Panel Presenter Biographies

Panel I: Medical Perspectives

Peter C. Whybrow, M.D., is Professor and Executive Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences; Director, Neuropsychiatric Institute; Physician-in-Chief, Neuropsychiatric Hospital, UCLA. Previously he was the Ruth Meltzer Professor and chair of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and vice chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association. In 1996 he was awarded the Gerlad L. Klerman Lifetime Research Award by the NDMDA. Dr. Whybrow has lectured extensively throughout Europe and the United States and is the author of The Hibernation Response, Mood Disorders and A Mood Apart, The Thinker's Guide to Emotion and Its Disorders. He lives in Los Angeles. 

Dr. Samuel H. Barondes, M.D., Currently he is Jeanne and Sanford Robertson Professor and Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry, UCSF. He is the author of more than 200 original research articles. His symposium topic will be: "Fifty Years of Psychiatric Drugs: Evolution and Prospects." Dr. Barondes, A.B. & M.D., Columbia University, trained in clinical medicine and psychiatry at several Harvard teaching hospitals. He learned research in molecular biology at the National Institutes of Health in the laboratory of Marshall Nirenberg, a pioneer in the field and later, a Nobel laureate. He has devoted himself to applying the new sciences of molecular biology and molecular genetics to psychiatry. A professor at the University of California since 1970, first at San Diego and since 1986 at UCSF, he was for seven years chair of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry and Director of its Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. Currently he is Jeanne and Sanford Robertson Professor and Director of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatry.

Alejandro (Alex) Kopelowicz, M.D. is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Medicine and Medical Director of the San Fernando Mental Health Center (SFMHC), a community mental health center operated by the Department of Mental Health of Los Angeles County. Dr. Kopelowicz has been a frequent lecturer, writer and speaker on biobehavioral treatment and psychiatric rehabilitation techniques. He has written a number of articles and book chapters on these subjects. He has spoken to Alliance for the Mentally Ill groups at the local, state and national levels. Dr. Kopelowicz has been the recipient of several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the most recent a five-year, Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award entitled "Multiple Family Groups for Latinos with Schizophrenia", which attempts to culturally adapt the family psychoeducation approach to an Hispanic population. Dr. Kopelowicz has also received research grants from Janssen Pharmaceutica, Eli Lilly, Solvay, Novartis, and DuPont Merck. He recently received a Young Investigator Award from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) to study the neurocognitive correlates of recovery from schizophrenia. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he emigrated with his family to New York City at a young age. However, he remains fluent in Spanish, which has been enormously helpful in his work at SFMHC. He graduated Haverford College with a B.A. in Psychology, and went on to receive his medical education at Rutgers Medical School in New Jersey. He completed his psychiatric residency at the UCLA/San Fernando Valley program.

Jair C. Soares, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology, Chief, Division of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Department of Psychiatry, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, San Antonio, TX. He graduated in 1990 from the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, Brazil. After psychiatric residencies at the University of Sao Paulo (1991-1993) and at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh (1993-1997), he took a brain imaging fellowship at the department of Psychiatry at Yale University (1997-1999). Dr. Soares held an appointment as Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine from 1997-1999, and from 1999-2001 he was at the same institution as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Director, Neurochemical Brain Imaging Laboratory. Beginning January 1, 2002, Dr. Soares assumes new responsibilities with the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio. Dr. Soares had had extensive clinical research experience in the field of mood disorders, and expertise with brain imaging modalities as research tools to investigate brain mechanisms possibly involved in these disorders, and the mechanisms of action of treatments for these conditions. Dr. Soares has published several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in the psychiatric literature. Since 1998, he has been co-editing a new peer-review journal called Bipolar Disorders - An International Journal of Psychiatry and Neurosciences. He recently co-edited a textbook, Bipolar Disorders - Basic Mechanisms and Therapeutic Implications.

