Community Access, Inc., a rights-based mental health and supportive housing agency in NYC, for more than 5 years. She has provided support to individuals as well as facilitated groups on topics that include substance use and mental health concerns. In her current role as Harm Reduction Capacity Developer, she works to teach and expand Harm Reduction approaches to promote health and positive change. She has presented workshops on this topic at a variety of regional and national conferences including: Alternatives, National Harm Reduction, Mental Health Association of Oregon/Peerpocalypse, Housing First Partners, NARPA, and ACLAIMH.  

Malkia Newman is an award-winning, motivational speaker, educator, advocate, and minister, who delivers a high-energy message that hope and recovery is possible. Malkia communicates her unique way, which includes poetry and song, at workshops and seminars on mental health issues to public and private organizations, schools, colleges and universities as well as faith-based audiences.  A member of the award-winning, nationally recognized Community Network Services’ Anti-Stigma Program since 2005, Malkia has assisted in the development of presentations that has reached well over 75,000 people, it continues to set exceptionally high standards of customer satisfaction as demonstrated by the excellent reviews the presentations have garnered over the past 11 years.

Heather O'Donnell is the Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy at Thresholds, an Illinois-based community mental health provider that serves over 15,000 individuals living with significant mental health conditions. Heather leads Thresholds’ public policy and legislative efforts and also spearheads an advocacy coalition of over 150 mental health and substance use providers across Illinois. She has extensive experience in mental health and healthcare policy, as well as fiscal policy. Prior to Thresholds, Heather served as Director of Planning for Healthcare Reform at CJE SeniorLife, where she successfully designed a federal healthcare reform demonstration program with numerous hospitals and nursing homes across Chicago. She served as the Policy Director for Health Care and Human Services at the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability with a focus on public healthcare finance for over six years. Prior to that, Heather worked for Lawyers for Human Rights in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Heather practiced corporate law for eight years before moving into the public interest sector.  

Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-peer specialist, artist, author of My Beautiful Detour, Huffington Post contributor, TEDx ( and RAINN speaker, award-winning health advocate, actress and playwright. She has headlined international conferences with her signature keynotes, and as the star of Gutless & Grateful, her one-woman musical autobiography.  Her writings have appeared in over 70 online and print publications, and her story has appeared on TODAY, Cosmopolitan and CBS.  She's currently touring her mental health/sexual assault awareness programs and #LoveMyDetour movement to colleges nationwide.

Rachel O'Koren is the Director of Clinical Programs and Quality at Walgreens, where she has spent the last 14 years building innovative clinical programs and services within community pharmacy.  This includes Walgreens immunization program, medication therapy management and medication adherence programs. Rachel most recently launched a mental health initiative in partnership with Mental Health America, MDLIVE telehealth/therapy and the VA. Rachel received her PharmD from the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy and completed a Ambulatory Care-Managed Care Pharmacy Practice Residency with Henry Ford Health System.

Andrew Parrish was born in Chicago, IL where like any other child he enjoyed with his friends. Living in the inner city is hard enough, for Andrew it was made more difficult for him when he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD as a child. In spite of the challenges he faced, Andrew was able to complete his education and go on to college. He attended Columbia College in Chicago where he majored in film and video production. In his early adult years he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He learned to manage his illness so it didn’t prevent him from pursuing his dreams. His passion for helping others lead to him become a Certified Peer Support Specialist, inspiring people to live beyond the limits associated with a mental health diagnosis. 

Joseph Penola is the founder and executive director of The You Rock Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to spreading awareness about mental health by using interviews with popular musicians as catalysts for conversation. Joseph is a suicide attempt survivor who created You Rock because of his personal battle with depression. Despite being surrounded by supportive family and friends, Joseph could not confide in anyone. He felt like music was able to speak for him, and it eventually allowed him to find his own voice, talk about his illness, and get the treatment he needed. You Rock’s video interviews with popular musicians have given music fans the same kind of inspiration that was instrumental to Joseph’s healing. 

Kayti Protos, MSW, LCSW is the Assistant Director and Clinical Coordinator of the Bucks LGBTQ Center she has a growing private practice.  She brings over 10 years of clinical experience to her clinical work, specializing at the intersection of eating disorder, addiction, trauma and LGBTQ+ identities.  Kayti has held various positions in residential and outpatient addiction treatment centers, campus-based crisis intervention and response programs assisting survivors of power-based personal violence, and outpatient eating disorder recovery groups.  In addition to her MSW, Kayti earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Women's & Gender Studies and Communication Studies from Vanderbilt University. 

Jeffrey Shair is a consultant for the Philadelphia Department of Behavior Health and Intellectual Disability Services and an active member of the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania. He is a columnist and advocate for the National Spasmodic Torticollis Association and speaks at different universities about his life with schizophrenia. However, the medication that allowed Jeff to regain his life also left him with tardive dyskinesia, manifesting itself as uncontrollable movements of his face, mouth and neck. He is passionate about raising awareness of this condition and decreasing the stigma associated with movement disorders like tardive dyskinesia.

