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Jerry Dennis, M.D.
Dr. Dennis is Medical Director of Riverside County Mental Health in Southern California since 2006. He is board certified in Psychiatry, Administrative Psychiatry, Forensic Medicine, Addiction Medicine and Disability Analysis. Dr. Dennis completed his MD Psychiatry Residency at Indiana University. Prior to coming to Riverside County, Dr. Dennis was the Chief Medical Officer for the Arizona State Hospital. He has served as the Medical Director for the Arizona Department of Health Services, Division of Behavioral Health Services, and as the Acting Division Director and CEO of the State Hospital. From 1990-1998, Dr. Dennis was the Medical Director for Western State Hospital in Tacoma, Washington for 1995-1998 as the CEO and Medical Director. He was also previously the Medical Director for the US Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration for the Seattle Regional office.

Pete Earley 
Mr. Early is a storyteller who has penned 13 books including three New York Times bestsellers and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize finalist Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness. After a 14-year career in journalism, including six years at The Washington Post, Pete became a full-time author with a commitment to expose the stories that entertain and surprise. His advocacy work has taken him to 46 states and multiple countries around the world to speak on the troubled mental health systems and on behalf of persons with mental illness. His honest reporting and compelling writing helped him garner success as one of few authors with “the power to introduce new ideas and give them currency,” according to Washingtonian magazine.

Paul Fink, M.D.
Dr. Fink is a Board certified psychiatrist and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Temple University School of Medicine. Dr. Fink has wa Chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's Task Force on Psychiatric Aspects of Violence. He is a well-known psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and speaker with over 50 years of clinical experience. Dr. Fink is a past President of the American Psychiatric Association and President of the American College of Psychiatrists. He was Chairman of Psychiatry at both Thomas Jefferson University and Eastern Virginia Medical School. He also served as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein Medical Center and Associate Vice President of the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network. Dr. Fink founded and directed the Einstein Center for the Study of Violence, co-edited two books, The Stigma of Mental Illness and Misinformation Concerning Child Sexual Abuse and Adult Survivors. He has authored over 250 articles in medical journals.

Janine Francolini 
Janine Francolini is the Founder of the Flawless Foundation and serves on the board of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the USC Gould School of Law as well as many advisory boards of non - profits and corporations. Janine has a Masters' degree from Columbia University and had a career in educational administration in  private schools throughout New York City. Janine is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and is a public speaker on mental health and human rights. In addition, Janine has advanced training in Collaborative Problem Solving, yoga and mindfulness.

Frederick J. Frese, Ph.D.
Dr. Frese is a retired Marine Corps Captain, an associate professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University and is a psychologist who has specialized in the area of schizophrenia for over forty year. He has worked tirelessly as a practitioner and advocate for consumers and their families based largely on experience as a person who at the age of 25 was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 25. Dr. Frese has been called "a national treasure" by the Chair of the President’s New Freedom Commission for his work as a prolific writer and outstanding speaker. Dr. Frese was a panelist in 2009 on PBS's MINDS ON THE EDGE: Facing Mental Illness, part of a national initiative that includes extensive web content with tools for civic engagement, an ambitious strategy to engage citizens, professionals in many fields, and policy makers at all levels of government.

Richard Lamb, M.D.
Dr. Lamb is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California’s Institute of Mental Health, Law, and Public Policy and Keck School of Medicine. He is highly respected for his expertise in deinstitutionalization, the community treatment of persons with mental illnesses especially those who are homeless, in jails or prisons. He also has extensive experience in mental health policy and law, mental hospitals and the major psychiatric disorders. He is a Fellow with the American College of Psychiatrists, the American Psychiatric Association, and American College of Mental Health Administration. He was Vice chair, American Psychiatric Association's Council on Psychiatric Service and editor of The Homeless Mentally Ill (1984), Treating the Homeless Mentally Ill (1992) and four other books.
Judge Steven Leifman, J.D. 
Judge Leifman serves as Associate Administrative Judge in the Miami-Dade County Court Criminal Division and Special Advisor on Criminal Justice and Mental Health for the Supreme Court of Florida. Judge Leifman oversaw the groundbreaking report "Transforming Florida’s Mental Health System," and is chairman of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida’s Mental Health Committee, co-chair of the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Mental Health Task Force. He serves on a statewide task force with Governor Crist and state legislators to improve Florida’s mental health system. Judge Leifman is providing leadership on these issues nationally as Co-chair of the Council of State Governments/ TAPA Center for Jail Diversion Judges’ Criminal Justice/ Mental Health Leadership Initiative. Judge Leifman is a member of the National Leadership Forum for Behavioral Health.

Robert E. Nikkel, M.S.W.
Bob has over 40 years of experience working at all levels of the mental health and chemical dependency field, from case manager and alcohol/drug counselor to supervisory and management responsibilities. He was Oregon's commissioner for mental health and addiction services from 2003 to 2008 and is part-time Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon. Bob has published in the national peer-reviewed literature on consumer-operated case management services, dual diagnosis, supported education in a state hospital setting, and other related topics. In addition to the Foundation board, he also serves on the boards of the Oregon State Hospital Museum and Dual Diagnosis Anonymous of Oregon.

