Jennifer Battle, Co-chair
Jennifer Battle is the Director of the HelpLine at The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD Services in Houston, Texas. The Harris Center HelpLine serves as the main contact center for The Harris Center which is the largest provider of behavioral health services in the State of Texas, and as the crisis line for 39 Texas counties. The Harris Center HelpLine partners with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to provide coverage for previously under-served Texas area codes. Jennifer is a Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, ASK about Suicide to Save a Life, and SafeTalk Trainer and supervises the Community Training Department for The Harris Center. In collaboration with the Houston Police Department and Houston Emergency Communications Center, she works to provide a Crisis Call Diversion Program to route people attempting to access mental health services via law enforcement to a more appropriate level of care through local behavioral health options. In addition to her work at The Harris Center, Ms. Battle serves as the Vice-President of the Board for the National Association of Crisis Organization Directors (NASCOD) and is the past Co-Chair and current member of the Texas Suicide Prevention Council. She is currently part of the Zero Suicide Texas (ZEST) Learning Collaborative, the Trauma Informed Practice Implementation Team for The Harris Center, and serves at the Suicide Prevention Officer for The Harris Center. Ms. Battle is a proud Social Worker and teaches as adjunct faculty at her alma mater the University Of Houston Graduate College Of Social Work. She also enjoys teaching Bachelor level social work classes at the University of Houston – Clear Lake and University of Houston – Downtown. She served as a member of the Lifeline Standards, Training, and Practice Committee for seven years.
Mike Hogan, Co-chair
Dr. Michael Hogan served as New York State Commissioner of Mental Health from 2007-2012, and now operates a consulting practice in health and behavioral health care. The NYS Office of Mental Health operated 23 accredited psychiatric hospitals, and oversaw New York’s $5B public mental health system serving 650,000 individuals annually. Previously Dr. Hogan served as Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health (1991-2007) and Commissioner of the Connecticut DMH from 1987-1991. He chaired the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in 2002-2003. He served as the first behavioral health representative on the board of The Joint Commission (2007-2015) and chaired its Standards and Survey Procedures Committee. He has served as a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention since it was created in 2010, co-chairing task forces on clinical care and interventions and crisis care. He is a member of the NIMH National Mental Health Advisory Council. Previously, he served on the NIMH Council (1994-1998), as President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (2003-2005) and as Board President of NASMHPD’s Research Institute (1989-2000). His awards for national leadership include recognition by the National Governor’s Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Campaign for Mental Health Reform, the American College of Mental Health Administration and the American Psychiatric Association. He is a graduate of Cornell University, and earned a MS degree from the State University College in Brockport NY, and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University.
Amit Paley is the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. Under Amit’s leadership, the organization has dramatically expanded the number of LGBTQ youth that it serves and the breadth of programming that it offers. During his two-year tenure, The Trevor Project built and launched a new, integrated crisis services platform, expanded its chat and text services to 24/7, and more than doubled the number of youth served each month. The organization also expanded its clinical expertise to focus on quality of care by hiring its first full-time psychiatrist as well as multiple clinical psychologists. The organization has also transformed its TrevorSpace platform into the largest safe-space social networking site for LGBTQ youth and expanded the Trevor Project’s research initiatives. Trevor also now operates the largest grassroots campaign in the world to end conversion therapy. Before Amit became the CEO of The Trevor Project, he was an Associate Partner at the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he served numerous non-profit organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and governments. He served as a leader of McKinsey’s LGBTQ group and spearheaded the firm’s global efforts on inclusion for transgender and non-binary people. Prior to joining McKinsey, Amit was a reporter at The Washington Post. He covered numerous beats, including as a foreign correspondent based in the paper’s Baghdad bureau, where his work was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Amit is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College with an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Master’s from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. Amit has served on the board of the Center for Public Integrity and as an adjunct professor at City University of New York. He is a renowned expert on the mental health of LGBTQ young people and suicide prevention, and his voice has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, Reuters, Fortune and more. Amit is a 2019 GLG Social Impact Fellow, and has been included in this year’s NBC’s #Pride 50 list and Logo30 list. He began as a counselor on The Trevor Project’s 24/7 TrevorLifeline in 2011, and since then he has answered hundreds of calls from LGBTQ youth in crisis. Amit is the first volunteer counselor to become the CEO of the organization in its 21-year history and he still continues to answer calls on the TrevorLifeline.
