Launched in April of 2020, the Action Alliance’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19 (National Response) is an unprecedented partnership. Comprising a dynamic, diverse, and nonpartisan group of leading public and private sector organizations, we are committed to driving meaningful, lasting change through collaboration, leadership, and action.
Mental health and suicide prevention are complex public health issues requiring multi-sector perspectives and solutions. For this reason, the National Response Steering Committee guiding this work is composed of senior leaders who bring the best in science, innovation, communications, and thought leadership.
National Response Co-Chairs
Our Steering Committee
Noopur Agarwal is vice president of social impact for MTV Entertainment Group, the world’s premier youth entertainment brand, and MTV’s 24-hour college network, mtvU, which reaches nearly 9 million students across 750 campuses nationwide. She oversees major “pro-social” campaigns to engage and activate America’s youth on the biggest issues impacting their generation.
Agarwal has represented MTV at industry forums, including the Consumer Electronics Show, South by Southwest, Advertising Week, and Social Media Week, as well as in such educational settings as Columbia University and New York University. She recently hosted MTV’s speaker series MTV Pioneers, where she interviewed groundbreaking leaders, including Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes, and Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef and food activist. In her role, Agarwal was presented with the MTV Innovation Award, a company-wide honor recognizing individuals who have demonstrated fresh thinking and a pioneering approach in their work.
Prior to joining MTV, Agarwal worked on Viacom’s Know HIV/AIDS, a public education campaign run in collaboration with CBS Corporation and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Before entering the media industry, she was a consultant at Bain & Company, a global strategy consulting firm, where she helped advise senior management in a variety of industries. Agarwal received her MBA from Harvard Business School and her BA in economics from Harvard College.
Elisa Arespacochaga is vice president of the American Hospital Association’s (AHA’s) Physician Alliance, a strategic initiative launched as part of AHA’s ongoing mission to improve the health of patients and communities. Framed around a set of fundamental beliefs that foster shared decision-making and create a path for common language among health care leadership, the Alliance advances physician leadership through educational offerings, professional development opportunities, and greater inclusion within hospital and health system administration and policy activities.
Arespacochaga received her MBA with a concentration in health care policy from Keller Graduate School of Management and her bachelor’s degree in biology and Spanish literature from Amherst College.
Heidi Arthur brings together leading creative agencies, corporate partners, media and technology platforms, and nonprofit and government clients to drive public education, awareness, and action. She has more than 25 years of experience in creating change around pressing social issues, including diversity and inclusion, minority education, hunger prevention, breast cancer awareness, and bullying prevention. Her campaigns have gone on to win numerous accolades, including Cannes Lions, Effies, Clios, and an Emmy.
To ensure continued creative innovation and excellence, Arthur also manages the Ad Council’s Creative Review Committees, comprising nearly 30 of the industry’s top agency leaders. The Committees meet regularly to review, refine, and raise the bar on the Ad Council’s social good campaigns.
Arthur joined the Ad Council in 2000 after spending 10 years in the advertising industry at Grey and at Wells, Rich, Greene. She is a graduate of Union College and has a certificate in corporate social responsibility from Harvard Business School. Arthur has served on boards focused on cancer research and is currently involved in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.
Chief Terrence M. Cunningham (retired) currently serves as the deputy executive director of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). In this role, he is responsible for working in conjunction with the executive director to advance the association’s mission and oversee its day-to-day operations. He works to serve IACP’s membership and the law enforcement profession through advocacy, training, education, and outreach.
Cunningham served the Wellesley Police Department in Massachusetts for 35 years. During his distinguished career in professional policing, he served as president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (MCOPA) and as a member of the Executive Board of the MCOPA, the Greater Boston Police Council, and the New England Association of Chiefs of Police. He is also a founder and past president of the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council.
Cunningham is a longtime active member of the IACP, serving as president from 2015 to 2016 and as a member of IACP’s Executive Board and Board of Directors. He is a graduate of the New England Institute of Law Enforcement Management at Babson College, the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Executive Education. He holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Northeastern University.
