Speakers

Alejandro Kopelowicz, M.D.

Alejandro (Alex) Kopelowicz, M.D. is Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Medical Director of the San Fernando Mental Health Center (SFMHC), a community mental health center operated by the Department of Mental Health of Los Angeles County and Chief of Psychiatry at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.  Dr. Kopelowicz has been a frequent lecturer on biobehavioral treatment and psychiatric rehabilitation techniques.  He has written over 100 articles and book chapters on these subjects. He has been the recipient of several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. His work has focused on culturally adapting evidence-based psychosocial treatment approaches for Hispanic-Americans with serious mental disorders to improve illness self-management, treatment adherence and employment outcomes.

Click here to view Alex’s Keynote. (Involving Families in the Treatment of Schizophrenia). 


Gayathri Ramprasad, MBA, CPS
Mental Health Advocate, Author, and Speaker

Gayathri is the Founder and President of ASHA International www.myasha.org a nonprofit organization promoting personal, organizational, and community wellness through mental health education, training and support. And, the author of Shadows in the Sun: Healing from Depression and Finding the Light Within. Her successful battle in overcoming debilitating depression taught her the power of hope and holistic wellness. Now, she shares that message with others. Since the launch of ASHA International’s wellness campaign, Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives in 2006, Gayathri’s keynotes, wellness workshops, and cultural competence trainings have reached more than 50,000 people nationally and internationally with a resounding message of hope and recovery. Individuals and organizations alike applaud Gayathri as an agent of hope and transformational change.

Gayathri received her first undergraduate degree in science from Bangalore University in India. She earned a second undergraduate degree in Management and Business Information systems and a Master’s in Business Administration at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. Gayathri is also a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS).

Gayathri is the winner of many prestigious awards including the Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Voice Award for Consumer Leadership sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Outstanding Alumna Award from her alma mater George Fox University, the Esperanza Hope Award, and the Lifetime Innovator award presented by the International Association of Peer Supporters.

To see Gayathri’s TED talk Be the Hope, please visit  http://myasha.org/2015/05/be-the-hope/

To view Gayathri’s website, please visit http://gayathriramprasad.com/

Click here to view Gayathri’s Keynote. (FINDING THE LIGHT WITHIN: My Journey from Adversity to Advocacy)


Suzy Hamilton

Mental Health Advocate & Three Time Olympian

Suzy was the US Junior Record Holder at 1500m and won 3 National Junior Titles in High School. She was named by Scholastic Sports Magazine as one of the top 100 High School Athletes of the Century and was inducted into the US National High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

At the University of Wisconsin, Suzy won a record nine NCAA Titles and 32 Big-Ten Championships. She won the Honda Cup and Babe Zaharias Awards for Top Female Collegiate Athlete in the country. She was named by the Big-Ten Network as the top Female Athlete in Conference History.

Competing professionally, Suzy won seven USA National titles, set two American Records, was a three-time Olympian, ran her specialty 1500m under 4:00 five times and at the time was the second fastest American Woman in history at 3:57.40, a fraction of a second behind leader, Mary Decker Slaney. In 2000, Suzy was the fastest woman in the world and was named USA Track & Field’s Female Distance Runner of the Year.

During her running career, Suzy appeared in national ads for Nike, Reebok, Oakley, Clairol, and Proctor & Gamble to name a few. She was prominently featured in publications such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, People, Rolling Stone, Harper’s Bazaar, Sports Illustrated & appeared on the cover of Runner’s World three times.

Suzy went on to have what was on the surface,  a successful career in real estate and life after running. She seemingly had it all. Yet, secretly, she was living a nightmare. Triggered by feelings of inadequacy on several points and a deteriorating marriage, Suzy slipped further into darkness and was eventually misdiagnosed with depression. The prescribed drug made her high, too high in fact, and soon, she was trying to make up for all she had missed in life….to an ultimate extreme. This to the point where only several months later, she was one of the top escorts in Las Vegas and the world.

Only being outed to the world and an eventual diagnosis of bipolar disorder led her to begin the slow process of recovery. Years later, she has stepped from the shadows and is sharing her story about her experiences with bipolar disorder as well as her struggles with life during and after running. It’s therapeutic and liberating for her to share and it’s her hope that it inspires others to do the same. “Fast Girl – A Life Spent Running From Madness” was released by Dey Street Books, a Harper Collins imprint, on September 15th, 2015 and became an instant New York Times Best Seller.