Tonmoy Sharma, M.B.B.S., M.Sc. is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sovereign Health and has a cumulative 30 years of experience as a researcher, neuroscientist, psychiatrist, lecturer, author, and health care executive, with a unique insight into the care and management of patients with behavioral health and substance use disorders. His background as a psychiatrist gives him unique insight into the care of behavioral health patients and the management of mental health facilities in the U.S., Europe, and India. He is currently on the Board of Directors of NAMI Orange County.

Jennifer Spiegler is a Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships at Kognito. Jennifer joined Kognito in 2010 with a background spanning education, business, and not-for-profit sectors, in areas such as instructional design, strategic communications, fundraising and arts administration. Prior to joining Kognito, Jennifer served as assistant director of the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning where she initiated new projects with faculty in the health sciences. At Kognito, Jennifer leads engagements with State-level government agencies, statewide non-profits and school districts, overseeing a multi-disciplinary team to support client marketing, customer experience and simulation customization, and new simulation development. Jennifer is a frequent presenter about Kognito's work at conferences. She holds a BA from Barnard College, but she’s learned a whole lot about a lot of things in the intervening many years.

Brandon Staglin is the Director of Marketing and Communications for Staglin Family Vineyard and One Mind Institute, and Board Director for One Mind and One Mind Institute. Brandon annually orchestrates his organization’s Music Festival for Brain Health’s Scientific Symposium. This event has been instrumental in transforming brain research and improving lives internationally. He has received several advocacy awards including the SAMHSA VOICE Award for Lifetime Achievement. Brandon’s recovery from schizophrenia makes him happy every day he can contribute to the health of others. An amateur guitarist for over ten years, he hopes to share his story through music.

Lenese Stephens, LCPC is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Maryland. She currently works with African American males within the jail/prison facilities along with women at a local women's resource center all in Baltimore, MD.  Much of Lenese's clinical work focuses on assisting with deepening the level of communication within interpersonal relationships leading to intimate relationships or marriages and supporting individuals (and couples) with identifying mental illness within their relationships and fostering ways to address and adjust to the behavioral changes. 

Nick Szubiak, MSW, LCSW brings more than 15 years of experience in direct service, administration and clinical supervision. As Integration Consultant, he provides technical assistance, consultation and training toward integration of behavioral health and primary care, SBIRT, and substance use treatment such as medication assisted treatment (MAT) and helping organizations utilize data to improve clinical outcomes. His expertise involves systems change management with emphasis around the integration of primary and behavioral health care and substance use and leadership development and supervisory skills. Nick is an adjunct professor at the University of Hawaii, Myron B. Thomas School of Social Work. 

Mason Turner, MD is the Chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente, San Francisco Medical Center and the Assistant Director (for Outpatient Services) for Regional Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services for Kaiser Permanente, Northern California. As a clinician, he specializes in addiction medicine and treatment of personality disorders. Dr. Turner also serves as Assistant Clinical Professor in Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, where he teaches a course in interviewing patients to first and second year medical students, and supervises psychiatric residents in the practice and theory of psychotherapy.

Jennifer Weeks, PhD, LPC, CAADC, CSAT-S is the founder and director of Sexual Addiction Treatment Services, an out-patient treatment program for out of control sexual behavior. She has over twelve years’ experience treating all aspects of addiction, trauma and addiction, sexual addiction, and sex offenders. She is a Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist- Supervisor, Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, a Licensed Professional Counselor and has a Ph.D. in Psychology. Dr. Weeks is the author of the blog, Dr. Jen’s Recovery Readings as well as the prevention book, The New Age of Sex Education: How to Talk to Your Teen about Cybersex and Pornography in the Digital Age.

Loretta K Wilson, MSN, RN provides individual and group psychotherapy and medication management as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in the Ketamine Clinic at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco.  She is passionate not only about addressing treatment resistant depression with novel therapies, but also about mental health in the context of life-limiting physical illness, and she provides psychiatric services in collaboration with the Oncology and Palliative services.

Vanessa Wilson, JD is a strategist, speaker, writer and educator, and serves as the Senior Pastor of Magnolia Road United Methodist Church. She is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and has served as a Human Resources Executive in higher education and behavioral health organizations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University. She has taken graduate level coursework in Finance and Marketing. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Drew Theological School. 

Kimberly Zapata is the creator of Sunshine Spoils Milk, a blog dedicated to motherhood and mental health. Her work has appeared on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Babble, MomBabble, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, Little Things, YourTango, The Mighty, Yahoo Health, and in two anthologies: So Glad They Told Me - Women Get Real About Motherhood and Lose The Cape: Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids!). Additionally, Kimberly was featured in the May 2016 "stop the stigma" issue of Women's Health, and she was a speaker at MHA's 2016 Annual Conference: Media, Messaging, & Mental Health.

With a Special Performance By:
Maya Kuper & Paul McComas of the Dayna Clay Band will open the Clifford W. Beers Awards Dinner on June 14 by performing excerpts from their original alt-rock stage musical UNPLUGGED: A Survivor's Story in Scenes & Songs. The show tells the story of Dayna Clay, a 27-year-old rock star struggling with clinical depression, suicidal ideation, and post-traumatic stress in the wake of childhood sexual abuse. Adapted by the duo from McComas' critically acclaimed novel, UNPLUGGED chronicles Dayna's bumpy journey to self-discovery, hope, and healing. Learn more at



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