David Covington, LPC
David serves as CEO and President of RI International, is an owner of Behavioral Health Link and leads the international initiatives “Crisis Now” and “Zero Suicide.” He is a two-time national winner of the Council of State Governments Innovations Award, in 2008 with the Georgia Crisis & Access Line and again in 2012 with Magellan Health. For five consecutive years, he competed as a national finalist in innovations award competitions, including Harvard University’s Innovations in American Government in 2009, and was featured in Business Week magazine.
He is an acclaimed global speaker, with top-ranked TED-style Talks and conference keynotes. In 2015, readers of his healthcare innovations blog at davidcovington.com represented 90 different countries. Previously he served as Vice-President at Magellan Health responsible for the administrative, clinical, financial and programmatic operations of the $750 million per year integrated health plan contract with Arizona Medicaid and the Department of Health Services.
David has served as a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention since it was created in 2010, co-chairing task forces on clinical care and crisis services. He has served as vice-chair of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline SAMHSA steering committee since it was created in 2005. He has served as the clinical division chair of the American Association of Suicidology since 2014. He served on the National Council for Behavioral Health board of directors from 2011 to 2014 and the Relias Learning Behavioral Health Advisory Board from 2014 to 2016.
David’s behavioral healthcare management history also includes CEO of Behavioral Health Link and Director of Public Sector Quality Management at APS Healthcare. He is a licensed professional counselor and has an MBA from Kennesaw State and a Master’s of Science from the University of Memphis.
Anthony (Tony) Wood
Anthony D. Wood, CBO Qntfy, is Founder of #SPSM (Suicide Prevention and Social Media spsmchat.com) the largest and most engaged social media community dedicated to connecting Suicidologists, Crisis Preventionists, Researchers, Social Workers, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, MDs, People with Lived Experience of suicide, Data Scientists, Law Enforcement Officers, Teachers, and Students with the best and latest research related to Suicide and Crisis Prevention worldwide. His work with the social media aspects of Suicide Prevention as a founder of the Social Media Team at the American Association of Suicidology’s Annual Conference earned him the 2015 Roger J Tierney award for Innovation from AAS. His research on the intersection of social media and mental health has been published in AAS, ACM CHI, JSM and CLpsych. As a result of this work, he has become a sought after resource for mental health professionals, private companies and organizations interested in the intersection of new media, mobile data and Mental Health.
Jonathan Singer, PhD
Dr. Singer is an associate professor of social work at Loyola University Chicago. His clinical and research interests focus on family-based interventions for suicidal and cyberbullied youth; service access and service utilization; use of technology in education and clinical practice. Dr. Singer is interested in the interpersonal mechanisms that protect against or contribute to youth suicidal risk within families; how and why parents access services for their suicidal children; and how technologies such as podcasts and social networking sites can be used to disseminate information about prevention and intervention of youth suicidal behaviors, cyberbullying, and social work education and training. Dr. Singer is the co-author of the 2015 Routledge text “Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention.” He is a frequent contributor to the online community Suicide Prevention and Social Media (#SPSM), and the founder and host of the award winning podcast series, the Social Work Podcast (http://www.socialworkpodcast.com).
Amy Boland, CPA
Amy Boland is an audit partner at Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman, CPAs. She has more than 12 years’ experi¬ence in auditing and public accounting, having concentrated her skills in the specialized field of audits of nonprofit organizations, including associations, private voluntary organi¬zations and other charitable institutions. She has performed audits on behalf of most federal agencies, most frequently for USAID grantees and with our international PVO team to assist clients with global activity in strengthening field office controls and establishing policies and procedures to ensure grant compliance. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting at the Pennsylvania State University. Ms. Boland is a member of the AICPA and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is active in the nonprofit community.
Sally Spencer-Thomas, PsyD
Sally Spencer-Thomas is a clinical psychologist, inspirational international speaker and an impact entrepreneur. Dr. Spencer-Thomas was moved to work in suicide prevention after her younger brother, a Denver entrepreneur, died of suicide after a difficult battle with bipolar condition. Known nationally and internationally as an innovator in social change, Spencer-Thomas has helped start up multiple large-scale, gap filling efforts in mental health including the award-winning campaign Man Therapy and the nation’s first initiative for suicide prevention in the workplace, Working Minds.
Julie Cerel, PhD
Dr. Cerel is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Her research has focused on suicide bereavement, suicide attempt survivors and suicide prevention. She completed her PhD from The Ohio State University, an internship and post-doctoral fellowship from West Virginia University and a post-doctoral fellowship specifically in suicide prevention from University of Rochester. She has served as Research Division Chair and Board Chair of American Association of Suicidology. She is the author of over 65 academic publications and co-author of Seeking Hope: Stories of the Suicide Bereaved. Her work has been funded by the Military Suicide Research Consortium from the U.S. Department of Defense, the CDC, SAMHSA, SPAN-USA and AFSP. She is a Board member and former chair, Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group, Inc. and Editorial Board Member, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. Dr. Cerel mentors and collaborates with a diverse group of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students at UK and internationally.
