Steering Committee


Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Nursing; Director, Pediatric Mood Disorder Clinic, Institute for Juvenile Research, Department of Psychiatry, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Julie Carbray holds her PhD and master’s degrees from Rush University, Chicago, and her bachelor of science degree from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. A clinical professor of psychiatry and nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), she has been on faculty at UIC since 1993. As a clinician, Dr. Carbray has a national reputation of excellence in serving families of children with mood disorders and was recognized by the UIC community in 2008 by receiving the Karen Gousman Excellence in Nursing Award and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s (APNA) Best Practices in Outpatient Mental Health Nursing Award and Distinguished Service Award. In 2012, Dr. Carbray was awarded UIC’s Inspire award for her long-standing commitment to UIC values and her inspiration of others through her work.

With a particular focus on helping families to help their children with mood disorders, Dr. Carbray has engaged in programs of research that are investigating the psychopharmacology of mood disorders, neurobiology of mood disorders, and neurobiologically informed treatments and family response to childhood mood disorders. Dr. Carbray has also been a liaison with the Chicago Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team, which trains officers about interacting with children with mental illness. Dr. Carbray is an internationally recognized speaker and clinical expert on therapeutic work with children and adolescents with mood disorders and has co-authored scientific papers and chapters in this area of expertise.


Rakesh Jain, MD, MPH
Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, Midland, Texas

Dr. Rakesh Jain attended medical school at the University of Calcutta in India and attended graduate school at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, where he was awarded the National Institute/CDC Competitive Traineeship. He graduated from the School of Public Health in 1987 with a master's degree in public health. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship in research psychiatry with the Gerontology Center of the University of Texas Mental Sciences Institute in Houston, where he received a national research service award for the support of the postdoctoral fellowship. After this, he served a 3-year residency in psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and completed 2 years of child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship.

Dr. Jain is currently involved in multiple research projects studying the effects of medications on the short- and long-term treatment of depression, anxiety, pain/mood overlap disorders, and psychosis in adult and child/adolescent populations. He is also the author of several articles on the issue of mood and pain conditions. He was recently named Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, Gulf Coast Chapter, in recognition of community and peer education and the championing of mental health issues.

Greg Mattingly, MD
Associate Clinical Professor, Washington University School of Medicine; President, Midwest Research Group, St. Louis, Missouri

Dr. Mattingly is a physician and principal investigator in clinical trials for Midwest Research Group. He is also a founding partner of St. Charles Psychiatric Associates, where he treats children, adolescents, and adults. A St. Louis native, he earned his medical degree and received a Fulbright scholarship while attending Washington University. Dr. Mattingly is board certified in adult and adolescent psychiatry and is a diplomat of the National Board of Medical Examiners. He is an associate clinical professor at Washington University, where he teaches psychopharmacology courses for third-year medical students. Dr. Mattingly has been a principal investigator in over 200 clinical trials focusing on ADHD, anxiety disorders, major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Having served on numerous national and international advisory panels, Dr. Mattingly has received awards and distinctions for clinical leadership and neuroscience research. Dr. Mattingly currently serves on the board of directors for APSARD-The American Professional Society of ADHD and Related Disorders, and is a certified evaluator for the NFL regarding ADHD and head concussions. He also serves on the board of Headway House, a community support program for individuals with chronic mental illness. An avid runner and outdoorsman, Dr. Mattingly believes mind, body, and spirit are important qualities for him and his family.

Steering Committee

Steven Chan, MD, MBA
Clinical Assistant Professor (Affiliated), Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California

Steven Chan (@StevenChanMD, is a practicing physician at Palo Alto VA Health, specializing in psychiatry, clinical informatics, and healthcare technology. Dr. Chan performs clinical research—funded by the US Department of Health & Human Services—in areas of telehealth and digital mental health, with applications in underserved and minority health. Dr. Chan is a sought-after national speaker whose ideas, thoughts, and research have been featured by Talks At GoogleJAMATelemedicine and e-HealthJMIR (Journal of Medical Internet Research), Wired, PBS, and NPR Ideastream.

