Children's Mental Health Network Team
Board of Directors
Scott Bryant-Comstock, President/CEO
Scott has worked in the mental health field for over 30 years in a variety of roles, including therapist, trainer, mental health board chair, state level mental health official and national consultant, trainer and facilitator. Over the course of his career, Scott has incorporated learnings from policy-makers, families, providers and community leaders throughout the United States into a focused approach to improving services and supports for youth with emotional challenges and their families. Scott is the founder, President & CEO of the Children’s Mental Health Network.
Pat Baker has more than twenty years working with children's mental health programs at the local, state and national level. Former Executive Director of Utah Families as Allies, a 501 c-3 not for profit corporation in good standing. Reviewer of federal systems of care grant programs for the past six years.
Cyndi Nation has more than twenty-five years working with children's mental health programs at the local, state and national level. Extensive grant writing, administrative, and staff supervision experience.
Children's Mental Health Network Advisory Council Members
Eliot Brenner is a nonprofit executive with 15+ years experience in child welfare, mental health, and philanthropy. He is also a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice. Dr. Brenner is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, which provides mental health treatment, education, and support to more than 3,300 children annually. Prior to joining the Child Guidance Center, Dr. Brenner was Type 1 Diabetes Program Director at the Helmsley Charitable Trust, which is the largest private foundation funder of type 1 diabetes research, treatments, and support programs. At the Trust, he led staff and strategy for a portfolio of 200+ grants totaling more than $200 million. Dr. Brenner was also Deputy Executive Director at Casey Family Services, the direct service agency of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. At Casey Family Services, he directed all program operations and training, and led a staff of 290 that served more than 4,000 children annually. Dr. Brenner also worked in the public sector, where he was Chief Consulting Psychologist for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. He has published peer-reviewed articles in children’s services and mental health. Dr. Brenner currently serves on the Praesidium National Advisory Council for the development and implementation of national child safety and abuse prevention policies and practices for 2,600 YMCAs that have 20,000 staff and serve 9 million children annually. Dr. Brenner holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago, where he was Phi Beta Kappa and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Yale University.
Daniel E. Dawes is a healthcare attorney and the Executive Director of government relations, health policy, and external affairs at Morehouse School of Medicine. In addition to his executive role, Daniel is a director of health policy and a lecturer of health law and policy at the Satcher Health Leadership Institute and holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine. During the negotiations around health reform, he founded and chaired the National Working Group on Health Disparities and Health Reform, a working group of more than 300 national organizations and coalitions that worked to ensure that the health care reform law included health equity provisions to reduce disparities in health status and health care among vulnerable populations. In recognition of his efforts, he was one of 13 experts who were invited to serve on the Health Equity Leadership Commission, which provides guidance on implementing health reform to members of Congress, the Obama Administration, and officials at the Department of Health and Human Services. He is a frequent speaker and author of several publications on health reform and health equity.
Before joining Morehouse School of Medicine, Daniel was an Attorney & Manager of Federal Affairs and Grassroots Network for the Premier Healthcare Alliance, as well as Senior Legislative and Federal Affairs Officer at the American Psychological Association (APA). Prior to working for the APA, Daniel worked on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee under the leadership of Senator Edward M. Kennedy where he advised the Senator and members of the committee on an array of issues related to health care, public health, employment, education, and disability law and policy. During his tenure on the Senate HELP Committee Daniel was also a key figure in drafting provisions in several health care-related bills, which were enacted into law during the Bush Administration, including the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Prior to his work with the Senate HELP Committee, Daniel received the prestigious Louis Stokes Health Policy Fellowship and worked for the CBC Health Braintrust under the leadership of Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen on legislative efforts related to health disparities, disability, and emergency preparedness/bioterrorism.
Daniel is highly respected for his capacity to achieve sound policy changes in a nonpartisan manner. He serves on several boards, commissions, and councils focused on health equity, including the Association of American Medical Colleges Advisory Board on Health Equity – the only attorney invited to serve on this panel. He is the recipient of several national awards and recognition, including the 2012 Distinguished Bellos Lecturer at Yale University, Congressional Black Caucus Leadership in Advocacy Award, the Congressional Staff Leadership Award, the Nebraska Alumni Association Early Achiever Award, the American Psychological Association Exceptional Leadership in Advocacy Award, and the SHIRE Health Reform Champion Award. Daniel holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska - College of Law and a Bachelor of Science in business administration and psychology.