Panel II: Treatment Perspectives

Alexander S. Young, M.D. M.S.H.S., Director of the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) Health Services Unit in the Veterans Healthcare Network of Southern California and Nevada (VA VISN 22), Assistant Professor at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry, and Consultant at RAND. He is a psychiatrist and health services researcher. Dr. Young's research focuses on understanding and improving the quality and efficiency of mental health services; and on provider behavior and the management of mental health care. He has emphasized publicly financed mental health care, and improving the care of individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. He directs the Health Services Unit of the VA VISN 22 MIRECC, a Center with the goal of improving functional outcomes in individuals with psychotic disorders ( He also co-directs the Vulnerable Populations Core of the UCLA RAND NIMH Research Center on Managed Care for Psychiatric Disorders ( In 2000, Dr. Young received the American Psychiatric Association Early Career Health Services Research Award. He is currently leading projects that focus on evaluating, monitoring and improving mental health care. One of his projects is implementing and testing an intervention designed to improve care in schizophrenia at two VA mental health clinics. Another is evaluating an assertive educational intervention designed to improve the competency of providers under Medicaid managed care. He has a Career Development Award from the VA HSR&D service to evaluate methods for improving the quality of care for schizophrenia. He leads the quality evaluation component of HealthCare for Communities. This is a UCLA-RAND project studying the effect, nationally, of changes in the organization and financing of mental health care on access, quality, utilization, and costs. He collaborates on a variety of health services research projects at UCLA, RAND and the VA. Dr. Young frequently presents and teaches about the treatment of severe mental illness, health services, and improving healthcare services. He has numerous research publications, including recent articles on the quality of mental health care in the United States, core provider competencies, and public managed mental health care.

Steven P. Segal, PhD, MSW, ASCW is a Professor in the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. He is also the Director of the Mental Health and Social Welfare Research Group, School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley, the Director of the Center for Self Help Research, Public Health Institute, and the Co-Director and Co-Principal Investigator, of the NIMH/NRSA Pre/Post Doctoral Research Training Program in Financing and Service Delivery in Mental Health, Schools of Public Health and Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. He has been the recipient of senior Fulbright research and lecture awards in Australia, the United Kingdom and Italy. He has worked on mental health services research related to long term community and residential care, civil commitment, the assessment of dangerousness and quality of psychiatric emergency care in general hospital psychiatric emergency rooms, and consumer roles in mental health services provision. 

Barbara E. Havassy, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF. In a period that spans 25 years, Dr. Havassy has been funded by NIH and the State of California to conduct psychiatric and drug treatment research. This research includes studies of mental health and drug treatment systems, treatment of seriously mentally ill adults with and without co-occurring substance use disorders, studies of relapse to abused drugs, and studies of methadone maintenance. She is the PI of two current studies concerning co-occurring substance use and major mental disorders (NIMH MH50856; NIDA DA 10836) and one study of mentally ill felons funded by the California Board of Corrections (San Francisco Mentally Ill Offenders Crime Reduction Grant--MIOCRG). Dr. Havassy was a consultant to the California Little Hoover Commission's report on Mental Health Reform (2000) and assisted with a review of evaluation of data from AB2034 (2000). She is a Co-Investigator of the UCB-UCSF NIMH Center on Mental Health Services Research, Co-Director of the UCSF NIDA Treatment Research Center, and faculty on two NIH postdoctoral training programs. She is a member of the UCSF Institutional Review Board (Committee on Human Research) and a member of the NIDA Treatment Research Committee Initial Review Group.

