Virtual NAMICon Session Descriptions

Virtual NAMICon Session Descriptions

Monday, July 13

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

Research Plenary with Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health

Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, will provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities in mental health research. Dr. Gordon will present emerging approaches and technologies, and possible future directions, for this multidisciplinary field. In this era of unprecedented opportunity, he will highlight the importance of cross-disciplinary, integrative approaches to address the vast complexities associated with mental illness as we move closer to our goal of finding effective treatments and therapies.

Josh Joshua Gordon, M.D. Ph.D. Director, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

Dr. Gordon received his M.D./Ph.D. degree at the University of California, San Francisco and completed his psychiatry residency and research fellowship at Columbia University. He joined the Columbia faculty in 2004 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry where he conducted research, taught residents and maintained a general psychiatry practice. In September of 2016, he became Director of the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Gordon’s research focuses on the analysis of neural activity in mice carrying mutations of relevance to psychiatric disease. His lab studies genetic models of these diseases from an integrative neuroscience perspective, focused on understanding how a given disease mutation leads to a behavioral phenotype across multiple levels of analysis. Dr. Gordon’s work has been recognized by several prestigious awards, including The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation’s NARSAD Young Investigator Award, the Rising Star Award from the International Mental Health Research Organization, the A.E. Bennett Research Award from the Society of Biological Psychiatry, and the Daniel H. Efron Research Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Return to At A Glance Schedule

12:10 – 1:10 PM EDT

Track 1: Getting Help Early

Taking NAMI Ending the Silence Statewide

Hear how NAMI South Carolina received various sources of grant funding to develop a strategy and process to take the NAMI Ending the Silence presentation-program statewide. We will discuss staff hiring, strategic planning, budgets, support staff, presentation team members, and policies and procedures for regional leaders. We will also review successes and challenges throughout the planning and implementation process and will include helpful methods for finding presentation team members.

Paige Paige Selking

NAMI Ending the Silence Project Director, NAMI South Carolina, Lexington, S.C.

Paige Selking is the Ending the Silence Project Director for NAMI South Carolina. Her focus shifted from social services to mental health in 2015 as a result of her husband and son living with combat-related PTSD, depression and anxiety. She also teaches NAMI Family-to-Family and NAMI Provider, served on NAMI Mid-Carolina’s Board from 2018-2019, and currently serves on multiple committees working on youth and mental health issues. She has a B.A. in Sociology.

Judy Judy Rauppius NAMI Ending the Silence Regional Program Leader, NAMI South Carolina, Rock Hill, S.C.

Judy Rauppius is the Ending the Silence Regional Program Manager for the Northern Region of South Carolina. Her involvement as a volunteer and advocate for NAMI stemmed from having a 25-year old son living with autism and anxiety. In 2016, she was the NAMI South Carolina Volunteer of the Year. She previously worked in marketing and management for Verizon Wireless and has a B.S. in Psychology-Business from Albright College.

Amanda Amanda Phillips NAMI Ending the Silence Program Coordinator, NAMI South Carolina, Greenville, S.C.

Amanda Phillips is the Ending the Silence Upstate Regional Program Manager for NAMI South Carolina. After having a suicidal crisis as a college sophomore and receiving a mental illness diagnosis as a graduate student, she combines her lived experience with her counseling degree to normalize and destigmatize the world of mental health. Recently, she was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show as a national thought leader on the intersection of mental health and domestic violence.

Track 2: Getting the Best Possible Care

Rethinking Diversity, Equality and Inclusion

Come discuss why diversity, inclusion and cultural competence are important to NAMI. We'll create shared meaning by discussing selected definitions and emerging issues in the workplace and the NAMI Alliance. How can we address the changing issues of identity, language and demographics? We'll share selected best practices and gather input from participants to inform the deployment of NAMI’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy. Meet key players and learn about the infrastructure and efforts co-created with NAMI's DEI Staff Council and Board Committee.

Monica Mónica L. Villalta, M.P.H.,

National Director of Inclusion & Diversity Officer, NAMI, Arlington, Va.

Mónica Villalta is National Director of Inclusion and Diversity Officer at NAMI. She is a cultural competence expert, diversity leader and public health practitioner with roles in the public and private sector. Mónica holds an M.P.H. from UC Berkeley and a B.S. from the University of Maryland. She is an Annie E. Casey Foundation and National Hispana Leadership Institute Fellow with certificates from the Center on Creative Leadership and Harvard University J.F. Kennedy School of Government.

Track 3: Getting Diverted from Justice System Involvement

Crisis Hotlines: The Gateway to Crisis Systems

With discussions around a 9-8-8 national mental health crisis number and the building of local crisis systems, crisis hotlines have become a hot topic in the mental health community. Learn about the Georgia Crisis and Access Line and why it’s becoming nationally recognized. Also learn about the services crisis lines can offer, how they can address a variety of mental health crises and how they can help minimize the role of law enforcement in a mental health crisis.

Sue Ann Sue Ann Atkerson, LPC, M.B.A., Chief Operations Officer, RI International, Phoenix, Ariz.

As CEO of Behavioral Health Link (BHL), Sue O’Brien leads a visionary team of crisis innovators whose break-through technology and crisis services have been featured worldwide. BHL operates Georgia’s statewide Crisis and Access Line, offering the nation’s broadest application of advanced crisis call center technology through their Care Traffic Control system. BHL also delivers and/or deploys 24/7 community-based mobile crisis in all 159 Georgia counties.