Craig Chepke, MD, DFAPA
Scientific Advisor & Steering Committee Member, Psych Congress; Editorial Board, Current Psychiatry; Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Atrium Health; Medical Director, Excel Psychiatric Associates

Dr. Craig Chepke is a board-certified psychiatrist and a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He attended NYU School of Medicine and completed his residency training at Duke University. Dr. Chepke is the medical director of Excel Psychiatric Associates in Huntersville, NC, as well as a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University and an adjunct associate professor of psychiatry for Atrium Health. Dr. Chepke has special interests in serious mental illness, movement disorders, ADHD, and sleep medicine. He employs a person-centered care model to tailor treatments to each individual's needs, balancing pharmacotherapy with psychotherapeutic and physical health and wellness interventions. He is a member of the Huntington Study Group and serves on the board of directors for the CURESZ foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with schizophrenia.

Kali D. Cyrus, MD, MPH
Diversity Strategist, Dynamics of Difference; Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins Medicine; ACT Team Psychiatrist, Family Preservation Services

Kali Cyrus, MD MPH, is a psychiatrist who practices part-time in a community setting, while serving as an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She has an extensive background in DEI curriculum development, which has included leading the redesign of the Yale psychiatry residency program's 4-year social justice and mental health equity curriculum, co-development of the E.R.A.S.E. framework for responding to patient harassment, and ground-breaking standardized patient workshops to manage implicit bias in patient communication. She is also known for her growing work as an advocate within academia, as a founding member of Time'sUpHealthcare, where her role is ensuring that inclusivity and intersectionality are at the forefront of initiatives. She also has advocacy experience in Capitol Hill, where she worked as a health policy fellow for Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, as the American Psychiatric Association's 2018 Jeanne Spurlock Fellow. She offers consulting, coaching, and policy strategy around issues related to "difference" through her private consulting business, Dynamics of Difference PLLC.

Amber Hoberg, PMHNP-BC
Baptist Health Systems
Morning Star Family Medicine PLLC

Amber Hoberg, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC is a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner from University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. She has been working for the past 12 years with the adult and geriatric populations treating all types of psychiatric conditions. Her background, as a Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurse, includes outpatient, inpatient, group home, and nursing home/ALF settings.

Her duties included: psychiatric evaluations, brief psychotherapy, and medication management for individuals with chronic mental illness, cognitive impairments, and intellectual disabilities. She currently works for Baptist Health System and Morning Star Family Medicine PLLC treating the chronically mentally ill in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

Saundra Jain, MA, PSYD, LPC
Adjunct Clinical Affiliate, University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing; Private Practice, Austin, Texas

Dr. Saundra Jain is the executive director of the Mental Aerobics Project, focused on wellness and the impact of positive psychology on client outcomes. Dr. Jain provides workshops to healthcare practitioners, organizations, businesses, and individuals interested in learning more about the power of wellness. In 1992, she launched a private psychotherapy practice, where she currently provides services for a wide range of mental health issues.

Dr. Jain is very active in the area of peer-to-peer education, especially in the disease states of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and ADHD. Another strong clinical and educational interest involves differential diagnosis of major psychiatric disorders. She is the co-creator and co-presenter of a novel and extremely well-received interactive workshop/program addressing the challenges of dealing with psychiatric comorbidities through the use of psychiatric scales and screeners. This program reached a national audience, and according to many attendees changed the way they practice medicine. She has been instrumental in developing several other innovative tools/programs to fill current gaps in this area. She is the co-creator and co-presenter featured on an interactive DVD titled "Differentiating Bipolar Depression from Unipolar Depression." Recently, Dr. Jain served as the co-host of "Depression in Relationships," a medical education program broadcast in 20 major cities in the United States on several major television networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX) and the Voice of America national news and talk radio system. She is also the senior coauthor of two very well-received books that were written for clients: Unleashed: Transforming My Battle With Depression and Unleashed: 12-Weeks to Total Mental Fitness, both directed toward the needs of patients struggling with mental health issues.

She obtained her master's degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a doctoral degree from Southern California University for professional studies. She demonstrated her professional versatility by obtaining an MBA from Texas Woman’s University. She is a licensed professional counselor and a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She has extensive clinical training in multiple sites, covering the gamut of childhood, adolescent, and adult experiences in the private and the public sectors. She was selected for a postgraduate clinical fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, where she trained in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Edward Kaftarian, MD
CEO, Orbit Health Telepsychiatry, Encino, California

Edward Kaftarian M.D. is a nationally recognized psychiatrist and leader in the field of telepsychiatry. Trained at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins Hospital, he is board-certified in psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and addiction medicine. 

