Principals

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 the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention National Response to COVID-19 (National Response); and co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Behavioral Health Integration Task Force.

Amy L. Kennedy

Co-founder of The Kennedy Forum

As a former educator with 10+ years’ experience in public schools and a mother of five, Amy Kennedy’s advocacy in youth mental health is driven by her unique insights and a clear vision for change.

In addition to her work with The Kennedy Forum, a nonprofit that works to advance sound mental health policies, Amy is passionate about addressing social determinants of health at the local level to forge a better path forward for all. In 2020, she ran for office on a mental health platform in New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district.

A respected thought leader and public speaker, Amy also sits on several national boards, including Gracent, Effective School Solutions, TCare, and Stockton University, and serves as an advisor to Mental Health America, JED Foundation, Equip, and others.

Rebecca O. Bagley

President & CEO, The Kennedy Forum

In her role as President and CEO, Rebecca oversees the organization’s efforts to advance evidence-based practices, policies, and programming for the equal treatment of mental health and addiction.

She brings over 20 years of experience collaborating with stakeholders through strategic partnerships that achieve shared goals and outcomes. Utilizing a vast professional network of experts and resources to forge partnerships, Rebecca is deeply focused on inspiring cultures of progress and innovation. Prior to joining The Forum, she was CEO of Cannex Scientific, responsible for commercializing a new anti-anxiety medication from Brigham/Harvard Medical School. Earlier in her career, as Vice Chancellor of Economic Partnerships at the University of Pittsburgh, she successfully expanded a network of global partnerships with financial groups, corporations, and government entities to support $850M+ in research. Rebecca was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of NorTech, where she led a national effort to create the Innovation Advocacy Council (IAC), which successfully secured a $50 million line item in the federal budget and contributed to the creation of a $1 billion Build Back Better regional challenge.

Rebecca has been engaged in global efforts and organizations including the Clinton Global Initiative and the federally appointed National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA with her family.

Team

Trudy Avery

Senior Director of Development

As The Kennedy Forum’s Senior Director of Development Trudy is responsible for developing and executing the organization’s comprehensive fundraising and donor relations programs.

Trudy brings over 25 years of development experience, most recently with Pavillon International, a non-profit substance use treatment program located in NC.

In addition to her professional career, Trudy sits on many organizational boards and community coalitions and has personally testified at the state and local levels on mental health parity and access to substance use treatment.

Trudy has a BA from SUNY Excelsior College and a graduate certificate in Meeting Management from Bentley University.

Trudy and her husband, Rick, live on Cape Cod and are the parents of four sons. As a very grateful mother of a son in long-term recovery, Trudy’s passion is reflected in every aspect of her work.

Parshva Bavishi

Senior Director of Operations

Parshva Bavishi is the Senior Director of Operations at The Kennedy Forum, where he oversees the organization’s systems, policies, and practices to ensure a healthy, equitable, and effective digital workplace. With over 12 years in the social impact sector, Parshva is dedicated to mission-driven organizations around technology, healthcare and community impact. Prior to joining The Kennedy Forum, Parshva was the Chief Operating Officer at The Headstrong Project, a national mental health organization that served the U.S. military and its veterans. He has held roles at organizations such as Older Adult Technology Services (OATS), Society for Science & the Public, and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).

Parshva holds an MBA from the College of William & Mary and a BA in International Studies from The College of New Jersey. He is a 2022 Presidential Scholar via The Bush Institute where he focused on closing the digital literacy gap for vulnerable populations. Parshva lives in New Jersey and is an advisory board member for The Spero Institute.

Jenny Burke

State Policy and Project Director

Jenny Burke is the State Policy and Project Director for The Kennedy Forum, bringing with her over 25 years of experience in health law and policy. She is responsible for overseeing Illinois projects supporting mental health and substance use disorder treatment access and affordability and assists the organization in driving policy initiatives forward through the strategic use of policy, engagement, communications strategies and managing implementation of public sector grants.