Track 4: Research Updates

CBT for Psychosis: Evidence-based Training Program for Family and Caregivers

CBT for psychosis (CBTp), an evidence-based treatment for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, emphasizes the involvement of family members in the treatment course. In addition, best practice dictates that natural supports are engaged in broader team-based care efforts. Unfortunately, these recommendations are poorly aligned with common practice.  Psychosis REACH (Recovery by Enabling Adult Careers at Home) is a training for family members in CBTp-informed principles and skills. With philanthropic support, Drs. Doug Turkington (Newcastle University), Kate Hardy (Stanford University), Maria Monroe-DeVita and Sarah Kopelovich (University of Washington) launched Psychosis REACH in the U.S. Roughly 200 family members participated in the May, 2019 training; 30 received intensive training and consultation, and Train the Trainer planning is currently underway with guidance from a local Family and Caregiver Advisory Board. Family members were referred from agencies that comprise Washington State’s CBTp Provider Network, as well as by those without CBTp-trained providers. This presentation will report on the mental health outcomes among trainees up to 4-months post-training, which suggest that the training was helpful in reducing depression, anxiety, caregiver fatigue, and in improving attitudes toward psychosis.

Sarah Sarah Kopelovich, Ph.D., Associate Professor University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.

Sarah Kopelovich, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and holds a Professorship in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. She has served as the Principal Investigator on foundation-, state-, and federally funded projects related to implementation of evidence-based treatments for psychosis. She oversees the Northwest CBTp Network, is a founding member and communications officer for the North American CBTp Network and is core faculty for the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center.

Track 5: Youth Voices

The Importance of Youth Voice: A Panel Discussion

Youth and young adults from diverse backgrounds will answer questions about some of the mental health challenges facing youth today. They will share their stories, experiences and perspectives on what mental health means to them, how to deal with stigma and what resources are available that they find helpful.


Veronica Mahathre, M.P.H., State Opioid Response Specialist, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Atlanta, Ga.

Veronica Mahathre is a Project Specialist for the Georgia State Opioid Response grant working with statewide partners to provide opioid abuse prevention messaging targeting youth, families, and public safety populations. In the last seven years, she has organized behavioral health education initiatives at local government and mental health clinic settings, and conducted research at CDC, Emory University, and Georgia State University on behavioral health intervention and prevention methods for populations affected by infectious and chronic diseases.


Estephania1 Estephania Plascencia Youth Program Coordinator, NAMI Miami-Dade, Miami, Fla.

Estephania Plascencia joined NAMI Miami as a volunteer in 2017. Soon after, she became an Ending the Silence presenter, which allowed her the opportunity to share her journey living with a mental health condition with middle and high schoolers. In 2019, Estephania became the NAMI Miami-Dade Youth Program Coordinator. She is currently studying her M.P.H., with a concentration in Biostatistics, at the Stempel College of Public Health at Florida International University.

Mykah Mykah Ellié Human Rights Campaign, Lead Field Manager & Canvasser, Human Rights Campaign, Norcross, Ga.

Mykah Thadius Ellié, “Thad,” is a 20-year-old from north Atlanta. As a nonbinary bigender man living with Complex PTSD, ADHD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Depression, Thad’s queerness and mental health conditions have both been influential throughout the themes of his work. Thad is also an artist who aspires to use art to inspire social change by lifting marginalized voices. He is an aspiring activist currently working as Lead Field Manager and Canvasser for the Atlanta chapter of the Human Rights Campaign.

Anthony Anthony Catlin, Youth Engagement Specialist, DBHDD, Atlanta, Ga.

Anthony Catlin holds Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) and CPS-Y (Certified Peer Specialist Youth) certifications which focus on supporting adolescent, young adult and adult individuals living with behavior health challenges/substance use diagnoses/suicidal challenges. Anthony educated himself on these challenges to become an asset and grow within the workforce. Since then, he received the Rising Star Award from NAMI Rockdale/Newton and the CEO Extra Mile Award from Viewpoint Health, his previous workplace.

Charlie Charlie Lucas, CIO, Bug and Bee, Cumming, Ga.

Growing up, watching his older sister Hannah suffer from a disorder made Charlie Lucas feel utterly helpless. He couldn’t drive her to doctor appointments. He couldn’t make her better. He couldn’t even catch her when she fainted. But Charlie knew he could step in to help his sister when she told him about an idea for an app she’d had. With the family nickname, “Tech Support,” Charlie went to work. He wireframed the app’s basic premise and figured out the best workflow. He even built Hannah a website and created their first logo.

Return to At A Glance Schedule

1:30 – 2:30 PM EDT

Track 1: Getting Help Early

What Is Behind the Increasing Suicide Rate Among Black Youth?

There has been a recent trend in the growing number of suicides in Black youth and adolescents. Despite making up 15% of the population, Black youth make up 37% of all youth suicides — with the highest affected demographic being young Black males. We will look at and discuss the risk factors that are possibly causing this increase.

Napoleon Napoleon Higgins, M.D., CEO, Global Health Psychiatry, Houston, Tex.