Barb Gay, manager of the Zero Suicide Institute (ZSI) at Education Development Center (EDC), brings nearly three decades of health systems experience to the development and dissemination of products aimed at whole system transformation for suicide prevention. In her role with EDC, Barb assists sites throughout the country with assessing the current state of suicide prevention efforts in health care and behavioral health care systems, providing essential guidance as site leaders prepare to implement the Zero Suicide framework. She also provides consultation and technical assistance as the systems select capacity-building and training elements such as opportunities to go through AMSR trainings. As a certified prevention specialist for 25 years, Barb brings to this work significant expertise and experience in suicide prevention, prevention of substance use disorders, strategic planning, social services, behavioral health and crisis care administration, financial management, and staff development. Prior to joining EDC, Barb led organizational growth at two major Iowa social service agencies (Foundation2 in crisis services, and Area Substance Abuse Council in behavioral health services). She has been a member of advisory committees for multiple national-level suicide prevention organizations (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention). Additionally, Barb has held leadership roles in regional collaborative social service organizations within Iowa including the Iowa Child Welfare Partners and the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission. Barb holds an MA in Health Education from the University of Northern Iowa, and a BA in Psychology and Sociology from St. Ambrose University.
Becky Stoll, Centerstone’s Vice President of Crisis and Disaster Management, is a recognized leader in the areas of crisis services and suicide prevention. Becky is responsible for the operation of Centerstone Tennessee’s Crisis Call Center and Mobile Crisis Outreach Teams and the Clinical Pathway for Suicide Prevention for all Centerstone states (Florida, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee). She is a member of the National Action Alliance’s “Zero Suicides in Health and Behavioral Healthcare” Advisory Group as well as serving as a faculty member for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at Zero Suicide Academies across the country. Becky has participated in the international movement around Zero Suicides in Health and Behavioral Health Care by attending the first meeting of suicide prevention leaders in Oxford, UK and the most recent meeting in Atlanta, GA. She also has extensive training and experience in crisis and disaster management for human-made and natural disasters. Becky is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and a Diplomate of the American Association of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional. Ms. Stoll has provided training, consultation, and post-event response nationally and internationally to aviation, banking, educational institutions, emergency response organizations, and professional sports.
Prior to becoming NASMHPD’s Executive Director in July 2015, Dr. Hepburn served 13 years as Maryland’s Mental Health Program Director. In his role as Maryland SMHA Director he participated and led many NASMHPD activities and projects as an active member of the NASMHPD Medical Directors Council. He has been a practicing psychiatrist for more than three decades. He works closely with the National Association of Medicaid Directors on key issues related to behavioral health services under the ACA and Health Integration. Dr. Hepburn received his M.D. degree in 1979 from the University of Michigan School of Medicine and received Residency Training in Psychiatry at the University of Maryland from 1979 to 1983. He was a Full-Time Faculty Member at the University of Maryland from 1983 to 1988 and has been on the Volunteer faculty at the University of Maryland since 1988. He maintained a private practice from 1983 until 2004.
Dr. Caitlin Thompson is Vice President for Community Partnerships at the Cohen Veterans Network (CVN). CVN is a non-profit organization that provides high-quality mental health care to Veterans and their families. Dr. Thompson is responsible for establishing and maintaining critical national and local collaborations between CVN and public-private partners. She is also the lead for CVN’s suicide prevention initiatives. Dr. Thompson was most recently Executive Director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Suicide Prevention, leading VA’s integrated public health approach to suicide prevention for our nation’s 22 million Veterans. She was responsible for the Office’s vision and mission, including the development of VA suicide prevention policy initiatives, education for Veterans and health care providers about suicide awareness and prevention, and dissemination and implementation of assessment and treatment strategies across the Veterans Health Administration. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Thompson directed VA’s epidemiological and clinical research in suicide prevention and is recognized internationally as an authority on Veteran suicide prevention. Prior to her work in the VA Suicide Prevention Office, she spent five years as the clinical care coordinator for the Veterans/Military Crisis Line. Dr. Thompson has a BA in music from Brown University and an MEd and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Virginia.
As president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, Chuck Ingoglia leads the national charge to ensure people living with mental illness and addictions have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. To accomplish this, he harnesses the voices and support of the more than 3,000 National Council members who serve over 10 million individuals nationwide. Prior to being named president and CEO, Chuck led the National Council’s policy and practice improvement work, directing the organization’s federal and state policy efforts and overseeing trainings and programs offered to more than 500,000 behavioral health professionals across the U.S. Chuck draws from personal experience and a deep knowledge of the field acquired from more than 26 years’ professional experience to provide services, including site-of-service technical assistance, to members. He effects change at both the national and state level by playing a major role in policy advocacy and analyses on issues relevant to behavioral health. His efforts center on key issues such as parity, health care reform and improving access to behavioral health treatment in communities. Before joining the National Council, Chuck provided policy and program design guidance to the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Earlier in his career, he directed state government relations and service system improvement projects for the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America), performed policy analysis for the National Association of Social Workers and designed educational programs for mental health and addictions professionals for the Association of Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member of the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. Chuck holds a Master of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, both from The Catholic University of America.
Colleen Creighton joined the American Association of Suicidology in June 2017. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the safe and responsible use of consumer household products. She also served as Director of CHPA Educational Foundation where she was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s educational foundation. Prior to her work in the nonprofit foundation arena, Ms. Creighton worked in the educational field, having taught civics education at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. Additionally, she spent three years in Lancut, Poland working for the International World Teach program, an organization based out of the Harvard University Center for International Development. Before that, she studied NATO and the European Union at the Irish Institute for European Affairs in Leuven, Belgium. Colleen holds a B.A. in Political Science from the Catholic University of America and a M.A. in East European Studies from the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany.
Dr. Dan Reidenberg is the Executive Director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE), the Managing Director of the National Council for Suicide Prevention and US Representative to the International Association for Suicide Prevention. He is a Diplomate, Fellow, Certified Master Therapist, Certified Relationship Specialist and is Chair of the Advisory Board of the American Psychotherapy Association, Chair of the Certified Relationship Specialists program, and serves on the Advisory Boards for Reachout.com and YRB Council in Canada.
Dr. Reidenberg began his career working on crisis lines at Crisis Connection in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he handled calls and spoke publicly for the agency on crisis management. He went on to work at the Bill Kelly House (one of the first dual programs for adults in the country), maintained a private practice and worked on in-patient psychiatry adolescent and adult units in St. Paul, Minnesota. At Family & Children’s Service he oversaw ten mental health and community programs that included crisis lines and intervention programs for youth and adults. He has extensive experience in psychotherapy, forensic work, consulting and training of both attorneys and healthcare professionals. Dr. Reidenberg speaks nationally and internationally on suicide prevention issues, assisted with groundbreaking research on billboards and media related to suicide prevention and serves on various national and state suicide prevention task forces and committees. Under his direction, SAVE operates a national multimedia campaign, professional and community education and training programs, as well as develops resources and support for those in crisis and survivors. He was responsible for the development of Linking Education and Awareness of Depression and Suicide (LEADS) an evidence-based best practices program curriculum in suicide prevention for use in high schools, as well as several other best practice materials. He also led the task force that created the Recommendations for Media Reporting on Suicide and the development of the Online Technology tool for social media.
David Covington, LPC, MBA serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of RI International (formerly Recovery Innovations), is a partner in Behavioral Health Link, co-founder of CrisisTech 360 and leads the international initiatives “Zero Suicide,” “Crisis Now” and “Peer 2.0.” A licensed professional counselor, Mr. Covington received an MBA from Kennesaw State and an MS from the University of Memphis. He previously served as Vice President at Magellan Health responsible for the executive and clinical operations of the $750 million Arizona contract. He is a member of the DHHS Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) established in 2017 in accordance with the 21st Century Cures Act to report to Congress on advances in behavioral health. A recognized health care innovations entrepreneur, global speaker and blogger, Mr. Covington is a two-time national winner of the Council of State Governments Innovations Award. He also competed as a finalist in Harvard’s Innovations in American Government in 2009 for the Georgia Crisis & Access Line, and the program was featured in Business Week magazine. Mr. Covington is the President-Elect of the American Association of Suicidology and has served on the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Executive Committee since 2010. He is also the Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline SAMHSA Steering Committee. He has served on numerous committees and task forces on clinical care and crisis services, including the National Council for Behavioral Health Board of Directors.
Doug Thomas is the Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, for the state of Utah. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), and the National Association of State Mental Health and Programs Directors (NASMHPD), and is an active member of the Utah Substance Abuse Advisory Council. Doug has worked in the mental health and substance use disorder field for over 24 years in various capacities as a direct service provider and administrator. He has worked in both urban and rural settings and previously oversaw County services implementing evidence-based service delivery models; expanding prevention, treatment and recovery support services in rural Utah including work with tribal government. He initiated the current State Suicide Prevention Coalition and has been instrumental in developing the current plan which takes a public health approach and utilizes 41 existing local substance use prevention coalitions throughout Utah. He emphasizes screening, assessment, and cross-system collaboration and integration of mental health, substance use and physical health care. Doug is passionate about prevention and early intervention and integrating prevention efforts into systems to produce lasting outcomes to reduce risk and increase the well-being of individuals, families, and communities.
Dwight Holton is Oregon’s former U.S. Attorney and current Chief Executive Officer of Lines for Life, the leading suicide and substance abuse prevention nonprofit in the Northwest. Lines for Life helps over 50,000 families a year with its crisis line services, including the Suicide Lifeline and the innovative YouthLine and Military Helpline. As a part of the Veterans Crisis Line network, Lines for Life helped nearly 25,000 vets and family members in 2015 alone. Lines for Life also promotes healthy kids and communities through drug and alcohol awareness, youth and parent drug prevention education programs, advocacy and public policy. Mr. Holton took the reins at Lines for Life after 15 years as a federal prosecutor, most recently as Oregon United States Attorney. Through his work as a prosecutor, Mr. Holton learned the importance of early intervention and prevention strategies – and as U.S. Attorney, he launched efforts to improve access to addiction treatment and better mental health services. Mr. Holton was selected as first-ever recipient of OHSU Pain Awareness and Investigation Network (PAIN) Award for his efforts to address the prescription drug overdose epidemic in Oregon. At Lines for Life, Mr. Holton is leading the organization to expanded work in prevention of suicide and substance abuse. Lines for Life is launching an innovative school climate initiative designed to implement a comprehensive approach to improving school climate and student mental health, academic performance, attendance and more equitable discipline practices. Lines for Life is also working to build youth suicide prevention efforts in regions throughout Oregon.
Edgar Wiggins is the founding Executive Director of Baltimore Crisis Response, Inc. In this capacity, for over the last 23 years he functions as the Chief Executive Officer and oversees the operations of BCRI, a community-based behavioral health crisis intervention organization. He has been involved in several mental health organizations for over the last forty years. He has served as the Executive Director of the Black Mental Health Alliance, Director of Psychiatric Clinics at the Charles Drew Community Mental Health Center, and Day Hospital Director at COMHAR, Inc. He has also served as a consultant and trainer to a variety of public and private organizations including Yale Department of Psychiatry Mobile Crisis Team, Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Psychiatry and the DC Bureau of Mental Health. He was selected to travel to Cuba as part of a delegation of health professionals and city governmental officials. Mr. Wiggins has provided training to police, paramedics, and 911 operators regarding the management of mental health emergencies. He is a past Executive Board member of the American Association of Emergency Psychiatry. Currently he serves on the Boards of the Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry and the National Family Resiliency Center. Mr. Wiggins is the recipient of many awards, including awards from Vibrant Emotional Health, the Anti Stigma Project, the National Association of Health Services Executives, and the Governor’s Citation for Suicide Prevention. The program, Mental Health Matters, won the Cameo Award for excellence in public access television programming in 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002. In 2005 he received the Mental Health Professional of the Year Award from National Alliance of The Mentally Ill. In 2006 Mr. Wiggins received the Outstanding Merit Award from the Maryland Foundation for Psychiatry, in 2007 he received the Heroes Award from NAMI and in 2008 he received the Distinguished Service Award from Vibrant Emotional Health. Mr. Wiggins received the Excellence in Community Mental Health Services Award from NAMI 2010. In 2011 Mr. Wiggins received the Governor’s Citation for Inspiring Leadership and Service, he received the Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition and he also received the NAMI Maryland Certificate for Service and Leadership. In 2012 Mr. Wiggins received a Certificate of Special Recognition from the Baltimore City Police Department for police training. In 2013 Mr. Wiggins received the Visionary Award from the Anti-Stigma Project of On Our Own of Maryland, Inc. and the Honorable Judge Robert M. Bell Excellence in Community Service Award from the Sojourner-Douglass College. In 2015 he received the Marcia G. Pines Lifetime Advocacy and Service Award from NAMI.
Eduardo Vega is the Executive Director for the Mental Health Association of San Francisco(MHA-SF). In this role he serves as Director and Principal Investigator Center for Dignity, Recovery and Stigma Elimination, the nation’s first consumer-run technical assistance, research and training center (TARTC) focused on best practices for recovery, social change and stigma reduction including stigma around suicide. Mr. Vega has served on the Lifeline Steering Committee since 2005. In 2009 he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the National Action Alliance on Suicide Prevention, a joint public-private project of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense, in 2010 through which he chairs the Task Force on Suicide-Attempt Survivors and helped develop the revised National Strategy on Suicide Prevention. He was founding chair of the Lifeline’s Consumer-Survivor Subcommittee. Mr. Vega served as California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) in May 2007 until 2012 and was the first Chief of the Office of Empowerment and Advocacy for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Previously, as program manager with the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse and dissemination Director of the UPenn Collaborative on Community Integration, he developed content and resources for related programs nationally. As a thought leader in recovery and system transformation and previous community provider, Mr. Vega has worked to advance mental health systems and policies locally, nationally and internationally for over 20 years. For his work to promote cultural competence and challenge the legacy of racial disparities in mental health he was honored by the U.S. Senate and the National Resource Center on Hispanic Mental Health in 2009. Mr. Vega has taught and trained on mental health advocacy, consumer empowerment, recovery programs, suicide prevention and policy at conferences across the United States and in Tokyo, Kobe, China and Canada. He holds an M.A. in Psychology from New School for Social Research and serves on the SAMHSA Recovery-to-Practice Initiative, Social Justice Advisory Committee of the California Mental Health Directors Association. He is President and co-founder of the California Association of Mental Health Peer-Run Organizations (CAMPHRO).
