The Kennedy Forum Annual Meeting 2016
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Thank you to all of those who helped to make our Annual Community Forum such a huge success! Watch the 2016 event highlights below:
Our Third Annual Forum is a premier annual gathering of national and global thought leaders to ignite new ideas, build cross industry collaboration and inspire actionable results. The day will begin with a Corporate Leadership Breakfast, “Leadership for Change,” and continue with a Community Forum, “Young Minds: Building Resilience and Well Being for the Next Generation” The Forum is a community event free of charge, supported by generous sponsors and donors. The ticketed sit down lunch will feature a notable keynote speakers, including Former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy. More than 1000 are expected to attend in person, with hundreds more participating via webcast.
720 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605
Corporate Leadership Breakfast
Leadership for Change
Join us for an exclusive gathering of CEOs and business executives from across the nation. The morning will include a keynote address from a notable global thought leader and recognition of Corporate CEOS demonstrating leadership in mental health/addiction.
For information about sponsoring or purchasing a table, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
7:00 am – Check-in
7:30 am – Welcome
- Tonya Francisco; Anchor, WGN News
7:35 am – The Economic Imperative of Addressing Mental Health
- Patrick J. Kennedy; Former U.S. Representative, Rhode Island; Co-Founder, One Mind and Founder, The Kennedy Forum
7:50 am – Leadership Recognition & Discussion on Workplace Wellness
- Bill Duane; Superintendent of Well Being and Sustainable Performance Learning,
- Harry Leider, MD; Chief Medical Officer and Group Vice President, Walgreens
- Richard Edelman; President & CEO, Edelman
- John D. Edelman; Managing Director, Global Engagement and Corporate Responsibility, Edelman
- Alexandra Schwarzman; Attorney, Kirkland & Ellis LLP
- Mike Thompson; President & CEO, National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser
9:00 am – Closing remarks
- Peter O’Brien; Chairman, The Kennedy Forum Illinois
Young Minds: Building Resilience and Well Being for the Next Generation
The future prosperity of our communities and nation depends on our ability to foster the resilience, health and well-being of the next generation. Mental wellness at each stage of life is critical if youth are to reach key milestones on their path to success. Childhood and youth experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on social mobility, reduced social capital, lifelong health, economic opportunity, and future violence victimization and perpetration. Effective interventions for mental health challenges at every stage of life are available. We know what to do. For our youth to achieve their full potential, for any of us to reach our full potential, we need to fully recognize that the brain is part of our body, that mental wellness is integral to physical health, and that that healthy, resilient minds are essential to success at every stage of life’s journey.
10:30 am – Welcome & Opening Remarks
- *Patrick J. Kennedy; Former U.S. Representative, Rhode Island; Co-Founder,
One Mind and Founder, The Kennedy Forum
- *Elizabeth Vargas; Co-anchor ABC’s 20/20 and Author, “Between Breaths: A
Memoir of Panic and Addiction”
10:35 am – Invocation
- Pastor Chris Harris; Senior Pastor, Bright Star Church
10:45 am – 11:15 am – Voices of Young People in Recovery
Many youth are dealing with mental health and/or addiction challenges, and the headlines tend to focus on those in trouble.There are so many more who are fighting against the stigma, speaking up and making a difference. Join us for an inspirational discussion with young people about their own path to recovery, and what are doing to help others and change the system.
- Justin Luke Riley, President & CEO, Young People in Recovery
- Maggie Skoch; Jed Foundation’s 2016 recipient Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health Award and Student, Stritch School of Medicine
- Sara Willis; Student and Timberline Knolls Alumna
- Joseph Green; Co-founder & Program Director, Split This Rock
11:30 am – 12:15 pm – BREAKOUTS : Mental Wellness at Every Life Stage
0 – 5 years: Building Resilience: Early Brain Health
Explore how the human brain grows from prenatal to adulthood and how the earliest experiences in the first years of life can dramatically shape and support brain development for a lifetime.
- Phyllis Glink; Executive Director, The Irving Harris Foundation
- Martha Burns, PhD; Speech Language Pathologist and Professor, Northwestern University
- Diana Rauner, PhD; President, The Ounce of Prevention and First Lady of Illinois
- Amanda Moreno, PhD; Assistant Professor, Erikson Institute
- Shemeka Dawson; Parent Leader and Graduate, Smart and Secure Parenting Leadership Program, Morehouse School of Medicine
6 – 12 years: Risk and Resilience: Developing Skills for Success
The promotion of social and emotional development in schools support mental health through the enhancement of environmental contexts that promote the health, academic, social, and emotional success of young learners. Like strong instruction for reading, math and science, social-emotional learning (SEL) require the best programs to implement them with fidelity.
- David Adams, M.Ed; Director of Social Emotional Learning, The Urban Assembly
- Kathryn Goetzke, MBA; Founder, Schools for Hope
- Myron Belfer, MD; Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and Senior Associate in Psychiatry, Boston Children’s Hospital
- Marc Atkins, PhD; Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Director, Institute for Juvenile Research, University of Illinois at Chicago
- G. Lawrence Farmer, PhD; Associate Professor and Director of Doctoral Program, Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
13 – 18 years: Teen Mental Health: What our Youth Need
Too often we talk about our kids, but not with them. In this candid discussion we will hear from teens themselves about their struggles with mental wellness. We’ll learn what outlets they may or may not have and hear their recommendations for improving resources at their schools and within their communities as well as how to strengthen relationships with their teachers and counselors.
- Amy Kennedy; Education Director, The Kennedy Forum
- Elizabeth Einig; Senior, James B. Conant High School
- Osheundede Maxwell Asenguah; Junior, Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville
- Priscilla Fiorito; Senior, Lake View High School
- Rha’Me Woods; Senior, Simeon Career Academy
18 – 25 years old: Mental Health and Addiction on Campus
According to National Data on Campus Suicide and Depression, one in every 12 U.S. college students make a suicide plan. Two-thirds of students who are struggling do not seek treatment, according to the American College Health Association. How can we change that? Where should students – many away from home – turn for help? What are the signs peers should look for? Join this honest discussion on what mental health on campus looks like.