Dr. Napoleon Higgins is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist in Houston, Tex. He is the owner of Bay Pointe Behavioral Health Services and South East Houston Research Group. Dr. Higgins received his M.D. from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., and he completed his residency in Adult Psychiatry and his fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He is the President of the Black Psychiatrists of Greater Houston, Past President of the Caucus of Black Psychiatrists of the American Psychiatric Association and Past President of the Black Psychiatrists of America, Inc. Dr. Higgins is co-author of How Amari Learned to Love School Again: A Story about ADHD, Mind Matters: A Resource Guide to Psychiatry for Black Communities.

Ericka Ericka Goodwin, M.D., CEO & Founder, Goodwin Medical Associates, LLC, Atlanta, Ga.

Dr. Ericka Goodwin is a double board-certified psychiatrist, as well as a bestselling author, speaker and integrative lifestyle coach. She is passionate about improving mental wellness, making people feel loved, cared for and seen. Along with being the CEO of Goodwin Medical Associates and a traveling psychiatrist, Dr. Goodwin also volunteers as faculty at Morehouse School of Medicine. Her latest book is Fix Your Fairytale: A Woman’s Guide to a Great Life, Love, and Legacy. Her mantra is "minimal medication for maximum effect," so she will only prescribe if necessary. She forms comprehensive plans that also include non-medication treatments. Dr. Goodwin sees the whole person. Track 2: Getting the Best Possible Care

Engaging Faith Leaders in Addressing Mental Illness

One in four people struggling with a mental health concern go to their faith leader before they engage with a mental health professional. And when spirituality and religion are incorporated into care, many clients do better. The Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (The Partnership Center) will present on how we are encouraging faith leaders and their communities to address mental illness using education, tools and resources.

Royce Shannon Royce, J.D., Director, HHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, Washington, D.C.

Shannon Royce, J.D., brings a wealth of experience from the government, private and nonprofit sectors to her role as Director of the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In leading the HHS Partnership Center, Shannon sees her role as one of service and stewardship, carrying out the vision of HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II and the Administration. She is married with two grown sons.

Michael Michael Perron, Minister of Life Recovery, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, Tex.

As a former addict, now sober 21 years, Michael brings a unique perspective to the process of recovery. Over the past 20 years, Michael has dedicated himself to developing comprehensive programs, integrating the clinical and spiritual realms, that aid people in getting back to wholeness. He is a certified biblical counselor and is currently working with the Health and Human Services Department in Washington, D.C., to create a framework that helps faith-based organizations create awareness, remove stigma, and advocate for people in the midst of the chaos surrounding substance misuse/abuse and mental health issues. He is the Pastor of Life Recovery at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Tex. Michael and his wife Christina have been married for 21 years and have three children.

Gabby Gabrielle Spatt, Executive Director, The Blue Dove Foundation, Atlanta, Ga.

Gabrielle Spatt is a genuine connector who is passionate about bringing people and organizations together to accomplish big dreams. A personal tragedy led Gabby to start volunteering with the Blue Dove Foundation, an Atlanta-based nonprofit focusing on mental health and substance abuse education, outreach and awareness through a Jewish lens. Gabby transitioned from board member to staff member in 2019. She devotes her time to her professional role and community engagement through different roles.

Track 3: Getting Diverted from Justice System Involvement

Hero Help Addiction and Behavioral Health Assistance

The New Castle County Police Department has combined and expanded two successful programs: Hero Help and the Behavioral Health Team. This newly unified team provides access and outreach in the community to help those in need of addiction and mental health services, as well as case management to promote positive, long-term health outcomes. This team, consisting of police and mental health/medical professionals, proactively engage individuals in crisis and divert them away from incarceration whenever possible.

Colleen Colleen Kearns, M.S.W., Officer First Class, New Castle County Police Department Hero Help Addiction and Behavioral Health Unit, New Castle, Del.

Officer First Class Colleen Kearns is currently assigned to the New Castle County Police Department Hero Help Addiction and Behavioral health Unit. Colleen received her Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a CIT officer and teaches Autism Awareness and Diversity training in NCCPD. She has been in the department for seven years, worked in the Patrol, Community Services Unit and is a current member of the bike team.

George Omari George Officer First Class Omari George was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. Omari has several years of experience as a Case Manager/Treatment Counselor working with individuals, both adult and children, with mental health diagnosis in the city of New York, State of Hawaii and Delaware. Prior to being hired by NCCPD he worked as a Delaware State Probation/Parole Officer with an Adult Mental Health caseload. Omari has been a police officer with NCCPD for 5 years and is part of the Crisis Intervention Team, Crisis Negotiation Team and recently assigned to the Hero Help Behavioral Health Unit.

Maas Daniel Maas, M.P.H., Hero Help Addiction Coordinator, New Castle County Police Department Hero Help Addiction and Behavioral Health Unit, New Castle, Del.

