KEYNOTE SPEAKERS 

 

 

Keris Jan Myrick

Azza Altiraifi

Mark Salzer

Keris Jän Myrick is the Discipline Chief for Peer Services for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Ms. Myrick was previously the Director of the Office of Consumer Affairs for the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) at SAMHSA. She is a leading mental health advocate and executive, known for her innovative and inclusive approach to mental health reform and the public disclosure of her personal story. Ms. Myrick was President and CEO of Project Return Peer Support Network, a Los Angeles-based, peer-run nonprofit.  She was the President of  NAMI and served as a consultant to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Office of Minority and National Affairs (OMNA). She has been an advisor providing assistance with the psychiatry component of the Recovery to Practice project. Ms. Myrick’s is featured in the CalMHSA documentary A New State of Mind: Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness and her personal story was featured in the New York Times series: Lives Restored, which told the personal narratives of several professionals living with mental health issues. Ms. Myrick’s belief in the strength of relationships to aid in recovery was featured in an interview in the Psychiatric Times: Advocate Attributes Recovery to Strength of Therapeutic Alliance and in the Los Angeles Times.  She is known for her collaborative style and innovative “whole person” approach to mental health care. Ms. Myrick has an MS in organizational psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology of Alliant International University, and an MBA, with an emphasis on marketing, is from Case Western Reserve University.

Azza Altiraifi (she/hers) is an award-winning disabled Afro-Arab organizer based in Washington, DC. Azza’s advocacy centers on principles of radical inclusion and access, racial and disability justice, and building an intersectional movement towards collective liberation. Azza is a graduate of American University’s School of Public Affairs, carrying a B.A in Law and Society. She formerly served on the Steering Committee of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), and interned for Green Door Behavioral Health, formerly DC’s second largest non-profit which provided mental health services to low-income, multiply disabled people of color in the District. She is a published writer on the history of exclusionary immigration policy, and conducts media interviews with national and international media outlets. She currently serves as an organizer for the Justice for Muslims Collective (JMC), a DC-based advocacy organization that seeks to combat institutional and structural Islamophobia in the DC - metro area through education, grassroots organizing, and policy change. In this capacity, Azza has taken lead in developing toolkits and curating resource lists on issues ranging from ableism, white supremacy, to the history of exclusionary US immigration policies. For her advocacy work, Azza was invited by the American University President’s Council on Diversity & Inclusion (PCDI) to assist in implementing their Inclusion Excellence Plan, and recognized as an “Emerging Leader” by the Muslim Wellness Foundation in 2017.

Mark Salzer, Ph.D. is Professor and former founding Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences in the College of Public Health at Temple University. He is also the Principal Investigator and Director of the Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, a rehabilitation research and training center that has been funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research since 2003. He has closely partnered with peers on various initiatives over the past 30 years, and is especially interested in peer support roles in mental health systems.  He recently co-authored an article published in Psychiatric Times entitled "Revisiting the Rationale and Evidence for Peer Support", and frequently presents on the importance of peer support in Behavioral Health Services. Dr Salzer’s work challenges mental health systems and calls for a move towards a human rights based approach to recovery that focuses on community participation.  Prior to coming to Temple University he was a faculty member at Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and was most recently an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.