National Alliance on Mental Illness
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It's Time to Take Action:

Innovative Community Approaches to Children's Mental Health

Much attention has been given recently to discussing the challenges we, as communities and families, encounter regarding the mental health needs of our youth and young adults. Hosted by NAMI and the Cigna Foundation, this forum takes us from dialogue to action and focuses national attention on the need to adopt innovative approaches to improving children’s mental health. This forum offers practical information on how to bring effective programs to schools, primary care and other settings. It addresses challenges facing communities in preventing bullying, building workforce capacity and addressing addiction disorders. The forum also features youth sharing their thoughts on how to continue to raise the national dialogue on mental health.

Video of the full day can be viewed below or click on the grey session box for videos of each session topic.

George Washington University Conference Center
Washington, D.C.

June 4, 2014
8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.

Whether you are joining us in Washington, D.C., or accessing the forum by live-stream, you won’t want to miss this event. Be sure to bookmark this page for easy access to new content and live-stream video of all sessions.

Download the Agenda for schedules and speaker information.

Session Information

Click on the boxes below for video of the presentations about each topic!

Session: Raising the National Dialogue on Mental Health - How are we doing?

Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook, our nation’s leaders called for a broader dialogue about mental health conditions, especially from youth and young adults. Read More

Childrens Mental Health Facts

Speakers and Presenters

Alvin R. Blank, M.D.

Alvin Blank is a Medical Director for Cigna and is a board certified psychiatrist. A key focus for Dr. Blank is the integration of medical and behavioral health services. He provides consultation and training for Cigna's inpatient utilization staff and has led a number of process improvement projects. Prior to joining Cigna in 2004, Dr. Blank held management positions with Blue Cross of Virginia and Magellan, and he was the Medical Director for the Behavioral Health business for TRICARE’s Mid-Atlantic and Heartland regions. Dr. Blank previously served in the Air Force Medical Corps before joining the faculty at Eastern Virginia Medical School and later co-founded and managed a psychiatric group practice, providing intensive psychotherapy and medication management with a focus on personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychoses. Dr. Blank has served on the boards of several community organizations providing housing and care for elderly and disabled individuals and people living with mental illness. In 1994, Dr. Blank was honored with an Exemplary Psychiatrist award by the Virginia Beach chapter of NAMI. Dr. Blank graduated from Tufts University and Chicago Medical School, interned at the University of Maryland and was a psychiatric resident at the University of Cincinnati.

Ingrid Donato, Ph.D.

Ingrid Donato is the Chief of the Mental Health Promotion Branch of the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Her work focuses on mental health promotion and mental illness prevention focused grant programs, initiatives, technical assistance centers, and national evaluation efforts including the Safe Schools / Healthy Students Initiative, Project LAUNCH, Implementing Evidence-based Prevention Practices in Schools and the Community Resilience and Recovery Initiative. Prior to working at SAMHSA, Mrs. Donato supervised staff to oversee operations of the Behavioral Health Services of the Children’s Hospital in Boston and managed an emergency psychiatric center which is now a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline affiliated crisis center. She also served as the director of an evening program for chronically mentally ill adults, including those dually diagnosed and those with mental illness and hearing loss. She has an extensive research background, including research of mood disorders, treatment options in children and adolescents, Phase II through IV pharmaceutical trials and investigating alternative therapies for Bipolar Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and PTSD in Military Veterans. Ingrid has also given radio talks for urban DC listeners on mental health related issues.

John C. Duby, M.D., FAAP.

John C. Duby is Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Mental Health Leadership Work Group. The work group’s mantra is that “mental health is mainstream pediatrics.” The charge of the work group is to support the integration of mental health initiatives into the fabric of the Academy’s everyday activities. John is also the Director of the Division of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics in the NeuroDevelopmental Science Center at Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio and Professor of Pediatrics at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He is President of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. Dr. John Duby was awarded the 2009 Ohio American Academy of Pediatrics Elizabeth Spencer Ruppert Pediatrician of the Year, as well as the 2010 Arnold P. Gold Foundation Award for Humanism in Medicine from the American Academy of Pediatrics. He currently leads a statewide quality improvement initiative focused on early identification and management of emotional, developmental, and behavioral issues in primary care.

Ken Duckworth, M.D.

Ken Duckworth serves as the Medical Director for NAMI. He is double board certified in adult and child and adolescent psychiatry and has completed a forensic psychiatry fellowship. Dr. Duckworth has previously served as Acting Commissioner of Mental Health and the Medical Director for the Department of Mental Health of Massachusetts, as a psychiatrist on a Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) team, and as Medical Director of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. Dr. Duckworth attended the University of Michigan where he graduated with honors and Temple University School of Medicine where he was named to the medical honor society, AOA. While at Temple University, he won awards for his work in Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Duckworth is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor at Harvard University Medical School and as Associate Medical Director for Behavioral Health at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts and has served as a board member of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists.