In 2016, Daniel Mass worked as a Public Health Analyst for the Philadelphia-Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) to improve situational awareness and collaboration between law enforcement and public health agencies. That same year, Dan was hired by the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health to be their point person for the HERO HELP Program; to author the grant for the Delaware Drug Monitoring Initiative; and to be a member of the Delaware delegation at the National Governor’s Association Learning Lab in Washington, D.C. In 2018, he was hired as the full-time HERO HELP Program Coordinator. He graduated from Temple University, earning a B.A. in Sociology. In 2013, he completed an Executive Master’s Degree in Public Health: Emergency and Disaster Management from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Track 4: Research Updates

The Fusion Model: A Peer-Informed Model for Crisis Support

Accomplishing fusion on Earth has been a holy grail quest for clean bountiful energy. Scientist continue efforts to overcome the barrier of bringing two atoms together on earth. In crisis care, like much of health care in general, we see resistances to merge culture and strategies between biomedical or hospital models and the recovery and peer supports model. We offer the Fusion Model, the transformative model that occurs from successfully integrating peer powered culture and peer support with national best practices in crisis care.

Charles Charles Browning, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, RI International, Wilmington, N.C.

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Browning is the Chief Medical Officer of RI International. He has devoted his career to improving the systems and care experience for our mental health needs. He has held leadership positions in public and private systems of care, including Crisis System Care, Assertive Community Treatment Team, a rural community behavioral health care company and Opioid Treatment Programs. Dr. Browning graduated from North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Medical School, and completed his internship and residency at University of North Carolina. Dr. Browning has also practiced in NC prison psychiatric systems and his own private practice. He has special interests in promoting several thought leadership initiatives in collaboration with RI International, including Crisis Now, Zero Suicide, Peer 2.0 and The Fusion Model. Dr. Browning most enjoys spending time with his wife Angie and their two sons.

Track 5: Youth Voices

NAMI Ending the Silence for Students

This presentation is designed to help educate youth about various mental health conditions. It will include some of the warning signs, facts and statistics, and how they can get help for themselves or a friend. Research has shown that NAMI Ending the Silence for Students is effective in changing middle and high school students’ knowledge and attitudes toward mental health conditions and toward seeking help.

Sierra Sierra Cunningham, M.A., Patient Affairs Coordinator, SC Department of Mental Health, Columbia, S.C.

Sierra Cunningham takes pride in educating people of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds on all preventative healthy behaviors. Her greatest passion is bringing healing to people who have been through a traumatic/stressful experience. As an African American woman, it is her personal mission to ensure that the stigma associated with mental illness in her community is eliminated. In her current role as Patient Affairs Coordinator for the SC Department of Mental Health, she helps patients strengthen their perceptions of themselves and the relationships around them. She holds a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from South Carolina State University.

Amanda Amanda Phillips, M.A., NAMI South Carolina, Upstate Regional Program Manager, NAMI South Carolina, Greenville, S.C.

Amanda Phillips is the Ending the Silence Upstate Regional Program Manager for NAMI South Carolina. After having a suicidal crisis as a college sophomore and receiving a mental illness diagnosis as a graduate student, she combines her lived experience with her counseling degree to normalize and destigmatize the world of mental health. Recently, she was featured on NBC’s The TODAY Show as a national thought leader on the intersection of mental health and domestic violence.

2:50 – 3:50 PM EDT

Track 1: Getting Help Early

Who Ya Gonna Call? NAMI HelpLines!

No one is prepared for mental illness when it strikes, but having a NAMI HelpLine to call makes a big difference. In this workshop, discover why helplines are special, and learn about a new effort to align helpLines across the NAMI Alliance using cloud-based technologies for sharing resources, training volunteers, data collection and reporting. Together, NAMI HelpLines can offer better help and support to people in need.

DawnDawn Brown, Director, Community Engagement, Information, Support & Education, NAMI, Arlington, Va.

Dawn Brown joined NAMI as a HelpLine volunteer in 2011. Since that time, she has served as Content Development Specialist, HelpLine Manager and is currently Director of Community Engagement helping to direct HelpLine growth and development. Prior to working at NAMI, Dawn attended the NAMI Family-to-Family program and NAMI Family Support Groups. She has also worked as a project manager at other non-profit organizations in the Washington, D.C. area.

Track 2: Getting the Best Possible Care

Ending Conversion Therapy to Save Young LGBTQ Lives

Research has proven that conversion therapy significantly endangers the health and well-being of LGBTQ youth. Despite these risks, conversion therapy is still practiced by licensed mental health professionals across the country. Learn about the movement to protect LGBTQ youth from the harms of conversion therapy as well as the ways in which mental health advocates can push for anti-conversion therapy protections in their states and cities.

Sam Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs, The Trevor Project, Rockville, Md.

Sam Brinton is one of the world’s leading advocates for LGBTQ youth serving as the Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. The organization helped found the 50 Bill 50 States campaign to end the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy, first adopted in the U.S. then in areas around the globe. As a survivor of conversion therapy, Sam has spearheaded efforts to submit legislation and has spoken before the United Nations and Congress, as well as testified on legislation to save the lives of LGBTQ youth across the country.

Track 3: Getting Diverted from Justice System Involvement

Engaging Individuals Who Have Mental Illness in the Stepping Up Initiative

This session will focus on ways that stakeholders can work together to reduce the high numbers of people with mental illness in local criminal justice systems. It will highlight the Stepping Up initiative and how it engages people with lived experience in planning efforts, including forming collaborations and prioritizing policy, practice and funding improvements.

Mark Mark Stovell, M.P.A., Senior Policy Analyst, The Council of State Governments Justice Center, N.Y.

