Patrick J. Kennedy
Former U.S. Representative (D-RI) and Founder of The Kennedy Forum
During his time in Congress, Patrick J. Kennedy was the lead author of the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law), which requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders no more restrictively than treatment for illnesses of the body, such as diabetes and cancer. In 2013, he founded The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit that unites advocates, business leaders, and government agencies to advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming in mental health and addiction. In 2015, Kennedy co-authored the New York Times Bestseller, “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction,” which details a bold plan for the future of mental health care in America. In 2017, he was appointed to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.
Kennedy is also the founder of DontDenyMe.org, an educational campaign that empowers consumers and providers to understand parity rights and connects them to essential appeals guidance and resources; co-founder of One Mind, an organization that pushes for greater global investment in brain research; co-chair of Mental Health for US, a nonpartisan initiative designed to elevate mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the 2020 election cycle; and co-chair of the Action Alliance’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19.
Amy L. Kennedy
Education Director of The Kennedy Forum
Amy pursues partnerships and collaborations that emphasize evidence-based research and programming to facilitate policy change in the areas of education and mental health.
With over 15 years of experience working in public schools, Amy has seen first-hand how a child’s mental health and mental health literacy impacts their ability to learn and grow—not only in the classroom, but in life. Her experiences as a teacher and as a mother of five propel her efforts and advocacy around social-emotional learning and mental wellness for children and adolescents. Each day, Amy challenges herself and others to learn to address ACEs and other developmental roadblocks head on through thoughtful interventions and skill building.
Amy knows that by supporting educators and working with community partners to create robust mental health systems within our schools, it is possible to identify students’ needs and intervene early, while neuroplasticity is at its peak. Through strategies like social-emotional learning and integrated systems of care that meet students where they are, we have the power to improve educational, emotional, and health outcomes for all kids.
Amy serves on the boards of Mental Health America, a leading national advocacy organization and Parity.org, which promotes gender parity at the highest levels of business.
She is an advisory board member of Interaxon, a mental health technology company; the JED Foundation which focuses on mental wellness and emotional preparedness for teens; and Brain Futures.
Amy and her husband, former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, live in southern New Jersey with their five children.
Visit Amy’s website to learn more about her work.