David Miller, PhD
David Miller is Associate Professor of School Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He is a certified school psychologist with extensive experience working with suicidal youth in both public and alternative school settings, and coordinated the suicide prevention program at a school for students with severe behavior disorders. David is a senior author of the book Identifying, Assessing, and Treating Self-Injury at School (2010) and author of Child and Adolescent Suicidal Behavior: School-Based Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention (2011), and the author of 40 refereed journal articles and book chapters, many of them related to youth suicidal behavior. He serves on the editorial advisory boards of several professional journals, provide ad hoc reviews for Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, and guest-edited a special issue of the School Psychology Review devoted to school-based suicide prevention.
Anthony D. 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.
Julie Cerel, PhD
Julie is a licensed clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Her research has focused on suicide bereavement and suicide prevention. She is the author of over 25 academic publications and co-author of Seeking Hope: Stories of the Suicide Bereaved. She is currently the Principle Investigator (PI) of the Military Suicide Bereavement Study funded by the Military Suicide Research Consortium from the U.S. Department of Defense. She is a Board member and former chair, Kentucky Suicide Prevention Group; and Editorial Board Member, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.
Amy Boland, CPA
Amy Boland is an audit partner at Gelman, Rosenberg & Freedman, CPAs. She has more than 12 years' experience in auditing and public accounting, having concentrated her skills in the specialized field of audits of nonprofit organizations, including associations, private voluntary organizations 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.
Marnin J. Heisel
Dr. Marnin Heisel is a Clinical Psychologist, an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology & Biostatistics at Western University, the Director of Research in Psychiatry at Western, and a Scientist with the Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment with the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York State.
Marnin's program of research focuses primarily on preventing suicide and enhancing psychological resiliency and well-being among older adults and other high-risk groups. He has helped develop Canadian national guidelines for suicide risk assessment and intervention and additional knowledge translation tools for healthcare providers and family members of older adults, together with colleagues at the Canadian Coalition for Seniors' Mental Health (CCSMH).
Marnin has received research support from Federal and Foundation funding sources, hospital research institutes, and universities. He has received awards for his work on suicide prevention, including the Edwin Shneidman Award from AAS (2011), the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) Research Award (2010), and the CASP Service Award (2013).
Marnin has served on various boards and committees advocating for enhanced access to mental health services and prevention of suicide. He additionally lectures extensively, speaks with the media, and has given presentations to government on the topic of suicide prevention.
William "Bill" Schmitz, Jr.
Dr. Schmitz serves on the AAS Board in the capacity of Past-President since his Presidential term concluded (2013-2015). Dr. Schmitz is a licensed psychologist in the state of Louisiana and provides clinical services to our nation's veterans through the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System, at the Baton Rouge Community-Based Outpatient Clinic. Additionally, Dr. Schmitz does consulting work through Campbell & Associates, as a forensic suicidologist. Working at the forefront of suicide prevention and social media, Dr. Schmitz has consistently promoted training of clinicians and the use of technology to advance suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
Irving Gutin was head of Mergers and Aquisitions at Tyco International, Ltd, from 1979 to 2003. During his tenure Tyco grew from $200 million in annual sales, to a multinational, Fortune 100 Company, with sales of over $40 billion, employing over 250,000 people worldwide. Irving was Chairman of the Board of the Greater Piscataqua Community Foundation, and a member of the board of a number of publicly traded and private companies. In 1995, after the loss of his son, by suicide, the Gutin family established the Jeffrey Gutin Fund at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. He and his wife Barbara also established the Irving and Barbara C. Gutin Charitable Foundation. The two funds have joined together as the Suicide Prevention Partnership, (SPP) which works to reduce suicide and suicidal behavior. The SPP designs and runs programs that address systemic issues in suicide prevention and funds a limited number of suicide prevention projects, including a current grant to AAS.
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 an 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.
Mr. Simpson 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 Mr. Simpson 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.
David W. Covington, LPC, MBA
Clinical Division Director
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.
Mr. Covington 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.
Mr. Covington'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.
Crisis Centers Division Director
Amelia Lehto is the Resource & Crisis Helpline Coordinator - Suicide Prevention at Common Ground, an agency which helps people move from crisis to hope through a variety of programs and services in Oakland County, Michigan. Her position serves several functions ultimately supporting those intimately affected by suicide. Specializing in suicide prevention and postvention on the local, state, and national levels through trainings, advocacy and innovative technology. Amelia is a team leader on Common Ground's Crisis Response Team, which provides debriefings in the community to those involved in a traumatic event.
She is a Certified American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor and a LivingWorks ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) and suicideTALK Trainer. She is the Vice President on the Board of Directors for Six Feet Over. A local nonprofit which works to prevent suicide through education, advocacy, and support; with a special interest in suicide survivors support and fundraising for families suffering from the loss of a loved one from suicide. Amelia is involved with many suicide prevention coalitions and taskforces throughout the community.
After experiencing loss at a young age, she discovered that one is not defined by how they died, but how they lived. And so it's been her life mission to improve the lives of those around her through love, listening and laughter. To quote the famous and favorite Lorax, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
You can also find her on Twitter @Atoes84.
Lived Experiences and Attempt Survivor Division Director
DeQuincy Lezine, PhD, 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.
John Draper, PhD
Prevention Division Director
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 Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC). 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.
Lisa Brenner, PhD
Research Division Director
As the Director of the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 19 Mental Illness Research, Education, and clinical Center (MIRECC), Lisa has worked to create a culture that values collaboration with professionals across disciplines to conduct meaningful research aimed at reducing suicide and increasing quality of life among those who have served. She is also Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Neurology at the University of Colorado, Denver School of Medicine. In addition, Lisa is a researcher, investigating suicide prevention among military personnel and Veterans, with a focus on promising clinical interventions.
Raymond Tucker, MS
Student Division Director
Raymond Tucker, MS is a fifth year graduate student in clinical psychology PhD program at Oklahoma State University studying under Dr. LaRicka Wingate. Raymond completed his undergraduate education at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin where he received his BA degree in Psychology and worked with Dr. Gerald Metalsky. Raymond earned his MS degree at Oklahoma State University in 2012. His research interests included the interplay between cognitive and interpersonal risk factors for suicidal thinking, such as attention and memory biases, thwarted belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, and repetitive negative thought patterns. He is also interested in how cognitive tasks may also serve as indirect measures of suicide risk. Clinically, Raymond is currently working as a psychology practicum student at the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center with the suicide prevention team where he provides therapeutic/assessment services for veterans presenting with suicide-related concerns on the inpatient unit and case management services for veterans following discharge.
Janet Schnell, MSW LSW
Survivor Division Director
Janet Schnell MSW LSW, is a suicide loss survivor following her brother Kent's died by suicide in 1994. She has been active in suicide postvention since 1996 when she helped form Survivors of Suicide of Dubois County in Indiana. Janet previously served on the board of the Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network (SPAN USA). She is a Question Persuade Refer (QPR) suicide prevention instructor and founding member of the Indiana Suicide Prevention Coalition. Janet is a member of the Indiana Suicide Prevention Advisory Board with the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction, the Southwest and Dubois County Suicide Prevention Coalition, and she is an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Faces of Suicide quilt organizer. She authored a chapter about her experience for Seeking Hope: Stories of the Suicide Bereaved and had an article published about suicide loss survivors after Robin William's death with the National Association of Social work. She is an adjunct trainer for Vincennes University - Jasper Campus, coordinator for the Dubois County Substance Abuse Council, a grant reviewer for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and is certified in Psychological Autopsy Investigation.