Mark Stovell manages the Stepping Up Initiative in partnership with the National Association of Counties and the American Psychiatric Association Foundation. Mark leads the development of broad-based technical assistance products and tools to assist counties in reducing the prevalence of people with mental illness in jails. He previously worked for the Center on Addiction, Families USA and Hunger Free Vermont. Mark earned his B.A. from Ohio University and his M.P.A. at Baruch College.

Chris Chris Johnson, M.F.A., Director of Communications, Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, Atlanta, Ga.

Chris Johnson, M.F.A., CPS, CPS-AD is the Director of Communications for the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, where he is responsible for disseminating information about recovery and wellness opportunities to behavioral health peers and providers across the state, as well as grant-writing, public speaking, and the development of programs, curricula, and presentations. Chris is part of SAMHSA’s Southeast Mental Health Technology Transfer Center through the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Kristin Schillig, Court Support Manager, Fulton County Superior Court, Atlanta Ga.

Kristin Schillig has 15 years of experience in implementation and management surrounding local, state, and national justice reform movements. She was involved with the Department of Defense when there were calls for increased support for domestic violence victims and developed the first victim advocacy program at MacDill Air Force Base. She worked for 10 years in juvenile justice systems and managed implementation of law enforcement alternatives through Florida’s Civil Citation Initiative and several evidence-based programs as part of Georgia’s Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2013. Since 2017, she has been coordinating Fulton County's Stepping Up Initiative efforts with a focus on strengthening community collaboration and building capacity to use data to improve system responses.

Track 4: Research Updates

A Novel Approach to Treatment Resistant Depression: Esketamine

This workshop will provide an overview of the novel medication esketamine for treatment resistant depression, providing an overview of the medication, the administration of the medication, criteria for use, and potential adverse effects. Diagnostic criteria for treatment resistant depression will be discussed. The workshop will also review additional indications for the medication. A discussion of a clinic and expectations for use of the medication will also be reviewed. Participants will be encouraged to ask questions regarding the medication. Additionally, other treatment strategies for treatment resistant depression will be reviewed.

Megan Megan Ehret, PharmD, BCPP, Associate Professor, University of Maryland, College Park, Md.

Dr. Megan Ehret is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy. Her practice site is at the University of Maryland Medical Center, Midtown Campus. She is a past president of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists. She has served as the Pharmacy and Therapeutics advisor for the development of the esketamine nasal spray clinic for the UMMS. She has published on numerous topics but is passionate about implementing pharmacists into the care team to provide comprehensive medication management for all patients with psychiatric and neurologic conditions.

Track 5: Youth Voices

Creating Meaningful Connections: Youth Certified Peer Specialists (CPS-Y)

The presenters will discuss the significance of Youth Certified Peer Specialist (CPS-Y), how those training have assisted in communities and what peers have been offering in the state of Georgia. The CPS-Y training instruct individuals with lived experience who can then provide others living with behavioral health conditions the emotional support, knowledge and resources to help them identify meaningful connections and tools that contribute to wellness/resiliency/recovery.

Ana Ana Martinez Gaona, Youth Peer Specialist Coordinator, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, Atlanta, Ga.

Ana Martinez Gaona currently coordinates the training and certification for the Youth Peer Specialist for the DBHDD behavioral health workforce. She previously served as the Youth Peer Specialist Coordinator under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) grant. In this role, Ana and her young adult peers helped develop the curricula for the Certified Peer Specialist-Youth Training.

Dana Dana McCrary, Parent & Youth Peer Specialist Coordinator, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, Atlanta, Ga.

Dana McCrary currently supports two offices within the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) to train and support the development of Certified Peer Specialist-Parent and Certified Peer Specialist-Youth for the DBHDD behavioral health workforce. She previously served as the Family Coordinator for the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) grant, where she worked to develop family service organizations as new parent peer service providers and on the development of the certification curriculum and plan for developing and financing this new workforce.

Return to At A Glance Schedule

Tuesday, July 14

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

WELL BEINGS Virtual National Town Hall & Panel Discussion on Youth Mental Health & Society

The Well Beings Virtual National Town Hall will present powerful stories from young people and notable personalities, remarks from a roster of celebrities, special performances, exclusive campaign content, and a panel discussion. The panel will bring together the voices of young people, experts, parents, and notable personalities to discuss youth mental health and society, moderated by John Moe, creator and host of the podcast “The Hilarious World of Depression” from CALL TO MIND at American Public Media. The campaign debuts with the Youth Mental Health Project - engaging youth voices to create a national conversation, raise awareness, address stigma and discrimination, and to encourage compassion with original digital content, broadcast content and impactful local events. It will debut exclusive content, including interview excerpts from an upcoming film being produced and directed by Ewers Brothers Productions and executive produced by Ken Burns.


Moe John Moe, Host of CALL TO MIND's podcast "Hilarious World of Depression,” St. Paul, Minn.

John Moe is a veteran radio and podcast host and the author of four books, most recently The Hilarious World of Depression, based on his award-winning podcast of the same name. His writing has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, McSweeney's, and numerous publications and humor anthologies while his radio work has been on All Things Considered, Marketplace, and various other venues for the last twenty years. He lives in St Paul.

Alexis Alexis Davis, PBS News Hour Student Reporting Labs high school student journalist, North Central, N.D.