Executive Vice President, Vibrant Emotional Health
With nearly 25 years of experience, John Draper, PhD, is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in crisis intervention and crisis contact center practices (hotline, online chat, SMS, etc.). As vice president of National Networks for Vibrant Emotional Health, Draper serves as project director of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network, which consists of over 160-member crisis centers across the country. Under Draper’s leadership, Vibrant administers and supports other national crisis hotline networks, including the Disaster Distress Helpline, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Crisis Line, and the National Football League’s Life Line. Draper was the founding director of LifeNet, an award-winning crisis hotline that was central to New York’s mental health response following the catastrophic events of 9/11.
Draper frequently presents at national conferences on subjects related to best practices in crisis intervention and suicide prevention and the use of innovative technologies (text, chat, and other online programs) in helping persons in emotional distress. He frequently discusses the role of persons with lived experience of suicide (attempt survivors, loss survivors, etc.) in suicide prevention.
Draper has been quoted in a variety of media, including the New York Times, ABC News, the New York Post, and TIME magazine. He received the Hope and Life Award from the Suicide Prevention Center of New York for extraordinary leadership in suicide prevention.
Arthur C. Evans, PhD, is chief executive officer of the American Psychological Association (APA), the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, whose membership comprises researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students. Before joining the APA, he spent 12 years as commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, a $1.2 billion health care agency that is the behavioral health and intellectual disabilities safety net for the city of Philadelphia. In this role, Evans helped to transform the Philadelphia service system. Previously, Evans was deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, where he was instrumental in implementing a recovery-oriented policy framework, addressing health care disparities, increasing the use of evidence-based practices, and improving community engagement. He also developed a thriving private practice.
In 2015, Evans was recognized as an “Advocate for Action” by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, part of the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Other recognitions include the American Medical Association’s top government service award in health care, the Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Government Service, the Lisa Mojer-Torres Award, and the National Council of Behavioral Health’s Visionary Leadership Award. A strong advocate for social justice, he received three different Martin Luther King Jr. awards. In 2017, he was inducted into alma mater Florida Atlantic University’s Alumni Hall of Fame.
Evans holds faculty appointments at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Drexel University School of Public Health, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Yale University School of Medicine. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment and a fellow and member of the board of trustees of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
Robert Gebbia is the chief executive officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which has become the leading suicide prevention nonprofit organization in the United States. Throughout his tenure he expanded AFSP’s efforts, significantly increasing the Foundation’s support of scientific research and adding new educational programs, public awareness initiatives, and supportive services for individuals and families who have lost a loved one to suicide. Under his leadership, AFSP’s annual revenue has grown from $700 thousand to over $16 million. The Foundation has expanded its nationwide network of over 64 chapters and created the annual Out of the Darkness walks to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention.
Gebbia is a founding member of the National Council for Suicide Prevention; he serves on the National Lifeline Advisory Committee and was recently nominated to join the Board of Directors of the National Health Council. Gebbia has an extensive background in not-for-profit management, strategic planning, fundraising, and program development. Previously, he worked for the United Way and served as a public health advisor for the City of New York.
Gebbia holds a BA in sociology from Hofstra University and an MA 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 not-for-profit
Daniel H. Gillison Jr. brings over 30 years of experience and expertise in nonprofit leadership and a passion for advocating for people with mental illness to his role as chief executive officer of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Before coming to NAMI, Gillison led the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF), where he was responsible for strategic planning, personnel management, board communications, oversight of APAF’s public education programs and outreach, and formulating strategic alliances and partnerships to further APAF’s mission.
Prior to APAF, Gillison led County Solutions and Innovation for the National Association of Counties, where he was instrumental in repositioning the organization’s programs to provide expertise in health and human services, justice, and public safety. He has also held leadership positions at Xerox, Nextel, and Sprint.