Ellyson Stout is the Director of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) at EDC. She and her team provide state and local leaders, health and behavioral health organizations, federal suicide prevention grantees, national stakeholders, and the general public with resources and support in developing, implementing, and evaluating strategic, comprehensive programs to prevent suicide. Before becoming Director, Ms. Stout led SPRC’s training and technical assistance team, which supports the efforts of SAMHSA suicide prevention grantees and state suicide prevention coordinators around the country. She has presented widely on strategic and comprehensive suicide prevention approaches, has served on Action Alliance and other national work groups, and has led several related projects, including work to develop supports for Lifeline centers to build cultural competence in their work with American Indian and Alaska Native callers. Ms. Stout has extensive training and experience in strategic communication and safe messaging, and previously worked in social marketing and global health. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, and earned a Master’s of Science in Health Communication from Tufts University School of Medicine.
Emily Blomme is the Chief Executive Officer of Foundation 2 Crisis Services – a 24/7 organization providing life changing and life-saving services through crisis phone, chat, text and mobile response. Located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for nearly 50 years, Foundation 2’s mission is to be a trusted support when life gets tough. All People. Any Time. Every Time. Emily and her team answer Your Life Iowa, the statewide crisis line as well as multiple regional lines and continue to expand mobile crisis outreach services across the state. Emily is a strong advocate for the expansion of mental health supports in rural communities and working to ensure front line staff have to tools and training they need to do their job well. Since 2018, Emily has been a Crisis Accreditation Program Examiner with the American Association of Suicidology combining her love of policy and practice and with quality service delivery. Emily has a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies from Colorado State University and for the last 20 years, much of her work has been in crisis response, suicide prevention and social justice initiatives. In 2019, Emily was recognized as a Corridor Business Journal Women of Influence and currently serves on the Board of the Iowa Coalition for Family and Children’s Services in Iowa and is a member of the Iowa Behavioral Health Association. Emily lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband Jeremy and they have three (almost!) adult children. She is fueled by coffee and sunshine and she loves being outdoors including backpacking, running and cycling.
Gail Selander joined International Council for Helplines (formerly CONTACT USA) as the Executive Director in January 2018. International Council for Helplines is a membership organization with a mission to inspire, educate, and accredit helpline programs which offer support to individuals in crisis and emotional distress via phone and online emotional support services including chat and text. Previously Gail was the Director of Operations for Behavioral Health and Crisis Services at Volunteers of America Western Washington. Prior to that, Gail spent over 20 years working in leadership, operational, and human resource roles with Microsoft, Expedia, and other start-up organizations. Gail currently serves on the Board of Directors for Lifeline International and previously served on the CONTACT USA Board, most recently as the Vice-Chair. Gail has a master’s degree in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Seattle University.
James Wright, LPC, is the Chief of Staff for the Veterans Crisis Line, overseeing clinical operations across the three VCL facilities which responds to Veterans, service members and their families crisis calls, chats and texts both nationally and internationally. The VCL has sites located in Canandaigua NY, Topeka KS, and Atlanta GA. The team of clinical operations consist of call/chat/text responders, social services assistants, workflow coordinators, clinical communication specialist, supervisors, team operations coordinators and assistant deputy directors. Before coming to the VCL, James served as the Government Project Officer (GPO) for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, Garrett Lee Smith and Crisis Center Follow Up grants. Mr. Wright also represented CMHS in Health Information Technology, to include advances in mobile behavioral health and mobile application development. He represented SAMHSA on the National Action Alliance Task Forces for Crisis Services and Juvenile Justice. Mr. Wright participated on several federal committees, some of which include the Federal Partners on Bullying Prevention, the Veterans Crisis Line Clinical Advisory Board and the Federal Interagency Committee on Traumatic Brain Injury. He has been an invited guest and speaker on multiple occasions to the White House, including topics on Crisis Services, Behavioral Health Innovation, Suicide and Bullying Prevention.
Ken Norton LICSW is the Executive Director of NAMI NH, the NH Chapter of the National Alliance On Mental Illness. Ken led the development of NAMI NH’s Connect Suicide Prevention program, a national best practice in suicide prevention, intervention and postvention which has provided training across the US, in over 35 tribal nations, and 6 countries. Ken has participated on numerous commissions and workgroups in NH and nationally and has served as a subject matter expert for SAMHSA, the Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration and presented nationally and internationally, on subjects related to mental illness, and suicide. Ken has worked in community mental health, served as a licensed foster parent, and has lived experience as a family member with: mental illness, addiction and suicide. Ken enjoys spending time with his family and being in the great outdoors.
