2023 JED Policy Summit

 Shifting Student Mental Health from Advocacy to Action

Join The Jed Foundation (JED) in Washington DC on Monday, October 30, 2023 where we will gather experts, thought partners, and allies to reflect, strategize, and celebrate the promising future of youth mental health policy. We look forward to having you join us!

Event Complete!

The 2023 JED Policy Summit was held on October 30th in Washington DC.

Thank you for participating, we hope to see you next year!

Share your feedback

We value your feedback. Please complete the Policy Summit feedback survey to help us improve this event.

Speaker and Panelist Bios

Check out the 2023 Policy Summit speaker and panelist bios


Welcome and Program Overview

Remarks by JED’s CEO, John MacPhee and SVP of Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations, Dr. Zainab Okolo.

Fireside Chat

Rafael Campos, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Director of Engagement, will engage in a keynote conversation, delving into critical insights on youth mental health and its profound impact on our nation.

Nothing About Us Without Us: Youth advocacy voice and policy impact

Young individuals spanning various intersecting identity markers, including sexual orientation, racial identities, and backgrounds, have consistently and openly expressed their concerns regarding mental well-being. Decisions pertaining to policies or interventions affecting youth mental health should not be undertaken without their full engagement. It is imperative to move beyond tokenism, viewing youth as mere beneficiaries, or as an afterthought in conversations. In this session, we will delve into strategies for actively involving young people as genuine partners and policy informing allies, recognizing the invaluable contributions they bring to the discourse on youth mental health.

  • Moderator: Dr. Laura Erickson-Scroth – Chief Medical Officer, The Jed Foundation (JED) 
  • Panelists:
    • Jillian Meinhardt – Policy Analyst, National Governors Association (NGA)
    • Jorge Alvarez – Manager, Corporate & Strategic Partnerships, Active Minds
    • Loren Muwonge – High School Student & Mental Health Advocate



Pioneering Pathways: Innovations and Opportunities in Mental Health Policy

In this comprehensive panel, we will navigate the intricate landscape of mental health policy, exploring key facets such as mental health parity, school-based Medicaid initiatives, and the innovative policy projects undertaken by JED. Delving into the nuanced intersections of these critical topics, the discussion will illuminate the evolving policy landscape and its impact on mental health support systems. Specifically, we will examine the implications and advancements brought forth by mental health parity, shedding light on how it shapes access and equity. The role of school-based Medicaid in bolstering mental health initiatives within educational settings will be a focal point, emphasizing its potential to enhance resources and support for students. Additionally, the panel will provide an exclusive insight into JED’s new policy projects, unveiling the organization’s forward-looking approach to addressing emerging challenges in mental health. Join us for a dynamic session that promises to unpack the complexities of mental health policy, offering a deeper understanding of the pivotal initiatives shaping the future of mental health support.

  • Moderator: Hon. Ann Marie Buerkle – Principal, Williams & Jensen, PLLC
  • Panelists:
    • Sakshee Chawla – Senior Policy Analyst, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO)
    • Angela Kimball – Senior Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy, Inseparable
    • Tenly Biggs, MSW, LMSW – Deputy Director at the Office of Behavioral Health Equity (OBHE), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    • Laura Conrad, MSW – Senior Consultant, The Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC)




Lunch buffet provided for event attendees.

Unlocking Wellness: Decoding Health through Mental Health Literacy

The presentation titled “Unlocking Wellness: Decoding Health and Mental Health Literacy” promises an insightful exploration into the intricate realm of health literacy, with a particular focus on mental well-being. This dynamic discussion aims to unravel the complexities surrounding health and mental health literacy, shedding light on the importance of understanding and navigating the wealth of information available in these domains. Experts in the field will provide valuable insights, addressing the challenges individuals face in comprehending health-related information and recognizing the integral role mental health literacy plays in overall well-being. Through a comprehensive examination of strategies, tools, and initiatives, the panel endeavors to empower the audience with the knowledge and skills needed to decode the language of health and mental health, fostering a more informed and resilient community. Participants can expect an engaging and enlightening session that not only defines these literacies but also charts a path towards enhanced well-being and a deeper understanding of the critical intersection between physical and mental health.

  • Speakers:
    • Donna Volpitta, Ed.D. – Co-Founder, Mental Health Literacy Collaborative  
    • Annie Slease – Co-Founder, Mental Health Literacy Collaborative  



United Fronts: Navigating Collective Crisis Response Across the K-20 Pipeline

This dynamic panel will embark on a collaborative exploration of effective crisis response strategies spanning the educational journey. Focused on cultivating collaboration, this discussion will delve into the interconnected efforts required to ensure a harmonized response to crises within the K-20 pipeline. Experts in the field will share insights, best practices, and innovative approaches, highlighting the importance of cohesive collaboration among educators, policy advocates, and mental health professionals. Attendees can anticipate a deep dive into successful crisis response models, actionable strategies, and the vital role of solidarity in fostering a resilient and supportive educational environment. Join us for a thought-provoking session that aims to equip participants with the tools and knowledge needed to navigate collective crisis response challenges across the entire educational spectrum.

  • Moderator: Dr. Nance Roy – Chief Clinical Officer, The Jed Foundation (JED)
  • Panelists:
    • Hannah Wesoloski – Chief Advocacy Officer, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
    • Laurel Stine, J.D., M.A. – Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
    • Lisa Wiggins – Acting Lead, Behavioral Health Coordinating Unit, Center for Disease Control (CDC)



Mind the Gap: Bridging Mental Health Research Gaps and Seizing Policy Opportunities

This panel explores the critical intersections between mental health research and policy development. Delving into the current landscape, the panel aims to identify and address gaps in mental health research, shedding light on areas that require increased attention and investigation while highlighting policy opportunities that can effectively bridge these gaps, fostering a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to mental health initiatives. By engaging with experts in the field, the panel seeks to generate insights that can inform and shape mental health policies, ensuring they are not only well-informed but also responsive to the evolving needs of individuals and communities. Through this exploration of research gaps and policy opportunities, the panel endeavors to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of mental health support systems and the creation of informed, interconnected, and equitable mental health policies.

  • Moderator: Nicole Ruzinski Bertsch – Principal, Williams & Jensen, PLLC
  • Panelists:
    • Anita Chandra – Vice President and Director, RAND Social and Economic Well-Being 
    • Daniel Eisenberg Ph.D. – Principal Investigator, Healthy Minds Network
    • Jessica Kirchner – Policy Analyst, National Governors Association (NGA)


Breakout Sessions

Breakout sessions will allow for deeper discussions on a topics of their choosing including:

  1. Equity and Inclusion in Mental Health Practice
  2. Telehealth and the Metaverse
  3. Cross Agency Collaboration
  4. Establishing Best Practices and Modalities Across the K-20 Continuum
  5. Mental Health Investment Opportunities (Funders Table)
Wrap Up and Next Steps

Together, we will strategize and envision a new paradigm for school based mental health. We will hear feedback from discussion groups and concluding remarks from Dr. Zainab Okolo.

Rooftop Reception

Let’s round off the day with a celebration of past wins in youth mental health policy and a promising future for young people across our nation!


This invitation provides you the opportunity to attend all speaker presentations, panel discussions, and reception. The event was organized to comply with the widely attended event exception of the Congressional Gift Rules.

Thanks to our generous sponsors:

Trellis Foundation

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.