Speakers & Faculty


Eric Bailly, LPC, LADC

Business Solutions Director, Anthem, Inc.

Bio coming soon

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Jamie Vandergon, LPC

President, Trillium Family Services

Jamie Vandergon, President of Trillium Family Services, provides leadership to a diverse array of community based and inpatient behavioral health programs across the state of Oregon.

Over the past seventeen years Ms. Vandergon has held leadership positions within the organization and continues to grow the size and scope of Trillium’s programs. Ms. Vandergon is a passionate advocate for addressing upstream issues and expanding school and community based mental health promotion programs across the state.  Ms. Vandergon began her career working in community-based children’s mental health programs at Johns Hopkins Hospital and initially began working for Trillium Family Services in 2002 as a school-based Child & Family Therapist. In 2007 she left Trillium briefly to spend some time working with Multnomah County as a Family Care Coordinator on system wide transformation efforts and the creation of a more robust system of care. Ms. Vandergon earned her Master of Science degree in Psychology from Loyola University in Maryland and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Oregon. ×

Jessie Peters, FNP-BC

Director of Strategy and Innovation, Spectrum Healthcare Group

Bio coming soon

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Kim Scott

Chief Executive Officer, Trillium Family Services

Kim Scott

Chief Executive Officer, Trillium Family Services

Kim Scott is responsible for providing executive leadership for all Trillium program operations. He provides direct supervision to the organization’s Chief Executive Officers, and leadership in the development of organizational policy and procedure, compliance with national accrediting bodies, and program and business development activities. Kim is committed to the health and well-being of Oregon’s children and families, and has dedicated his life’s work to making the world a safer, more supportive place for ALL people to thrive.

Mr. Scott provides statewide leadership in the development of intensive treatment services that are family focused and integrated with local communities and planning structures. He serves on the Advisory Board of the American Association of Children’s Residential Centers, on the Strategic Planning Committee of the National Alliance of Children and Families, on the Board of Directors at Concordia University, and on the Board of Trustees at Helping Men Heal. Kim is also peer faculty at the National Alliance of Strong Communities and Families in their Residential Treatment Transformation Initiative, and has been invited to participate in the Building Bridges Summit sponsored by SAMHSA, as well as being actively involved with the Oregon Alliance of Children’s Programs.

Mr. Scott started his career as a childcare worker at Waverly Children’s Home in 1978 and he became the Residential Services Coordinator in 1983. In 1985, he moved to Alaska, where he served as Detention Unit Leader for the Department of Health and Social Services in Juneau and as youth counselor at Johnson Youth Center, also in Juneau, Alaska. Prior to joining Trillium Family Services, Mr. Scott served as Associate Director of the Children’s Farm Home in Corvallis, Oregon. In this role, he was responsible for directing all the residential care and treatment services operations and supervised coordinators responsible for managing residential, community-based and clinical services program operations. Mr. Scott received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Counseling Education from Columbia Christian College in 1980. He received a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Alaska Southeast in August 1995.

Mr. Scott has presented at conferences for the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), Oregon’s Children & Adolescent Residential Psychiatric Programs (CHARPP), the Council on Accreditation (COA), and the University of Southern Florida’s Research & Best Practice conference and has provided quality assurance, accreditation and electronic record consultation for mental health agencies in Oregon and Alaska.

Over the past few years, Kim Scott and his team at Trillium have adopted a trauma-informed lens to the work of the organization. Understanding the profound impact that trauma and stress have on individuals, families, organizations, systems, communities, and all human systems has led Trillium down a path toward creating a network of trauma-informed community partners determined to change the conversation about people and problems from, “What’s wrong with you?” to “What has happened to you?” Trillium’s “Keep Oregon Well” campaign was launched in 2015, with initiatives involving poverty, equity, inclusion, and safety in the pipeline for the coming year. ×