Glenace Edwall, Psy.D., Ph.D.

Glenace Edwall is the Director of the Children’s Mental Health Division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services and serves as Acting Director for the Adult Mental Health Division. Dr. Edwall has a Ph.D in Educational Psychology, M.A of Public Policy from the University of Minnesota and a Psy.D in Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver. While working at Baylor University, she directed the graduate training program in clinical psychology and won teaching and public service awards. She directed both the Health Psychology Clinic and Hospital Psychology program while serving on the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Edwall has edited two books and authored dozens of professional papers. In her current role, she focuses on meeting the mental health and chemical health needs of adolescents – both those in the juvenile justice system and those who can be diverted from it. Dr. Edwall is the past chair of the Children, Youth and Families Division of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, and serves as vice chair of the board of directors of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. She was recently presented with the Diversity Leadership Award by the Minnesota Psychological Association and the Distinguished Service Award of the Minnesota Council of Child Caring Agencies.

Leah Ganssle

Leah Ganssle is in her junior year at Westfield High School. In October 2013, she created Against the Stigma, a high school club dedicated to raising mental health awareness and ending the stigma associated with mental illness. In the last eight months, Leah and the club members have collected and donated clothes and books to the Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute and has raised money for NAMI through the Iris Project, a fundraising & awareness event where silk irises with a small card explaining what NAMI Northern Virginia is and the importance of mental health awareness are offered for donations. The group also plans to participate in the 2014 NAMI Walk this September. Leah firmly believes in spreading the message that mental health is not a taboo topic and should be treated equally to any other illness. In addition to running Against the Stigma, Leah tutors children outside of school and volunteers with the Red Cross and Jill’s House, an organization that serves children with special needs and provides relief to their familiar in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area.

Mary Giliberti, J.D.

Mary Giliberti is the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Prior to being named Executive Director at NAMI, Ms. Giliberti served as a Section Chief in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S Department of Health and Human Servicess and previously served for three years as the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for federal and state issues of NAMI. She has been actively engaged in the mental health field for over 20 years and has served as Disability Counsel for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and as a senior attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and clerked for Judge Phyllis Kravitch on the U.S Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after graduation from law school. Mary earned her B.A in Economics at Harvard University and her J.D at Yale Law School.

Darcy Gruttadaro, J.D.

Darcy E. Gruttadaro is the Director of the NAMI Child & Adolescent Action Center. In her role, she coordinates advocacy, support and policy activity for NAMI to improve the lives of and create more effective systems of care to better serve the needs of children, youth and young adults living with mental health conditions and their families. She has developed resources on major policy issues including the importance of evidence-based practices and improving the quality of mental health care, the importance of early identification of mental health conditions and early intervention, the important role of colleges and schools in the lives of students with mental health conditions and developing social networking and related communication strategies to reach young adults with mental health conditions. Darcy serves on multiple national advisory groups, coalitions and task forces focused on children, youth and young adults living with mental health conditions. Darcy is also the Associate Director of the SAMHSA funded Technical Assistance Center for the Statewide Family Network grant program, which provides technical assistance to family-run organizations working to improve systems of care for children, youth and families across the country. Prior to her work at NAMI, Ms. Gruttadaro practiced law at Harris Beach & Wilcox where she concentrated on health care and mental health related issues. She has also served as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court in the Western District of New York.

Elizabeth Hoover, M.D.

Elizabeth Hoover is a Medical Director at Cigna who has been with the company just over one year. She is a Board Certified Psychiatrist and previously worked for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs as a staff psychiatrist at the Alvin C. York Medical Center in the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System. Prior to employment at the VA, Dr. Hoover was a staff psychiatrist with the State of Tennessee at Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute. Dr. Hoover practiced child and adolescent psychiatry in Nashville and has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Hoover has a passion for mental health public policy. She has served on both the Board of the Exchange Child Abuse Prevention Center and served twice as President of the Board of Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee. Dr. Hoover completed her undergraduate education at Auburn University and medical school at the University of South Alabama, College of Medicine. She completed her adult psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at Vanderbilt University, where she also served as Chief Resident.

Paramjit Toor Joshi, M.D.

