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Leeann Sherman, MPS, CAE (she/her)
Board President & Chief Executive Officer
Leeann Sherman, MPS, CAE, is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS). Leeann brings extensive non-profit experience with over 20 years in professional associations and community-driven, mission-based organizations to her tenure with AAS, a national organization that provides training, education, research and awareness programs to promote the understanding and prevention of suicide.
Leeann has been a founding member of various industry coalitions to drive mission and advocacy forward, working with stakeholders and volunteers throughout her diverse career. She has worked with federal, state, and local government agencies including Centers for Disease Control, PA Department of Health, PA Department of Human Services, PA Department of Transportation, PA Department of Environmental Protection, Federal Highway Administration, US Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania’s Governor’s Office and federal legislators while also working closely on advocacy with the Pennsylvania Legislature.
She has a baccalaureate (Hospitality Management & Nutrition) and master’s degree (Community & Economic Development) both from the Pennsylvania State University. She is an active alum at her alma mater in various activities for the next generation. She has been awarded the Scott Jackson award for leadership from PASAE which is the highest honor for an association executive in Pennsylvania and is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential which is the marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to manage an association in today’s challenging environment with less than 4,500 people worldwide holding this certification.
Tony Coder is the Executive Director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF). As ED, Tony leads the charge to support community-based efforts in Ohio to reduce the stigma of suicide, promote education and awareness about suicide prevention, provide training and development, and increase resources and programs that reduce the risk of lives lost to suicide. Prior to joining the OSPF, Tony served as the Director of Programs and Services for the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities, where he managed Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care, the Statewide Advocacy Network, and the Committee to Address Suicide for the organization. He has also served as the Director of State and Local Affairs for Smart Approaches to Marijuana and as legislative director for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Tony holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Toledo.
Pamela S. McKie, MSW
Pam McKie is the Chief Impact Officer for Best Point. Pam brings a passion for helping people and making the world a brighter place to the forefront of the agency’s collective conscience. Her years of experience and breadth of knowledge help her lead the daily operations of 30+ programs across four business lines (Best Point Behavioral Health, CoStars, Heidt Center of Excellence and Got Special Kids). Pam provides leadership and oversight for the hundreds of staff that provide services to nearly 15,000 children and families across four states. She also provides guidance and support to the president and CEO, and other senior leaders to ensure the overall health and wellness of the organization including quality and compliance to legal, regulatory and certification standards that govern the agency.
Pam’s three decades of experience in social work include leading initiatives that combat mental illness, youth suicide, addiction, and other illnesses. Since joining the organization, she helped facilitate several initiatives including treatment innovations for maternal mental health and the opening of a pediatric mental health urgent care. She has also led the remodel and restructure of agency programs to address the evolving needs and conditions facing children and families, along with implementing a 24-hour crisis line for our most vulnerable families. She has been instrumental in securing grants and other funding to support these and other progressive innovations.
Prior to her arrival at The Children’s Home, Pam was most recently with Assurex Health in Mason, Ohio. There she held two positions: senior director of operations and senior director of corporate responsibility. Pam received her undergraduate degree from the Ohio State University and holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Cincinnati. She is a recent graduate of Leadership Cincinnati (Class 44) and continually serves the community by actively working in several organizations including Grant Us Hope, the Justin T. Wright Suicide Prevention Initiative, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Association of Social Workers and as a field instructor for social worker students for the University of Cincinnati.
In her rare free time, Pam is an avid half-marathoner who enjoys knocking the miles down in different states. With many states down, including Hawaii, she is looking forward to Alaska in 2022.
Don Wright is the founder and CEO of Clarigent Health, triangulating mental health metrics from the patient, the clinician, and the company’s proprietary vocal biomarkers technology. This supports earlier detection of risk, continuous monitoring of progress over time, and group-level insights for mental health care organizations. Prior to Clarigent, Don spent the previous decade developing the GeneSight pharmacogenomics product at Assurex Health helping almost two million people get on the right treatment for depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric conditions.