- Bennett Leventhal, MD; Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco
- Sarah Mughal, MPH; Manager of Programs and Evaluation, Jack.org
- Ben Locke, PhD; Executive Director, Center for Collegiate Mental Health, Penn State University
- Nicholas van den Berg; Student, Bishop University
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm – Keynote Lunch
- *Elizabeth Vargas; Co-anchor ABC’s 20/20 and Author, “Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction”
- Allison Schmitt; Eight-time Olympic Medalist
- Michelle Williams; Grammy Award-winning Artist and Actress
- *Patrick J. Kennedy; Former US Representative, Rhode Island; Co-Founder, One Mind, and Founder, Kennedy Forum
- Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A; United States Surgeon General
- Maya Dru; Senior, Jones College Prep High School
Free Lunch Program – Generation Found film screening
Generation Found is an independent film that takes an unprecedented and intimate look at how a system of treatment centers, sober high schools, alternative peer groups, and collegiate recovery programs can exist in concert to intervene early and provide a real and tested long-term alternative to the “War on Drugs.” Watch an abbreviated screening of Generation Found followed by a conversation with board members from Chicago’s premiere recovery high school.
- Tim Devitt, Psy.D.
Board Member, Serenity Academy Chicago
- Marcia Nickow, Psy.D.
Board President Elect, Serenity Academy Chicago
2:15 pm – 3:00 pm – BREAKOUTS Disrupting Mental Health – Innovative Breakthroughs
Innovative Technology Solutions to Improve Mental Health
In this hyper-mobile world, it’s hard to learn where, what, and how mental health services and interventions should be offered for young people. Two Chicago researchers have armed homeless teens in Chicago with smartphones to learn just that. These behavior interventionists will present their data and recommend how resources can be developed or adapted to help these underserved citizens. Also joining the conversation will be a tech leader sharing their work on digital therapy as a treatment tool for young people living with substance use disorders as well as assisting patients with serious mental illness.
- Niranjan Karnik, MD, PhD; Department of Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center
- Stephen Schueller, PhD; Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University
- Corey McCann, MD, PhD: Founder & CEO, Pear Therapeutics
- Maryam Saleh, PhD; Vice President, Programs, Matter
Veterans and Chicago Youth – Working Together to Process Trauma
The YMCA of Metro Chicago Urban Warriors project connects youth who live in high-violence neighborhoods with combat veterans who likely understand what they’re going through. Urban Warriors Executive Director will share how the program is built on the idea that these kids are experiencing trauma and need to process it, and that witnessing or experiencing violence can affect how they behave at home, react at school, or lead them to commit violence themselves. Recent Urban Warrior graduates will share their success stories with their veteran mentors.
- Eddie Bocanegra; Executive Director Youth Safety and Violence Prevention, YMCA of Metro Chicago
- Emalee Pearson; Program Director, Urban Warriors
- Alberto Boleres; Veteran Outreach, Urban Warriors
Deliverance or Disease: The Science and Psychology of the Addicted Brain
Addiction represents not an inherited brain disease but the distortion of healthy brain development in response to adverse experiences in childhood, both social and personal. On the emotional level, all addictions are attempts to escape pain, distress and discomfort with the self. Prevention and treatment need to address the trauma at the root of addiction and the environment that can either prejudice or promote healing.
- *Gabor Mate, MD; Physician, Author, Speaker
Addressing First Episode Psychosis- Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness
The majority of individuals with serious mental illness experience their first symptoms during adolescence or early adulthood, and there are often long delays between the initial onset of symptoms and a person receiving treatment. Renowned experts will discuss the latest science and evidence-based practices in early intervention.
- Marc Fagan, Psy. D.; VP, Clinical Operations & Youth Services, Thresholds
- Lisa Dixon, MD, MPH; Professor of Psychiatry & Director, Division of Behavioral Health Services and Policy Research, Columbia University Medical Center
- Nev Jones, PhD; Director of Research, Division of Client Centered Outcomes Research in Public Mental Health, Felton Institute
- Cassie Williams; Student, Herkimer Community College
Student Breakout Session
With nearly 100 students from the Chicagoland area in attendance, The Kennedy Forum is using this opportunity for students to engage directly with specific speakers to learn more about their stories and partake in conversation. This will start with brief comments from the speakers followed by moderated questions from the student audience. This session is open only to students under 24 years old and their chaperones.
- Steven Rosado; Senior Program Director, Mikva Challenge
- Colleen Cicchetti, PhD; Executive Director, Center for Childhood Resilience, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
- Allison Schmitt; Eight-time Olympic Medalist
- Michelle Williams; Grammy Award-winning Artist and Actress
- *Darryl “DMC” McDaniels; CoFounder, Run DMC and Author, “Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide”
3:15 pm – 5:15 pm – Afternoon programming
- Hollis Baker; Senior, Walter Payton College Prep
Texting That Saves Lives
- *Nancy Lublin; Founder & CEO, Crisis Text Line
Science And Compassion in Understanding and Healing Addiction
- *Gabor Mate, MD; Physician, Author, Speaker
Confronting Addiction and Depression Saved Me From Suicide
- *Darryl DMC McDaniels; CoFounder, Run DMC and Author, “Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide”
Building Hope and Opportunity for Youth – The Role of Mental Health
When a society invests wisely in young people, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. As is true for physical health, mental health encompasses more than the absence of disorders. The pathway to success for youth relies both on building a strong foundation in the early years as well as providing opportunities to build resilience and remove the barriers to success that occur across the lifespan.
- Glenda Wrenn, M.D.; Associate Professor Psychiatry & Behavioral Science and Director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute Division of Behavioral Health
- Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, Ph.D.; Vice President and Executive Director of the Research and Policy Center, The Chicago Urban League
- Rufus Williams; President & CEO, BBF Family Services
What Ever You Are
- Keith “Blu” Warfield; Author & Poet
Musical Performance Me2/ Orchestra
Me2/ is the world’s only classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them. Me2/ serves as a model organization where people with and without mental illnesses work together in an environment where acceptance is an expectation, patience is encouraged, and supporting each other is a priority.