Gillison holds a BA from Southern University and A&M College.
Paul Gionfriddo serves as president and chief executive officer of Mental Health America, the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all. He has worked in a variety of health- and mental health-related positions throughout a career spanning more than 40 years.
An essay by Gionfriddo, “How I Helped Create a Flawed Mental Health System That’s Failed Millions—And My Son,” was published in Health Affairs in September 2012. His policy memoir, Losing Tim: How Our Health and Education Systems Failed My Son with Schizophrenia, was published by Columbia University Press in October 2014.
From 2013 to 2017, Gionfriddo served a four-year term on the National Advisory Council to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services. He was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1979 until 1990, and served as mayor of Middletown, Connecticut, from 1989 to 1991.
Brian Hepburn, MD, has been the executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) since July 2015. He previously was the director of the Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration (MHA) from 2002 to 2014 and that position became the director of the Behavioral Health Administration July 2014. Dr. Hepburn was the clinical director for MHA from 1996 to 2002. He was also the director of psychiatric education and training for MHA from 1987 to 1997. Dr. Hepburn received his MD in 1979 from the University of Michigan’s 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.
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, Ingoglia 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.
Before joining the National Council, Ingoglia 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.
Ingoglia holds a Master of Social Work and a BA in social work, both from The Catholic University of America.
Karen Johnson serves as senior vice president of clinical services and division compliance officer for the Behavioral Health Division of Universal Health Services (UHS), where she is responsible for the management and oversight of clinical operations and regulatory practices for 200 behavioral health facilities across the United States and Puerto Rico. She interfaces with accrediting organizations and leads the clinical staff in developing and implementing best practices to ensure that quality and safety are primary initiatives in each organization.
Johnson represents UHS on the Health Systems Corporate Liaisons group with The Joint Commission and the Quality Committee of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. She is the clinical representative to the UHS partnership with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, focusing on the implementation of Zero Suicide in UHS facilities and advancing the Action Alliance’s Transforming Health Systems priority area. Johnson has held corporate-level leadership positions in clinical services since 1999. Prior to that, she served as a hospital administrator in freestanding psychiatric facilities.
Johnson holds a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in social work from Loyola University of Chicago.
CAPT Christopher Jones, PharmD, DrPH, currently serves as acting associate director for communication at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When not serving as the acting director, Jones is the deputy director for the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at CDC. In this role, he drives the Center’s strategic direction by overseeing the refinement of the scientific research agenda and the coordination of center priorities. He oversees and enhances collaboration among the Office of Science, Office of Informatics, Office of Strategy and Innovation, and Opioid Response Coordinating Unit.
Previously, Jones served as senior advisor to the Injury Center and associate director in the Office of Strategy and Innovation. Prior to joining CDC, he was the first director of the National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Jones has also served in leadership roles in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and in the Office of the Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, among other assignments as a U.S. Public Health Service-commissioned corps officer.
He received his bachelor’s degree from Reinhardt College, his PharmD from Mercer University, his master’s degree in public health from New York Medical College, and his DrPH in health policy from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
Mark Jones, PhD, is general director for Health and Medical Services at Union Pacific Railroad (UP), located in Omaha, Nebraska, where he had been UP’s Employee Assistance Program director since March 2005. His duties at UP include overseeing a service delivery model covering 50,000 employees and their dependents.
Before joining UP, Jones was the vice president of Clinical Services at Maplewood Behavioral Health. Jones also served as the clinical director of behavioral health programs at Father Flanagan’s Boys Home at Boys Town, Nebraska.
Jones has a bachelor’s degree from Creighton University, a master’s degree in human development from the University of Kansas, and a doctorate in education from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He served on the faculty at Creighton University and Bellevue University, has authored several published academic articles, and has been invited to speak at numerous national conferences.