Alexis Davis is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and lives on a reservation in North Central North Dakota. Alexis was a PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs Fellow in 2016 and has contributed stories about young oil field workers, youth mental health on the reservation, which was featured in Teen Vogue, and most recently #NotThanksgiving for SRL Instagram. Alexis is a student at Turtle Mountain Community College embarking on her journey towards a degree in Ojibwe Language and Education Administration so she can help her community have an immersion school unique to their language and culture. Alexis is a Native Governance Youth Rebuilder, a Fresh Tracks participant and has done work across the state of North Dakota while she was Chairwoman of Turtle Mountain Youth Council.


Stephanie Stephanie Bell-Rose, J.D., M.P.A., Senior Managing Director and Head, TIAA Institute, New York, N.Y.

Stephanie Bell-Rose is an attorney, corporate and philanthropy professional, mother, grandmother, and mental health advocate. Together with members of her family, she is co-founder of the Steve Fund, a non-profit organization that promotes mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color from teen years through their twenties. The Steve Fund’s team of mental health experts represents the diverse populations of our nation, including African American, Latinx, Asian-American, Native-American, and Muslim communities. The Steve Fund provides programs, services, and technical assistance for colleges, universities, non-profit and private sector organizations to achieve equity in mental health for young people of color.

Evan Evan Rose, Managing Partner, Founder, Rose Digital, New York, N.Y.

Evan Rose is a technology entrepreneur, father, developer, husband and mental health advocate. He is passionate about applying cutting edge technology to solve complex problems across the for profit and not for profit sectors.



Ian Ian Alexander, Actor, Los Angeles, Calif.

Ian Alexander is a 19-year-old actor best known for his role as Buck Vu on The OA (Netflix). He is the first transgender Asian-American person to act on television. He is also an advocate for transgender rights, racial justice, and mental health awareness for LGBTQ youth.



Ken Ken Duckworth, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, NAMI, Arlington, Va.

Ken Duckworth, MD is chief medical officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). He is double-board certified in adult and child/adolescent psychiatry and has completed a forensic psychiatry fellowship. In addition to his work at NAMI, Dr. Duckworth volunteers and consults at an early psychosis clinic at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and teaches as an assistant clinical professor at Harvard University Medical School.

Carson William H. Carson, M.D., Chairman, Sozosei Foundation, Princeton, N.J.

William H. Carson, M.D. is chairman, Sozosei Foundation. Physician, psychiatrist and clinical researcher, Dr. Carson speaks to societal impact on mental illness, decriminalization of mental health, vulnerable populations, suicide prevention, parity in mental health care, behavioral health and digital solutions to mental health and prevention.

Return to At A Glance Schedule

12:10 – 1:10 PM EDT

Track 1: Getting Help Early

Aspiring to Conquer Serious Psychiatric Illness: Research Journey to Heal

After 30 years of personal experience with schizophrenia recovery, Brandon Staglin leads a talented team at One Mind, lived-experience-led nonprofit helping people with brain illness and injury to recover, toward a vision of healthy brains for all, including a focus on research to heal serious psychiatric illness. Brandon’s journey inspired him and his team to launch One Mind's ASPIRe (Applications for Serious Psychiatric Illness Recovery) Initiative to enable nationwide access to gold-standard early care and dramatically-enhanced recovery rates for youth experiencing (or at risk for developing) serious psychiatric illness.

Brandon Brandon Staglin, President, One Mind, Napa, Calif.

As President of One Mind, Brandon Staglin channels his deep experience in communications, advocacy and schizophrenia recovery to drive brain health research programs to heal lives. Brandon also serves on advisory councils for the National Institute of Mental Health, the California Mental Health Services Authority, Mindstrong Health, and Stanford University’s Prodrome and Early Psychosis Program Network, and is a member of The Stability Network. He has won numerous advocacy awards.

Track 2: Getting the Best Possible Care

The View from D.C.: NAMI’s Federal Legislative and Policy Update

This session will provide an overview of NAMI's federal legislative agenda and the status of policy issues before Congress and the Trump Administration that impact people affected by mental illness. Hear updates on NAMI's policy priorities and what NAMI is doing to advocate at the federal level. Learn about the status of current proposals and the ways that NAMI leaders and advocates can get involved.

Jen Jennifer Snow, M.P.A., Director of Public Policy, Advocacy & Public Policy, NAMI, Arlington, Va.

Jennifer Snow is Director of Public Policy for NAMI. Jennifer oversees the organization’s policy agenda to promote innovation, improve health care and support recovery for people with mental illness. Prior to NAMI, she spent 15 years at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service. She earned an M.P.A. and a B.S. in Public Health, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Andrew Andrew Sperling, J.D., Director of Legislative Affairs, Advocacy & Public Policy, NAMI, Arlington, Va.

Andrew Sperling directs NAMI’s legislative advocacy program in Congress and before federal agencies. Since 1994, he has also served as a Co-Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force, a coalition of national disability advocacy and provider organizations dedicated to promoting policies and funding to increase access to affordable housing opportunities for non-elderly adults with severe disabilities.