Don is the President of the Suicide Prevention Initiative and Depression Research Foundation. He is also the chairman of Inagene Diagnostics, a pharmacogenomics company specializing in mental health and pain treatment. He is the chairman of the Hamilton Mill a Cincinnati area startup accelerator and a member of the board of advisors of OhioX, the board of advisors of the Xavier University Master of Science in Customer Analytics Program, the NKU Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the University of Cincinnati Technology Accelerator for Commercialization, as well as the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Digital Health and Care Committee.
Don is the father of three children, Justin (who we lost to suicide in 2017), Abigail, and Samuel.
Jacque Christmas, MPA, BSW
Jacque Christmas has worked for the Missouri Department of Mental Health for twenty-six years and has served as the Fatality Review Coordinator since 2008. In 2012, Jacque lost her 27-year-old son to drug addiction. Jacque combines her experience as the Fatality Review Coordinator and that of a bereaved mother to support and educate others impacted by suicide and other special circumstance deaths. Jacque is a certified Question, Persuade, and Refer Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Instructor and facilitates a Re-Energize and Re-Connect Emotional Wellness Workshop series for suicide attempt and suicide loss survivors in Joplin, Missouri. She is a certified Mental Health Recovery and Wellness Recovery Action Planning® Facilitator and uses WRAP® in her own mental health recovery and wellness. Jacque is a member of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) and serves on the Impacted Family and Friends Division, Nominating Committee, and Awards Committee. Jacque also joined the advisory panel for Johnny’s Ambassadors in 2020, a not-for-profit focused on educating parents and teens about the dangers of today’s high-THC marijuana on adolescent brain development and suicide. Ms. Christmas is the recipient of the 2022 Missouri Suicide Prevention Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing an individual who has gone above and beyond to help aid in the prevention suicide at the state and national level.
AT LARGE DIRECTORS
Bart Andrews, PhD
As Chief Clinical Officer at Behavioral Health Response, Dr. Bart Andrews leads the training, leadership, and evaluation of clinical care services throughout the organization including phone, internet, and face-to-face crisis intervention. With over 25 years of experience leading BHR, he has driven continuous improvement of clinical outcomes, services, and data collection while ensuring the productivity and quality of our business centers.
Bart’s goal is to prevent suicide and improve care for those fighting illnesses like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders. With an emphasis on evidence-supported practice in intervention and supervision, he believes we can change the culture and language around mental health resources to be more positive, strong, and empowering.
The Honorable James M. Byrne currently serves as Vice President, Ethics and Business Conduct, at Lockheed Martin Corporation, responsible for the oversight, strategic direction, and operational excellence of the domestic and international ethics and business conduct program across the corporation. He previously served as the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs where he led modernization initiatives and as the chief operating officer led operations of the federal government’s second-largest Cabinet department, with some 385,000 employees in VA medical centers, clinics, benefits offices, national cemeteries, and other facilities throughout the country.
Previously, Jim served as VA’s General Counsel, leading VA’s nationwide team of nearly 800 attorneys, paralegals, and staff who support VA’s mission and priorities by providing sound legal expertise, representation, and, as needed, critical problem-solving skills and risk-management advice to the Secretary and other senior VA leaders.
Before arriving at VA, Jim served as Associate General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at Lockheed Martin Corporation, where he was also the company’s lead cyber and counterintelligence attorney. He served for several years on the board of directors for Pacific Architects and Engineers. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, Mr. Byrne served in the career Federal Senior Executive Service as Deputy Special Counsel with the Office of the United States Special Counsel, and as both the General Counsel and Assistant Inspector General for Investigations with the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.
Soon after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Jim was recalled to active duty for 18 months with the U.S. Marine Corps in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Lieutenant Colonel James Byrne was assigned as the Officer-in-charge of the Marine Liaison Office at the then-National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Mr. Byrne led teams of Marines in DC-metro-area military hospitals and Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, that were responsible for supporting injured and deceased Marines, Sailors, and their families.
Jim has over 25 years of experience in the public sector, including service as a forward-deployed Marine Corps Infantry Officer and a U.S. Department of Justice international narcotics prosecutor. His professional honors include several DOJ awards and The Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator’s Award for Exceptional Service. He is also a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism and several military decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal.