Bart Andrews, PhD
Bart Andrews, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and the Vice President of Telehealth and Home/Community Services at Behavioral Health Response (BHR). BHR is a behavioral health agency that specializes in crisis and suicide intervention, clinical contact center, including phone, web chat, SMS texting, avatar assisted intervention and video intake services. Dr. Andrews is a Senior Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) Training Coach, ASIST Training Consultant and ASIST Trainer. Dr. Andrews served on the National Association of Crisis Organization Directors (NASCOD) Board of Directors from 2009 – 2018, serving his last term as board president and has been the closing speaker at the NASCOD Conference since 2009. Dr. Andrews is an instructor for St. Louis County Police Departments Crisis Intervention Team, a nationally recognized program. Dr. Andrews provides frequent consultation on risk assessment, civil involuntary detention procedures and legal and ethical challenges regarding crisis work with persons suffering with mental illness to local law enforcement agencies and hospital providers. Dr. Andrews is a strong believer in the power of technology and innovation to better meet our nation’s mental health and wellness needs. Dr. Andrews is a professional in recovery and believes that the National Action Alliance’s The Way Forward next important step in suicide prevention efforts. Dr. Andrews believes it is time for providers who are ready, willing and able to share their recovery stories and support The Way Forward. Dr. Andrews started as a crisis clinician at BHR at 1998 and has been actively involved crisis and suicide intervention community for the last 16 years.
April Foreman, PhD
April C. Foreman, Ph.D., is a Licensed Psychologist serving Veterans as Suicide Prevention Coordinator for Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System. She also serves as Suicide Prevention Lead for Veterans Integrated Service Network 16, a region of Veterans Affairs. She is passionate about helping people with severe (sometimes lethal) emotional pain, and in particular advocates for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, which has one of the highest mortality rates of all mental illnesses. She is known for her work at the intersection of technology, social media, and mental health, with nationally recognized implementations of innovations in the use of technology and mood tracking. She is the 2015 recipient of the Roger J. Tierney Award for her work as a founder and moderator of the first sponsored regular mental health chat on Twitter, the weekly Suicide Prevention Social Media chat (#SPSM, sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology, AAS). In the recent years this chat has become one of the largest and most active mental health centered social media communities on Twitter. Her dream is to use her unique skills and vision to build a mental health system effectively and elegantly designed to serve the people who need it.
Skip Simpson, JD
With a legal background ranging from duties as a U.S. Air Force Courts Martial Judge to services as Texas’ top drug traffic prosecutor, Skip Simpson is now a patient advocate for zero suicide. His law firm focuses on teaching suicide prevention and prosecuting suicide malpractice cases.
Profiled in The Wall Street Journal in 1997 for his pioneering work in suicide litigation, Skip remains active in promoting a zero suicide world. His personal background reveals a varied career with stints as a United States Air Force combat crew member, a military prosecutor, defense lawyer, and general courts martial judge, a state and federal criminal prosecutor, an in-house corporate lawyer, and a privately practicing civil trial lawyer.
Skip in 2003 was honored as a Research Associate of the Program in Psychiatry and the Law, Dept. of Psychiatry, Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. On January 1, 2004 he was appointed as a Clinical Instructor at The University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, Texas. In 2006 he was promoted to Adjunct Associate Professor. In 2005 Skip was named to the board of directors for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Collin County where he served for a one year term.
Melinda Moore, PhD
Clinical Division Chair
Dr. Melinda Moore is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, where she is part of the core clinical faculty in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program. She is also in private practice in Lexington, Kentucky. Dr. Moore is a senior consultant for CAMS-care, the company disseminating the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS), and routinely trains clinicians in this suicide-focused treatment approach across the country. At Eastern Kentucky University, she conducts suicide bereavement research with an emphasis on Posttraumatic Growth (www.posttraumaticgrowth.com) and directs the federal SAMHSA Garrett Lee Smith campus suicide prevention grant.
Becky Stoll, LCSW
Crisis Centers Division Chair
Becky Stoll is responsible for the overall operation of Centerstone’s Crisis Call Center, Mobile Crisis, Suicide Prevention and Disaster Management services.
Ms. Stoll graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, with a BS in Psychology. She received her Master’s in the Science of Social Work from the University of Tennessee in Nashville, Tennessee.
Ms. Stoll is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 years of behavioral health experience. She is a recognized leader in the areas of crisis services, disaster mental health, and suicide prevention. She is faculty for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s Zero Suicides in Health and Behavioral Healthcare initiative. Ms. Stoll has provided training, consultation, and response nationally and internationally to aviation, banking, educational institutions, emergency response organizations, and professional sports.
Ms. Stoll is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress and a Diplomate of the American Association of Experts in Traumatic Stress. She is a Certified Employee Assistance Professional.
