Brief Bio’s of Speakers for December 15th, 2005 Webcast Entitled: Peer Support: Disaster Preparation for People with Psychiatric Disabilities Debra LaVergne Executive Director of Meaningful Minds of Louisiana Meaning Minds of Louisiana is the State recognized Mental Health advocacy organization for Louisiana. Meaningful Minds of Louisiana is part of the Louisiana Consumer Organization of Relief Katrina/Rita (LACORK) which provides training in: trauma informed peer support, WRAP, warmlines, group process, and establishment of consumer-run recovery centers. Debra is a mental health consumer and a part-time Consumer Affairs Liaison for the Office of Mental Health. She is the NAMI Louisiana State Consumer Council Representative and a member of the NAMI Walk planning committee for southwest Louisiana. She markets and plans the fundraising event. She is also a member of the Mental Health Planning Council, the Region V Advisory Council, the Mental Health Review Commission and the PAIMI Advisory Council. She is a BRIDGES facilitator for a weekly held consumer peer to peer support group as well as a BRIDGES educator that teaches a bi-annual 15-week mental health recovery class. Finally, Debra works closely with the Louisiana Office of Mental Health, providing advocacy services as well as input in regards to the development of policies affecting individuals with mental illness statewide. Kaye Rote Executive Director, Oklahoma Menat Health Consumer Council Kaye Rote has been the director of the Oklahoma Mental Health Consumer Council since December of 1996. She spent 22 years as a Tax Accountant, auditor and Tax Law Instructor for OSU before coming to the Council. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Accounting and has recently completed her Masters in Business Administration. Kaye is a consumer of mental health services as well as a family member and now dedicates her life to advocacy for mental health survivors in Oklahoma and Nationally. LaVerne Miller, Esq. Director of Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy Center A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Northeastern Law School, LaVerne has worked as a prosecutor and tenant advocate. LaVerne has been the Director of the Howie the Harp Peer Advocacy Center since 1996. Since that time the Center has grown from a small supported employment program with a budget of $150,000 to a multifaceted Center providing a wide range of services to consumers and providers. Their current budget is $900,000. From February 2002 until August 2003, the Center managed a FEMA funded Peer Support Initiative that provided crisis services to mental health consumers impacted by 9/11. This initiative provided services to thousands of consumers and their families. LaVerne’s journey to her current position was a long and complex one. Following years of severe depression, she realized that finding meaningful work and peer support were critical to her own personal recovery and they are also critical to the support of many other consumers. Daniel B. Fisher, M.D., Ph.D. Executive Director National Empowerment Center Recovering from Mental Illness and becoming a Commissioner - Dan is a person who has recovered from schizophrenia. He was hospitalized several times prior to becoming a psychiatrist. He is one of the few psychiatrists in the country who publicly discusses his recovery from mental illness. He is a role model for others who are struggling to recover, and his life dispels the myth that people do not recover from mental illness. His recovery and work in the field were recognized by his selection as a member of the White House Commission on Mental Health. Education and Practice - Dan received his AB. from Princeton University, his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin and his M.D. from George Washington University. He is a board-certified psychiatrist who completed his residency at Harvard Medical School. He is presently an Executive Director of the National Empowerment Center and a practicing psychiatrist at Riverside Outpatient Clinic, Wakefield, MA. Speaker/Teacher/Researcher - Dan travels to all parts of the country to conduct workshops, give keynote addresses, teach classes, and organize conferences for consumers/survivors, families, and mental health providers to promote recovery of people with labeled with mental illness by incorporating the principles of empowerment. He has been featured on many radio and television programs, including CNN Special Report. In addition he is a researcher having carried out research into neurotransmitters at the National Institute of Mental Health and on the ways that people recover. Along with Laurie Ahern, he developed the Empowerment Model of Recovery and the PACE/Recovery program to shift the system to a recovery orientation. He was recognized for this work by being selected to Clifford Beers, National Mental Health Association Award and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law's advocacy award. Author - Dan has written chapters in many books, as well as a number of articles in professional journals such as Hospital and Community Psychiatry and the Psychosocial Rehabilitation Journal In addition to recovery, his focus is on how consumer/survivors can gain a voice in managed care, for which he has produced a video, "Self-Managed Care." He has produced a video and booklet about important aspects of recovery, "Recovery is for Everyone" as well as a video on "Consumers Working as Providers."