Andy Keller, PhD, is president and chief executive officer, Linda Perryman Evans Presidential Chair, of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, a Texas-based nonprofit that provides nonpartisan policy and program research, development, and advice to national, state, and community leaders towards a single goal: improving mental health care delivery in Texas and the nation. Keller is a licensed psychologist with more than 25 years of experience in behavioral health policy, financing, and best practice implementation. His work has centered on helping state and local health systems implement evidence-based and innovative care, as well as helping local and state governments develop the regulatory and financial frameworks to support them. Prior to moving full time into policy work, Keller was a managing partner for 15 years at a national behavioral health management consulting firm where he focused on health financing and system improvement. Before that, he worked in Colorado with a leading Medicaid HMO and the local community mental health system, where he directed and led a range of community-based and care management programs.
Craig Kramer is mental health ambassador and chair, Global Campaign for Mental Health, in Neuroscience External Affairs at Janssen R&D, a Johnson & Johnson company. In this capacity, Kramer leads a Johnson & Johnson team that seeks to transform mental health care globally by raising awareness, reducing stigma, promoting research, improving access, and ensuring better patient outcomes. Key initiatives include a global leaders coalition to champion proven scalable reforms, including “next-in-class” workplace mental health practices.
Prior to this role, Kramer held a variety of positions in global corporate and government affairs at Johnson & Johnson and worked as a lawyer in the U.S. Congress, at a Washington, D.C., law firm, and with an international human rights organization.
Kramer is a graduate of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs, the University of Michigan School of Law, and Harvard Business School’s General Management Program. He serves on the boards of the American Brain Coalition, the DMAX Foundation, International Schools Services, and Project HEAL.
Charles Lattarulo, PhD, is the creator and global director of the Healthy Minds program at American Express. A psychologist with over 20 years of behavioral health experience, Lattarulo previously served as director of behavioral health at a home care agency, clinical director of an international employee assistance program (EAP), and director of training and a clinical instructor at a major metropolitan hospital.
Lattarulo’s vast expertise includes building corporate behavioral health systems and addressing issues related to anxiety and stress, bereavement, and substance misuse. His diverse role at American Express includes managing the company’s global mental health strategy, on-site EAP counselors, U.S. and global EAP vendor relationships, and behavioral health absence management. He also creates and ensures the viability of the company’s behavioral health programs and policies, and works to provide ad hoc expertise across the organization. He has been with American Express since 2012.
Lattarulo holds a PhD in psychology from Fordham University and a master of education in clinical rehabilitation counseling from Hunter College.
Saul Levin, MD, MPA, FRCP-E, is the chief executive officer and medical director of the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Prior to assuming his current position, Dr. Levin served in a variety of roles in the private and public sector, including as the head of the of the District of Columbia’s Department of Health (DOH) and as a cabinet member in the Mayor’s administration. Prior to his tenure at DOH, he was the senior deputy director of the Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration. Dr. Levin has served as vice president of the American Medical Association for Science, Medicine and Public Health, where he focused on health care systems and care, health disparities, and, disaster preparedness and response for Washington, DC.
Dr. Levin received his MD from the University Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and completed his residency in psychiatry at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center. He received his master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Levin is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians – Edinburgh, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and Professor at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC.
John MacPhee brings 25 years of leadership and management experience from the business and not-for-profit settings to his current role as chief executive officer and executive director of The Jed Foundation. Passionate about supporting young adults in their transition to adulthood, MacPhee advises several organizations, including the S. Jay Levy Fellowship for Future Leaders at City College, Trek Medics, Crisis Text Line, the Health Policy and Management Department at the Mailman School of Public Health, and HIV Experiences Resources Organization.
Earlier in his career, MacPhee served in executive positions for Par Pharmaceutical, Inc., and Forest Laboratories, where he oversaw functions such as business development, alliance management, clinical development, regulatory affairs, sales, and marketing. MacPhee continues to contribute to the development of novel medications for disorders such as Parkinson’s disease through board roles with Adamas Pharmaceuticals and Blackthorn Therapeutics.