Christy Dye, MPH

President & Chief Executive Officer, Partners In Recovery, LLC

Christy Dye, MPH

President & Chief Executive Officer, Partners In Recovery, LLC

Christy’s background spans 30 years as a state administrator, provider and system leader in managed behavioral health, healthcare integration and recovery-focused provider networks in Arizona and other states. She was early innovator in implementing an integrated service system for adults with co-occurring mental health/substance use disorders, including strategies for network development, financing, licensure and consensus building. She also oversaw the expansion of Arizona’s contracted behavioral health managed care system to a more recovery focused model, including expansion of peer-delivered mental health, addiction and peer-delivered services. Today she directs strategy and operations of Partners In Recovery, a integrated behavioral/medical health home system serving 8,000 adults with serious mental illness in Arizona. Christy has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Visiting Scientist award from Harvard University and the prestigious Behavioral Health Leadership in Services Award from the ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy. She is a contributing author to multiple articles and books on peer support and recovery services. More recently, Christy’s interests have turned to health IT and using technology to improve behavioral healthcare practice and outcomes. She is a member of the governing board of Health Current, Arizona’s health information exchange, and serves as a co-principal investigator for a National Institute of Mental Health research project focused on health information sharing preferences among persons with serious mental illness.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and her master’s from the University of Arizona. ×

Allen Brown, MSSW

Chief Executive Officer, Adult & Child Health

Allen Brown, MSSW, is CEO of Adult and Child Health in Indianapolis, a nonprofit agency employing 700 employees in central Indiana. Organized as a certified community mental health center and licensed child placement agency, Adult and Child is expanding into community health clinic services as an FQHC Look Alike program.  Accredited by the Joint Commission, Adult and Child’s programs for the underserved include behavioral health, primary care, child welfare, supportive housing, and supportive employment.  Prior to joining Adult and Child in 2014, Allen held managed care and community mental health leadership positions in Texas, Colorado, and Georgia. ×

Judith Cukor, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine

Judith Cukor, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry, Weill Cornell Medicine

Bio Coming Soon! ×

Mark McHugh

President & Chief Executive Officer, Envision Unlimited

Mark McHugh

President & Chief Executive Officer, Envision Unlimited

Mark is an experienced senior executive with an established track record of achieving successful growth and positive outcomes for several leading not-for-profit enterprises in the Chicago area. Mark comes to Envision from One Hope United, where he has worked for the last seven years. He has most recently been their Chief Operating Officer, prior to that, the Executive Director of One Hope United’s Northern Region, where he led the development of programs resulting in significant measurable improvements in the quality of client lives. Additionally, Mark has experience as the Executive Director of the Midway Center for Metropolitan Family Services and as the Director of Operations/Director of Child and Family Services for Christopher House.

Mark holds masters degrees in Social Work and Education. His bachelors degree is in Sociology. ×

Doug Nemecek, M.D., MBA

Chief Medical Officer - Behavioral Health, Cigna

Bio Coming Soon! ×

Samantha Arsenault, MA

Director, National Treatment Quality Initiatives, Shatterproof

Samantha (Sam) Arsenault is the Director of National Treatment Quality Initiatives for Shatterproof. In this role, Sam manages the Substance Use Treatment Task Force, and provides strategic guidance and support to critical stakeholders across sectors to improve the quality of substance use disorder treatment nationally. Sam is an impact-driven public health professional with demonstrated experience managing multi-stakeholder collaborations for systems-level changes and a personal commitment to reduce the stigma around substance use disorders and their treatment.

Prior to joining Shatterproof, Sam worked on the Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Initiative at The Pew Charitable Trusts. In this role, Sam worked to advance programs and policies that improve access and quality of substance use disorder treatment at the state and federal levels, with a focus on medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, and changes to infrastructure and payment systems. In addition, Sam worked on research and policy-based initiatives to reduce the inappropriate use of prescription drugs while ensuring that patients have access to effective pain management.

Previously, Sam worked as a Research Assistant at the Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise, where she provided technical assistance to the Academic Health Collaborative of Worcester and conducted quantitative research on childhood trauma and violent offenses. Sam also worked on a number of projects with the Worcester Division of Public Health, including youth substance use and tobacco prevention.

She received both a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, summa cum laude, and a Master’s Degree in Community Development and Planning both from Clark University.

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John Talbot, Ph.D.

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

John Talbot, Ph.D. has more than 30 years’ experience in all aspects of health care, including upper management, consultation, education, direct clinical work, and serving as the president of a non-profit board.

Dr. Talbot is currently Vice President of Corporate Strategy at Jefferson Center for Mental Health (JCMH) in Denver, Colorado. In this role, he is responsible for the development and implementation of corporate strategy, strategic alliances and new product development. Dr. Talbot also served as the Vice President of Integration Development for JCMH where he led all new business development opportunities in integrated care and participated in region wide and statewide initiatives.