Judge Harold E.Shabo is the Supervising Judge of the Mental Health Departments of the Superior Court of Los Angeles. He has served in the capacity of more than ten years, after serving as a trial judge in felony cases, as a juvenile court judge in the dependency court and as part of a three-judge panel in the Appellate Department of the Superior Court. He was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1980 by Governor Jerry Brown and was elevated to the Superior Court in 1982. He has served on the California Judicial Council, an appointee of former Chief Justice Rose Bird. He currently serves on the Judicial Council's Advisory Task Force on Probate and Mental Health Law, and on the Juvenile and Indigent Defense Counsel Committees of the Los Angeles Country Bar Association. In 1995, Judge Shabo was the keynote speaker in Tokyo, Japan, at the World Conference on Prison and Jail Health Conditions co-sponsored by the World Health Organization and the World Psychiatric Association. He has devoted himself through public speaking and writing to raising public awareness of the plight of persons with severe mental illness in the criminal justice system. He has actively pursued legislative solutions to the problem of criminalization of persons with mental illness.

David J. Hosseini has been the Executive Director of Consumer Self Help, based in Sacramento, California for the past eight years. As such, he has spearheaded advocacy efforts for Patient Rights, including presentations to neighborhood groups, county planning offices, local mental health boards, and state agencies. Mr. Hosseini also directs agency media campaigns, publishes a Patient Rights Newsletter, is active in fundraising, and represents the agency at statewide gatherings. He is responsible for the administrative and bureaucratic direction of the agency. Prior to joining Consumer Self Help, Mr. Hosseini has a long record of service to the community, especially to the homeless, the mentally ill, and the physically challenged. He has a B.A. from Bethany College (WV) and has also attended Boston College.

Lunch and Keynote Presentation: The Honorable Guido Belsasso, M.D., National Commissioner for the National Council Against Addictions and Mental Health Programs in Mexico, Ministry of Health

Guido Belsasso, M.D. is national commissioner for the National Council Against Addictions and Mental Health Programs in Mexico, Ministry of Health. He obtained his bachelors degree from the School of Medicine at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and carried postgraduate studies on Intern Medicine at the Hospital for Nutritional Diseases, in Mexico, and on psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University. He first entered the Mexican Civil Service as Head of Service in the National Institute of Neurology in 1964. He was founder and general director of the Mexican Center for Drug Abuse Prevention (CEMEF); a decentralized body of the federal government. He was medical advisor of the National Mental Institute, National System for Family Development (DIF), 1980-81. From January 1977 to October 1980 he was general director of the National Institute of Labor Studies of the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, general director of the National Center for Productivity and National Service for rapid training of Labor in Industry from October 24, 1982 to December 31, 1982, and general director of the National Institute of Productivity 1982. He served as advisor to the Foreign Relations Chancellor of Mexico, 1988-90, and coordinator of the Hemispheric Cooperation Project for the Reduction of Drug Demand and Drug Traffic Control of the Institute of the Americas and the University of California, San Diego, 1988-91. He was general coordinator of the National Council Against Addictions (Health Ministry), 1991-94, member of the Expert Committee to Reduce Drug Demand in Latin America, 1992-93, member of the Committees of Mortality and Comorbility, Neuroscience and Medical Training of the American British Cowdray Hospital (ABC), Mexico City, 1994-99. He was appointed National Commissioner of the National Council against Addictions, Health Ministry, December 2000.


Panel III: Mental Heath Funding and Parity

Richard Scheffler, Ph.D., (panel chair) is the Distinguished Professor of Health Economics and Public Policy at the University of California -Berkeley and the holder of the Chair in Healthcare Markets and Consumer Welfare endowed by the California office of the Attorney General. He is the Director of the Petris Center for Research Health Policy and the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholars Program. Professor Scheffler also directs the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) pre and postdoctoral training programs and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) pre and postdoctoral training programs in the School of Public Health. He holds faculty positions in the School of Public Health and the Goldman School of Public Policy in which he teaches health economics, international health economics and the economics of medicine and managed care. His research is on healthcare markets, health insurance, the health work force, mental health economics, and international health system reforms in Western and Eastern Europe. He recently received a senior scientist award from NIMH to work on mental health parity, the economics of the public mental health system in California, managed care in mental health and the mental health work force. Professor Scheffler has been a Fulbright Scholar, a Rockefeller Scholar and a Scholar in Residence at the Institute of Medicine - National Academy of Sciences. He is the founding director of the Ph.D. program in Health Services and Policy Analysis and the NIMH Center for Mental Health Services Research at Berkeley. Professor Scheffler has published over a hundred papers and has edited and written six books. His forthcoming book is on the future of the health work force-- University of California Press.