Kimberly A. Williams is the President and CEO of Vibrant Emotional Health, a nonprofit organization which helps over 2.5 million people achieve emotional well-being through high quality, innovative programs. Vibrant Emotional Health’s premier programs include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Veterans Crisis Line, and NYC Well, the largest urban behavioral health contact center in the country. Holding various positions at Vibrant Emotional Health since 2003, Williams has served as a mental health advocate, administrator, educator, and consultant. Williams has also formed cross system coalitions to advocate for policy changes, including the Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York, which she co-founded and directed. Williams serves on a number of advisory and planning committees including the New York State Interagency Geriatric Mental Health and Chemical Dependence Planning Council, the New York State Health Foundation Community Advisory Committee, Mental Health News Education Inc., and the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging, for whom she is immediate past chair. Her leadership in the field has been recognized by New York Nonprofit Media, Vibrant Emotional Health, and the National Association of Social Workers NYC Chapter. Williams has been an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work and NYU Silver School of Social Work. She has been featured in leading national and industry press, including The New York Times, Medical Monthly, CBS Evening News, The Today Show, and Today’s Geriatric Medicine.
Laura Mayer is the Program Director at PRS CrisisLink, a 24-hour crisis hotline, text line and telephone reassurance program serving northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. PRS CrisisLink is a program of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc. and exists so that individuals living with mental illness, substance use disorders, mild intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and anyone who faces life crises can achieve safety, personal wellness, recovery and community integration. As the Program Director, Ms. Mayer has been instrumental bringing cost effective and evidence-based suicide prevention programming to the local community. In 2014, Ms. Mayer partnered with the local public mental health system to provide crisis texting to the Fairfax County Public School System and the surrounding communities. Ms. Mayer has been building partnerships with the sexual violence and domestic violence communities to bring a trauma-informed approach to crisis care and suicide prevention. She hopes to expand these relationships to bring improved coordinated care between emergency departments, public emergency mental health and the sexual and domestic violence serving agencies. Ms. Mayer is a member of the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia, the Youth Suicide Fatality Review Team and mental health promotion workgroups in several jurisdictions. She has been interviewed and featured by Comcast Newsmakers and NBC4’s Changing Minds Campaign. She is currently working towards her degree in Social Work and Community Health at George Mason University.
Dr. Leslie S. Zun is the System Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Sinai Health System in Chicago, Illinois and Chairman & Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine and a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science/Chicago Medical School in North Chicago, Illinois. His background includes a medical degree (M.D.) from Rush Medical College and a business degree (M.B.A.) from Northwestern University’s JL Kellogg School of Management. He is board certified in Emergency Medicine by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Zun was a chief operating officer and acting chief executive officer for a 200 bed hospital in Chicago. Dr. Zun’s research interests include healthcare administration, violence prevention and behavioral emergencies. His publications have addressed the administration of the hospitals and emergency departments, physicians’ bonus and incentive plans and quality improvement topics. He has presented his research and lectured on these topics both nationally and internationally. He is a board member of American Academy of Emergency Medicine and the President Elect for the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry. He is the chief editor of the Behavioral Emergencies for Emergency Physicians textbook and course director for the past six years for the National Update on Behavioral Emergencies conference.
As Senior Vice President of Clinical Operations, Lyn Morris, LMFT, oversees 550 clinical staff and 200 volunteers in all of Didi Hirsch’s clinical divisions, which include Adult, Child and Family, Residential, Substance Use and the Suicide Prevention Center. She has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 1999. Lyn joined the agency in 2000 as a Program Director for Adult Outpatient Services. In 2005, she became the Division Director for the Suicide Prevention Center, and a leading advocate in the field of suicide prevention. In 2013, she became the Senior VP of Clinical Operations. She has testified before the California Legislature in support of statewide suicide prevention funding for all California Lifeline Centers. She also established the California Suicide Prevention Network (CSPN) in collaboration with ten statewide crisis centers to help build local capacity in suicide prevention and to encourage widespread adoption of best practice programs, interventions, curricula and protocols. She collaborated with Suicide Prevention Center co-founder Dr. Norman Farberow on a chapter in the book GRIEF AFTER SUICIDE: Understanding the Consequences and Caring for the Survivors, which was written by Drs. John McIntosh and John R. Jordan. She also was a lead author on the Survivors of Suicide Attempts support group curriculum which has been shared with mental health professionals in all 50 states and 36 countries. Her passion and dedication to suicide prevention comes from personal experience having lost a cousin and a close friend to suicide.