Prior to his current role, Dr. Talbot served as an Executive Vice President for OPEN MINDS for eight years and provided consultation, training and operational assistance to behavioral health providers, nonprofit organizations, and managed care organizations across the country. His areas of focus for consultation and training include strategic planning, the development of successful strategic alliances, board development, organizational reengineering, operations management, management and leadership development, and change management.

Previously, Dr. Talbot served as the President of Colorado Care Management, a network of agencies providing care to children and families. Dr. Talbot led the development of a coalition of Colorado business executives to address the issues of providing care to abused and neglected children, and the establishment of a nationwide purchasing cooperative for non-profits. The innovative work of Colorado Care Management received national recognition, including participation in a Federal IV-E waiver study that demonstrated measurable superior clinical outcomes.

Dr. Talbot’s additional experience includes serving as the Associate Dean of Operations, the Director of the Master of Health Systems Program, and Adjunct Faculty for University College, University of Denver. He also held a senior management position at Mount Airy Psychiatric Center in Denver, Colorado.

Dr. Talbot has been a featured speaker at a number of national and state venues, and is the former publisher and editor of Today’s Healthcare Manager, a newsletter focusing on leadership and management skills for healthcare managers, and has written numerous articles, manuals, and book chapters.

Dr. Talbot received his Ph.D. from the University of Denver, Master of Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University, and Bachelor of Science from Loyola University.

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Christopher Williams, MA

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Christopher Williams, M.A., brings over 25 years of strategic marketing and communications experience to the OPEN MINDS team. Mr. Williams currently serves as a Senior Associate, leading projects related to developing strategic partnerships, brand and reputation management, strategic and crisis communications, as well as mixed-method research design and statistical analysis.

Prior to joining OPEN MINDS, Mr. Williams served as the Director of Sales, Northwest and Account Management for The Echo Group, based in Conway, New Hampshire. In this role, Mr. Williams was responsible for generating new client sales, sales territory planning and management, as well as sales prospecting and lead conversions, through product demonstrations, managing strategic accounts, and fostering client relationships.

Prior to serving as the Director of Sales, Northwest and Account Management. Williams served as the Director of Marketing for The Echo Group. In this role, Mr. Williams oversaw lead generation, managed brand developments, executed product launches, conducted market research and competitive analyses, as well as executed strategic marketing plans and initiatives.

Previously, Mr. Williams served as the Vice President of Strategic Communications at Cookson Strategic Communications, in Manchester, New Hampshire. During his tenure, Mr. Williams served as a as lead consultant for on-going client programs and initiatives, managed the planning and execution phases of strategic communication campaigns, oversaw brand development and multiple product launches, as well as provided creative direction.

In addition to his commercial experience, Mr. Williams held adjunct faculty positions at the University of New Hampshire, Manchester, Concordia University, and Michigan State University, where he taught courses pertaining to public relations, communications and journalism. Mr. Williams earned his Master of Arts in Journalism from Michigan State University. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communications & Journalism from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, as well as his Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts from Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan. ×

Margaret M. Conner-Levin, MSW

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Margaret M. Conner-Levin, MSW brings more than 20 years of experience across the health care continuum to the OPEN MINDS team. In her two decades of experience, Ms. Conner-Levin has held positions in a variety of management settings, including: executive management, consultation, education, direct clinical work, as well as payer relations.

Prior to joining OPEN MINDS, Ms. Conner-Levin served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Archway Programs in Atco, New Jersey. In this capacity, she led and managed all aspects of the organization through a successful turnaround initiative, generating and increasing a fiscal surplus for first time in 10 years through program expansion. She also was responsible for increasing the current donor contribution base by 50%.

In addition to serving as the Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Conner-Levin also served as the Chief Operating Officer for Strategic Business Development and Fundraising, of the Archway Programs prior to serving as the CEO. In this role, she provided leadership and executive direction to all areas of program operations including, but certainly not limited to business development, fiscal planning, human resources, as well as strategic planning, in terms of partnership development.

Prior to her experience at Archway Programs, Ms. Conner-Levin served as Writer/Consultant/Performance Improvement Leader with CFG Health Systems in Marlton, New Jersey. In this role, she led performance improvement activities including pursuit of JCAHO accreditation, data design, collection, and analysis activities. In her tenure as senior writer for CFG Health Systems, she specialized in developing telemedicine programs producing marketing and operations presentation materials. In addition to her numerous published program operation and development materials, she is also pending the copyright of a telemedicine manual.