- Ronald Braunstein; Musical Director, Me2/
5:15 pm – Closing remakrs
- Peter O’Brien; Chairman, The Kennedy Forum Illinois
5:30 – 7:00 pm – Reception
*Indicates the speaker will be doing a live signing of their book throughout the day in the Grand Ballroom foyer or during the reception.
David is the Director of Social-Emotional Learning at The Urban Assembly. He previously served as the Social-Emotional Learning Coordinator for District 75 where he shaped the district’s approach to social-emotional learning for students with severe cognitive and behavioral challenges. He has worked internationally, implementing and evaluating social-emotional learning programs at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Rutgers Social-Emotional Lab, and has published around the relationship between social-emotional competence and student academic and behavioral outcomes. He is married with two children and is an Engineering Officer in the Army Reserve. David holds an M.Ed in Educational Psychology from Fordham University.
Dr. Marc Atkins is Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology and Director of the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has a long-standing interest in the development of effective mental health services for children and families living in high poverty urban communities, and is an active researcher in the areas of childhood ADHD and aggression, and community mental health services for children and families. For more than two decades, Dr. Atkins has focused his research on integrating prevention-based mental health strategy into existing community settings— schools, park districts, community centers—where improvements can be focused on all children and families, not just those with diagnoses. He is a frequent consultant to the Chicago Public Schools, as well as the Illinois Division of Mental Health and the Illinois State Board of Education on guidelines for school and community based mental health programs and practices. He serves on two national boards as Secretary of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science of the Association for Psychological Science and Past-President of the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (Division 53) of the American Psychological Association.
Myron L. Belfer
Myron L. Belfer, MD, MPA; Professor of Psychiatry, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Belfer is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He received an MPA from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He served as Special Assistant to the Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, US Department of Health and Welfare. Dr. Belfer is former Senior Adviser in the Department of Mental Disorders and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization in Geneva from 2000-2005 where he was instrumental in supporting a number of global child mental health initiatives. He is past-President of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions. He co-directs the Children’s Hospital Boston Global Child Mental Health Observership Program and directed for the Harvard Center on the Developing Child a comprehensive child mental health needs assessment in schools in Shanghai.
Eddie Bocanegra is the Executive Director of the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention initiative. He has pioneered many community-based programs to address trauma and build resiliency among those most impacted by violence, including Urban Warriors.
Prior to joining the Y, Eddie served as a congregational organizer for Community Renewal Society where he led FORCE (Fighting to Overcome Records and Create Equality), a coalition that advocates for increased opportunities for ex-offenders. He also worked as a violence interrupter for Chicago’s Ceasefire. He currently serves on Chicago Mayor Emanuel’s Commission for a Safer Chicago and Chicago’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Cabinet. He has spoken at the United Nations in New York City, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain, and at many universities throughout the country on the topic of trauma and its relation to community violence. He was featured in the Independent Spirit Award winning documentary, “The Interrupters.”
Eddie has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Northeastern University and a Master of Arts in Social Work from the University of Chicago.
Ronald Braunstein is the Music Director and Conductor of Me2/Orchestra. He received his musical background at The Juilliard School, Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Tanglewood Music Center. After graduating from Juilliard, he won the Gold Medal in the Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition in Berlin. He has conducted the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Oslo Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, Israel Sinfonietta, Tokyo Symphony and Stuttgart Radio Orchestra, among others. Braunstein was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1985. He and his wife, Caroline Whiddon, co-founded Me2/ (“me, too”) because of their desire to support others who struggle to maintain good mental health.
Dr. Martha S. Burns has been a practicing speech language pathologist in the Chicago area for over 40 years working with both children and adults. She serves on the Faculty of Northwestern University, in the area of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.. Dr. Burns is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and has received honors from Northwestern University, other universities, hospitals, professional organizations nationwide. She has authored 3 books and over 100 book chapters and articles Dr. Burns is a consultant to many school districts around the world. She presents 75-100 invited in-services, keynotes, webinars and continuing education courses world-wide each year on neuroscience applications to education and clinical practice.
Dr. Colleen Cicchetti has worked at Lurie Children’s Hospital for over 25 years, focused on the areas of program development and evaluation, community outreach and parent education, therapeutic summer camp programming, and treatment for children who have been exposed to trauma or victimization. In 2004, she established the Center for Childhood Resilience to provide various resources to increase youth access to mental health services. For over a decade, she has led work to identify clear strategies for helping children connect with the mental health services they need, ensuring providers were implementing effective programming, and identifying new interventions to address emerging mental health needs of children and youth in Chicago and throughout the State of Illinois. In October of 2015, Dr. Cicchetti launched the Center for Childhood Resilience to further this important work.
Shemeka Dawson is a 43 year old Inspirational Leader, a talented Chef of 15 years, a wonderful Mother of four children, five grandchildren, and a Survivor of commercial sex exploitation. A native of Shreveport Louisiana; Dawson recalls having some very dark days. At the age of 4; she was abducted and sexually abused. Dawson was later trafficked for sex at age 21. In her efforts to escape and survive while battling mental health issues; Dawson engaged in a life of crime and drug addiction which lead to long periods of incarceration. Despite her struggles; Dawson had a strong desire to live a better life. She sought help from various community mental health agencies and drug rehabilitation facilities. Dawson attended support groups and received psychotherapy to address her traumatic past and mental health issues. Dawson then Founded Women with Fire Inc. Ministry for Hurting Women/Girls; where she currently enjoys helping families cross over the bridges of mental illness, addiction, and incarceration by helping them discover their resiliency. As Parent Leader for Morehouse School of Medicine; Dawson also facilitates a class for young mothers with children between the ages of 0-5.
