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Listen to thought leaders in the mental health field as they discuss advancements in research, new treatments and therapies and effective programs and strategies. See some of the highlighted presenters from the 2019 NAMI National Convention.
NAMI Celebration and Awards Banquet Performer
Kota Wade is a singer/songwriter who creates indie rock inspired pop music with hints of magic, whimsy, and a pinch of pixie dust. Kota recently released her six song EP, "Out of the Dark", an autobiographical modern fairytale about Kota's personal telling of her trials with depression, anxiety, and the struggles of being an artist, set to the familiar tale of Alice in Wonderland. Kota made the cover and feature article of L.A. Weekly's Annual "Most Interesting People of L.A." issue and made the top 10 in PEOPLE MAGAZINE'S end of year "BEST OF" issue for her FROZEN "LET IT GO" cover. She's also the lead singer of BAD WOLF, an award-winning indie rock band. Kota is also a popular YouTube influencer who has nearly 60 million channel views on her channel, "STEAMFAERIE", which is signed to Disney's Maker Studios. Kota was also on Team Gwen on NBC's The Voice Season 9. Kota is also a NAMI Ambassador.
Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D.
Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D. is the first Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. She obtained her Ph.D. from Yale University with a specialty in Infectious Disease Epidemiology and is a graduate of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. She is board certified in General Psychiatry and in Addiction Psychiatry. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry with more than 25 years as a clinician, teacher, and clinical researcher.
Most recently she served as the Chief Medical Officer for the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals and as the Chief Medical Officer for the Eleanor Slater Hospital system which is Rhode Island’s state resource for patients with the most serious mental illnesses and medical illnesses requiring long term, inpatient care. She was also Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University. Previously, she served as the first Chief Medical Officer for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Diana Chao is a Chinese-American immigrant who grew up in Los Angeles, California. She is currently a sophomore at Princeton University and is studying geoscience, history, and diplomacy. After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 13, she discovered that sharing her thoughts and feelings in letters—addressed to no one in particular—aided in her recovery. As a result, she launched “Letters to Strangers” (L2S), a global, youth-run mental health organization that is currently the only multilateral youth-to-youth mental health nonprofit in the world. Since its inception, L2S has impacted over 30,000 people on six continents.
As a mental health advocate and artist, Diana fervently seeks to integrate socio-culturally literate art to promote mental wellness for youth. Her “Minority Mental Health Series: Thoughts” went viral in 2018, engaging over 2 million people, and her TEDxTeen talk has been viewed over 55,000 times. Diana also serves as a crisis worker for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and Crisis Text Line. She speaks worldwide about youth mental health and her own experience with bipolar disorder.
A raw and unflinching account of Mauro Ranallo’s decades-long struggle with bipolar disorder. The voice of WWE and Showtime Championship Boxing, Ranallo has called some of the biggest sports events in historyall the while fighting his own epic battles with mental health. Follow his journey as he combats the stigma behind mental health issues and sheds light on what it is like being at the top of the industry despite seemingly insurmountable odds. NAMI partnered with Showtime, a NAMI contributor, on the release of the film; Ranallo is a NAMI Ambassador.
Xavier Amador, Ph.D.
Dr. Amador will share advances in education and training on anosognosia, the problem of poor adherence and provide practical communication tools (LEAP® communication program) designed to build bridges and partnerships with persons who hold views of their illness and needs that are opposite to that of their loved ones, doctors, and sometimes even law enforcement.
Dr. Xavier Amador, co-Founder of the LEAP FOUNDATION & Visiting Professor at the State University of New York, is an internationally renowned clinical psychologist and leader in his field. Dr. Amador is the author of the International Best Seller, “I am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!” He is also a family caregiver of two close relatives with schizophrenia and another with bipolar disorder. His books, authoritative clinical research, worldwide speaking tours and extensive work in schizophrenia, bipolar and other disorders have been translated into 30 languages.
Cliff Douglas, J.D.
In 2016, the National Partnership on Behavioral Health and Tobacco Use, led by the American Cancer Society, set a goal to reduce smoking among adults with mental illnesses and/or substance use disorders from the 34% measured as of 2015 to 30% by the year 2020, thereby preventing an estimated one million deaths. The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows that the smoking rate among those populations has now dropped to 30.5%. This session will describe this national partnership and discuss its action plan, which consists of multiple strategies that fall into six categories: peer education, policy changes, provider education and implementation, systems change, communications, and innovation.
Cliff Douglas is the American Cancer Society’s Vice President for Tobacco Control and an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. During 30 years in this field, he has represented the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Lung Association and other public health organizations as an advocate and attorney. In his current position with ACS, he coordinates the National Partnership on Behavioral Health and Tobacco Use, which is dedicated to dramatically reducing tobacco addiction, illness and death in the high percentage of smokers with mental illness.
Maxie L. Gordon, M.D.
This session explores the history of mental health for various cultures, including ethnic and minority groups. It looks at ways in which they face discrimination, and cultural mores that are important in addressing mental health in that culture.
Dr. Gordon a psychiatrist and a primary care medical doctor who is involved in treating patients with comorbid psychiatric and medical illness. He has served as Director of Medical Student Education at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. As current President of the Mississippi Psychiatric Association, he is an advocate for resolution and patient’s rights. He has won numerous awards including Teacher of the Year, Top Doctor, and is Board Certified in Psychiatry and in Psychosomatic Medicine.
Ross Greene, Ph.D.
Dr. Greene will provide a partial screening of the recently released documentary film, The Kids We Lose, along with a discussion. The film draws attention to the counterproductive and often brutal ways in which kids with social, emotional, and behavioral challenges are often treated, treatment that often contributes to the School to Prison Pipeline.
Dr. Greene is the author of the influential books The Explosive Child, Lost at School, Raising Human Beings and Lost & Found, and Executive Producer of the documentary film “The Kids We Lose”. He is also adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech and adjunct Professor on the Faculty of Science at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia.
Kate Hardy, Clin.Psych.D., and Sarah Kopelovich, PhD.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for psychosis (CBTp) is an evidence-based intervention that is recommended as an adjunctive treatment for psychosis. This workshop will provide an overview of this therapy approach, discuss keys skills, and will explore how family members may draw upon CBTp skills to support the wellbeing of their loved one.
Dr. Hardy is a Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford University and California Licensed Psychologist who has specialized in working with individuals with psychosis for over 15 years in both research and clinical settings. Dr. Hardy is a nationally recognized trainer in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for psychosis, provides consultation to a range of clinicians in CBTp and early psychosis models of care and has developed CBTp informed interventions including CBTp informed caregiving.
Dr. Kopelovich is a forensically-trained licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Her research is specifically oriented toward implementation and dissemination strategies for psychotherapeutic and psychosocial interventions for Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders. She regularly conducts workshops, seminars, and professional consultation across the country for an array of mental health professionals and trainees in CBT for psychosis; Individual Resiliency Training for First Episode Psychosis; Assertive Community Treatment; and diagnostic, suicide, and violence risk assessment in clinical settings.
Robert K. Heinssen, PhD
Dr. Heinssen will summarize recent scientific advances that are improving the lives of young people who experience psychotic disorder, accumulating data supporting Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) as a feasible, effective, and person-centered approach to early psychosis. Several regional networks of CSC programs have emerged in the United States, creating new opportunities for large-scale research that may increase the quality, effectiveness and personalization of care. The talk describes new partnerships with will be required among young people, family members, clinicians and scientists to achieve the shared goals of science-driven, continuously improving, learning health care in early psychosis.
Dr. Robert Heinssen is Director of the Division of Services and Intervention Research at the National Institute of Mental Health. He is the principal architect of several major research initiatives in early detection and intervention in psychosis, including the NIMH Early Psychosis Intervention Network (EPINET).
Kathryn E. Korslund, Ph.D, ABPP
This session will present a brief review of the established empirical findings specific to DBT and highlight new areas of DBT application and emerging targets of research. Clinical implications based on the state of the science will be presented.
Melvin McInnis, M.D.
Kathryn E. Korslund, Ph.D., ABPP, is the Clinical Director of THIRA Health, a DBT based partial hospital and intensive outpatient program for women and girls in Bellevue, WA and a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. Dr. Korslund earned her doctoral degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania at Hahnemann University in 2001 and completed her clinical and research postdoctoral fellowship under the direction of Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington. From 2003-2017 she served as a research scientist and the Associate Director of Dr. Linehan’s Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics studying the application of DBT to problems of adult and adolescent suicidal behavior, substance dependence and PTSD.
Melvin G. McInnis, M.D.
Bipolar disorder colors individual emotional experiences in diverse and profound ways. The patterns of moods and reactions to life experiences varies greatly among those affected with bipolar disorder. There are no reliable lab-based diagnostic markers and no efficient way to identify risks of an impending episode. The Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan began in 2005 and now monitors a large group of people with bipolar disorder, participant collaborators, in a comprehensive and multidisciplinary research program. This presentation will summarize the program, its findings, and the implications for understanding the biological and psychological mechanisms behind bipolar disorder and innovative methods to provide prevention oriented clinical monitoring.
Dr. Melvin G. McInnis is the Thomas B and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression and the Director of the Heinz C Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan. Dr. McInnis is an internationally recognized expert in bipolar and depressive disorders. He has authored 270 scientific publications and federal research funding for the past 25 years. He leads several dynamic and longitudinal research projects in translational research that includes an induced pluripotent stem cell and a mobile health program centered around bipolar disorder.
John Torous, M.D., M.B.I.
Dr. Torous will discuss the expanding interest in digital technologies like smartphones and sensors for mental health and why it is important that all stakeholders remain educated and informed about the potential and pitfalls of these new technologies. In this session, we will cover four core areas of direct interest for mental health including safety and privacy, evidence, engagement, and clinical integration. Exploring the latest evidence, the talk will offer examples of digital mental health tools used across a range of settings and conditions. The talk will also explore passive data and how such new data streams like GPS from a smartphone must be balanced with privacy and ethical concerns. Finally, the talk will cover how technology is influencing new models of care delivery and what the digital mental health clinic looks like today and tomorrow.
Dr. John Torous is director of the digital psychiatry division in the Department of Psychiatry at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching hospital. Dr. Torous investigates the potential of mobile mental health technologies for psychiatry and has published over 75 peer reviewed articles and 5 books chapters on the topic. He currently serves as editor-in-chief for an academic journal on technology and mental health, JMIR Mental Health, leads the American Psychiatric Association’s work group on the evaluation of smartphone apps, and is an advisor to the smartphone mood study within the NIH's All of Us research program.
Call the NAMI Helpline at
text "NAMI" to 741741