Ms. Conner-Levin served as the Chief Operating Officer for Drenk Mental Health Center in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, from 2000-2004. In this capacity, she led all aspects of agency operations including day-to-day management of the twenty-one programs and human resource management responsibilities of over three-hundred employees. Prior to serving as the Chief Operating Officer, she also served as the Associate Executive Director, Behavioral Healthcare from 1997-2000.

In 1985, Ms. Conner-Levin earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, from Rutgers University, Cook Campus, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She then went to earn her Master of Social Work, Administration and Policy Planning, Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey, in 1994.

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Bechara Choucair, M.D.

Senior Vice President & Chief Community Health Officer, Kaiser Permanente

Bechara Choucair, MD, is senior vice president and chief community health officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals — known as Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Dr. Choucair oversees the organization’s national community health efforts and philanthropic giving activities aimed at improving the health of its 12.2 million members and the 68 million people within the communities it serves.

Dr. Choucair comes to Kaiser Permanente from Trinity Health, where he served as senior vice president, Safety Net and Community Health. He worked directly with Trinity Health’s regions to improve the health of populations and impact the community-based social determinants of health. He was responsible for the development of new care delivery models and new relationships with payers, public health agencies and community organizations. Dr. Choucair and his team led the organization’s community benefit portfolio of approximately $1 billion annually. He also launched Trinity Health’s Transforming Communities Initiative to transform the health and well-being of communities across the country.

For five years prior to joining Trinity Health, Dr. Choucair was the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. There, he and his team launched Healthy Chicago, the city’s first comprehensive public health agenda. Since its launch, CDPH has reported historic lows in childhood obesity rates and both teen and adult smoking rates, as well as significant increases in overall life expectancy. Under his leadership, CDPH became the first big city public health agency to be awarded national accreditation.

Prior to his appointment as CDPH commissioner, Dr. Choucair served as the executive director of Heartland Health Centers in Chicago and as the medical director of Crusader Community Health in Rockford, Illinois.

Dr. Choucair serves on numerous boards, including the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and the Diversity Leadership Committee of the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association. He also has earned local and national awards, including being named one of Chicago’s “40 under 40” by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2012. Most recently, Dr. Choucair was ranked No. 10 on Modern Healthcare’s annual list of the Top 50 Most Influential Physician Executives and Leaders for 2018.

Dr. Choucair, a family physician by training, completed his Family Practice Residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He holds an MD from the American University of Beirut and a master’s degree in health care management from the University of Texas at Dallas. ×

Deb Adler

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Deb Adler brings more than 20 years of experience in executive health care roles, serving in a variety of capacities including network executive, quality management executive and chief operating officer, to the OPEN MINDS team.

Her consultant work with OPEN MINDS spans a broad range of customers (provider organizations, payors and government programs) and topics, including: collaborative care models/medical behavioral integration, provider network functions– contracting, network designs/tiering, recruitment, telehealth network implementation, and strategic planning. In addition, Ms. Adler has a special interest in helping technology-enabled providers in “go-to-market” strategies and streamlining network functions.

Since entering the managed behavioral health care field, she has become an industry-recognized leader in value-based contracting and alternative payment models. An innovator known for her ability to execute results, she has facilitated network designs and benefit plan approaches that achieve both quality outcomes and healthcare cost savings.

Before joining OPEN MINDS, Ms. Adler served as Senior Vice President of Network Strategy for Optum (part of UnitedHealth Group) where she was responsible for behavioral health network development, contracting, and strategy for over 185,000 providers. In this role she developed the largest, performance-tiered behavioral health network, largest telemental health network, and largest medication assisted treatment (MAT) network. She was also responsible for implementing network initiatives to promote medical/behavioral integration, improve member outcomes, and reduce total cost of care through collaborative care models.

Prior to joining Optum/UnitedHealth, Ms. Adler spent over 12 years with ValueOptions, Inc. (now Beacon Options) where she held a variety of senior leadership roles including, Executive Vice President of National Networks; Chief Executive Officer, Health Plan Division; Vice President, Network Operations; Executive Director, Corporate Quality Management; and Executive Director, Quality & Information Systems. She was responsible for quality management and coordinated NCQA and URAC accreditation efforts.

Ms. Adler spent her early career in health care quality, serving as a quality director in two state-run psychiatric centers.

Ms. Adler received her Master’s degree in educational psychology and evaluation from Catholic University of America and is a Certified Professional in Health Care Quality (CPHQ).