NAMI Homefront: Effective Education for the Families of Veterans

Engaging, educating and supporting families is crucial to the recovery of veterans experiencing posttraumatic stress and other mental health symptoms. Participants in our NAMI Homefront program have been found to experience significant improvement in the areas of empowerment, coping, psychological distress, family functioning, knowledge of caregiving and knowledge of mental illness. Join researchers and program leaders to learn about the in-person and online versions of NAMI Homefront and how to launch the program in your communities. Moderator:

Suzanne Suzanne Robinson, M.S.W., Assistant Director of National Education Programs, Information, Support & Education, NAMI, Arlington, Va.

Suzanne Robinson is Director of National Education Programs at NAMI responsible for curriculum and supervision of program managers. She co-authored NAMI Homefront and developed NAMI Family & Friends. Suzanne’s previous positions included Director of Programs at NAMI Ohio, Senior Program Director at the University of Minnesota YMCA and Coordinator for St. Louis Partners AmeriCorps. Suzanne received a B.A. in History from Washington University in St. Louis and an MSW from Ohio State University.


Lisa Lisa Dixon, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Director BH Svcs and Policy Research & Center for Practice Innovations, Columbus University and NY State Psychiatric Institute, New York, N.Y.

Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H., is the Edna L Edison Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She directs the Division of Behavioral Health Services and Policy Research within the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Dixon is an internationally recognized health services researcher with more than 25 years of continuous funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and the VA. Dr. Dixon's grants have focused on improving the quality of care for individuals with serious mental disorders.

AnitaAnita Herron, Manager, National Education Programs, Information, Support & Education, NAMI, Arlington, Va.

Anita Herron serves as the Programs Manager of National Education Programs for NAMI. She began working at NAMI in 2017 as the Programs Manager for NAMI Family-to-Family, NAMI Basics and NAMI Homefront. Prior to coming to NAMI, Anita served as Young Families Program Advocate at NAMI North Carolina for seven years. Anita received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Troy University.

Track 3: Getting Diverted from Justice System Involvement

Using CIT Programs to Reduce Stigma and Trauma While Changing Our Communities’ Crisis Response

Is your crisis response system designed to reduce stigma, trauma and police involvement? While many are familiar with the law enforcement training element of the Crisis Intervention Team model, they may not be aware that the model also supports the development of comprehensive mental health crisis services that actually minimize the role of law enforcement. This interactive session will walk you through how this model of mental health/law enforcement/advocacy collaboration can be used to transform crisis response systems.

Amy Amy Watson, Ph.D., President, Board of Directors, CIT International, Brookfield, Utah

Amy Watson, Ph.D., is a professor at Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago and President of the CIT International Board of Directors. Dr. Watson has worked extensively on issues involving the relationship between the criminal justice system and mental health systems, in Chicago and around the country. For the past two decades, her research has focused on police encounters with persons with mental illnesses and the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model.

Ron Ron Bruno, Executive Director, CIT International, Salt Lake City, Utah

Ron Bruno serves as the Executive Director of CIT International and is a founding board member of the corporation and previously served as the its Second Vice President. Ron is an appointed member of the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee, a federal committee that reports to the U.S. Congress to make recommendations for better coordination of the administration of mental health services. He is the director of a private organization that provides de-escalation training for law enforcement and other disciplines. Prior to his time at CIT International, Ron had a 25-year law enforcement career and was a founding board member and the Executive Director of CIT Utah, a nonprofit corporation that developed CIT programing throughout the state.

ScullyShannon Scully, M.P.P., Senior Manager, Criminal Justice Policy, Advocacy & Public Policy, NAMI, Arlington, Va.

Shannon Scully is the Senior Manager for Criminal Justice Policy at NAMI. She advises NAMI’s network of over 640 State and Affiliate Organizations on issues related to policing, care and treatment in jails and prisons, re-entry and the criminalization of people with mental illness. Prior to joining NAMI, Shannon worked for several different organizations to improve access and services for the most marginalized and vulnerable people in communities. She was an advocate for victims of crime and their families and has worked with law enforcement and the courts to improve the safety and response to victims of crime. She has also worked with organizations across the country to improve their services for survivors with disabilities. She has an MPP from American University in Washington, D.C.

Track 4: Research Updates

Youth Resilience in Communities of Color, Community Participatory Research

In this workshop, The AAKOMA Project, Inc will present an integrated research symposium highlighting the strengths and contributions of the AAKOMA Project, Inc. and our community and university partners. We present a historical arch of our founding and development along with our data on patient centered outcomes derived from our work in rigorous community based participatory and clinical trials research methods. Our data presentation will include descriptives psychometrics, univariate and, multivariate statistical analyses informed by qualitative data that addresses he resilience of Black youth (and youth of color) along with their families and communities for mental health equity. We will also present findings from our use of media and social media to both inform and promote our work to ensure that accessibility of our research for a broad audience including teens, our population of focus.

Alfiee Alfiee Breland-Noble, Ph.D., MHSc, Director, The AAKOMA Center, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble is a pioneering psychologist, media personality, author and speaker. As founder of the mental health nonprofit The AAKOMA Project, Inc. and new video podcast “Couched in Color,” Dr. Alfiee translates complex scientific concepts (developed via 20 years as disparities scientist at Duke and Georgetown Med) into useful, everyday language for youth and marginalized communities. A sought-after mental health expert, she is a regular media contributor to CNN, NBC,, Refinery29 and more.