Tim Devitt, Psy.D., MS.Ed. is a substance use and mental health counselor, teacher, researcher, consultant, and executive leader with a 28-year commitment to people with mental illness and substance use disorders. His current position as Vice President of Clinical Operations at Thresholds, one of the largest recovery service organizations in Illinois, involves providing senior leadership to an array of substance use treatment and mental health recovery programs. Dr. Devitt’s research, training and consultation contributions pertain to the implementation of evidence-based mental health, tobacco dependence, and other co-occurring substance use treatments, with special attention to increasing access for marginalized populations. He has presented nationally and co-authored a book chapter and a number of peer-reviewed journal articles about the integration of mental health and substance use treatment. Dr. Devitt is also a board member for Serenity Academy of Chicago, a recovery high school scheduled to open in Chicago in the Fall 2017, a lecturer at the University of Chicago, School of Social Services Administration, Chicago, IL and a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). He holds a License in Clinical Professional Counseling (LCPC) with the State of Illinois and a Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling (CADC) with the Illinois Credentialing Board.
Lisa Dixon, M.D., M.P.H. is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center where she directs the Division of Behavioral Health Services, Policy Research, and the Center for Practice Innovations (CPI) at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. As CPI director, she oversees activities for the New York State Office of Mental Health in implementing evidenced based practices in behavioral health programs throughout the state. She is the principal investigator on the NIMH Recovery After Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE)-Implementation and Evaluation Study, and is leading the innovative program, OnTrackNY, a statewide initiative designed to improve outcomes and reduce disability for individuals experiencing their first episode of psychosis.
A 17-year-old performing poet, Maya Dru is a lead poet of the Rebirth Poetry Ensemble, a Chicago organization that uses spoken word poetry as a tool for activism, education, and community building. She is the individual winner of Louder Than A Bomb, and finalist of the Split This Rock: Library of Congress Slam and the YoungArts Foundation.
Bill heads up the well being and sustainable high performance learning team at Google. His team’s mission is to help Googlers live and work in sustainable ways that allow them to be their most effective and happy selves, as individuals and as an organization.
Previously, Bill led Site Reliability Engineering teams for 8 years at Google, responsible for worldwide production engineering of Websearch Infrastructure and then as the lead for Gmail, Chrome and Google Apps. Outside of work, is vice-chair of Veteran’s PATH, a nonprofit teaching mindfulness to veterans and an adviser to several startups and non-profits. www.billduane.com
John Edelman leads the firm’s global citizenship initiatives including corporate social responsibility, volunteerism, corporate philanthropy, community engagement, supplier and partnership engagement, environmental sustainability, and corporate reporting. He also serves as President of the Daniel J Edelman Family Foundation.
Prior to his 2010 appointment, he had served as Managing Director, Global Human Resources since 1995 overseeing global human resources, professional staff and operations. He currently is a member of the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, serves on Board of Advisors, Student Veterans of America and sits on the Advisory Board of Ethical Corporation.
Richard Edelman is the president and CEO of Edelman, the leading communications marketing firm, with 65 offices and 5,500 employees worldwide. Richard has extensive experience in marketing and reputation management, having led assignments with major corporations, NGOs and family businesses in over 25 industries around the world. He has counseled countries in every region of the world on economic development programs. As the creator of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer, Richard has become one of the foremost authorities on trust in business, government, media and NGOs. Under Richard’s leadership, the agency has garnered many of the industry’s top accolades. Richard, himself, also has earned many industry honors. He is regarded as an industry thought leader. Richard topped PRWeek‘s list of most powerful executives in 2013 and was recognized as the third highest rated CEO by Glassdoor in 2014, among others. Richard serves on the Board of Directors of the Ad Council, the Atlantic Council, the Children’s Aid Society, the 9/11 Museum, the University of Chicago Medical Center and the National Committee on US China Relations. He is a member of the World Economic Forum and PR Seminar. Richard earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1978 and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1976. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1972.
Elizabeth’s recovery from depression inspired her to shine a spotlight on the need to support others. She helped raise $140,000 as the Libertyville Youth & Family Counseling gala keynote speaker, established a mental health awareness day at her school, created a video about stigma, and partnered with Chicago Community Trust and Kennedy Forum to facilitate teen discussions. Elizabeth worked as a Kenneth Young Center for Mental Health intern and leads a local coalition youth advisory council focused on reducing teen substance use. She’s earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, Cook County Sheriff’s Youth Service Medal of Honor, and was named Schaumburg Youth Volunteer of the Year.
Marc Fagan, Psy.D. is the Vice President of Clinical Operations and Youth Services at Thresholds in Chicago. He oversees comprehensive programs for emerging adults with mental health needs and traumatic histories, teen parents, homeless youth, and people experiencing their first episode of serious mental illness. Dr. Fagan presents to audiences regarding youth transitioning to adulthood, and participates in workgroups dedicated to improving outcomes for emerging adults and young people in care. He spoke at a Congressional Briefing in Washington DC in support of the Healthy Transitions Act for youth with serious mental health needs. As a Certified Consultant for the National Network on Youth Transition, Dr. Fagan also trains audiences and supports organizations in the Transition to Independence Process (TIP); an evidence-informed framework for assisting emerging adults with emotional disorders and/or mental illness.
G Lawrence Farmer
G. Lawrence Farmer, MSW, PhD is an Associate Professor and Director of the Doctoral Program at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service. His scholarly interests center on understanding those factors that promote the well-being of youth. Two of the projects he is presently involved in, Resilient Scholars and Westchester Building the Future, seeks to promote youth’s well-being. Both projects seek to increase protective and promotive factor by transforming institutions that provide services to youth.
Tonya Francisco is an anchor/reporter for Chicago’s Very Own WGN News. She’s an award-winning journalist who has worked in Grand Rapids and Flint Michigan. Tonya is a native Chicagoan, proud alumna of Whitney Young Magnet High School and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Tonya is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the National Association of Black Journalists.
Since 1996, Phyllis Glink has worked closely with the Foundation’s partners in the non-profit, advocacy, philanthropy and government communities to ensure that the Irving Harris Foundation’s grants are having optimal impact on the fields of early childhood development, children’s mental health and public policy. As a leading voice in the early childhood field, Phyllis has led and served on a variety of federal- and state-level bodies that seek to improve the quality and availability of early childhood and infant mental health services and supports, including: Co-Chair of the Governor’s Early Learning Council, the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Advisory Council on Child Care, the Steering Committee for the Early Childhood Funders’ Collaborative and the BUILD Initiative, and the Advisory Boards of the First Five Years Fund and the National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation.
