mehta Pooja S. Mehta, MPH

Nominated by NAMI North Carolina
Member, NAMI Wake County (NC)
Listen to Pooja's Candidate Speech

Specific Strengths and Attributes:

  • Diversity of age, race, ethnicity, language, experience and national geography
  • Human capital management

Job Title or Position:

  • WCPI Legislative Fellow, Office of Representative Doris Matsui

NAMI Leadership Experience:

  • NAMI New York State Board of Directors (Member, 2019 - 2021)

Additional NAMI Involvement:

  • NAMI Ending the Silence, NAMI In Our Own Voice, NAMI Smarts for Advocacy
  • NAMI North Carolina, Policy Assistant (2021-Present)
  • NAMI North Carolina, Development Director (2018-2019)
  • NAMI on Campus Duke University, Founder and Director (2015-2017)

Public Service:

  • Legislative Fellow (January 2022 - Present)

Relationship to Mental Health:

  • Individual with first-person experience of mental health; Family member or direct/front-line support of someone with a mental health condition

Candidate Strengths Assessment

The candidate indicated they have experience in the following areas that will help NAMI achieve its mission and strategic goals:

  • Advocacy, Business/Nonprofit Administration, Mental Health Service/Support, Research/Academia

Estimated years of experience in the above areas:

  • 7 years of Advocacy
  • 3 years of Admin
  • 5 years of Peer Support (untrained)
  • 5 years of Research (policy)


The candidate indicated they have connections and networks in the following areas:

  • Entertainment/Film/Television/The Arts, Politics/Elected Officials

Additional information about the connections and networks:

  • College friends with a handful of B/C list actors, currently working on the Hill

Candidate Leadership Style

The candidate indicated the following descriptors represent their leadership style:

  • Action-oriented, Data Driven, Process Thinker, Risk Averse, Team Player

Candidate Narrative

I am a person of many identities. I am a South Asian woman, a child of immigrants, a person with lived experience, a suicide loss survivor, a public health professional, and a policymaker. All of these identities make me uniquely poised to help push NAMI’s mission forward. My personal experiences as a younger adult, a person of color, and a person with lived experience mean that I am experiencing several structural and cultural inequities in mental healthcare—that is what fuels my fire to fight for system reform. And my academic and professional experiences as an MPH and a policymaker provide me the tools on how to channel that fire into progress. I want to bring all of these identities to the NAMI Board table. NAMI was there for me when I needed it, and has been a keystone in all the advocacy work I have done in the last 8 years. Now it is my turn to be there for the organization, and continue to develop the organization’s priorities in a way that allows us to maintain our status as the nation’s leading grassroots advocacy organization for people with mental illnesses and their families.

I personally have helped advance the NAMI mission in my community by founding Duke’s NAMI on Campus, serving NAMI North Carolina and NAMI New York State in a variety of roles (paid and volunteer), and speaking at or contributing to several initiatives hosted by NAMI National.

I work well in coordination with other leaders to accomplish goals as evidenced by serving on the board of NAMI New York State, and by working as part of Congresswoman Matsui’s legislative team.

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