Robert L. Okin, MD is Chief of Service of the SFGH Department of Psychiatry, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, and Vice Chair of the UCSF School of Medicine's Department of Psychiatry. His major role is to provide leadership to and administration of the SFGH site of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry. Since he joined the Department in September, 1990, his major effort has been focused in the development and expansion of both mental health/substance abuse services and the academic mission at this site. He has overseen the development of crucial services for San Francisco's most critically mentally ill, including the SFGH Department of Psychiatry's Case Management Program for High Users of the Emergency Department (which received the National Association of Public Hospital's Safety Net Award in 1999), the Crisis Resolution Team for psychiatric patients in crisis, a Partial Hospitalization Program for patients transitioning from acute inpatient care, a variety of outpatient and inpatient Substance Abuse Programs, the establishment of the Division of Psychosocial Medicine, and the Department of Public Health's capitated case management contract for comprehensive mental health services for 200 of San Francisco's most expensive users of the mental health system.

Dr. Okin is a nationally and internationally known expert on human rights for the mentally disabled. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of Mental Disabilities Rights International (MDRI) and has led non-government organization missions to the Ukraine, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Armenia and most recently to Mexico to investigate human rights violations in the mental health institutions in these countries. Dr. Okin previously served as Chair of the UCSF Clinical Practice Group at SFGH and Interim Chair of the Community Health Network's Medical Practice Group. He is the former Commissioner of Mental Health for both the state of Vermont and the state of Massachusetts.

Dr. Stephen W. Mayberg was appointed Director of the California Department of Mental Health in February 1993 and reappointed by Governor Gray Davis in November 1999. Dr. Mayberg has responsibility for the oversight of the almost $2.4 billion public mental health budget as well as almost 7,500 employees. Since Dr. Mayberg has assumed his position he has embarked on an ambitious agenda that includes a number of major initiatives such as state hospital reform, implementation of a comprehensive mental health managed care system, and a complete reorganization of the California Department of Mental Health to become more "user friendly" and accessible. Dr. Mayberg received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and received his doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota. He completed his internship at the University of California, Davis, and has worked in the California mental health system since that time. Prior to his appointment, he served as the Director of the Yolo County Mental Health Program. During his public service career Dr. Mayberg has had the responsibility of supervising and administrating programs such as crisis services, outpatient services and children's services. He has also been involved in program design, implementation and monitoring. He is an advocate for interagency programming and planning. However, his primary interest has always been as a clinician and throughout his public service career he has continued to provide clinical services. Dr. Mayberg has held many national, state, and local offices including President of the California Mental Health Directors Association, President of the California Conference of Local Mental Health Directors and President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD). Dr. Mayberg's accomplishments have often been recognized as evidenced by his many honors and awards.

Assemblymember Helen Thomson is Chair, California Assembly Health Committee and the Select Committee on Mental Health; author of legislation on Mental Health Parity and LPS reform; and a Registered Nurse. Elected to her third term in the State Assembly on November 7, 2000, her 8th District includes communities along the Interstate 80 corridor and Sacramento River Delta, comprising most of Yolo and Solano Counties and a portion of Sacramento County. Thomson is married to Captane P. Thomson, M.D. and is the mother of three adult children, all graduates of California public schools and universities. Since taking public office, Thomson has established a strong legislative record in health care, mental health, water, public education, transportation, and local government finance. Additionally, she serves on five Assembly standing committees: Agriculture, Appropriations, Health, Revenue and Taxation, and Water, Parks & Wildlife. Thomson was also appointed to the Delta Protection Commission and to the Joint Legislative Sunset Review Committee. One of the Legislature's most effective legislators, in the most recent 1999-2000 legislative session, Thomson authored 34 measures signed into law by Governor Davis. She is a champion on many issues including local government finance, health care reform, mental health, highway safety, water conservation, and the rights of the disabled. Most notably, she authored AB 88, the mental health parity bill, which ends the historic discrimination in insurance benefits for those who suffer from severe mental illnesses. She has received several awards of distinction including the Jacob K. Javits Public Service Award - American Psychiatric Association.