Kathryn Goetzke founded and launched her own multimillion-dollar brand The Mood Factory and ran the first national cause marketing campaign for depression. She has spoken at the United Nations, GMHM, MHCA and has been featured on the BBC, WGN Chicago, CBS Chicago, Tasty Trade, and eWomenNetwork. Goetzke is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and PsychCentral. Her foundation, iFred, aims at rebranding depression through the use of the sunflower and the color yellow as the international symbol, educating that depression is treatable, teaching about the biology of the brain and engaging celebrities to speak about the disease. Kathryn is most proud of Schools for Hope, a curriculum aimed at teaching 10-year olds that hope is a teachable skill.
Joseph Green is an educator, activist, performer, and motivational speaker who is long turn recovery for Substance Use Disorder. Located in Washington DC, he is the Youth Programs Coordinator for the arts and activism non-profit Split This Rock and serves as the Chapter Lead for Young People in Recovery. Through his personal and family experiences with substance abuse and recovery, Joseph has put together a catalog of work dealing directly with these issues along with other topics, such as leadership, race, and self-efficacy. Using his poetry as a sounding board, he has facilitated thousands of conversations and workshops with both teens and adults.
Pastor Chris Harris leads Bright Star Church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood and has ministered in over 24 countries in song. He is founder of Bright Star Community Outreach, which is dedicated to youth anti-violence programs, and is a National Council Member of AIPAC. He has developed the TURN Center (The Urban Resilience Network) based on the Israeli model of NATAL in Tel Aviv with five core competencies: counseling, parenting, mentorship, workforce development, and advocacy. Pastor Harris is Chairman of the bronzeville Community Action Council, a member of the University of Chicago Medicine Community Advisory Council, and has served as the President of the 4th Ward and Cook Country Clergy Coalitions.
Dr. Jones is the Director of Research at Felton Institute’s Division for Client-Centered Outcomes Research in Public Mental Health (CCOR) in San Francisco, including research oversight of specialty first episode psychosis services across four northern California counties. Diagnosed with schizophrenia and a former client of early intervention in psychosis services, her research and policy work focus on psychosocial approaches to recovery in early psychosis, the sociocultural determinants of mental health, and stakeholder engagement and leadership in research and evaluation. Nev received a Ph.D in community psychology from DePaul University followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the Lived Experience Research Network (LERN), a historic initiative aimed at bridging mental health advocacy and research in the United States. She regularly speaks and consults around the US on early intervention and youth mental health services.
Niranjan Karnik, M.D., Ph.D. is the Cynthia Oudejans Harris, M.D., Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Section of Population Behavioral Health and Section of Child Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center (Chicago, IL). At Rush, Dr. Karnik is Medical Director of the Road Home Program: Center for Veterans and their Families. He concurrently serves as an Associate Faculty Member of the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago. His research focuses on community-based interventions for high-risk youth with psychiatric and substance use disorders.
Amy L. Kennedy is the Education Director for The Kennedy Forum, providing consultation services that emphasize evidence-based research and programming to facilitate policy change in the areas of education and mental health. She also sits on the Board of Mental Health America, a leading national advocacy organization based in the Washington, DC area, focused on giving a voice to all people with mental health conditions and addictions. Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Pennsylvania State University, and a Master of Science in Environmental Education from Nova Southeastern University. As part of her training, Amy has also obtained certification as a highly qualified instructor in the subjects of Science, English and History.
Patrick J. Kennedy
Patrick J. Kennedy is the nation’s leading political voice on mental illness, addiction, and other brain diseases. While representing Rhode Island in Congress, he fought a national battle to end medical and societal discrimination against these illnesses. Since leaving Congress to devote himself to brain advocacy, he founded The Kennedy Forum, which provides leadership in the mental health community, and co-founded One Mind, a global leader in open science. He co-authored “A Common Struggle,” which outlines both his personal story and a bold plan for mental health in America. Patrick lives in New Jersey with his wife, Amy, and their four children.
As Chief Medical Officer and a Group Vice President of Walgreens, Harry Leider is responsible for developing enterprise-wide health and wellness services that provide customer value and improve patients’ lives. Prior to joining Walgreens, Dr. Leider was Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Ameritox, a national laboratory that provides medication monitoring services to physicians that treat chronic pain and serious mental illness. He serves on the editorial boards of: Physician Executive, and the Journal of Population Health Management. Dr. Leider is a founding board member of the Disease Management Association of America and served on the Board of the Institute of Aging at the University of Pennsylvania.
Bennett Leventhal, M.D. received his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans then spent two years as a medical officer at the Naval Regional Medical Center, Portsmouth, Virginia. Dr. Leventhal then joined the University of Chicago; where he served as Professor of Psychiatry & Pediatrics and Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for more than two decades and remains the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Emeritus. Dr. Leventhal has also served 5 years as Deputy Director, Nathan S. Kline Institute of Psychiatric Research. In 2014 he moved to the University of California San Francisco where he is Professor and Director of Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Deputy Director of the UCSF STAR Center for Autism Spectrum and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Dr. Leventhal is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both General Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and a Distinguished Life Fellow of both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists.
Dr. Ben Locke is the Senior Director of Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at Penn State University and the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Collegiate Mental Health (CCMH) – a practice/research network of over 400 counseling centers. Dr. Locke presents and consults widely about college student mental health in higher education and has published dozens of peer reviewed articles on the topic. Dr. Locke has over 20 years of clinical experience in a wide variety of mental health settings including wilderness therapy, psychiatric hospitals, group homes, community mental health, and college counseling centers.
Nancy Lublin does not sleep very much. She is currently the Founder & CEO of Crisis Text Line, which has processed nearly 20 million messages in 3 years and is one of the first “big data for good” orgs. She was CEO of DoSomething.org for 12 years, taking it from bankruptcy to the largest organization for teens and social change in the world. Her first venture was Dress for Success, which helps women transition from welfare to work in almost 150 cities in 20 countries. She founded this organization with a $5,000 inheritance from her great-grandfather. She studied politics at Brown University, political theory at Oxford University, and has a law degree from New York University. She is the author of 4 books and is a board member of McGraw Hill Education. Nancy was named one of Fortune’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” alongside the Pope and Dalai Lama. (She thought that was hilarious.) Nancy is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum (attending Davos multiple times), was named Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014, and has been named in the NonProfit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list 3 times. She is married to Jason Diaz and has two children who have never tasted Chicken McNuggets.
A renowned speaker, and bestselling author, Dr. Gabor Maté is highly sought after for his expertise on a range of topics, from addiction to mind-body wellness. Rather than offering quick-fix solutions to these complex issues, Dr. Maté weaves together scientific research, case histories, and his own insights and experience to present a broad perspective that enlightens and empowers people to promote their own healing and that of those around them. As an author, Dr. Maté has written several bestselling books including the award-winning In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction. His works have been published internationally in twenty languages. Dr. Maté is the co-founder of Compassion for Addiction, a new non-profit that focuses on addiction. He is also an advisor of Drugs over Dinner. Dr. Maté has received the Hubert Evans Prize for Literary Non-Fiction; an Honorary Degree (Law) from the University of Northern British Columbia; an Outstanding Alumnus Award from Simon Fraser University; and the 2012 Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from Mothers Against Teen Violence. He is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Criminology, Simon Fraser University.
Corey has background as a physician, scientist, entrepreneur, and healthcare investor. Previously, he was an investor with MPM Capital and with RiverVest Venture Partners, where he evaluated new investment opportunities, managed relationships with strategic partners, and oversaw board-level strategy and execution at portfolio companies. Prior to MPM, he was with McKinsey & Company, where he advised pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies on the acquisition, development, and commercialization of life science technologies. He also led McKinsey’s Central Nervous System (CNS) expertise group, serving clients across pharma and biotech. He is a founding member of multiple start-ups including Alcyone Lifesciences, a company developing technologies to deliver therapeutics to the brain. Dr. McCann’s post-graduate training was at Harvard University, Washington University in St Louis, and at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and he graduated summa cum laude from The Pennsylvania State University where he was an Evan Pugh Scholar.
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels
Darryl “DMC” McDaniels changed music and made history when he broke down cultural barriers with his legendary band Run-DMC. From the first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone to the first to appear on MTV, Grammy nominated Run-DMC changed music, culture, fashion, language and made American history. 30 million record sales later, and more than ten years after the untimely death of his bandmate Jam Master Jay, DMC still continues to create, inspire and motivate.
Amanda Moreno, Ph.D., is faculty at Erikson Institute where she teaches child development to masters and doctoral students, and conducts research on social-emotional learning and toxic stress. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator of a Department of Education i3 (investing in innovation) grant examining the effectiveness of a mindfulness-based social-emotional learning program in grades K-2 in Chicago Public Schools. She is part of a community of researchers at Erikson and across the globe that is committed to supporting schools in becoming more compassionate places for children, teachers, administrators, and families.
As Jack.org’s department manager, Sarah oversees the design, delivery, and evaluation of all of the organization’s programs. She is also responsible for ongoing formative research and for ensuring that Jack.org is consistently aligned with evidence based practices. She holds a BA in Health Studies from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Public Health focusing on Social Inequities from Simon Fraser University. Before Jack.org, Sarah worked in Vancouver and New Orleans in child mental health policy research, youth sexual health programming, and high school suicide prevention.
Vivek H. Murthy
Vice Admiral (VADM) Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A., was nominated by President Barack Obama in November 2013 and confirmed on December 15, 2014 as the 19th United States Surgeon General. Dr. Murthy received his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard, and his M.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Yale. He completed his residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Murthy firmly believes that our nation’s greatest asset has always been its people. As Surgeon General, he has fought to both educate and inspire his fellow Americans around a key set of priorities: mental health and emotional well-being, healthy eating, active living, chronic disease prevention, tobacco-free living, and our country’s growing addiction crisis.
An addictions psychologist, group psychotherapist and trauma specialist, Marcia Nickow, PsyD., CADC, CGP has nearly 30 years’ experience in private practice as well as inpatient, outpatient, halfway house and community outreach settings. She works extensively with individuals, couples and families impacted by intergenerational addiction and trauma. Dr. Nickow, affiliated with Working Sobriety, Chicago, and clinical supervisor at SunCloud Health Outpatient Treatment Center, presents internationally on addiction and trauma. She is co-author of A Group Therapist’s Guide to Process Addictions and recipient of the 2015 Alonzo Award for Excellence from the American Group Psychotherapy Association for an international journal article detailing her long-term group treatment model for addiction. Dr Nickow has taught at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She serves as president-elect of Serenity Academy Chicago.
Peter O’Brien, Sr. is President and CEO of MADO Management, LP, a diversified family business. A division of the company, MADO Healthcare, LLC, owns and operates three specialized mental health rehabilitation facilities and one skilled and intermediate care facility for persons with mental illness and coexisting chronic illnesses, each delivering integrated primary and behavioral health recovery and rehabilitation. Peter has been on the forefront of statewide campaigns for mental healthcare advocacy, legislation, and reform and has been a chief convener, sponsor in the foundation of the Kennedy Forum Illinois, and Chairman of the Board.
Emalee Pearson, MPH/MSW is the Program Director for Urban Warriors, a trauma-informed mentoring program a component of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention (YSVP) initiative. An alumna of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and Jane Addams College of Social Work, Emalee’s experience and interests include violence prevention, child and adolescent mental health and increasing access to trauma-informed mental health services for justice-involved and under-served youth. Prior to joining the Y, Emalee spent time volunteering in a juvenile detention setting and worked as a graduate research assistant at both Cure Violence and Jane Addams College of Social Work. Emalee was also a graduate-level intern at YSVP where she worked closely with Urban Warriors. Before becoming YSVP’s Program Director for Urban Warriors, Emalee served as the interim Director of Program Operations at YSVP.
Diana Mendley Rauner is President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund, a public-private partnership that believes in advancing program and policy efforts interactively to foster systemic change for young children and families. Educare, its birth-to-5 school on Chicago’s South Side, is a national model for narrowing the academic achievement gap for low-income children. Married to Governor Bruce Rauner, Diana serves as First Lady of Illinois, and she and Bruce are the proud parents of six children and one son-in-law. Diana holds a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of Chicago, an MBA from Stanford and a BA from Yale.
Justin Luke Riley
Justin Luke Riley now 28 years old, and has been in long term recovery since 2007. He is YPR’s President & CEO, and a founding member. Justin has done organizational development consulting for different industries. He was a Youth & Community Engagement Pastor as well as a private Life Coach. He graduated cum laude from the University Colorado at Denver in the University’s Honors & Leadership Program in 2013, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Mediation, and Public Relations. He is currently completing his Executive MBA from the University of Colorado. As a natural leader and gifted public speaker, Justin has been featured in many media outlets for for his involvement in youth leadership and community engagement. Justin is a prolific leader in recovery, served on the Executive Board of multiple nonprofit enterprises. Justin also serves in many other service-oriented capacities. Justin lives in Denver, Colorado, where he is married to the woman of his dreams, Rachel Marie. They recently had their first child, Everly Hope, who enjoys spending time with her puppy King Bear.
Steven is a Senior Program Director at Mikva Challenge, supervising City Wide Youth Council’s (CYC’s). The purpose of the Citywide Youth Councils (CYCs) is strengthening youth participation in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policy in city government through the creation of issue-based youth councils. In addition to supervising CYC’s, Steven also runs the Teen Health Council, a group of youth working in collaboration with the Chicago Department of Public Health and the CPS Office of Student Health and Wellness to research, debate, and report on policy recommendations concerning nutrition, physical activity, healthy relationships, and sexual and mental health.
Stephanie Schmitz Bechtler
Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, Ph. D. is the Vice President and Executive Director of the Research and Policy Center, newly relaunched in the summer of 2016. She brings over fifteen years of experience in research and evaluation to the position, and has been employed with the League since 2013.
In her current role, Bechteler implements and oversees all of the research activities of the Chicago Urban League, including internal research activities (program development and program performance monitoring; organizational evaluations) to improve organizational impact and external research activities (community and policy landscape analyses, research reports and briefs) to inform the League’s policy and advocacy efforts. Prior to joining the Chicago Urban League, Bechteler was the Associate Director of Research and Policy for the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University. Bechteler received her A.M. from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration in 2006 and her Ph.D. in Social Work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois in 2015.
Stephen Schueller, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University and a faculty member of Northwestern’s Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies (CBITs). He received his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and completed his clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco as a member of the public service and minority cluster. Along with collaborators from Rush University Medical Center and the Night Ministry he has explored how technology-based resources and services can meet the mental health needs of homeless youth.
Allison Schmitt is an eight-time Olympic medal swimmer and three-time Olympian, making her one of the most decorated swimmers in the history of the sport. A Canton, Michigan native and 11-time NCAA champion, Allison graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Psychology and minor in Child & Family Development. She is passionate about helping those who struggle with mental health issues and has been vocal about her personal experience with depression since her cousin tragically took her own life. Allison continues to spread the message that “it’s okay to ask for help” with the hopes of changing the stigmas associated and helping as many people as she can.
Alexandra (Alex) Schwarzman is a restructuring associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago. Her practice focuses on all aspects of corporate restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings. She has represented clients in some of the largest and most complex restructurings of the last few years. In addition to her legal work, she contributes to Kirkland through her role as co-chair of the Chicago office associates committee. The committee’s work aims to facilitate discussion, address and improve associate life and morale. Feedback through the associates committee was a key driver of Kirkland’s adoption of mindfulness training.
Maryam is passionate about moving research into the market, where it can have impact and improve lives. She was a founding member of Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems Inc., a startup that commercialized a brain implant that aimed to restore movement in paralyzed individuals. She’s also founded the Center for Device Development at Northwestern University, a fellowship program where doctors and engineers identify unmet clinical needs and test drive their medical device business idea. Her goal at MATTER is to build a strategy to encourage collaboration across multiple stakeholders to improve healthcare. She has a BSc in Computer engineering from Brown University and a PhD in Computational Neuroscience from the University of Chicago.
Maggie Skoch, a recent graduate from the University of Notre Dame, is a first year medical student at the Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University in Chicago, where she will pursue psychiatry. Skoch was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder during her freshman year of high school. She served as the President of the Notre Dame’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.In 2016 Maggie was awarded the Rev. A. Leonard Collins, C.S.C., award for her substantial personal effort to advance the interests of students. Additionally, she received the 2016 Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health Award from the Jed Foundation for her efforts to improve mental health at Notre Dame.
Michael Thompson is the President and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (NAHPC or National Alliance). NAHPC consists of approximately 50 healthcare purchaser-led coalitions collectively supporting over 12,000 healthcare purchasers providing health coverage to over 41 million Americans. The National Alliance mission to collectively empower purchasers to drive innovation, health and value for our companies, our communities and our country. Prior to joining NBCH, Mike was a Principal with PricewaterhouseCoopers where he consulted on healthcare and employee benefits strategy and served as an executive for Prudential Insurance. He has specialized in cross-sector initiatives related to sustainable cost reduction, integrated health, wellness and consumerism, retiree health, health reform and well-being. Mike is also a nationally recognized mental health advocate and was Past President of NAMI New York City.
