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August 16, 2017
Contact: HHS Media Services
[email protected]

Public Members Appointed to New Federal Effort to Address Serious Mental Illness

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today the appointment of national experts to guide a new initiative to better serve Americans with serious mental illness.

The Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee (ISMICC) was established by the 21st Century Cures Act to improve federal coordination of efforts that address the pressing needs of adults with serious mental illness and children and youth with serious emotional disturbance.  Individuals with these conditions too often lack access to evidence-based treatment and supports and experience high rates of suicide, unemployment, homelessness, criminal justice involvement and other negative outcomes.

Earlier this year, HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. identified serious mental illness as one of the department’s top three clinical priorities. “We look forward to working with the committee to get individuals with serious mental illness the care they need,” said Secretary Price. “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 is composed of senior leaders from ten federal agencies including HHS, the Departments of Justice, Labor, Veteran Affairs, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Labor and the Social Security Administration along with 14 non-federal public members.

In response to a call for interested participants, HHS received over 200 nominations from outstanding individuals offering to serve on this important body.  The non-federal membership will represent mental health researchers, providers, patients, families, judges, law enforcement officers, and other professionals working with individuals living with serious mental illness.  The following national experts were selected to serve three-year terms:

  • Linda S. Beeber, Ph.D., PMHCNS-BC, FAAN, Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, School of Nursing;
  • Ron Bruno, Founding Board Member and Second Vice President, CIT International;
  • Clayton Chau,  M.D., Ph.D., Regional Executive Medical Director, Institute for Mental Health and Wellness at St. Joseph-Hoag Health;
  • David Covington, LPC, MBA, CEO/President, RI International;
  • Maryann Davis, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical Center;
  • Pete Earley, Author;
  • Paul Emrich, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Family and Mental Health Chickasaw Nation;
  • Mary Giliberti, J.D., Chief Executive Officer, National Alliance for Mental Illness, National Alliance on Mental Illness;
  • Elena Kravitz, Peer Support Provider and Manager, Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey;
  • Kenneth Minkoff, M.D., Zia Partners;
  • Elyn Saks, J.D., Ph.D., Professor of Law, Legal Scholar, University of Southern California Gould School of Law;
  • John Snook, Esq., Executive Director/Attorney, Treatment Advocacy Center;
  • Rhathelia Stroud, J.D., Presiding Judge, DeKalb County Magistrate Court; and
  • Conni Wells, Owner/Manager, Axis Group, LLC.

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.  The ISMICC 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 children with serious emotional disturbance.

The ISMICC will hold its first meeting on August 31, 2017, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington DC. Public access to the meeting will available by webcast (http://www.hhs.gov/live) and phone (see the link on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website below for instructions).  Notice of the meeting appears in the Federal Register and on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website: http://www.samhsa.gov/about-us/advisory-councils/smi-committee

Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other news materials are available at https://www.hhs.gov/news.
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Last revised: August 16, 2017

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