In 2016, MacPhee received the Allan Rosenfield Alumni Award for Excellence in the field of public health from the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He earned a BA from Columbia College, an MBA from New York University, and an MPH from Columbia University.
David McFarland is a global philanthropy advisor to individual philanthropists and leaders from a variety of sectors, including nonprofit and social cause organizations, social enterprises, entertainment, sports, business, technology, policy, government, nongovernmental organizations, and foundations, to tackle pressing social and development issues. McFarland’s career has been dedicated to promoting social responsibility and youth-serving initiatives.
As the former board chair and executive director and chief executive officer of The Trevor Project—the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youth—McFarland led a new strategic plan that resulted in growing the organization’s budget from $2.2 million to over $5 million in 2011. Under his leadership, The Trevor Project was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change” and a leading innovator in suicide prevention. McFarland previously served as co-chair of the LGBT Populations Task Force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, helping to inform the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. He has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. State Department, and United Nations Commission on Human Rights to improve the lives of LGBTQ youth domestically and globally.
McFarland was instrumental in directing national and regional strategy for entertainment conglomerates MTV Networks/Comedy Central, Lifetime Television, and Fox Family Worldwide. He is sought by media outlets for his innovative leadership in philanthropy and as an expert spokesperson for suicide prevention, bullying, and mental health issues. He has been featured on national, regional, and local news outlets, as well as in the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, the HuffPost, The Advocate, Yahoo, and numerous blogs and social media outlets.
A seasoned health care practice executive with a focus on innovation and transformation, Colleen A. McHugh is the executive vice president of the American Health Policy Institute and president of the Healthcare Policy Roundtable, both partner organizations of HR Policy Association. McHugh's expertise is in leading, developing, and implementing complex, high-profile strategic business initiatives in support of large employers. She has extensive experience working with multiple internal and external stakeholders, including at the C-suite and Board level, policy makers, the media, and employer coalitions.
McHugh was one of the original architects in the development of the Health Transformation Alliance, a collective of 50+ Fortune 500 companies that launched in 2016 to drive better health outcomes for employees and their families covered by self-insured employer health plans. With extensive experience in Medicare, she also co-led the development of Retiree Health Access in 2006 for HR Policy Association member companies. She continues to manage the RHA exchange and provide thought leadership to employers regarding the challenges in providing health care and best practices.
Prior to her work with HR Policy Association, the Institute, and Roundtable, McHugh worked for Aetna Inc. for 27 years holding various roles across the enterprise. She has in-depth experience in strategic planning, business development, go-to-market solutions, business operations and P&L management. McHugh is a licensed life and health agent in all 50 states, has a BS in Management from Post University and a MA in Organizational Leadership from The Graduate Institute.
Richard McKeon, PhD, serves as chief for the Suicide Prevention Branch in the Center for Mental Health Services within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In this role, he oversees all Branch suicide prevention activities, including the Garrett Lee Smith State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention and Campus Suicide Prevention grant programs, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the Native Aspirations program. He co-chairs the Federal Working Group on Suicide Prevention.
McKeon spent the majority of his career in community mental health and has been appointed to suicide-prevention task forces in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Defense. Most recently, he served a key role in the 2012 revision of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s roadmap for suicide prevention that was first adopted in 2001.
McKeon received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Arizona and his master’s degree in public health from Columbia University.
Benjamin F. Miller, PsyD, is the chief strategy officer for Well Being Trust, a national foundation committed to advancing the nation’s mental, social, and spiritual health. He helps oversee the foundation’s portfolio, with the end goal of helping to advance the national movement around mental health and well-being. Prior to joining Well Being Trust, Miller was an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado’s School of Medicine, where he was the founding director of Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center, which focuses on behavioral health integration, payment reform, and workforce and community-based prevention. He remains a senior advisor to the Farley Center and is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Stanford School of Medicine.