John Draper, PhD
Prevention Division Chair
Dr. Draper has nearly 25 years of experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention work, and is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in crisis contact center practices (hotline, online chat, SMS services, etc.). Dr. Draper provided clinical leaderships to a mobile crisis team for 7 years before establishing the award-winning LifeNet in 1996, New York City’s first 24/7 crisis hotline service that was also central to the nation’s largest-ever disaster mental health response following 9/11. Since 2004, Dr. Draper has been the Director of the SAMHSA-funded National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK), overseeing all aspects of this service. Dr. Draper is also the primary Lifeline liaison to both SAMHSA and the Veterans Crisis Line. In addition, Dr. Draper is President of Link2Health Solutions (L2HS), a wholly-owned affiliate of the Vibrant Emotional Health (formerly the Mental Health Association of New York City). As president of L2HS, Dr. Draper and L2HS staff administers other national networks of crisis services, including the NFL Life Line, the SAMHSA-funded Disaster Distress Helpline. Dr. Draper serves on two task forces for the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, acting as a faculty member of the Zero Suicide Academy and as co-chair of the Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force. Dr. Draper Earned his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia Counseling Psychology Department in 1996. Dr. Draper has also maintained a private psychotherapy practice in New York City since 2000, working with individuals and couples.
Jie Zhang, PhD
Research Division Chair
Dr. Zhang is a full professor of sociology at State University of New York Buffalo State and Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior of the University at Buffalo. He was educated at Shandong University in China with a BA degree in 1982 and at Brigham Young University in the United States of America with a Ph.D. degree in 1992. Dr. Zhang teaches social psychology, classical theories, social medicine, and mental health. He received the Buffalo State President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2002, SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service in 2005, President’s Award for Excellence in Research in 2007, and SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Research in 2013. Dr. Zhang’s research interests are in the mental health and suicidal behaviors. He is a specialist in cultural studies of suicide and an American Chinese scholar in the area of mental health and suicide prevention. He is currently the Principal Investigator for research projects in China with funds granted by the US National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Zhang has published books in both English and Chinese and has numerous articles printed in top journals in the world. He also directs the Center for China Studies at Buffalo State.
Megan Rogers, M.S.
Student Division Chair
Megan is a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology at Florida State University, working under the mentorship of Dr. Thomas Joiner. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at North Carolina State University in 2014. Megan’s research broadly focuses on cognitive, physiological, affective, and behavioral risk factors for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, with a particular emphasis on understanding trajectories of short-term risk and acute suicidal crises. She will be completing her clinical predoctoral internship at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in 2019-2020.
Vanessa McGann, PhD
Survivors Division Chair
Dr. McGann is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York City specializing in traumatic loss. She is the Assistant Director of Extern Training and a counselor at the New School as well as a faculty member of the Child Psychotherapy Program of the William Alanson White Institute. In addition to being Chair of the American Association for Suicidology’s Loss Division, Dr. McGann is co-chair of its Clinician-Survivor task force and President Emerita of the New York City Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She consults nationally on topics related to suicide and postvention at various schools, colleges and agencies, including the NY State Office of Mental Health. She is a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force and helped in the creation of its national guidelines. In addition to supporting clinicians after the loss of a loved one or client to suicide, she is passionate about training clinicians to work with loss survivors and supporting families who are raising children in the wake of a suicide. The recipient of the 2018 AAS Loss Survivor Recognition Award for her contributions and leadership, Dr. McGann lost her sister Nadine McGann to suicide in 2004.
DeQuincy A. Lezine, Ph.D.
Attempt Survivors/Lived Experience Division Chair
DeQuincy is a suicide attempt survivor who has been active in suicide prevention since 1996, including roles in the development of national and state suicide prevention plans. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from UCLA, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester focused on public health approaches to suicide prevention. Dr. Lezine is the Co-Chair of the Consumer Survivor Subcommittee for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and a member of the Steering Committee for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. He is also a a member of the Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force, of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and principal author on the Way Forward: Pathways to Hope, Recovery, and Wellness with Insights from Lived Experience which is in press. He has also worked with organizations including Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) USA, Organization for Attempters and Survivors in Interfaith Services (OASSIS), National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), and the Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Council. Dr. Lezine is the author of Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide (Oxford University Press, 2008) and President & CEO of Prevention Communities, focusing on suicide prevention and mental health promotion.
Colleen Creighton joined the American Association of Suicidology in June 2017.
Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Alliance for Consumer Education (ACE), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to the safe and responsible use of consumer household products. She also served as Director of CHPA Educational Foundation where she was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day management of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association’s educational foundation.
Prior to her work in the nonprofit foundation arena, Ms. Creighton worked in the educational field, having taught civics education at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels. Additionally, she spent three years in Lancut, Poland working for the International World Teach program, an organization based out of the Harvard University Center for International Development. Before that, she studied NATO and the European Union at the Irish Institute for European Affairs in Leuven, Belgium.
Colleen holds a B.A. in Political Science from the Catholic University of America and a M.A. in East European Studies from the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany.