Keynote Presentations

Monday, March 4, 2019
8:30 am – 9:45 am 

Chirlane McCray

As First Lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray has redefined the role of First Lady, managing a robust portfolio to advance an ambitious agenda in support of all New Yorkers. Nationally recognized as a powerful champion for mental health reform, Ms. McCray created ThriveNYC, the most comprehensive mental health plan of any city or state in the nation. Additionally, Ms. McCray spearheads the Cities Thrive Coalition of mayors, with representation from over 200 cities from all 50 states, advocating for a more integrated and better-funded behavioral health system.

As Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Ms. McCray brings together government, philanthropy and the private sector to work on some of the most pressing issues of our time, including mental health, youth employment and immigration. She also co-chairs the Commission on Gender Equity, leads the Domestic Violence Task Force with the NYC Police Chief and leads the NYC Unity Project, an unprecedented citywide effort to make sure LGBTQ young people are safe, supported and healthy.

The First Lady is a graduate of Wellesley College. She and Mayor Bill de Blasio live in Gracie Mansion, the official residence, and are proud parents of Chiara and Dante.


Monday, March 4, 2019
2:00 pm – 3:15 pm 

Plenary Conversation With School Shooting Survivors and Helpers

Martin Rafferty

At age 12, Martin Rafferty discovered he was homeless after finding a note from his mother. “This isn’t your home anymore.” At 22, Martin started a non-profit to help Oregon youth navigate and improve services for needs such as mental health, crisis counseling, education, and foster care. Now 28, Martin is taking the model nationwide, and has launched The Youth ERA to train national programs in effective ways to reach and serve young people. The organization is particularly recognized both nationally and across the globe as a leading expert in effective youth-driven response to instances of school violence. Staff are trained to utilize a trauma-informed and stigma-aware approach to provide relief for students recovering from school-based trauma.

Lisa Hamp

Lisa Hamp, national speaker and safety advocate, is a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting that took place on April 16, 2007. With her classmates, she built a barricade to prevent the shooter from entering their classroom. She struggled after the shooting and developed an eating disorder to cope. Eight years later, she sought counseling and began her recovery. Today, Lisa speaks and writes about her experience during and after the Virginia Tech shooting to help others. She shares a raw and powerful personal story, as well as lessons learned from Virginia Tech Tragedy, to first responders, psychologists, community leaders, and many others. Her work has been featured in the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Campus Safety Magazine, and the Domestic Preparedness Journal. Lisa has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Virginia Tech, a Master’s degree in Operations Research from George Mason University, and a Master’s degree in Economics from John Hopkins University.

Sarah Lowe

Sarah Lowe is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Montclair State University, where she also serves as Director of the Trauma and Resilience Laboratory and the Masters Program in Clinical Psychology, Child and Adolescent Concentration. Dr. Lowe’s research interests center broadly on the long-term mental health consequences of traumatic events, the pathways leading from trauma exposure to psychiatric outcomes, and the role of factors at varying ecological levels, from genes to neighborhoods, in shaping outcomes. She has been involved in large-scale investigations of the psychological consequences of natural and technological disasters; epidemiological research on community violence and other traumatic events in urban contexts; and studies of discrimination and emotional wellbeing. In 2017, Dr. Lowe, along with her colleague, Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, published a review of the research literature on the mental health consequence of mass shootings in the journal Trauma, Violence, and Abuse. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles, with other outlets including JAMA Psychiatry, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Traumatic Stress, and Social Science and Medicine. 


Tuesday, March 5, 2019
8:30 am – 9:45 am

Frankie Guzman

Attorney Frankie Guzman is Director, California Youth Justice Initiative at the National Center for Youth Law. He is working to eliminate the practice of prosecuting children in California’s criminal justice system; reduce youth’s involvement with juvenile justice system; and increase developmentally-appropriate, culturally-rooted, and trauma-informed community-based services for youth who come into conflict with the law. As a youth, Frankie was sentenced to serve 15 years in the California Youth Authority for armed robbery. Released on parole after six years, Frankie attended law school and became an expert in juvenile law and policy with a focus on ending the prosecution of youth as adults.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019
2:45 pm – 4:00 pm 

“Business as Usual” Is Not Enough: Engaging and Innovating with Young Adults in Research and Practice

Over the last decade, the field has increasingly recognized the benefits of partnering with youth and young adults in the design of mental health services research, policies, and practice.  However, providers and researchers continually struggle to successfully engage young adults in treatment, services, and research initiatives, especially young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds who are at the highest risk of poor mental health outcomes (e.g. those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, those not actively engaged in services). “Business as usual” in treatment services and research methods no longer seems to be enough to engage young adults. To successfully engage young adults in mental health services and research initiatives you need to be willing to shake things up by genuinely partnering with young adults to find innovative ways that can alter “business as usual” and lead to more engagement overall.  In this plenary, researchers and practitioners from across the country will provide examples of engaging and innovating with young adults in mental health services and research. The importance of innovative communication and dissemination strategies will also be discussed.