Miller has been a principal investigator on several federal and foundation grants and state contracts related to comprehensive primary care and mental health, behavioral health, and substance misuse integration. He has written and published extensively on enhancing evidentiary support for integrated models, increasing the training and education of behavioral health providers in medical settings, and the need to address specific health policy and payment barriers to improve patient outcomes. He was the editor of the Health and Policy section of Families, Systems, and Health and currently serves on both that journal’s editorial board and the International Advisory Board of the British Journal of General Practice. Miller has been a technical expert panelist for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, president of the Collaborative Family Healthcare Association, and on the faculty for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and he is currently a board member for Mental Health Colorado. A highly sought out public speaker, he has received numerous awards for his work on mental health and integration, and has been featured on NBC News, USA Today, NPR, PBS News Hour, and more.
Miller received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, where he trained in primary care psychology. Miller also worked as a postdoctoral fellow in primary care psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Matthew Miller, PhD, is the director for suicide prevention within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Miller previously served as director of the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), where he oversaw expansive growth of this essential resource, including the creation of a third call center and an increase in total staffing to 900+ full-time employees. Under his leadership, the VCL became the world’s largest crisis call center.
At VCL, through implementing an industry-leading quality and training program, obtaining certification via nationally recognized oversight organizations, and innovating cutting-edge research projects in the field of suicide prevention, Miller ensured top-quality care for veterans and their families and friends. Prior to joining VCL, Miller served as the deputy chief of staff for the Saginaw Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Miller received his PhD from Michigan State University and his master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan.
Nyaka NiiLampti, PhD, is a licensed psychologist with more than 15 years of clinical experience with organizations, sports teams, individuals, and families. Her research focuses on multiculturalism and mental health as they relate to issues of resiliency and success. As vice president of Wellness and Clinical Services for the National Football League (NFL), NiiLampti heads the Total Wellness and Mental Health platforms. She plays a critical role in advancing NFL Player Engagement’s mission to make a positive impact inside and outside the NFL family.
NiiLampti previously served as the director of player wellness for the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), where she educated players on all aspects of wellness, including mental health and substance misuse. Before joining the NFLPA, NiiLampti was an assistant professor of psychology at Queens University of Charlotte, where she taught undergraduate courses in abnormal, developmental, and sport psychology. She also served as the faculty athletic representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
A former track and field college student-athlete, NiiLampti earned a PhD in clinical psychology from Temple University, a master’s degree in sport psychology from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton 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. He began as a counselor on The Trevor Project’s 24/7 TrevorLifeline in 2011; since then he has answered hundreds of calls from LGBTQ youth in crisis. Paley is the first volunteer counselor to become the CEO of the organization in its 21-year history, and he continues to answer calls on the TrevorLifeline.
Under his leadership, the organization has dramatically expanded the number of LGBTQ youth that it serves and the breadth of programming that it offers. During Paley’s two-year tenure, The Trevor Project built and launched an 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 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. The Trevor Project now operates the largest grassroots campaign in the world to end conversion therapy.
Previously, Paley was an associate partner at the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he served numerous nonprofit organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and governments. Prior to joining McKinsey, Paley was a reporter at the Washington Post, where his work was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He is a renowned expert who has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS, ABC, NBC, Reuters, Fortune, and more. Paley is a 2019 GLG Social Impact Fellow and is included in 2019’s NBC Out #Pride50 list and the Logo30 list. He received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, an MBA from Columbia Business School, and a master’s degree from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Rajeev Ramchand is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation, where he studies the prevalence, prevention, and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders in adolescents, service members and veterans, and minority populations. He has conducted many studies on suicide and suicide prevention, including environmental scans of suicide prevention programs, epidemiologic studies on risk factors for suicide, and evaluations of suicide prevention programs, and he has developed tools to help organizations evaluate their own programs.
Ramchand has testified on suicide prevention before the United States Senate and California State Senate. Other current areas of research include military and veteran caregivers, the role of firearm availability, firearm storage, suicide-related policies, and the impact of disasters on community health.