Greg Roberts, M.S.W.
Mr. Roberts is the Superintendent of the Oregon State Hospital in Salem, Oregon, where he is charged with making the hospital into a more person-centered, recovery oriented program. His MSW is in Administration from Rutgers University. He began work with the New Jersey Department of Human Services in 1973 and served as CEO of five of New Jersey’s state hospitals. In his 40 years of experience in the mental health field, he has a successful track record of turning around hospitals that are facing challenges to the state hospitals, such as obsolete facilities and scrutiny over patient care. He received his MSW from Rutgers University.

Elyn Saks JD, Ph.D.
Dr. Saks is the founder and director of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law. She has researched and written extensively about high-functioning people with schizophrenia. She is the author of her autobiography, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, Refusing Care: Forced Treatment and the Rights of the Mentally Ill and other publications. She was awarded the “Genius Grant” in 2009 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. She has trained as Research Psychoanalyst of the New Center for Psychoanalysis. Among many other activities, she has represented patients in civil commitment hearings and abuse/neglect cases.

Steve Sharfstein, M.D., M.P.A.
Dr. Sharfstein has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Sheppard Pratt Health System since 1992. He has been a lecturer in Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and Clinical Professor and Vice Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland. He has held a variety of positions at the National Institute of Mental Health, including Director of Mental Health Service Programs. He was Associate Editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry from 1994-1997. Dr. Sharfstein also served as Vice President of the American Psychiatric Association and has chaired numerous committees for the American Association of Psychiatry. His interests include the long term psychotherapy and psychopharmacology of persons with major mental illnesses, the financing of psychiatric care, utilization and cost offsets of treatment, public psychiatric care and the treatment and interrogation of terrorists held in detention.

Darold Treffert, M.D. 
Dr. Treffert is a psychiatrist in private practice in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and is a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin Medical School and at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. He has extensive experience as a Medical Director and administrator in mental health, healthcare, and alcohol treatment programs. He has researched and written extensively on the rights of persons with mental illness, helping establish the “need for treatment” criterion (generally known as the 'fourth standard') for civil commitment in Wisconsin which was then added as an additional criterion in many other states. Dr. Treffert coined the phrase, “dying with their rights on,” in a 1974 article which led to nationwide efforts to revise civil commitment statutes. Two of his books are considered major contributions to the understanding of autism: Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome and Islands of Genius: The Bountiful Mind of the Autistic, Acquired and Sudden Savant. He served as a consultant to the movie Rain Man and has received numerous awards for his wide-ranging contributions to mental health care.

Max Williams, J.D.
Mr. Williams was selected in 2011 as the CEO of the Oregon Community Foundation in Portland. Mr. Williams has a prominent record of service to the state of Oregon. For 8 years beginning in 2004, he was director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). In his capacity with the state, Mr. Williams built a reputation for his success in leading, representing and managing a highly complex organization. His background includes a distinguished three-term career in the Oregon Legislature as well as a 12-year career as an attorney with a major Oregon law firm. He has a long history of volunteerism and service on various nonprofit boards.

Malea Vedack
Malea Vedack is the Administrative Manager for the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. She comes to us with a medical and office management background and has a BA in Management and Healthcare Administration from George Fox University.  Malea resides in Wilsonville and enjoys spending her time partaking in all the recreational opportunities the Pacific Northwest has to offer with her family and two dogs. Malea can be reached at or (503) 841-1020.


 style=    Founding Member: Dean K. Brooks, M.D.
Dr. Brooks was the Superintendent of Oregon State Hospital from 1955 to 1982. During this time he established the first psychiatric residency program in Oregon, gaining accreditation for it after only one year. In his leadership at the state hospital, he pioneered innovative treatments for the patients entrusted to his care. He innovated many programs at Oregon State Hospital including music therapy, outdoor recreation programs, the Superintendent's Council and others.
He served on national organizations of state hospital and church leadership organizations. His support for the filming of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" made him famous nationally and he used this platform to further address the needs of people assigned to the care of large institutions. He continued to be a powerful advocate for improving mental health services with a special interest in reversing the 30-year trend toward the criminalization of people with mental illness until his passing on May 30, 2013. 

Eulogies to Dean were published in newspapers and blogs across the nation, including the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, the Statesman Journal, KATU News, and the blogs of his friends Bob Nikkel and Pete Early.

Al Bendich, J.D. 
Al Bendich was an attorney involved with mental health and civil liberties issues for many years. In 1957, on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, he successfully defended legendary Beat poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti in his First Amendment trial. He also served as defense counsel for Lenny Bruce in his trial. He was hired by Saul Zaentz in 1966 as his attorney and became a partner in the Saul Zaentz Film Company. He was directly involved in the making of the movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," filmed at Oregon State Hospital in 1975. He served as Producer and chief executive officer for Zaentz Film Company, on the Board of Directors for the Berkeley FILM Foundation, and as Vice President of Concord Records.