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Professional News
Experienced Researcher Chosen To Head MH Advocacy Group
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 11 page 7-7
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David Shern, Ph.D., would like to bridge the gap between knowledge and action. 

The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) will soon gain a new leader with decades of experience in mental health policy and services research.

David Shern, Ph.D., will begin official duties as president and CEO of the NMHA in June on a part-time basis; he will assume full-time duties in September.

Former NMHA President Michael Faenza stepped down in November 2005.

"Dr. Shern's leadership will enable the NMHA to make significant inroads in public opinion, policies, and services for the mental health of all Americans," said Sergio Aguilar, acting chair of the NMHA in a written statement.

The NMHA is a nonprofit organization established in 1909 to improve the mental health of Americans through advocacy, education, research, and service.

Before accepting the new position with the NMHA, Shern served as professor and dean of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

In addition, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Shern to the Florida Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse in 2000. His fellow commissioners elected him to chair the commission. As chair, he sought to improve mental health care across a wide spectrum of settings in the state, including juvenile justice, child welfare, and educational systems.

As a researcher, he raised more than $20 million as principal or co-principal investigator on research projects funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration, and other government agencies.

He has studied the effects of alternative service delivery strategies such as peer counseling on mental health outcomes and the effects of Medicaid managed mental health care on access, cost, quality of services, and outcomes.

Shern said he is enthusiastic about leading the NMHA into the future.

"We are poised to take some gigantic steps forward in terms of public acceptance, knowledge, and acceptance of mental illness," he told Psychiatric News. "I'm excited to be part of that in some important way."

He noted that one of the areas on which he'd like to focus as NMHA president is the "translation of research and knowledge into policy and practice," an area in critical need of improvement, Shern said.

Prior to serving as dean of the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, Shern was founding director of the National Center for the Study of Issues in Public Mental Health, a mental health services research center located in the New York Office of Mental Health.

He also directed the Office of Mental Health's evaluation and services research initiatives. ▪

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David Shern, Ph.D., would like to bridge the gap between knowledge and action. 

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