Dr. Kaftarian has served in a variety of executive roles within the California prison system, including chief psychiatrist, senior psychiatrist, medical director, and director of pharmacy. He is the founder of California’s Statewide Prison Telepsychiatry Program, which is the largest correctional telepsychiatry program in the world. As a representative for California Correctional Healthcare Services, Dr. Kaftarian has served alongside Federal Court monitors on extensive quality improvement audits for prisons throughout the State of California.   

Dr. Kaftarian is currently the Chairman and CEO of Orbit Health Telepsychiatry, a company that provides telepsychiatry services to jails and prisons.  

Dr. Kaftarian can be reached by email:

Brooke Kempf, MSN, PMHNP-BC
Hospitalist, Hamilton Center CMHC, Terre Haute, IN; Adjunct Faculty, Indiana University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
Hamilton Center CMHC
Indiana University of Indianapolis

Brooke Kempf has worked as a Psychiatric Nurse at Hamilton Center in Terre Haute, Indiana since she graduated from Indiana State University with Associate Degree in 1994. Her passion for mental health was sparked as she worked as a charge nurse on the Inpatient Unit and continued to grow as she served in their outpatient setting while obtaining her Bachelor’s degree from ISU in 1996. Her education and experience with medication monitoring, providing care as a group home nurse, managing injection clinics and providing staff training allowed her to pave the way for the unique outpatient nursing services that have now grown to multiple nursing staff and locations and led to her being awarded with the 2008 Hamilton Award for Outstanding Staff Member. Ms. Kempf was then able to obtain her Master’s degree from the State University at Stony Brook of New York and is board Certified by the ANCC as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She functioned as Hamilton Center’s Chief Nursing Officer in 2013 while also providing medication management for adults with psychiatric illness in both the inpatient and outpatient setting at Hamilton Center in Terre Haute, and Wabash Valley Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Care Center in Terre Haute. She currently practices as the Hospitalist for the Inpatient Psychiatric Unit of Hamilton Center Community Mental Health Center in Terre Haute, Indiana

Samantha Lau, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
CEO, ELEVATEHER, LLC, Santa Barbara, California

Samantha Lau, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC and a ketamine psychedelic clinician, is the CEO of ELEVATEHER, LLC, a personalized mental healthcare company that provides result-driven psychiatric care and transformational inner makeovers for busy young women who are ready to unveil their vulnerable-badass selves to feel better, work better, and love better.

She has more than 12 years of experience in psychiatry. She has served as a planning committee member at Psych Congress since 2017, a national medical conference that provides cutting-edge research translated into clinical application by the leading minds in psychiatry and a co-chair at Psych Congress Elevate, another national medical conference for practical psychopharmacology and future-focused education tailor-made for early career and forward-thinking mental health clinicians, ready to make waves in the field. Samantha is proud to be part these important conferences in their goal of building a better world-class mental healthcare system in the United States.

She worked as a West Coast manager and a psychiatric nurse practitioner in behavioral health at Landmark Health, enhancing the collaboration between physical and behavioral healthcare. She received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles, and completed her post-graduate psychiatric nurse practitioner program from Johns Hopkins University. She is double-board-certified in family medicine and psychiatry.

Her earlier career focused on becoming a more effective leader in an effort to influence health policy, with the goal of having the psychiatric field a more fluid partner in an integrated healthcare system for the betterment of both fields. Prior to Landmark Health, Samantha was an accomplished mental healthcare specialist, a manager of nurse practitioners, and a mentor in the field at CareMore Health, Anthem Inc. She developed a quick guide for psychopharmacology and disease management and a tool for primary care practitioners to facilitate patients with mental health needs. It gives her great satisfaction to educate the public and help train the future workforce in psychiatry. She spoke to senior citizens in the community about mental illness and undergraduate students in healthcare policy at local universities.