He received his BA in economics from the University of Chicago and his PhD in psychiatric epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
A nationally recognized leader in the field of suicide prevention, Jerry Reed, PhD, is senior vice president for practice leadership at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). Through advocacy, authorship, and effective program leadership, he raises awareness about suicide as a leading cause of death and drives public policy changes at the state and national levels. Reed has contributed greatly to EDC’s body of work in suicide, violence, and injury prevention, and works closely with project directors overseeing the Zero Suicide Institute, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and Children’s Safety Network. Until 2017, Reed directed the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, which has been operated by EDC since 2002.
An outspoken advocate for the importance of both a public health and a mental health approach to injury, violence, and suicide prevention, Reed serves on the Executive Committee of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, has testified before the U.S. Congress, and speaks frequently to both national and international audiences.
Reed has a PhD in health-related sciences, with an emphasis in gerontology, from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. He served in the United States Navy from 1974 to 1978.
Linda Rosenberg joined Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry as director of external relations in 2019. Previously, she served as president and chief executive officer of the National Council for Behavioral Health, a not-for-profit advocacy and educational association of 1,950 organizations providing treatment and support services to 8 million adults and children with mental illnesses and addictions. She has over 30 years of mental health policy and practice experience, focusing on the design, financing, and management of behavioral health services. Under her leadership, the National Council more than doubled its membership, helped secure the passage of the federal mental health and addiction parity law, expanded financing for integrated behavioral health and primary care services, was instrumental in bringing behavioral health to the table in federal health care reform, and played a key role in introducing the Mental Health First Aid program in the U.S.
Rosenberg previously served as senior deputy commissioner for the New York State Office of Mental Health, where she strengthened the voices of consumers and families in the policymaking process; promoted adoption of evidence-based practices, including tripling New York’s assertive community treatment capacity; expanded children’s services; developed housing options for people with mental illnesses and addictions; and implemented a network of jail diversion programs, including the state’s first mental health court.
A certified social worker, family therapist, and psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner, Rosenberg has held faculty appointments at several schools of social work and serves on many agency and editorial boards.
CAPT Scott Salvatore, PsyD, ABPP, a board-certified clinical psychologist and emergency medical technician (EMT), serves as lead of psychological health for the Workforce Health and Safety Directorate of the Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The newly established program focuses on evidence-based initiatives and recommendations to enhance the psychological health and resilience of DHS employees and their families.
Prior to joining DHS, Salvatore was chief of Multi-Disciplinary Behavioral Health at U.S. Army Fort Meade, serving Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine personnel. He also directed psychological services for the Army’s biological personnel reliability program at Fort Detrick. Since 2002, Salvatore has served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service as part of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Prisons; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and DHS’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). While stationed with ICE, Salvatore volunteered as an EMT with San Diego Sheriff’s Search and Rescue. He has deployed on multiple emergency response teams for disasters and humanitarian missions.
Salvatore started his professional career as a U.S. Naval Officer and clinical psychologist. After completing his tour of duty, he worked for venture capital, executive search, and consulting psychology firms with a focus on personnel selection and development. A board certification examiner in clinical psychology for the American Board of Professional Psychology, he is an adjunct assistant professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and an active member of the American Psychological Association and the Police Psychology Services Section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Russ Sanders serves as NFPA’s Executive Secretary of the IAFC/NFPA Metropolitan “Metro” Fire Chiefs Association, the NFPA representative to the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Fire Chiefs Council of the United Kingdom (formerly CFOA), the Institution of Fire Engineers, the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, the Global Fire Service Leadership Alliance and the International Technical Committee for the Prevention and Extinction of Fire (CTIF). Sanders serves as President of the United States Delegation to the CTIF, which is headquartered in Slovenia and is also known as the International Fire and Rescue Services Association.
