Hosted in partnership with the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDD).
One year into a new administration. Two years into a behavioral health pandemic within a lingering COVID pandemic. Three opportunities to address the needs of our communities.
A dialogue to look a year ahead in behavioral health policy for three issues being addressed by communities throughout the country:
- Implementation of 988 and crisis system transformations
- Supporting workforce mental health and addressing burnout
- Addressing mental health needs of children and youth
Jonah C. Cunningham
Jonah C. Cunningham currently serves as President and CEO of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDD). In this role he proactively advocates for national policies that recognize and support the critical role counties play in caring for people affected by mental illness, addiction, and developmental disabilities. In this capacity he also serves as Executive Director of the National Association for Rural Mental Health.
Prior to joining NACBHDD, Jonah worked at Trust for America’s Health, a public health think tank, where he focused extensively on ways to reduce mortality from substance misuse and suicide. Additionally, he worked as a congressional staffer for several years in the office of Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano (CA) where he helped to reestablish the Congressional Mental Health Caucus and created a Suicide Prevention Task Force within the Caucus.
Jonah C. Cunningham has received numerous awards and recognition for his commitment to the field of behavioral health and those served by the nation’s behavioral health system. Jonah has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Utah and a Master of Public Policy from The George Washington University. In his free time, he enjoys learning how to cook and is an avid Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.
Dr. Ron Manderscheid
Ron Manderscheid, Ph.D., has a life-long commitment to social-justice, particularly racial, gender, and health equity. This is reflected through a career that spans national work with the Congress and Administration, federal agencies, NGOs, and university teaching.
He serves currently as Adjunct Professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, and the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California. Until recently, he was President/CEO, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors and National Association for Rural Mental Health. Both organizations represent county and local authorities in the DC community.
Concurrently, Dr. Manderscheid serves on the boards of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, the National Grand Challenge for Social Work Initiative, the Danya Institute, and the NASMHPD Research Institute. He also served until recently as the Co-Chair of the National Coalition for Whole Health.
Past appointments include Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Programs at the Global Health Sector of SRA International and several federal leadership roles at the National Institute of Mental Health, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of HHS. Throughout his career, he has emphasized and promoted the concerns of peers with behavioral health conditions and their family members.
Dr. Manderscheid was a Member of the HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Healthy People 2020; the Clinton Healthcare Reform Task Force; President of the Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association (FEIAA) and Foundation; Chair of the APHA Mental Health Section and Governing Council, and a member of the post-9/11 Work Group; Chairperson of the Sociological Practice Section of the American Sociological Association; President of the Washington Academy of Sciences and the District of Columbia Sociological Society; and President of The College for Behavioral Health Leadership.
He edited eight editions of Mental Health, United States, co-edited Outcome Measurement in the Human Services, and contributed to Public Mental Health, First and Second Editions. He also published more than 500 papers on services to persons with mental illness and substance use conditions. He serves on several editorial boards and prepares a periodic blog for Behavioral Healthcare Executive (www.behavioral.net).
Marcy Melvin joined Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute in April 2018. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas with over 18 years of experience developing and implementing mental health programs, systems, and procedures in primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational settings. She is a child, adolescent, and family-trained. Ms. Melvin has over 25 years of experience in providing direct clinical and supervisory services to children, adolescents, parents, and young adults in various clinical settings: residential, in-home, outpatient, private practice, primary, secondary, and post-secondary locations.
While at Meadows Institute, Marcy led the American Red Cross Texas CARES grant and supported the Texas CARES-Training grant. These grants helped to support the mental and behavioral health needs of teachers, students, and their families along the Gulf Coast that were impacted by Hurricane Harvey. She assisted in leading a comprehensive environmental scan of the child welfare services in Harris County. She assisted in the financial analysis of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department MST program. In addition to these projects, Ms. Melvin helped develop a Mental Health Strategic Framework for Region 4 ESC. She also co-led the Rebuild Texas Dickinson Independent School District project. She was instrumental in developing and delivering curriculum for early childhood teachers, local early childcare center/daycare center staff, and parents in Dickinson ISD. The trainings were intended to improve the social-emotional health of young children. Marcy has taken the lead on creating Meadow’s Institutes strategic framework that incorporates health equity into policy work, and she supports the implementation of these strategies across the organization.
Ms. Melvin has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Xavier University of Louisiana and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Fisk University.
Tony Muñoz-Hilliard is a New York Certified Peer Specialist (NYCPS) and National Certified Peer Specialist (NCPS) who firmly believes in the power of lived experience. Tony uses the challenges he has navigated in his own life to inspire hope in others and illustrate that recovery and whole-health wellness are indeed possible, despite mental illness, substance use and/or difficult life circumstances.
Tony has lived experience with major depressive disorder and substance use, and uses his training in Intentional Peer support (IPS) and the Need-Adapted Treatment Model (NATM) to support and provide trauma-informed care to peers. Tony also works on a mobile treatment team in New York City and is a peer advisor for the Public Psychiatry Fellowship of New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center. He has presented nationally and internationally on topics such as peers on interdisciplinary teams, peer workforce, trauma and social determinants of health.
Tony is currently a student at SUNY Empire State College, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and is a trained video producer with Manhattan Neighborhood Network, which allows him to incorporate the arts in his recovery process.
Dr. Marvin Southard
Dr. Marvin (Marv) Southard is the former Director of the largest county-run mental health services organization in the United States, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH), with a budget approaching $3 billion, serving more than a quarter of a million persons annually that supports innovative co-located services within schools, courts, other County departments, and various community organizations.
In this role at LACDMH, Marv assembled a ground-breaking team that accomplished creative and inclusive work with communities including regional mental health urgent care centers, crisis response teams, children and older adult systems of care, Health Neighborhoods, and partnerships with faith communities to further social justice.
Marv has focused his career on empowering healthy urban and rural communities to strengthen recovery from mental health and substance use challenges. He served for a decade as a leader of community behavioral health services in East Los Angeles. Marv also founded substance abuse treatment centers and served as a clinical director and leader of numerous organizations, as well as acting in another county government leadership role as the Kern County Director of Mental Health.
On leaving government service, Marv continued to serve communities, mental health organizations, and governmental entities as a consultant and Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California (USC), where he developed the Professional DSW degree program, mentoring the next generation of community service leaders.
Hannah Wesolowski is Chief Advocacy Officer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Hannah and the entire Government Relations, Policy & Advocacy team work with advocates, partners and NAMI leaders to enact policy change that will improve the lives of all people affected by mental health conditions. She believes in the power of advocates sharing their stories to advance research, increase mental health funding, improve access to care, expand social supports and decriminalize mental illness.
She came to NAMI in 2017 with more than a decade of experience in advocacy, joining the NAMI team after five years at the Public Affairs Council to help associations, corporations and nonprofit advocacy groups build government affairs efforts programs. She previously led political advocacy efforts at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Institute of Architects.
Hannah grew up in New Hampshire and has a B.A. from New York University, where she also earned an MPA from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.