Vladimir Maletic, MD, MS
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville, South Carolina

Dr. Vladimir Maletic is clinical professor of neuropsychiatry and behavioral science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia and a consulting associate in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Maletic received his MD in 1981 and his MS in neurobiology in 1985, both at the University of Belgrade in Yugoslavia. He went on to serve a residency in psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, followed by a residency in child psychiatry at Duke University. Dr. Maletic is a member of several professional organizations, including the Southern Psychiatric Association and American College of Psychiatrists. In addition, he has published numerous articles and has participated in various national and international meetings and congresses. His special areas of interest include neurobiology of mood disorders, pain, schizophrenia, ADHD, and regulation of sleep and wakefulness. Dr. Maletic is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Desiree Matthews, PMHNP-BC
Director of Advanced Practice Providers
Monarch, Charlotte, NC

Desiree Matthews is a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She received her Bachelor's of Nursing from University at Buffalo and her Master's of Nursing at Stony Brook University. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC and practices at Monarch, a community mental health center providing telepsychiatry services to adult patients. Clinical interests include treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, treatment resistant unipolar depression and drug induced movement disorders including tardive dyskinesia. She has provided faculty expertise and insight in the development of a clinical screener for TD called MIND-TD.

Ilan Melnick, MD
Chief Medical Officer, Passageway Residences of Dade County, Miami, Florida

Ilan Melnick, MD, is the primary psychiatrist in two outpatient clinics in the Miami, Florida, area, as well as a staff psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Passageway Residences of Miami-Dade County. In addition, Dr. Melnick is a staff psychiatrist and medical director for Jewish Community Services and performs independent medical and psychiatric evaluations for Miami-Dade County police, fire, transit, and aviation departments.

Dr. Melnick received his medical degree from the Universidad Central del Caribe in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and went on to do his residency in psychiatry and fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. He continues to be involved in education through his role giving grand rounds at major universities and hospitals around the world.

Andrew Penn, MS, PMHNP
Clinical Professor, University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing

Andrew Penn was trained as an adult nurse practitioner and psychiatric clinical nurse specialist at the University of California, San Francisco. He is board certified as an adult nurse practitioner and psychiatric nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Currently, he serves as a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Nursing. Mr. Penn is a psychiatric nurse practitioner with Kaiser Permanente in Redwood City, California, where he provides psychopharmacological treatment for adult patients and specializes in the treatment of affective disorders and PTSD. He is a former board member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, California Chapter, and has presented nationally on improving medication adherence, emerging drugs of abuse, treatment-resistant depression, diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder, and the art and science of psychopharmacologic practice.

Arwen Podesta, MD
Owner, Podesta Wellness; Clinical faculty, Tulane Psychiatry; Medical Director, Lake Wellness; New Orleans, Louisiana

Boarded in Psychiatry, Addiction Medicine, Forensic Psychiatry and Holistic & Integrative Medicine, ArwenPodesta, MD works in Louisiana, with an office in New Orleans. She authored a book on addiction, HOOKED. She was recently awarded the honor of distinguished fellow of the American Psychiatry Association as well as the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and is president-elect of the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association. She is a national speaker, she teaches, consults and is an advocate for integrative best practices for those with addiction and psychiatric needs.

Charles Raison, MD
Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Distinguished Chair for Healthy Minds, Children & Families; Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, School of Human Ecology; Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin

Charles Raison, MD, is the first Mary Sue and Mike Shannon Chair for Healthy Minds, Children, and Families and Professor, School of Human Ecology, and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. Prior to this, he was Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, and the Barry and Janet Lang Professor of Integrative Mental Health at the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona.

Dr. Raison is internationally recognized for his studies examining novel mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of major depression and other stress-related emotional and physical conditions, as well as for his work examining the physical and behavioral effects of compassion training. The recipient of several teaching awards, Dr. Raison has received research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, Dr. Raison received the Raymond Pearl Memorial Award from the Human Biology Association “in recognition of his contributions to our understanding of evolutionary biocultural origins of mental health and illness.”

Dr. Raison serves as the founding director of the Center for Compassion Studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Usona Institute. He is the mental health expert for


James Cannon, PhD, MS, PA-C, CAQ-PSY, DFAPA
Associate Professor, A.T. Still University Mesa, Arizona; Associate Professor, Lynchburg College, Lynchburg, Virginia; Managing Partner, Assure Wellness Group; Southside Behavioral Health

James Cannon, of Chesapeake, Virginia, is a primary care and psychiatric certified physician assistant (PA) who works in a rural inpatient and outpatient hospital-based setting. He’s a recently retired US Coast Guard Officer with 31 years of military service, during which he was a healthcare executive and practicing PA. He is the immediate past chairman of the board of the NCCPA, where he served 8 years as a director at large as the only certifying body for 100,000 PAs nationwide.