Dennis Embry is a prominent prevention scientist in the United States and Canada, trained as clinician and developmental and child psychologist. He is president/senior scientist at PAXIS Institute in Tucson and co-investigator at Johns Hopkins University and the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. His work and that of colleagues is cited in 2009 the Institute of Medicine Report on The Prevention of Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People. Clinically his work has focused on children and adults with serious mental illnesses. He was responsible for drafting of the letter signed by 23 scientists, who collectively represent scores of randomized prevention trials of mental illnesses published in leading scientific journals. In March 2014, his work and the work of several signatories was featured in a Prime-TV special on the Canadian Broadcast Corporation on the prevention of mental illnesses among children—which have become epidemic in North America.
E. Wayne Holden became RTI International's fourth president and chief executive officer in 2012. RTI is an internationally recognized not for profit research institute based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. With nearly 3,700 worldwide staff members and over 2,600 ongoing projects in approximately 75 countries, RTI’s mission is to “improve the human condition through turning knowledge into practice”.
Dr. Holden is a distinguished researcher and clinical psychologist with nearly 30 years of professional experience. He joined RTI as executive vice president of Social and Statistical Sciences in 2005, overseeing the organization's largest unit. Prior to joining RTI, he served as vice president, senior vice president and ultimately president of the research company ORC Macro. Before joining ORC Macro in 1998, he had a successful career in academia serving more than 10 years in a variety of roles in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine, including as director of pediatric psychology and as a tenured associate professor. He was also a faculty member for two years in the Department of Psychology at Auburn University.
He currently holds appointments as an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine and the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Holden is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and has authored more than 130 articles, books, or book chapters on various topics in clinical child/pediatric psychology and health services research. During his career, he has served as principal investigator or officer-in-charge for over 100 million dollars worth of research contracts and grants.
Lisa Lambert is the executive director of Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL), a statewide, family-run, grassroots nonprofit organization based in Boston. PPAL is the state organization of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health and has been a SAMHSA-funded statewide family network since 2000.
Lisa Lambert became involved in children’s mental health as an advocate for her young son in 1989 through the CASSP family network in California. After moving back to Massachusetts, she began supporting families whose children and youth had behavioral health needs. She became involved with PPAL, first on a regional level and then on a statewide level. Her areas of expertise include mental health policy, systems advocacy and family-driven research.
Realizing that individual parent and youth stories need to be supported by data, Lisa authored several family-driven studies which highlighted the challenges families encountered when accessing services, their perspectives on psychotropic medications and the training needs of family partners. Lisa also authored a chronicle of PPAL’s Worcester-based youth group which highlighted how a strong youth-guided initiative had an impact on their community.
Lisa Lambert serves on a number of committees in Massachusetts as well as the Building Bridges Initiative Youth and Family Partnership workgroup. She has been instrumental in working with local and national media to highlight the concerns of families and youth. She is dedicated to ensuring that family voice is included in every state and national conversation about the policies, practices or services that impact them.
Martin Rafferty is the founder and executive director for a state-wide chapter of Youth M.O.V.E. National called Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon. Martin was diagnosed with bipolar II at 23 and later with PTSD but does not let diagnosis define who he is. Martin is the winner of multiple advocacy awards in the field of mental health and the author of curricula used by state leaders in Oregon to train peer support specialists. As an experienced public speaker, Martin has trained nationally since 2009. He is the primary author of the Youth Mental Health Bill of Rights and the director of an award winning documentary video called Project Invoke.
Martin has focused his work recently on reaching rural or system weary young people via social networking. Currently his organization has the largest social network of any young adult focused organization, with numbers growing every day. The focus of Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon’s social networking campaigns is always to compete with popular content that is being shared virally, while at the same time offering important messages to its target audience. In 2009, Martin successfully launched a campaign that promoted positive mental health messages in advertising space inside popular video games. This campaign helped to lead other youth serving organizations to take advantage of this unique podium.
Martin is currently the co-chair of the Oregon’s Children’s Mental Health Advisory Committee. He has been on the Youth Advisory Board of the website reachout since 2008 and also served for 3 years on the board for CAFETY. He is the winner of the Oregon 2010 Mental Health Award of Excellence, the 2010 “Ma” Curtis Award from the Oregon Coalition on Housing and Homelessness for his advocacy for homeless and runaway youth, and the 2013 Advocate of the Year award presented by the Oregon Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. During the 2013 FFCMH conference in Washington D.C. Martin also accepted on behalf of his organization the 2013 Rock Star award for Chapter of the Year.
With his first position being with MindFreedom International, Martin has a unique perspective on mental health advocacy. His sometimes direct tactics paired with the will to partner systems has lead for a reputation for integrity from mental health professionals and critics of traditional care.