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Advancing Health Equity: A Vision for a Healthier Future

Power of Ideas
Advancing Health Equity: A Vision for a Healthier Future

In 2012, I called a suicide hotline, not because I had nothing to live for, but because I lost sight of the value of waiting for the tomorrows of my life.

In our ever-evolving world, the pursuit of better health for all is an endeavor that transcends borders, industries, and sectors. It is a shared responsibility, an ethical imperative, and a fundamental human right. As the founder and CEO of The Quell Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating the stigma surrounding mental health, I have spent years raising awareness, advocating for better mental health access, providing scholarships and program grants, and developing a pipeline for the next generation of mental health care providers. I firmly believe that several key principles and actions must be embraced to effect lasting change.

I truly believe, as human beings, we have a social and moral obligation to help each other.

Raising Awareness and Breaking Stigma

To bring better health to more people, we must first address the pervasive stigma surrounding mental health issues. To address this, The Quell Foundation is actively partnering with universities, workplaces, and community organizations to foster an environment where mental health is treated with the same importance as physical health, allowing individuals to share their stories without fear of judgment. Quell has produced two international, award-winning documentaries, Portraits of Life with Mental Illness and First Responders Sound the Alarm, dispelling the myth that people with a mental health illness exist only in our prisons, hospitals, and on our streets. We have published a peer-reviewed paper on the efficacy of our film to positively influence the viewer with statistically significant results. By equipping people with the knowledge and tools to recognize and address mental health challenges, we are normalizing the conversation and empowering them to seek help when needed.

Innovation and Access

A healthier future depends on the emergence of a new generation of professionals who are equipped to meet the complex and evolving needs of individuals facing mental health challenges. It is imperative that we collaborate with universities and institutions to develop cutting-edge curriculum and training programs that address the most pressing mental health challenges of our time. Because cultural competence is vital to providing equitable care for all, The Quell Foundation has partnered with the University of Washington, Seattle, to develop a specialized psychiatry residency track for delivering population health to underserved populations, and with Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, funding the development of a Resilience and First Responder Trauma Training track, the first of its kind. By investing in education, we are cultivating a network of compassionate and dedicated professionals who will drive progress in mental health care.


One of the core pillars of The Quell Foundation's mission is to empower individuals who have personally experienced mental health challenges or are passionate about mental health advocacy. We firmly believe that lived experiences can be a powerful force for change in the field of mental health. To achieve this, we have established a robust scholarship program to increase the number of mental health professionals across our nation. We support those students who have lost a parent or sibling to suicide, and we provide scholarships to young adults who are in active treatment for a mental health care condition. In 2023, we passed $3.2 million in scholarship awards and grants to students in 480 universities across all 50 states.

Collaboration across Sectors

Bringing better health to more people requires collaboration across various sectors. We partner with businesses, nonprofits, health-care organizations, and government agencies to create a unified front in the fight for better health. This collaboration enhances our collective impact and ensures that our resources are effectively allocated.

In conclusion, I truly believe, as human beings, we have a social and moral obligation to act to the extent of our personal and professional means to help each other. Bringing better health to more people is a multifaceted endeavor that demands collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to nurturing the next generation of mental health care providers. Through a comprehensive approach to mental health advocacy, innovative program grants providing future access, and targeted scholarship awards, The Quell Foundation is dedicated to addressing mental health stigma and creating a healthier, more equitable future for all.