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Fall Conference Speakers
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Pete Earley

Keynote Speaker
Pete Earley
Author and Mental Health Advocate

A former Washington Post reporter, Pete Earley is the author of 11 nonfiction books, including four New York Times bestsellers, and six novels. He is best known for his nonfiction book, CRAZY: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness, which was one of two finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.

CRAZY describes Earley’s struggle to get his adult son help after he develops a severe mental illness and is arrested. As part of his research, Earley spent ten months inside the Miami Dade County jail, where he followed persons with mental disorders through the criminal justice system and out onto the streets to see what happened to them. His book has won awards from the American Psychiatric Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, and prompted CNN to name him one of nation’s top “mental wellness warriors.”  He serves as the lone parent member of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee, which advises Congress about mental health reform.

Earley has testified five times before Congress about the need for mental health reform and has lectured in four foreign countries. He serves on the board of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, which finances projects to eliminate homelessness. The Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court appointed him to a task force that recommended changes to the state's involuntary commitment laws after the Virginia Tech massacre. He currently serves on a panel advising state Senator Creigh Deeds’ legislative efforts to improve Virginia’s mental health services.

He writes regularly for USA TODAY and the Washington Post about mental health issues, and also writes a weekly blog at about mental health issues.  


Mary Blake, C.R.E 
Chair, Women and Trauma Federal Partners Committee
Public Health Advisor
Center for Mental Health Services

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Mary is a Public Health Advisor in Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), promoting trauma-informed, recovery-oriented, effective, and quality services and supports for people with serious mental illness, substance use disorders, and trauma-related challenges. Mary is a subject matter lead for adult trauma and trauma-informed approaches at SAMHSA and has overseen numerous public/private initiatives, including work in 2018 to build a measurement strategy and metrics for program implementation and outcomes of trauma-informed organizational change. She serves as Committee Chair for the Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma and provides technical consultation on trauma-informed approaches to federal partners.

In May 2018, Mary was recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, receiving the Departmental Hubert H. Humphrey Award for Service to America for her federal leadership on trauma-informed care and her work to protect the health and wellbeing of the nation. She is co-author of a recently published article in the peer review journal, Women’s Health Issues, addressing inquiry and response to recent and past trauma in health care, as well as co-author of an article titled “SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach in Youth Settings,” published in the Pathways RTC Focal Point Issue - Trauma Informed Care and Trauma Informed Systems, Summer 2015.

Mary is the federal program lead for several grant programs, namely Assertive Community Treatment, Transforming Lives through Supported Employment, and Statewide Consumer Networks. She serves as a federal project officer working with the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic grant program. Mary also provides federal leadership on special projects for SAMHSA, including, crisis services and systems, screening and brief response to trauma in primary care, acute psychiatric inpatient treatment and family caregiving.

Prior to joining SAMHSA, Mary was Co-Founder and President of Consumer Action Network (CAN), an advocacy, training, and ombudsman non-profit in Washington, DC. During her leadership at CAN, she received the Timothy Coakley Leadership Award from the American College of Mental Health Administrators in 1996 and 1997 for her work to promote entrepreneurship and employment of persons with mental illness. While in DC, Mary worked with the Dixon Court Monitor, the DC Department of Mental Health, and other to implement and evaluate key components of the Dixon Plan to redesign and improve the mental health system in DC as a result of receivership. She is a noted speaker on trauma, trauma-informed care, serious mental illness and recovery, and systems change, including presentations for the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, the CDC National HIV Prevention Conference, the National Council for Community Behavioral Health, the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation and the American Psychiatric Association to name a few.


Mary Faith Marshall, PhD, FCCM
Acting Director, Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Professor of Biomedical Ethics
Director, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities, University of Virginia Health System

Mary Faith Marshall is Acting Director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities and Director of the Program in Biomedical Ethics in the University of Virginia School of Medicine. With her colleagues Lois Shepherd and Julia Taylor, she co-founded its program Studies in Reproductive Ethics and Justice. She is Professor of Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, and Professor in the Schools of Nursing and Law (University Faculty).  She co-chairs the UVA Health System Ethics Committee and directs its Ethics Consult Service. Her expertise includes reproductive, clinical and research ethics.

She is past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and the American Association for Bioethics. She is an elected fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine where she is vice-chair and forthcoming chair of the SCCM Ethics Committee. In 2017 she received an SCCM Presidential Citation for Outstanding Contributions to the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Dr. Marshall received the Trailblazer Award from the NAACP Charleston chapter in 1999 for her work in policy approaches to perinatal substance abuse, and has testified on this subject before Congress and in US District Court. She was a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Ethics for eleven years. She is a member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Bioethics.

Dr. Marshall has served on a number of National Institutes of Health Boards, including the NIAID Division of Aids Prevention Africa DSMB and its International DSMB for Africa. She chaired the first NIH review panel on Global Health Research Involving Human Subjects. She also chaired the National Human Research Subjects Protections Advisory Committee at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and has been a special consultant to the DHHS Secretary on research related to children and prisoners. She was an expert advisor on the Committee on Assessing the System for Protecting Human Research at the Institute of Medicine.

Dr. Marshall received her BA, BSN and PhD from the University of Virginia, where she was the Paddock Graduate Fellow in Biomedical Ethics. She was a critical care nurse at UVA for eleven years. Her research interests include moral distress, reproductive ethics, policy approaches to perinatal substance abuse, clinical ethics, human subjects protections and research ethics. Dr. Marshall is former Associate Dean and Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and Co-Director of the Center for Bioethics in the Academic Health Center.

 S. Hughes Melton, MD, MBA, FAAFP, FABAM
Commissioner, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services

Dr. S. Hughes Melton was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam in 2018 to lead DBHDS and transform Virginia's system for people with behavioral health and developmental disability. Dr. Melton and his nearly 7,000 team members lead an agency that stewards $1.06 billion to operate fourteen state hospitals, collaborate with forty locally-run community services boards and license over 800 private providers.

Previously, Dr. Melton served as the Chief Deputy Commissioner of Public Health and Preparedness at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Prior to his role at VDH, Dr. Melton served from 2012-2016 as a VP in the Virginia Market of Mountain States, a not-for-profit, 13-hospital health system serving Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Dr. Melton co-founded C-Health, P.C. in Lebanon, Virginia in 2000 and in 2012 started HighPower, P.C. a patient-centered addiction treatment clinic in Russell County, Virginia. The American Academy of Family Physicians selected Dr. Melton to be the 2011 Family Physician of the Year for his work in Southwest Virginia.

Dr. Melton earned his medical degree at the University of Virginia and completed his family medicine residency in 1996. He is board certified in both family medicine and addiction medicine. In 2012, he earned his MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. When not working with his leadership team, he enjoys running, biking, aviation, church activities and spending time with his wife Sarah and two daughters Maggie and Claire.

Francine Barr, CEO Information coming soon!