Members of Federal Panel on Serious Mental Illness Named

Alicia Ault

August 16, 2017

The federal government has named the public members who will serve on a new panel charged with coordinating the response to serious mental illness in the United States.

The Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) was established by the 21st Century Cures Act. Senior leaders from ten federal agencies, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Labor, Veteran Affairs, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Labor, as well as the Social Security Administration, will sit on the panel. Additionally, 14 members of the public – chosen from among several hundred nominees – will serve 3-year terms beginning this month.

The public members who have been chosen are as follows:

  • Linda S. Beeber, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, distinguished professor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Ron Bruno, founding board member and second vice president, CIT International

  • Clayton Chau, MD, PhD, regional executive medical director, Institute for Mental Health and Wellness at St. Joseph-Hoag Health, Orange County, California

  • David Covington, LPC, MBA, CEO/president, RI International

  • Maryann Davis, PhD, research associate professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, Worcester

  • Pete Earley, author

  • Paul Emrich, PhD, undersecretary of family and mental health, Chickasaw Nation

  • Mary Giliberti, JD, CEO, National Alliance on Mental Illness

  • Elena Kravitz, peer support provider and manager, Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey

  • Kenneth Minkoff, MD, Zia Partners

  • Elyn Saks, JD, PhD, professor of law, legal scholar, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Los Angeles

  • John Snook, Esq, executive director/attorney, Treatment Advocacy Center, Arlington, Virginia

  • Rhathelia Stroud, JD, presiding judge, DeKalb County Magistrate Court, Decatur, Georgia

  • Conni Wells, owner/manager, Axis Group, LLC

The committee is charged with improving federal coordination of efforts that address the needs of adults with serious mental illness and of children and youth with serious emotional disturbance.

"We look forward to working with the committee to get individuals with serious mental illness the care they need," said HHS Secretary Tom Price, MD, in a statement. "For too long, our nation has let down Americans with serious mental illness, and the committee will help inform HHS's efforts to turn that around."

The ISMICC will report on advances in research on serious mental illness among adults and serious emotional disturbance among children and on federal outcomes related to measures of suicide, drug overdoses, emergency hospitalizations, criminal justice involvement, homelessness, unemployment, and other issues, according to HHS.

The panel also will recommend actions that federal agencies can take to better coordinate the administration of mental health services for adults with serious mental illness and for children with serious emotional disturbance.

The ISMICC will hold its first meeting on August 31 in Washington.

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