Prior to this position, Jenny was the vice president of workplace wellbeing solutions at the National Safety Council, where she led advocacy initiatives focusing on mental health, substance use, employee wellbeing, impairment and fatigue. During her time at the Council, Jenny spearheaded the development of a variety of policy tools, including several cost calculators on substance use, mental health and fatigue, helping employers understand the cost of complacency when addressing these issues in the workplace. Her work is now shared across many government and private sector websites, used to assist others in taking action to support those struggling with substance use and mental health issues. Prior to her work at the Council, Jenny was a senior legal analyst in the Health Law division of Wolters Kluwer.

Jenny holds a Law degree with a focus in Health Law from DePaul University and a Master’s degree in Health Law and Policy from DePaul’s Public Services graduate program, in addition to her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. She has also served her community as a school board member, on the nature center board and is currently a member of her local Mental Health 708 Board. Jenny resides in the Chicago area with her husband and three children.

Kate Clark

Chief of Staff & Strategic Partnerships

Kate Clark, MPA, is senior director of strategic alliances at The Kennedy Forum and a person living in long-term recovery. At TKF she facilitates and manages new partnerships for the organization related to national substance use and mental health policy.

Prior to this position she worked at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) as the director of strategic initiatives. From 2008-2017, Kate was the planner for policy and program development at Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), where she developed two nationally award-winning and replicated programs: Age-friendly Philadelphia and GenPhilly (Generation Appreciation Philadelphia).

Before to moving to Philadelphia, she initiated and managed the City of Syracuse’s first public art program; directed the City of New York’s Historical Signs Program; and conducted research as a Fulbright Scholar on public-private partnerships and public space management. From 2013-14 Clark completed a Hartford/Atlantic Philanthropies Health and Aging Policy Fellowship, advising the Office of the Surgeon General on healthy aging issues related to the Affordable Care Act’s National Prevention Strategy. She received her master’s in public administration at the Maxwell School for Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Nathaniel Z. Counts, JD

Chief Policy Officer

Nathaniel Z Counts, JD, is the Chief Policy Officer for The Kennedy Forum, where he advances a public policy agenda which aims to ensure that all individuals have access to the treatment, services, and insurance coverage that meets their needs and the supports necessary to promote prevention, recovery, and mental well-being. In previous roles, Nathaniel served as Senior Policy Advisor for Mental Health to the Commissioner of Health for the City of New York and the Senior Vice President of Behavioral Health Innovation for Mental Health America (MHA). His thought leadership and research have been published in journals such as JAMA Pediatrics, Lancet Psychiatry, and Nature Mental Health. He received his JD cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was a Student Fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, and his BA in biology from Johns Hopkins.

Meredith Elkins

Chief Communications Officer

Meredith Elkins is an award-winning marketing and communications professional with more than 25 years of experience, 15 years in leadership, impacting some of the most intractable issues of the modern day: gender equality, cancer, disability inclusion, and research ethics.

Meredith has led award-winning teams distributed across the country and around the world and has provided strategic marketing and communications counsel, nationally and internationally, for public, for- and non-profit organizations with documented success advancing organizational goals.

She has led re-branding efforts, crisis communications work and content creation and has earned a reputation for strategic thinking, comfort with dynamic work environments, team leadership and creativity.

Meredith holds a Master’s degree from American University and a Bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College. She has provided marketing training to non-profit professionals in the US and abroad and participates in a variety of pro bono professional development activities to mentor other marketing and communications professionals.

Lauren Finke

Senior Director of Policy

Lauren Finke, MPP is Senior Director of Policy for The Kennedy Forum, representing the Forum on state and national mental health and substance use disorder coverage and advocacy efforts. Lauren works with government leaders, regulators, policymakers, and consumer and industry stakeholders around healthcare access and consumer rights including insurance coverage, crisis care, and youth and school mental health. Her work led to the successful passage of a number of comprehensive state mental health consumer protection laws that have served as models and been replicated in other states. Lauren has worked in state government and consulted for city and county governments and nonprofits. She holds a Master in Public Policy from the Goldman School at University of California, Berkeley and lives in Sacramento where she spends her spare time DIY-renovating a 100-year-old house and trying her hand at endurance sports in the Sierra Nevadas.