Madelyn Gould, PhD, MPH, is the Irving Philips Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center, and a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. During the past three decades, she has obtained extensive experience in the area of suicide prevention, conducting numerous federally funded grants from the National Institute of Health (NIMH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and publishing several seminal articles on youth suicide risk and preventive interventions. Her SAMHSA-funded projects evaluating the Lifeline have focused on assessing the effectiveness of telephone crisis follow-up services, continuity of care enhancements in EDs, chat crisis services, and telephone crisis interventions with callers at imminent suicide risk. She is also studying youth suicide screening programs, and suicide risks related to bullying, contagion and modeling, and the effect of a peer’s suicide on fellow students. Dr. Gould has a strong commitment to applying her research to program and policy development. She has participated in a number of U.S. government commissions on suicide prevention and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Shneidman Award for Research from the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) in 1991, the New York State Office of Mental Health Research (NYSOMH) Award in 2002, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Research Award in 2006, the New York State Suicide Prevention Center’s Excellence in Suicide Prevention Award in 2011, and the 2013 Dublin Award from the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), which is a lifetime achievement award for outstanding contributions to the field of suicide prevention.
Michael H. Allen, M.D. trained at the Institute of Living and then joined the faculties of Cornell and later New York University School of Medicine. While at NYU, he developed the model Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program at Bellevue Hospital. He is now a Professor of Psychiatry and Emergency Medicine at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine and is an attending at the Colorado Depression Center, responsible for psychiatric emergency services at University of Colorado Health and is medical director of the Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners, the Colorado hotline. Dr. Allen was a founding member of the Psychiatric Emergency Research Collaboration, a principal investigator in the NIMH Systematic Treatment Enhancement Program for Bipolar Disorder, co-investigator on the NIH Emergency Department Safety Assessment and Follow-up Evaluation study (ED SAFE) and was part of PRISM, a MOMRP study of suicide screening in military primary care settings. He was a leader of the Colorado state wide pilot of telephonic outreach after ED visits using the state’s NSPL call center. Taken together, he has published data on 9891 suicidal people. He was a member the NIH Emergency Medicine Roundtable. He is a leader of the team responsible for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Emergency Department Decision Support Guide. Michael chaired the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force on Psychiatric Emergency Services, served as a member of an ACEP Clinical Policy Subcommittee, contributed to numerous national and international guidelines and served as a consultant to the US Justice Department Civil Rights Division. He is the author or editor of three books, former editor of Emergency Psychiatry, a reviewer for the Cochrane Collaborative and is currently associate editor of General Hospital Psychiatry. Dr. Allen has 100 publications and he is cited over 250 times a year.
Pamela End of Horn
Pamela End of Horn comes to the Division of Behavioral Health for the U.S. Indian Health Services from the Department of Veterans Affairs, working in suicide prevention and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Pam was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota. She is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe. Pamela has a Master’s Degree in Social Work with practicums in Domestic Violence. In addition, she is certified in Cognitive Processing Therapy. She currently holds advanced practice licenses in North Dakota and Minnesota as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Pamela End of Horn comes to the Division of Behavioral Health for the U.S. Indian Health Services from the Department of Veterans Affairs, working in suicide prevention and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Pam was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota. She is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe. Pamela has a Master’s Degree in Social Work with practicums in Domestic Violence. In addition, she is certified in Cognitive Processing Therapy. She currently holds advanced practice licenses in North Dakota and Minnesota as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.
Pat Morris has been Program Director of Care Crisis Response Services at Volunteers of America Western Washington since 2006. She is responsible for administration of an AAS and CONTACT USA accredited 24 hour Regional Crisis and Triage line, a Regional Utilization Management program and a centralized intake and referral call center for mental health services and a Chat online emotional support program. The Crisis Line is a Lifeline affiliate, and Ms. Morris has been a member of the Lifeline Steering Committee since 2009. She serves on the NASCOD Board of Directors and recently served as AAS’s Crisis Centers Division Chair. She is a member of a Washington State Regional Integrated Crisis Response System and sits on numerous regional committees and task forces. She provides regional and statewide trainings on Suicide Prevention/Intervention; Substance Abuse, Co-occurring Disorders and related Mental Health topics. She is a certified ASIST and safeTALK training through Livingworks. She also provides regional Crisis Intervention training to law enforcement personnel. Prior to her work at Volunteers of America Western Washington, Ms. Morris was the Program Director for a Hospital-based Chemical Dependency Program in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, with special emphasis on Co-occurring Disorders and Addictive Family systems. Ms. Morris is a licensed professional counselor, a nationally certified mental health and Master Addiction counselor with a Masters of Education Degree from the University of Idaho. During her thirty year career in the Mental Health and Chemical Dependency field, she has experience providing mental health case management, involuntary treatment evaluations, psychosocial and Clubhouse rehabilitation and outpatient therapy. She has worked in Mental Health emergency services and crisis lines in Washington, Idaho and Oregon. She has developed and administered inpatient and outpatient chemical dependency programs, specializing in co-occurring disorders. She has also served as an Adjunct professor in Northwest Universities teaching graduate level coursework, and is currently an instructor at Western Washington University.
