Keynote Speakers

Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch

Kevin embodies The Quell Foundation mission. Founded in December, 2015 in North Falmouth, MA, Kevin launched The Quell Foundation which aims to reduce the number of suicides, drug overdoses and incarceration of people living with a mental illness. Kevin works tirelessly, and without compensation, to remove the stigma and normalize the conversation of mental health. In doing so, he encourages others to share their stories and creates an environment for them to do so without fear of judgment. Leading by example, Kevin openly discusses his personal experiences with mental illness, often in some of the most public forums, including commencement addresses, corporate speaking engagements and over 100 college campuses across the United States. Kevin’s career as a public servant began as a twelve-year veteran of the elite United States Naval Submarine Force. When an unfortunate injury ended his military career, Kevin chose the healthcare sector to continue his commitment of caring for and fighting for others in their time of need. Since the Foundation’s inception, Kevin has played a major role in the creation and implementation of The Quell Foundation’s programs and initiatives to reduce suicides and erase the stigma surrounding mental health. Kevin envisioned and implemented a scholarship program within The Quell Foundation which provides financial support to undergraduate and graduate level students who are either enrolled in a mental health degree related field, are living with a diagnosed mental illness themselves, or who had lost a parent/caregiver or sibling to suicide. Kevin grew The Quell Foundation’s scholarship program from 16 scholarships in 2016 to over 1,800 scholarships today. To date, Quell has distributed over $3.2 million in awards to students attending over 480 different colleges and universities in all fifty states. As executive producer, and film subject, of The Quell Foundations’ educational documentary, Portraits of Life with Mental Illness, Kevin aims to positively influence the public’s perception of mental illness by fostering a culture of empathy and understanding through film. Statistically proven to reduce stigma, Portraits of Life With Mental Illness has been shown to over 20,000 individuals at college campuses, in corporate offices and with government agencies across the country. Kevin attends each screening, volunteering his time and expertise by serving as a panelist and directly engaging with the audience. He continues to partner with both local and national organizations to bring the film to communities in need. His research on this films ability to positively influence the viewer has been peer reviewed and published in an international medical journal. As the founder and CEO of Quell, Kevin has also brought forth his passion for mental health advocacy work for first responders. In 2022, Kevin served as an executive producer for his second documentary, First Responders Sound the Alarm. Through this work, Kevin fights to remove the stigma that lives within many of our nation’s first responder communities. Since its release, First Responders Sound the Alarm has been shown throughout the country to hundreds of first responders with each screening being accompanied by an interactive panel discussion. In recent research conducted by our organization, early indicators show First Responders Sound The Alarm can better help first responders process traumatic events, increase willingness to disclose their mental health challenges to colleagues and show a greater readiness to work with peers who have a mental health illness. Kevin has transformed The Quell Foundation into a nationally acclaimed mental health organization known for turning advocacy into statistical change through its prestigious scholarship program, educational documentary series and First Responder Resilience Project. Kevin is a Fellow of The Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association where he earned a master’s degree in Health Policy and Administration. In 2022 Kevin was named Alumni of the Year by Lynn University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors. Kevin currently lives in Jupiter, Florida with his wife Karen and their dog Piper.

Katherine Verlander

Katherine Verlander is the Director for the Division of Health Innovation and Integration in the CMS Innovation Center which houses the Maternal Opioid Misuse Model, the Value in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Demonstration, and the Innovation in Behavioral Health Model. In her eight years at the Innovation Center, she has also led work on the Integrated Care for Kids Model and the Accountable Health Communities Model. Prior to joining CMS she worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta in their Office of the Associate Director for Policy. She has also worked with the Georgia Governor’s Office for Planning and Budget, a health insurance trade association, and as a field research interviewer on the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Katherine has a Master in Public Health in Health Policy from Emory Rollins School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in Community and International Nutrition from Virginia Tech.
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