Volunteering in his community, Jim has extensive experience on several non-profit and advisory boards. Until August 2017, his most recent professional engagements included service on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Board and the International Association of Privacy Professionals Board of Directors. For ten years, he volunteered on the Executive Board of Give an Hour, a non-profit organization that has developed national networks of volunteer professionals capable of providing complimentary and confidential mental health services in response to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society, beginning with the mental health needs of post-9/11 veterans, service members, and their families.
Jim is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received an engineering degree and, ultimately, held the top leadership position of Brigade Commander. He later earned his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida, and started his legal career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Malcolm J. Howard, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of North Carolina.
Mary “Molly” Klote, MD – Director, Office of Research Protections, Policy, and Education, Office of Research and Development, Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
Dr. Klote joined VHA 2.5 years ago and is responsible for VHA human subjects research policy, education, and support to the Veterans Administration (VA) central institutional review board (CIRB). She is also leading the infrastructure efforts for the research enterprise transformation and is serving as the research champion for the electronic health record modernization transition. Prior to this, as an active-duty Army Colonel with 30 years of service, she oversaw all human research policy and education for the United States Army through the office of the Army Surgeon General. For the past 12 years, her responsibilities over research and human subjects protection policy have expanded to the national stage. During the COVID pandemic, Dr. Klote led the first government use of public health authority to set a policy to bring together data from the VA Center for Disease Control and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the computing platforms of the Department of Energy computers. Recognizing the need for a ready supply of volunteers for the vaccination trials she spearheaded the creation of the VA COVID Volunteer list allowing more than 57,000 Veterans to volunteer to be vaccinated. She designed the Advisory subcommittee on diversity and inclusion in research to support the VA National Research Advisory Council to ensure robust participation of minority and underserved populations in VA research. Dr. Klote also served on the policy task force of the American Telemedicine Association where she helps to spearhead efforts to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of decentralized clinical trials. She is a leader in effective, efficient, and compliant policy and education in human subjects research and brings those talents to bear on any problem presented.
At the VHA since October 2018, Dr. Klote has led the initiative to implement an enterprise-wide electronic research and innovation committee management tool and has recently completed the rollout at 105 medical centers. Her office is spearheading the development of business intelligence dashboards from the data generated from the electronic platform to support evidenced-based decision-making in study choice and locations. She has streamlined and harmonized processes, forms, and templates for the VHA IRBs and Research and Development Committees. In addition, her office is conducting a systematic review of all research policies and guidance documents to further deconflict information across the system.
Dr. Klote began her Army service through ROTC at James Madison University majoring in computer information systems and earned a regular Army commission in the Military Intelligence Corps upon graduation. She was then accepted to the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences where she graduated with the Esprit de Corps award. She trained in Internal Medicine, Allergy Immunology, and Clinical Laboratory Immunology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She holds a board certification in Allergy Immunology. As an Army clinician, she also conducted research on vaccines and published on immunodeficiency. Dr. Klote has worked at the Office of the Army Surgeon General, The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She served one tour in Iraq in 2008. She has earned the Certificate for IRB Professionals (CIP). Dr. Klote was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Parachutist Badge, and the Expert Field Medical Badge among other awards and recognitions.
Hudson Harris is passionate about helping organizations solve complex social issues. He is a skilled designer who drives change through technology and collaboration to build a shared understanding that empowers teams. His knowledge of data, human-centered design, and the complexities in crafting cross-sector projects bring a unique approach to every engagement. He has earned a reputation for innovation that spans traditional boundaries to create inspired solutions to complex problems that are sustainable and impactful. Before joining Deloitte, he worked for San Diego County as a Population Health Strategist in Behavioral Health Services and for the California Children’s Hospital Association on statewide behavioral health initiatives. He is a California attorney, holds an MBA in Marketing and an MA in International Business. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Six Feet Over.
AAS is an Equitable Organization
AAS believes in equity for our members and in our services. From the leadership team, the Board of Directors, to our staff and committees, equity is a priority from the top down. Read full statement.