HHS Appoints Members to Panel on Serious Mental Illnesses

"We look forward to working with the committee to get individuals with serious mental illness the care they need," HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price said. "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 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has appointed a group of national experts to guide a new initiative that will better serve Americans with serious mental illness, according to the department. 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 needs of adults with serious mental illness and children and youth with serious emotional disturbance; they often lack access to evidence-based treatment and supports and experience high rates of suicide, unemployment, homelessness, criminal justice involvement, and other negative outcomes, the agency noted, adding that HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price has identified serious mental illness as one of his department's top three clinical priorities.

The committee consists of senior leaders from 10 federal agencies that include HHS, Justice, Labor, Veteran Affairs, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and the Social Security Administration, plus 14 non-federal public members. HHS received more than 200 nominations.

These 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
  • Dr. 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., CEO, National Alliance for Mental Illness
  • Elena Kravitz, Peer Support Provider and manager, Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey
  • Dr. Kenneth Minkoff, M.D., Zia Partners
  • Elyn Saks, J.D., Ph.D., professor of paw, Legal Scholar, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
  • John Snook, executive director/attorney, Treatment Advocacy Center
  • Rhathelia Stroud, J.D., presiding judge, DeKalb County Magistrate Court
  • Conni Wells, owner/manager, Axis Group, LLC

"We look forward to working with the committee to get individuals with serious mental illness the care they need," Price said. "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, and the panel will recommend actions federal agencies can take to better coordinate the administration of mental health services for these populations.

The ISMICC will hold its first meeting Aug. 31 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.

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