Ralph Catalano PhD, MRP, is Professor of Public Health at UC Berkeley and a member of the UC Berkeley/ UCSF Center for Mental Health Services Research. He holds a Ph. D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University. Catalano's research has focused on the effects of the macro economy and of economic policy on the demand for mental health services. He has also studied the mental health of Mexican Americans in California. He has served as Associate Vice Chancellor at UC Irvine, as well as Vice Mayor of Irvine and a member of the Irvine City Council. He has also been Director of the Division of Health Policy and Management at UC Berkeley.

Panel IV: Children, Families and Mental Health

Abram Rosenblatt, Ph.D. is Associate Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, where he serves as Director of Research for the Child Services Research Group. He is also a Co-Investigator with the National Institute of Mental Health funded Center for Mental Health Services Research at the University of California's Berkeley and San Francisco campuses. Dr. Rosenblatt earned the B.A. degree in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Child and Family Studies, and is a member of the editorial boards of Mental Health Services Research and the Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. He was a participant in the recently released U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, was a member of the California Little Hoover Commission's select mental health advisory group, and has served on numerous national panels and Initial Review Groups convened by the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Center for Mental Health Services. He is the author or co-author of over 40 publications, with a predominant focus on studies of the costs and outcomes of children's mental health services. Dr. Rosenblatt is currently the principal investigator of a series of interwoven research projects evaluating the costs and outcomes of the California System of Care Model for youth with severe emotional disturbance that is being implemented across all of California's 58 counties.

Lonnie Snowden, Ph.D., is the Director of the UC Berkeley/UCSF Center for Mental Health Services Research and Professor at the School of Social Welfare, University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Snowden has been a mental health services researcher for more than 25 years focusing on organization, financing, and effectiveness of mental health care, with a particular emphasis on issues of race, culture, and ethnicity. He has an extensive record of publication and service to governmental bodies and professional organizations that includes serving as Science Editor of the recently issued Mental Health: Culture, Race, and Ethnicity: A Supplement to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General.

Toby J. Ewing, Project Manager, Little Hoover Report on Children's Mental Health, joined the Commission staff in February 1999. Most recently he was the Executive Director of the Senate Advisory Commission on Cost Control in State Government, and Project Manager for the California Governance Consensus Project. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grinnell College in Iowa and a Master's degree in sociology from the Maxwell School in Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. Mr. Ewing has also studied and worked in Costa Rica and Nicaragua on international and community development issues, was a Fulbright Scholar to Central America, and is currently completing his Doctorate in sociology from the Maxwell School.

Joan Asarnow, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine. She has written extensively on mood disorders in children and adolescents, suicidal behavior in youth, cognitive-behavior therapy, the association between depression and post-traumatic stress disorders in youth, and childhood-onset schizophrenia. Dr. Asarnow is the Principal Investigator of Youth Partners in Care, an AHRQ funded multi-site study aimed at evaluating a quality improvement intervention for depression among adolescents seen in primary care settings. She is also Co-Principal Investigator and Co-Chair of the Psychosocial Treatment Subcommittee of an NIMH study focusing on Treatment of SSRI-Resistant Depression in Adolescents, and a co-investigator on an NIMH treatment development study examining a family intervention for depressed children. Dr. Asarnow is currently the Co-Director of the UCLA Child and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program and Co-Director of the UCLA Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Program. She has served as a consultant to the National Institute of Mental Health, the Institute of Medicine, the MacArthur Foundation, and the WT Grant Foundation.

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