Kathryn Sabella

Kathryn Sabella, Ph.D., is a Research Instructor within Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research (Transitions ACR) in the Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center, Department of Psychiatry.  The Transitions ACR conducts rigorous research and knowledge translation activities to promote the full participation in socially valued roles of youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions.  Kathryn has designed and implemented several research studies of young adults with mental health conditions that inform, develop, or test evidence-based practices to support their various goals. She is currently the principal investigator of a national longitudinal study of young adults with serious mental health conditions, ages 16-25.  She has partnered with young adults with lived experience in various ways throughout her career.

Amanda Costa

Amanda Costa, BS, is a Project Director at the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research located at UMass Medical School Department of Psychiatry, Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC). Amanda has over eight years of experience providing support on multiple research studies focused on improving the education and employment goals of young adults with lived experience. She also infuses her own lived experience of a mental health condition in her work, serving as Co-Director of the center’s Participatory Action Research (PAR) Initiative, where she educates and trains faculty within UMMS and beyond about partnering with young adults and older adults with mental health conditions in the conduction of research. Amanda is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at UMASS Amherst.

Stephanie Sikes-Jones

Stephanie Sikes-Jones is a young professional with lived experience in Kentucky’s behavioral health and foster care systems. During her time in these systems, she participated in a variety of advisory boards and initiatives to improve human services on a local, state, and national level including Fostering Goodwill, Voices of the Commonwealth, and FosterClub AllStars. In 2015, Stephanie began working with the Healthy Transitions initiative, also known as TAYLRD, in her home state of Kentucky. As an employee, she’s used her voice to make policy changes, develop training, and help support the next generation of young leaders with lived experience in Kentucky. After a short hiatus in National Suicide Prevention work, Stephanie has returned as a State Level Youth Coordinator for the TAYLRD initiative in Kentucky.

Tyler Clark

Tyler Clark is a youth peer specialist with lived experience in Kentucky’s behavioral health and the adult justice system. In recovery from substance abuse, Tyler has survived multiple suicide attempts. After going through treatment for his substance abuse Tyler strives to work with youth and young adults in similar situations to what he himself had faced. He began working at the crisis unit at Four Rivers Behavioral Health in Paducah, KY where he was able to speak to those calling the local and international suicide hotline which is where his drive to do more began. After hearing of TAYLRD and the youth drop-in centers he chose to become a youth peer specialist. Tyler is now the lead youth peer specialist at Four Rivers Behavioral Health and assists in multiple programs such as adolescent ACT, adolescent IOP, IHOPE, IMPACT, partial hospitalization and overseeing the youth drop-in center as well as continuing to work at the crisis unit where his passion began. Tyler continues to advance his career through his pursuit of a college education.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019
8:30 am – 9:45 am 

Larke Huang

Larke Nahme Huang, PhD, a licensed clinical-community psychologist, is a Senior Advisor in the Office of Policy Planning and Innovation at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this position she provides leadership on national policy for mental health and substance use issues for children, adolescents and families and leads the agency strategic efforts on trauma and criminal and juvenile justice. She is also the Director of SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity which was legislated by the 2010 health reform legislation. Additional federal service includess a six-month leadership exchange at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where she was the Senior Advisor on Mental Health.

For the past 30 years, Dr. Huang has worked at the interface of practice, research and policy. She has assumed multiple leadership roles dedicated to improving the lives of children, families and communities, improving outcomes for diverse communities, and moving research to policy and practice. She has been a community mental health practitioner, a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley and Georgetown University, and a research director at the American Institutes for Research. She has worked with states and communities to build systems of care for children with behavioral health disorders, and with counties to prevent criminal justice-involvement of people with mental illness. She has developed programs for underserved, culturally and linguistically diverse populations, evaluated community-based programs, and built and sustained a peer learning/training network of 1,500 community-based organizations serving diverse populations. She has worked across multiple sectors, including behavioral health, education, primary care, labor, and criminal and juvenile justice developing federal policy initiatives in collaboration with other federal agencies. Dr. Huang served as an appointed Commissioner on the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and on the Task Force of the Carter Center Mental Health Program.

Dr. Huang has authored books and articles, most recently including: National Trends in the Prevalence of Suicidal Ideation and Behavior Among Young Adults and Receipt of Mental Health Care Among Suicidal Young Adults; Mental Health Service Use by Children Aged 6-11 years with Emotional or Behavioral Difficulties; Children of Color: Psychological Interventions with Culturally Diverse YouthTransforming Mental Health Care for Children and Their FamiliesThe Influence of Race and Ethnicity on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Clinical Characteristics of Children and Adolescents in Children’s Service; The Need and Opportunity to Expand Substance Use Disorder Treatment in School-Based Settings and Co-Occurring Disorders of Adolescents in Primary Care: Closing the Gaps.

 She received her doctorate from Yale University.