Dr. Cannon received his PA training and master of science degree from the Arizona School of Health Sciences/A.T. Still University and additionally holds a Masters of Business Administration and a doctorate in healthcare administration. He is a certified PA with a Certificate of Added Qualification in Psychiatry.

In addition to authoring numerous articles in medical journals and books, Dr. Cannon works with numerous professional groups, including the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Virginia Association of PAs, and Association of PAs in Psychiatry. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of A.T. Still University as the only non-physician/dentist director. In this role, he helps guide the envisioned future of the 125-year founding school of osteopathy. He is the first and only PA on the Board of Trustees for South Hampton Memorial Hospital in Franklin, Virginia.

James and his wife reside in Chesapeake, Virginia, with two dogs while his daughter attends the University of Texas in Arlington.

Nicole Cirino, MD, CST, IF
Reproductive Psychiatrist; Endowed Chair of Reproductive Psychiatry, Maureen Hackett Foundation; Director, Division of Reproductive Psychiatry; Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Baylor College of Medicine/ Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Texas

Dr. Nicole Cirino is a psychiatrist who has worked in the field of Reproductive Psychiatry (also known as Women’s Mental Health or Perinatal Psychiatry) for the past 20 years.

She specializes in Reproductive Psychiatry clinical care, education and research for women with perinatal, perimenstrual and perimenopausal psychiatric conditions, as well as disorders of female sexual dysfunction. This includes postpartum depression, perinatal loss, sexual -trauma related conditions, postpartum psychosis, perinatal OCD, PMDD and other mental health conditions that occur during the reproductive life span.  

She holds a senior faculty appointment at Baylor college of Medicine where she also serves as the Director of the Division of Reproductive Psychiatry in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She teaches clinical aspects of Reproductive Psychiatry to more than 800 medical clinicians a year and serves in leadership roles on many national committees, including Postpartum Support International (PSI), American Psychiatric Association (APA), International Society of Reproductive Psychiatrists (ISRP) and International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH).

She is grew up in Portland, Oregon, earned her Bachelor’s in creative writing at Santa Clara University, her medical degree at Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine and finished residency and fellowship at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.  She recently relocated to Houston, Texas to lead the Reproductive Psychiatry program at Baylor College of Medicine, within Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women.

Jill Harkavy-Friedman, PhD
Vice President of Research, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, New York, New York

Jill Harkavy-Friedman, PhD, is the vice president of research and leads the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s research grant program to advance the field of suicide prevention. With 35 years of experience as a clinician and a researcher, she is passionate about translating research into practice, publishing over 100 peer-reviewed articles. She assists with AFSP’s development of programs and messages that reflect best practices and current research. She works with other national and international research organizations to help set the suicide prevention research agenda and encourage innovative research.

Dr. Harkavy-Friedman earned her bachelor's in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Florida. She completed her internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital. In 1984, she joined Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine, establishing the Adolescent Depression and Suicide Program. In 1989, she moved to Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute where she is an associate professor in the department of psychiatry. She joined the staff at AFSP in 2011. She maintains a clinical practice in Manhattan.

Catherine Judd, DMSc, PA-C, CAQ Psych, DFAAPA
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of PA Studies, School of Health Professions, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

Catherine Judd, MS, PA-C, CAQ-Psy, DFAAPA, is a clinical assistant professor at the Southwestern School of Health Professions, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, and a psychiatry preceptor at the University of Texas Dallas PA Program. She was among the first to earn the NCCPA CAQ in psychiatry and has been recognized with the Distinguished Career Award by Parkland Health & Hospital System for her career-long work in research, medical education, and community service. Ms. Judd has been a national speaker for the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) Collaborative Risk Management Reduction initiative on prescribing opiates and a participant in the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Blending Initiative. She has served a 6-year term as representative of the AAPA on the Accreditation Review Commission for PA Programs, and on the NCCPA CAQ Advisory Board for specialty exam development.

Ms. Judd’s clinical practice over the past 38 years has been primarily mental health, substance use, and primary care. She has worked internationally in Egypt,  Uzbekistan, and for a private aid organization in Ghana. Ms. Judd has a passion for teaching, patient advocacy, and in patients with serious mental illness as well as geriatric patients with mood disorders and cognitive decline.

Andrew Smith, MSW, MPH
Community Engagement Manager, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, Chicago, Illinois

Andrew Smith is a public health social worker with more than 15 years’ experience working as a program manager and advocate on behalf of individuals who live with mental health conditions and various disabilities. In his role at DBSA, he helped develop and now presents a series of community education workshops to help individuals better understand how to access quality care as well as an array of communication materials toward advocates and policymakers.