Sanders graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Master of Education Degree and a Master of Science Degree. In addition, Sanders is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and Harvard University’s Senior Executive in State and Local Government Program. In 2012, Sanders was awarded the rank of Fellow in the Institution of Fire Engineers, FIFireE, the highest grade offered by the Institution. In 2018, he received the Everette E. Hudiburg Fire Service Training Award from the International Fire Service Training Association. Also, in 2018 Sanders was inducted into the 2018 National Fire Heritage Center’s Hall of Legends, Legacies and Leaders. In 2019, Sanders received the Mason Langford Leadership Award. The award is presented by the Congressional Fire Services Institute and recognizes exemplary leaders in public safety for work to improve the delivery of fire and emergency services in the areas of prevention, mitigation and response. In 2000, Sanders co-authored the first edition of Structural Fire Fighting: Strategy and Tactics and the second edition in 2008.
Prior to joining the NFPA staff in 1995, Sanders was Chief of the Louisville (KY) Fire Department (LFD). He served over 27 years in the LFD, his last nine years as Chief of the Department.
Barbara Van Dahlen, PhD, serves as executive director of the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) Task Force, which is working across the government to build a national strategy focused on improving mental health to prevent suicide. Named to TIME magazine’s 2012 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, Van Dahlen is the founder and former president of Give an Hour, a national nonprofit that provides free mental health care to those in need, including service members, veterans, and their families.
Concerned about the mental health implications of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Van Dahlen founded Give an Hour in 2005 to enlist mental health professionals in providing free services to U.S. troops, veterans, their loved ones, and their communities. Currently, the network has nearly 7,000 providers, who have collectively given $19 million worth of services. Van Dahlen has become a notable expert on the psychological impact of war on troops and families, and a thought leader in mobilizing civilian constituencies in support of active duty service members, veterans, and their families.
A licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing in the Washington, D.C., area for over 20 years, Van Dahlen received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland in 1991.
Janet S. Wright, MD, FACC, serves as acting director of science and policy in the Office of the Surgeon General within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Previously, she served as executive director of Million Hearts®, an HHS national initiative, co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, with the explicit goal of preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. by 2017.
From 2008 to 2011, Wright served as senior vice president for science and quality at the American College of Cardiology. In that role, she provided medical and scientific oversight of clinical guidelines, performance measures, health policy statements, and appropriate use criteria; quality improvement projects; and the National Cardiovascular Data Registry, a suite of databases containing more than 12 million patient records in both inpatient and outpatient care settings.
Wright practiced cardiology for many years in Chico, California, where she served on a number of association and nonprofit boards and committees. Her primary interests are the design and implementation of systems of care to achieve optimal outcomes for patients, and the full deployment of “hooks, tricks, and cues” that help people get and stay healthy.
* Indicates member of Action Alliance Executive Committee
Learn why Steering Committee members joined the National Response
“Being part of the National Response to COVID-19 ensures we have common, consistent messages about caring for one’s mental health during, and in the aftermath of the pandemic. Working together, we will be far more effective.”
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
“I joined because the pandemic’s mental health impact isn’t trivial and should be considered in every action taken.”
Mental Health America
“This collaborative provides a vital opportunity to advance comprehensive suicide prevention during this unprecedented time.”
CAPT Christopher Jones
U.S. Public Health Service, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
“Forging strong partnerships will be key to addressing the potential emotional despair caused by COVID-19.”
Dr. Mark Jones
Union Pacific Corporation
“I joined because collaboration is key to making mental health part of a national response.”
Former U.S. Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy
The Kennedy Forum
“To combat the effects of COVID-19, a comprehensive health strategy that encompasses mental health is vital to support those where we live and work.”
Dr. Charles Lattarulo
“To help people navigate this unprecedented period, maintain hope, and lay the groundwork for post-traumatic growth.”
The Jed Foundation
“We must unite to prioritize mental health and remind LGBTQ youth that they’re never alone.”
The Trevor Project
“I firmly believe that when we come together behind a common just cause, we can change the world!”
Dr. Jerry Reed
Education Development Center