Rajeev Ramchand, PhD is an epidemiologist who studies the prevalence, prevention, and treatment of substance use and mental health disorders, with a specific focus on suicide prevention. He has over 100 peer-reviewed publications, including environmental scans of suicide prevention programs, epidemiologic studies on risk factors for suicide, and evaluations of suicide prevention programs. He has studied suicide crisis lines specifically, using live-monitoring of calls made to suicide crisis lines to evaluate the type of care that callers receive and variability in this care across call centers as well as interviews with crisis line responders to yield insights into women veterans who call with thoughts of suicide or in suicidal crises. He has published a live monitoring protocol for suicide crisis hotlines and a freely available workbook on how to evaluate suicide prevention programs. He has also testified before the California State Senate and U.S. Congress on scientifically-informed approaches for preventing suicide. Other current areas of Rajeev’s research include military and veteran caregivers, the role of firearm availability, storage, and policies on suicide, the impact of disasters on community health, and violent extremism. Rajeev worked for twelve years as a behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation, then as Senior Vice President for Research at the Cohen Veterans Network, and is currently the inaugural Craig Newmark Fellow at the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
Robert Gebbia serves as the CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which has become the leading suicide prevention nonprofit organization in the United States. In 16 years, Gebbia has developed a nationwide network of 75 chapters and increased AFSP’s annual revenue from $700,000 to over $16 million in support of the mission. In the last five years alone, AFSP has initiated and funded one out of every five studies on suicide – making AFSP the largest private funder of suicide research in the United States. In 2014, Gebbia announced AFSP’s bold goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.\nMr. Gebbia helped launch the Out of the Darkness Walks to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention. The walks – now held in almost 400 locations across the country – have given millions of people a way to raise awareness and take action against this leading cause of death. In 2009, Gebbia led the effort to bring AFSP and the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA together to strengthen grassroots advocacy. The merger has helped advocates secure funding for mental health and suicide prevention programs at both the state and federal levels.Mr. Gebbia is a founding member of the National Council for Suicide Prevention, serves on the National Lifeline Advisory Committee, the Executive Committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and the Board of Directors of the National Health Council.\nHe holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Hofstra University and a master’s degree in Sociology from the New School for Social Research. He completed the Harvard Business School’s Human Services Management Executive Program and IBM’s Leadership Commitment Program for nonprofit executives. Robert Gebbia serves as the CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which has become the leading suicide prevention nonprofit organization in the United States. In 16 years, Gebbia has developed a nationwide network of 75 chapters and increased AFSP’s annual revenue from $700,000 to over $16 million in support of the mission. In the last five years alone, AFSP has initiated and funded one out of every five studies on suicide – making AFSP the largest private funder of suicide research in the United States. In 2014, Gebbia announced AFSP’s bold goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. Mr. Gebbia helped launch the Out of the Darkness Walks to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention. The walks – now held in almost 400 locations across the country – have given millions of people a way to raise awareness and take action against this leading cause of death. In 2009, Gebbia led the effort to bring AFSP and the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA together to strengthen grassroots advocacy. The merger has helped advocates secure funding for mental health and suicide prevention programs at both the state and federal levels. Mr. Gebbia is a founding member of the National Council for Suicide Prevention, serves on the National Lifeline Advisory Committee, the Executive Committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and the Board of Directors of the National Health Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Hofstra University and a master’s degree in Sociology from the New School for Social Research. He completed the Harvard Business School’s Human Services Management Executive Program and IBM’s Leadership Commitment Program for nonprofit executives.
Mr. Robert Sheehan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan. The CMH Association’s members, numbering over one-hundred-fifty organizations, provide mental health, substance use disorder, and intellectual/developmental disability services to over 300,000 Michigan residents annually. These members include the state’s public community mental health centers (CMHs), the public Medicaid Prepaid Inpatient Health Plans (PIHPs; created and governed by the state’s CMHs to manage the state’s Specialty Medicaid program) and private providers offering a wide array of services.
Mr. Sheehan holds a Masters degree in Social Work from Wayne State University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the Broad School of Management at Michigan State University.
Mr. Sheehan’s experience includes work in mental health, substance use disorders and intellectual/developmental disability services, services to at-risk youth, women’s healthcare, statewide research and advocacy, services to farm workers, and anti-poverty efforts. Immediately prior to joining the Community Mental Health Association, he served as the CEO of the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham Counties.
Mr. Sheehan is an adjunct member of the teaching faculty of the Michigan State University School of Social Work.