Mr. Smith has served as co-investigator on a PCORI project enhancing health outcomes for people with bipolar spectrum disorder who take second-generation antipsychotics as Stakeholder/Dissemination chair. He works with DBSA’s national network to enhance the peer voice in research, focus groups, and peer councils, including mental health regulatory approval, medical product development, and the like. 

Mr. Smith received master’s degrees in public health and social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has an extensive work history as a mental health professional and case manager. His direct-practice experience gives him insight into what systems are working and what macro-level changes are needed.



Leslie Citrome, MD, MPH
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York

Leslie Citrome, MD, MPH, is clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York, and has a private practice in Pomona, New York. He graduated from the McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, Canada, and completed a residency and chief residency in psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. He also went on to complete a masters in public health at Columbia University. 

Dr. Citrome was the founding director of the Clinical Research and Evaluation Facility at the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research in Orangeburg, New York. After nearly 2 decades of government service, as a researcher in the psychopharmacological treatment of severe mental disorders, Dr. Citrome is now engaged as a consultant in clinical trial design and interpretation. He is a frequent lecturer on the quantitative assessment of clinical trial results using the metrics of evidence-based medicine. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 

Dr. Citrome is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Clinical Practice. He has authored or co-authored over 500 published research reports, reviews, and book chapters within the biomedical literature. He is the author of the textbook, "Handbook of Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia," published in 2013 by Springer Healthcare. 

Jonathan M. Meyer, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego; Psychopharmacology Consultant, California Department of State Hospitals

Dr. Jonathan Meyer is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Meyer is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Medical School, finished his adult psychiatry residency at LA County-USC Medical Center and completed fellowships there in consultation/liaison psychiatry and psychopharmacology research. Dr. Meyer has teaching duties at UC San Diego and the Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego, and is a consultant to the first episode psychosis programs run by Balboa NMC and the state of Nevada.

Dr. Meyer has lectured and published extensively on psychopharmacology, and is the sole author of the chapter on the Pharmacotherapy of Psychosis and Mania for the past three editions of Goodman & Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics. Along with Dr. Stephen Stahl, he is co-author of the Clozapine Handbook published by Cambridge University Press in May 2019, and the upcoming handbook titled: The Clinical Use of Antipsychotic Plasma Levels, to be released in May 2021 by Cambridge University Press.

Vanessa Joy Walker
Patient Advocate, Coach, Communicator

Life strategist Vanessa Joy Walker is an expert at bringing life's different seasons into perspective. As a coach and founder of Gillian Walker Management, Vanessa thrives on supporting others in achieving their highest calling every day. Vanessa has shared her story of hope, perseverance, and joy with thousands of people worldwide as a featured speaker and media contributor. Her life experience is vast and includes; seasons of abandonment, betrayal, cancer, infertility, and grief. Her first book, Make Room for Joy (August 2020), challenges you to get real about pain while cultivating joy in the middle of life's most complicated seasons. Although Vanessa calls Brooklyn home, she currently resides in North Carolina and can be found singing, eating good food, and hiking with her loves, Pepper Joy (the family dog) and Mr. Walker (the hubby).

You can connect with Vanessa about coaching or collaborating by emailing You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn @VanessaJoyWalker.

Peter J. Weiden, MD
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry (pending voluntary appointment)
Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University

Peter J. Weiden MD is an internationally recognized expert in the treatment of persons with severe psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. His entire professional career has focused on improving outcomes this population. Dr. Weiden has published widely on practical approaches that can make a difference to patients. Some examples include how to lower the side effect burden of medication, how to safely switch antipsychotic medications, and what to expect and how to discuss the use of long-acting antipsychotic formulations, and how to approach "first episode" schizophrenia patients. His experience with new therapies goes way back to the approval of clozapine in 1989 to working on the current pipeline of investigational medications that no longer rely on the dopamine receptor for their efficacy.

Dr. Weiden has been a Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center (1999-2007) and UIC Medical Center (2007-13) and joined the pharmaceutical industry in 2016 until early 2023 where he worked on new treatments for schizophrenia. He has recently returned to the academic setting to resume his specialty focus on schizophrenia. He recently joined the faculty at SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine (pending).