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Stacy DiStefano

Chief Operating Officer, OPEN MINDS

Stacy DiStefano brings over 20 years of business development and executive leadership experience in the health and human services industry to OPEN MINDS. She currently serves as OPEN MINDS Chief Operating Officer where she is responsible for operations management, business development, and innovation for OPEN MINDS Strategic Advisory Services.

Before joining OPEN MINDS, Ms. DiStefano served as the Vice President of Innovation for Resources for Human Development (RHD) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In this role, she led the innovation, strategy, and national development efforts to broaden the scope of services, diversify funding sources, engage and maintain political relationships, and design programs based on regional needs to enhance systems of care. In addition, she built and maintained relationships through individual meetings, public speaking, conferences, providing expert testimony and research, making her a trusted leader of remote, mission driven teams with matrix reporting.

Previously, Ms. DiStefano served as the Director of National Business Development and Social Innovation, as well as the New Jersey Supportive Housing Director. Prior to her service at Resources For Human Development, Ms. DiStefano was a lead therapist at the Center For Behavioral Health in New Jersey, practicing individual, child, family, and couples-solution focused counseling in a managed care setting, while also mentoring and clinically training Master’s interns. Starting her career in Arizona, Ms. DiStefano gained valuable experience in community behavioral health at EMPACT-Suicide Prevention Center, now La Frontera, where she managed the Service Utilization Department while regularly filing shifts on the crisis response team.

Throughout her extensive career, Ms. DiStefano has demonstrated success in high level contract negotiations, strategy, government relations and creating collaborative partnerships. While she is skilled at public policy analysis, identifying and managing trends, Mergers and Acquisitions, and all phases of business development, she also brings a thorough understanding of corporate fiscal oversight and the budgeting budget process.

Recognized for her clinical acumen with a deep understanding of SPMI and IDD population, Medicaid waivers, homelessness and systemic effects of SUD and the opioid crisis, Ms. DiStefano has a proven ability to understand conflicting interests and build consensus.

She is considered to be a subject matter expert in Supportive Housing, Housing First, Harm Reduction, Trauma Informed Care, Olmstead, HCBS, Value Based Payment Arrangements, Managed Care Organizations, MLTSS, and population health management. In addition, Ms. DiStefano has been featured at numerous international speaking engagements discussing topics such as strategic planning and housing advocacy, as an engaging public speaker with confidence speaking to settings of all sizes.

Ms. DiStefano earned her Master of Counseling from the University of Phoenix and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Arizona State University.

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Ken Carr

Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS

Ken Carr brings over 20 years of finance, technology, data analysis and reporting experience in the health and human service field to OPEN MINDS. Before joining the OPEN MINDS team, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of The Centers, a community mental health center in Ocala, Florida. In this position, Mr. Carr led a realignment of the organization’s financial management functions. This included revenue cycle management, EHR bill implementation and reporting, cash management enhancement, and strategic financial analysis.

Prior to his role at The Centers, Mr. Carr served as Chief Financial Officer of Guild Incorporated, an organization providing residential and community based mental health services in St. Paul, Minnesota. As CFO, Mr. Carr led the financial, billing, IT, quality, informatics, compliance, and facilities activities. During his tenure at Guild Incorporated, Mr. Carr used his expertise in change management and business process improvement to lead the EHR implementation team, align service data reporting and financial performance, and lead the financial and data capture activities for new service initiatives.

Mr. Carr has also held the positions of Administrative Director and Finance Director at the St. Paul National Testing Laboratory, a biomedical testing facility of the American Red Cross. In those positions he oversaw activities to enhance inventory management, align financial results to industry standards, and improve financial and facilities performance through problem analysis and quality management initiatives. He also was involved in directing human resource functions during laboratory closing near the end of his tenure.

Mr. Carr earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota, and a Master of Divinity Degree from Sioux Falls Seminary. He maintains an active CPA license with the State of South Dakota.

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Monica E. Oss

Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS

Monica E. Oss, M.S., Chief Executive Officer and Senior Associate, is the founder of OPEN MINDS. For the past two decades, Ms. Oss has led the OPEN MINDS team and its research on health and human service market trends and its national consulting practice. Ms. Oss is well known for her numerous books and articles focused on the strategic and marketing implications of the evolving health and human service field. She has unique expertise in payer financing models, provider rate setting, and service pricing. She has led numerous engagements with state Medicaid plans, county governments, private insurers, managed care programs, service provider organizations, technology vendors, neurotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations, and investment banking firms – with a focus on the implications of financing changes on delivery system design.

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