Rachel Innes

Team Administrative Assistant

Rachel Innes serves as the Team Administrative Assistant to The Kennedy Forum where she brings a wealth of expertise in data management, organization, and customer service. A graduate of Lipscomb Academy in Nashville, Rachel has seamlessly integrated her personal journey with mental illness into her work which she approaches with a deep sense of purpose and compassion. She currently resides in Florida with her partner and their pets.

Abbie Kopf

Content Strategy & Creation Manager

Abbie Kopf is a writer, editor, and strategist charged with planning and developing compelling content for The Kennedy Forum. She brings seven years of dynamic agency experience, having led dozens of successful campaigns for USA Today’s in-house creative agency and writing forblue-chip clients through award-winning firm Jackson Spalding. As an independent writing consultant, Kopf managed a range of projects, including as the editor-in-chief of a multi-market content marketing publication. For a decade before, she helped build the brand and voice of Dallas-area institutions like the AT&T Performing Arts Center and education nonprofit Big Thought. Kopf is a summa cum laude graduate of Texas Tech University, with a bachelor’s in sociology. She is also a trained volunteer grief counselor for individuals healing from loss.

Kara Kukfa

Chief of Staff, former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy & Amy L. Kennedy

Kara Kukfa is Chief of Staff for Patrick and Amy Kennedy and Chief of Operations for The Kennedy Forum. Mrs. Kukfa plans and directs all administrative, financial, and operational activities.

Kara started her career as a paralegal and office manager for a law firm specializing in land use, health care and politics. She went onto work as a campaign manager for local, county and State level campaigns for candidates whose efforts focused on mental health, the elderly, and education. Post politics, Kara founded a paralegal service and title company in New Jersey.

She holds a Bachelor of Science from St. John’s University and serves on the Ehlers Danlos Society Comorbidity Coalition as well as local boards in her community. She lives in Virginia with her husband and three children.

Lorre Moylett

Accounting Administrator

Lorre Moylett is the Accounting Administrator for former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy and The Kennedy Forum. Lorre spent her early career as an accountant in an investment firm, eventually leaving her role while her children were young. Upon returning to work, she switched gears and spent the next 17 years in education with the New Jersey Public School System. She received her bachelor’s in accounting from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and currently resides in New Jersey.

Hannah Tiner

Digital Strategy & Execution Manager

Hannah Tiner is the Digital Strategy & Execution Manager at The Kennedy Forum, where they lead digital engagement strategy and maintain the organization’s online presence. Hannah brings over 7 years of experience implementing successful digital campaigns on issues such as workers’ rights, public services and global health.

Prior to joining The Kennedy Forum, Hannah mobilized members of public service labor unions on legislative and political issues like the American Rescue Plan. They have extensive experience translating complex policy issues into eye-catching and actionable digital narratives.

Hannah leads workshops on diversity and inclusion in digital marketing. During their time as lead marketing designer at Litmus, an email software company, they also served as chair of the LGBTQ+ employee affinity group.

Hannah holds a dual Bachelor’s degree from American University in Communication Studies and International Studies and currently lives in Maryland.

Alise Wallis

Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of The Kennedy Forum

Alise Wallis is the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of The Kennedy Forum, helping to optimize executive workflows, enhance productivity, and drive team collaboration. Alise’s career has spanned multiple industries, from commercial real estate investment at Tishman Speyer to biomedical research at The Rockefeller University. Prior to joining The Kennedy Forum, Alise was Senior Manager of Business Transformation and Project Management at Bureau Veritas Consumer Product Services, Inc.

Alise holds an MBA from Northern Kentucky University and a BA in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College. As a person with complex PTSD, The Kennedy Forum’s mission is personally meaningful to Alise, and she is dedicated to advancing mental health equity. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, multiple pets, and her stepsons.

Corinne Williams

Policy Manager

Corinne A. Williams is the Policy Manager at The Kennedy Forum. At The Kennedy Forum, Corinne manages stakeholders and research relating to federal policy on mental health and substance use disorders. Corinne is a trained researcher and community organizer. She has worked in policy and research at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Institute for Workers’ Rights, and Stacey Abrams 2022 gubernatorial campaign. Corinne graduated from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 2021 and holds a Bachelor’s in History from Xavier University of Louisiana.