Paramjit T. Joshi is an Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at the Children’s National Medical Center and Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences & Pediatrics, at the George Washington University School of Medicine. After graduating from the Christian Medical College in Ludhiana India, she practiced as a pediatrician and moved to the United States to complete her training in general and child and adolescent psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and served on the faculty for over two decades. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and a member of the American College of Psychiatrists. She currently serves as a Director on the Board of the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology and as President of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Joshi is the recipient of several awards, including the APA’s Bruno Lima award for outstanding contributions in the care and understanding of disaster psychiatry, The Life Time Achievement award by the IAPA and The Special Presidential Commendation Award by the APA in recognition of her commitment to quality clinical care, training and research in Child Psychiatry. She has taught and published extensively on the issues of depression, bipolar disorder, global mental health and childhood trauma.

Esther Suji Lee

Esther Suji Lee graduated this past May from James Madison University with a BS degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Public Health Education. She currently serves as the Outreach Program Coordinating Intern at NAMI Northern Virginia. While at NAMI Northern Virginia, Esther helped to coordinate the program materials for NAMI In Our Own Voice and NAMI Ending the Silence presentations and is looking forward to being a part of the NAMIWalks Northern Virginia event in September. She has been engaged for many years with community-based programs, including as a youth group bible study teacher and a youth group mentor in her home church. Working with NAMI Northern Virginia has given Esther passion for young adult mental health issues and she hopes to continue working with youth in the non-profit field and raising awareness for mental illness in higher education.

Stuart Lustig, M.D., M.P.H.

Stuart L. Lustig is a lead Medical Director for child and adolescent care for Cigna's Behavioral Health business. He also serves as an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and served as Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program from 2005 to 2011. Dr. Lustig has provided consultations to schools in the Bay Area as well as in Massachusetts and has been an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and a fellow in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He has been published in numerous journals including both the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. He has written on numerous topics, such as refugee mental health, the use of forensic testimony in the political asylum process, stress and burnout among U.S. immigration judges and the managed care peer-review process. Dr. Lustig is the editor of the textbook, “Advocacy Strategies for Health and Mental Health Professionals: From Patients to Policies.” Dr. Lustig is board certified in child and adolescent psychiatry. He received his medical degree from Rush Medical College and completed training in adult and child psychiatry at Stanford and Harvard hospital and has a MA in Public Health from the University of Illinois.

Gary Mendell

Gary Mendell is the Founder and CEO of Shatterproof. The organization, formerly known as Brian’s Wish, was created in 2012 to honor the memory of Gary’s son, Brian, who lost his battle with addiction, with the promise to spare other families the anguish of this disease. In 2002, Mr. Mendell founded HEI Hotels & Resorts and managed 42 hotels with revenues of $650 million and a value estimated at $2.8 billion. During his tenure from 2002-2012, HEI received many awards including the Energy Star Award Partner of the Year for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Under Mr. Mendell’s direction, HEI has placed a focus on associate wellness, recently being awarded Gold Fit Friendly status by the American Heart Association. In 2012, HEI launched what is believed to be the first ever Employee Wellness Program centered on "Commitments to Action" — measurable goals to improve associates’ health. Mr. Mendell is a member of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama’s Better Building Challenge, the UJA-Federation Campaign Steering Committee, the Industry Real Estate Finance Advisory Council and The Real Estate Roundtable. Mr. Mendell received his B.S. from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and his MBA with distinction from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Doug Nemecek, M.D., M.B.A.

Doug Nemecek is the Chief Medical Officer of the Behavioral Health business for Cigna. In this role, he is responsible for the oversight of all clinical programs, including behavioral, lifestyle management, health coaching, and wellness and works to enhance collaboration between these programs and primary care medical professionals. He oversees 13 Medical Directors in clinical operations and provides clinical expertise in new and existing program development. In addition, Dr. Nemecek oversees the quality improvement of associated clinical outcomes, patient safety, treatment compliance, utilization management and program development. Prior to joining Cigna in 2002, Dr. Nemecek served as Executive Medical Director for Allina Behavioral Health Services in Minneapolis and has 10 years of clinical experience with an inpatient and outpatient psychiatric practice in Minneapolis. Dr. Nemecek received his M.D. and completed his psychiatric residency at Washington University in St. Louis in. He is recognized as a Distinguished Fellow with the American Psychiatric Association, is board certified by the America Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians and holds an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

Barry Sarvet, M.D.

Barry Sarvet is the Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Baystate Medical Center of the Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Sarvet has devoted his career to the advancement of collaboration between providers of pediatric primary care and child psychiatry. He helped to develop and serves as the Medical director for the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP), a public system providing child psychiatry consultation and care coordination services to primary care providers for the past decade. Dr. Sarvet has written extensively about integrated children's mental health services and has provided consultations and technical support to states and institutions throughout the US, promoting the dissemination and replication of collaborative models of children's mental health service delivery