Track 5: Youth Voices

Taking Care of Me During COVID-19: A Panel Discussion

Join four young adults as they share how their lives have been affected during COVID-19. They will discuss various ways they have stayed connected to friends and family, what they’re doing to prepare for their return to school, and how their families and communities have been impacted.


SaraSara Karaga, Research Assistant, Georgia Health Policy Center, Atlanta, Ga.

Sarah Kopelovich, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and holds a Professorship in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. She has served as the Principal Investigator on foundation-, state-, and federally funded projects related to implementation of evidence-based treatments for psychosis. She oversees the Northwest CBTp Network, is a founding member and communications officer for the North American CBTp Network and is core faculty for the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center.


KimEungjae (NJ) Kim, Research Assistant, Georgia Health Policy Center, Atlanta, Ga.

Eungjae (NJ) Kim is a baseball student-athlete from Emory University (19C) where he studied Biology and English. His mental health advocacy began during college. He had the opportunity to guide his student peers through academic mentoring in college, as well as hosting mental health awareness events with the National Collegiate Athletic Association. NJ is a current research assistant at the Georgia Health Policy Center concentrating in Behavioral Health and Systems of Care.

Katie Kathleen (Katie) Donohue, Ending the Silence Presenter, NAMI Greater Orlando, Orlando, Fla.

Katie Donohue began volunteering for NAMI Greater Orlando while obtaining a B.S. in Psychology and Creative Writing and also volunteered as a mental health professional during her time living in Sri Lanka. Today, she is a local, statewide and national speaker for NAMI Greater Orlando and is a NAMI Young Adult Advisory Group member. Katie is also a singer, artist and writer finishing an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling.

Hannah Hannah Lucas, Co-Founder, Bug and Bee, Cumming, Ga.

After developing postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), a condition that causes an increased heart rate and fainting, at the age of 15, Hannah Lucas was terrified of being alone. Her fears spiraled into anxiety and deep depression, which led to self-harm. By the end of her high school freshman year, she had accumulated nearly 200 school absences due to the condition. It was during one of her lowest moments when she had the thought, what if there was a button she could press and someone would immediately know she was not okay? After Hannah’s condition stabilized, she enrolled in coding and entrepreneurship classes at local colleges, which led to the fulfillment of her vision – the notOK™ App through Bug and Bee, LLC, her first company.

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1:30 – 2:30 PM EDT

The Psychological Toll of Racial Trauma on African Americans: A Panel Discussion

Recent national events are painful reminders that African Americans continue to experience systemic racism in our society. This panel will address the psychological and emotional effects of racism and how it can impact black people’s mental health. The panel will share some of their personal and professional experiences dealing with racial trauma, plus share steps on how other communities can become allies for people of color.


William William Simmons, M.D., Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Dr. William Simmons is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology with a duel academic appointment at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is the Diversity Officer in the Department of Anesthesiology and is immediate Past President and Chairman of the Board of the Gateway Medical Society (GMS), Inc., a component society of the NMA. Dr. Simmons is a Chair, leader and mentor for GMS’s academic mentorship program “Journey to Medicine” and winner of several humanitarian awards and in 2016 alone, he has received honors from the Jefferson Awards Foundation, a Certificate of Special Congressional recognition, University of Pittsburgh Faculty honoree for Exemplary Service at the Honors Convocation and the highest award for service in the National Medical Association, the Scroll of Merit. Dr. Simmons was the only African American male in the 3rd graduating class of Mayo Clinic Medical School. He was the first Black Chief Resident in Pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital and went on to do a second residency in Anesthesiology at George Washington University and two fellowships in Pediatric Anesthesia and Pediatric Critical Care at the University of Pittsburgh, then invited on staff.


Christine Christine Crawford, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Mass.

Christine M. Crawford, M.D., M.P.H. is the Associate Director of Psychiatry Medical Student Education and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at BU School of Medicine. She completed her adult psychiatry residency as well as child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship training at Massachusetts General Hospital/McLean Hospital. She received her M.D. from University of Connecticut and her Master of Public Health (MPH) at BU School of Public Health where she concentrated in Social and Behavioral Sciences. During residency, she was the recipient of the MGH Laughlin Award and was selected by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as an APA/SAMHSA Minority Fellow which provided her funding to develop community-based interventions to reduce mental health stigma within the Black community. She has been engaged in several community outreach initiatives through the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, NAACP and NAMI. She has authored multiple book chapters on mental health disparities, sociocultural issues in psychiatry as well as peer reviewed publications focusing on major depressive disorder. She has made appearances on PBS, WGBH TV programming as well as provides seminars on mental health at various community-based settings.

Ericka Ericka Goodwin, M.D., CEO & Founder, Goodwin Medical Associates, LLC, Atlanta, Ga.

Dr. Ericka Goodwin is a double board-certified psychiatrist, as well as a bestselling author, speaker and integrative lifestyle coach. She is passionate about improving mental wellness, making people feel loved, cared for and seen. Along with being the CEO of Goodwin Medical Associates and a traveling psychiatrist, Dr. Goodwin also volunteers as faculty at Morehouse School of Medicine. Her latest book is Fix Your Fairytale: A Woman’s Guide to a Great Life, Love, and Legacy. Her mantra is "minimal medication for maximum effect," so she will only prescribe if necessary. She forms comprehensive plans that also include non-medication treatments. Dr. Goodwin sees the whole person.

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