Nicholas van den Berg
Nic is a 21 year old student from Ottawa, Ontario, currently studying psychology at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec. He has lived experience with depression and anxiety, and is an active member of Jack.org, a national network of young leaders transforming the way Canadians think about mental health. He is the Co-Lead of Jack.org’s UBishop’s chapter and serves as one of the organization’s Network Representatives, most recently representing his peers in conversation with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Elizabeth Vargas; Co-anchor ABC’s 20/20 and Author, “Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction” As an award-winning ABC News anchor, Elizabeth Vargas has traveled the world covering breaking news stories, reporting in-depth investigations, and conducting newsmaker interviews. She anchored ABC’s live coverage of the 2015 Paris terrorist attack and has reported extensively on Christian refugees escaping ISIS in Iraq, the Amanda Knox case from Perugia, Italy, and spoke exclusively with the high school students accused of sexual assault in the Steubenville rape trial. In 2016, Vargas anchored ABC’s live breaking news coverage of the deadly Orlando nightclub shooting, the ambush in Dallas where five police officers were killed, the death of pop star Prince and the passing of boxing icon Muhammad Ali.
Keith “Blu” Warfield
Keith “Blu” Warfield is an all-around artist who uses multiple artistic platforms to express himself and the stories of people around him. If he isn’t taking photos, dancing, or rapping, he is more than likely sharing spaces with the youth of Chicago in a classroom. He competed his entire high school career as part of Team Englewood, winning the inaugural Louder Than a Bomb Indy Poet Award in 2012. His poem, “Whatever you are be a good one” was recorded at WBEZ studios and featured in many publications including The Huffington Post following his 2012 win. Blu has been fortunate enough to perform for and alongside Jay Ivy, Roger Bonaire Agar, Patricia Smith, and even the Dalai Lama. As the father of a young son Blu realizes more than ever the importance of mentors for students at a very young age, spending most of his poetic time giving back to youth and teaching poetry to classrooms with students as young as six. He is currently working as a Teaching Artist and in 2015 led projects with Young Chicago Authors Community Partners including Nike, Jordan, True Star, Kumba Lynx, The Freshman Urban Program at Northwestern University and The Chase Fellowship Initiative. He was selected this summer to lead workshops for University of Chicago Summer Lab Write On Program.
18-year-old Cassandra Williams is an aspiring musician who wants to change the world by any means necessary. As the oldest of 3 daughters, she knows what it means to carry the weight of responsibility and has carried it with stride. Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, she is a current freshman of Herkimer County Community College and, of course, is keeping music as her major while also exploring the worlds of sociology and psychology. She has been given the opportunity to receive therapy from the OnTrack program in New York and now wants to help others as well.
Michelle Williams burst onto the international stage as a member of Destiny’s Child, one of the most successful recording groups of all time. The group made history selling millions of albums and garnering honors including GRAMMYS and American Music Awards. Since then, Michelle has established a successful solo career, releasing four acclaimed albums, the most recent being 2014’s Journey to Freedom. In addition to music, Michelle is an accomplished actress, having starred in Broadway productions of Aida, The Color Purple, Chicago and Fela!. She’s also starred in her own TV show, Fix My Choir, and recently launched a signature home collection, Believe at Home.
Rufus Williams is the President and Chief Executive Officer of BBF Family Services, formerly known as Better Boys Foundation. He is an active community leader who works to secure opportunities and advancement for Chicago families. Williams served as President of the Chicago Board of Education, among other civic roles. He is a co-host on Chicago’s WVON radio. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Southern
University and A&M College. He is a Certified Public Accountant, previously serving as President and CEO of Olympus, LLC and Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Financial Planning at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo, Incorporated.
Sara is a 23 year Chicago native. She is currently pursuing her Masters Degree in Social Work at Governors State University. Sara currently serves on an alumnae board at a premier Midwest treatment center for women with co-occurring disorders and addictions. She has also been a featured speaker at multiple recovery focused events. Sara is in long term recovery from an eating disorder and depression. Her passion for mental health advocacy has kept her accountable on her own journey and has allowed her to give back to the community that gave so much to her.
Dr. Wrenn is an Associate Professor, psychiatrist, and health policy/mental health services researcher at Morehouse School of Medicine where she directs the Division of Behavioral Health in the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and serves as Director of the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research. Her work focuses on systems of care improvements related to the culturally-centered integration of behavioral health and primary care, with a goal to create environments where individuals adversely impacted by trauma will recover and build a good life. Dr. Wrenn serves as an advisor for several local, regional, and national health-related organizations.
Mikva Challenge Teen Health Council
The Mikva Challenge Teen Health Council’s mission is to improve the health and wellness of Chicago Public Schools through the creation of effective and sustainable youth wellness teams and to increase youth voice in policies related to health of young people in the city. The Kennedy Forum is proud to include four Mikva Challenge students as part of our Young Minds program.
Hollis Baker; Senior, Walter Payton College Prep
Osheundede Maxwell Asenguah; Junior, Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville
Priscilla Fiorito; Senior, Lake View High School
Rha’Me Woods, Senior, Simeon Career Academy
Community Forum Chair
Community Forum Patron
Community Forum Sponsor
Universal Health Services
Universal Health Services
Universal Health Services
Universal Health Services
Universal Health Services
Universal Health Services
Lutheran Social Services
Sinai Health System
Johnson & Johnson – Janssen
Rebecca Susan Buffett Foundation
Dorothy Rom-Rymer Charitable Foundation Inc.
Association of Safety Net Hospitals
Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois
The Joseph Kellman Family Foundation
Richard & Linda Price
Community Forum Partner
Next Level Health Partners, Inc.
Tengelsen Family Foundation
Illinois Hospital Association
Michael J. Darcy & Lenore Holt-Darcy
Bill Heffernan & Employee Resource Systems
The Flawless Foundation
Sign up to receive important Kennedy Forum updates via email.
Sign up to receive important Kennedy Forum updates via email.
Do you need help right now?Find resources to get the support you need >
Just as President Kennedy rallied the nation to dream big and set audacious goals 50 years ago, The Kennedy Forum seeks to set a new standard for the future of health care in the United States.
Our mission is big, and the stakes are clear. We seek to unite the health care system, and rally the mental health community around a common set of principles: Fully implement the 2008 parity law, bring business leaders and government agencies together to eliminate issues of stigma, work with providers to guarantee equal access to care, ensure that policymakers have the tools they need to craft better policy, and give consumers a way to understand their rights.